Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, announced on Friday last week that it had reached an agreement to enhance its proposed “Green Option” to give electric customers an opportunity to support 100% renewable energy.
PG&E provided a revised proposal to the California Public Utilities Commission with agreement from a “diverse group of consumer and other organizations” — including The Utility Reform Network (TURN), Coalition of California Utility Employees, the Black Economic Council, National Asian American Coalition, Latino Business Chamber of Greater LA — which would allow participating customers the opportunity to access energy from new small- and mid-sized solar projects.
The revision is built atop an already popular proposal, which provided customers with the option to buy renewable energy certificates from new and existing projects, including those outside of PG&E’s service area.
The revision simply allows customers now the opportunity to directly support the development of new projects that generate clean energy in and around the PG&E service area.
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“We are pleased to have worked with a wide variety of organizations to fashion an enhanced option for our customers,” said Helen Burt , Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer of PG&E. “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.”
“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 , 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.”
“The new Green Option lets every PG&E customer choose to get 100 percent of their power from new renewable energy projects in California,” said Tom Dalzell , Business Manager of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1245, on behalf of the Coalition of California Utility Employees. “It’s like putting solar panels on your roof, only easier.”
Quoting directly from PG&E’s press release:
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.
We covered the original Green Option announcement back in April of 2012, a proposal which, at the time, was met with much approval.
Customers, public officials and environmental advocates have united in their call for PG&E and its peers in the California power sector to look for more ways to promote and foster renewable energy development and use and reduce their carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Given the amount of support this revised proposal has achieved on its way back to the California Public Utilities Commission, one would be hard pressed to imagine it failing to gain enough support to pass.