FORT COLLINS, Colo.- Platte River Power Authority, the electricity supplier to the communities of Estes Park, Fort Collins, Longmont and Loveland, landed the tenth spot of the top ten utilities in the United States for providing green pricing programs according to a report released by the Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
Platte River made the list for new renewable resources supported by green pricing programs for wind energy supplied to its four municipal utility partners and Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc.
"Platte River has, from its beginning in 1973, focused on its environmental stewardship in addition to providing reliable electricity at a low cost," said John Bleem, Division Manager of Customer Services for Platte River. "Our owners-the people living in our four communities-look to us to make good decisions when it comes to balancing these goals."
Green pricing is a generic term for the offer of electricity generated from clean, environmentally preferred sources such as solar, wind, geothermal and some types of biomass and hydro energy resources. Consumers who choose to purchase this product pay a small premium for the green electricity. This idea has been getting significant attention since its conception in 1992.
To date, more than 330 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy capacity has been installed or is planned nationwide as a result of green pricing programs according to NREL. More than 90 utilities in 31 states now offer these programs according to NREL.
Platte River made the commitment to add wind as a part of its energy mix when it purchased the assets of a wind generation site near Medicine Bow, Wyoming, in 1998. Fort Collins was the first city in Colorado to receive wind energy from the first two wind turbines. The site has since been expanded to include 10 turbines with a generating capacity of approximately 6 MW. Energy from the wind turbines is now provided to all of Platte River's owner communities, as well as to Tri-State and the Municipal Energy Association of Nebraska (MEAN). The energy generated is equivalent to the average usage of about 2,000 homes.
NREL is managed by Midwest Research Institute, Battelle and Bechtel. Its Energy Analysis Office, funded by DOE, analyzes trends in green power. The laboratory conducts research on photovoltaics, wind energy, plant- and waste-derived fuels and chemicals, energy-efficient buildings, advanced vehicle design, geothermal energy and hydrogen fuel cells.