Electricity customers in Michigan may soon be able to pay a surcharge to buy electricity from new generators powered by the wind, the sun and other renewable sources.JACKSON, Michigan, US, 2001-07-27 [SolarAccess.com] Electricity customers in Michigan may soon be able to pay a surcharge to buy electricity from new generators powered by the wind, the sun and other renewable sources. Consumers Energy has asked the Michigan Public Service Commission to approve a three-year ‘Green Power Pilot Program’ to allow customers to buy all or some of their electricity from new zero-emission generators located in the state. If approved, participating customers could buy 10 to 100 percent of their electricity from green power producers. They would pay a premium that would be collected by the utility and passed on to qualifying generators. Only those power generators certified by an independent organization would be eligible to receive the fees. “Although Consumers Energy already generates and buys significant amounts of electricity from hydro dams, waste-to-energy plants and other renewable power sources, they are not included in this proposal,” explains David Joos, president and CEO of the utility. The goal is to offer customers a way to financially support the development of new facilities that use solar, wind and other renewable energy sources. “Some of our customers have a strong interest in renewables,” he adds. “This pilot should give customers the opportunity to buy green but, equally important, it will be a real opportunity for renewable energy generators to test the market for their services.” Consumers Energy will be ready to accept enrollments in the pilot program in October, and the program has a maximum generating capacity to meet the needs of 18,000 homes. At the end of the three-year pilot period, the MPSC would decide whether to extend the pilot program or make it permanent. Customers would be required to sign up for a minimum of one year to give green energy providers a reliable and measurable revenue stream. However, customers could contract to pay the green surcharge for up to 17 years. Consumers Energy is the largest utility in Michigan, providing electricity and natural gas to six million of the state’s 9.9 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.