May 9, 2006

Another company misinformed or misinforming about wind energy

Tom's of Maine announced in January that they have moved to "100% renewable wind energy":
Using renewable wind energy to power our manufacturing and fulfillment facility will reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by 1.5 million pounds per year ...

As of January 31, 2006, the energy procured for Tom’s of Maine 100,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Sanford, Maine, will be generated by the Ainsworth Wind Energy Facility in Nebraska. The 100% Wind Renewable Energy Certificate [REC] product is certified by the Green-e certification program administered by the Center for Resource Solutions. Tom’s is purchasing 130,000 kilowatt hours of energy per month or approximately 1,150 megawatts per year of renewable energy certificates from the wind farm. This purchase will avoid the emission of more than 1,587,000 lbs. of carbon dioxide pollution each year.
Obviously, Tom's of Maine is not getting their electricity from Nebraska. They're still getting the same electricity they did before from their own local utility, which they continue to pay for. What they're buying are only the renewable energy certificates of the wind energy generated by the plant in Nebraska.

In other words, Tom's is using the same electricity from the same sources as before, and the Nebraska wind plant's energy is still being sold into the grid over there. Nothing is changed by Tom's purchase of the RECs. The claim of reducing "our carbon dioxide emissions by 1.5 million pounds per year" is delusional.

If (that's a big "if") wind power reduces the emissions from other sources, then the Nebraska plant is doing so by selling their power into the grid, not by selling RECs.

Tom's heart is in the right place, but they are fooling themselves -- or their customers -- to believe they have moved to any wind energy at all, let alone "100% renewable wind energy."

wind power, wind energy, wind farms, environment, environmentalism, sustainability, green energy, green living, green business, carbon offset, ecoanarchism