Green power purchases now double that of 2006; utility targeting even higher goals ahead
BELLEVUE, Wash.-- Residential and business demand for clean energy has Puget Sound Energy's Green Power Program delivering twice the amount of electricity from renewable generation sources as it did only two years ago. For 2008, the utility expects to deliver 290,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity from wind, solar and biomass sources to its more than 21,000 Green Power customers – or more than double the 131,000 MWh consumed by the almost 17,500 Green Power participants in 2006.
PSE is working to keep increasing the number of Green Power users in the future, with the utility recently committing to doubling the number of program participants over the next five years by engaging in more aggressive education and outreach. This month the utility signed a contract with 3Degrees, based in Portland, Ore., an expert in increasing Green Power Program participation.
“PSE customers are leading the way when it comes to clean energy,” said Kimberly Harris, executive vice president and chief resource officer for PSE. “The rapid growth of the Green Power Program is just one example that residents and businesses in our area are committed to renewable energy, and we are proud to support them in that dedication to the environment.”
As of October, 2008, PSE's Green Power Program had 21,505 customers, of which 20,606 are residential customers and 899 are business customers, including 425 of the utility's large-volume customer accounts. The current participation represents a gain from 17,426 customers in 2006 to the 2007 level of 20,457 customers. Total green energy used by these customers rose from 131,000 MWh in 2006 to 246,000 MWh in 2007. About 216,471 MWh have been consumed year-to-date for 2008, a level projected to rise to 290,000 MWh by year's end.
Under terms of PSE's merger agreement settlement with the staff of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) and other parties, the utility has set an aggressive, new target of having 5 percent of its total customers be Green Power customers within the next five years, as compared to just under 2 percent currently.
Customers choosing PSE's Green Power Program agree to pay an additional charge on their monthly bill to support the development of new wind, biomass and solar facilities in the Northwest, above and beyond those renewable energy resources owned by PSE as part of the utility's portfolio. The minimum Green Power purchase is $4 per month for 320 kilowatt hours (kWh), with additional increments of $2 per 160 kWh. Customers can also choose a 100 percent option, with an energy-efficient household using 800 kWh per month paying about $10 more by participating in the Green Power Program.
“Green Power offers a way for our customers to cast their vote for renewable energy, and PSE is putting an even greater focus on involving more homes and businesses,” said Harris. “For homeowners, it's a way to demonstrate their environmental beliefs, and for businesses, it's a way to let their customers and partners know they take sustainability seriously.”
PSE's Green Power Program has been recognized as one of the top 10 in the country since 2004, and was recognized in May 2008 by the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory as ranking 7 in renewable energy sales, and 9 in total number of customer participants out of 600 utility green-energy programs across the country.
PSE customers wishing to sign up for Green Power can do so at PSE.com or by calling a PSE Energy Advisor at 1-800-562-1482.
In addition to rising customer participation in the Green Power Program, PSE is also assisting customers in the growth of home or business renewable energy systems, primarily solar power. Recent actions by Congress now provide additional incentives for solar development. On Oct. 3, Congress extended the investment tax credits for solar power by an additional 8 years and lifted the current $2,000 cap on residential solar installations. With the new law, all residential customers will be eligible for a federal tax credit of 30 percent of the cost of the solar array, a move PSE expects will cause a 70 percent increase in the number of customers installing solar systems at their homes. Right now, more than 300 PSE customers have solar systems connected to the utility's distribution grid.
About Puget Sound Energy
Washington state's oldest and largest energy utility, with a 6,000-square-mile service territory stretching across 11 counties, Puget Sound Energy serves more than 1 million electric customers and 737,000 natural gas customers primarily in the growing Puget Sound region of Western Washington. PSE, a subsidiary of Puget Energy (NYSE:PSD), meets the energy needs of its growing customer base through incremental, cost-effective energy conservation, low-cost procurement of sustainable energy resources, and far-sighted investment in the energy-delivery infrastructure. PSE employees are dedicated to providing great customer service to deliver energy that is safe, reliable, reasonably priced, and environmentally responsible. For more information, visit PSE.com.
Puget Sound Energy
Andy Wappler, 1-888-831-7250