The program, approved by Oregon regulators in December, gives residential and small commercial customers of PGE an option to buy 100 kWh blocks of power to either fund more wind or help restore Northwest salmon runs. "PGE has demonstrated its leadership and made an investment for our future," according to Rachel Shimshack of the Renewable Northwest Project.
Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber was one of the first to sign up. The author of The Oregon Plan, designed to guide endangered salmon recovery in Oregon, he chose to power the Governor's mansion in Salem with salmon-friendly power. Others are asking for Clean Wind Power. While Salmon Friendly Power consists of electricity generated from both solar and wind, Clean Wind Power is generated solely by wind turbines.
PGE residential customers can buy up to two blocks - each 100 kWh - of either renewable option, or one block of each, for an extra $5 per month per block. Half the proceeds for each option goes to help pay for the higher-cost power. For the wind-only option, the other half goes to develop new wind facilities. PGE currently buys the 24.5 MW output of FPL Energy's Vansycle Ridge project in eastern Oregon. The quarterly newsletter will be chock-full of discount coupons from a local supermarket chain, leading some to say the cost of the premium could be off-set by store savings.
PGE is currently owned by Enron Corp, but Enron is in the process of selling the utility to Sierra Pacific Resources. PGE has about 800,000 customers in Portland and the northern Willamette Valley.