Subject: Viridian Note 00127: Austin's Green Choice

Key concepts: green power, Austin, Texas

Attention Conservation Notice: It's a local issue.

Entries in the "Dead Mike" Design contest:

This contest expires February 15, 02000.

(((The Global Climate Coalition is stumbling, Ford has a new electric go-kart division, whale-meat poisons anyone who dares to eat a whale, and my home town has the cheapest GreenChoice energy program in the nation! Year 02000, je t'aime! Life is good, isn't it? I am really enjoying this! Watch me sign up for this new program and crow to an extent that's scarcely bearable!)))


Source: Austin American-Statesman, Jan 12, 02000 page B9

"Electricity consumers get choice of 'greener' energy

by Dick Stanley, American-Statesman staff

"Austin electricity customers willing to pay a little more for a long-lasting contribution to a clean environment will ge the chance in GreenChoice, a new program of Austin Energy, the city-owned electric utility.

"Utility officials announced Tuesday they will buy 40 megawatts of electricity generated from renewable energy sources, such as West Texas wind turbines and methane gas collected from sanitary landfills in Austin and elsewhere. Consumers who want to support the effort can sign up for GreenChoice's higher electric rates.

"Austin Energy will commit as much as 1 percent of its $780 million annual budget for each of the next 10 years == at least $6.8 million in year one, or a maximum of $7.8 million if no customers sign up.

"The utility has signed contracts with two local companies and one from Houston to build wind turbine generators and methane extractors, set to go on line by the fall.

"Customers who wish to participate will pay, based
on an average bill of $70 a month, about an extra 12 cents a day == or $4 a month == on their average monthly electrical bills. Austin Energy officials say the fee is the lowest in the country for a Green Choice program.

"'We're asking everyone in the community to join us,' Mayor Kirk Watson said. 'This will put us on the cutting edge of doing what's right.'

"Officials said the utility needs about 20,000 residential subscribers to make the program work. That level of participation would generate about $1 million a year of the $7.8 million committed to the three companies.

"If enough customers sign up to exceed the 40 megawatts of supply, Austin Energy spokesman Ed Clark said the utility would contract for more wind generators or methane facilities.

"GreenChoice has the potential to 'make Austin the
standard-bearer in the country for renewable energy,' said Mark Kapner, manager of Austin Energy's renewable energy and conservation program.

"Officials said GreenChoice also will help reduce
Austin's ozone air pollution problem, which is expected to draw stringent Environmental Protection Agency restrictions on drivers and businesses by July.

"'We hope everyone in Austin signs up,' City Council
member Gus Garcia said, 'so our children and grandchildren can have clean air.'

"A brochure and applications for the GreenChoice
renewable electricity program are available by calling Austin Energy at 512-499-7827. They can also be picked up at any Austin Public Library location. Or see
on the Internet to apply online."

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