Frequently Asked Questions
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Learn more about the Blue Sky program
- What is renewable energy and why is it important?
Renewable energy is energy generated from resources that can be regenerated or replenished naturally, such as wind, solar, various forms of biomass, geothermal, hydro power and offshore wind, wave and tidal. Renewable energy is important for many reasons, including:
- Less impact on the environment than non-renewable sources
- Lower levels of air pollutants and wastewater
- Reduced greenhouse gas emissions
- Reduced reliance on imported and domestic fossil fuels
- Boost to local economies through job creation and investments in local renewable energy projects
- What is the Blue Sky program?
Blue Sky is a voluntary program that provides an easy and convenient way for our customers to support renewable energy in the West. It goes beyond the renewable resources included in your basic service mix and helps build a larger market for renewable energy by increasing demand.
- How does Blue Sky work?
When you enroll in Blue Sky, Pacific Power purchases renewable energy certificates from renewable energy facilities in the West to match your Blue Sky purchase. This process:
- Guarantees that electricity from renewable resources is delivered to the regional power system equal to your Blue Sky purchase
- Reduces the need for electricity generated from non-renewable sources like fossil fuels
- Has measurable environmental benefits that you can claim
- Increases demand for renewable energy in the region on your behalf
- What are the benefits to signing up for Blue Sky?
In addition to helping to build demand for renewable energy, reducing dependence on fossil fuels, supporting the construction of renewable energy projects and helping to restore and preserve native fish habitat* you will receive the following:
- two online program newsletters per year (Forecast)
- an annual report early each year
- a window cling to show your support
- access to mobile coupons through the Chinook Book app (Oregon only)**
- email to request a yardsign to show your support.
* Blue Sky Habitat is available to residential and small business customers in Oregon only.
**As our list of Blue Sky business partners grows in other states, we will have the ability to expand the offering to other state’s customers. This allows us to ensure an attractive selection of coupons for residential customers while using Blue Sky dollars responsibly in each state they are generated.
- By supporting Blue Sky am I really making a difference?
Yes. Enrolling in Blue Sky makes a big impact – on the environment, on local communities and more.
For example, a customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month can avoid 2 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year by supporting Blue Sky at a level equal to their energy use. That’s the same greenhouse gas reduction as not driving a car for one year.
Learn more about the difference Blue Sky customers are making!
Calculate the environmental impacts and costs of Blue Sky based on the option and level you want to support with our online calculator.
Supporting the Blue Sky Block option also helps fund the construction of new, smaller scale renewable energy projects in your state. See a full list of community renewable energy projects that customers have supported.
- Where is the renewable energy for the Blue Sky program generated?
Blue Sky customers support renewable energy from newly developed facilities in the western region. Learn more about the renewable energy resources that Blue Sky customers support
- If I move, does the Blue Sky enrollment transfer to my new location?
Yes. If you sign up for Blue Sky and move within Pacific Power's service area, you will automatically continue with Blue Sky. There's no need to sign up for Blue Sky again when you sign up for electric service at your new home or business.
- How do I sign up?
Sign up now or call us toll free at 1-800-769-3717.
Cost related answers
- How much does Blue Sky cost?
In Oregon, Pacific Power customers have three options when choosing to support renewable energy.
Blue Sky Block (available in all Pacific Power states) costs an additional $1.95 per 100 kilowatt-hour block purchased and doesn’t fluctuate from month to month with your usage.
To calculate what your expected costs would be, please visit our online calculator.
- Where does my money go?
Funds received from participating customers are used to purchase renewable energy certificates (RECs) from regional renewable energy facilities equal to the Blue Sky purchase to grow the support for renewable energy through customer education and outreach efforts, cover the costs of offering the program and depending on your enrollment option, may support the construction of new community-based renewable energy projects in your state (Block option) or native fish habitat restoration in Oregon (Habitat option). We are required by regulations to allocate the costs associated with the Blue Sky program to customers who choose to participate, and we do not make a profit by offering this option to customers.
Where does your money go?
Information provided is based on a three year average for the 2013-2015 periods. Percentages are for the Pacific Power region - which includes Oregon, Washington and California. The Usage/Habitat options are available in Oregon only.
*Customer funds can be used to create funding awards for renewable energy projects throughout the company’s service territory to help advance renewable energy technology. For this period 31 percent of renewable energy funds went to support the construction of new community-based projects that increase public education and awareness of renewable technologies.
- How do I know I am getting what I pay for?
The Blue Sky program is overseen by your state’s public utility commission, regional advisory groups and is Green-e Energy certified. Green-e Energy certifies that the Blue Sky program meets the minimum environmental and consumer protection standards established by the non-profit Center for Resource Solutions that were developed in conjunction with leading environmental, energy and policy organizations.
- Why does Blue Sky cost more than basic service?
The Blue Sky program offers customers the opportunity to support the increased use of renewable energy above the amount that Pacific Power already generates or purchases on behalf of all its customers. Blue Sky provides an option for those who want to do even more to encourage additional renewable development – all for as little as $1.95 extra per month.
- Does Pacific Power earn a profit from my Blue Sky participation?
No. Pacific Power does not profit from any of the Blue Sky options.
