CRS NewSolutions

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MAY 19, 2009 / SPRING 2009

TOP STORIES

 

Green-e Weighs in to Prevent
Double Counting in California

On March 24th, Green-e staff members Jennifer Martin, Alex Pennock, and Robin Quarrier traveled to Sacramento to speak before the California Energy Commission (CEC) on reasons why certain voluntary renewables should not be counted toward California's renewable portfolio standard (RPS).

The issue was this: Southern California Edison (SCE), a utility subject to the California RPS, has been reporting to the CEC its purchases of electricity from the Mountain View I and II wind facilities in San Gorgonio Pass, CA, toward its RPS requirements since 2004. However, SCE's contracts are for electricity only, and explicitly leave all renewable attributes to the facilities' owner. The owner sold RECs to voluntary market participants starting in 2004, many of whom sold them in Green-e Energy Certified transactions.

As part of Green-e Energy's annual verification process and consumer-protection role, REC marketers selling Mountain View RECs have always been required to notify the CEC or the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) that the RECs were not being delivered to the buyer of Mountain View electricity. California regulators had documentation in their hands alerting them to the fact that SCE never owned the RECs it had been claiming toward the RPS.

This is a clear case of potential double counting, but CRS is optimistic that the outcome will support claims in the voluntary market.

For more information, including CEC documents surrounding the case and CRS's comments on the case, please see Documents for the SB 1038 Proceeding. Lead Staff: Alex Pennock

 

 

First Renewable Energy Purchasers
Advisory Council Meeting Convenes

In April, Green-e Marketplace held its first Renewable Energy Purchasers Advisory Council meeting. The Council was created to provide input on Green-e Marketplace policies and logo use as it relates to environmental claims made by businesses and other organizations using Green-e Energy Certified renewable energy and participating in Green-e Marketplace. The Council will regularly review the Program’s policies and offer suggestions to amend them as necessary to remain consistent or evolve with changing market conditions. Industry experts, policymakers, businesses, and NGOs make up this new council. If you are a stakeholder interested in joining the Council, please email Jennifer Giles at jgiles@resource-solutions.org.

 

 

Are You Coming to Renewable Energy Markets 2009?

Renewable Energy Markets (formerly the National Renewable Energy Marketing Conference) is the industry’s paramount annual gathering attended by leading renewable energy and green power industry stakeholders. For a decade and a half, the most influential key players, including power marketers, renewable energy developers, large purchasers, retail and wholesale green power suppliers, electric utilities, equipment manufacturers, government agencies, energy consultants, and nonprofit experts have gathered to discuss the major issues facing the industry. This year's conference will take place in Atlanta from September 13–16.

Jon Wellinghoff, recently appointed by President Obama as the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, will help open the conference with a keynote address on FERC's evolving role in power markets and promotion of renewable energy.

[Learn more about Renewable Energy Markets 2009] Lead Staff: Alison Lambert

 

 

San Francisco Carbon Collaborative

Maintaining its position as an environmental leader, San Francisco has convened the Carbon Collaborative, a city-led coalition of local businesses and environmental leaders that is developing a plan to help boost clean tech development and make San Francisco a West Coast carbon capital. CRS is a member of the organization's policy subcommittee and focused on helping the Collaborative ensure that climate change policy gives individuals, businesses, and municipalities the option to reduce their own greenhouse gases. Jennifer Martin, Jane Valentino, and Chris Busch are working with the city and the Collaborative to develop policy positions on renewable energy and energy efficiency set-asides. CRS has been working more broadly with allies in the renewable energy industry and the environmental community to promote such a set-aside approach in California, the Western Climate Initiative, and at the Federal level. Lead Staff: Jennifer Martin

 

 


Andreas Karelas Reports from Powershift 2009

From February 27th to March 2nd, Program Analyst Andreas Karelas represented CRS at Powershift 2009, a gathering of 12,000 young people in Washington, D.C., promoting immediate action on climate and clean energy policy. Here is his dispatch:

I had the privilege of witnessing the largest ever youth conference and lobby day on climate change; Power Shift 09. Organized by the Energy Action Coalition (an organization co-founded by Kassie Rohrbach, a former CRS employee), 12,000 people from around the country came to Washington, D.C. to demand from their representatives in Congress a clean energy future. To put it simply, it was inspiring.

The majority of attendees were optimistic, well-organized, passionate youth. College students were the most broadly represented faction although attendees ranged from high school students and mid-career professionals to senior citizens. People from around the country came together with a single powerful voice to tell this administration and congress their demands for a safe climate for future generations and a just, renewable energy economy today.

