Best Buy has started selling renewable energy credits at 1,000 of its stores.
The “Green Your Phone” product is loaded with 500 kilowatts of certified RECs – from Renewable Choice Energy – the same amount of electricity it takes to manufacture and use two mobile phones for two years, according to Best Buy. At $10 each, proceeds from the cards support the Trimont Area Wind Farm as well as wind power projects in other states.
Tom Holcomb, VP of Business Development at Renewable Choice Energy commented on Star Tribune’s article and pointed out that the product is not a plastic card. Holcomb says “Green Your Phone” consists of two small stickers for the phones housed in a paper carrier made from 30 percent post-consumer recycled content.
It’s not the first time retailers have attempted to mass market RECs. In 2006, Whole Foods signed up with Renewable Choice Energy to sell a Wind Power Card, which allows consumers to buy certified wind energy credits equivalent to household’s average monthly electricity consumption.
Renewable Choice Energy faced some criticism when Whole Foods introduced the card. “You don’t even get any credits, it’s just a word they use to give you a sense of getting something from your money. The money you spend goes towards helping Renewable Choice Energy buy and sell electricity,” Boing Boing wrote at the time.
What sets the Best Buy move apart is that the credits are actually tied to a consumer action – buying a phone. In 2006, Adam Stein, VP of Marketing for TerraPass, in speaking about Expedia’s success in selling flight terrapasses, said that this linking of an action with the REC purchase could mean the difference between success and failure.