Frequently Asked Questions for Home and Business Customers
About Dominion Energy Green Power
Why is Dominion Energy offering a voluntary renewable energy program?
When did this program begin?
How does the program work?
When you sign up your home or business for Dominion Energy Green Power, Dominion Energy buys Green-e Energy certified renewable energy certificates (RECs) from renewable energy facilities on your behalf to guarantee that renewable energy is generated and delivered to the power pool in the amount specified.
There are two Dominion Energy Green Power enrollment options:
- Pricing Details: This option allows you to match your entire monthly electricity usage with Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). This additional cost is calculated by adding 1.3 cents ($0.013) per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity used to your monthly bill.
- Example: If you are enrolled in the 100% Option and use 1,000 kWh per month, you can expect to pay $13 more per month for Dominion Energy Green Power (1,000 kWh x $0.013). Actual cost will be calculated by Dominion Energy and will vary from month to month according to your actual electricity use.
- Benefit of Participation: If you are enrolled in the 100% Option for one year and use an average of 1,000 kWh each month, you guarantee the delivery of 12 MWh of renewable energy to our regional power pool which contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions equal to removing one and a half cars from the road for a year.*
When you enroll, your monthly electricity bill will display a separate line item with the additional charge for Dominion Energy Green Power. Dominion Energy does not make a profit on your Dominion Energy Green Power purchase. Check out our cost estimator chart to help estimate the environmental benefits you can create with your purchase.*
* Calculations are approximate and based on EPA methodology.
- Pricing Details: This option allows you to purchase Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) in any $2 fixed increment - as much as you wish. Each block represents 154 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of renewable energy and costs $2 (based on a rate of $0.013 per kWh).
- Example: You can choose to add as much as you want per month ($2, $4, $6, $8, $10, $20… you choose!) to your monthly electricity bill to support renewable energy. The amount is up to you, and will be the same fixed amount on your bill each month.
- Benefit of Participation: If you enroll in the Block Option for $10 per month for one year, you guarantee the delivery of 8 MWhs of renewable energy to the regional supply pool and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions equal to removing one car from the road for a year. The more you buy, the more benefits you create.*
When you enroll, your monthly electricity bill will display a separate line item with the additional charge for Dominion Energy Green Power. We do not make a profit on your Dominion Energy Green Power purchase. Check out our cost estimator chart to help estimate the environmental benefits you can create with your purchase.*
* Calculations are approximate and based on EPA methodology.
What are the benefits of participating in the Dominion Energy Green Power Program?
Dominion Energy Green Power makes it easy for customers to have a positive environmental impact in the region by supporting the development of new clean energy technologies.
For example, the renewable energy purchased by a typical customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month and enrolled in the 100% option for one year will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 6 metric tons - the same greenhouse gas reduction provided by planting 142 trees!*
Alternatively, the renewable energy purchased for $10 per month with the Block Option is equivalent to removing 1 car from the road for a year.*
Other benefits include:
- Supporting the creation of “green” jobs in the US
- Reducing greenhouse gas emissions
- Helping to expand America’s renewable energy resources
* US EPA Green Power Equivalency Calculator. Green-e Energy does not certify or verify carbon emissions claims or methodologies for calculating emissions related to biomass.
Will renewable energy sold in the program count towards the Virginia Renewable Energy Goal?
No. Dominion Energy Green Power is a voluntary program that provides customers with the option to be leaders in the growth of renewable energy above and beyond other government goals or requirements. Your purchase really makes a difference. The RECs purchased for the Dominion Energy Green Power program are retired on behalf of program participants and are completely separate from any other RECs Dominion Energy Virginia may purchase.
The renewable energy supported through this program is above and beyond our commitment to achieving Virginia's voluntary Renewable Energy Goal of 15 percent of base year electricity energy sales coming from renewable energy sources by 2025. Therefore, renewable energy certificates purchased on behalf of customers participating in this program complement Dominion Energy's expansion of its renewable generation portfolio by supporting additional development and generation of renewable power in a variety of locations in Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, and Midwest states.
How does Dominion Energy Green Power buy Renewable Energy Certificates for its customers?
Under both options, we will purchase and retire Green-e Energy® certified Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) from renewable energy generators. The amount purchased will be determined by the level of customer demand.
This program provides customers with a voluntary means of supporting the future growth and development of renewable energy sources in an easy and affordable way. Dominion Energy will make annual reports to participants on the type and total amount of renewable energy purchased in the form of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) through the program. To learn more about RECs, please visit 3Degrees, the Department of Energy, and Green-e Energy®.
Will I receive an actual certificate when I purchase Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) through Dominion Green Power?
No. You will not receive an actual paper certificate in the mail when you purchase RECs though this program. In a utility green power program like ours, it is not typical to receive a certificate when you purchase RECs because the utility purchases these RECs in aggregate on behalf of all participating customers.
