31 August 2009

The Little Idea that Could.

At the CEED groundbreaking, I ran into a representative from American Electric Power. He was there to get some shine off the CEED project. Now I have no problem with folk wanting to learn more or wanting to do more but I do have a problem with a primarily coal burning utility trying to greenwash itself. So at my first opportunity, I cornered the AEP rep and asked him bluntly what he was doing to further sustainable energy. After touting the hydro projects (most projects almost as old as I am) he said they were going to put some solar panels on a building they own in Ohio. I listened and then asked "what about making it feasible for locally generated power to feed into the grid?". He then went into an explanation about how the State Corporation Commission sets the rates and how there is more than the wholesale costs to power generation (Company line all the way). I told him that the actual legislation does give individual power companies the option of paying higher then wholesale for customer generated power and that I had a suggestion on how to do this without costing AEP anything.

I suggested that they add a check box for green power to fund locally generated sustainable power (like the neighbor to neighbor fund) and that this extra money be used to boost the rate paid for customer generated power. After the surprised expression left his face, he said "well maybe we could do that, but it may be prohibitive" Not being one to take no for an answer, I told him how hard it was to get into the AEP hierarchy and asked if he could help me get to the right people. He said he wasn't sure, but I asked for his card and will be following up this week. More as it unfolds.

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