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More than 300 electric utility companies offer green pricing, a
practice that allows customers to purchase electricity generated from
renewable energy sources, generally at a premium to the standard
electricity rate. In a number of states that have deregulated the
energy marketplace, consumers can choose green power products from
alternative suppliers. Consumers nationwide also can purchase renewable
energy certificates (RECs), which represent proof that a unit of
electricity—for example, one megawatt-hour—has been
generated from a renewable energy facility. This conference was the
seventh in a series of national conferences for current and prospective
participants in green-pricing programs and green-power marketing.
ObjectiveA national forum for new ideas, best practices, and program results in
green-power markets, this and the preceding six conferences have
provided an opportunity for participant collaboration leading to
operational excellence throughout the green power market industry. This
conference reviewed the status of the green power marketing industry
and explored innovative ways of designing green power products and
marketing them to customers. The conference theme was "Expanding
Markets Through Innovation."
ApproachThe Seventh National Green Power Marketing Conference was held in
Washington, D.C., from September 30 to October 2, 2002. The U.S.
Department of Energy (DOE), EPRI, the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA), the Alliance of Energy Suppliers, and the Center for
Resource Solutions were conference organizers. General conference
sponsorship was provided by Platts Research and Consulting/E Source,
Green Mountain Energy Company, and XENERGY, Inc.
ResultsThe conference included the following themes and topics:
• A wide gap remains between the number of people who say they
would buy green power and the number that actually do. Utilities and
marketers must develop more effective methods of targeting customers
and communicating product availability and benefits.
• Electricity markets are beginning to recognize other economic
values associated with renewable energy development such as fuel-price
stability, local economic development, increased energy security, and
environmental attributes. However, the green power industry still needs
to do a better job of integrating these values into business
transactions, such as selling green power as a price hedge for
• Utilities are beginning to explore collaborations with
established green power marketers to take advantage of their marketing
experience, and the early evidence is that these partnerships are
• State and federal energy policies can provide important stimuli
to the green power market. These stimuli include policies such as tax
credits and renewable energy funds that reduce the cost of renewable
energy in the market and policies such as renewable portfolio standards
that increase renewable energy supplies. A growing number of states and
cities also have committed to purchase significant amounts of their
electricity as green power. Future environmental legislation may create
additional values for renewable energy in the electricity marketplace.
• RECs sales are becoming the predominant green power marketing
mechanism and are providing a market outlet for significant amounts of
new renewable energy development. The increasing availability of RECs
products is catalyzing major deals between green power marketers and
businesses, government agencies, and institutional customers. For these
customers, marketers should stress value rather than cost.
• Though the green power market continues to grow across the
country, the move to competitive markets has stalled as several states
either delayed or repealed their electricity restructuring laws in the
aftermath of the power crisis that hit California and other western
states in 2000 and 2001.
EPRI PerspectiveAs the number of regulated utility green-pricing programs continues to
grow and competitive marketing strategies mature, it is increasingly
clear that customer preference for renewable sources of electricity
will be a major factor in the new energy marketplace. Green power is a
market-driven product developed to meet expressed customer preference
for electricity derived from renewable sources such as solar, wind,
biomass, and geothermal power. Studies and growing market experience
consistently show that informed energy consumers will consider more
than price in making purchasing decisions. This conference explored
what needs to be done to reach these consumers. Previous National Green
Power Conferences are documented in EPRI reports TR-109179, TR-112315,
TR-114878, 1004649, and 1004043.
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