Blair G. Sweezey, Ashley H. Houston and Kevin L. Porter
FOR THE FIRST TIME IN DECADES, A GROWING NUMBER of consumers are able to choose who supplies their electric power and, perhaps more importantly, where that power comes from. Evidence is mounting that this ability to exercise choice may give a long-needed shot in the arm to the deployment of renewable energy technologies.
National polls consistently reveal that between 40 and 70 percent of those sampled say they would pay a premium for environmental protection or for renewable energy, and utility company surveys reinforce those findings.
DEREGULATION PRESENTS WHAT IS PERHAPS THE BEST opportunity yet for renewables to stake a lasting claim in the electricity market.
Since most energy from renewable sources still isn't priced competitively with fossil-fueled technologies, many restructuring proposals at state and federal levels include various support mechanisms intended to drive down the renewable generation costs. The initial added expense is a necessary trade-off, advocates say, for the resulting reductions in emissions and energy price volatility.
Lori A. Burkhart
California-based environmental and consumer groups have launched the nation's first voluntary certification and verification program for environmentally preferred electric products.
The Green-e Renewable Electricity Branding Program aims to help consumers choose environmentally friendly or "green" products. Californians soon will see promotional materials from marketers with the Green-e Program's certification on electric products that contain at least 50-percent renewable electric content.