Nonetheless, your purchase means you get to claim the environmental benefits (such as decreased carbon dioxide) of the RECs you purchase, and your purchase still makes a difference in the environment. The fact that you don’t receive a paper certificate in the mail does not diminish this fact.
To keep you informed of the environmental benefits you have personally created with your participation, we will send you a customized Participation Summary each year.
Do Renewable Energy Certificates purchased by a customer in the Dominion Energy Green Power program directly reduce the amount of other traditional sources of energy generated by Dominion Energy?
No. We are pursuing other sources of renewable generation to increase the amount of electricity generated from renewable sources.
The Dominion Energy Green Power program is designed for customers who want to support renewable energy in addition to what Dominion Energy is doing to meet Virginia's Renewable Energy Goal. Through participation in this program, we will purchase Green-e Energy® certified renewable energy certificates in the amount specified by participating customers. These certificates verify that the amount of renewable energy purchased was generated and delivered to the regional power pool.
How can I be sure my purchase is making a difference and supporting renewable energy?
Dominion Energy has gone to great lengths to ensure that this program provides customers with a renewable energy product that is of high quality and is thoroughly verified and documented. Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) and regional electronic tracking systems, operated by APX, Inc., are used to ensure that no two customers pay for the same unit of renewable energy generation and that the origin of the renewable energy is documented. Once purchased, the RECs are retired on behalf of participating customers in the amount equivalent to the total amount purchased by Dominion Energy customers.
One REC validates that one Megawatt-hour (MWh) of power from a renewable resource has been both generated and delivered to the regional power pool. A purchased REC also documents ownership of the environmental attributes associated with that specific MWh of renewable energy. APX, Inc. is the entity that provides REC creation, metering, tracking, management, and retirement for all North American REC tracking systems. Through web-based software, APX provides every REC with a unique serial number that is recorded in a registry, and then tracked from inception to retirement. These serial numbers allow transparency, accountability, and avoid issues with double-counting.
The firm 3Degrees Group, Inc. has been selected to purchase and verify the certificates through independent third parties for the Dominion Energy Green Power program. 3Degrees is a nationally recognized provider of Green-e Energy® certified renewable energy. The firm has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy with Green Power Leadership Awards an unprecedented six times. 3Degrees' role is to provide program support services for Dominion Energy and to purchase and deliver RECs that meet the Green-e Energy standard. Green-e Energy certification of the RECs provides the customer with added value through application of its rigorous standards for transparency and quality assurance, consumer confidence and support for consumer education.
What is Green-e Energy® certification?
Green-e Energy® is the nation's leading voluntary certification program for renewable energy. Green-e Energy is a program of the Center for Resource Solutions, a national nonprofit organization working to build policies and consumer-protection mechanisms in renewable energy, greenhouse gas reductions and energy efficiency.
For over a decade, Green-e Energy has been certifying renewable energy that meets the environmental and consumer protection standards identified in the Green-e National Standard. The Green-e National Standard was developed in conjunction with leading environmental, energy and policy organizations such as; the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, and the Union of Concerned Scientists.
The Dominion Energy Green Power program and the RECs purchased for the program are Green-e Energy certified. These certifications mean that:
- We purchase and retire RECs in the exact quantity to meet participating customer demand;
- The RECs purchased for this program come from renewable energy facilities that meet Green-e standards;
- The customer education and program marketing materials provided by this program are accurate and disclose relevant program details, terms, and conditions.
You can learn more about Green-e certification at www.green-e.org.
As a Business/Institution, will my green power purchase qualify my organization for recognition in the U.S. Green Power Partnership?
Your organization can join the voluntary U.S. EPA Green Power Partnership with a qualifying purchase through Dominion Energy Green Power. The EPA Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that supports the organizational procurement of green power. To qualify for the Green Power Partnership, potential partner organizations must meet or exceed a minimum percentage of green power (see table below) that corresponds to the organization's annual purchased electricity use.
Minimum Purchase Requirements for U.S. EPA Green Power Partnership
|If your annual electricity use in kilowatt-hours is . . .||You must, at a minimum, purchase this much green power each year|
|greater than or equal to 100,000,001 kWh||3% of your use|
|10,000,001-100,000,000 kWh||5% of your use|
|1,000,001 - 10,000,000 kWh||10% of your use|
|less than or equal to 1,000,000 kWh||20% of your use|
To learn more about the U.S. EPA Green Power Partnership visit www.epa.gov/grnpower
Who is the Dominion Energy Green Power program's Renewable Energy Certificate provider?
