EWEB panel airs new ideas for wind power.Byline: SCOTT MABEN The Register-Guard
A Eugene Eugene, city (1990 pop. 112,669), seat of Lane co., W Oregon, on the Willamette River; inc. 1862. A processing and shipping center in a farming area, the "Emerald City" has lumbering, food-processing, and microchip and other electronics industries. Water & Electric Board program that lets customers "buy" wind power could benefit from a fresh blast of air.
That was one conclusion several EWEB EWEB Eugene Water and Electric Board (Oregon) commissioners reached Tuesday Tuesday: see week. night after being briefed on the first evaluation of the utility's 3 1/2 -year-old wind power marketing program.
EWEB has 2,235 household and 62 business customers who agree to pay more for some or all of their electricity to help cover the costs of EWEB's Wyoming Wyoming, city, United States
Wyoming, city (1990 pop. 63,891), Kent co., W Mich., in the greater Grand Rapids metropolitan area, on the Grand River; settled 1832, inc. 1959. wind farm. The participation rate is down from a peak of nearly 3,000 households in the summer of 2000.
Managers speculate that interest has fallen in response to EWEB's rate increases during the past two years and the poor economy.
Despite the decline in customer subscriptions, the wind power program has met most of its objectives, concluded an internal program evaluation Program evaluation is a formalized approach to studying and assessing projects, policies and program and determining if they 'work'. Program evaluation is used in government and the private sector and it's taught in numerous universities. by Jim Maloney
Subscriptions cover the costs of about half the power EWEB receives from its Foote Foote may refer to:
PacifiCorp has three primary subsidiaries:
Pacific Power is a regulated electric utility with service territory throughout Oregon, northern California, and southeastern Washington. .
Participants in the program paid more than $477,000 of the project's costs in the first three years - an amount that otherwise would have been shared by all EWEB customers.
The program appeals to customers who like having their local utility investing in renewable energy Renewable energy utilizes natural resources such as sunlight, wind, tides and geothermal heat, which are naturally replenished. Renewable energy technologies range from solar power, wind power, and hydroelectricity to biomass and biofuels for transportation. projects and are willing to pay a premium to support it.
"In talking to Noun 1. talking to - a lengthy rebuke; "a good lecture was my father's idea of discipline"; "the teacher gave him a talking to"
rebuke, reprehension, reprimand, reproof, reproval - an act or expression of criticism and censure; "he had to people inside and outside the utility, I don't see any compelling reason to terminate the program," Maloney said.
Commissioners, too, appeared interested in continuing to offer the wind power option.
"Give the customers what they want," Commissioner Paul Conte said.
But they also saw room for improvement. More effort, for instance, needs to be put into marketing wind power to commercial customers, Commissioner Paul Farmer Paul Farmer (born October 26, 1959) is an American anthropologist and physician, currently the Presley Professor of Medical Anthropology at Harvard University and an attending physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. said.
Businesses now buy about one-third as much wind power as residential customers pay for.
"There seems to be almost no commercial appetite for this product," Farmer said.
Part of the reason may be that EWEB has been less aggressive in marketing the program during the past year or two as the utility concentrated instead on dealing with the energy crisis, rate changes and conservation.
Another change the board is contemplating is the way the subscriptions work. Customers now can sign up for 10 percent, 25 percent, 50 percent or 100 percent wind power. Most participate at the 10 percent level, meaning they agree to pay a higher rate for 10 percent of the electricity they use each month.
The percentage system, however, is complicated by EWEB's rate schedule. Customers already pay different rates based on whether it's summer or winter and on how much electricity they use in a given month - the tiered rates adopted in October 2001.
To simplify the program, EWEB could offer to sell 100-kilowatt-hour blocks of wind power for a flat rate - say, $3 a block. Customers could sign up for as many blocks as they wished and would know they're paying the same amount every month, year-round.
The block approach is being used by other utilities around the country that offer "green power" and wind energy marketing programs. "I would like to look at the block approach," Commissioner Dorothy Anderson Anderson, river, Canada
Anderson, river, c.465 mi (750 km) long, rising in several lakes in N central Northwest Territories, Canada. It meanders north and west before receiving the Carnwath River and flowing north to Liverpool Bay, an arm of the Arctic said. "We're having enough problems with tiers as they are."
Not everyone needs further incentives to buy into wind power. While households subscribing at partial levels have been on the decline since early 2001, the number of customers buying 100 percent wind power is on the rise.
EWEB hasn't surveyed any other customers to find out what they like or dislike about the wind power program. The lack of solid feedback may be holding the program back, Maloney said.
"I'd like to know more about those 100 percent customers," he said. "Do they all drive Volvos and listen to KWAX?"
He said EWEB also doesn't know if the program has helped its environmental image - another of the original goals.
Other than assimilating as·sim·i·late
v. as·sim·i·lat·ed, as·sim·i·lat·ing, as·sim·i·lates
a. To consume and incorporate (nutrients) into the body after digestion.
b. the wind power program into the tiered-rate structure last year, wind rates haven't changed since the program began in April 1999. Last spring the utility proposed a slight increase in wind rates but that may not be necessary because project costs this year have been lower than expected, Maloney said.
WIND POWER COSTS
Eugene Water &Electric Board electricity costs for a home using 1,800 kilowatt-hours per month in winter.
No wind: $126.41
10 percent wind: $128.23
25 percent wind: $130.95
50 percent wind: $135.48
100 percent wind: $144.55