NC GreenPower is a green energy program launched by the NC Utilities Commission in 2003. Now it wants to offer special rates to industrial customers that buy large amounts of renewable energy. Currently, big customers pay $2.50 per kilowatt hour (kWh) (residential customers pay $4 per kWh). NC GreenPower has asked the state's Utilities Commission for permission to offer companies that spend more than $25,000 a year the option to choose their renewable energy from bids submitted by energy generators at prices below $2.50. Companies could even select their source of energy like wind, solar, hydropower or hog waste. NC GreenPower would charge a 25 percent commission, added to the price submitted by the generator. From the Business Journal:
Maggy Inman, vice president and program manager for NC GreenPower, says the proposal offers "a more competitive pricing option for renewable energy."NC GreenPower serves about 9,700 customers, including residential users and businesses that together purchased 21 million KWh in 2006 - less than 1 percent of the state's total power generation. Currently only 22 companies are spending $3,000 or more on renewable energy annually.
Inman says the idea for discount pricing came from potential industrial customers that currently buy renewable power from other states because it is cheaper. She declined to name any of the potential customers.
"We want to be able to offer something more competitive for some of our resources," says Bob Koger, chief executive of Advanced Energy, another nonprofit that administers the NC GreenPower program.
The Utilities Commission considers this proposal as the state legislature debates a renewable energy standard requiring utilities to obtain a certain amount of their electricity from renewables. A ruling is expected by April 15.