Renewables Groups Measure Impact in California Market

A national green power non-profit has pooled industry experts and resources to provide an accurate overview of the California energy crisis and its effect on green power choice in the state.

SAN FRANCISCO, California – The Center for Resources Solutions (CRS) has compiled a summary of facts that affect the market for green power in the state and has recruited leading energy authorities to document events leading to the current energy crisis. One paper,’How We got into the Energy Crisis,’ examines the complex events leading to the energy crisis, while another paper provides a list of ‘The Top Ten Factors that Affected California’s Green Power Market.’ “A major flaw in California’s restructuring legislation was a poorly designed retail market,” it explains. “Even though the law made it virtually impossible for retailers to economically compete with the incumbent utilities, the green power market appeared as one of deregulation’s few successes.” More than 90 percent of the 200,000 consumers who switched power suppliers in California chose a green power product from one of eight companies. The amount of electricity sold by these companies displaced the emission of 950 tons of nitrogen oxides and 114,500 tons of carbon. An audit conducted by CRS discovered that consumers received more renewable energy than they paid for, and that customers who opted for products based on 50 to 75 percent green supply, actually received 99 percent renewable energy. “Ironically, successful efforts by utilities to undermine California’s retail market has left them facing bankruptcy serving the millions of customers they successfully captured,” it adds. Utilities abandoned 2,000 MW of energy efficiency efforts in California, enough power to supply two million homes. “If implemented, the efficiency savings could have helped prevent blackouts, ameliorated price spikes, and provide the conditions for California green power choice.” “Almost 1,400 MW of renewable and cogeneration capacity was to be acquired through an auction that was bid but never purchased because the utilities petitioned the FERC to kill the auction as discriminatory against other power generators,” claims CRS. “California spent $90 million of ratepayer money in AB 1890 (the state restructuring bill) to offset liability costs incurred by the utilities for killing these contracts and didn’t get a single kilowatt-hour.” The Green-e Renewable Energy Certification Program is active in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and other Mid-Atlantic states, Connecticut, New York and other New England states, Ohio, and Texas. These markets feature 100,000 green power customers. Utility green pricing programs in deregulated states are operating in the Pacific Northwest; Tennessee Valley; Iowa; Colorado; Georgia, Alabama, Minnesota and Wisconsin, where tens of thousands of customers are purchasing green energy in these markets. “While roughly one percent of California consumers switched to green power, over 10 percent of Pennsylvanians have switched to new providers,” and CRS says Pennsylvania made it easier for consumers to save money when switching. CRS is a non-profit based in San Francisco that works across the U.S. and throughout the world to encourage sustainable growth and promote the use of clean energy.

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