March 2, 2010 in Business

Ball club switches to green power

Indians hope to set an example
By The Spokesman-Review
File photo

All the electricity used at Avista Stadium, the Spokane Indians’ home field, will be generated from renewable energy sources.
(Full-size photo)

The Spokane Indians will take the field under green lights this season.

All electricity used at their home field, Avista Stadium, will be generated by renewable energy sources such as wind, biomass and solar, team President Andy Billig said Monday.

The power will be purchased through the Avista Utilities Buck-A-Block program, which offers customers the option of paying a $1 premium for every 300 kilowatt-hours of “green” electricity they use.

Buck-A-Block will add about $1,000 to the Indians’ electricity bill for the season, Billig said.

“This is easy, and it’s not that expensive,” he said, adding that the team hopes its adoption of green power will set an example for fans.

Billig said stadium power costs fell about 20 percent when Indians game starting times were moved up 30 minutes in 2001. The team has also had success with its recycling programs, and the use of environmentally friendly cleaning products, he said.

Chris Drake, the Buck-A-Block program director at Avista, said about 4,000 customers buy at least one block.

When the program was launched in 2002, customers bought about one megawatt of green electricity, he said. The $1 premium was good for only 50 kilowatt-hours.

Purchases have grown to slightly more than eight megawatts, Drake said, noting that a homeowner can convert to all-green electricity for about a $4-per-month premium.

Billig said fan travel to the games has the biggest environmental effect. Last year, the team and the Spokane Transit Authority gathered license plate information to figure out where fans come from, and what alternative means of transportation might get them out of their cars and trucks.

Review of possible alternatives continues, he said.

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