Our renewable energy provider is 3Degrees Group, Inc. This firm was selected on the basis of its experience providing similar services to other utilities across the country and its extensive knowledge of the renewable energy industry. 3Degrees is a nationally recognized provider of renewable energy. The firm was recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy with Green Power Leadership Awards an unprecedented 6 times.
For more information, visit 3Degrees at www.3degreesinc.com.
What role does 3Degrees play?
Eligibility and Cost
How do I enroll?
Who is eligible to participate?
Is there a cancellation fee if I decide to discontinue my participation?
How much does it cost to support renewable energy through Dominion Energy Green Power?
Both the 100% Option and Block Option for Dominion Energy Green Power are based on an additional charge of 1.3 cents ($0.013) per kilowatt-hour (kWh). Dominion Energy Green Power will purchase the equivalent amount of renewable energy certificates on the customer's behalf based on your enrollment option.
- 100% Option: This option allows you to purchase RECs to match your monthly electricity use. This additional cost is calculated by adding 1.3 cents ($0.013) per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity used to your monthly bill.
- Block Option: This option allows you to purchase RECs in any $2 fixed increment - as much as you wish. Each block represents 154 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of renewable energy and costs $2 (based on a rate of $0.013 per kWh).
With either option, the monthly charge for Green Power is in addition to an enrolled customer's monthly electric bill. In other words, if you are enrolled in the Green Power program you will continue to receive your monthly electricity bill, and the Green Power option you choose will be added to the amount you are charged for regular electricity service. This extra charge appears on an enrolled customer's monthly electricity bill as "Green Power (Rider G)".
100% Option Enrollment Examples:
|If you use this many kWh of electricity per month:||…Your additional monthly cost for Green Power with the 100% Option would be:|
Block Option Enrollment Examples:
|If you wish to support approximately this much kWh of renewable energy per month:||…You can enroll in this fixed dollar amount with the Block Option:|
|154 ||$2 (1 block)|
|600||$8 (4 blocks)|
|1,200||$14 (7 blocks)|
|2,000||$26 (13 blocks)|
|4,000||$52 (26 blocks)|
|6,000||$78 (38 blocks)|
|8,000||$104 (52 blocks)|
Where does my money go when I sign up for Dominion Energy Green Power?
Why are some Dominion Energy Green Power funds spent on customer education and program administration?
The Dominion Energy Green Power program is 100 percent self-funded which means that the costs associated with the program are borne only by those customers participating in the program, rather than being spread out among all Dominion Energy customers.
We understand that customers want as much of their Dominion Energy Green Power purchases as possible to support renewable energy. One of the best ways to do this is by growing participation in the program. The more customers who participate in the program, the more renewable energy will be supported.
In addition, program administration resources are used to comply with Green-e Energy® certification. This certification requires that we comply with yearly audits to ensure that the RECs purchased on behalf of customers are in the exact amount specified, and that the program marketing materials undergo semi-annual review to ensure their accuracy and disclose relevant program details, terms, and conditions. You can learn more about Green-e certification at www.green-e.org.
In summary, the investment in customer education and program administration helps build additional delivery of and demand for renewable energy, inform customers across Virginia about the benefits of renewable energy, and ensure the highest product quality and customer protection through Green-e certification.
Is my purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates through the Dominion Energy Green Power program tax deductible?
How / When will I be billed?
Charges for Dominion Energy Green Power will appear on your monthly bill as soon as enrollment is confirmed. The first bill will be prorated based on when (during your billing cycle) your enrollment is confirmed.
- If you choose the 100% Option, you will see the "Green Power (Rider G 100% Usage)" charge on your bill as a separate line item - 1.3 cents ($0.013) per kilowatt-hour (kWh) used. The amount you pay will vary according to your energy use.
- If you choose the Block Option, you will see "Green Power (Rider G Fixed Amount)" as a separate line item on your bill for the fixed amount you specified when you enrolled. Each $2 block equals approximately 154 kWh (based on $0.013 per kWh), and you can decide how many $2 blocks you purchase and change your purchase amount at any time.
Does Dominion Energy profit from this program?
No, We do not profit from this program.
The money provided by participating customers goes directly to purchasing renewable energy certificates and to cover program administration costs which include customer education and tracking and verification in accordance with Green-e Energy certification to ensure the highest quality product and customer protection.
About Renewable Energy
What is renewable energy?
Renewable energy is electricity produced from sources that replenish themselves naturally, never run out, and are cleaner for the environment, including but not limited to:
- Sunlight (Solar)
- Landfill and agricultural waste (biomass and biogas)
- Heat of the earth (geothermal)
- Water (some low-impact hydroelectric facilities)
What kind of renewable energy is supported by the Dominion Energy Green Power Program and where does the renewable energy come from?
