Choice of renewable energy closer for Provoans

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renewchoice

Provo is now letting residents choose renewable energy with RenewChoice.

Since Provo Mayor John Curtis announced the city’s new renewable energy program for power customers last week, five people have logged into the website and requested it — and it’s not even available yet.

Provo’s city council needs to approve the program before customers can get it, and council members decided on Tuesday afternoon that the vote will be on Tuesday, March 3.

The program, called RenewChoice, will allow customers to buy blocks of renewable energy, reducing air pollutants and greenhouse gases. Customers — business and residential — can opt in as soon as the city opts in. It will work like this, said Provo energy director Travis Ball: A customer will go to the website, renewchoice.com, and fill out the enrollment form. Then a Provo power rep will call the customer and finish the enrollment process. After that, the customer can choose how many blocks — sold in 100 kilowatt hour bundles — to purchase at $2 each. That $2 will be on top of the regular power bill because renewable energy costs a little more than energy produced by coal.

[pullquote]”This would  be an opportunity for everybody, whether they rent, own, they can do something like this and feel like they’re helping the environment and helping the city get renewable.” —Travis Ball, Provo energy director[/pullquote]

For example, the average Provo power customer uses 750 kilowatt hours per month, Ball said. People who wanted to use 50 percent renewable energy would then buy four blocks of renewable power for $8 per month. The website will even tell you what your annual environmental impact is — using 50 percent renewable energy means 6,432 pounds of CO2 were offset and 31 trees planted.

“Some people don’t have the money to put solar on their roofs,” Ball said. This would  be an opportunity for everybody, whether they rent, own, they can do something like this and feel like they’re helping the environment and helping the city get renewable.”

Customers will be able to get proof that they are getting renewable energy, he added.

Ball said Provo now gets about 25 percent of its power from hydro sources, 38 percent from thermal and 38 percent by contract. Much of the thermal and contract power comes from coal.

Kevin Garlick, the director of the Utah Municipal Power Agency, of which Provo is a member, said Rocky Mountain Power has a similar program and about 6 percent of customers participate.

Ball said he’s hoping for more than 6 percent. “I would love 10 percent.”

RenewChoice also is available in Levan, Manti, Nephi, Salem and Spanish Fork, according to the website.

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Amie Rose has more than 14 years of experience writing and editing at newspapers in Utah and New Mexico. She graduated from BYU with a degree in journalism. She lives in Utah Valley with her husband, toddler and crazy dog.

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