Green-e certified over 60 million megawatt-hours in retail transactions in 2017, representing an overall increase of 24% compared to 2016 sales. This is the highest number of certified retail MWh to date, and enough to power over half of U.S. households for a month.

Summary

 

Green-e Energy certified retail sales reached over 60 million megawatt-hours (MWh) in 2017, the highest number of certified retail MWh to date. Green-e currently certifies over 1.6%1 of the total U.S. electricity mix, or enough to power over half of U.S. households for a month. More than half of the installed wind capacity in the U.S. is participating in Green-e Energy certified transactions,2 and 2017 saw over 2,057,000 MWh come from solar generation, almost 8 times that of 2016.  In 2017 there were over 1,107,000 retail purchasers of Green-e certified renewable energy, including over 54,000 businesses. 2017 also saw increases in sales and customers of certified utility green pricing products, REC products, competitive electricity products, and community choice aggregation (CCA) products, resulting in all-time highs for each of those certification categories—more retail customers than ever before are purchasing Green-e Energy certified products.

 

As the global retail standard for carbon offset certification, Green-e Climate brings chain-of-custody oversight to the voluntary offset market. Green-e Climate provides critical retail protections and assurances for buyers, sellers, and project standards, including confidence in product marketing and overall quality.

Green-e Climate certified more than 269,000 carbon offsets in 2017. While this is an overall decrease from 2016 volume, certified sales of carbon offsets bundled with natural gas hit an all-time high. Additionally, Green-e Climate certified offsets were sold into more international markets than ever before.

 


Green-e Marketplace recognizes organizations that use renewable energy and carbon offsets, and enables them to demonstrate their environmental commitment to their stakeholders through the use of the nationally recognized Green-e logo and additional promotional tools. Green-e Marketplace grew its visibility among household brands by adding Church & Dwight, the manufacturer of Arm & Hammer and Vitafusion products—both of which now carry the Green-e logo. Overall, Marketplace participants purchased or generated over 550,000 MWh of renewable energy in 2017, which is enough to power over 45,000 households for a year.

Program Reports

Green-e Energy

Green-e Energy is the leading certification program for voluntary renewable energy products in North America. Green-e Energy certified renewable energy products are sold in the following different types:

  • Green Pricing Programs. Renewable electricity sold by electric utilities in regulated electricity markets, offered in addition to the renewable electricity included in standard electricity service
  • Competitive Renewable Electricity. Similar to a green pricing program, but sold by an electric service provider in a deregulated electricity market
  • Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). A REC represents the non-electricity, renewable attributes of one MWh of renewable electricity generation, including all the environmental attributes, and is a tradable commodity that can be sold separately from the underlying electricity. RECs allow for a larger and more efficient national market for renewable energy. The REC product type includes PPAs for which only the REC portion of the purchase is certified as well as VPPAs
  • Community Choice Aggregation.  Also known as Municipal Aggregation, CCAs allow cities and counties to aggregate customers in a regulated market within a defined jurisdiction to secure alternative electricity supply contracts on a community-wide basis
  • Direct certification. Direct purchasing includes purchases made directly from renewable generators as an alternative to purchasing from a utility, competitive electricity supplier, or a renewable energy certificate marketer. Our certification includes on-site renewable energy, which is consumed at the same location where it is produced

 

On behalf of consumers buying renewable energy products certified by Green-e Energy, the program requires that such products undergo an independent annual audit to demonstrate compliance with its rigorous consumer-protection and environmental standards. Green-e Energy requires that sellers of certified renewable energy products provide full and accurate information to their customers, deliver the renewable energy they promise, and source from renewable energy generators that meet Green-e Energy resource-eligibility requirements. Green-e was established in 1997, and is administered by an independent governance board.

As the public’s awareness of the impacts of pollution arising from electricity generation, energy security issues, and sustainable economic development has risen, the demand for renewable energy has increased greatly, as shown here. In fact, voluntary certified renewable energy sales in the U.S. have increased an average of 16% each year since 2013. When Green-e Energy began in 1997, it was the first certification program of its kind, and it has remained the most respected renewable energy certification program in North America.

