Photo: "Orange and Black" by Kayoko Y. Teele, Flickr user kaycatt*. See the original here.
California Includes Voluntary Renewable Energy Set-Aside in Draft Cap-and-Trade Regulation
California has delivered some good news for the voluntary market for renewable energy. The California Air Resources Board released its draft cap-and-trade regulation on Friday, October 29, 2010, and it calls for the program to include a Voluntary Renewable Energy Set-Aside.
This set-aside would give credit under the cap for renewable energy purchases made by individuals and businesses, lowering the overall level of greenhouse emissions allowed from the state's electricity sector after those purchases are made. This has been a top policy priority for CRS and our allies. For those not familiar with the issue, review our policy brief on the topic, "Support Voluntary Purchases of Clean, Safe, 21st Century Energy." Essentially, the Air Resources Board staff has recognized the importance of the issue and has signaled the priority it places on supporting domestic clean-energy development.
For the voluntary market, there is greater certainty that the strongest possible carbon emissions reductions claims will be supported for California-based renewable energy generators going forward. See pages 52 and 77 of the draft regulation to find the placeholder language indicating support for a Voluntary Renewable Energy Set-Aside. The details will be worked out next year, in advance of the program's operational start on January 1, 2012. CARB has been hampered by California government-mandated furloughs, and this was one of the issues that they will finalize in 2011. The regulation establishing the outlines of California's cap-and-trade program will be up for a vote by the Air Resources Board on December 16.
Lead Staff: Chris Busch
2009: A Big Year for Renewable Energy Sales
This latest report shows a 43 percent increase in total Green-e Energy retail sales volume over the previous year, equivalent to over 18 million MWh of renewable energy generation. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Green-e Energy certified 62% of all voluntary market retail sales in the U.S.
Over 402,000 MWh were purchased or generated by companies participating in Green-e Marketplace, continuing a trend showing that renewable energy continues to be an important part of many organizations' environmental-responsibility goals.
The report also shows data on carbon offset sales certified by Green-e Climate, a certification and consumer-protection program for retail carbon offsets that is the only program of its kind in the international voluntary carbon market. In its second year the program's 10 participants offered a total of 16 certified products from a variety of project types including renewable energy and methane destruction, with more than 176,000 unique tons of CO2-equivalent sold in 2009, a nearly 30% increase over the previous year, and beating the overall retail carbon-offset market, which saw significant decline.
The report shows that utility participation in Green-e Energy grew significantly in 2009, with certified utility green-pricing sales reaching over 2.5 million MWh, an 18% increase from 2008. This reflects a rise in certified residential and commercial purchases. Over 487,000 customers participated in green-pricing programs, with commercial purchases from over 18,000 customers increasing 33% over 2008. Residential purchases were up 10% in the same period. [Download the Report | Read the October 28, 2010, press release]
Until Next Year, Renewable Energy Markets!
Renewable Energy Markets 2010
October 19-22, Portland, OR
Thanks to the nearly 400 attendees who packed Portland's Doubletree Hotel for the 15th Renewable Energy Markets conference from October 19 to the 22nd. Many stayed over the weekend to explore the beautiful city. We couldn't have done it without our sponsors EarthEra, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Green Power Partnership, U.S. Department of Energy, Nexant, Pacific Power, Portland General Electric, 3Degrees, Green Mountain Energy, Sterling Planet, Weaver, Iberdrola Renewables, Community Energy, and Puget Sound Energy.
Read CRS Executive Director Arthur O'Donnell's conference followup post on the CRS blog, "REM 2010 Concludes, But the Work is Just Starting" for an insider's look at some of the most important takeaways from the conference.
Presentations are available for download, we've posted all the presentations as PDFs on the Agenda/Presentations page, just click on a presenter's name to download the presentation.
Check Out the Photos. Did we catch you? The photos from the conference are posted on our site. See the Photos link from the conference website or check them out now.
