Community

Green power produces $25,000 for Whidbey project

Whidbey Island has met Puget Sound Energy’s challenge to increase enrollment in the utility’s Green Power Program to 1,000 total residential and business participants. In recognition of meeting the goal, PSE on Nov. 25 will award the Island County Council of Governments a $25,000 grant toward a community solar project on Whidbey.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the community support to go green,” said Walt Blackford, community services supervisor at PSE’s South Whidbey Customer Service Office, in a news release. “Working together we achieved our goal and in addition to residents and businesses being Green Power Program participants, the community will benefit from another solar installation.”

PSE will present the elected members of the Council of Governments with a check for the solar grant at their Nov. 25 meeting in Coupeville. Once the funds are awarded, the council will determine where the solar project will be located and what type will be implemented. Previous solar grants by PSE on Whidbey have gone to South Whidbey High School, Coupeville Middle and High School and the FETCH off-leash dog park.

Since the challenge started, a total of 1,017 Whidbey customers are now Green Power participants, representing an increase of 58 percent over total participants as of Jan. 1, 2009. Blackford attributed the success to an organized community challenge effort backed by Island County and the municipalities of Coupeville, Langley, and Oak Harbor to encourage Island residents to enroll.

Special recognition was given to several island organizations that were early business participants in the Whidbey Island Green Power Challenge: Central Whidbey Chamber of Commerce, Christopher’s on Whidbey LLP, Clyde Theater, Island Athletic Club, Island Transit, Karlson Gray Gallery and Prairie Center Red Apple Market. They all purchase Green Power for their businesses and have encouraged others to do the same. A complete list of participating Whidbey businesses can be found at PSE.com.

PSE’s Green Power Program gives customers a way to guarantee the amount of energy they use is matched in the grid with electricity from wind, solar, biomass and other renewable energy sources. Blackford said the amount paid by each customer typically ranges from $4 to $10 per month, and goes to support the local development of renewable energy that is in addition to – and separate from – the renewable energy facilities built by PSE, the nation’s second-largest utility owner and operator of wind power.

The utility’s green power program is independently audited by the Center for Resource Solutions, and was recognized in September 2009 by the U.S. Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency as the nation’s “Green Power Provider of the Year” for 2009 due to the program’s rapid growth.

For more information about PSE’s Green Power Program for electric customers, visit PSE.com.

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