The Cincinnati City Council met up on Monday and discussed energy policy for the city. Seeking an aggregation policy, if approved and implemented, would mean large changes to how its residents’ homes are powered.
Roxanne Qualls, Cincinnati’s vice mayor, behind Mayor Mark Mallory, submitted a motion that would outline potential uses for REC’s, or renewable energy credits/certificates. It further stated that they would be used through an energy aggregation program that could see progress as soon as early Summer of this year. Having been unanimously passed by the Budget and Finance Committee, the city is sending out requests for proposals to power suppliers in the upcoming weeks for business deals in relation to energy.
Cincinnati voters approved measures in the November 2011 election to allow the city to negotiate aggregation purchase rates for electricity and natural gas for city businesses and residents. This aggregation policy allows communities to pool funds together and make energy purchases as a group. Buying in bulk will supposedly allow them to access the lowest rates.
Oak Park, III, was one of the first villages in the United States to make such an aggregate purchase using renewable energy certificates. It is being estimated that their residents are thus saving between $15 dollars and $100 per year.
The EPA states that a renewable energy certificate represents property rights to social and environmental qualities of energy generation. These certificates can be sold separately from the underlying physical electricity that is linked to the renewable based energy source.
This means though, that entirely renewable energy is not coming to Cincinnati. Solar panels will not be installed and windmills will not fill up the land. But by having an aggregate power of the consumer base, the city can seek the lowest prices for renewable energy and seek to bid on that versus traditional energy sources. This would allow for renewable energy and potential savings for the consumer. Part of the deal also allows consumers the choice to opt out of the program if they feel the new source is now what they desire or wish to continue with their old source of energy.
Such savings to consumers could put Cincinnati on track to attract new visitors and homeowners to the city, as it is already in an effort to revamp the city and become lively.