EWEB a Pioneer in Renewable Energy Payment Plans
Byline: GUEST VIEWPOINT By Bill Welch For The Register-Guard
Gov. Ted Kulongoski recently unveiled his climate change goals for the 2009 Oregon Legislature. One of the goals - developing a pilot program to allow Oregonians to sell renewable power directly to their local utility - prompted a guest viewpoint by Jennifer Gleason of the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (Register-Guard, Nov. 18).
Gleason's central point was that the success of a pilot program hinges on the need for a renewable energy payment policy, also known as REP. In such a policy, utilities purchase all of the output from customers' generation systems "at a fair price for an extended period." She correctly identified several elements to make sure a policy works.
One need not look far to find an example of a successful pilot program. That's because the Eugene Water & Electric Board already completed a pilot program almost identical to what the governor and Gleason are suggesting. The utility also has an REP in place for customers who wish to install solar or other renewable generation systems.
The utility initiated its pilot program, the EWEB Photovoltaic Generation Program, in 2001. EWEB provided access to its electric distribution system, provided 10-year contracts to purchase all the output of photovoltaic generation systems at almost twice the average retail rate, and worked with local contractors to implement the program - all of the key elements Gleason identified.
In 2007, EWEB created a full program modeled after the pilot program. EWEB's Photovoltaic Generation Program currently is the only one of its kind in Oregon. …