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Grading Electricity Products -

Using Consumer Choice for a Better Environment

 

 

 

What is the Power Scorecard?

The Power Scorecard is a tool for consumers that grades the types of generation resources used to produce electricity according to their effects on the environment.

Did you know that the generation of electric power produces more pollution than any other single industry in the United States? Now you can choose your power supplier, and you can choose one that uses resources with less environmental impact. Created by a group of six well-known environmental organizations, the Power Scorecard gives you clear, accurate, and reliable information to help you understand the real environmental differences among electricity products.

To see a list of products and their ratings available in your area, select "Ratings" in the navigation column on the left, or from the button bar at the bottom of any page in the site.


How does it work?

The Power Scorecard grades the environmental quality of electricity products in TWO ways:

1. Overall Environmental Impact Rating
The Power Scorecard assigns a score to the impact a product has in each of the eight environmental areas most seriously affected by electricity production. The Overall Environmental Impact Rating combines the scores in these eight areas:

AIR IMPACTS
1. Climate change
2. Acid rain
3. Ozone (smog) and fine particulates
4. Air toxics (mercury)

WATER IMPACTS
5. Consumption of water resources
6. Pollution of water bodies

LAND IMPACTS
7. On-site land impacts
(permanent plant footprint)
8. Off-site land impacts
(solid waste disposal and fuel processing)

2. New Renewable Content Rating
The Power Scorecard also grades electricity products according to the percentage of electricity obtained from new renewable resources. That means it identifies newly built technology that uses renewable sources of power, such as wind or solar energy, to produce electricity. By using new, low-impact, renewable resources, a power supplier displaces older, often higher-polluting facilities - one of the very best ways to make a difference.


What will I learn?

From any page of the Power Scorecard site, clicking on the link to "ratings" in the left navigation column produces a list of electricity products available in your area. For each product, you will be shown:

  • the new renewables rating
  • the overall environmental impact rating
  • the price, in cents per kilowatt-hour


If you want more information, links are provided to allow you to find out more details, such as:

  • the numerical score a product received in each of the eight environmental impact areas
  • specific criteria used to produce the product scores (found in the Power Scorecard Methodology Report - see download information at the bottom of this page)
  • what resources a product uses (coal, nuclear, hydropower, wind, etc.)
  • how much and what kind of new renewable resources a product contains
  • how to order electricity from a specific supplier


Who created the Power Scorecard?

It was created by a group of six nationally recognized environmental organizations, working closely together. The group includes Environmental Defense, the Izaak Walton League, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the NW Energy Coalition, the Pace Energy and Climate Center, and the Union of Concerned Scientists.


How are the ratings produced?

To produce a rating for each product, Power Scorecard personnel ask electricity retailers to provide data about the specific electricity generation sources used to supply power for customers of each product. The questions relate to each of the eight environmental impact or performance areas and to how much new renewable energy generation is used to serve consumers.

1. Overall Environmental Impact Rating
Responses are "scored" using criteria* developed from a detailed analysis of all current power generating technologies. The scores in the eight environmental impact areas are combined to create the overall environmental impact rating for the product.




2. New Renewable Content Rating
Responses are also "scored" according to the amount of new renewable energy generation used to produce each electricity product.


Together the two ratings show the relative environmental quality of the electricity sources suppliers are using to serve their customers and how much each supplier is investing in new environmentally preferred electricity generation.

If marketers can not provide data on emissions or other evaluation criteria, the power scorecard has developed substitute estimates ("default estimates") of these measures based on published information on the different types of commonly used electricity production technologies.

Click here for a closer look at how ratings are created.

The Power Scorecard reflects the collective exercise of expert judgement by the sponsoring organizations, based on its interpretation of available data and assessment of its accuracy and reliability, and application of state-of-the-art techniques in the identification and quantification of environmental impacts of electric power generation technologies. The Power Scorecard ratings appearing on this website may be based on assumptions made by the sponsoring organizations as to the composition, fuel sources, technologies, and associated environmental attributes of particular products where such information is unknown to or has not been provided by the supplier, and where such information is not publicly available. However, every effort is made to validate the information used in rating products with the supplier.


*The specific criteria used to develop the scores can be found in the Power Scorecard Methodology Report. To download this report:

1. Choose one of the formats below, and right click the link.
2. A menu will appear next to your cursor. Select "Save Target As..." (Internet Explorer) or "Save Link As..." (Netscape) from the menu.
3. A dialog box will pop up. Choose the location where you want the file saved on your computer. You have the option of renaming the file. When you are finished, press the "Save" button to begin download.

MS Word HTML PDF



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