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Northwest Utilities Warn Green Energy May Raise Rates

Major Northwest utilities are ahead of schedule in meeting state requirements to provide green energy.  Still, some electric companies are chafing under the standards and warn of future “rate shocks.”  Correspondent Tom Banse reports.

A relatively new Oregon law requires the state’s largest utilities to get 5 percent of their electricity from wind, solar, wave or other renewable sources by 2011.  

Washington voters imposed a slightly lower standard, three percent green power by 2012.  An analysis by the Portland-based Renewable Northwest Project finds Oregon’s biggest utilities have all surpassed the 2011 target already. 

Major Washington utilities are “well on their way” to compliance according to the group’s director Rachel Shimshak.  She’s a little perplexed that Washington utilities are seeking more flexibility to meet future targets.
Rachel Shimshak: “Total consensus on this issue has been elusive.”
At the Washington Legislature this week, some electric utilities aired concerns they might be forced to raise rates.  They fear they’ll have to buy expensive wind power to meet green energy goals even though they don’t need more electricity.

Renewable NW Project: Report on renewable energy progress