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The Port is teaming up with Puget Sound Energy (PSE) to reduce its carbon footprint by purchasing 100 percent of its power from wind and solar sources. The Port has signed on to the Green Direct program which allows eligible customers to buy electricity generated by renewable resources rather than the conventional mix which includes coal and natural gas.
“The Port of Bellingham is pleased to provide statewide leadership supporting renewable energy, while promoting clean technology manufacturing and employment” said Port Commissioner Michael Shepard. “As the second public port in Washington State to participate in Green Direct, the Port of Bellingham will source 100% of its electricity from wind and solar energy production. Our commitment to renewable energy complements our ongoing environmental sustainability efforts, which include energy conservation, habitat restoration and cleanup of contaminated sites.”
Under the Green Direct program, PSE gets commitments of 10, 15 or 18 years from municipalities and businesses to buy wind and solar. This shared demand for renewable energy incentivizes developers to build new wind and solar facilities. PSE has negotiated a power purchase agreement with a wind energy developer in Lewis County that will start operations in 2019, and a solar project which is expected to come on-line in south-central Washington in 2021. The solar project will be the largest ever built in the state at over 120 MW.
The Port has signed an 18 year agreement with PSE to purchase renewable energy. The renewable electricity charge will consist of an initial fixed rate that will increase two percent annually over the term. As standard electricity prices are forecast to increase by three percent each year, a slight cost savings is predicted for the Port.
The Port joins Whatcom County, the City of Bellingham and Western Washington University as local public sector energy users enrolled in the Green Direct Program. Several iconic Pacific Northwest companies including Starbucks, REI and Microsoft have also signed up for the program.
Whatcom County has a strong track record in supporting renewable energy and energy efficiency. From 2007-09, Bellingham was the #1 EPA certified Green Power Community in America, and currently leads the region in residential solar systems per capita.
PSE residential customers can support renewable energy production by participating in the long-running Green Power Program.