Clean Power

Published on April 15th, 2013 | by Joshua S Hill


PG&E’s Green Option Gives Customers Opportunity To Support Renewable Energy

April 15th, 2013 by  

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.

Credit: United Nations Environment Programme

Credit: United Nations Environment Programme

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.

“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.

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About the Author

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (, and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at for more.

  • JG

    Does anyone know how many new MW of solar will be built for this program?

  • Matthew Freedman

    The article incorrectly states that the revised Green Option program proposal “is built atop an already popular proposal” to allow PG&E customers to purchase unbundled RECs from facilities anywhere in the Western United States. Under the settlement, PG&E agrees to withdraw its unbundled REC offering (which was never approved by the California Public Utilities Commission) in favor of a product that links customer subscriptions to long-term contracts with new facilities located within PG&E’s service territory. PG&E’s original unbundled REC proposal was met with intense opposition from consumer, environmental, and labor organizations. This broad-based opposition triggered negotiations that led to the revised proposal that was submitted to state regulators last week.

    • G’day Matthew, the information you are suggesting exists seems to contradict the information we have covered. Are you in a position to back up your comment with info that I can then turn into a legible addition to the article?

    • Just be thankful for what you do have. PG&E is light years ahead of the utiltiy compnies in the south.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Good point. PG&E might not be perfect but at least they aren’t overcharging their customers and using the “confiscated” money to build new nuclear reactors which will probably cause rates to go up further.

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