Green-e Energy Participant Overview

337 companies participated in Green-e Energy in 2017 including 63 sellers offering 71 Green-e Energy certified REC products, 251 utility green pricing program participants offering 44 certified green pricing programs, 15 competitive electricity suppliers offering 22 certified renewable electricity programs, 5 Community Choice Aggregation sellers offering 7 products, and 3 entities with 4 different certified Direct options (which includes onsite generation).

  • 3 Phases Renewables
  • 3Degrees Inc.
  • AEP Energy, Inc.
  • Agera Energy
  • Aggressive Energy
  • Alameda Municipal Power
  • Alliant Energy
  • Ambit Energy Holdings, LLC
  • Ameren Missouri
  • Amsterdam Capital Trading B.V. (ACT Commodities Inc)
  • Apple Inc.
  • Austin Energy
  • Avangrid Renewables (Iberdrola)
  • Azalea Solar, LLC
  • Blue Delta Energy
  • Blue Spruce Energy Services
  • BlueRock Energy, Inc.
  • Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF)
  • Calpine Energy Solutions, LLC
  • Carbon Solutions Group (CSG)
  • Champion Energy Marketing, LLC
  • City of Palo Alto Utilities
  • CleanChoice Energy (formerly Ethical Electric)
  • CleanPowerSF
  • Clear Energy Brokerage & Consulting LLC
  • Community Energy, Inc.
  • Constellation NewEnergy
  • Consumers Energy Company
  • Cypress Creek Renewables
  • Direct Energy
  • Dominion Energy Virginia
  • DTE Electric
  • DTE Energy
  • Dynegy
  • ECOHZ
  • EDF Trading
  • ENGIE Resources
  • First Climate Markets AG
  • FirstEnergy Solutions Corp.
  • Good Energy
  • Green Mountain Energy
  • Green Power EMC
  • Greenlight Energy Group LLC
  • Idaho Power Company
  • Indianapolis Power & Light Company (AES)
  • J.P. Morgan Ventures Energy Corporation
  • Just Energy
  • Kiwi Energy
  • Lancaster Choice Energy
  • LG&E and KU Energy
  • Liberty Power
  • L’Oreal Operations
  • Luminant Energy Company, LLC
  • MC Squared Energy Services
  • MCE Clean Energy
  • MidAmerican Energy Company
  • MidAmerican Energy Services
  • Moffett Solar 1, LLC
  • MP2 Energy
  • NativeEnergy
  • Natural Capital Partners
  • NextEra Energy Resources
  • North American Power and Gas, LLC (NA Power)
  • Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO)
  • NRG Business Solutions
  • OneEnergy Renewables
  • Orion Renewable Energy Trading Group LLC
  • Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E)
  • PacifiCorp
  • Pine Gate Renewables, LLC
  • Platte River Power Authority (PRPA)
  • Plymouth Rock Energy
  • Portland General Electric (PGE)
  • Powerex Corp
  • Puget Sound Energy (PSE)
  • Reliant Energy Retail Services
  • Renewable Choice Energy
  • Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD)
  • San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E)
  • Santee Cooper
  • Seattle City Light
  • Silicon Valley Clean Energy
  • Silicon Valley Power (SVP) – City of Santa Clara
  • South Jersey Energy Company
  • South Plains Wind Energy II, LLC
  • Southern California Edison (SCE)
  • Spring Power and Gas
  • Sterling Planet
  • Stream Energy
  • Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)
  • TransCanada Power Marketing Ltd.
  • TXU Energy
  • Vivorex LLC
  • We Energies
  • Westar Energy, Inc.
  • Western Farmers Electric Cooperative
  • WGL Energy Services, Inc.
  • WPPI Energy
  • Xcel Energy

Consumer Protection

The Green-e Energy verification audit and review process protects customers by ensuring that the renewable electricity or RECs purchased and sold by the certified provider were not sold to more than one customer and that only one party has claimed use of that MWh of renewable energy. Replacement RECs are required when supply that has been submitted is ineligible for certification under the Green-e Renewable Energy Standard for Canada and the United States. Common reasons for ineligible RECs are double claims (meaning another entity in the chain of custody has claimed to be using the renewable energy) and product-specific restrictions (such as variation from the geographic-proximity requirements of electricity products). In 2017, the Green-e Energy audit identified a negligible amount of reported supply as ineligible for Green-e Energy certification which would necessitate procurement of replacement supply by participants. This is due to a sustained market education outreach by Green-e staff and increased due diligence on the part of Green-e Energy participants in procuring supply.

