The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Energy and the Center for Resource Solutions recently announced the annual Green Power Leadership Awards, recognizing leading national green power purchasers and suppliers.
Descriptions of each award recipient’s efforts are from the EPA. They can be found in the 2006 Awards Ceremony Program.
Purchaser Awards – the highest honors went to:
Partner of the Year
- Aspen Skiing Company
Aspen Skiing Company, an operator of four ski mountains and two hotels in Colorado, established itself as a leader in the ski industry by purchasing nearly 25 million kWh of green power. At the time of purchase, it was the largest in the history of the U.S. ski industry. The company’s move to meet 100 percent of their electricity use had a noticeable effect in the skiing industry as other resorts followed their lead. Aspen’s commitment to Green Power extends beyond their wind REC purchase. The company has announced completion of a 2.3 kilowatt solar array that has been called “the most beautiful solar array on planet earth.” The solar energy system is mounted on the Aspen Highlands Patrol Headquarters building and is framed with the stunning backdrop of Colorado’s Maroon Bells Mountains. In the summer, when the patrol building isn’t occupied, the electric meter runs backwards, creating a credit for the following year. News about Aspen Skiing Company’s purchase reached a nationwide audience through Newsweek magazine, PBS, USA Today, Time Magazine, and others. Aspen also promotes Green Power education to their customers through their website, where they feature information about their wind energy purchase and other environmental programs, including the use of biodiesel in all snowcats, green purchasing programs, green building construction programs, and the SkiGreen tags that customers can purchase with their lift tickets to support renewable energy.
- HSBC-North America
The company serves as a role model for both the banking industry and U.S. businesses alike for its overall environmental commitment. In just one year, HSBC increased its renewable purchases from 23 percent to 35 percent of its entire North American load, with its most recent purchase measuring close to 125 million kWh. In late 2005, HSBC stated that it had become the first carbon neutral bank in the world. This was achieved in part by its significant investments in renewable energy. With top management support, HSBC is fully committed to raising awareness about the importance of climate change. HSBC shares their green power commitment with the public through their website and speeches. They have also developed corporate buildings with green standards in mind; including a branch in Rochester, New York which features onsite green energy sources including solar photovoltaics. The company also has begun building a new North America Corporate Headquarters for an estimated 3000 company executives and employees, which will feature state of the art systems including solar-thermal heating and the use of 100 percent green power. With 60 million customers in North America alone, the company’s efforts and messages are expected to have a far-reaching impact.
- Johnson & Johnson
Johnson & Johnson is the only green power purchaser to earn a Green Power Leadership Award for five consecutive years. The company has incrementally increased its annual green power commitment, and last year increased its use of green power, renewable energy credits, and on-site solar projects to more than 306 million kWh annually. Johnson & Johnson ranks as the 3rd largest corporate purchaser and the 5th largest purchaser in the country. Johnson & Johnson sets rigorous company-wide standards for operating businesses that not only meet existing regulations but also reduce its overall environmental footprint. In its publicly-released energy policy, Johnson & Johnson outlines its commitment to reduce its CO2 emissions by 7 percent by 2010, compared to 1990. According to this policy, these reductions must be made in absolute levels, rather than levels relative to the company’s growth. At year end 2005, CO2 emissions were 11.5 percent below 1990 levels. The wide variety of onsite renewable projects developed to meet these goals demonstrates how these types of projects can provide a good return on investment, as well as significant environmental benefits.
Starbucks is one of the most recognized brand names in the world and the company’s 150 million kWh REC purchase is raising the profile of green power. By purchasing RECs, Starbucks is reducing its climate footprint while helping consumers better understand green power and RECs. Starbucks is using its broad influence to spur new renewable energy development by encouraging its supply chain to purchase renewable energy. Starbucks green power provider extends a preferred rate to all of Starbucks suppliers so that they too can receive the low rates associated with a large purchase of wind energy. The launch of this green power supply chain initiative provides a model for how U.S. companies shape the actions of their stakeholders to achieve corporate environmental goals. The impact that this program can have on renewable energy growth is immense. Starbucks’ purchase is the 4th largest corporate green power purchase and the 2nd largest purchase among retail companies in the Green Power Partnership. In the past year, Starbucks increased its commitment four-fold to 20 percent (up from 5 percent last year) of its electricity consumption at retail locations across the United States. Starbucks’ message about the importance of renewable energy growth is coupled with its commitment to improving public education and awareness of the importance of addressing climate change. The company’s voice is being broadcast to all the businesses involved in creating the Starbucks experience. The media coverage by ABC Nightly News, CNBC and Business Wire also generated national awareness and exposure for green power.
