Since September 2001, Canadians have had a cost-effective option to demonstrate their tangible support for the use of renewable energies.
The canadian association for renewable energies launchedGreenHosting as Canada's first and only (as of January 2003) internet hosting service that is powered totally by green energy and certified for both generation and distribution.
All the electricity required by the server and ancillary operations (101% of demand) is generated by wind turbines in Alberta, and is distributed through the Greenmax© program of the Calgary utility ENMAX. Both generation and distribution are certified under Canada's national EcoLogo© program to ensure that this service contributes directly to the reduction of GHG emissions and supports new renewables facilities.
What is GreenHosting
Electricity can be generated from a number of sources, and Canada relies almost exclusively on power plants that are based on nuclear, natural gas, oil, coal and large hydro fuels. Some of these fuels emit significant quantities of carbon and other greenhouse gases that are linked with global warming and climate change; others have environmental concerns or are not considered sustainable.
Green energy is electricity that is generated from a renewable source, such as wind turbines or solar photovoltaic panels (some jurisdictions also designate methane from landfill gas or run-of-river hydro as eligible sources). The use of renewable energy technologies reduces GHG emissions compared with conventional power plants.
GreenHosting is an initiative of the canadian association for renewable energies to use green energy supplied from the ENMAX program in Calgary, which relies exclusively on new wind turbines that have been installed in southern Alberta. Although the environmental mitigation is small from a small domain that is hosted on this server, the intent is to allow consumers to "walk the walk" by contracting for green energy.
ENMAX charges a monthly premium for the supply of electricity from wind turbines, which is designed to offset the higher cost of generating power from this source. This premium is reflected in the GreenHosting fee.
Note: The actual electrons consumed to power the computer server are not necessarily the electrons generated from "our" wind turbine. Each turbine feeds power into the provincial utility grid (power pool); the total kilowatt-hours from each turbine are ear-marked for sale to subscribers of the GREENMAX program, and the value of that generation is tracked carefully by ENMAX to ensure that the power is sold only once. Our internet server may consume electrons that are generated by a coal-fired facility, but another consumer within the power pool will consume the electrons generated from our turbine, so the net impact is a reduction in GHG emissions within the region. The consumer who does not pay a premium to GREENMAX cannot claim to be a supporter of green energy.