Witnessing this event was truly empowering. It shows the country and the world that this generation has found its voice.

Power Shift 09 was more than just rallying in front of the Capital, lobbying Representatives, or protesting the congressionally owned coal plant. It was also a weekend-long conference filled with motivating speeches from politicians and famous environmental leaders, information sharing panels and workshops, and even musical and film entertainment. Speakers throughout the weekend from Green for All founder (and now President Obama's Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation) Van Jones to EPA head Lisa Jackson had similar messages—now is the time to act, and this group of motivated individuals is doing exactly that.

The panel discussions ranged from detailed federal cap and trade discussions, to environmental justice and green jobs, to community-based solutions to climate change, to strategies to organize campus movements supporting green power.

I spoke on a three-person panel representing CRS on the subject of carbon offsets, which was very well attended. At least a hundred people packed into the convention center room to hear the details of carbon offsets, the role of offsets as part of a larger climate strategy, and the value of certification at both the project level and at the point of purchase by consumer-protection programs like Green-e Climate.

The weekend was a complete success. Not only was it well organized and well executed but it did exactly what it set out to do—it brought committed individuals to the same place to meet each other, share ideas, build common strategies, inspire each other with their optimism, and at the same time tell the U.S. government that climate change needs to be addressed today. Moreover, it showed that committed citizens are doing what it takes to bring about a clean energy revolution. —Andreas Karelas

 

 

 

Recycling Heroes Among Us

CRS Analyst Justin Roth and his father Tom received the 2009 Individual Recycler of the Year Award from the Washington State Recycling Association at its yearly conference in Yakima on May 5th. When Tom's employer, Microsoft, replaced its more than 40,000 recycling bins with new blue commingled bins, Tom and Justin helped find homes for the old ones, including with the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, the Mukilteo School District, the City of Snoqualmie in Washington, and the Chignik Tribe in Alaska. Their efforts supported existing recycling programs, and, in several cases, kicked-started new programs by providing the bins. This is the first time in nearly 30 years the Individual category was awarded to more than one recipient.

 

 

China's Renewable Energy
Gets a Boost from CRS Team

CRS is now in its ninth year of providing policy and technical support to the government of China and other researchers via the China Sustainable Energy Program, funded by the Energy Foundation. The CRS team of consulting experts and staff, led by Dr. Ryan Wiser, has been active in reviewing the work of the Energy Foundation's network of grantees in Beijing, while also writing technical and analytical reports on energy issues for use in formulating Chinese energy policies.

Among the many aspects of this work, the CRS team most recently has been investigating the technical and economic feasibility of achieving higher levels of wind power deployment in China. In association with the World Bank, the team also provides support for the development of energy plans at the provincial level. During 2009, CRS Executive Director Arthur O'Donnell and Green-e Energy Manager Alex Pennock will be writing a report on municipal incentives for solar photovoltaic projects in the U.S. and internationally that may be useful for Chinese cities as models.

During April, Wiser and CRS consultants Ric O'Connell, Amber Sharick, and Joanna Lewis traveled to Beijing for Energy Foundation renewable energy project meetings. "As is typical, we left impressed with the Energy Foundation's efforts in China, and with a lot of additional work to do," said Wiser. Lead Staff: Arthur O'Donnell

 

 

Introduction to California Energy

CRS Contributes to California Energy Innovations

CRS Executive Director Arthur O'Donnell has written an afterward chapter for the newly published book, Introduction to Energy in California, authored by Peter Asmus (University of California Press, 2009). Featuring a detailed examination of how energy is produced and consumed in the Golden State, the book provides essential information on where future supplies will be found and what new advances are being made in the area of renewable energy sources.

Arthur's chapter, titled "California Energy Innovations Go Beyond Power Road," describes some of the latest trends in energy policy and utility practice in recognition that formerly "alternative" renewable resources have now become mainstream components of the power system in the state. He also describes how the new policy focus on meeting the climate-change challenge has revitalized interest in energy from a younger generation of environmental and energy professionals. Lead Staff: Arthur O'Donnell

 

 

Presidio School of Management MBA Students
Help Green-e Prepare for the Future(s)

During the 2008–09 academic year, CRS enlisted the help of a team of students from the Presidio School of Management to analyze the potential market for futures contracts for Green-e Energy certifiable RECs. Several environmental commodity exchanges, including the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), GreenExchange, and the Chicago Climate Futures Exchange (CCFE) were considering launching financial contracts for delivery of renewable energy that would be eligible to meet the Green-e Energy National Standard.

