PGE Customers Get Salmon, Wind Offeringby CBB
Columbia Basin Bulletin - November 19, 1999
In a unique green offering that may make sense only to Northwesterners, Portland General Electric will begin in January to give customers a choice to help restore Northwest salmon runs or develop more wind power at Northwest projects. Or, customers could decide to take both.
PGE proposes to allow customers to pay a $5 per block premium on their electricity bills that would go either to develop new wind resources or to fund watershed and habitat restoration efforts throughout Oregon. Customers would pay the premium every month.
Each $5 block under the windpower option would guarantee that 100 kilowatt hours of power delivered to the customer would come from wind generating resources. Residential customers could buy up to two blocks, while commercial customers could buy more. An average PGE residential customer uses about 1,000 kwh per month, so they could receive as much as 20 percent of their energy from wind.
PGE currently buys the 24.5 megawatt output of FPL Energy's VanSycle Ridge project in eastern Oregon. According to Kraegg Arntson, PGE spokesperson, each $5 would help offset the cost of developing wind resources that would be in addition to VanSycle's output.
Customers concerned about the plight of salmon could pay the same $5 and know that it would go to help restore endangered salmon runs. Eleven stocks of Northwest salmon have been listed as threatened or endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act and nine of those dwindling stocks spawn or migrate to spawning grounds in Oregon's rivers.
The $5 salmon contribution will go directly to For the Sake of the Salmon, a non-profit organization that is mounting a public effort to reverse the salmons' decline. The funds will be used for watershed and salmon habitat restoration efforts throughout Oregon. Projects could include planting trees to shade and cool streams to providing in-stream structures for rearing habitat.
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