Program Gives Users Option to Go Fully Renewable

Customers enrolled in Redwood Coast Energy Authority’s community choice energy program can “opt up” so that all the electricity coming into their home or business comes from 100 percent renewable sources.

“It’s a great, attainable way to fight climate change by reducing your carbon footprint,” Eureka City Councilman Austin Allison, who opted into the program this month, said.

“We offer repower as the base option which gets you to about 40 percent renewable energy,” RCEA community strategies coordinator Barbara Garcia said.

Opting into REpower+ moves that percentage up to 100, she said.

“We fill that 60 percent with renewable,” Garcia said.

RCEA executive director Matthew Marshall said the whole goal of the community choice energy and the repower program is to provide customers with more local renewable energy at rates comparable to those offered by the Pacific Gas and Electric Co. Biomass energy from generation plants in Scotia and Samoa is being used and power bills for CCE customers are slightly lower than before. Through REpower+ customers can opt to pay slightly more than their old PG&E bills to only be using renewable energy, he said.

“We’ve had several hundred customers opt up so far,” Marshall said.

He said he hopes even more people, businesses and entities sign up.

“That option costs a penny per kilowatt/hour more which amounts to a few extra dollars a month.” Garcia said.

“Those dollars that are generated by the program are what makes the project successful.”

Money generated by REpower+ customers goes toward maintaining the program, future renewable programs and developing new local renewable energy generation facilities, she said.

“We’re looking at a lot of potential solar sites through the county,” Garcia said this includes the county airport in McKinleyville.

But other renewable options are being explored too, she said.

“I know wind is something to be looked at in the future and wave energy as well,” Garcia said.

People can sign up by calling 1-800-931-7232 or 707-269-1700.

“We try and make it easy,” Garcia said about opting up.

The switch can also be made online at RCEA’s website. For more information, visit cce.redwoodenergy.org. REpower+ information can be accessed by clicking “options” under the “business and government” drop-down tab.

Program Gives Users Option to Go Fully Renewable, by Hunter Cresswell, Eureka Times-Standard, June 24, 2017.

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