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Green Mountain makes community connection

In two areas of California, electricity customers who choose one of the renewable power blends offered by Green Mountain Energy will now also be contributing to local environmental causes-and more such programs may soon follow. Each new home signing up in the area near Eureka and Arcata, north of San Francisco, an area at the centre of debate over the logging of redwood trees, will see $35 donated to the Redwood Alliance, says Green Mountain Power. The alliance is a local social and environmental organisation that promotes safe and efficient energy use and development. "Any choice of a cleaner energy provider absolutely must result in new renewable energy sources being built," says the Redwood Alliance's Michael Welch. "Green Mountain is still the only one doing that, which is an important feature if we are to replace the dirty technologies we've been stuck with for decades." Green Mountain, an electricity marketer based in South Burlington in Vermont, has also launched a similar program for those who sign up in the area of the Santa Cruz. For each new residential customer in that area, Green Mountain will give $20 to Save Our Shores and to the Homeless Garden Project. The former fights to protect the nearby coastline while the Homeless Garden Project trains homeless people in an organic garden, giving them skills and income. "We are dedicated to increasing the citizen awareness of conservation issues," notes Vicki Nichols of Save Our Shores. "By joining with Green Mountain we can educate the community on issues of environmental preservation." Kevin Hartley, in charge of marketing at Green Mountain, says he expects the power marketer to make similar deals with other community organisations. Green Mountain sells electricity so far in two deregulated markets, California and Pennsylvania.

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