- Whole Foods Market
Whole Foods Market, one of the leading natural and organic foods supermarkets, made a landmark purchase of RECs from wind farms for 100 percent of the electricity used in all of its stores, facilities, bake houses, distribution centers, regional offices, and national headquarters in the United States. This purchase of more than 458 million kWh per year was at the time the largest corporate purchase of green power in the United States and makes Whole Foods Market the only Fortune 500 Company purchasing RECs for 100 percent of its electricity needs. Whole Foods Market undertook a very strong communications effort to promote its historic wind energy credit purchase both externally and internally. The company’s media team conducted a very extensive outreach to national and regional media, resulting in the largest media coverage of a green power purchase in the United States. As of February 2006, there were approximately 400 broadcast hits, 50 print hits, and 50 web hits, including national coverage in USA Today, CNBC, CNN, ABC radio, Dow Jones, Bloomberg, Reuters, UPI, and many more. Individual stores provide additional education about wind energy to their shoppers through point of purchase educational displays, posters, banners, table top signs, checkout counter cards and break room signs. Stores also carry brochures to help shoppers purchase wind RECs for their homes. Whole Foods furthered the impact of their own actions by collaborating with their supplier by establishing an extensive web site where individual stores could order outreach materials.
On Site Generation:
- Chena Hot Springs Resort
The natural thermal springs at Chena Hot Springs Resort have always been a place to relax, but now they’re also the site of the first geothermal power plant in Alaska, and the first in the world to use geothermal water as ‘?cool’ as 165ºF to generate power commercially. Because the 165ºF water is not hot enough to boil and generate steam, the use of a steam turbine was impractical. Instead, the power plant uses the heat from the geothermal water to vaporize a fluid with a lower boiling point. The vapor and resulting pressure created by this fluid helps drive a turbine to generate an estimated 200 kilowatts of power. Chena Hot Springs also took advantage of mass produced refrigeration chiller components, which greatly reduced the overall cost of the project. Chena Hot Springs Resort is being developed as a sustainable community with commitments to renewable energy, energy independence, self-sufficiency, and environmental stewardship. At a cost of $2.2 million the geothermal power plant is expected to pay for itself within five years. The resort also saves thousands of dollars annually through a geothermal heating system, including a new 4,320 square foot greenhouse which supplies fresh produce to guests and employees year-round. The power plant was unveiled in August at the resort’s first Renewable Energy Fair that drew more than 1,400 people. The owners, Bernie and Connie Karl, are strong advocates for renewable energy and have opened the resort as a showcase for demonstrating working renewable energy projects including solar, wind, hydro, and alternative fuels. In 2006 alone, Chena Hot Springs provided classroom tours to over 50 groups of students, and have hosted over 70,000 visitors from around the world.