Green-e Climate

Green-e Climate is the global retail standard for carbon offset certification, bringing chain-of-custody oversight to the voluntary offset market. Green-e Climate provides critical retail protections and assurances for buyers, sellers, and project standards, including confidence in product marketing and overall quality.

Sales in 2017 dipped below 2016 levels due to the loss of two large certified offset purchasers. Green-e Climate certified just over 269,500 mtCO2e (metric tons carbon dioxide-equivalent) in 2017, down from 456,000 in 2016.

Green-e Climate Certified Sales (in mtCO2e)

Residential purchases of Green-e Climate certified offsets grew by 7,000 mtCO2e in 2017, largely due to increased interest in bundled carbon offset-natural gas offerings. Accordingly, sales of bundled natural gas-carbon offsets increased by 109%, from 21,100 in 2016 to 44,200 in 2017. Nearly 90% of certified sales in 2017 were to commercial buyers. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building certification requires Green-e Climate certification (or equivalent) for offsets that are awarded points for LEED certification. About 56% of certified sales in 2017 were sales for LEED building certification.

International sales of Green-e Climate certified offsets hit an all-time high in 2017. The total volume of international certified carbon offset sales sold grew by 19% in 2017, from 29,000 in 2016 to 36,000 mtCO2e in 2017. Additionally, certified offsets were sold into more countries than ever before; buyers were located in Canada, China, France, Germany, Greece, Haiti, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Spain, Turkey, UAE, United Kingdom, and the United States (19 countries, up from 11 in 2016).

Green-e Climate Bundled Sales

  • Unbundled (84%)
  • Bundled (16%)

Share of Certified Sales for LEED building certification

  • LEED (56%)
  • Non-LEED (44%)

Green-e Marketplace

Green-e Marketplace recognizes organizations that use renewable energy or carbon offsets and enables them to demonstrate their environmental commitment and communicate with stakeholders through the use of the nationally recognized Green-e logo and additional promotional tools. In 2017, Green-e Marketplace welcomed Church & Dwight, one of its largest corporate participants to date. The first Church & Dwight brands to begin labeling products with the Green-e logo are Arm & Hammer and Vitafusion.

The total number of Green-e Marketplace companies participating in 2017 was 28. At the end of 2017, there were over 600 products certified by Green-e Marketplace.

Vitafusion is one of the first brands in the Church & Dwight family to use the Green-e logo.

Notes

  1. Based on consumption levels in 2017 according to the US Energy Information Administration, https://www.eia.gov/electricity/data.php#sales
  2. Based on total U.S. wind power according to AWEA, https://www.awea.org/resources/press-releases/2018/wind-power-closes-2017-strong,-lifting-the-america

Figures

The charts below are interactive. Click on the items in the legend to change the display.

Figure 1: Green-e Energy Certified Retail Sales by Product Type (MWh)

In 2017, Green-e Energy certified retail sales totaled 60,018,000 MWh, an overall increase of 24% compared to 2016 sales. Green-e Energy certified sales have increased at an average rate of 16% per year over the past four years. REC sales continue to drive the majority of certified sales and grew by 23% in 2017.

Certified sales through green pricing programs offered by regulated utilities grew by 15% compared to 2016, while customers in regulated markets purchasing through a CCA purchased 28% more MWh than in 2016 due to the surge in the amount of CCAs that have launched in their local communities, particularly in California. Total certified competitive electricity sales grew by 79% following the decreases seen in the past few years. Direct certified MWh (which includes onsite generation) also grew 85% from 2016.

Note: The “RECS, PPAs, and VPPAs” category includes all certified REC transactions, including RECs that are part of PPA and VPPA deals.

