In response to requests from their largest customers, a growing number of utilities across the country have introduced voluntary renewable energy offerings. These programs, often called renewable energy tariffs or green tariffs, reflect a fundamental shift in the relationship customers want with their electricity providers. Instead of simply expecting utilities to provide reliable service at the lowest possible cost, companies now want to partner with their utilities to ensure that the source of this low-cost, reliable power also aligns with their organizational needs. For the growing number of companies that have set renewable energy or sustainability goals, this means increased access to renewables and other forms of advanced energy.
While the number of renewable energy tariffs has accelerated in recent years, with 23 programs now approved or pending approval in 17 states, they have had mixed success in meeting customer needs. Some programs — such as Puget Sound Energy’s Green Direct and Georgia Power’s Commercial & Industrial Renewable Energy Development Initiative — have enjoyed broad support and attracted participation from a diverse cross-section of customers. Other programs have gone untouched or have been used by only one or two customers, despite interest in renewable energy among other customers in the same territory.
Successful renewable energy tariffs grow out of a collaborative relationship between utilities and their customers. For utilities that want to work with and meet the needs of the “new” C&I customer, there are lessons to be learned from the most successful existing programs, as well as from the less successful programs, and even from those that could be considered complete failures.
A recent guide from the Advanced Energy Buyers Group shows how to harness the lessons of existing and past programs into successful new programs. The report, Renewable Energy Offerings that Work for Companies: A Practical Guide to Meeting Corporate Renewable Energy Demand in Vertically Integrated Markets, outlines six steps utilities can take to develop workable renewable energy options...
To learn more about the six steps, read the rest of the report (link above) or the ELP piece here.