Help Us With a Quick Survey. If you didn't already fill out a survey at the conference, we've created a quick online feedback form. While your memory is still fresh, we'd appreciate any comments and suggestions on the conference you can make to help us make next year's conference even better (and even suggest where it should be held). Complete the Survey Now.
CRS Welcomes New Greenies
There's something in the water at CRS HQ. This year we welcomed three new members of Generation Z to the office. Communications Director Jeff Swenerton and wife Betsy welcomed 9.2 pound Henry Duncan Swenerton (left) on March 13. Green-e Energy Manager Alex Pennock and his wife Erin were next, with Cybil Camarena Pennock (center), born in the late hours of July 20 at just over 8 pounds. Green-e Climate Manager Jane Valentino and husband Brady rounded out the trifecta with Mason Matthew Hauswirth (right), born August 18, weighing in at nearly 7 pounds. All three have been working hard at reducing their electricity use.
Have you read the CRS blog yet? Our weekly blog is gathering a strong readership, and if you haven't checked it out yet, we're working hard to make sure it's worth a stop on your journey through the interwebs. Updated every Tuesday, it's available from the CRS homepage at www.resource-solutions.org.
Here are some recent posts to get you started:
• "Part II. The Promise of the Electric Car" by Orrin Cook | Posted on November 9, 2010
• "The Breeder's Dilemma" by Jeff Swenerton | Posted on November 2, 2010
• "REM 2010 Concludes, But the Work is Just Starting" by Arthur O'Donnell | Posted on October 26, 2010
• "Save Green by Going Green" by Alison Lambert | Posted on October 5, 2010
Price Shocks, Cap and Trade, and Off the Top in New Mexico.
In September, CRS released a major policy report Shockproofing Society, researched and written in cooperation with the Environmental Defense Fund and Energy Independence Now. The report looks at the economic risks inherent in dependency on imported crude oil. It quantifies the benefits of California's landmark climate law, AB 32, should the state experience price spikes for gasoline and diesel fuels above the relatively low levels assumed in existing studies of the law's economic impacts. The report has received significant attention, for example garnering coverage in the L.A. Times greenspace blog. You can review the findings in Policy Director Chris Busch's recent "Oil Price Shocks and the Economics of AB 32" blogpost and his full report is available on the Publications page on our website.
CRS has also been active in direct engagement in the policymaking process. We've provided oral and written comments in the California cap-and-trade and 33% renewable electricity standard rulemakings. We wrote the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board urging the inclusion of mechanisms to ensure that voluntary renewable energy purchases continue to reduce carbon dioxide emissions after their cap-and-trade program goes into effect. The U.S. State Department invited Busch to the Caribbean to talk about climate impacts and policy responses as part of their Strategic Speaker Initiative. In July, he visited four island nations (St. Lucia, Barbados, St. Vincent, and Grenada), talking to government officials and wide range of stakeholders: the public, utilities, and business associations.
—Chris Busch, Policy Director
Green-e Climate has completed its annual verification activities for reporting year 2009. Green-e Climate Certified sales increased nearly 30% in its second year, indicating that an increasing number of offset providers and purchasers alike are recognizing the value of consumer protection in the global offset market. This growth occurred in the context of a dip in the overall over-the-counter offset market in 2009, indicating further that demand for certified offsets and the unique assurances provided by Green-e Climate is increasing and decoupled from demand for other offsets. Green-e Climate is also growing more internationally, as supply from international projects certified by the Voluntary Carbon Standard represents a larger portion of the supply used for Green-e Climate certified products. See the 2009 Green-e Verification Report for details.
In keeping with the pattern of growth, The CarbonNeutral Company recently had three more of its offset products Green-e Climate Certified, including products sourcing from biomass fuel-switching in Brazil and run-of-river hydro and geothermal power in Turkey.
