Local community members taking a tour of the Bluff Point Wind Energy Center under construction in Winchester, Indiana on August 29, 2017.

Photo courtesy of John Shepelwich

Bluff Point wind facility in Indiana is one of several locations that provides renewable energy to Appalachian Power customers.

Appalachian Power customers may now choose to purchase all of their electric energy from renewable resources.

Appalachian’s Wind Water & Sunlight service will supply 100% renewable power to customers using current and planned renewable resources from the company’s generation portfolio. The new service was approved earlier this year by the State Corporation Commission.

The program is a part of the company’s future energy supply plans for its customers and could become a economic development tool for Virginia.

“WWS is a great option for any of our customers who would like to support the development of renewable energy and use that option now in their home or business,” said Chris Beam, Appalachian’s president and chief operating officer. “Additionally, it can meet the needs of an industrial prospect looking for a 100% renewable option in a site location search or an existing business customer that has made a pledge of environmental stewardship.”

Any home participating in the program is assured that renewable energy is generated around-the-clock at the same amount as their demand, said Appalachian Power spokesman John Shepelwich. “Your need is being met by a 100% renewable energy source,” he said.

The company currently has 341 megawatts of 100% renewable energy available from owned, operated or contracted wind, hydro and solar projects. They include hydroelectric facilities in Virginia and West Virginia, wind generation facilities in West Virginia, Indiana and Illinois and planned utility-scale solar facilities in Virginia.

While Smith Mountain Dam is one of several hydroelectric plants owned by Appalachian Power, Shepelwich said it is not included in the list of renewable energy resources due to its pump-back system that requires outside electricity. Nine other dams, including Leesville Dam, are included in the list since there is no pump-back system.

The use of renewable energy is a growing market for Appalachian Power as they begin moving away from coal plants. Shepelwich said Appalachian Power’s electricity production from coal has dropped from 70% in 2005 to its current level of 45%. He said, in addition to moving to renewable energy, they are using natural gas that burns cleaner.

For those choosing to switch to using renewable energy, a small premium, currently $.00425/kilowatt-hour, will be added to the bill. For example, the bill for a Virginia residential customer using 1000 kWh in a month is $110.79. The premium for that customer will add $4.25 to the bill.

Virginia customers can enroll for the 100% renewable energy program WWS option at www.appalachianpower.com/account/bills/manage/renewablechoices/va/default.aspx or call 800-956-4237.

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