Cities from Bellingham to Olympia sign agreements with Puget Sound Energy to go green


BELLEVUE, Wash. (Feb. 5, 2007)—Puget Sound Energy (PSE), which serves more than 1 million electric customers in Washington state today announced that the company's sales of green power are steadily increasing. Effective Jan. 1, 2007, PSE's green power electricity purchases by customers and communities increased by almost 30 percent thanks to recently signed agreements with cities and other government entities from Bellingham to Olympia.

"The city of Bellingham, city of Olympia, LOTT (Lacey, Olympia, Tumwater and Thurston County) Alliance, and Whatcom County have all signed agreements with Puget Sound Energy to purchase green power to support the development of clean, renewable energy in the Pacific Northwest," said Cal Shirley, PSE's vice president of Energy Efficiency Services. "Collectively, they will be purchasing more than 53 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of green power this year — equivalent to the electricity used by about 4,400 households."

All four government entities will qualify for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Green Power Partnership Program's Leadership Club. Bellingham is the largest local government buying 100 percent green power in the United States and the first local government on the EPA's Top 10 Local Government Partners list to go 100 percent green.

"Scientific data clearly indicate that global warming will affect the lives of Bellingham residents in the future," said Bellingham Mayor Tim Douglas. "Sea elevation changes and protecting our drinking water supply are just two examples of the challenges that lie ahead. We need to take thoughtful, deliberate steps to help reduce our impacts on our planet. Purchasing green power from Puget Sound Energy is one of those steps."

According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, PSE's Green Power Program is one of the top 10 Green Power Programs in the country. In 2006, more than 17,000 PSE business and residential customers participated in the program by voluntarily paying more per month to go green.

In addition to the voluntary Green Power Program, PSE has developed its own renewable-energy facilities, specifically two large wind farms in Washington state with a combined 400 megawatts of power-generating capacity — the equivalent of 125,000 households.

A 2002 Washington state law requires all electric utilities in the state to offer their customers the option of purchasing green power. PSE residential customers participate in the voluntary Green Power Program by purchasing a minimum of 200 kWh of electricity at an extra cost of $4 on their monthly bills. The additional cost to businesses and the local government entities varies based on their participation level.

For more information on PSE's Green Power Program or other energy efficiency programs, please visit the www.pse.com Web site or call a PSE Energy Advisor at1-800-562-1482.

City of Bellingham

The Bellingham City Council voted unanimously in August 2006 to buy enough green power to offset 100 percent of the city's electrical usage beginning in January 2007. Bellingham is the first local government agency on the EPA's Top 10 Local Government Partners list to go 100 percent green. The purchase will amount to approximately 26 million kWh annually. In 2005, Bellingham joined the Cities for Climate Protection Campaign. This project begins with an inventory of municipal and community actions that contribute to global warming pollution, followed by the development of an action plan to reduce pollution from the various municipal and community sources. This research showed that buying 100 percent green power is the most significant step the City of Bellingham can take to protect the climate, eliminating more than 65 percent of the global warming pollution caused by municipal operations.

City of Olympia

In 2005, the Olympia City Council set a goal to "Put sustainability into action so that we save the planet." The purchase of green power is another opportunity for the city to become more sustainable in its practices. Olympia is purchasing green power for the entire city's utility consumption (about half of the city's total electricity consumption) including: drinking water; wastewater and storm and surface water utilities. This amounts to 7 million kWh annually. The cost of buying green power will be largely offset by savings resulting from efficiency improvements. For instance, the City of Olympia has achieved more than $30,000 in annual savings resulting from a pump-efficiency project completed in early 2006. On Oct. 17, 2006, the City Council approved the resolution to begin purchasing green power in January 2007.

LOTT Alliance

In December 2006, the LOTT (Lacey, Olympia, Tumwater and Thurston County) Alliance Board agreed to buy green power for all of the wastewater utility's electricity usage in 2007. The LOTT Alliance serves about 85,000 customers in the Lacey-Olympia-Tumwater urban area. It is purchasing approximately 15 million kWh of green power in 2007 at a cost of $150,000, or about 27 cents per ratepayer per month.

Whatcom County

Whatcom County will begin purchasing renewable energy credits from PSE equal to 100 percent of electricity used in government-owned or operated facilities in 2007. The purchase amounts to approximately 6 million kWh annually. Over the last six years, Whatcom County government has saved enough money through conservation measures that it can use the savings to pay for green power. Power conservation at the county has saved its taxpayers about $85,000. The Whatcom County Council approved the resolution on Sept. 26, 2006.

Contact:

Martha Monfried, 1-888-831-7250