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Mole's Progressive Democrat

The Progressive Democrat Newsletter grew out of the frustration of the 2004 election. Originally intended for New York City progressives, its readership is now national. For anyone who wants to be alerted by email whenever this newsletter is updated (usually weekly), please send your email address and let me know what state you live in (so I can keep track of my readership).

Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

I am a research biologist in NYC. Married with two kids living in Brooklyn.

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  • Thursday, November 04, 2010

    Washington State Focus: Green Power Switch

    Now more than ever America needs Green Power. Green Power means domestic energy and that means domestic jobs. Green Power means less money going to Iran, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela and more staying right here in America. Green Power means cleaner air, cleaner water, less carbon emission and a stronger economy. And it is something we ALL can be a part of.

    Here are some programs to help Washington State residents make the switch to green energy. The cost is generally less than 3 cents per kilowatt-hour more than you currently pay for energy. By participating you contribute to reducing carbon emissions, cleaning up Washington State's environment, and stimulating Washington State's economy. Three important ways of helping your local community, local environment and local economy, all for less than 2 cents per kilowatt-hour of energy you use. When my wife and I made a similar switch in New York, we barely noticed the difference in our energy bill. We also switched to compact fluorescent bulbs at the same time and the energy savings reduced our bill by one-third even with the small increase from buying green energy. Together, we reduced our carbon footprint by about 30% while overall saving money. I highly recommend the switch. Washington State seems to have the most choice of any state I have looked into when it comes to alternative energy sources.

    Avista Energy's Buck-A-Block Program:

    Avista launched our Buck-A-Block voluntary rate program in 2002, and by 2006, participants were purchasing more than 56,000 megawatt hours of emission-free wind energy annually. When you sign up for Buck-A-Block, you make a voluntary payment above and beyond your normal rates. Avista makes no profit from that additional money, which goes to support the renewable energy many of our customers prefer by purchasing environmental offset from renewable energy generation.

    We also offer a renewable generation incentive (RGI) for Washington customers who install their own renewable energy systems, like solar panels, wind turbines or anaerobic digesters. To qualify, your system must be on the grid. There’s also a one-time energy efficiency incentive for such projects available to both Washington and Idaho customers. Customers who want to connect to Avista’s grid may find the state and federal programs listed below helpful, as well.

    Signup for Buck-A-Block.

    Benton PUD Green Power

    Benton PUD now offers Green Power, a program to give our customers an opportunity to make a contribution to our environment in a simple way.

    The cleanest power with the least impact on our environment, Green Power is produced from renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, biomass, geothermal and hydro. Currently Benton PUD purchases wind in addition to the resources from BPA.

    The Green Power program is a customer choice. Your commitment and level of participation is completely up to you. The level at which you choose to participate will be billed monthly and included on your bill. The Green Power program offers you the opportunity to make a positive environmental contribution and make a big difference at a minimal cost.

    One of the most visible local sources of renewable energy are the Nine Canyon wind turbines located on Jump Off Joe Butte. Benton PUD purchased 6.25% of the total load of Phase I and 18.63% of the Phase III Nine Canyon Wind Project for a total of about three average megawatts of the project as well as approximately three average megawatts of the White Creek Wind Project. The actual output of the wind projects are approximate because it depends on how much the wind blows.

    These wind projects are the least expensive renewable energy options available in our region today, however, they do cost slightly more than more conventional options.

    Can Green Power be directed to your home or business? Green power purchased by Benton PUD is placed into the northwest power grid. It is impossible to track each electron through the miles of power lines to your home. The concept is simply this- by purchasing green power from the most environmentally friendly energy suppliers, you are supporting renewable resources and helping to preserve our environment.

    Sign up here.

    Clark Public Utilities’ Green Lights program:

    For less than $2 a month you can sign up to support the development of clean, earth-friendly electricity through Clark Public Utilities’ Green Lights program. Calculate the beneficial impact of your Green Lights purchase then you can sign up now.

    The natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest is one of the reasons we choose to live here. And we want to make sure we preserve this beauty for generations to come.

