Frequently Asked Questions
- How much does it cost me to participate in the GoGreen program?
- What do I get for the additional cost?
- How can my participation make a difference for the environment?
- Will renewable electricity come directly to my home?
- How will my money be used? What types of renewable resources am I supporting through GoGreen participation?
- What is a renewable energy certificate (REC) and how does it benefit the environment?
- Does my GoGreen purchase price include taxes?
- How many units of GoGreen product can I buy?
- What if I’m already enrolled in Budget Billing?
- How do I ensure the money goes towards the program?
- Can I add or subtract units after I have enrolled in the program?
- Does the GoGreen program have a set end date?
- Is there a cancellation fee if I decide to leave the program?
- Is my GoGreen monthly amount tax deductible?
- Why isn’t the cost of GoGreen built into rates?
- Why does alternative energy typically cost more?
- What are alternative energy sources and how do they benefit the environment?
- Why is Duke Energy offering GoGreen?
- Does Duke Energy profit from GoGreen?
- What else is Duke Energy doing to support the environment?
A. As a Duke Energy customer, you can purchase “ units” of green product. Each unit is equal to 100 kilowatt-hours (kwh) and costs $1.00 a month. GoGreen has a two unit minimum purchase equaling $2 a month. You may find your current monthly usage on the right, middle side of your bill under the section titled, “Usage.”
A. Signing up for GoGreen shows that you are concerned enough about improving the environment to participate in a voluntary program. GoGreen gives you the opportunity to take an active role in helping to preserve the environment for your children and your grandchildren.
A. Your personal commitment makes a difference! Every unit of GoGreen product purchased supports the use of alternative energy sources, thereby reducing the dependence on fossil fuels to generate energy. The environmental benefit of each $2.00 monthly purchase is about the same as not driving a car 500 miles.
A. Regardless of your actual monthly electricity usage, your participation in GoGreen ensures that a specified amount of electricity is produced from renewable energy sources. The energy you support is delivered directly onto the electric system, reducing the need for energy from fossil fuel sources like oil and coal. Although buying GoGreen product does not mean that green power is being delivered straight from the source to your home, it does mean that more of the electricity being put onto the electric system comes from alternative generation sources rather than traditional generation.
A. The money from this program will be used to cover the expense of the acquisition of renewable energy certificates (RECs) and the program’s marketing and administration expense. Duke Energy will work to purchase RECs from qualified renewable sources located within your service area as they become available. However, Duke Energy may purchase RECs from outside your service area if local RECs are not available.
A. A REC is a tradable instrument that represents the environmental attributes of electricity generated from renewable energy. These attributes are separated from the electricity commodity, allowing the attributes and the actual electricity to be traded separately. The additional value of the REC allows the project developer to charge more for the power produced from renewable sources, since green power typically costs more than traditional power. This extra value helps the economics of renewable projects, and allows more projects to be developed.
A. No. The GoGreen price of $1.00 per 100 kwhs does not include taxes. Taxes will be calculated separately on your bill.
A. After the minimum two-unit purchase of 200 kwhs, you can purchase as many additional 100 kwh units of GoGreen product as you like.
A. Signing up for GoGreen will not interfere with Budget Billing. Your GoGreen purchase will simply be added to your monthly billing amount.
A. Customers will receive annual reports specifying the sales of the program, location of the source of power and amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) offset by the program. These reports may be sent to your e-mail address in order to reduce the use of paper. In addition, Duke Energy will supply annual program updates to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO).
A. To remain a participant, you must purchase at least the two unit (200 kwh) minimum GoGreen product of $2 a month. You can add or subtract additional units of GoGreen product at any time by calling 1-800-423-5401.
A. Yes. GoGreen in Ohio is a pilot program through December 31, 2008. The pilot program may extend beyond 2008 based on customer acceptance and the availability of qualified REC sources.
A. Participation in GoGreen is voluntary. There are no cancellation fees. You can withdraw from the program at any time with 30 days notice.
A. GoGreen is not tax deductible, because it is not a donation or contribution. The monthly GoGreen charge goes directly toward program administration and the support of alternative, energy sources.
