Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Report Shows Over 100,000 Customers Voluntarily Purchasing Renewable Energy in the Pacific Northwest

The number of utility customers voluntarily purchasing "green power" in the Northwest topped 100,000 for the first time ever in 2005, according to a new report released today by the Renewable Northwest Project (RNP). Entitled “Powerful Choices VI,” the report summarizes the retail green power programs that are allowing customers to voluntarily invest directly in a clean energy future.

Throughout the Northwest, in markets both urban and rural, thirty-nine Northwest utilities are offering customers a choice of an environmentally preferred power source – wind power, solar power, landfill gas power, or low-impact hydro power. Participation in these programs continued to increase in 2005, with overall participation in Northwest green power programs growing by more than 18% between 2004 and 2005.

“The continued increase in the number of green power program customers in the Northwest demonstrates a strong and consistently growing demand for environmentally-friendly power sources, and a greater awareness of the benefits of renewable energy,” said Rachel Shimshak, director of RNP, a regional renewable energy advocacy organization. “Along with utility investments in renewable energy, customers are using their ‘Powerful Choices’ to help drive a clean energy future,” she added.

Voluntary retail green power purchases help to push the market for the construction of new renewable energy projects forward. During the past year, Northwest green power customers purchased over 733.5 million kilowatt-hours of green power – the equivalent of the annual output from a large 250 megawatt wind farm, or enough energy to power over 63,400 homes for a year. This is over 29 times the retail green power sold in voluntary programs reported in the first Powerful Choices report in 2000.

Since the last report, the number of customers buying green power has grown significantly. An additional 15,507 customers signed up for green power in 2005, bringing the Northwest total to over 101,000 residential and non-residential customers. Increased general awareness of the benefits and importance of buying green power and more sophisticated marketing techniques have contributed to higher sales and customer participation.

In response to the new developments in retail green power, Ms. Shimshak went on to say:

“Increased development of the Northwest’s home-grown renewable power resource will help to insulate Northwest customers from future electricity price volatility. In addition, rising concern over the impacts of conventional power generation on our climate, our environment, and our health is prompting a surge of interest in clean, climate-neutral, renewable power.”
The Powerful Choices report from this year and previous years can be found on the RNP web site at www.RNP.org.

If you are a Northwest ratepayer and would like to sign up for a voluntary green power program, check the list of NW utilities offering green power programs in the Powerful Choices Report, or head to RNP's 'Go Green' page to find out if your utility offers a green power program.

1 comment:

Tom Gray said...

Excellent news. Readers outside the Pacific Northwest can also buy green power. For info on green power suppliers, see "Your Electric Choices" at www.green-e.org.

Regards,
Thomas O. Gray
American Wind Energy Association
www.awea.org
www.ifnotwind.org