Gloucester Community Electricity Aggregation (CEA) program is committed to supporting the growth of new renewable energy generation in our region. While the Commonwealth requires electricity consumers to include more renewable energy generation over time, the pace of change needs to be faster to mitigate the effects of climate change. Gloucester CEA is leveraging the buying power of our community to support renewable energy generation in New England.
Using our combined buying power for change
Gloucester’s standard product, Local Green, includes 5% Renewable Energy Certificates (MA Class I RECs), in addition to the requirements of the Commonwealth. (Read more about the renewable energy requirements in Massachusetts). Most residents and businesses in Gloucester participate in the program and use the Gloucester Local Green product. Across our entire community, these additional REC purchases add up to a substantial impact. For those who want to accelerate the transition to a sustainable future, the Gloucester CEA offers a renewable energy product which covers 100% of your electricity usage with Renewable Energy Certificates (MA Class I RECs).
RECs are the accepted legal instrument used to track renewable energy generation and to substantiate claims of renewable energy use.
Supporting renewable sources on our electricity grid
All of the additional RECs in Gloucester CEA come from MA Class I resources that are part of our ISO-New England electricity grid. This means the energy sources are located in New England or the energy is imported as allowed by ISO-New England from locations such as New York or eastern Canada.
Gloucester CEA goes even further: all of our MA Class I RECs come from sources exclusively located in New England. See below for a map of our sources.
Our REC purchases stands in contrast to some electricity supplies who obtain RECs from national sources (e.g. Texas), where the electricity is not part of our ISO-New England electricity grid. These suppliers purchase national wind RECs for a fraction of the cost of a New England equivalent, but you get what you pay for: national wind RECs are cheap because places like Texas, where they are often sourced, don’t have high development costs for energy projects. To change our electricity generation from burning natural gas and other fossil fuels to renewable sources, our program purchases RECs that are sourced in New England and meet the MA Class I standards. That way, our program is supporting the fuel shift and the transition to a sustainable future.
Supporting Zero-Emission and Methane-Destroying sources
Gloucester CEA’s extra RECs only come from zero emission sources, such as solar, wind, low impact hydropower1 , and sources that destroy methane, such as anaerobic digestion. Methane has a global warming potential (GWP) 28-36 times greater than CO2 over a 100 year period2. Combustion destroys methane and releases some CO2, resulting in a net reduction in GWP. Other forms of biomass are explicitly not purchased, due to their positive emissions of CO2 during their life cycles.
Sources of our Renewable Energy Generation
All of the extra renewable energy certificates in the Gloucester CEA are provided through the local non-profit, Green Energy Consumers Alliance.
Resources that have recently been, are in, or are contracted with Green Energy Consumers as of October 2020.
Our Impact on Renewable Energy Sources
In 2020, Gloucester CEA bought a 4,000 MWh of extra MA Class I Renewable Energy Certificates, above and beyond the requirements set by the Commonwealth. These voluntary purchases are equivalent to 1,500 homes running on 100% clean energy, or the production of 11 acres of solar or the annual output of 1 typical wind turbine (1.5 MW).
1Hydro projects that do not exceed 30 MW built after 1997 or have capacity additions or efficiency improvements made after 1997 (MA Class I eligible), and Low Impact Hydro Institute (LIHI) certified.
2Environmental Protection Agency. Understanding Global Warming Potentials. https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/understanding-global-warming-potentials