Saturday, April 13, 2013

Enhanced Green Energy Program Will Give Customers More Renewable Options

Posted on April 12, 2013

PG&E has reached an agreement with a diverse group of consumer groups and other organizations to enhance its proposed “Green Option” to give electric customers an opportunity to support 100 percent renewable energy.
The revised proposal, which has been submitted for approval by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), would provide participating customers with energy from new small- and mid-sized solar projects located in PG&E’s service area.
PG&E’s original proposal, issued last year with widespread support from elected officials and the environmental community, provided customers with an option to buy renewable energy certificates from new and existing projects, including those outside PG&E’s service area.  The new proposal would allow customers to directly support the development of new projects that generate clean energy in and around the communities that PG&E serves.
‘Enhanced option for our customers’
“We are pleased to have worked with a wide variety of organizations to fashion an enhanced option for our customers,” said Helen Burt, PG&E’s senior vice president and chief customer officer. “PG&E is already one of the largest suppliers of renewable energy in the country. Our proposed new program will enable our customers to voluntarily support additional clean energy projects in communities across Northern and Central California.”
PG&E worked closely with The Utility Reform Network (TURN), Coalition of California Utility Employees, the Black Economic Council, National Asian American Coalition, Latino Business Chamber of Greater L.A., and other parties to shape this program.
“This new program will provide a meaningful opportunity for PG&E customers to link their energy usage to the development of new local renewable energy projects,” said Matthew Freedman, a staff attorney with TURN. “Every customer subscription will help PG&E to exceed state clean energy requirements and accelerate California’s transition away from fossil fuels.”
Like adding solar, only easier
The Coalition of California Utility Employees also supports the new proposal.
“The new Green Option lets every PG&E customer choose to get 100 percent of their power from new renewable energy projects in California.  It’s like putting solar panels on your roof, only easier,” said Tom Dalzell, business manager of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1245, on behalf of the Coalition of California Utility Employees.
Under the new plan, participants will pay the full cost of the new renewable energy supplies built in direct response to their enrollment. Those additional supplies — provided under long-term contracts by third-party developers — will be incremental to the clean energy that PG&E already purchases for all of its customers. Participating customers will also receive credits for avoided PG&E generation costs, making the program more affordable. PG&E will actively market the plan throughout its service area, including low-income and minority communities.
PG&E is asking the CPUC to approve the enhanced program this year, so the utility can begin offering the option soon thereafter.