Supporting Renewable Generation Through Green Power Certification: The Green-e Program
With the advent of retail competition in the supply of electricity to end-use customers, individuals and businesses will be given the opportunity to purchase electricity from "green power" sources. Based on market research and early experience with green power marketing, some customers are clearly willing to pay a premium for environmentally-preferable sources of electricity supply. Yet there have also been concerns that customer confusion, vague marketing claims, and "apples and oranges" comparisons will limit the potential market penetration of green power products. Environmental certification programs are increasingly seen as important tools for achieving environmental objectives, and are intended to alleviate some of the concerns listed above and to increase product and marketer credibility. The Green-e Renewable Electricity Branding Program is the first U.S.-based effort to certify green power products that meet certain environmental standards. The voluntary Green-e program also helps create consumer confidence in these certified products through a marketer code of conduct, disclosure provisions, and a public education campaign. This article details the development, design, and results of the Green-e program to date.