An electrical aggregation program that features green energy credits is about to begin in River Forest.
At the May 26 virtual village board meeting, elected officials voted unanimously to approve a two-year master power supply agreement with MC Squared Energy Services LLC as recommended by the Sustainability Commission.
Residents who participate in the EcoGreen Aggregation Program will pay the same rate for electricity and all bills still will come from Commonwealth Edison. Service issues also still will be handled by ComEd.
“I don’t see a downside,” Village President Cathy Adduci said.
Under the agreement, MC Squared will purchase Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) on the village’s behalf from energy supplied by wind farms in the Midwest. An REC is a market-based instrument that represents the property rights to the environmental, social and other non-power attributes of renewable electricity generation.
An REC is issued when one megawatt-hour of electricity is generated and delivered to the electricity grid from a renewable energy resource. Because the physical electricity received through the utility grid says nothing of its origin or how it was generated, RECs play an important role in accounting, tracking and assigning ownership to renewable electricity generation and use.
On a shared grid, whether from on-site or off-site resources, RECs are the instrument that electricity consumers must use to substantiate renewable electricity use claims.
MC Squared has analyzed the cost to serve each account in the village based on several attributes, including peak period consumption, to create a cost profile and identify ratepayers with a lower cost to serve. Those ratepayers, about 42 percent of the total, will be eligible to join the program, providing the means to acquire the RECs. Ratepayers with a higher cost to serve will remain with ComEd.
In July, electric customers in the village will receive letters from the village and MC Squared explaining the program. Those eligible to join the program will be given 21 days to opt out.
After the 21-day opt-out period, participants still will be able to opt out of the program at any time with no termination fee. ComEd will resume supplying service to those who opt out.
Although similar to electric aggregation programs in which River Forest participated in the past, the benefits of this program are ecological and environmental, according to Ann DeBortoli, director of residential sales and marketing for MC Squared.
“This is not really a savings proposition,” she said.
The Illinois Power Agency Act of 2007 allowed municipalities to operate electric aggregation programs if approved by a referendum vote, which occurred in River Forest in 2012. The first contract, with Constellation Energy Services, ran from 2012 to 2015 and a second contract, with MC Squared, ran from 2015 to 2016, at which time the village returned to ComEd.
Village Administrator Eric Palm explained that initial cost savings in 2012 were no longer present in 2016.
Joining the EcoGreen Aggregation Program is the latest step by River Forest officials to reduce the carbon footprint of the village through the use of more renewable sources of energy. Previous steps include the village board signing the Greenest Region Compact in December 2016, the Chicago Climate Agreement in December 2017 and the letter of commitment to join the PlanitGreen Initiative Pursuing 100 Percent Renewable Energy in February 2019.
The village will be designated an EPA Green Power Partner Community by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and could receive as much as $40,000 annually in a “civic contribution” from MC Squared.
River Forest joins 25 other western suburbs, including Oak Park, in the EcoGreen Aggregation Program.