How Does the Energy I Buy Get To My Home?

How Does the Energy I Buy Get To My Home?

If you’re enrolled in Deep Green 100% renewable energy, your energy is sourced from 50% solar and 50% wind. What does choosing a specific energy service mean for the electrons delivered to your house? What about the energy grid as a whole? In this blog, we cover how energy resources are shared into the electric grid and what choosing clean energy means for you and your community.

How does the electric grid work?

Electricity is generated by harnessing the energy from natural resources, such as renewable fuels (solar, wind, and biomass) or nonrenewable fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas). The most important point about electric generation is that, no matter where or how your power is being produced, it all runs into the same electrical grid.

Power is sent from the generation source into high-voltage transmission lines that carry energy across long distances. That power is then distributed through smaller lower-voltage lines to power appliances or electric vehicles.

When the energy reaches your home or business, it flows through a meter that keeps track of how much electricity is being used at your property. The meter not only helps your power provider keep track of how much to charge you, but it also helps them generate the right amount of energy to meet your needs.

Electrons – the source of power on the grid – move from the place they were generated to the closest need for power. For example, when solar panels are running, the electrons move directly into the appliances in your home first, and then out on the grid to power your neighbors’ homes. This means that while green electrons are going into the grid on your behalf, it doesn’t necessarily mean that those same electrons are being used in your home.

For more information about the electric grid and power sources, check out our Energy 101 series.

How does energy accounting work?

MCE and other energy providers purchase power to put onto the grid for customers. The bulk of this power is purchased through long-term power purchase agreements from renewable and carbon-free resources. Some power is purchased in shorter-term agreements from as little as one year to up to five years. The last bit of this power is purchased in real-time markets. Having a mix of resource term lengths helps us keep our costs competitive while ensuring that our customers have access to reliable clean energy.

Energy suppliers provide an annual record of the purchases they’ve made to put power onto the grid. MCE purchases enough power to cover more than 100% of our customer’s electric demand for the year. For Deep Green customers, it means that we’ve purchased enough power to cover 100% of their annual demand from wind and solar resources. It doesn’t mean that 100% of the electrons entering their homes or businesses are from wind and solar energy.

How do I benefit from green electrons?

When you choose Deep Green, MCE purchases green electrons to send onto the grid on your behalf. Your power choices help make all of California’s power supply more renewable. Think of the grid like a bathtub and the electrons like water. Only so much water fits in the bathtub. By putting clean water in, you’re ensuring that less dirty water is needed to keep the bathtub full.

While you aren’t necessarily receiving electrons generated from wind or solar directly into your home, you’re still reducing the need for fossil-fuel polluting resources like natural gas. Half of the penny per kWh Deep Green premium is allocated to local projects and programs in MCE’s service area that benefit our customers, community, and climate. These projects include MCE Solar One, MCEv electric vehicle charging infrastructure rebates, and income-qualified solar rebate programs.

Is there a way to receive 100% clean energy 24/7?

While California is moving toward a system run entirely on clean energy, we haven’t gotten there yet. In 2020, MCE provided our standard service Light Green customers with 91% greenhouse-gas free power. However, the only way to receive 100% clean energy 24/7 is to have energy generation at your home paired with a storage solution. For most customers, solar generation with battery storage is the answer. Installing an appropriately sized solar and storage system can supply you with clean energy 24/7. You receive the added benefit of reducing or eliminating monthly bill costs and avoiding power outages when the grid goes down. Learn more about the benefits of solar and storage here.

What’s the bottom line?

Choosing 100% renewable energy is a great way to reduce climate impacts while creating community benefits. Solar and wind generate only at certain times of the day, but MCE ensures that 100% of your annual energy usage is covered by California clean energy sources. We invite you to take action today and go 100% renewable at mceCleanEnergy.org/optup.

Opt Up to MCE Deep Green

Opt In to MCE Light Green

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