In what is billed as the largest green power purchase yet by a state government, Pennsylvania has announced a minimum two-year commitment to buy enough renewable energy credits to cover 20 percent of the state’s internal government’s electric use.
The Commonwealth simply expanded and doubled an existing green power contract it had with Community Energy Inc. Some news reports say that the new contract allows the state to purchase 200,000,000 kilowatt-hours a year at a premium price of $550,000 per year on top of normal electric rates. According to the Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP), the contract’s premium is 0.34 cents per kilowatt hour (equivalent to about $680,000/yr). The state currently pays about $70 million a year for electricity according to the DEP. Regardless of the correct green power rate, the premium represents less than a 1 percent increase in costs to state taxpayers.
The contract calls for electricity that is generated 40 percent from wind power and 60 percent from hydroelectric sources. Community Energy indicates that the 200,000 megawatt hours of renewable energy compared to the average generation mix in the regional electric grid will offset 109,000 tons of CO2.