Puget Sound Energy (PSE), Washington state’s biggest investor-owned utility launched Green Direct, a green tariff that allows companies, cities and towns to buy renewable energy under long-term service agreements. The approach is being called pioneering by organizations because it allows customers to buy both the energy and renewable energy certificates from a renewable energy project.
“PSE’s new tariff is the first of its kind, offering a model for other utilities around the country to offer affordable renewable energy through the grid to smaller, existing customers,” wrote Letha Tawney, director Of utility innovation at Western Resources Institute. “Green Direct’s first subscribers include commercial customers (REI, Starbucks, Target), local governments (Anacortes, Bellevue, King County, Mercer Island and Snoqualmie) and local institutions (Western Washington University and Sound Transit).” Currently, the largest subscriber to the program is King County.
“King County is significantly reducing the greenhouse gas impacts of our operations while using our purchasing power to spark even further development of clean, renewable energy in Washington State,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “PSE’s Green Direct project is entirely consistent with our climate goals to take bold steps that will cut our climate footprint and benefit generations to come.”
This new program was recently approved by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC). “Green Direct exemplifies the power of partnership,” said Kimberly Harris, president & CEO of Puget Sound Energy. “Working with the UTC and with customers like King County, we’ve been able to structure an industry-leading renewable energy program for our largest electric customers. We’re so excited to see this come together and for what it means to our customers and the region.”
The program will allow REI to power its headquarters and five local stores. PSE credited the co-operative outdoor retailer with helping to develop the Green Direct program over the past decade.
“We believe that an outdoors life is a life well lived, so having a healthy outdoors for future generations is something we focus on every day,” said Vik Sahney, REI’s divisional vice president of sustainability. “We are constantly looking for innovative ways to increase renewable energy development. PSE’s Green Direct tariff directly benefits Washington, is a pioneering model for utilities nationwide, and supports REI’s success in continuing operate 100 percent on renewable electricity.”Tweet