Oregonians love their green power.
Portland General Electric Co. and PacifiCorp rank No. 2 and No. 3 among 850 utilities surveyed nationwide in the volume of their overall electricity sales under voluntary green power programs, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
With 12.6 percent of its customers willing to fork over a little more green for green power, PGE's participation rate in the programs was actually the highest in the country. Its customers' renewables consumption under the programs is equivalent to 84 average megawatts, about what a medium sized wind farm produces.
PacifiCorp's customers are no slackers either. With a 6.9 percent participation rate in Oregon, they also ranked in the top 10 in that category.
"Oregonians really resonate with this idea of cleaner electricity," said Thor Hinckley, manager of PGE's renewable power programs. "It's a trait in the Northwest in general."
Both PGE and Pacific Power offer customers a menu of programs to offset all or part of their electricity consumption with green power. While the electricity they actually consume when hitting a light switch is the same mix every customer gets — about 10 percent renewables in PGE's case — customers voluntarily pay extra to buy renewable energy credits that support renewable energy projects.
Such programs have been criticized for high overhead and marketing costs. PGE says its costs are below the national avaerage, with 51 percent of its renewable premium going to supply, 23 percent to supply acquisition, and 26 percent for other marketing and administrative costs.
All PGE and PacifiCorp's customers are paying for renewables as the companies build wind farms to comply with state renewables mandates. Oregon's large utilities need to meet 5 percent of their customers' demand with electricity from renewable sources this year, increasing to 25 percent by 2025.
By Ted Sickinger, The Oregonian
Article Courtesy of: http://www.oregonlive.com