    Now there’s an easy way to help the environment by supporting the development of electricity from "natural," non-polluting resources, such as the wind and sun. Clark Public Utilities has teamed with the Bonneville Environmental Foundation to offer Green Lights, a program that will generate more wind, solar, geothermal and other forms of pollution-free power in our region to displace more environmentally harmful power sources.

    The Bonneville Environmental Foundation has helped to develop and market power from renewable energy projects in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. BEF invests your Green Lights dollars in the next generation of new renewable energy projects. A portion of Green Lights purchases are devoted to projects right here in Clark County, including solar demonstration sites that can be viewed at the link below.

    Look at solar projects in Clark County and see their real-time generation data.


    Cowlitz PUD Green Tags:

    Since 2000 Cowlitz PUD customers have been able to voluntarily support the development of “green” power sources, while at the same time reducing their daily impact on the environment, by purchasing carbon “offsets.”

    Actually Cowlitz PUD has been in the green power business for many years, utilizing water power (hydroelectricity) as its main source of electricity. However with continued economic growth in the Pacific Northwest, the region is developing new power sources to meet its growing demand for electricity.

    Earth-friendly resources like water, wind, solar, geothermal and biomass are all used to generate electricity. These sources reduce dependence on other more traditional energy sources, such as fossil fuels, that may cause greater emissions of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases. Green power is also renewable, meaning we will not run out of it as we use more.

    Cowlitz PUD partners in this program with Portland-based Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF), a non-profit organization dedicated to renewable energy development and watershed restoration.

    Purchase Carbon Offsets

    You can find out more and sign up to purchase carbon offsets at the Cowlitz PUD renewable energy page on BEF’s website.

    More information about the Renewable Resource Energy program is available by visiting our office at 961 12th Avenue in Longview or calling (360) 423-2210 or (800) 631-1131.

    Mason County Evergreen Power program

    The Mason Evergreen Power program is a product offering of Mason County PUD No. 3 to its customers supporting the use and development of environmentally friendly green power.

    Green power is electricity generated from resources including wind, solar, geothermal and biomass (biomass includes the use of landfill gas, agricultural and wood wastes, ethanol, etc.). By purchasing blocks of green power, PUD 3 ratepayers can directly support further development of these power sources.
    Purchase Options for Green Power

    When customers sign up for this voluntary program, they can purchase blocks of green power for an additional fee beyond their normal electric bill or make 100 percent purchases of renewable energy on a per kilowatt-hour basis. Each purchase made will directly fund the development and/or generation of new, renewable energy resources for the Pacific Northwest...

    PUD customers may purchase green power in 100 kilowatt-hour blocks, at a cost of one dollar per block, per month in addition to the base rate. Each block represents about ten percent of an average residential customer’s monthly usage. The purchase of each block does not replace the current consumption of electricity by an owner/ratepayer. Rather, it directly funds the development of new, renewable energy resources for the Pacific Northwest such as wind, solar, landfill gas, geothermal and biomass.

    As an alternative to block purchases, PUD 3 electricity consumers may choose to voluntarily participate at the 100 percent level for an additional price of one cent per kilowatt hour. The typical consumer using 1,000 kWh per month would pay an additional $10 on their bill to support green power efforts in the Pacific Northwest.

    The program is available to commercial and residential customers. There’s no limit on the number of blocks that can be purchased. Customers can sign up, change their participation level or discontinue their participation at any time in whole billing period segments.

    To sign up you can call Energy Services at 360-426-8255, extension 5242 or fill out an enrollment form at the Belfair or Shelton offices of Mason County PUD No.3.

    Northern Wasco County Green Power Program

    Northern Wasco County PUD now offers its residential, commercial and industrial customers the option of purchasing up to 100 percent renewable electricity through its new program, Pure Power...

    NWCPUD purchases one MWh of wind power called Environmentally Preferred Power (EPP) from the Bonneville Power Administration. EPP is generated from 100 percent wind power that does not pollute or affect fish or wildlife...

    After signing up for NWCPUD’s Pure Power, you will see an additional line item on your bill listing the monthly charge. How much renewable power you sign up for is up to you. Each 200kWh block of pure power costs $5.00 in addition to your regular electric charges...

