Renewable energy is derived from sources that are naturally replenished. Solar, wind, geothermal, or hydroelectric action are considered renewable energy resources. Fossil fuels, like oil, coal, and natural gas, are considered non-renewable, finite resources. Energy produced from biomass is also classified as renewable – substances such as wood, grass, landfill gas, algae, corn and soybeans can be used to produce biomass energy.
Not all these renewable sources are without their own impact on the environment. For example, landfill gas includes methane, which is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Building a dam to harness hydropower can destroy or alter sensitive ecosystems.
For more detailed information on renewable energy, visit the National Renewable Energy Laboratory website.
Delaware has two related programs that promote use of renewable energy by homeowners and businesses. They are the green energy programs funded by Delaware’s utilities and the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) law that requires utilities to meet a growing percentage of their energy supplies from renewable sources.
Green Energy Program
The Green Energy Program for Delmarva Power customers has provided grant funding to homeowners, local businesses, fire departments, churches, and farmers since 1999. The Green Energy Program has provided grant funding to more than 1,500 renewable energy projects that have been installed in Delaware. Green Energy Program is funded through a public benefits fund charge that is collected monthly by Delmarva Power. The charge collected by Delmarva Power is $0.000356 per kilowatt-hour consumed. Delaware’s other utilities operate similar programs.
Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS)
Delaware’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requires that 25 percent (including 3.5 percent photovoltaic) of the state’s electricity be generated by renewable resources by 2025. The Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards Act is found at http://depsc.delaware.gov/electric/delrps.shtml.
The Renewable Energy Taskforce (RETF)
The Delaware Renewable Energy Taskforce was established the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards Act to provide recommendations on establishing renewable energy trading mechanisms and other structures to support the growth of renewable energy in Delaware.