Concord energized by green power plan

We all know Concord has lots of beautiful green trees and grass. But did you know this city is green in more ways than appearance?

Since 2008, the city has helped put 30,000 kilowatt-hours of renewable electricity back onto the grid in North Carolina each year. That means about 24,300 pounds of coal weren't burned to produce the same amount of electricity, according to Larry Bradley, safety and training supervisor for Concord Electric Systems. That is the ecological equivalent of planting 4,802 trees, he said.

The energy-saving efforts are being achieved through an independent, nonprofit program called NC GreenPower.

"Launched in 2003, NC GreenPower was the first nonprofit, multi-utility, statewide, voluntary green power program in the nation," Bradley said. The charity uses donations to help provide financial incentives to green power producers.

"Green-powered events are another way to support the program," Bradley said. "Organizers can offset the electrical usage and emissions of their event with an equivalent purchase of renewable energy.

"We now offer carbon offsets to negate the impact of vehicle or airplane travel. Purchasers will receive a certificate to display at their event designating their contribution.

"Green-powered events ... send a powerful message to attendees that every activity has a cost, and conservation can occur at every level," Bailey said.

A resident's contribution of as little as $4 per month can add one block of 100 kilowatt-hours of renewable energy to the electric supply or can counteract 500 pounds of carbon dioxide or carbon dioxide equivalent.

"The purpose of the payment is to offset (electricity) generation costs and help make these projects economically feasible" in the early stages of the green power industry's growth, Bradley said. "By helping these projects survive, more renewable energy will be added to our power supply and displace generation that would have been required from traditional, less sustainable resources. More renewable energy generation means a better environment for all North Carolinians."

You can sign up to be an NC GreenPower contributor through your electric utility. The contribution you specify will be added to your monthly electric bill and will be sent to NC GreenPower.

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