Renewable Energy in Washington State Pays Off

Puget Sound Energy (PSE), a Northwest utility that builds and operates wind farms, is now giving its customers who generate clean, renewable power the opportunity to become “green energy” partners by providing them with annual incentive payments for all the electricity they produce.

Under PSE’s new Renewable Energy Advantage Program (REAP), customers who generate their own electricity with solar, wind or anaerobic-digester systems can receive .15 to .54 cents from PSE for each kilowatt-hour (kWh) their systems generate up to a limit of $2,000 annually beginning this year. The payments are in addition to PSE’s net-metering benefits and the consumer rebates PSE offers on the installation of solar-power equipment. PSE’s REAP program is the result of a recently implemented Washington law to provide financial incentives to encourage the in-state manufacture and installation of renewable energy systems. “Washington state’s recent passage of Initiative 937 underscores that fact that our customers are dedicated to the use of clean energy,” said Cal Shirley, PSE vice president of Energy Efficiency Services. “PSE is pleased to offer them the opportunity to be involved in this new green partnership as well as our other energy efficiency programs.” Under PSE’s existing net-metering program, customers can generate their own power while retaining access to utility-supplied power during times of heavy usage. The customer’s system feeds excess power to the PSE grid for distribution to other consumers, and the customer is billed only for the net amount of electricity drawn from the utility. The program’s annual payments are available through 2014 both to customers with existing systems and to customers who install new systems. During the initial transition period of the program, PSE will retroactively pay program participants for electricity generated from July 1, 2005, through June 30, 2006, if they apply by Nov. 30, 2006. To qualify for the program, customers need to have an interconnection agreement with PSE. Local governments, nonprofit organizations, school districts, and businesses also are eligible for the program.

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