Welcome to another fabulous day in studio on the Green Gab. Find out what the heck a REC is today with Kathleen Beebe of 3 Degrees. Kathleen gabs with us about Ameren’s Pure Power voluntary renewable energy program and the impact it is having in the St. Louis area. Pure Power is Ameren’s voluntary green energy option for residences and businesses here in Missouri. Marla and Tony, proponents of green energy, both subscribe to Pure Power.
Kathleen gives us some background on Pure Power. The program has been around since 2007. In Missouri, we have 3 EPA Green Power Communities. This means that the communities have matched their energy usage with renewable energy above and beyond minimum thresholds. Those communities are Webster Groves, Creve Coeur, and Maplewood, so let’s hear it for all 3! There are only 60 Green Power Communities in the whole country and we have 3 here. Our friends across the river, Alton, IL has become a Green Power Community as well. Having 4 right in the metro area is astonishing considering how inexpensive our electricity is compared to areas on the Coast where green energy has thrived. This goes to show, that with the proper leadership, green energy can thrive in all markets.
Marla asks Kathleen, why we have had success here in the St Louis market when it comes to promoting green energy? Kathleen’s response is pretty simple…what happens on the coasts eventually makes its way here to the Midwest. Green energy and sustainability are more mainstream in the conversation, so it only makes sense that green energy is growing here in its usage. Also, as the municipalities themselves start to put together sustainability plans, other communities will follow.
Since we just dove right in to the meat of the episode, we backtrack just a little bit to understand how Kathleen got started. Kathleen and Marla first met at a green car show when they showed up with twin hybrid SUVs that were even both the same color! Marla and Kathleen both worked together at Butterfly Energy Works and later HomeNav. After HomeNav, Kathleen joined 3 Degrees, where she manages the Pure Power program for Ameren. Kathleen’s educational background is in environmental studies from Cal State- Hayward, so she gets to put her knowledge to work on a daily basis. Kathleen and Marla discuss how if you just start with 1 step, you can eventually make a large impact, but it all begins with that first step. Some of those basic first steps include, switching to LED lightbulbs, sealing and caulking areas from air flow, and proper insulation.
Back to Pure Power and its goals. Individuals and businesses have the opportunity to match energy usage every month with renewable energy certificates that come from a wind farm here in Missouri. Renewable Energy Certificates are also known as RECs, or Green Tags. A REC represents one megawatt hour of renewable energy, and all the environmental and social benefits of that renewable energy. Through the program, you can match your energy usage through 3 increments: you can match 500 kilowatt hours which would cost roughly $5.00 per month, you can match 1000 kilowatt hours which is $10 per month, or 100% of your energy.
There are 850 similar programs across the nation with around 740,000 enrolled customers. So these programs have been very effective in helping to bolster the renewable energy industry. Today, utility companies are required by law to get a certain percentage of their energy mix from renewables so that has also helped to strengthen the renewable energy industry. If you would like to sign up for Pure Power, you can go to www.amerenmissouri.com/purepower or you can do a google search to find a renewable energy program near you. You can also go to www.3degreesinc.com for more links and information.
For more information about the show or if you would like information about the Pure Power program; you can email Kathleen Beebe at email@example.com, Marla Esser Cloos at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Tony Pratte at email@example.com. Get in on the Gab for why green matters to you, your family, your friends, and your community. Catch us next week on the Green Gab.
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