Figure 2: Green‑e Energy Certified Sales by Customer Type (in MWh)

Sales by customer type grew about 17% from 2016 for residential customers and 25% for non-residential customers, with the latter accounting for the vast majority of certified MWh purchased at close to 55 million MWh. MWh sold as certified wholesale transactions increased by 16% from 2016, and residential sales went beyond 5.3 million MWh as more utilities increasingly seek Green-e Energy certified green pricing options for their customer and more communities launch their own CCAs. Although there are significantly more residential customers that purchase Green-e Energy certified renewable energy, they tend to purchase smaller amounts than non-residential customers.

Figure 3: Number of Retail Customers Purchasing Green‑e Energy Certified Products by Type

2017 saw the largest number of total retail customers purchasing certified products, with an overall increase of 15% compared to 2016. The number of customers enrolled in a certified Green Pricing option has continued to grow, reaching almost 772,000 customers for a 13% growth from the previous year, while the number of customers enrolled in a certified CCA offering increased by 11% from 2016 to a total of nearly 101,000 customers. The number of Competitive Electricity purchasers decreased to 47,000.

Note: The “RECS, PPAs, and VPPAs” category includes all certified REC transactions, including RECs that are part of PPA and VPPA deals.

Figure 4: States with Green‑e Energy Certified Renewable Electricity Options, 2017

Many customers throughout the U.S. have the option to purchase Green-e Energy certified renewable energy through their local utility or electric service provider. In 2017, bundled certified renewable electricity options were available in 38 states and Washington, DC. This geographic spread across the country means that more electricity customers in many parts of the United States have the option to purchase certified renewable electricity than ever before.

RECs unbundled from electricity are available to buyers regardless of location. Businesses purchasing large MWh volumes tend to purchase unbundled RECs, often for multiple locations, while residential customers and businesses purchasing smaller volumes tend to purchase a bundled electricity product available through their utility or electric service provider.

Figure 5: Contributions of Renewable Resource Types to Total Green‑e Energy Certified Retail Sales

In 2017, Green-e Energy sales came from a range of resources across the United States and Canada. The resource mix of the voluntary market continues to be wind-dominated in 2017 as with wind facilities accounting for 90% of the total supply. Output from more than half of installed wind facilities in the U.S. is sold in Green-e Energy certified transactions, based on total capacity. Although solar energy represents only a small portion of the supply, its share increased by nearly 8 times from 2016 to 2017 after doubling from 2015 to 2016, showing rapid growth. On the other hand, the proportion of hydro in the resource mix continued to decreased in 2017 as hydro facilities age and phase out of Green-e Energy eligibility.

Figure 6: Total Number of Facilities by Resource Type

1,007 unique generation facilities with a total capacity of over 50,600 MW supplied Green-e Energy certified products in 2017. The number of Solar facilities used to supply Green-e Energy certified products continue to grow at a fast pace; the number of unique solar facilities utilized in 2017 reached 459 unique facilities, or 46% of all facilities. Supply came from more solar facilities (459) than any other resource type. Total solar capacity utilized grew by 60% in 2017, from 1,710 MW in 2016 to 2,820 MW, reflecting a trend toward larger scale facilities that is especially in prevalent in direct transactions. However, wind still comprises the vast majority of overall capacity at just over 90%. Overall, 62 more facilities were used in 2017 compared to 2016.

Figure 7: Megawatt-Hours by Facility Date of First Operation or Repowering

Only new renewables are eligible to meet Green-e Energy standards. Eligible renewable facilities must have started operation or have been declared repowered in the last 15 years or otherwise been approved for extended use in order to provide generation to a Green-e Energy certified product. In 2017, over 47% of MWh used to supply certified sales came from facilities that were less than five years old at the time.

Figure 8: Count of Facilities by Year of First Operation or Repowering

While newer facilities provided more generation to certified sales in 2017, the actual number of facilities that provide generation is less skewed. Facilities between 5 and 10 years old made up just over 41% of all facilities that provided any amount of MWh to Green-e Energy certified sales. This may be due to the policy outlook impacting certain states at that time—some states may have had rebate programs or tax incentives that were implemented at that time, or may have been pursuing compliance targets aggressively and therefore have surplus generation to contribute to the voluntary market.

