odds and ends from a life under construction

, / 2443 0

Renewable energy and the benefits of wind power with Windsource


As a nation, we rely heavily on energy from finite fuel sources. Coal, natural gas, oil – our supplies of these fossil fuels will eventually dwindle to the point that they will be to expensive or to damaging to the environment to source.

By contrast, renewable energy sources don’t have these finite limitations. Wind energy, solar power, geothermal heat and even the motion of the tides are energy sources that are naturally replenished and will never run out.

Wind power in particular shows great potential as a replacement for much of the energy we currently derive from fossil fuels. Wind is clean, plentiful, uses very little land, and has no greenhouse gas emissions. The wind can be harnessed by everything from ship sails to travel the ocean to wind turbines to produce electrical power.

Xcel Energy, our local energy provider, has been the No. 1 utility wind energy provider in the country for the past decade. They currently have 5,080 megawatts of wind power on their systems, enough to meet the energy needs of nearly 2.7 million average-size homes. On October 31, 2014 at 11 p.m., wind power was supplying 61.12% of the power on their system in Colorado. They’ve also been working with the National Center for Atmospheric Research since late 2008 to develop a highly-detailed wind-forecasting system. By improving their ability to predict the wind, they’ve saved customers about $46 million in fuel costs.

Windsource® is a program from Xcel energy that allows their electric customers (which we are) to purchase renewable energy, generated above and beyond the renewable energy in Xcel’s standard energy supply. Windsource customers pay a small premium in return for the environmental attributes of the renewable energy, giving them the right to make the claim that they are powered by renewable energy. Business customers can use their Windsource participation toward LEED certification points, as well as displaying an overall green sensibility and respect for the environment. Windsource currently operates in five of Xcel Energy’s eight states: Colorado, Minnesota, New Mexico, Wisconsin and Michigan.

When they enroll, customers can choose how much of their energy they’d like to get from Windsource. They can start with one block per month, which is the equivalent of 100 kilowatt-hours of electricity, or about enough electricity to power the lights in a typical home for a month. They can also choose to get 100% of their energy from Windsource. The energy generated for Windsource is above and beyond the renewable energy in Xcel Energy’s standard energy supply, and cannot cannot be counted toward meeting any state renewable energy requirements. So your purchase of Windsource renewable energy credits directly increases the amount of renewable energy in your state.

Both business and residential customers can join Windsource and reap the benefits of renewable energy – supporting energy sources that take advantage of abundant natural resources, supporting affordable domestic energy production, increasing local economic development for rural communities, benefiting from a cleaner environment, and becoming part of a growing community of environmentally sensitive consumers. Business customers get the added bonuses of receiving LEED certification points and using their RECs toward corporate sustainability goals.

To enroll in Windsource, contact Xcel Energy (residential customers call 1-800-895-4999; business customer call 1-800-481-4700 or contact their account manager) or visit ResponsibleByNature.com/Windsource. The “Responsible By Nature” site also includes more information about the program and state-specific costs associated with purchasing Windsource RECs. You can also stay up-to-date with what Xcel is doing by visiting their blog at connect.xcelenergy.com.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Xcel Energy. The opinions and text are all mine.