The City of Los Angeles set a goal to get 20% of its power from renewable sources by 2010. The program the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) put in place gives people the choice of whether the money they pay in electrical bills will go to fund coal power, or renewable energy.
The program is administered through the LADWP, and it allows consumers to sign up to get part or all of their power from renewable sources for an extra three cents per kilowatt-hour. So, if your electricity bill is $50 per month, you could get 20% renewable power for another three dollars, or 100% renewable power for $15 more per month.
In it's 2007 annual report, the LADWP reported that more than 22,000 homes and apartments had signed up for the green power program for at least some of their power. That's good, but it only amounts to about 6% of the city's power. The 2008 numbers aren't out yet, but we can count on a race against time to meet the goal of 20% by 2010. So if you are in LA, sign up and get coal off of your power bill - and your conscience. If you are not in LA, but have friends here, help us out and send this video around.
What is interesting about LADWP's program is the way it allows the individual to take direct action to support renewable power. Rather than calling congress, or using less energy (I'm not knocking those things), people can actually choose where their money goes when they pay their electricity bill. If they care about renewable energy, and can afford a couple dollars more a month, they can directly support the renewable energy infrastructure.
If we want to slash our carbon emissions, clean up our air, and halt the construction of new coal-fired power plants, we need to expand this program to every city in America. This Earth Day, I want to invite you to join ResponsAbility X in our drive not only to get LA to its goal, but to set goals and establish programs to meet them in your city. If there already is one, sign up and get your friends to do the same (we'll help you make a video and launch an online campaign if you want). If there isn't, start one.
We at ResponsAbility X believe that people will make the right choice if the choice is made clear. We just need to give them the ability to choose. So I invite you to take it on. Reach out to your city council or regional electricity provider and ask them to start a program for individual consumers to pay a little for green power. We will help you do the research, find renewable power vendors who can sell to your area, and strategize how to make it happen.
We the people who consume electricity have the power to demand where it comes from. This Earth Day, follow this LA trend, and help people choose renewable power.
Follow Nathan Havey on Twitter: www.twitter.com/nhavey