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Wind and solar sought

Nearly 2000 of Wisconsin Electric's customers have signed up for its "Energy Tomorrow" plan, launched last summer. Participants can buy one-quarter, half or all of their energy from renewable sources if they pay a green price premium.

February 10 is the deadline for bids from suppliers of renewable energy for Wisconsin Electric's (WE) green pricing plan. Nearly 2000 of the utility's customers have signed up for its "Energy Tomorrow" plan, launched last summer. Participants can buy one-quarter, half or all of their energy from renewable sources if they pay a green price premium.

So far WE, based in Milwaukee, has only been able offer biomass and hydro, but it is now encouraging wind, solar/PV, geothermal and landfill gas. In July last year the utility promised it would expand the programme to include Wisconsin-based wind and solar if enough customers signed up. (Windpower Monthly, July 1996). "Based on the interest our customers have shown, we're mailing information to an additional 200,000 residential customers beginning later this month with the goal of boosting participation," says Christopher Schoenherr, the utility's senior local affairs representative. WE expects to make a final selection by March 14. Delivery of the new renewable power is expected to start on May 1.

WE introduced the programme to stimulate both demand for renewables and their supply. Residential customers who want 100% renewable energy only pay about $11 monthly extra, or $0.02/kWh. Contracts with current suppliers expires on April 30, says the utility. WE, which announced the new request for proposals on January 14, is a unit of Wisconsin Energy Corp.

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