Green Power

Green power is a voluntary consumer decision to purchase electricity supplied from renewable energy sources or to contribute funds for the utility to invest in renewable energy development. Green power is an option in some states' policy, and also has been driven by responses of utilities to customer surveys and town meetings. Green power is available to retail or wholesale customers in twenty-two states [37].

In the early 1990s, a small number of U.S. utilities began offering green power options to their customers. The consumer had to pay a premium, which was around $3/month for a 100 kWh block. This represented a powerful market support mechanism for renewable energy development, which was mainly wind energy. More than half of all U.S. electricity customers have an option to purchase green power from more than 750 utilities, or about 25% of utilities nationally [38]. It is interesting that some utilities have lowered the rate premium on green power as traditional fossil fuel costs have increased. As green power becomes cheaper than regular power, will those consumers who purchased green power pay below the regular rate? NREL ranks the utility green power programs annually [39].

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