Following the Green-e Governance Board's commitment to a three-year schedule for updates to the Performance Additionality Test in the Green-e Climate Protocol for Renewable Energy, the October 2010 update of the Protocol began in September and continues at the subcommittee level. Once the Subcommittee has completed its evaluation of the supporting analyses and has made its recommendations, the updated test will be taken out for public stakeholder consultation, and ultimately taken to the full Board for approval. [Learn more about Green-e Climate]
Green-e Energy National Standard v2.0 is posted. In July the updated Green-e National Standard was posted with changes to the Standard that followed an extensive stakeholder review process. Updates include a new 15-year rolling "New Date," and updates to hydropower, landfill methane capture and destruction, and other criteria. You can read the July 15, 2010 release and visit the Green-e National Standard page.
Welcome Austin Energy! We're pleased to welcome Austin Energy's GreenChoice program to Green-e Energy. GreenChoice led the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's 2009 Top Ten Utility Green Power Programs list by being the largest green-pricing program in the country by amount of renewable energy sold—nearly 765 million kWh in 2009.
...And of course, the 2009 Verification Report is in. If you haven't downloaded your complementary copy of the 2009 Green-e Verification Report, go to www.resource-solutions.org/publications. The report shows strong growth in certified green pricing programs and competitive electricity sales, as well as commercial REC sales. Overall, total retail sales of certified renewable energy exceeded 18 million MWh, an increase of 43% from 2008. [Learn more about Green-e Energy]
Green-e Marketplace Featured Company: Sappi Fine Paper. Sappi Fine Paper of North America generates Green-e Energy Certified onsite renewable energy to power its Boston headquarters and offers three Green-e Certified paper lines: McCoy® folio and digital, Opus® Web and 30, and Flo® folio and digital. The Green-e logo is a tool used by Sappi to guide consumers to purchase more sustainable paper products. Sappi uses the Green-e logo on swatchbooks and other consumer-facing sales and promotional collateral to inform printers, advertisers, marketers, publishers, and designers when choosing the right paper line for their project designs.
Sappi is also engaging customers through a newly launched online tool called eQ that explains the environmental benefits of choosing Sappi paper and allowing users to print a customized product statement. [Learn more about Sappi and the eQ selection tool] [Learn more about Green-e Marketplace]
Funder Spotlight: The New York Community Trust (NYCT) has been a key supporter for CRS and especially Green-e Marketplace since 2008. Founded in 1924, The Trust now manages over 2,000 charitable funds in accordance with the wishes and directives of donors. In 2009, NYCT made grants totaling $127 million from assets totaling $1.8 billion.
The Trust is dedicated to meeting the changing needs of children, youth, and families; aid in community development; improve the environment; promote health; assist people with special needs; and support education, arts, and human justice. The Trust is governed by a 12-member Distribution Committee composed of community leaders appointed by a variety of civic institutions. Its staff is recognized for its experience in grantmaking, financial administration, and donor service.
In 2010, NYCT awarded Marketplace one-year grant from the Henry Phillip Kraft Family Memorial Fund, illustrating continuing support for innovative approaches to conservation and the environment, and seeking to minimize climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions through tangible efforts by private business and institutions.
NYCT funds were used to disseminate the CRS report, Insights into the Renewable Energy Market, and supported other efforts to highlight business use of renewable energy and to incorporate renewable energy as a component of broader, multi-attribute environmental certification programs.
CRS is proud to partner with NYCT to inspire forward-thinking organizations to take responsibility for the environmental costs of doing business through Green-e Marketplace. [Learn more about NYCT]
Welcome New Green-e Energy Participants
- ACORE's Annual Phase II National Policy Forum has never been more important. A new Congress will convene and a slate of new Governors will take office in January following this year's important November elections. The Phase II National Policy Forum will lay the groundwork for the 2011 U.S. renewable energy market and finance policy agenda. It will explore the key issues on renewable energy supply, national security, economic development and jobs, and environment and climate. It will connect renewable energy with energy efficiency, storage, demand response and smart grid. If you are a thought leader on renewable energy policy, you need to be in this meeting. Join National and Global leaders as we assess the state of renewable energy policy today and the range of policy options available, and help to advise on a best case policy framework for 2011 and beyond. Learn more at www.acorephaseii.com