Environmental Leadership

“Sustainability” means different things to different people. To some, sustainability means building wind or solar generation. To others, it means helping customers use energy more wisely, which
reduces emissions.

DEMEC, like other public power systems across the nation, is a leader in the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency in the communities they serve. DEMEC has provided green energy products to its members since 2004, long before the Delaware Renewable Portfolio Standard became law. 

DEMEC and its members have been at the forefront of sustainability in Delaware: We have invested in approximately 100 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy through wind and solar generation since 2010. Renewable energy accounts for over 25% of our power supply portfolio, a number that will keep growing to meet Delaware’s Renewable Energy Standards of 40% renewable by 2035. On behalf of our members, we own 56% of the generation in our power supply, with the remaining amount purchased from the PJM market through various staggered contracts.

Currently, 92.5% of DEMEC’s power supply consists of low-to-no emissions. In our small state, the biggest carbon savings come from energy efficiency and smallscale renewable generation, such as community solar. Since 2018, DEMEC’s energy efficiency program has resulted in lifetime customer savings of $18.4 million and energy savings of 160,870MWh, equal to eliminating 126,137,014 pounds of coal burned.

Since 2005, DEMEC has reduced its carbon footprint over 50% through a commitment to sustainable energy resources and energy reduction programs. Our members are taking diverse approaches to becoming more sustainable, and we support them as they pursue their individual paths. Many are emphasizing energy efficiency rebates. Some are investigating battery energy storage systems. Others, like the City of Newark, are pursuing an aggressive zero-carbon goal.

Newark adopted a sustainability plan a few years back that aims to have renewables account for at least 30% of all electricity by 2025, 65% by 2035 and 100% as soon as possible, but by 2045
at the latest. City Manager and DEMEC Board Vice Chair, Tom Coleman, noted that DEMEC has supported Newark’s sustainability journey by arranging for the purchase of renewable energy credits (RECs). Some years ago, the organization also arranged for the financing and construction of the McKees Solar Park at a city brownfield. Having McKees built gave the city a lot of detailed insight into solar generation. Coleman shared that in 2022 the city expanded the McKees Solar Park and added about 1MW of rooftop solar on municipal buildings.

Coleman said Newark is working with DEMEC to investigate various other sustainability initiatives to facilitate wise energy use and greater electric vehicle adoption. Battery energy storage and microgrids may also figure into the city’s sustainable future.

DEMEC will be a critical partner in helping these and other sustainability projects in Newark get done,” Coleman said. “DEMEC has always been a good partner, and if we have a special need, they help us out. It’s great that the board adopted sustainability as a core value because different members have different needs when it comes to sustainability, but no matter how they pursue it, they know they can count on DEMEC.”

DEMEC has made significant long-term investments in renewable energy. DEMEC has invested millions of dollars in the development of a large portfolio of qualifying renewable energy generation resources to achieve the lowest possible compliance cost. DEMEC also has several other pending agreements in other renewable energy generation projects at this time. As DEMEC and other public power utilities across the country continue to diversify their generation portfolios, there are many factors to consider. To learn more about public power’s efforts and challenges with decarbonization, see APPA’s Smart Decarbonization eBook

Partnership with University of Delaware

The only significant wind generation resource installed in the State of Delaware is in a DEMEC municipal service territory. The power is generated by a utility-scale 2-megawatt (2MW) wind turbine at UD’s Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes. DEMEC purchases 100% of the renewable energy credits (RECs) generated by the University of Delaware’s wind turbine. In addition, DEMEC supports student research fellowships on wind energy in the University’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment.

Learn More About Your Energy Costs

EPA’s Home Energy Yardstick provides a simple assessment of your home’s annual energy use compared to similar homes. By answering a few basic questions about your home, you can get:

  • Your home’s Home Energy Yardstick score (on a scale of 0 to 10);

  • Insights into how much of your home’s energy use is related to heating and cooling versus other everyday uses like appliances, lighting, and hot water;

  • Links to guidance from ENERGY STAR on how to increase your home’s score, improve comfort, and lower utility bills; and

  • An estimate of your home’s annual carbon emissions.

Dept. of Energy – Energy Saver shares information, tips, and videos that show how you can save energy and use renewable energy at home (from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy). 

CFL Data Center

Compact Fluorescent Lamp Myths – Learn more about common myths behind CFLs as addressed by the Electric Power Research Institute.

Energy Independence & Security Act of 2007 – H.R. 6 contains several points of improved energy efficiency measurements, including the mandate to replace incandescent lights with more efficient models like CFLs.

State of Delaware CFL Recycle Sites– Delaware Division of Energy & Climate Resources

Home Depot Recycling Centers – Find a place near you to recycle your old rechargeable batteries, CFL light bulbs, and old holiday light strings.