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US market for certified renewable energy grows 45%

More than half a million residential and 20,000 commercial customers purchased 13 TWh of certified renewable energy last year, according to the Center for Resource Solutions (CRS).

Each year, CRS releases a ‘Green-e Verification Report’ to detail the market for certified green power, which includes green pricing programmes and renewable energy certificate sales as well as companies which buy renewable energy.

In 2008, sales of Green-e Energy Certified renewable energy were up 45% from 2007, to more than 13 TWh. The number of residential and commercial customers was nearly double the previous year.

Despite the economic slowdown, the organisations of all sizes which participated in the US market for Green-e power purchased 2.9 TWh of renewable energy, a record high, notes the annual report of CRS.

“Green-e Energy continues to experience strong growth, as evidenced by the astounding increase in market volumes for certified energy over the past year,” explains Executive Director Arthur O’Donnell. Green pricing programme sales increased by 80% by the end of 2008, and 42% more renewable energy certificates (REC) were sold.

CRS launched ‘Green-e Climate’ early in 2008 and it provides “the same level of transparency, customer assurance and rapid expansion opportunity for the greenhouse gas emission reduction (carbon offset) market that ‘Green-e Energy’ brought to the renewable energy certificates market,” he adds. “Green-e Climate also demonstrates that renewable energy can have a valuable role in this market.”

“Companies are beginning to recognise the value of green marketing and the risks of greenwashing,” and there is “undeniable evidence that the voluntary market is working,” says O’Donnell.

“Despite a new emphasis on green technologies, these are difficult times for all sectors of the economy. In particular, philanthropic giving has been hit hard, and the environmental sector is absorbing more than its share of the pain.”

Utility participation in Green-e Energy grew significantly in 2008, with certified utility green-pricing sales reaching 2.2 TWh.

"The growth in sales of Green-e Energy Certified renewable energy and RECs continued at a very healthy pace during 2008, despite the beginnings of the economic downturn we are still experiencing," adds O'Donnell.

"With large businesses taking the lead in pushing record levels of demand for renewable energy, we are pleased that these sophisticated purchasers express a clear preference for clean power that has met the rigorous Green-e standards.

“CRS sees this tremendous growth as a sign that more consumers see the value of certification and electricity providers recognise the value of independent oversight of their green power and renewable energy certificate (REC) products,” the report adds.

Center for Resource Solutions is the leading independent consumer protection program for the sale of renewable energy and GHG reductions in the US retail market. 

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