Pacific Power and renewable energy
- Why does Pacific Power offer renewable energy options?
The desire to give customers an opportunity to support renewable energy development above what Pacific Power is already generating, the importance of developing the regional economy, and Pacific Power’s commitment to expanding the use of renewable resources have all contributed to the existence of the Blue Sky program.
- What is Pacific Power doing to bring more renewable energy to the region?
Pacific Power is dedicated to providing safe and reliable electric service to our customers, and acquiring cost-effective resources to meet customers’ growing electricity needs. PacifiCorp (Pacific Power’s parent company) is the second largest owner of wind-powered generation in the nation, according to the American Wind Energy Association. Our planning and investment in cost-effective wind energy has provided valuable tax revenues, jobs and other benefits for our customers and the communities we serve. It also has positioned the company to meet renewable portfolio standards and/or carbon reduction initiatives enacted in four of the six states within our service area.
- What are Renewable Portfolio Standards?
To promote the development of new renewable resources and decrease reliance on fossil fuels for electricity generation, Oregon, California and Washington have all passed a laws to create a renewable portfolio standard (RPS).
These laws established that Pacific Power and other large utilities would increase development and use of renewable energy sources. The RPS requirements for each state vary and are listed below.
These goals do not include the renewable energy certificates purchased on behalf of our voluntary Blue Sky renewable energy program and Blue Sky customers. The renewable energy supported by Blue Sky customers is above and beyond that which Pacific Power purchases to meet their RPS.
State Amount Year Organization administering RPS CA 33% 2030 California Energy Commission OR 25% 2025 Oregon Department of Energy WA 15% 2020 Washington Secretary of State
Quick facts about renewable energy
- If I choose a renewable energy option, will I actually receive electricity from renewable energy generation sources?
Because of the way the power system works, electricity from a specific facility or source does not flow directly to a specific customer. However, we guarantee that renewable energy in the exact amount you sign up to buy through Blue Sky is purchased on your behalf from newly developed facilities in the western United States. This creates measurable environmental benefits and hastens renewable energy development. These purchases of renewable energy credits are in addition to the renewable energy Pacific Power already generates or purchases on behalf of all customers.
- What is a Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) or green tag?
Renewable energy certificates (RECs), also known as “green tags,” are proof that 1 megawatt-hour (MWh) of renewable energy was generated and delivered to the regional power pool, and they represent the environmental attributes of the power produced from renewable energy projects. RECs are sold separately from the electricity commodity.
For every unit of renewable energy generated and delivered to the regional power pool, an equivalent amount of renewable energy certificates (RECs) are created representing a tracking mechanism to ensure that no two customers pay for the same unit of renewable energy generation. When you sign up for Blue Sky, Pacific Power contracts for RECs to match the equivalent of your ongoing electrical needs or the number of Blue Sky blocks you elect to purchase. Thus, the more RECs that are sold, the more demand is created for renewable power. As renewable facilities sell out their RECs, demand shifts to bring more renewable energy sources on-line.
New renewable energy sources are being constructed across the United States to meet the demand created for renewable energy. Your purchase of RECs benefits the environment by encouraging greater renewable energy generation and displacing non-renewable generation from the electricity system.
- How do wind turbines affect wildlife?
Wind power generation is associated with many positive impacts for the environment; however, wildlife interactions do occur at some sites. The wind industry continues to work hard to minimize these impacts and it is important to note that modern wind projects are far less harmful to birds than radio towers, tall buildings, airplanes, pesticides, vehicles and numerous other man made objects. This is an ongoing focus for the wind industry, permitting agencies, wildlife agencies and supporters of renewable energy resources.
Blue Sky facilities*
It is our desire to ensure that the renewable energy supported by customers through Blue Sky meets their expectations – that includes supporting newer facilities with more advanced technologies and practices. Green-e Energy certifies that the Blue Sky program meets the environmental and consumer protection standards established by the non-profit Center for Resource Solutions, which consider environmental, energy and policy organizations.
The wind industry continues to innovate and collaborate with permitting agencies, wildlife agencies and researchers among others to minimize the impacts of wind farm construction and operation with advances in:
- siting and operation of wind farms
- technologies that help minimize harm to birds and other wildlife
- mitigation of habitat and wildlife impacts through conservation measures
- federal guidelines that protect wildlife
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service provides guidelines that help wind energy project developers avoid and minimize impacts of land-based, wind projects on wildlife and their habitats. These voluntary guidelines focus on minimizing impacts through siting, design and operation of wind farms. To the extent there is adverse interaction between a renewable resource and avian, bat or other forms of wildlife, wind facility owners typically collaborate with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and/or other wildlife agencies to create conservation and mitigation plans. These plans, which typically include pre-construction siting assessments and monitoring commitments, protocols and statistical adjustments to account for scavenging, then serve as the basis for collaboration between the wind project owner and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to avoid, minimize and mitigate for avian interactions.
*The wind generation facilities that Blue Sky customers support are in addition to those facilities that PacifiCorp owns.
- siting and operation of wind farms
- Where can I get more information on renewable energy options and renewable energy generation?
Call a customer service representative at 1-800-769-3717 or explore the resources below: