- FirstEnergy has begun offering a 100% wind energy supply package to residential customers that comes at no additional charge, by purchasing green energy from its affiliate FirstEnergy Solutions.
- FirstEnergy, largely known for its fossil fuel plants, is using the "Switch2Green4Free" offer to highlight the company's environmental work and demonstrate a commitment to cleaner energy. It is a part of the utility's branding campaign, called "The Switch is On."
- The offer is limited to the first 1,000 customers who sign up, and expires May 31. Some observers question whether the rate will have any impact on the utility's generation mix.
FirstEnergy, looking to focus on its efforts to include more sustainable energy in its generation, has launched a 100% wind offer that is available to a limited number of consumers but at no extra cost.
"Purchasing green energy from FirstEnergy Solutions is an investment in clean, renewable resources that helps to ensure more renewable energy is being created and delivered to the power grid," the utility said. The company recently in to reduce carbon dioxide emissions 90% below 2005 levels by 2045, representing a potential reduction of more than 80 million tons of CO2 emissions, which was a goal set intheir settlement deal with PUCO to guarantee income for a coal and nuclear plant.
But observers question how much FirstEnergy is really doing.
Trish Demeter, managing director of Energy & Clean Air Programs at the Ohio Environmental Council, told the news outlet that "we're not really seeing any clear path forward for FirstEnergy as far as making any real and substantial transition to a cleaner portfolio."
"I would imagine in theory the 100% wind power package they are rolling out sounds good, but I would question how much it actually equates to new wind energy projects being built in the region and the state of Ohio," she said.
Last year, FirstEnergy filed requests to guarantee income for some of its aging coal and nuclear fleet for eight years, which were finally approved last month. But the request created misgivings among stakeholders who pushed for a cleaner fuel mix. After some contention, the utility amended its proposal to include more clean energy investments and other incentives, including the aggressive carbon reduction goals.
FirstEnergy also last week filed plans with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio that would offer a slew of energy efficiency programs, which meets their settlement goal to reactivate their energy efficiency programs and expand their offerings. Proposals include a direct load control program, appliance swaps, and energy-efficient home construction or major rehabilitation of existing low-income housing.
"Our proposal supports FirstEnergy's transition to a cleaner energy future," said FirstEnergy President and CEO Charles Jones. "Our energy efficiency plans will provide our customers with additional tools to manage their electric use and support environmental benefits."