A. We recognize that the purchase of GoGreen product is not for all customers. However, many customers have expressed interest in supporting alternative, environmentally friendly energy sources. Since alternative energy is typically more expensive than fossil fuel generation, Duke Energy has chosen to introduce GoGreen as a voluntary program. Customers interested in supporting the development of clean, alternative energy sources can choose the level of commitment that’s right for them without impacting the rates of non-participating customers.
A. Although alternative energy sources are often free, the technology used to capture the energy produced is more expensive than traditional power generation.
Renewable energy generation is still being developed nationwide. Prices vary according to availability and the type of renewable power produced. As the new technologies improve, the costs of producing electricity using renewable resources will become more competitive. An increased demand for green energy will lead to expanded production capabilities, which will ultimately lead to lower costs.
A. Alternative energy sources are energy sources that can be replaced or grown within a relatively short period of time. Alternative sources capture their energy from existing, natural processes such as sunshine, wind, flowing water, biological processes and geothermal heat flows.
- Wind – Wind energy is produced by a wind turbine with its rotating blades that harness the wind’s kinetic energy. Wind turbines contain generators that harness the mechanical energy from the spinning blades to generate electricity.
- Hydroelectric – A hydroelectric power station utilizes water flow to power a turbine. The turbines are connected to generators that produce energy. Today, hydroelectric power generates 20 percent of the world’s electricity.
- Solar – Solar energy is made by cells that convert sunlight to electricity without any moving parts. The conversion of sunlight into electricity is made possible with the special properties of semi-conducting materials.
- Coal mine methane – Coal mine methane is created when coal is formed and is released when coal is mined. It is found in active and abandoned mines where it is subject to entering the atmosphere through vents (active mines) and improperly sealed vents/entrances (closed mines). The mine methane is tapped from mines and used in generators which reduces the amount that escapes into the atmosphere (methane is 21 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2).
- Landfill gas – More than 50 percent of the waste we generate ends up in landfills where it decomposes and produces landfill gas. Landfill gas is approximately 50 percent methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to global climate change and 45 percent carbon dioxide. Methane is a renewable energy source that can be collected and used to fuel electric generators. At large landfills, the gas must be burned anyway in order to reduce the hazards arising from gas buildup. This method of producing renewable energy is regarded as one of the most successful.
- Biomass – Biomass is produced when organic wastes, such as trees, wood waste and agricultural residues decay. Landfills offer a primary source of biomass. It can be converted to fuel through combustion for the generation of electricity.
A. At Duke Energy, we are committed to the environment and to minimizing the environmental impacts of fossil fuel generation. We recognize that we can help reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and improve the quality of life in our communities by investing in renewable alternative energy sources and new alternative energy technologies.
A. Duke Energy does not profit from GoGreen. Monies paid to participate in the program go directly toward the purchase of renewable energy certificates and program administration.
A. Reducing carbon dioxide – a greenhouse gas:
Duke Energy was the first utility to publicly announce its voluntary Greenhouse Gas (GHG) management goal for our Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky operations. Our goal is to reduce our Greenhouse Gas emissions 5 percent below the 2000 levels by 2010 and maintain those levels of emissions between 2010 through 2012. In addition, we have pledged to spend $21 million between 2004 and 2010 to begin the process of reducing our GHG emissions.
Through our voluntary program to offset greenhouse gases, we are making progress in reducing air emissions. In 2005, we implemented 15 carbon dioxide (CO2) projects to reduce our emissions by 236,000 tons of CO2. This is in addition to our CO2 reduction of 343,000 tons in 2004.
Investing in new technologies:
We are working with General Electric and the Bechtel Corporation to explore new technologies, such as coal gasification that could potentially reduce our coal use and reduce air emissions. Integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) plants turn coal to gas, removing most of the sulfur dioxide and other emissions before the gas is used to fuel a combustion turbine. The hot exhaust gasses are then used to heat steam, driving a steam turbine generator. This technology uses less water and has fewer emissions than a conventional coal-fired plant with required pollution-control equipment. It has the potential to remove mercury and CO2 upstream of the combustion process at a lower cost than conventional plants. And in the future, coal gasification may offer fuel flexibility, handling not only coal but also biomass and perhaps municipal waste.