Olympia and Lacey have teamed up to recruit at least 1,011 residents to enroll in Puget Sound Energy’s green-energy program by year’s end.
If the campaign is successful, the utility will give each city a solar project grant totalling $40,000 in Olympia and $20,000 in Lacey.
The idea behind the voluntary “Flip the Switch” campaign is to support renewable-energy projects such as wind and solar in the region, which, in turn, creates green-energy jobs and lessens the region’s dependence on fossil fuels.
More than 60 percent of Puget Sound Energy’s wholesale power comes from coal and natural-gas plants, both sources of greenhouse-gas emissions, according to the utility’s 2009 energy portfolio.
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About 4,000 residents and businesses in Olympia and Lacey and 30,000 throughout the utility’s service territory are signed up for the green-power program.
If a household signs up for 100 percent green power, it will pay about $10-$12 more per month for electricity. The reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions will be equal to taking a car off the road for a year or avoiding an estimated 16,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, according to a campaign fact sheet supplied by the utility.
The cities will use community events, utility billings and their websites to promote the campaign, city officials said. Olympia will launch the campaign at the grand opening of its new City Hall from 1-4 p.m. March 26, Olympia spokeswoman Bonnie Herrington said.
In Lacey, electricity consumed by city operations, including streetlights, is derived from green power, Lacey assistant city manager Scott Spence said. In Olympia, the city utilities use green power.
Puget Sound Energy launched its green-power program in 2001. Since 1997, an estimated 22 percent of all new renewable energy brought on line in the United States is tied to the voluntary green power market, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
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