Green power beats a renewables mandate, says SoCalEd exec, while a consultant questions assumptions about distributed generation.
I have to agree with the lead sentence in Bruce W. Radford's Oct. 1 Frontlines editorial ("We Got Green?" p. 4). You really "don't quite get it about green power."
Frankly, after reading [reams] of Fortnightly editorials touting the benefits of the new free markets in electricity, I was astounded to see you disparaging the business of satisfying clearly revealed consumer preferences. You say that green power is "not a product," but rather "a gimmick," and that "the green power mind-set is locked in the wholesale world, clueless about what it takes to perfect real products."
Horsefeathers! If customers care about it and are willing to pay for it, then it's a retail product, plain and simple. Green marketing may be just a "niche" market, but so are all the rest.
I share your view that restructuring has far outstripped the ingenuity of retailers to offer consumers truly concrete end-use innovations. But I'm confident the electricity equivalents of call-waiting, answering machines and pagers will eventually arrive as information technology infiltrates metering and power control equipment design.
In the meantime, let's not disparage one of the clear retailing successes. One of the real benefits of restructuring is the privatization of previously socialized risk-taking in generation. Personally, I'd certainly rather see green marketing support the development of renewables on a free-market basis than see Congress resurrect a moribund Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act program by adopting some mandatory renewables portfolio standard. Wouldn't you?