Buying Renewable Electric Power in Montgomery County, Maryland


  • Richard P. Cember

    1. Computational Physics, Inc., Springfield, Va.
    2. National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) Integrated Program Office, Silver Spring, Md.
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From mid-August 2007 until mid-August 2008, my home electricity supply was 100% wind-generated. My experience in switching to wind- generated electric power may be of interest to fellow AGU members for three reasons. First, Montgomery County, Md., where I live, is one of the few jurisdictions in the United States that has both an electric power tax and a renewable energy credit. The county is therefore a case study in price-based public policy for greenhouse gas emissions control. Second, I was surprised by the comparatively small price difference (or “price premium”) between wind-generated and conventionally generated power in the county, and I believe that Eos readers will be similarly surprised. Third, because so many U.S. federal agencies concerned with Earth science are based in the Washington, D.C., area, a high concentration of AGU members live in Montgomery County and may be personally interested in evaluating the price of reducing carbon dioxide emissions from the generation of their own residential electricity.