Electricity deregulation is a powerful concept that allows consumers to buy their energy from alternative electricity suppliers and still have their power delivered through the regular utility company. More and more areas have deregulated their electrical energy markets in the past two decades (primarily in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Texas), and some states have partial or suspended deregulation (such as California). One of the most powerful arguments for deregulation is that energy rates in many deregulated markets have fallen significantly more than rates in regulated markets since 2008.
A benefit consumer’s get from a deregulated system is that they can choose suppliers that share their values in terms of green electricity generation. But in order to make good choices, it’s important to know what the major sources of electricity in the United States are. Here’s a simple summary of some of the most important players:
1. Coal Power
A significant amount of power generation in the U.S. comes from the burning of coal; as of 2013, coal made up about 39% of the country’s electricity production, and 90% of domestically mined coal is purchased by utility companies for this purpose. However, there are numerous environmental concerns regarding coal, and the Environmental Protection Agency has placed restrictions on coal plants due to their carbon emissions and mercury pollution.
2. Nuclear Power
As of 2013, nuclear power plants generated 19.4% of the country’s electricity, and the U.S. is the largest supplier of commercial nuclear power worldwide. The environmental impact of nuclear energy is generally considered to be mixed; nuclear power plants are low in emissions, but nuclear waste can cause serious problems if not properly disposed of.
3. Wind Power
Wind power accounts for a much smaller portion of the current energy market, but is rapidly growing. In the year preceding August 2014, wind energy made up 4.33% of generated electrical energy. The greatest upside of wind-generated electricity, of course, is that wind is a renewable energy source. The only major environmental concern associated with it is unintentional bird and bat deaths caused by wind turbines.
4. Solar Power
Some homeowners may be embracing solar panels on their properties, but the implementation of utility-scale solar power is much lower in profile. In the year leading up to October 2014, only 0.43% of the country’s energy was produced in utility-scale solar power plants.
About Starion Energy:
Starion Energy, Inc. serves both commercial and residential customers as an electricity and gas supplier. Starion Energy, Inc.'s coverage area spans nine states throughout the U.S. To learn more about their services, visit starionenergy.com.