Table 1: Total Green‑e Energy Certified Sales of Renewable Energy by Product Type and Customer Type (in MWh)

Residential (Retail)Non-Residential (Retail)Wholesale
RECs, PPAs, and VPPAs630,00049,052,00011,715,000
Green Pricing4,101,0002,488,000
Competitive Electricity242,0001,873,000
Direct 1,028,000
Community Choice Aggregation417,000187,000
Total Sales5,390,00054,628,00011,715,000

The total volume of all Green‑e Energy certified transactions in 2017 reached over 71.7 million MWh. This total represents all transactions, including both certified retail sales to electricity end users looking to make a green power use claim, and wholesale sales to resellers of renewable MWh that did not claim the renewable electricity or RECs themselves. Green-e Energy certified wholesale transactions exceeded 11.7 million MWh in 2017. Of these certified wholesale transactions, around 4.8 million MWh were resold in Green-e Energy certified retail transactions. The remaining 6.9 million MWh were sold in non–Green-e Energy certified transactions to utilities, electric service providers, power marketers, and other buyers in the voluntary market—a slight increase from the 6 million MWh sold in non-certified transactions in 2016.

Removing the instances of renewable MWh certified by Green-e Energy at both the wholesale and retail levels, Green-e Energy certified sales of over 66.9 million unique MWh in 2017, an increase of 23% from 2016 and the highest total of certified unique MWh to date.

Note: The “RECS, PPAs, and VPPAs” category includes all certified REC transactions, including RECs that are part of PPA and VPPA deals.

Table 2: Top 10 States by Retail Sales Volume

State% of Total Sales
WA18%
CA16%
TX7%
NC6%
NY5%
OR5%
DC4%
IA3%
PA3%
MD3%

Green-e Energy collects data on the number of retail customers by state and the MWh of certified products provided to them. The top 10 states in terms of sales volume have remained relatively constant over the past few years. In 2017, Washington remained the state with the highest volume of MWh for certified retail sales. The West once again dominates this list with 34% of all certified retail sales going to states in the WECC. At 71%, the top 10 states represent the majority of the total volume of certified retail sales.

Table 3: Percent of Total Retail Customers by State (Includes REC Sales)

State% of Customers
OR25%
CA11%
NY8%
WA7%
MN5%
UT5%
CO5%
MI4%
WI3%
VA3%

Retail customers buying Green-e Energy certified renewable energy are spread out throughout the U.S. 76% of retail customers are located in these top 10 states in 2017. 2017 saw no states added or removed from the overall top 10, and the west coast still has more customers than any other region with just about 2 of every 5 retail customers in 2017.

There is a large degree of overlap between these two “Top Ten” lists, however the key point of difference lies in the purchase size of residential and non-residential customers. The states with the highest volumes have more non-residential customers.

Table 4: Top Ten States and Provinces Supplying Renewable Energy to Green-e Energy Certified Retail Sales by Percent of Total Certified MWh

State/Province% of Total
TX31%
OK25%
KS8%
NE4%
IA4%
ND4%
ID2%
SD2%
FL2%
NM2%

85% of the renewable energy certified by Green-e Energy was sourced from 10 states. Supply from both Texas and Oklahoma account for more than 55% of the total supply of renewable electricity certified by Green-e in 2017. This is primarily related to the high wind content in many certified products, and the high rate of potential for (and installation of) wind facilities in the Midwest and Southern states such as Texas and Oklahoma. The difference between states with generators versus purchasers of renewable energy demonstrates how the market for unbundled RECs is allowing customers with limited access to local renewable energy products to support changes in generation portfolios in the U.S. and Canada.

See below for the full map of states and provinces contributing to supply and sales for Green-e Energy certified retail transactions.