- San Diego Unified School District
In 2004, the roofs of more than 30 schools in the San Diego Unified School District were due for repair or replacement. Through an innovative public-private partnership the School District was able to turn their need to repair the roofs into an opportunity to profitably generate green power. Working with a highly specialized solar roofing contractor, the District installed 3,600 kilowatts of solar roof-integrated solar photovoltaic systems at 24 educational and support facilities, and is working on replacing additional roofs each year. The solar roof contractor installed over 1 million square feet of solar roofs at no up-front cost to the District. As a result, the School District receives electricity produced by the solar roofs at a fixed price; whereas the system financier receives income from the power sales as well as the tax and depreciation advantages associated with the systems. A highly specialized roofing company installs and maintains the solar system and facility roofs at no cost to the District for 20 years. The District anticipates more than $37 million in total cost-savings over 20 years when all 6,500 kilowatts of planned systems are installed. The savings are largely capture through avoided roof replacement and maintenance costs, and a projected electricity cost savings of more than $3 million. To raise awareness of the solar energy project, the story was featured on San Diego’s CBS-affiliate TV station, and in the San Diego Union Tribune newspaper. Project details are updated regularly on the SDUSD Energy/Utility Management Section’s web site, which contains photos and information about photovoltaics and other District conservation projects. The project is also used as an educational tool in the schools. All schools with a PV solar system will be provided with an interactive kiosk display, and an internet-accessed display that allows students to see real-time and historical solar energy production. Also, a hands-on classroom educational tool, called the “Energy Box” lets students discover for themselves how a PV panel can provide energy to run fans and lights.
- County of Butte Government Center (Calif.)
When the County of Butte initially sought proposals for its 2004 energy efficiency program, prospective contractors were asked to include a photovoltaic element in their project specification. Most proposals included natural gas powered cogeneration plants with insignificant photovoltaic elements. County officials finally obtained a proposal for a one-megawatt 100 percent solar energy project. The 100 percent new renewable energy installation at the Oroville Government Center was completed in August 2004. The project is comprised of 6,360 185-watt solar panels in four separate arrays producing 997 kilowatts alternating current or 1180 kilowatts direct current. They power three Butte County government buildings. The arrays include a roof-mounted East Jail facility, a parking lot shade structure, a West Jail Facility ground-mount array, and a second ground-mount array located near the county’s administration building. According to Butte County, at the time of installation the Oroville Government Center was the 5th largest solar energy system in the United States, and ranked seventeenth in the world. The solar energy system is completely American made. The panels were the first off the production line of a plant located in Tennessee, while the inverters and transformers were made in California. County project managers continue to create awareness and share best practices with the public through presentations, a website and articles published in California County magazine. On-site monitoring kiosks, placed in locations easily accessible to county employees and the public, offer daily real-time viewing of solar energy production to promote environmental awareness.
Green Power Purchase:
- Coldwater Creek
Coldwater Creek is currently the largest purchaser of renewable energy among the apparel industry, at 45 million kWh annually. The company has committed to expand its green power commitment to match the company’s projected business growth over the next three years. The company moved decisively upon entering the world of green power, meeting 100 percent of its electricity load across its U.S. facilities. Coldwater Creek is growing rapidly at 25 percent per year and recognizes that this growth creates a larger environmental footprint. In addition to its large purchase, Coldwater Creek is actively broadcasting its green power commitment to its stakeholders, taking both an educational and informative approach. The first target has been its employees, making sure they understand that environmental awareness is a company priority and empowering employees with knowledge about ways they can take action in their own lives. The plans for communications to the company’s customers are already underway.
- Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth’s initial purchase was made in 2005 for nearly 3.5 percent of its electricity load, making Pennsylvania the first state to make a voluntary green power purchase. In 2006, the state upgraded its purchase to nearly 8 percent. The Commonwealth’s total voluntary purchase of eligible renewable energy totals almost 80 million kWh, ranking it 1st among state purchasers and 16th on EPA’s national Top 25 list of green power purchasers. Pennsylvania’s purchase is integral to the state’s overall goal and strategy to develop a stable, locally produced clean energy supply. State officials often promote the Commonwealth’s purchase at speaking engagements locally, nationally, and internationally. This significant renewable energy purchase is just one part of a strategy to advance clean energy in Pennsylvania. In addition, the State successfully recruited a Spanish wind turbine manufacturer, to locate its US headquarters in Philadelphia, and is building four manufacturing facilities across the state. Other initiatives include the development of statewide interconnection and net metering standards, a model wind ordinance for municipalities, and a small turbine grant program designed to promote visibility and awareness of wind energy by installing wind turbines around the state at schools and municipal buildings. A clean fuels initiative is now underway to produce 900 million gallons of clean indigenous transportation and heating fuels annually within 10 years.
