Frequently Asked Questions
Please see more information about renewable energy and our Blue Sky program below. Click on any question below; click on it again to "close" it.
Learn more about the Blue Sky program
- What is renewable energy and why is it important?
Renewable energy generates electricity with little or no emissions by effectively using resources that can replenish themselves naturally – in other words, they won’t run out. The natural resources that are utilized in the Blue Sky program include wind and solar. Another category of renewable energy is biomass. Biomass includes organic matter and other wastes used to generate electricity. Common sources of biomass electricity supported by the Blue Sky program include burning both sawdust at lumber mills and methane produced at landfills.
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
- How does Blue Sky work?
When you enroll in Blue Sky, Rocky Mountain Power purchases certified renewable energy certificates from regional renewable energy facilities on your behalf. This guarantees that electricity from wind facilities is delivered to the regional power system. Electricity from renewable energy facilities replaces and reduces the need for electricity generated from non-renewable sources like fossil fuels, creating measurable environmental benefits.
- 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 you will receive the following benefits:
- two online program newsletters a year (Forecast)
- one annual report early each year
- a window cling to show your support
- access to mobile coupons through the Chinook Book app (Utah only)*
- Email to request a Yardsign to show your support!
*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!
The average Rocky Mountain Power customer who supports renewable energy equivalent to 100 percent of their monthly usage for one year creates benefits equal to not driving a car for more than 12,146 miles. To see the difference your support can make, visit our equivalent environmental benefits calculator.*
There are currently more than 80,000 customers participating in the Blue Sky program across the company’s service area who are already making a real difference. Since the Blue Sky program began in 2000, Blue Sky customers supported more than 3.5 billion kilowatt-hours of renewable energy– equivalent to the output of 772 utility-scale wind turbines over a 12-month period.**
Enrolling in the Blue Sky renewable energy program also means supporting the construction of new smaller-scale, community-based projects that might not otherwise be built. Since 2006, Blue Sky customers have helped make more than 75 community renewable energy projects possible throughout Rocky Mountain Power’s service area.
Supporting Blue Sky helps increase demand for renewable energy generation. Together, with voluntary customer purchases, company policies and state regulations Blue Sky customers are helping to encourage the development of new renewable energy facilities and reduce the need for other, non-renewable sources of energy.
* The average Rocky Mountain Power customer’s equivalent impacts are based 800 kilowatt-hours per month.
**The total renewable energy supported by Blue Sky customers was calculated from 2000 - 2011, the equivalent turbine output was based on a 1.5 MW turbine with a 35% capacity factor.
- How much of an impact can I make?
- Where is the renewable energy for the Blue Sky program generated?
Renewable energy associated with the Blue Sky program comes from newly developed regional wind sources with preference given to resources within the Rocky Mountain Power/Pacific Power six state service area, but can extend throughout the western region.
To date customers have supported renewable energy generation located in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, California, Colorado, Montana, Wyoming and Utah. These purchases help increase demand for renewable energy generation.
- If I move, does the Blue Sky enrollment transfer to my new location?
Yes. If you sign up for Blue Sky and move within Rocky Mountain 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?
You can sign up here or you can call toll free at 1-800-769-3717.
Cost related answers
- How much does Blue Sky cost?
Blue Sky 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 credits from regional renewable energy facilities equal to the Blue Sky purchase
- to grow the support for renewable energy through customer education and outreach efforts
- to cover the costs of offering the program.
We are required by regulations to allocate the costs associated with the Blue Sky program to customers who choose to participate; we do not make a profit by offering this option to customers.
Information provided is based on program expenses in 2010 and subject to change in future years. Percentages included for the Block program are for our six state system-wide program.
Money from Blue Sky can also used to create funding awards for renewable energy projects throughout the company's service territory to help advance renewable energy technology. These projects include solar arrays, wind projects and low- impact hydro systems.
- 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. Blue Sky has achieved Green-e Energy Certification from the Center for Resource Solutions. The Green-e Energy program requires an annual third-party verification process audit.
- 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 Rocky Mountain 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.
Rocky Mountain Power and renewable energy
- Why does Rocky Mountain Power offer renewable energy options?
The desire to give customers an opportunity to support renewable energy development above what Rocky Mountain Power is already generating, the importance of developing the regional economy, and Rocky Mountain Power’s commitment to expanding the use of renewable resources have all contributed to the existence of the Blue Sky program.
- What is Rocky Mountain Power doing to bring more renewable energy to the region?
As of the end of 2010, PacifiCorp (Rocky Mountain Power’s parent company) has more than 1,000 megawatts of owned wind generation capability. We also have long-term purchase agreements for more than 600 megawatts from wind projects owned by others. Since 2006, our owned and contracted wind-powered generation capability has increased by a total of more than 1,400 megawatts. This is equivalent to the electricity used by more than 467,000 average residential customers annually.
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 cannot be directed to flow to a specific customer. However, we guarantee that renewable energy certificates (REC’s) from the Western region will be purchased and retired on your behalf in the exact amount of your Blue Sky purchase. These RECs will be sourced from newly developed qualifying renewable energy resource facilities. The renewable energy supported by Blue Sky customers is above and beyond that which Rocky Mountain Power generates or acquires to serve all its customers and meet state mandated renewable portfolio standards. We offer the Blue Sky program for those customers who want to see even more renewables above our system investments.
- 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, Rocky Mountain Power contracts for RECs to match the equivalent of your ongoing electrical needs or the number of Blue Sky blocks you elect to purchase. The more RECs that are sold, the more demand is created for renewable energy. 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.
- Do wind turbines harm birds?
Today’s new wind turbines do not pose a high risk to birds or any other wildlife. Newer technologies have slower blades that help prevent bird mortality. Sites are generally selected to avoid known migration patterns and reduce contact with endangered birds. Also, turbines are built in such a way to make it difficult for birds to use them for roosting. Learn more» (PDF)
- Will the power to my home be dependent upon the wind blowing?
No. Your power will continue to be uninterrupted even when the wind isn’t blowing, because you are connected to the regional electricity system. The power that travels through the network of lines and wires that bring electricity to your home or business comes from a variety of generating sources.
- 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: