Green Power Gaining Market Share in Washington State

A green power program launched on January 1 by Puget Sound Energy (PSE) has attracted more than 570 customers.

BELLEVUE, Washington 2002-02-22 [] “Utility customers purchasing green electricity are at the forefront of supporting the development of renewable resources in our region,” said Gov. Gary Locke, who last year signed green power legislation into law. According to PSA, customers in all 9 counties it serves have bought into the program, including Bellevue Community College, which will be powering a portion of its operations on campus with green power – primarily wind and solar energy generated in Washington state. “It’s important to Bellevue Community College that we be among the first to participate in this new offering of clean, Renewable Energy,” said John Carroll, director of campus operations and capital projects. “Our green-power purchases further demonstrate BCC’s commitment to the environment and moves us closer to earning a distinguished Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification for our new, resource-efficient R Building.” Through PSE’s program, BCC is purchasing 1,000 kilowatt hours of green power each month. Within the first six weeks of its green power program, PSE lined up more than 174,000 kilowatt hours of Renewable Energy to serve the earliest requests for green power. More blocks of Renewable Energy are added every day as additional PSE customers, averaging about 13 per day, enroll in the green power program. The participating customers are paying, on average, an additional $6 on their monthly PSE electric bill for their purchase of green power. “I’m willing to do what I can to reduce our dependence on energy from burning fossil fuels, which can pollute our environment and cause global warming,” said PSE customer Jeanne Rehwinkel of Kenmore, Washington. “I think we should all do what we can to help the environment and that’s why I signed up for 600 green kilowatt hours each month.” Puget Sound Energy’s Renewable Energy portfolio, administered by the Bonneville Environmental Foundation, includes the output from the State Line Wind Farm near Walla Walla, Washington and the Hanford/White Bluffs Solar Project in Hanford, Washington, which is expected to come online later this year. “With hundreds of Puget Sound Energy customers already making a commitment to green power in the first few weeks of the offering, we expect they will be a principal driver behind the explosion of Renewable Energy in the Pacific Northwest,” said Angus Duncan, president of the Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF), based in Portland. “We are encouraged that Puget Sound Energy customers seem predisposed to purchasing Renewable Energy, which will help grow the demand for more wind and solar power on the grid and result in such a great benefit to our region,” added Duncan. Growing demand for renewable power on the Northwest power grid, which acts like a power “pool” that combines all sources of electric energy, including green resources, is expected to add a greater proportion of environmentally-friendly power-generation resources to the region. “We’re on the threshold of an energy-use revolution,” added Locke. “If we’re smart, as we’ve already proved in our high-tech industry, we’ll stay a step ahead of the market and provide the clean-energy decade with the tools it needs: smart metering, solar panels, biomass, wind and ocean power, and fuel cells.” PSE customers participate in the program by purchasing a minimum of 200 kilowatt hours of green power for $4 extra on their monthly bill. Additional blocks of 100 green kilowatt hours can be purchased in $2 increments.
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