SAN FRANCISCO, April 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) said today that it has asked state regulators for permission to offer a new clean energy program that will give electric customers an opportunity to support 100 percent renewable energy for an average of a few dollars a month. PG&E is proposing the "Green Option" in response to requests from customers, elected officials, and the environmental community for more ways to promote renewable energy.
"On behalf of our customers, PG&E is already one of the largest suppliers of renewable energy in the country," said Helen Burt, Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer of PG&E. "We have heard from many of our customers, however, who want to do even more to support clean energy and the green economy. Our Green Option, backed by an independent third-party's environmental certification, will give them that choice."
PG&E today offers some of the cleanest power in the United States. More than 50 percent of its electricity comes from sources that are renewable or free of greenhouse gas emissions.
Elected leaders from around PG&E's service territory, including the cities of Berkeley, Carmel, Davis, Hayward, Napa, and San Jose, support the proposed program and plan to collaborate with PG&E to make the program a success. (See statements appended below.)
"Berkeley adopted aggressive goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and is implementing forward-thinking strategies to reduce energy use and increase the level of renewable energy sources available to our residents," said Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates. "PG&E's Green Option program is a valuable addition to our menu of items that residents can consider in our pursuit of providing more renewable energy to serve the community."
PG&E's initiative also has support from environmental organizations such as the Natural Resources Defense Council and Environmental Defense Fund. "This program gives every PG&E customer an additional tool to help protect the environment by investing in clean sources of energy," said Peter Miller, a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council. "We're delighted to see PG&E take leadership and create a consumer-driven program that's a win-win for Californians and the environment."
PG&E will buy renewable energy certificates to match the portion of each participating electric customer's energy that is not already covered by PG&E's eligible renewable energy deliveries. These certificates represent proof that specific quantities of electricity were generated from renewable sources such as wind and solar. PG&E will take steps to certify the Green Option through Green-e Energy, a program of the non-profit Center for Resource Solutions in San Francisco. It is the leading certifier of voluntary renewable energy programs in the United States.
The Green Option will let customers support 100 percent renewable energy for a modest premium, similar to what other utilities charge for such voluntary programs. PG&E expects that participating residential customers will pay on average about $6.00 each month. Program costs will be borne only by customers who volunteer to participate. Customers may join or leave the program at any time.
PG&E is asking the California Public Utilities Commission to approve the Green Option by early 2013.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation's cleanest energy to 15 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit http://www.pge.com/about/newsroom/ and www.pgecurrents.com.
Additional Statements of Support for PG&E's Green Option
San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed: "In 2007, San Jose passed our Green Vision with a goal of getting 100 percent of our energy from renewable sources. PG&E's Green Option will help us achieve that goal."
Davis Mayor Joe Krovoza: "The PG&E Green Option will empower citizens to participate in California's low-carbon energy future. Consumer engagement in renewable energy moves us one step closer to stabilizing the Earth's climate—which will require an 80 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050. Consumer investment in clean energy supplies will accelerate their interest in the equally important need for demand reduction and the overall efficient use of our limited low-carbon energy supplies."
Hayward Mayor Michael Sweeney: "As a City, we want as much green energy as possible for our own use. The Green Option program provides the City of Hayward another alternative in pursuing our goal of 100 percent clean energy without requiring major infrastructure costs. The Green Option also increases choices for our residents to receive green energy in an affordable and convenient way."
Carmel-by-the-Sea Mayor Jason Burnett: "Carmel residents live in one of the most beautiful cities in California and are vigilant in their efforts to protect our environment, promote renewable energy and support a clean energy future. PG&E is now providing them with a great new option to help them do just that."
Napa Mayor Jill Techel: "The City of Napa and its residents have energy needs and demands that vary greatly. That's why I am excited to learn that PG&E plans on seeking approval for a new 'Green Option' that will allow individual customers to choose the green energy plan that best fits their individual needs. . . Over time, I believe this program will help to create a market for renewable energy on a broad scale. PG&E's decision to introduce such a program to residents in Napa is a choice I would like Napans to have."
Environmental Defense Fund Director of Congressional Affairs Elizabeth Thompson: "The new Green Option program being proposed by Pacific Gas and Electric Company is the kind of partnership we need to protect our environment and to jumpstart a cleaner economy. By giving 15 million Californians the chance to upgrade to a greener energy mix the program has the potential to make a difference both in protecting our environment and in creating clean energy jobs by increasing regional demand for renewable energy sources."
SOURCE Pacific Gas and Electric Company