IBM has increased its commitment to renewable energy sources over the past four years, making direct purchases of wind, solar and biomass-generated electricity and purchasing renewable energy credits. IBM’s purchase of 94 million kWh of green power is one of the largest corporate purchases in the United States. The company utilizes both local utility green pricing products as well as renewable energy certificates to meet its corporate-wide electricity needs. In addition to the purchase, IBM’s Climate Stewardship program includes an operational energy efficiency objective, a focus on product energy efficiency, employee commuting programs, and renewable energy purchases. These renewable energy purchases have helped IBM reduce its CO2 emission footprint. IBM’s purchase led to media coverage in 110 media outlets around the country, including Business Wire, Greenbiz, USA Today, and numerous trade journals. IBM helped educate more than 300,000 of its employees through an intranet based communications program, and reports its successes in its corporate citizenship report.
In fall 2005, prAna launched its Natural Power Initiative, meeting the electricity needs of 250 of its retail locations nationwide, 100 percent of its headquarters, and all of the homes of its full-time employees with green power. For 2006, this alone is estimated to offset more than 17 million kWh. The company has also been successful in introducing the use of green power to its parent company, Liz Claiborne Inc., which subsequently made its own purchase to meet 100 percent of the electricity used in its New Jersey headquarters A?AA¢AA¢aAA¬AA¢a?A¬? a powerful example of the tail wagging the dog. prAna is committed to its initiative and, in 2007, plans to increase the number of its retailers participating in buying green power, including a portion of its contracted U.S.-based manufacturing. The company’s longer-term goal is to help other apparel industry companies understanding the environmental benefits of purchasing wind-generated power.
Staples is demonstrating commitment to protecting the environment through its purchase of green power, as well as through the company’s recycling programs, the promotion of Energy Star products in their stores and corporate offices, the company’s energy awareness campaigns, and by implementing energy efficient construction practices. With a purchase of more than 71 million kilowatt hours, Staples is currently purchasing 14% green power, ranking them 4th among corporate retail purchasers in EPA’s Green Power Partnership. The company plans to add green power each year as they add stores, and are committed to maintaining their green power purchase at a minimum 10 percent level corporate-wide. Staples takes a proactive position on reducing conventional energy use and has invested heavily in green technologies when designing, building and opening new facilities, stores, and distribution centers. Notably, they have installed 260 kilowatts of solar photovoltaic generation capacity across three distribution centers with plans for more next year.
- Stonyfield Farm
Stonyfield Farm purchases green power and CO2 offsets to cover 100 percent of the carbon footprint resulting from its operations. Its purchase of over 9 million kWh of RECs in 2005 includes 15 percent from a new 50 kilowatt solar array located atop the yogurt works. Stonyfield Farm was America’s first manufacturer to reduce 100 percent of its CO2 emissions from its manufacturing facility’s energy use (1997) and compiled a “how to guide” instructing other companies on how to incorporate best practices in greenhouse gas management. Despite the lack of any state incentives, Stonyfield Farm’s environmental commitment resulted in company investing in one of the largest PV solar arrays in NH A?AA¢AA¢aAA¬AA¢a?A¬? one of the largest in New England.
- The Holland
The Holland’s purchase of more than 13 million kWh of green power provides 100 percent of the electricity needs for all its restaurants throughout Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington, as well as its local headquarters in Vancouver, Washington. With a commitment to utilize Pacific Northwest-sourced ingredients for its restaurant’s menus, and through the recycling of 100 percent of used cooking oil into biodiesel fuel, The Holland, Inc. firmly believes that supporting regionally-produced wind energy creates direct economic and environmental benefits for the region. The Holland, Inc.’s wind power purchase represents the largest national commitment to wind power by a quick-service restaurant chain. Since the company’s original purchase of green power one year ago, The Holland, Inc. has also taken many steps to spread wind power awareness to their clientele, utilizing tabletop signage that invites guests to purchase renewable energy and through the placement of 12 inch model turbines in their restaurants. The company also participates in community events to encourage other businesses and individuals to use renewable energy.
