Solar panels — similar to this array in Solano County — would be used along with wind power sources to provide customers with a new ‘Green Option’ for an additional “modest” premium. Courtesy photo

Reposted from Davis Enterprise

PG&E may soon make “going green” a little easier for its customers.

On Tuesday, the utility went before the California Public Utilities Commission to formally propose a “Green Option” program that, if approved, would allow PG&E to offer 100 percent renewable energy to its customers for an additional “modest” premium added on to their monthly energy bill.

“On behalf of our customers, PG&E is already one of the largest suppliers of renewable energy in the country,” said Helen Burt, PG&E senior vice president and chief customer officer in a news release.

“We have heard from many of our customers, however, who want to do even more to support clean energy and the green economy. Our Green Option, backed by an independent third-party’s environmental certification, will give them that choice.”

PG&E hopes the CPUC will rule on the proposal by early 2013, so that it may roll out the program as soon as possible.

Customers on regular PG&E plans already receive more than 50 percent of their energy through renewable sources, free of greenhouse gas emissions, said Jan Berman, PG&E senior director in customer energy solutions Tuesday.

The new program would draw energy primarily from wind and solar sources.

“Customers will be able to sign up immediately through our call center or other options,” Berman explained. “As soon as they sign up they will see about another $6 a month (on their bills).”

Though, that $6 charge is an estimated average premium for the service. The cost depends on the customer’s kilowatt usage per month.

PG&E also believes that the program makes “going green” affordable for those who don’t have the means to reconfigure their homes to accommodate renewable energy technology, but that are mindful of the environment.

“Over time, PG&E is committed to acquiring renewable energy for all its customers,” Berman added.

PG&E also has been working with municipalities throughout California to garner support and to collaborate with city leaders, including Davis Mayor Joe Krovoza, in order to make the program a success.

“The PG&E Green Option will empower citizens to participate in California’s low-carbon energy future,” Krovoza added in the news release.

“Consumer engagement in renewable energy moves us one step closer to stabilizing the Earth’s climate — which will require an 80 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050. Consumer investment in clean energy supplies will accelerate their interest in the equally important need for demand reduction and the overall efficient use of our limited low-carbon energy supplies.”

To ensure customers that they are receiving 100 percent renewable energy, PG&E says it will buy “renewable energy certificates” to match the portion of each participating electric customer’s energy that is not already covered by PG&E’s eligible renewable energy deliveries.

“These certificates represent proof that specific quantities of electricity were generated from renewable sources such as wind and solar,” the news release said. “PG&E will take steps to certify the Green Option through Green-e Energy, a program of the nonprofit Center for Resource Solutions in San Francisco. It is the leading certifier of voluntary renewable energy programs in the United States.”

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corp., is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States.