PG&E announces new green energy program to give electric customers more renewable options

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) said 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 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.

“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 is a subsidiary of PG&E Corp. (NYSE:PCG).