Green Power Bargains: Buying In Bulk

Need another reason to go green? How about stable, predictable energy costs?
Need another reason to go green? How about stable, predictable energy costs?A report from the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory notes that a growing number of utilities are offering fixed-price green pricing programs that act as a sort of hedge fund against rising fossil fuel prices. The programs let residential and commercial customers, such as Advanced Micro Devices, buy blocks of electricity produced through renewable sources. AMD in 2000 became one of the first companies in Texas to purchase green power through Austin Energy and continues to buy batches of green energy.

Other utilities are expanding their green energy options, too. Georgia Power has gained approval from the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) to sell green power in 100-kWh increments at 3.5 cents/kWh above the standard rate, which is 1 cent/kWh less than the previous offering. The redesigned program also includes a large volume discount available to customers that buy more than 40,000 kWh of green energy per month at the regular price of 3.5 cents/kWh over the standard rate. The utility also is offering a menu of green energy sources at various rates, including energy produced from biomass and solar, and includes a special events option for supplying renewable energy to music concerts, business conferences, or other one-time events. The new program is expected to go into effect by the end of 2008. 

In West Virginia, customers of Appalachian Power and Wheeling Power will now have an option to purchase renewable energy certificates (RECs) from wind and hydro resources in 100 kWh blocks at a cost of 1.5 cents/kWh above the standard rate, or $1.50 per block. Participating customers must purchase a minimum of two 100-kWh blocks of green power. They join 32 other utilities offering RECs.

Even as oil prices slide for the moment, green energy bulk gives businesses a breath of fresh air.