Four students in the Presidio School's MBA program took on the task of evaluating the pros and cons of this new market development as part of the Project Oriented Learning program for their strategic management studies. Jaime Lehner, Eunice Barnett, Sandra Kwak, and Sudha Reddy (a.k.a., the JESS Team) spent several months on their research, meeting with CRS staff to understand our programs and the Green-e brand and interviewing many marketplace stakeholders.

"These secondary markets for energy help provide important forward pricing information for sales of RECs, something currently lacking at a national level," said CRS Executive Director Arthur O'Donnell.

"Our major concern was whether we could protect the integrity of the Green-e brand while exploring a new potential revenue source," he added. "The analysis that the Presidio team gave us very clearly laid out both the potential benefits and recommendations for protecting both our brand and the public interest."

In mid-April, the CCFE announced its intention to launch several futures contracts for RECs for compliance markets in the Northeast, as well as a contract geared to voluntary REC markets that could be Green-e Energy eligible.

"With the Presidio team's report in hand, CRS was fully prepared to negotiate terms of use of the Green-e mark in ways that fully protect our reputation and shield us from liability, while providing full disclosure to those who will be trading these financial instruments," O'Donnell noted.

The CCFE Voluntary RECs futures contracts were launched April 17. Lead Staff: Arthur O'Donnell

 


 

 

Spring Contest Announced!
Renewable Energy
Haiku Rivalry

The Center for Resource Solutions would like to announce the first annual Renewable Energy Haiku Contest. If you set aside the complexities of renewable energy policy, technology, trading, or transmission, you're left with a pretty simple idea: generating power from the abundant renewable resources all around us. We'd like to celebrate the power and opportunity of renewable energy through our favorite poetry form: the haiku (the limerick comes a close second). Haikus typically follow a 3-line, 5-7-5 syllable form that references a season. Entries must be submitted by 5PM PST on Monday, June 15 to jeff@resource-solutions.org. No more than 3 entries per person, please. The winner of the contest will receive a Green-e t-shirt, and the winner and runners-up will have their poems in the summer installment of the CRS NewSolutions. Lead Staff: Jeff Swenerton

Policy Update

Working with University of California at Berkeley Professor Michael Hanemann, who is recognized globally as an authority on environmental economics, Policy Director Chris Busch co-authored the paper, "Climate Change Policy In California: Balancing Markets Versus Regulation." The paper makes the case for the California approach to policy—a strong set of regulatory policies laying the foundation for reductions, complementing a carbon pricing policy instrument like cap-and-trade—as the best approach, and, reflecting on climate policy developments in Washington, D.C. and the European Union, suggest that there is evidence that there is an emerging consensus for this approach as a best practice. The paper is part of the Project on Transatlantic Methods for Handling Global Challenges—Managing Biosafety and Biodiversity in a Global World, which is jointly managed by U.C. Berkeley's Institute for Governmental Studies' Center on Institutions and Governance and The Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies, Katholieke Universiteit (Leuven, Belgium). Professor Hanemann presented the paper at a conference in Washington, D.C. on April 30, 2009. [more]

 

Green-e News

 

Green-e ClimateGreen-e Climate staffers are hard at work preparing for verification for the first year of certified sales. This involves developing worksheets and documents to guide not only sellers of certified products, but the independent auditors they must hire to review the programs and verification forms so Green-e Climate can ensure compliance with its standards. Staff has also completed the second round of marketing compliance review, where sellers' marketing materials (including websites, brochures, email newsletters, and advertising) are accurate and reflect honestly what consumers are buying. It's spreadsheet-heavy work, but it's the backbone of a strong certification program. Staffers Jane Valentino and Andrew Nourafshan have also been keeping up a busy touring schedule, with speaking and exhibiting engagements in Vegas, San Diego, Vegas again, and Washington, D.C. [Learn more about Green-e Climate]

 

Green-e ClimateUnaudited numbers are in! In 2008, according to Green-e Energy Unaudited Reports received in February 2009, total Green-e Energy Certified wholesale and retail transactions surpassed 20.5 million MWh, an increase of 23% over 2007 sales. Compared to other renewable energy product types like RECs or competitive electricity, Green Pricing grew the most over the previous year, with 33% higher sales than in 2007. The number of residential customers buying certified renewables nearly doubled, reaching nearly half a million.