- The Tower Companies
The company’s stewardship in integrating energy not only energy efficiency, but green building practices into the mainstream has helped demonstrate that these practices can be both environmentally and fiscally responsible. Leading by example, Tower Companies uses its development dollars to educate and inspire the market for green power. In an industry dominated by giants, Tower’s purchase of over 79 million kilowatt hours of wind energy places this small business at 17 among EPA’s top 25 partners, and makes them the only real estate company currently represented in the rankings. They are active internationally on green building technology and have set new standards for green development in business, residential, retail and mixed-use real estate environments. Through their leadership, Tower Companies persuaded business partners to purchase more than 37 million kWh of RECs for Washington Square, Huff Court and Bethesda Place developments. Tower’s efforts have generated significant publicity and media interest.
- Vail Resorts
Vail Resorts Inc. addressed 100 percent of its electricity use by purchasing nearly 152 million kWhs of wind energy for its five mountain resorts, its lodging properties, all of its 125 retail locations and its new corporate headquarters in Broomfield, Colo. By purchasing renewable energy credits equal to the company’s entire electricity use, Vail Resorts ranked as the 6th largest corporate purchaser of wind power in the United States and the largest purchaser among travel and hospitality industry Partners. Vail Resorts has gone beyond just making the second largest wind power purchase in the country, they are actively using their leadership position to inspire others to make the switch to clean and renewable sources of energy. Vail Resorts has organized a comprehensive marketing and public relations campaign to spread the word about wind power, launching an onsite promotional campaign at their five mountain resorts and retail locations around the country. The announcement of their landmark purchase was covered in the Wall Street Journal, CNN Headline News, the New York Times, USA Today, the Washington Post and was syndicated by the Associated Press. To connect with individual customers and employees, Vail Resorts is also offering free and steeply discounted lift tickets to anyone who signs up for wind power for their home.
- WhiteWave Foods Company
The company’s SILK brand was among the first to publicly support and advertise wind energy on much of its packaging, educating customers on over 150 million cartons. In July 2003, WhiteWave Foods’ corporate parent, Dean Foods, acquired Horizon Organic® and, in October 2004, consolidated the Silk and Horizon Organic brands under a new division called WhiteWave Foods, Inc. Demonstrating the company’s commitment to sustainable business practices, WhiteWave Foods, Inc. further expanded its green power purchase to encompass the energy used by Horizon Organic operations and its new corporate headquarters for a total purchase of 53 million kWh. The company also supports green energy beyond its own walls. The company actively sponsored the “greening” of New Hope Natural Media’s Expo West and East, which are the largest natural and organic products conferences in the nation. In addition, WhiteWave Foods purchased enough renewable energy certificates to cover all of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with this year’s Farm Aid Concert, in addition to the energy used for the 25,000 attendees to drive to the concert. Finally, Horizon Organic began a mobile educational tour for its retailers and families to inform them about the benefits of organic foods. The tour van’s trip was “greened” by purchasing renewable energy certificates.
Suppliers – The highest honors went to:
- New Green Power Program: Silicon Valley Power, City of Santa Clara, Calif.
Santa Clara Green Power owes its great success to teamwork-?a partnership between Silicon Valley Power (SVP) and its many customers, who welcome an opportunity to make a choice about the type of electricity their dollars support. SVP, the City of Santa Clara’s municipal electric utility, has demonstrated the value of renewable energy and grabbed consumer attention through innovative marketing strategies and motivating customers to pay a little extra for green power. The utility’s efforts have paid off. Launched in November 2004, the 100 percent renewable wind and solar power option has attracted 5.4 percent participation-?far above the national green pricing program average of 1.2 percent. In just the first year alone, the program boasted a 5.0 percent participation rate, confidently moving it towards its goal of 7.5 percent penetration in 2007. Santa Clara Green Power is closely aligned with Silicon Valley Power’s energy efficiency programs and its projected power mix of 34 percent renewable next year. Several large, high-profile customers, such as Cisco Systems, Agilent Technologies, Applied Materials, Yahoo!, Santa Clara University and the City of Santa Clara, have climbed aboard.Santa Clara Green Power costs customers only a penny and a half per kilowatt-hour (1.5 cents/kWh) above the standard electricity rate-?one of the lowest rates in the country. Proceeds from Santa Clara Green Power support building community solar projects in highly visible locations, such as schools and City buildings, adding a community-wide spirit to an already successful effort.
