There are plenty of reasons that public support for
renewable energy has been climbing. Many people see building wind and solar
energy as a way to diversify America’s energy sources to be more homegrown, low-cost
and renewable. Some support renewable energy because it does not release carbon
emissions, a boon compared to other sources of making electricity. Consumers
across the Midwest are benefiting from renewable energy’s low price, too. Competition
in the energy market is working to drive prices down and making utility bills more
No matter your reasons for embracing renewable energy, you may
wonder how you as a citizen can help further your support for growing renewable
energy. Not everyone has the space to erect a wind turbine or install a solar
panel on their roof, but there are plenty of other ways to support this clean,
reliable source of electricity. Here’s
what you can do:
- Ask your
electric utility about their renewable energy programs. Many electric
utilities, the company you pay for your electricity each month, now offer
programs you can enroll in and decide how much renewable energy powers your
home or business.
For example, Xcel
Energy offers two renewable energy programs: Windsource,
which allows you to power your home from wind power, and Renewable*Connect,
which powers your home with a blend of solar and wind energy. Xcel Energy
customers can elect how much renewable energy they want to power their home in flexible
terms. Because Xcel Energy builds its wind and solar farms in the Midwest,
customers are supporting local renewable projects like the North Star
Solar project in Chisago County and wind farms like Blazing Star I
and II in southwestern Minnesota.
If your electric utility does not have a renewable energy program to join, ask
them if they are considering creating one. Many electricity customers across
the nation are demanding
access to renewable energy these days, especially Fortune 500 companies
like Apple, Facebook and
Google. Electric utilities serve your wants and needs as a customer; tell
them you support increased renewables like wind and solar to power your home.
- Write to
your elected officials and ask them to support renewable energy policies.
While writing to your U.S. Senator or Representative, your State Senator or
Representative, or your local elected officials, remember that your voice
matters! Tell them your personal story about why you support growing
renewable energy, why they should support policies that help the renewable
industry grow and ask what actions they are taking to support renewable energy.
Be sure to check out CGA’s fact sheets on wind
energy to include facts in your letter, such as
how many jobs, tax dollars, and landowner-lease payments your community
is benefitting from. Spend time on our FAQ and read our blog posts that describe the benefits
of wind energy to become better informed about how you and your community
can benefit from renewable energy.
You may be surprised by how accessible your state and local officials are. Your
voice matters to your representatives, and your support for renewable energy
can help enact real, meaningful change.
your support for local clean energy projects. If you live in the rural
Midwest, there may be a wind or solar project nearby seeking approval for
construction. It’s not often that multi-million dollar projects come to small
rural communities, and the new jobs, tax revenue, landowner lease payments, and
new business it bring to town can rejuvenate the local economy.
Write your local elected officials like your County Commissioner, City Council
or Township Board and explain why you think renewable energy is a good thing
for your community. Local elected officials will host hearings to gather public
opinion of the renewable energy project. Brush up on the benefits wind
energy brings to rural communities, bring your friends to the hearing and
speak in support of the project. Even if you aren’t a public speaker, your
supportive presence at the local meeting is still helpful!
If there is a local renewable energy project in your area, the developer or a
group of citizens may have an open Facebook group to discuss how renewable
energy is benefitting the community and how you can get involved to grow the
effort. If the developer has a local office, stop in, say hello and ask how you
can get more involved! Completed wind projects in the Midwest can be found on
our Project Map webpage
– see if there is one near you and visit their local office today.
- Sign up
for the Champions Newsletter and follow us on Facebook.
Our newsletter provides occasional news about renewable energy in the Midwest,
different ways you can get involved in advocating for renewables and more! Sign up here to stay
updated about how you can support renewable energy today.