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Minnesota Energy Cooperative Ditches Renewable Energy Premium, Offering No Extra Costs For Electric Car Owners

With zero tailpipe emissions, all-electric cars are the perfect choice for someone seeking to lower their carbon footprint.

Unfortunately, as we’re constantly reminded, the carbon footprint of an electric or plug-in hybrid car during its lifetime is only as green as the electricity used to power it. And while an electric car powered from the average power mix across most of the U.S. is greener than the average new gasoline car, there’s nothing like knowing your car is charged using a renewable source of electricity such as wind or solar power.

The program offers no-premium to upgrade to renewable energy if you have a plug-in car.

The program offers no-premium to upgrade to renewable energy if you have a plug-in car.

Unless you charge your car from power generated via photovoltaic solar panels on your roof of perhaps a small domestic wind turbine, the chances are the only way can ensure your car is powered by renewably-generated electricity is to pay a premium with your local utility company. But now a local energy cooperative from Minnesota is changing that by waiving the usual premium that plug-in owners pay to go green.

Enter Great River Energy (GRE) and its Revolt program. Launched earlier this week, the energy cooperative is offering any electric vehicle drivers among its current customer base of 650,000 homes the chance to upgrade from the standard domestic tariff to a 100 percent renewable energy tariff at no extra cost.

Homes of mon-renewable energy tariff GRE customers are powered by electricity produced by the standard local energy mix, but those who subscribe to GRE’s special renewable energy tariff are promised kilowatt-hour for kilowatt-hour, that GRE will either generate or purchase the equivalent renewably-generated electricity that is consumed under the scheme.

Usually, that comes at a premium of $108 per year, but GRE says those with an electric car can no apply for a free upgrade.

To be eligible for the special ‘Revolt’ deal, customers will have to own, purchase or lease a plug-in vehicle by December 31, 2016, with each household allowed to register up to four electric vehicles in the program. Customers can apply to be part of the program by following this link.

When enrolled, GRE will provide 100 percent renewable energy — sourced exclusively from wind power — to each customer’s home, but only charge them the standard day time or night time tariff as appropriate to charge their vehicle.

While it doesn’t mean electricity will be completely free, it does at least mean GRE customers won’t have to feel bad about the long tailpipe problem that occurs when you charge an electric car form electricity generated via coal or oil-fueled power stations.

In this case, being revolting is good.

In this case, being revolting is good.

“Our Revolt program allows consumers to further support the use of renewable energy. We are dedicating wind energy to completely cover the electricity that a consumer uses to fuel an electric vehicle for the vehicle’s lifetime,” said David Ranallo, Great River Energy Revolt program manager. “We’re thrilled to offer this innovative program and hope it acts as a spark to ignite awareness around electric vehicles in Minnesota.”

Naturally, this particular deal is only available to customers in GRE’s service area, but we’re curious as to what your local utility company is doing to encourage plug-in car owners to switch to renewably-sourced power to recharge their cars — and what your local utility is doing in the first place to promote plug-in vehicles.

Leave your experiences in the comments below — and if you feel it’s appropriate — how much you pay per kilowatt-hour under your local utility’s special deal for plug-in owners.


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