- Renewable Energy Technology Supplier: Community Energy
Community Energy, Inc. (CEI) is a marketer and developer of wind energy generation founded in 1999 and headquartered in Wayne, Pennsylvania. CEI is a wholly-owned subsidiary of IBERDROLA – one of the largest owners and operators of renewable energy facilities in the world. CEI has more than 3 billion KWhs of wind energy sales, 100,000 residential customers and marketing arrangements with 18 investor-owned and municipal utilities. CEI cites its utility partners and customers, which include many of the largest retail purchases of wind energy in the country, as the reason for its success in bringing wind energy to market in new regions of the country. CEI developed and jointly owns the Jersey-Atlantic Wind Farm and the Bear Creek Wind Farm, and has wind projects under development throughout the United States. This past year, Community Energy developed and closed a $50 million investor package on two new wind farms, the 24 MW Bear Creek Wind Farm in northeastern Pennsylvania (one of the first in the United States to employ 2 MW turbines) and the 7.5 MW Jersey-Atlantic Wind Farm in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The five turbines located in Atlantic City represent the first coastal wind farm in the nation, the first project in New Jersey, and are visible to the over 30 million people who visit Atlantic City each year.
- Green Power Program of the Year: Portland General Electric
Portland General Electric’s (PGE) leadership in renewable energy resources dates back to the 1990s when the company agreed to buy the entire output of Oregon’s first major wind farm. Today, PGE is selling more renewable power to residential customers than any other utility in the country. As of August 2006, PGE had 46,408 renewable customers, which is 5.9 percent of all their customers. An additional 6.5 percent of PGE’s residential customers are purchasing renewable power. That puts PGE in an elite group; only six other utilities in the country have gone above the five percent customer participation threshold in their Green Power programs. PGE customers have the choice between three renewable products. Green SourceSM and Healthy HabitatSM match 100 percent of actual energy use with renewable power, and Clean WindSM allows customers to purchase small units of renewable energy at a fixed price. Through a comprehensive Web site, printed materials and direct sales efforts, PGE clearly explains the benefits of each product to its customers. The Clean WindSM product includes a development fund in which a portion of the customer charge is used to purchase renewable resources, such as solar panels, which are donated to governments, schools and non-profits. As an annual retention effort and to thank them for their support, customers also receive a book full of valuable local coupons. All coupons are from other renewable business customers, creating a sense of a “green community”
- Green Power Program of the Year Honorable Mention: We Energies
We Energies serves more than 1.1 million electric customers in Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. In 1996, the company introduced the Energy for Tomorrow renewable energy program, one of the first utility renewable energy pricing programs ever created. Ranked in the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Top Ten Green Power Provider lists year after year, the Energy for Tomorrow program is nationally known as a leader and shares its expertise with other programs through innovative marketing techniques, direct mail, and message testing. In 2006, the Energy for Tomorrow program reduced the premium for its Wisconsin customers during a time of rising energy prices. The program has added solar electric to the supply mix with the most lucrative “solar buy back rate” in the nation, offering an unprecedented rate of 22.5 cents/kWh for program participants. In effect, program participants act as micro-power plants to supply solar energy to all other Energy for Tomorrow participants. We Energies has created a significant partnership with RENEW Wisconsin to enhance their product and a number of business customers now participating in this program -? We Energies business customers are one of the largest groups of business customers in the EPA Green Power Partnership Program.
