Letter to the Editor: 'Green' Energy Sidewalk Pitch Is Misleading


The Shuttle welcomes letters of interest to the Weavers Way community. Send to editor@weaversway.coop. The deadline is the 10th of the month prior to publication. Include a name and email address or phone number for verification; no anonymous letters will be published. Letters should be 200 words or less and may be edited. The Shuttle reserves the right to decline any letter. 

Recently, there’s been a sweet, soft-spoken guy hawking some very bad stuff right outside the door of the Chestnut Hill Co-op. He’s selling something called Green Mountain Energy. I got hoodwinked by him a couple of months ago, thinking he was approved by Weavers Way. I had forgotten that I was already a member of The Energy Co-op, which is an independently owned local nonprofit energy supplier, and I signed up for Green Mountain Energy.

Then I did a little Googling around, and I learned that Green Mountain Energy is a subsidiary of NRG Energy. Here’s part of what I found out about them. (The rest is in the link below.)

Accompanying the company’s often touted solar and wind projects is one of the nation’s largest fossil-fuel generation portfolios. In Pennsylvania alone, NRG fully owns six coal facilities that have a combined generating capacity in excess of 2,000 megawatts, in addition to 15 natural-gas and oil plants. Two of these facilities, the Conemaugh and Seward generating stations, share 17,600 Clean Water Act violations. When Cheswick Power Plant was listed as one of the top 50 mercury-polluting power plants in the nation in 2010, NRG-owned RRI Energy sought approval to burn lower-quality coal that would increase the plants emissions. An NRG facility in Portland, PA, ceased operations in June after an extrapolated lawsuit related to Clean Air Act violations driven by New Jersey and Connecticut resulted in a $1 million settlement. The future of Portland is likely to be similar to that of the New Castle Coal facility — conversion to natural gas. This is a broad, sweeping strategy NRG has already employed on several coal assets where environmental compliance became too large a cost.

So I switched back to The Energy Co-op, but I bet many Weavers Way members won’t do this research and will not realize that the friendly guy offering “green” energy from his little table is not selling the real deal. 

Here’s the link for more info: www.theenergy.coop/community/blog/green-mountain-energy

— Terry Halbert