    How do I sign up?
    You can call Northern Wasco County PUD at 541-296-2226 or stop by our office at 2345 River Road, in The Dalles

    Pacific Countty PUD Green Power:

    This is your chance to support environmentally preferred power that is clean, renewable energy generated from wind, solar, geothermal and small hydro projects that have minimal impact on the environment.

    A survey showed that our customers wanted the option to buy environmentally friendly power. The PUD was able to reach an agreement with the Bonneville Power Agency to offer our residential and business accounts the opportunity to purchase green power. There is no limit on how much you can buy.


    100 Kilowatt Hours: $1.05 per month
    200 Kilowatt Hours: $2.10 per month
    300 Kilowatt Hours: $3.15 per month
    400 Kilowatt Hours: $4.20 per month
    500 Kilowatt Hours: $5.25 per month
    Other: Add $1.05 per 100 kilowatt hours

    The amount that you choose will be added to your monthly PUD bill. You can cancel your subscription at anytime in writing to the PUD.

    Purchase of green power benefits the Bonneville Environmental Foundation, which invests these funds into new sources of renewable energy and watershed restoration work.

    For more info, email:

    Peninsula Light Corporation Green Power:

    Peninsula Light Company has committed to purchasing ‘Green Power’ from the Bonneville Power Administration, originating from the Wyoming Foote Creek Wind Project Condon, Stateline, Klondike I, Klondike II and Harvest Wind in Washington State. These sources have been endorsed by various environmental groups, including the Northwest Energy Coalition, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Renewable Northwest Project. Electricity generated from them will be added to PLC’s main power grid, providing you with power that is just as reliable as traditional power sources but with a reduced impact on the environment...

    Green Power may be purchased in blocks of 100kWh for $2.80 per month. You can commit to as many blocks as you wish. The Green Power that you purchase is an additional premium that will be added to your current monthly energy charges. For example, if you want to purchase 2 blocks (200kWh), the cost would be $5.60 additional per month, 3 blocks (300kWh) would be $8.40 additional per month, etc.
    How do I sign up?

    Simply download the form (pdf), then fill it out and mail it in:

    PO Box 78
    Gig Harbor, WA 98335-0078

    or contact us at 253.857.5950 for more information about the Green by Choice program.

    Puget Sound Energy Green Power Program:

    How it works

    * When you enroll in PSE’s Green Power Program, PSE purchases renewable energy credits from regional renewable energy facilities on your behalf.
    * This guarantees that electricity from wind, solar and biomass facilities is delivered to the regional power pool (the grid).
    * Electricity from renewable energy facilities reduces the need for electricity generated from non-renewable sources like fossil fuels, creating measurable environmental benefits...



    City Light offers customers several options to increase the supply of renewable energy and help protect the environment for future generations.

    Join over 10,000 customers who support green power through voluntary City Light programs.

    * Green Up - Buy renewable energy for your home or business

    * Green Power - Support local renewable energy demonstration projects and help educate our community on the viability of solar energy in the northwest

    * Solar Energy - Generate your own renewable energy

    Snohomish County Public Utility District:

    The PUD is committed to programs that protect our environment. When you contribute to Planet Power, you are supporting the development of local solar projects. Our Solar Express program funds customer solar photovoltaic or solar hot water projects. Our Net Metering program allows customers with small, renewable generating facilities to sell their excess electricity back to the PUD...

    Planet Power is a voluntary Snohomish Couny PUD program that funds exciting, local, renewable energy demonstration projects such as solar panels at schools and other public buildings in our community.

    YOU CAN MAKE A MEANINGFUL DIFFERENCE in your community by helping to create local green jobs and new renewable energy. The Planet Power program allows you to take action on your environmental commitment.

    As part of its strategic plan for meeting future customer demand, the PUD is increasingly looking to environmentally-friendly energy sources including tidal power, biomass, biogas, geothermal energy, wind and solar power. The PUD believes that the development of local, small scale renewable electric generation is an integral part of developing and promoting green power in its service territory.

    Online Enrollment Form (click here)


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