Market Development – The highest honors went to:
Green Power Pioneer Award:
- Jim Burke of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) in northern California
Jim Burke took over the Greenergy Program at the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) in 2000. It quickly became one of the leading programs in the country. Today, Greenergy is the only program in the country ranked in the top five in all three categories -? kilowatt-hours sold, number of participants, and participation rate. The program’s success can be directly traced to Jim’s creative solutions, insight and hard work. Jim instituted powerful improvements to traditional marketing vehicles and developed new innovative sales techniques, while simultaneously motivating the SMUD Greenergy team to perform at an impressive level. Jim’s vision for renewable energy is simple -? he wants it to be relevant to as many people as possible. While he worked to make SMUD a leader in renewable energy, he also worked to make the industry more effective by openly sharing lessons learned, marketing campaign performance data, and best practice examples. Jim now applies his extensive knowledge and expertise to the solar program at SMUD, leaving a great legacy of success and institutional knowledge for the voluntary green power market.
- Brent Alderfer & Eric Blank of Community Energy
Brent Alderfer and Eric Blank together founded Community Energy, Inc. (CEI) in 1999 and, in less than six months, successfully developed the first operating commercial wind turbine installation in the competitive Pennsylvania electricity market. They formed CEI to pursue a mission of igniting a market for clean, sustainable energy and supplying that market. Their driving force was to engage market capital to profitably expand new renewable energy supply. The combined vision, innovation, and leadership of these two individuals helped shape the voluntary wind marketing industry, and they continue to execute the strategy that has made the company an industry leader. They draw upon their strong regulatory, financial, marketing and development knowledge (as well as passion for clean energy) to position CEI at the forefront of the wind and renewable energy sector. Prior to CEI, Brent had a national role in opening new energy markets and led efforts to introduce wind and other new generation technologies at utility scale as a Colorado public utility commissioner. Eric has been involved with electric utility issues for over twenty years, including ten years at a non-profit organization that worked with electric utilities and regulators to develop public policy support for alternative energy. Brent and Eric started a company on a premise that consumer demand could make real change in the power sector, and with a product that was new and not widely understood. They pursued an interest that has become, by any measure, a success in a market that continues to break through conventional boundaries as it grows. By employing innovative sales and marketing strategies that linked REC sales directly to the development of new commercial-scale wind energy projects, Brent and Eric helped lead a rapidly-growing market. As co-owners of CEI, they recently engineered the sale of the company to Iberdrola, the world’s largest renewable energy owner and operator, leading the entry of this world leader in renewable energy to the U.S. market.
Green Power Beacon Award:
- We Energies – Energy for Tomorrow Program
For more than ten years, the Energy for Tomorrow team at We Energies has continued to develop new, innovative marketing techniques that build demand for renewable energy and educate Wisconsin and Michigan residents and businesses. Their inventive target marketing methods, advanced message testing, and original direct mail efforts keep the program compelling to new customers and successful with a large existing customer base. We Energies was one of the first utility programs to test and implement the “Legacy Message” into their marketing efforts, engaging consumers through a focused message about the environment left for future generations. After additional research, the team went on to create the “Problem Solver” message that appeals to a customer’s want to be in control of their decisions, their actions and their life. Both messages proved to be highly effective. The program employs integrated, progressive marketing techniques to ensure maximum success for their efforts. Aspects of their program marketing include: direct mail, bill inserts, Web site, and community events. All Energy for Tomorrow customers receive a Welcome Kit with program details, highlights and incentives. Customers also receive quarterly newsletters with recent developments, event announcements and special member invitations to renewable energy workshops and tours of renewable energy facilities. The We Energies team takes the time to ensure all information conveyed is accurate, clear and effective. They were one of the pioneering Green-e certified utility programs and continue to earn accolades for the high quality program efforts and development each year. They match the success and growth with support of new renewable resources, and reach out to business leaders in their service territory to make large commitments to renewable energy. Energy for Tomorrow is a leader in developing new approaches to utility renewable energy pricing marketing and shares its expertise with other programs and providers to improve the development of the national market for renewable energy. This spirit of collaboration resulted in improved understanding of segment-based marketing across provider sectors and new standards being set for the utility renewable energy pricing industry
