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Green Electrons

  1. Jul 7, 2008 #1
    If I subscribe to this service, I get my electricity from solar and wind power. But how do I know I'm getting green electrons into the meter?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 7, 2008 #2


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    What are green electrons?
  4. Jul 7, 2008 #3


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    Perhaps they are environmentally friendly. :smile:

  5. Jul 7, 2008 #4
    Seiously though, the power comes off the common grid. What would be the incentive to you to paying a premium to a company to generate electric power with wind power. What keeps them honest? Do they turn down the current when they loose an account?
  6. Jul 8, 2008 #5


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    What you are paying for is essentially that the company in question will guarantee to generate the same amount of "green" electricity as you are using.
    They are no different from other power companies in that respect, although often the electricity is traded on an open market without specifying how it is generated.
  7. Jul 8, 2008 #6
    If I understand you correctly, trading on the market means the service provider is not the producer, or not necessarily the producer. The service provider would buy power and sell it to my trusting self.

    The producer will generate what he chooses. In the case of wind power, freewheeling a propeller, if you don't have a premium paying customer, seems like a loosing choice. I don't know the wind energy industry; maybe I'm wrong. Otherwise, it still seems a scam.
  8. Jul 8, 2008 #7


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    Why don't you write to the power company to see what they say?
  9. Jul 9, 2008 #8


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    But this is the way the energy market works for everyone. Power is a commodity like everything else and traders working for producers and the various companies selling to customers buy/sell electricity on international energy exchanges, e.g. the European Energy Exchange, Nord Pool etc. The prices fluctuate up and down just like on e.g. the stock market (there is a spot market, derivatives etc).
    In the case of "green" electricity they just add a label saying that there are customer willing to pay extra so it is traded at a higher price than other electricity.
    However, if there are no "green" customers wind power can be sold on the ordinary market, but at a lower price.

    Wind power is a bit different from many other sources of electricity in that the "fuel" (wind) is free so presumably they will be running whenever they can, in e.g. a hydroelectric dam they will just reduce the flow of water when the prices are low (as they tend to be during the spring when there is plenty of rain and snow melting in the mountains) and save the water in their magazines for when the prices rise during the summer.
    The same is obviously true for power stations that burn fuel (and even nuclear power plants). Hence, supply and demand is "controlled" by the market meaning there is (ideally) always enough electricity available on the grid.
  10. Jul 9, 2008 #9
    Well done, on that. It's good to hear from someone with solid market understanding.

    The intent of the end-consumer of wind energy is to either, A) acquire bragging right that he's buying green power, or B) effected a change, where 'environmentally unfriendly' sources of energy are reduced.

    Consumer A has accomplished his task.

    It's consumer B I'm curious about. Has B made a difference? Inotherwords, are there market dynamics such that an increase in purchases on the wind energy market reduces the production of environmentally unfriendly power?
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