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Renewable Energy Evergreen Options FAQ

 

 

General


How do I sign up?

You can enroll your home or business online or by contacting Tacoma Power at (253) 502-8600 or evergreen@cityoftacoma.org.

What are the benefits of participating in this program?

Your participation directly supports the ongoing development of renewable energy in our region and offsets your overall carbon footprint.

Other benefits include:

-        Ability to vote on local renewable energy grant applications for nonprofits

-        Email newsletter updates about Tacoma Power’s activities

-        Window clings to display and show your commitment to renewable energy

Will renewable energy be delivered directly to my home or business?

The electricity from the renewable energy projects that are part of the Evergreen Options program are put into the electric grid along with electricity from all of our other resources. Like water or natural gas, it’s not possible to differentiate the electricity from those projects from other electricity in the grid before it’s delivered to where you will use it. However, by enrolling in Tacoma Power’s Evergreen Options program and purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) from renewable projects, you are directly supporting the regional development of renewable energy that is available to the entire system.

Why should I pay extra for renewable energy when Tacoma Power’s electricity is already clean and mostly carbon-free?

It’s true that Tacoma Power’s electricity comes from mostly clean, renewable hydro, but your participation in our Evergreen Options program can offset the small amount of your electricity use that comes from fossil fuels. It can also offset your overall carbon footprint beyond your electricity use. For example, emissions from your personal vehicle or natural gas home heating can be offset.

How is my contribution used?

Your contribution goes to the purchase of RECs based on your selected level of participation, funds our local renewable energy grant program for nonprofits, and covers minimal communications costs of the program.

How do I subscribe to the Evergreen Options newsletter?

To subscribe to the Evergreen Options newsletter, submit your email below.

 
Additional Questions? Email us at evergreen@cityoftacoma.org
 


Third-Party Programs


Is this program managed by a third party?

No, this program is managed directly by Tacoma Power. While there are other REC programs offered by third parties, Tacoma Power’s program sources our RECs regionally and funds grants for local nonprofits to install renewable energy projects. Tacoma Power’s program is also less expensive at only 1.2 cents per kilowatt hour.

I signed up for a similar program with another company. Why can’t I access my TPU bill anymore?

Some third-party programs take over your utility bill, payment, and online account for you and then charge you a processing fee in addition to your regular bill. They may also replace your utility bill with an invoice of their own that will not show you the same level of detail or urgent messages you would receive directly from your local utility. Tacoma Power does not recommend giving out your account logins.

Is paperless billing required for enrollment in the Evergreen Options program?

No, you can still receive a paper bill from Tacoma Public Utilities if that’s your preference.

Is there a transaction and processing fee for this program?

No, Tacoma Power’s program enrollment costs go directly to the purchase of RECs based on your selected level of participation, funding for our local renewable energy grant program for nonprofits, and minimal communications costs of the program.

 


Renewable Energy Grants

Who can apply?

Registered 501(c)(3)s, nonprofit academic institutions, government agencies, and public agencies can apply. Applicants must be an Evergreen Options participant to apply. See enrollment options.

What’s the process to apply for a grant?

  1. Tacoma Power advertises the grant opportunity.

  2. Nonprofits submit grant applications.

  3. Tacoma Power vets for project feasibility.

  4. A cross-section of TPU employees vets proposals down to three or four finalists, based on application evaluation criteria.

  5. Winning proposal selected through a vote by Evergreen Options participants.

What kinds of projects have the best chance of receiving funding?

TPU’s selection team will be looking for proposals that leverage new or multiple renewable energy technologies and have educational value for our community. See a complete list of considerations in the grant application packet.

How will grant applications be scored?

The following weighting percentages will be used to score the applications.

Attribute

Weighting Percentage

Project Readiness

20%

Costs and Funding

25%

Innovation

10%

Community Benefits

35%

Overall Proposal

10%

For more details, see the grant application packet.

How will recipients be selected?

TPU will narrow the applications down to the top finalists, and the final selection will be made through a vote by Evergreen Options participants.
 
How can the funds be used?
 
Each grant project will receive up to $50,000 towards equipment and installation costs. Funds can be used for wind, solar, geothermal, landfill gas, wave or tidal, biomass, gas produced during the treatment of wastewater, and qualified hydropower. Funds cannot be used for estimates, administrative costs, or site improvements.

What if our organization doesn’t own the property where the project would be installed?
 
You don’t have to own the building if you can provide a letter of approval from the owner.

If selected, when would we receive funding?
 
A first payment of 30% of the grant funds will be released at the time of the award. The remaining funds will be released once the project is complete and verified.

How soon does the project need to be completed?
 
Recipients will have 18 months from the time of the award to complete the project. An extension is possible if a change order request is submitted and approved. Recipients will also need to show that their project is fully funded within 30 days of the award date.

Does Tacoma Power have a list of solar installers that I can choose from in getting bids for a potential grant project?
 
Go to solarinstallersofwa.org for a list of solar installers in Washington.  For more specifics, please read the Evergreen Options Grant Award Memo of Understanding.
 

If you have questions or if you would like to have a Tacoma Power representative come talk to your organization about the program and grant opportunities, email us at evergreen@cityoftacoma.org.