- Whole Foods Market and Renewable Choice Energy
Working together, Whole Foods Market and Renewable Choice Energy developed a ground-breaking retail marketing and outreach campaign to communicate with customers across the nation about renewable energy. This first-of-its-kind program reached millions of Whole Foods Market shoppers, raising awareness of clean energy options and building new renewable energy advocates and customers. As one of the largest purchasers of wind power in the country, and the first Fortune 500 Company purchasing to meet 100 percent of its electricity use, Whole Foods Market received nationwide media coverage of their wind power commitment. To expand their impact, Whole Foods wanted to give their customers an opportunity to get involved. Renewable Choice Energy created and implemented a program that engaged both store team members and WFM customers with a clear message about their clean energy options. The “Help Wind Power Grow” program now exists in over 180 locations nationwide reaching 3 millions customers weekly. The program includes brochures for shoppers, a FREE gift card to reward participating customers, employee training, in-store signage, FAQ apron cards for employees, kids’ materials (coloring contests and science projects), and check-out isle promotions and model turbines. The program greatly increased the visibility and acceptance of renewable energy, resulting in thousands of new wind power customers. Together, Whole Foods Market and Renewable Choice Energy continue to expand the national market for renewable energy and demonstrate that wind power marketing is ready for mainstream audiences.
Green Power Pilot Award:
- Smart Power and the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund
In Connecticut, an integrated program of cutting-edge outreach, innovative marketing efforts and advanced web-based communication continues to generate thousands of new renewable energy customers. SmartPower’s “20% by 2010” marketing campaign encourages cities and towns, institutions, and businesses to obtain 20 percent of their electricity from clean sources by 2010, and promotes purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates that place clean energy on the grid. This marketing and outreach campaign focuses mainly on clean energy’s viability and practicality, utilizing television and radio advertisements as well as an innovative direct outreach partnership called the Connecticut Clean Energy Communities Program. Under this program, lead by the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund, a community that commits to SmartPower’s 20% by 2010 Campaign and gets 100 of its residents to sign up for the utility based “switching” program, CT Clean Energy Options, received a free 1 KW solar array courtesy of the clean energy fund. Working together, the two organizations developed and launched a unique, web-based support and marketing tool to support the Clean Energy Communities Program and provide timely, substantive, and customized information about clean energy progress in the state. The Connecticut Clean Energy Communities website provides users with information on local press coverage and clean energy sign-ups to date, monthly performance charts, local contact information, quotes from local officials and advocates, progress on municipal-level clean energy purchasing, and various “toolkits” to assist clean energy supporters in engaging local households and businesses. Over 8,500 customers signed up for the CTCleanEnergyOptions Program in 15 months -? exceeding the regulatory target of 8,000 sign-ups in 24 months and representing a voluntary demand of over 60 million kWh’s. Additionally, 26 cities and towns committed to the SmartPower “20% by 2010 campaign,” representing a potential voluntary market of over 50 million kWh’s by 2010. And, solar arrays are being installed on schools, libraries and other communitiy buildings throughout the state. This partnership not only led to new purchasing, but significantly increased public awareness of clean energy in Connecticut -? evidenced by opinion polls and earned media tracking.
- Energy for Keeps
In response to the national need for a comprehensive and easy-to-understand book on renewable energy, one educator and green power community member organized a team of writers, editors, an illustrator, and an extensive group of energy experts to develop this excellent publication for both students and the general public. The book covers all renewable energy sources -? biomass, geothermal, ocean, hydro, solar, and wind -? as well as non-renewables. It covers the history of energy use, the production and delivery of electricity and all electricity- generating technologies. Energy for Keeps is enhanced by a website, www.energyforkeeps.org, where teachers can find free classroom activity suggestions and other helpful information. Some activities incorporate participation of the surrounding adult communities and local utilities. The book not only informs, but encourages application of what is learned. Energy for Keeps reaches a broad range of users. including utility and energy agency staff, community- and school- outreach programs, school and public libraries, university teacher-training programs, community colleges, and middle and high schools.