Can new green power products lead to more green in your pockets?

by:Michelle McGinty

Consumers are increasingly looking for renewable energy options and are willing to pay more for it. According to the bi-annual Climate Change in the American Mind survey conducted by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication, half of Americans say they likely would purchase 100% clean, renewable electricity if given the opportunity (see below). Additionally, nearly half of Americans (47%) reported that they were willing to pay more to get their electricity from 100% renewable sources. And maybe they won’t need to. Levelized costs for renewable energy have fallen up to 90% over the last decade, making them competitive with legacy generation in many markets.

Then why aren’t more customers switching to renewable energy? According to the same study, a large majority of Americans (82%) either don’t know” (48%) that they have the option to purchase 100% clean, renewable electricity or believe they don’t have the option (34%). 

That is where energy marketers come in. The time is ripe to explore offering more sustainable product offerings. Outside of potentially gaining a higher margin, green energy options can also help your company with: 

Differentiation

How does your company stand out among the many REPs/ESCOs in your territory? Do you have a unique value proposition, or are you competing solely on price? Offering more than one green energy product can differentiate you from competitors. With Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) product offerings, consumers can support renewable energy without investing in rooftop solar. Even gas customers can lower their environmental impact by signing up for a bundled carbon offset natural gas product. Differentiate your company by offering products that align with your consumers’ values.

Retention

Not all of your customers will want renewable energy, but that’s okay! Just as candy bar manufacturers produce different flavors for different tastes, you can offer different products for different demographics. But if you don’t offer a green power product, your customers may leave for a competitor that does. In the grocery store, having more “shelf space” allows brands to expand; in the energy marketing space, offering multiple green energy products helps reduce churn.

Loyalty

Often overlooked, customer loyalty is an important part of any company’s growth plan. Offering more green power products shows your commitment to a healthy climate for future generations, something that can have a positive “halo effect” on your brand – for all your stakeholders, including customers, employees, and regulators. To increase your impact, consider having your renewable energy or carbon offset product Green-e® certified. Adding third-party certification by a well-known and trusted environmental ecolabel can increase consumer trust in your green power products and brand.

There are many other reasons to expand your green power product offerings. As the energy landscape continues to evolve and environmental concerns continue to rise in the social consciousness, it may become increasingly important to your business.

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Michelle McGinty is the Program Outreach Manager at Center for Resource Solutions, the nonprofit that administers the Green-e Programs and creates policy and market solutions for advancing sustainable energy. Contact her at michelle.mcginty@resource-solutions.org.