een wereldwijd elektriciteitsnet een oplossing voor veel problemen  GENI es una institución de investigación y educación-enfocada en la interconexión de rejillas de electricidad entre naciones.  ??????. ????????????????????????????????????  nous proposons la construction d’un réseau électrique reliant pays et continents basé sur les ressources renouvelables  Unser Planet ist mit einem enormen Potential an erneuerbaren Energiequellen - Da es heutzutage m` glich ist, Strom wirtschaftlich , können diese regenerativen Energiequellen einige der konventionellen betriebenen Kraftwerke ersetzen.  한국어/Korean  utilizando transmissores de alta potência em áreas remotas, e mudar a força via linha de transmissões de alta-voltagem, podemos alcançar 7000 quilómetros, conectando nações e continentes    
What's Geni? Endorsements Global Issues Library Policy Projects Support GENI
Add news to your site >>

About Us

Policies to Support Green Power


There are many ways for state and federal governments to support wind power and other renewable energy resources. This is a listing of policies that are intended to facilitate a robust demand for green power. For broader policies to support wind power development, click on Energy Policies.

Mandated State and Federal Government Purchases

An effective way to create demand for green power, and to get government to lead the way, is by requiring state and federal government to purchase a minimum percentage of renewables in their electricity supply. It can be directed by an executive decision or by legislation.

For example, New York's Governor Pataki has issued an executive order directing state government to purchase a minimum of 10% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2005, and 20% by the year 2010.

At the national level, President Clinton issued Executive Order 13123, which strongly encourages federal government agencies to purchase renewable energy but does not set a specific target.

Renewable Energy Funds

Renewable energy funds are created by a small surcharge on each kilowatt-hour sold. Also called "system benefits charges" and "public benefits funds," a renewable energy fund can be used to create renewable energy support programs, provide incentives to renewable energy development, and provide incentives for consumer purchases of green power. 

Thirteen states have instituted renewable energy funds, and use them for a variety of purposes. For more information on these funds, see

A few states use their renewable energy funds to offer incentives for the sale of green power to consumers. These incentives may be passed on to green consumers through lower prices for green power. See Incentives for Purchasing or Selling Green Power.

Although to date these funds have been created only at the state level, a national renewable energy fund could also be established. It has been suggested that these funds could be used to provide matching grants to states, as a way to encourage more state governments to established renewable energy funds.

Incentives for Purchasing or Selling Green Power

Renewable energy funds have been used to lower the cost of green power to consumers, either by subsidizing the cost of qualifying renewable energy kilowatt-hours, or by subsidizing the cost of marketing and acquiring customers.

California offers an example of the first type. The California Energy Commission pays 1.0 cent for each kilowatt-hour sold. Green power marketers submit claims to the Commission for qualifying green power sold, and are required to pass the funds received on to their customers in the form of a credit.

The Connecticut Clean Energy Fund has used some of its money to underwrite marketing campaigns by two green power marketers in that state. And Rhode Island plans to offer a payment to retail marketers based on the number of green power customers they get. This kind of participation helps to reduce the cost of green power to consumers.

Higher Default Prices (for restructured electricity markets)

One of the most fundamental challenges in creating green markets is creating competitive standard markets. In fact, there is no separate "green" market, there are only markets with different products for sale.

When retail choice is introduced, regulators ensure that everyone continues to receive electricity. Consumers who don't choose among suppliers will be served by a default supplier chosen by the regulators or specified in restructuring legislation. The price of this default generation service has been a major barrier to consumer choice and customer switching in restructured markets.

For various reasons, the default generation service price is set lower than a normal retail supplier, sometimes at or even below the wholesale price. This does not allow a retail service provider to compete on price and still recover its marketing and other costs. When retail marketers are discouraged from participating in markets, consumers have few choices, there is little marketing to make consumers aware of the few choices they do have, and competition (and green power sales) suffers.

However, state regulators can set default generation service prices higher, at a level closer to competitive retail prices. This would give all marketers, including green power marketers, an opportunity to compete and make a profit.

Opt-Out Aggregation

Local governments can procure electric power and related services on behalf of the residents and businesses in their communities. This can help small consumers get the benefits of competition. Massachusetts and Ohio included a provision in their restructuring legislation that allows communities that aggregate to automatically include all residents and businesses, based on a vote of town elected officials. Consumers who don't want to be part of the aggregation can "opt out" and make a different choice on their own. Because the aggregation is a public process and vote, there is an opportunity to request that green power be at least one of the offers.

Required Green Power Options (for regulated utility markets)

Many regulated utilities around the United States offer a green power option to their customers. A few states have even required their regulated utilities to offer a voluntary green power choice.

Before the state electricity market in Texas was restructured, regulators set a standard to be met by utilities that offered green power, and more recently Washington and Minnesota have also decided to require utilities to offer a green alternative. Oregon has gone a step further by not only requiring that utilities offer a green option, but also requiring that other marketers be given an opportunity to compete to offer the alternative.

