Photo: Operations Manager Kirk Garlick at EnXco's Shiloh II Wind Project outside Sacramento in March 2009. Photo ©2009 Dennis Schwartz
Politics, Policy, and Progress in Washington, D.C.
Clean energy and climate policy took an important step forward on June 25 with the House of Representative's passage of H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Act. The action now moves to the Senate, where Senator Barbara Boxer has promised to release comparable legislation by early September.
The comprehensive program embodied by the ACES bill offers a useful next step forward should it become law. Most attention has focused on the proposed cap-and-trade program for reducing carbon emissions. Largely overlooked in the debate about the bill's merits have been the robust clean energy and transportation measures that it includes.
These energy and transportation measures include a mix of performance and technology standards, research and infrastructure investments, grants, and other incentives (such as tax credits, but also the incentives provided by the price on carbon pollution that the cap-and-trade program would establish).
Moving from a 30,000 foot perspective to a few specific examples from the bill's array of policy initiatives: tailpipe emission performance standards for off-road vehicles, new-building energy efficiency standards, the setting of retrofit standards for existing building and block funding to state programs to finance retrofit work, and performance standards for new power plants. Along with other provisions, these proposals could result in substantial reductions of carbon and greenhouse gas emissions even before a cap-and-trade program takes effect.
The cap-and-trade program outlined under the ACES bill represents imperfect progress, in part because of the vast amount of allowances granted to polluting industries. Emission reduction targets should be stronger, and the renewable electricity standard in the ACES bill guarantees little additional clean energy development beyond the many state standards already in place.
CRS continues to advocate for strong federal renewable electricity standards and the ability for states to go beyond federal mandates. The federal program also should follow the example of the Northeastern cap-and-trade program by including a mechanism to retire allowances for emission reductions from voluntary renewable energy market activity. This “off-the-top” feature would ensure that cap-and-trade design does not undercut the surging voluntary market for clean energy, which has experienced impressive growth in recent years and continues to provide consumers with the power to act on their personal commitments to curb climate change.
—Chris Busch, Policy Director
Getting Too Much Email from CRS?
If you're like us, you can't get enough news about Green-e. But we know that some of you would rather not get every press release and notice of new certification, but instead just the quarterly CRS NewSolutions. So starting right this second, you can opt-out of the CRS Press Releases list and keep getting CRS NewSolutions four times a year. To manage your email preferences now, scroll to the bottom of this email where it says "Instant removal with SafeUnsubscribe" and it will take you to a page where you can manage your preferences.
Consumers Recognize the Value of the Green-e Logo
A recent study by Green-e Marketplace and the Natural Marketing Institute reports that four out of five U.S. consumers support clean energy and 55 percent want companies to increase their use of renewable energy. The findings are reported in Unlocking the Power of Renewable Energy Certification to Build Credibility with Consumers, a survey of over 4,000 American consumers. The report finds that a majority surveyed agreed that businesses should reduce greenhouse gas emissions and that the consumers are more likely to purchase products bearing a seal that proves corporate sustainability commitments, like buying or using renewable energy. The study also finds that 60% of consumers want claims to be endorsed by a third party, and most prefer that the third party be a nonprofit organization. This is good news for companies that display the Green-e logo, a tool that helps distinguish company initiatives with real environmental benefit from well-crafted "greenwashing" campaigns. The study also finds the Green-e logo to have a strong position in the marketplace, with 21% of consumers now recognizing the logo. This is fundamental to businesses, which have found the Green-e logo to be one of the most effective ways to demonstrate their use of renewable power to consumers. Over 230 consumer products currently display the Green-e logo.
Have You Registered For Renewable Energy Markets 2009?
Renewable Energy Markets is just over a month away, and we've posted an ambitious, far-reaching program covering many aspects of renewable energy development, transmission, siting, and marketing, with a strong emphasis on the state of voluntary renewable energy markets. With hundreds of attendees representing utilities, REC marketers, regulators, policy experts, and others, expect an exciting week with a full program.
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.
Jacques Beaudry-Losique, the Department of Energy's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Renewable Energy, will be a keynote speaker on Monday.
This year's conference takes place in Atlanta from September 13–16.
[Learn more about Renewable Energy Markets 2009] Lead Staff: Alison Lambert
San Jose Earthquakes Go Green
Green-e partnered with the San Jose Earthquakes Major League Soccer team to Go Green for their July 25 match against D.C. United. By dedicating a portion of each ticket, the Earthquakes purchased enough Green-e Energy Certified renewable energy to cover the electricity usage associated with the game, which was the first Green-e Marketplace Certified Event by a Major League Soccer team. They also provided fans with conservation tips, reusable grocery bags, and flower seeds.
Bienvenidos a Energía Verde. Green-e exhibited at the game and distributed "Buy Renewable Energy" program inserts to encourage attending fans to support clean energy at home as well (click on the insert to download it, 1.7MB PDF). One side is in English, the other side is a Spanish translation that directed fans to a new Spanish-language page on the Green-e site that gives a general overview of the program and the renewable energy market. Check it out at www.green-e.org/esp.
