Deregulation in the energy sector could boost the use of renewable energy by 40 percent within the decade, according to a U.S. government report.GOLDEN, Colorado, US, 2001-11-13 [SolarAccess.com] “Market research consistently shows that consumers prefer to receive their power from clean energy sources,” says Blair Swezey of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. “Our study shows that giving consumers energy supply choices can be a powerful mechanism for moving renewable energy into the marketplace.” The analysis was performed by NREL and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and is based on detailed modeling of demand for green power, including recent experience in green markets and consumer response to related products. Achieving an increase of 40 percent by 2010 would require an “orderly transition” to competitive power markets and a significant expansion of green pricing programs currently offered by regulated utilities. Green power currently is offered by 85 utilities in 29 states. Marketing of green power has been successful in a limited number of states with retail competition, but the recent suspension of customer choice in California represents a setback to the development of competitive market choices in other states. “The California experience shows that the transition to competitive retail power markets will not be smooth,” adds co-author Ryan Wiser of LBNL. “If competitive retail markets fail to materialize, utility programs must pick up the slack.” The full potential of green power markets will not be realized without a combination of better information and consumer education about electricity supply choices and the development of market rules and public policies that support customer choice. NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy’s centre for research into renewable energies, and is managed by Midwest Research Institute, Battelle and Bechtel. LBNL conducts scientific research and is managed by the University of California for DOE.