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Environmental Advocates Unveils Website on Electricity Options

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – The group Environmental Advocates of New York has unveiled a Web site to educate New Yorkers about their electricity options.

The site, titled the Power Scorecard, has information on the cost and environmental impact of alternate electricity options from solar, hydro and wind power.

Ann Reynolds of Environmental Advocates says for now, people obtaining their power from a "green" source are paying a bit more. But she said that's starting to change.

"The price for wind power, for example, has dropped dramatically by 80 percent over the past 15 years," Reynolds said. "So, when more and more people purchase it, more windmills will be constructed, and the price will definitely come down."

Reynolds acknowledges the choice of power provider can be confusing to consumers. After all, our homes are all connected by the same wires to what's known as the power grid. So, how does a customer purchasing wind power know he's not getting electricity generated by a coal-fired plant? Reynolds explains how it works.

"You can't say that a particular electron is coming directly from a windmill in South Dakota to your house," Reynolds said. "But you do know that when you pay that premium, that the same amount of electricity that you use in your home is being purchased on your behalf and added to the grid without any pollution. So, you know you're displacing some other electricity that would be more polluting."

Reynolds says that in the area served by National Grid, the new name for Niagara Mohawk, there are 20 suppliers selling electricity.

Ranked as the most environmentally-friendly is a company called Native Energy, which sells wind-generated power for a penny more per kilowatt than what National Grid charges.