Cost savings trump green energy in Normal aggregation plan

November 21, 2012 by  
Filed under Green Energy News



Sharron Fort and her husband voted for electric aggregation but on Monday she expressed concerns about the town’s plan to seek 100 percent renewable energy.

“To our knowledge, renewable energy is not as cost-effective,” Fort said during one of two public hearings seeking public input on proposed guidelines to carry out the aggregation. The hearing came before a City Council vote to approve aggregation guidelines.

“We wouldn’t have been supportive of eliminating companies that could provide the lowest cost of energy,” she said.

While seeking renewable energy sources is included in the plan, Normal City Manager Mark Peterson said “cost savings is the primary objective.”

Peterson said Good Energy, the town’s consultant and the company that will be seeking bids from electrical suppliers, is “confident green power will be just as cheap as non-green.”

Council members Sonja Reece and Adam Nielsen had similar concerns.

“My impression was that we were looking for low cost,” Nielsen said. “I do believe (renewable energy) must be the same price or very, very close to the lowest possible cost or otherwise we are misleading people.”

“I share those concerns,” said Reece. “Cost was a paramount reason and if we get the bonus of renewable, that’s even better.”

Mayor Chris Koos said getting the best cost is the town’s intent.

Councilman Chuck Scott noted that it is unlikely any supplier could provide 100 percent of the energy from renewable sources. It’s more apt to be a mixture of renewable and nonrenewable sources, he said.

Besides addressing energy sources, the guidelines that ultimately were approved by the council also state residents will receive two letters — one from the power supplier and another from Ameren — giving them a chance to opt out of the program at no charge. Residents must reply with 19 days of the first letter or five days of the second.

Good Energy will accept final bids from electric suppliers on Dec. 11. The opt-out program likely will start Dec. 18 and end in early January.

Koos cautioned residents about solicitors who come to their door saying they represent the company in electric aggregation. The town will not solicit door to door, he said, and those companies were not hired for electric aggregation on behalf of the town.

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