For more information on the Yampa Valley Electric Association's renewable energy program or to sign up for the plan, call 824-6593.
Craig This year, signing up for the Yampa Valley Electric Association's green energy program will be about 80 percent cheaper than last year.
YVEA spokesman Jim Chappell said he was excited for his company to be able to bring environmentally clean and bank account-friendly energy to its customers.
"It's great for us to be able to provide this," he said. "I hope we have many customers take advantage."
Chappell's company was able to secure additional Renewable Energy Credits through its wholesale supplier, Xcel Energy, he said. The credits act as block purchases, and with the increased supply, the price becomes cheaper.
Where YVEA used to charge $3 per 100 kilowatt-hours on top of other electricity costs, this year it will cost a customer interested in green power 60 cents extra per kilowatt-hour.
Chappell said an average household uses about 800 kilowatt-hours of electricity a month. Asking for renewable energy, then, would cost the average household about $57 a year, a savings of about $230 a year compared to program costs in 2007.
Depending on the customer demand, that could get cheaper, Chappell said. Consumers drive the market.
YVEA started buying electricity from renewable generation sources because of customer interest, Chappell said, and if the company could justify buying more Renewable Energy Credits, the program will get cheaper for each participant.
Right now, Chappell said participation is fairly limited, with about 300 customers out of about 25,000 asking for renewable energy.
Customers shouldn't be nervous about power fluctuations by participating in the program, Chappell said, even when the wind isn't blowing and clouds hide the sun.
"When a customer asks for renewable energy from us, we add that power to our grid," he said. "It starts to make a bigger share of our total energy, but everything is backed up by traditional gas-fire generation."
Chappell said YVEA is committed to meeting a standard set by the Colorado Legislature requiring it to buy 10 percent of its total supply of electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
In 2007, YVEA's energy portfolio comprised about 5.5 percent in renewable energy purchases without factoring in hydroelectric power, and the company estimates that number to increase to 8 percent in 2008.
"I'd like to see us get well above 10 percent before the 2020 deadline," Chappell said.
Collin Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or firstname.lastname@example.org