Madison Gas and Electric's (MGE) green pricing program announced its residential participation has rapidly expanded during the four month period beginning in January 2008, when MGE made some changes in the program. Residential participation in the Green Power Tomorrow program went from 4,300 to nearly 12,000 customers during the period. More than 10% of the utility's residential customers are now participating in the program, and about 9.4% of all customers. Total sales for the program now exceed 135 million kWh per year.
The changes MGE made in January included a substantial drop in the premium for program participants, from 2.7¢/kWh to 1.0¢/kWh over the standard rate. Most residential participants are now buying enough wind energy to meet 100% of their needs, at an average cost of about $6 per month per household.
The expansion in participation was made possible by a significant increase in wind energy available to the program. In 2007, MGE increased its wind energy capacity from 11 to 87 MW, through a combination of new regional development and purchased power. MGE constructed a new 30 MW wind farm in Iowa and is purchasing wind energy from two other projects, one in Wisconsin and one in Iowa.
MGE also is doubling the amount of solar energy available in its pilot program, called Clean Power Partners. Under this program, customers can install solar photovoltaic systems on their home or businesses and then sell that energy back to MGE.
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