Green-e Ts Have Passed Stakeholder Review
and Are Available for Sale
If you're like most of us at CRS, you're careful to only make claims that can be backed up by an overwhelming preponderance of evidence, or indisputable proof using widely recognized best-practice methodologies, or, whenever possible, independent, third party certification. But just because we're sticklers for accuracy and open-stakeholder standards-setting processes doesn't mean that we don't let it all hang out once in awhile. And when that happens, we like to sport our 100% organic cotton Green-e Logo Ts from American Apparel. Smooth unbleached cotton combined with a sporty fit and a well-placed—though tastefully understated—Green-e logo makes this perfect weekend wear for the renewable energy enthusiast. Take these shirts off our hands so we can get to work on 2.0. Limited sizes available, email jeff [at] resource-solutions.org to see what's available. Only $15, which includes shipping anywhere in the U.S.
Getting Ready For a Federal Renewable Electricity Standard
The Environmental Tracking Network of North America (ETNNA), an association of tracking systems and environmental registries that CRS incubated last year, has recently released a whitepaper that examines how the current system of renewable tracking systems would need to be restructured if a Federal renewable electricity standard (RES) takes effect. The idea put forth by the paper is that adapting our current system is far more efficient and cost effective than developing a duplicate infrastructure at the federal level. The paper is policy agnostic—it doesn't judge the desirability of a federal RES or examine the policy provisions of recent bills—but instead focuses on the feasibility of adapting existing systems to serve a federal RES system under the four different schemes suggested by the bills currently pending before Congress. Read System Changes to Serve a Federal Renewable Electricity Standard on the ETNNA website.
Haiku Contest Winners
Last month we announced the first annual renewable energy haiku contest, and we received overwhelming response. Whether this indicates a new haiku renaissance or simply interest in furthering renewable energy in the arts, we're not sure. But we were impressed by the quality and quantity of entries. All will receive a Green-e T and a free subscription to CRS NewSolutions.
Grand Prize: Sam & Kelly Watson (with winning entry above)
Sun, wind, or geo
Energy for all seasons
I heart green power
Renew the Power
Embrace, Change, Spring us Forward
get off your heiney.
if man can sail on bottles
you can go solar
CRS, in collaboration with Bonneville Environmental Foundation, SmartPower, 3Degrees, other members of the Renewable Energy Marketers Association (REMA), and the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies, has contributed to the development of two sign-on letters advocating for improvements to proposed federal policies so that they will be supportive of continued growth in the voluntary market for clean energy. The first letter is addressed to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which is working on cap-and-trade legislation. This letter advocates for a federal cap-and-trade program to adopt an off-the-top approach to voluntary renewable energy purchases as was done in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. (See the Support Voluntary Purchases of Clean, Safe, 21st Century Energy policy brief on off the top for more.) The second letter addresses the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which will influence the shape of a federal renewable electricity standard. This letter calls for federal legislation to expressly prohibit the use of voluntary renewable purchases for compliance, to ensure confidence in voluntary claims, as well as additional clarification on the ownership of federal RECs for contracts created prior to enactment. REMA members have recently travelled to Capitol Hill to make the case for these changes. Both letters can be found on the CRS Publications page.
Meanwhile, CRS Policy Director Chris Busch conducted a well-attended webinar on interactions between policy developments unfolding in Washington, D.C., and renewable energy markets. He reprised this discussion for a Tides Center brownbag presentation. Chris has continued to represent CRS in the environmental coalitions active in the California and Western Climate Initiative policy development processes. He has led position development and coalesced groups around a number of discrete cap-and-trade design questions see the Policy Documents section of the CRS website for more detail). As a member of the California Air Resources Board's Economic and Technology Advancement Advisory Committee, Chris attended a Committee meeting in Sacramento on June 24. By the end of the year, this advisory body will produce a report on steps to advance technological innovation in California. Chris is participating in the clean energy and energy efficiency subgroups. [more]
Verification numbers show exciting growth in Green-e Climate's first year. After launching in February 2008, the program showed an impressive first year of certified sales, with volumes of over 151,300 metric tons. The majority of sales were from solar facilities, demonstrating not only market support of renewable energy–based offsets, but that offset buyers are looking beyond cost to specific technologies they want to support. The details will be included in the 2008 Green-e Verification Report, scheduled for release in mid-September in time for the annual Renewable Energy Markets conference, in Atlanta.
Green-e Climate also recently welcomed in Balanced Footprint as a new seller of certified products. A startup company with a dedicated cast of experienced entrepreneurs, Balanced Footprint is offering retail offsets sourced from domestic renewable energy and VCS-certified methane destruction projects. We're excited to have them in the program and look forward to working with them. [Learn more about Green-e Climate]
Learn more about it. Green-e just posted a new section on green-e.org focused on consumer education and commonly asked questions. This new “Learn” section contains FAQs, guidance on renewable energy claims and solar REC ownership, renewable energy basics and more, and was made possible with funding from the U.S. EPA. Take a look at www.green-e.org/learn.
