Matthias Rietschel


The stimulus is picking up steam, and plenty of people are getting excited about the prospect of a renewable energy revolution. Thing is, for more than half of us Americans, alternative energy is already right at our doorstep. Or right at our power company, at least.

Yes, there's a 50% chance that you could be buying renewable energy from your power company) right now—renewable energy can now officially reach half the country, according to EERE reports. For some reason, many of us still feel that the day when alternative energy will power our homes is off on the horizon—it still feels like something we're working towards rather than a palpable resource that's actually available.

Well it's time to change that perception, I say. To see if you have access to renewable energy in your area, check the US Department of Energy's Green Power Network. It has extensive listings of states and regions that are eligible to tap wind, solar, geothermal, or biomass power. The site also tells you which companies and power providers you should contact if you'd like to purchase clean electricity, and the premium you'll have to pay.

Yes, therein lies the downside: you will have to pay an extra "green premium" in many places if you want to buy clean electricity. Premiums range from 1 to 5 cents per kilowatt, or an extra 6-30 dollars a month. And of course, different states have different availabilities—you can get renewable energy all over the place in California, for example. Alaska? Not so much.

And it's really not a tough process?look at these guides to getting renewable energy in LA Seattle New York or just about anywhere as a point of reference.

So, access permitting, it's high time we start supporting renewable energy providers?and for as little as $6 extra a month, it's absolutely worth the price. And pretty soon, it'll be available to way more than half the country.