Green-e Energy and CRS presence at AWEA WindPower. Executive Director Arthur O'Donnell and Green-e Energy Manager Alex Pennock recently returned from the 23,200+ person conference in Chicago where they spoke on issues for retail wind buyers and on the role of the voluntary market in new renewables development. A poster on innovative renewable energy financing programs in California, created by Andreas Karelas, Program Analyst, was also presented at AWEA. [Learn more about Green-e Energy]

 

Green-e Climate


INGreen-e Marketplace Featured Company: Intelligent Nutrients. Operating out of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Intelligent Nutrients (IN), is leading the cosmetics industry in offering health and beauty products that are produced responsibly. In addition to purchasing 100% Green-e Certified renewable energy for its headquarters and product lines, IN has added organic ingredients to ensure no synthetic and petrochemically derived ingredients are used. IN products use environmentally friendly ingredients and supply-chain practices to provide products that are not only environmentally preferable, but of the highest quality. IN offers supplements, lip balm, aromatics, and scalp and hair care products.

Adding a personal touch to each product, some organic ingredients are sourced from the fields of IN founder Horst Rechelbacher's farm in Osceola, Wisconsin. IN is also working with the University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic to collaborate with research scientists to find even more environmental breakthroughs. [Learn more about Intelligent Nutrients' products and environmental programs] [Learn more about Green-e Marketplace]

 

Meet the Intern

Zachary KahnZachary Kahn/Green-e Intern
Zachary has been with CRS since February, helping Green-e Energy in its day-to-day operations through data entry, database updates and streamlining, managing certain internal processes, and updating the Web site. An experienced photographer, Zachary set up a studio to take shots of Green-e Marketplace Certified products bearing the logo. He is also researching consumer behavioral trends in response to products that make environmental claims and the untapped potential for manufacturers to market to these consumers. A paper on this research is planned for a late Spring, 2009 release. Before coming to CRS, he worked on Barack Obama's presidential campaign from 2007–2008. Zach comes to us from New York's Ithaca College, where he was a photography and cinema major, and is excited about launching a career in alternative/renewable energy and advancing the new green economy.

Funder Spotlight

CRS is proud to announce Sterling Planet is the Host Sponsor of Renewable Energy Markets 2009 (REM; formerly the National Renewable Energy Marketing Conference), which will be held in Atlanta, Georgia from September 13–16. REM 2009 is the industry's paramount annual gathering attended by leading renewable energy and green power industry stakeholders. Sterling Planet is a sustainability pioneer and innovative supplier of renewable energy, energy efficiency and low-carbon solutions. Sterling Planet offers comprehensive carbon neutral solutions for businesses, universities and organizations of all types, bringing together supply and demand side solutions in a rapidly emerging environmental market. The company currently is developing next-generation solar and bioenergy projects to produce ‘green power' and verified carbon offsets and is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Climate Leaders partner, committed to net zero greenhouse gas emissions from its business operations. Since 2001, Sterling Planet's sales of renewable energy have avoided 25 billion pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, which compares to taking two million cars off the road for a year. CRS commends Sterling Planet's decision to further demonstrate its renewable energy leadership by hosting REM 2009 in its home state this year. [Learn more about Sterling Planet]

 

CRS Resources

Green-e Resources

Welcome New Green-e Energy Participants

  • • Clear Sky Power
    • TerraPass
    • Wabash Valley Power Association

Welcome New Green-e Marketplace Participants

  • • BurstNET Technologies
    • Intelligent Nutrients
    • Posty Cards
    • Sustainable Manufacturing Summit

Upcoming Events

  • Green Cities Florida
    May 19-21, 2009. Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, FL. CRS staff will exhibit.
  • Tribal Energy in California Conference
    June 22-23, 2009. Cabazon, CA. Sponsored by Law Seminars International. Arthur O'Donnell will speak.
  • The 4th Annual Solar Summit
    July 9-10, 2009. San Diego, CA. Sponsored by Financial Research Associates. Arthur O'Donnell will moderate a panel on "Industry Shake-Out: The Realities of Current Supply and Demand."

  • Carbon Markets USA,
    September 21-22, 2009. Washington, DC. Carbon Markets USA is part of the Carbon Markets Global Series which is now in its 5th year and has been attended by over 2400 sustainability professionals. Chris Busch and Jane Valentino will participate.

  • Renewable Energy Markets 2009
    September 13-16 in Atlanta, GA. For 14 years Renewable Energy Markets (formerly the National Renewable Energy Marketing Conference) has been the industry's paramount annual gathering attended by leading renewable energy and green power industry stakeholders. Organized by CRS, and cosponsored by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency, this year promises to be the biggest yet. Don't miss it!




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