Supply

Sales

Table 5: Green-e Energy Certified Sales of Renewable Energy Certificates (including PPAs & VPPAs Certified as RECs) by Customer Type

2017 Sales (MWh, rounded) MWh: % Change From 2016% of Total Retail REC Sales Customers Customers: % Change From 2016Average Purchase Size (in MWh)
Residential630,000 MWh79%1.3% 151,200 113%4 MWh
Non-Residential49,052,000 MWh22%98.7% 36,300 6%1,351 MWh
Total Retail49,682,000 MWh23%100.0% 187,500 78%265 MWh
Wholesale11,715,000 MWh16% 54 6%216,944 MWh

Certified REC sales include PPAs and VPPAs for which the REC portion is being certified. Sales of these products continue to steadily climb, with across the board growth in terms of total retail REC sales of 23% experienced in 2017 over 2016. The market is still driven by non-residential customers, the number of which increased by 6% from 2016. Non-residential customers purchased on average around 2000 MWh more per customer than in 2016, from 1,170 MWh in 2016 to 1,351 MWh in 2017. Residential customers grew by 113% in 2017 as more REC marketers started to operate in the residential market. Based on the most recently available National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) data, Green-e Energy certified sales are estimated to make up approximately 96% of all retail REC sales in the U.S.

Table 6: Green‑e Energy Certified Sales in Green Pricing Programs by Customer Type

2017 Sales (MWh, rounded) MWh: % Change From 2016% of Total Green Pricing Sales Customers Customers: % Change from 2015Average Purchase Size (in MWh)
Residential4,101,000 MWh18%62% 755,000 13%5 MWh
Non-Residential2,488,000 MWh10%38% 17,000 6%146 MWh
Total Retail6,589,000 MWh15%100% 772,000 13%9 MWh

Many customers can purchase a bundled renewable electricity product from their local electric utility. Utility green pricing programs certified by Green-e Energy consistently make up the majority of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Top Ten rankings in terms of customer participation rate, total number of subscribers, total MWh sold, and green power sales as a percentage of total retail electricity sales. In 2017, these programs grew at a steady rate of 15% from 2016. An 18% growth in the total amount of residential customers contributed to the growth of certified Green Pricing sales, and the average purchase size remained at 5MWh. Non-residential customers increased their average purchase by 6 MWh from last year despite a steady number of customers. There is now more Green-e Energy certified renewable energy sold through green pricing programs than ever before, covering an increasingly large area of North America.

Table 7: Green‑e Energy Certified Sales of Electricity by Electric Service Providers by Customer Type

2017 Sales (MWh, rounded)MWh: % Change From 2016% of Total Competitive Electricity Retail SalesCustomersCustomers: % Change From 2016Average Purchase Size (in MWh)
Residential242,000 MWh-35%11%46,400-45%5 MWh
Non-Residential1,873,000 MWh132%89%600-19%3,122 MWh
Total Retail2,115,000 MWh79%100%47,000-45%45 MWh

In states where the electricity market is deregulated, customers have the option to choose their electric service provider (ESP). While overall sales of certified competitive electricity options grew in 2017, the number customers of dropped. This suggests that the growth of this product type was heavily influenced by a small number of large commercial purchasers. Certified competitive electricity products have been in decline over the past few years, due in part to reclassification of Green-e Energy certified CCA options to their own certification category from being included in overall competitive electricity numbers as well as an industry trend of large companies shifting their energy strategy to include more on-site renewable installations, energy efficiency, or direct power purchase agreements with renewable energy facilities or utilities, while on the residential side the drop was driven in part by volatility in the competitive electricity market and voluntary decertification of some competitive electricity products.

Table 8: Green-e Energy Certified Sales of Community Choice Aggregation Providers by Customer Type

2017 Sales (MWh, rounded)MWh: % Change From 2016% of Total Competitive Electricity Retail SalesCustomersCustomers: % Change From 2016Average Purchase Size (in MWh)
Residential417,000 MWh-2%69%91,5003%5 MWh
Non-Residential186,800 MWh333%31%9,500339%20 MWh
Total Retail603,800 MWh28%100%101,00011%6 MWh

Also known as municipal aggregation or community choice energy, Community Choice Aggregators (CCAs) allow cities and counties to aggregate customers in a regulated market within a defined jurisdiction to secure alternative electricity supply contracts on a community wide basis. As more states adopt legislation that allows the establishment of CCAs, Green-e Energy has seen growth in terms of customers served by CCAs and MWh supplied to those customers. While residential participation in certified CCA programs stayed relatively stable in 2017, the volume of non-residential sales and customers saw a significant increase. There were increases of 333% and 339% in non-residential certified sales and customers served by CCAs respectively from 2016, while residential sales slightly decreased by 2% and customer participation slightly increased by 3%.