Huge boost on voluntary renewable energy purchases. Green-e Energy retail sales in 2008 reached an all-time high of 13 million MWh, a 45% increase from 2007 certified sales. The number of retail customers buying certified renewable energy also grew substantially, increasing by over 125% from the year before. The 2008 Green-e Verification Report will illustrate sales and supply information for both Green-e Energy Certified renewable energy and Green-e Climate Certified greenhouse gas emission reductions, as well as Green-e Marketplace data regarding commercial purchasers commitments to renewable energy, when it is released in mid-September. [Learn more about Green-e Energy]
Green-e Marketplace Featured Company: Sappi Fine Paper North America. Sappi joined Green-e Marketplace in 2007 and generates 100% of the electricity for its Boston headquarters and coated fine paper product manufacturing onsite at the Cloquet Mill. Headquartered out of Boston, with coated fine paper mills in Cloquet, MN. and Skowhegan, ME, Sappi offers McCoy sheets and digital, LOE, Opus sheets and digital, Flo sheets and digital, and Opus web with 30% post-consumer waste as Green-e Marketplace Certified products. In addition to generating Green-e Energy Certified renewable energy, Sappi has joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's SmartWay Transport Partnership. Sappi provides coated fine paper products that are chain of custody certified by the FSC, SFI, and PEFC. Sappi Fine Paper North America recently announced it has reduced carbon emissions from fossil fuels by 27% from 2004 to 2008. [Read more about Sappi Fine Paper North America's environmental programs] [Learn more about Green-e Marketplace]
Meet the New Staff
Daryl Capanzana/CRS Intern
Daryl is a summer intern of CRS, helping Green-e Energy with the verification of certified renewable energy products, the improvement of the verification process and the launch of the utility outreach. Having worked as a management trainee at China Banking Corp., Daryl is doing a cost-benefit analysis for CRS to determine the feasability of reorganizing program areas. She is also involved in the China solar research project and in managing the CRS 2008 greenhouse gas inventory. Daryl is an honor's graduate in Psychology and Marketing Management from the De La Salle University – Manila and was the Vice-President for External Relations for the Philippine office of the international youth non-profit AIESEC. She is eager about a career in renewable energy and sustainability and hopes to bolster the industry in South East Asia.
Todd Jones/Senior Analyst, Green-e Climate
Todd joined CRS in June, to assist in the development and implementation of Green-e Climate, and to contribute to policy work relating to integration of renewable energy markets and cap-and-trade policies. He comes to us from Yale University's School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, where he earned a Master's degree in Environmental Science. Prior to his graduate studies, he worked as an intern with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization's then Energy Efficiency & Climate Change Unit in Vienna, Austria, and as an Environmental Scientist and Department Leader with Professional Service Industries, Inc. in Oakland, California. Todd is a proud Golden Bear, having completed his undergraduate studies at UC Berkeley in 2004 with a B.S. in Environmental Science and B.A. in Political Science. He is extremely excited to be a part of the CRS team, and to continue working at the forefront of the climate issue.
Karl Reichstetter/CRS Intern
Karl has been with CRS since June and has focused the majority of his efforts on Green-e Energy's annual verification process. In addition to reviewing verification reports and ensuring that marketers of clean energy are compliant with CRS's standards, Karl has developed various solutions to make the verification process less time consuming for CRS and marketers alike. At the end of the summer, Karl will head back to the east coast where he will wrap up his second year of business school at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. Upon graduation, he hopes to work in the clean energy field. Recreationally, Karl has very few hobbies and continues to pride himself on the fact that he once bowled a 176.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has provided CRS with over $330,000 in funding since 1997. CRS projects that have benefited from DOE support are the Renewable Energy Markets conference and the development and spin-off of the Environmental Tracking Network of North America (ETNNA). ETNNA is a voluntary association of certificate tracking systems, regulators, and interested market participants that are vested in preventing double-counting and promoting harmonization among certificate tracking systems and emissions registries in North America. The Department of Energy's overarching mission is to advance the national, economic, and energy security of the United States; to promote scientific and technological innovation in support of that mission; and to ensure the environmental cleanup of the national nuclear weapons complex. The DOE has funded CRS through its Energy Security initiative, which promotes America's energy security through reliable, clean and affordable energy. [Learn more about the U.S. Department of Energy]
Welcome New Green-e Energy Participants
Welcome New Green-e Climate Participant
Welcome New Green-e Marketplace Participants
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 paramount annual gathering attended by leading renewable energy and green power industry stakeholders. Organized by CRS, the Department of Energy, and the Environmental Protection Agency, this year promises to be the best yet. Don't miss it!
Carbon Markets USA,
September 21-22, 2009. Washington, D.C. 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. Alex Pennock will speak.