The Dominion Energy Green Power program purchases RECs on behalf of program participants from a number of renewable energy facilities. Specifically, the Dominion Energy Green Power program has purchased RECs from facilities in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Missouri, Illinois and Virginia. In addition to sourcing RECs from the surrounding region, since 2011 the Dominion Energy Green Power program has made efforts to increase the volume of Virginia-based RECs in the Green Power product.
In 2011 the program supported 20 small solar generators throughout Virginia; in 2012 our support of small solar continued, in addition to adding even more Virginia-based biomass. With the launch of the Solar Purchase program in June 2013, Dominion Energy Green Power participants will continue to support an increasing amount of Virginia-based solar. Here's more information regarding the Solar Purchase program.
Each of these facilities is covered by the South Eastern Reliability Council (SERC) or Reliability First Corporation (RFC). The Dominion Energy Green Power product content will be a blend of Green-e Energy® eligible renewable resources generated by facilities in these states. We will make periodic reports to customers on the type and total amount of RECs purchased in support of the program.
Does the renewable electricity come directly to my organization or facility?
No. If you wanted to receive the specific electrons generated by a specific renewable facility, you would have to string power lines from that facility directly to your organization, which is expensive and impractical. In fact, the electric power grid was created to prevent such a situation. Or, you could install a renewable energy generator, such as solar panels or a wind turbine, on your property and connect your facility to that generator. However, this type of equipment can also be prohibitively expensive and potentially not feasible depending on where you are located.
The Green Power program is a way for customers to support future growth and development of renewable energy easily and affordably through the purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs).
When you buy RECs through the Green Power program, you are buying the claim to the production of the renewable energy. This means that you will be able to legitimately and verifiably claim that the power (and emissions associated with it) in your home is being matched by renewable energy that is generated and transmitted to the regional power pool.
Will the power to my home depend on the wind blowing or the sun shining?
No. Dominion Energy will continue to deliver reliable power to you through the regional power pool. The power that travels through the network of lines and wires that bring electricity to your home or business comes from a variety of generating sources.
Your support of the Green Power program helps add more renewable energy sources to the regional power pool through the purchase of renewable energy certificates (RECs).
New renewable energy sources are being constructed across the United States to meet the demand created for renewable energy. Your purchase of renewable energy certificates in the Green Power program has the benefit of encouraging greater renewable energy generation and displacing non-renewable generation over time.
What else is Dominion Energy doing to support renewable energy?
We are committed to doing its part to reach the Commonwealth of Virginia's voluntary goal of 15% electricity from renewable sources by 2025. The company is expanding its renewable generation portfolio to help achieve this goal. Learn more about Dominion Energy’s investment in renewable energy.
Voluntary customer purchases through the Dominion Energy Green Power program will be above and beyond the renewable generation that we provide. The program is designed for customers who want to make their own investment in renewable energy in addition to Dominion Energy's investment.
What are Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)?
Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) are issued when 1 megawatt-hour (MWh) of renewable energy is generated and delivered to the electric power pool. RECs represent the environmental attributes of the power produced from renewable energy generation. RECs are increasingly seen as the "currency" of renewable electricity and green power markets. They can be bought and sold between multiple parties, and they allow their owners to claim that renewable electricity was produced to meet the electricity demand they create.
For every quantity of renewable energy generated and delivered to the regional power pool, an equivalent amount of RECs are created. This process creates a tracking mechanism which ensures that no two customers pay for the same unit of renewable energy generation. When a customer enrolls in the Dominion Energy Green Power program, Dominion Energy purchases RECs to match the equivalent of enrolled customers' purchases. Thus, the more RECs that are sold, the more demand is created for renewable power. As renewable facilities sell their RECs, demand shifts to bring more renewable energy sources online.
Is a Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) the same thing as a carbon offset?
No. Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) are different from carbon offsets. Although each has environmental benefits, they are different mechanisms that accomplish different goals.
Carbon offsets represent a quantity of greenhouse gas emissions reductions that occur as a result of a specific carbon-reducing project, such as methane capture, energy conservation initiatives, or forestry projects. The University of Oxford Environmental Change Institute defines a carbon offset as “[a] mechanism whereby individuals and corporations pay for reductions elsewhere in order to offset their own emissions.”
RECs are used to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with electricity use, while representing the environmental benefits of renewable energy generation.
Do other utilities offer renewable energy?
More than 850 utilities, or more than 25% of utilities nationally, offer green power programs to their customers, similar to Dominion Energy’s Green Power program. Nationwide, more than 1.9 million customers subscribe to voluntary utility green pricing programs.
The voluntary renewable energy market as a whole supported approximately 48 million megawatt-hours (MWhs) of green energy in 2012.*
Are there different ways I can support renewable energy through my utility?
Where can I read more about the voluntary market for renewable energy?
There are several national and independent sources for statistics and further information on the voluntary renewable energy market including: