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Locally Grown Green Energy

Locally Grown Green Energy

Written by Karen Paley, PhD.   

Every time I pass a test and get another financial industry license, I take time off to read a book. The last one was journalist Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything. Klein argues that it is not enough for big investors to divest from fossil fuel and reinvest in the clean tech sector.

These big investors are taking a solid first step; even better would be if they dedicated a share of their investments to projects that go deeper; not just switching from brown energy to green energy but supporting cutting edge projects that are designed to bolster local economies, improve public transit, and otherwise strengthen the starved public sphere. 1


When we support community renewable energy projects, we help create an alternative to the local refinery.

One possible way to “strengthen the starved public sphere” is to invest in municipal bond funds that revitalize and support local infrastructure. Beyond such investments, the limitation with Klein’s argument is that many of these community projects are small and are not publicly traded; we cannot invest directly in them in the traditional way.

I resolved the dilemma for myself when I discovered People’s Power and Light (PP&L) in Rhode Island (aka Mass Energy in Massachusetts). As a National Grid energy customer, I signed up for People’s Power & Light’s green power program: New England GreenStart SM 2. For every kilowatt-hour my household consumes, one kilowatt-hour of local, renewable energy will come onto the grid on our behalf in order to fulfill our green energy demand.3

How does this work? “People’s Power & Light buys Renewable Energy Certificates(RECs) for each and every kilowatt hour each household consumes by signing long-term contracts with local renewable energy projects to meet the demand of its green power members.”4

Who are these local renewable energy producers? They include 350 small solar providers in Massachusetts, 8 wind turbine projects in Rhode Island (including Wind Energy Development LLC in Coventry and Sandy Woods Farm in Tiverton as well as Pawtucket Hydro). The latter takes its power from the “hard working” Blackstone River and produces 1.35 megawatts, enough energy to power 600 homes 5.

Since, “there is no Planet B,”6 I am very grateful to be able to support small producers of renewable energy in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. I thank PP&L and Mass Energy for making it possible.

The content is derived from sources believed to be accurate. Neither the information presented nor any opinion expressed constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Article written by Karen Surman Paley ,an Investment Adviser Representative, offering securities and investment advisory services through, Signator Investors, Inc., member FINRA, SIPC, a registered investment adviser. 935 Jefferson Blvd., Suite 2000; Warwick RI 02886; 401-732-4800. Please keep in mind that investing involves risk. The value of your investment will fluctuate over time and you may gain or lose money. 121-20160915-318448.

1 Klein, Naomi. This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate. NY: Simon & Schuster, 2014; 401-2.

2 “People’s Power &Light offers two green power programs: New England GreenStar with a
mix of renewable sources like wind, solar, low-impact hydro, and digester gas (cow power) at a premium of $2.4 cents/kilowatt-hour in addition to monthly electric charges; and 100% New England Wind at $3.8cents/kilowatt-hour. Payments to either program are federally tax deductible because PP &L is a 501c3 nonprofit organization with programs designed to make energy more affordable and sustainable for the public good.” (Personal communication Priscilla de La Cruz, Marketing and Membership Director PPL, 8 September 2016.)


4 Priscilla de La Cruz. Personal communication; 8 September 2016.


6 Slogan visible at the Citizens Climate Lobby Annual Convention, Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington, DC, June 19-22 2016


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