Xcel proposes green-only electricity as option for business, residential customers

By StarTribune (Minneapolis)

Nov 13, 2015

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Corporate and other customers of Xcel Energy Inc. in Minnesota will have the option of signing long-term deals to get their electricity from wind and solar farms under a proposed program called Renewable Connect announced Thursday by the utility.

The program, which requires state regulatory approval, would be open to all customers. But key features are aimed at large business power users that have corporate sustainability targets or wish to market themselves as powered by renewable energy.

“Businesses are more careful about how they source everything, including energy,” said Bill Blazar, a vice president of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce. “It is almost like a kosher seal on a chicken — they are looking for that something to offer to their customers who want it. They are responding to the market.”

Renewable Connect is designed so that its customers end up with the electricity’s renewable energy certificates (RECs), which certify it’s green energy, Xcel said. That’s important because the under Federal Trade Commission rules, it’s deceptive marketing for companies to say they use renewable energy if they don’t holds RECs.

Xcel submitted its proposal to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, which could take a year to review it. Xcel said the utility won’t earn a profit on the program, which also is designed so that its costs won’t be shifted to non-participants.

Read more about the Xcel proposal and how it fits into the U.S. voluntary “green power” market.

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