Electricity Information Registry

A registry or database that identifies information about all electricity generated could be a powerful tool to help support consumer information disclosure (labels) for electricity sales, renewables portfolio standards, tradable renewable certificates, and green power products generally. It would be a database in which to register information about the characteristics or attributes of each megawatt-hour of electricity generated. Such information would include the power plant name, location, energy resource used to generate electricity, the date of generation, and various environmental impacts such as air emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, carbon dioxide, etc.

Texas has established a registry-a market platform or trading exchange-solely for the purpose of verifying compliance with its renewable portfolio standard, but it could be broadened and used for the other purposes mentioned.

The New England ISO is working with a group of stakeholders to develop an electricity information registry, which it is calling a Generation Information System. This system, when ready, will provide a useful database for verification of tradable renewable certificates, compliance with the various state renewables portfolio standards, and verification of electricity labels provided to consumers as part of information disclosure.

It is likely that such registries or databases will be developed regionally, probably consistent with the geographic reach of power pools, independent system operators, or electric reliability regions. It is important that they be able to "talk" to each other, however. For this reason, it may be desirable that the federal government eventually develop a national registry to facilitate trading and tracking of the electricity attributes across regions, to prevent double-selling and other consumer abuses.

Air Emission Reduction Credits

Electric power generation is responsible for a large portion of the air pollution in this country, yet present pollution reduction programs do not allow wind power and other renewables to play an effective role. Clean air regulations should allow renewable energy sources to participate in emission reduction programs and credit trading. These include credits for avoiding sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, carbon dioxide, and other pollutants. For more information, see Clean Air Act and Renewable Energy: Opportunities, Barriers, and Options.

If the environmental and health benefits of renewables are recognized by pollution control programs, the value of the emission reduction credits created may be worth approximately one half cent per kWh in revenues to renewable energy generators. This would help narrow the cost differential between fossil and renewable generation, and help make green power more competitive.

Transmission Policies

Transmission policies are not often thought of as green power issues, and it is true that transmission of bulk power supply is not specific to green power markets. But transmission access and pricing rules are critical to the functioning of competitive markets. They are also critical to market access and cost for renewable resources that are often remote from load centers, dependent on intermittent resources such as wind, sun and water, and sometimes smaller than transmission operators care to recognize.

Transmission barriers that often need to be addressed (all do not necessarily apply everywhere) include:
· pancaking of access fees, with multiple charges incurred when power is transmitted across multiple control areas within a region;
· distance-based pricing;
· capacity reservation-based transmission tariffs;
· imbalance penalties for generation that was not available when scheduled (particularly onerous for intermittent resources); and
· small generators not recognized for dispatch. 

For more information on transmission policies, see AWEA's white paper Fair Transmission Access for Wind. 

Information Disclosure for Electricity Sales

At least 22 states have adopted legislation or rules requiring that retail electricity providers inform customers about essential characteristics of the electricity product being sold. In some states, such as Massachusetts, this information is comprehensive, including unit price, generation mix, emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide, as well as contract terms. Other states, such as California, issue only a Power Content Label contrasting product generation sources with the state average generation mix.

The purpose of information disclosure is to make it easier for consumers to understand what they are getting, to make it easier to compare offers, and to enable consumers to make choices that reflect their preferences. While this standardized label is often thought of as consumer protection, it may also help encourage choice of cleaner electricity. 

Standard labels also may encourage consumers to participate in choice, because the label lends confidence that the information is reliable and credible.

While information disclosure has been enacted mostly as part of state restructuring legislation, a few states, namely Washington, Colorado and Florida, have required disclosure even though retail markets continue to be regulated. Because research shows that most consumers are misinformed (or don't know) about their electricity generation sources, this step will begin to inform them correctly.

Consumer Education about Renewables

For the most part consumers don't understand the environmental implications of electricity generation and use. They understand that some sources are cleaner than others, and they generally prefer wind and solar energy, but understanding renewable energy and its benefits, and how to compare environmental benefits and impacts, is a challenge. 

Consumer information disclosure can go only so far. It informs consumers, but they still need education about the implications of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, or carbon dioxide, as well as about green power generally and what it means to choose an alternative supplier.

Several states have developed public education programs about renewable energy. For example, California uses a portion of its renewable energy fund to help consumers understand green power, the reasons why a green power choice benefits the environment and human health, what it means to choose an alternative supplier, and how to evaluate green power offers. Many states could do much more.


Updated: 2016/06/30

If you speak another language fluently and you liked this page, make a contribution by translating it! For additional translations check out (Voor vertaling van Engels tot Nederlands) (For oversettelse fra Engelsk til Norsk)
(Для дополнительных переводов проверяют )