We strive to be good stewards of our environment. As part of that commitment, the Evergreen Options program launched in 2001. Evergreen Options is a voluntary green power program that supports the development of new renewable resources in the Pacific Northwest. Interested customers have the choice of either purchasing 250kWh blocks for $3 per block or buying a percentage of their electricity use for an additional 1.2 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) over their normal electrical charges. Participation allows Evergreen Options customers to use new renewable energy sources like wind or solar in addition to hydroelectricity to power their home or business.
Our hydroelectricity helps us to maintain an energy portfolio that is 97% carbon-free. “Tacoma Power is a very clean utility,” said Sarah Sweet, Conservation Program Coordinator. “We don’t have a large carbon footprint from how we generate our power. The carbon we do have comes from what we purchase on the open market. Evergreen Options is one way to help the larger power grid become cleaner. The more demand there is for clean energy, the more supply will be needed.”
The cost of certified renewable energy has dropped over the years and the program underwent a refresh in 2017. The refreshed program includes a $50k grant available to schools, public agencies, and non-profits that wish to install new local renewable energy projects. Grant recipients are selected in a competitive process, including a feasibility study. Winning projects are selected by participating Evergreen Options customers, who get to vote for their favorite project.
The first grant was awarded to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Grant funds will be used to install a 26 kilowatt solar project on-site at the Asian Forest Sanctuary exhibit. That area serves as the indoor overnight location for a variety of the animal species that live at the zoo including the Indian Crested Porcupine. “What’s better than supporting a new, renewable energy project in their home town,” said Bruce Carter, Conservation Manager.
Two grants were awarded in 2018. The first to Tacoma Housing Authority who will use the grant to include solar panels on the new Arlington Drive Campus for at-risk Homeless Youth and Young Adults. The second to Bates Technical College – South Campus for a new solar powered parking lot lighting project.
Evergreen Options participants enable more clean renewable energy projects to be built right here in Tacoma. It also offsets the house or building’s carbon footprint, and speaks to the desire of customers to have more clean, renewable energy added to the power grid. If you are interested in joining Evergreen Options, or if you want more information on the program, visit MyTPU.org/Evergreen.