Friday, May 04, 2007

Blue Sky?

My parents are talking to a contractor about installing solar panels on their roof. They could power 75% of their energy usage that way. The contractor who is doing it didn't have good things to say about Rocky Mountain Power's Blue Sky program.

Here's what my mom related to me:

Apparently Rocky Mountain Power is divided into two sections, one is directly involved with selling the power to customers, and I can't remember exactly, but I think the other one must be the power generation side. The side they present to the public and the PSC is conveniently always struggling. The profits stay in the other, more obscure side. They have lots of money, are making big profits, and keep the stock investors satisified. The really good reason for RMP to get the customers to buy "shares" of Blue Sky is that you get nothing tangible for your investment, only the good feelings of having helped make our environment more green. But they could easily build out the windmill project with other income and make their stockholders (who take real risks in investing and should get some return for it) partners instead.

You would do better to invest in the stock of companies who are working to improve our environment an at least have an opportunity to also participate in the profits.

So obviously here, the way Rocky Mountian Power is running the blue sky program is not so great, but if people just stop paying extra for the renewable energy resources, will RMP keep putting money into it or will they just let the whole thing drop? I'm feeling a bit torn, and for now will keep my 1 block of blue sky.

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