Why is Green-e Energy important? At the most basic level, Green-e Energy is important because sales of renewable energy to individual customers in the US are not regulated, offering customers little protection or confidence when buying renewable energy. We believe that customers of renewable energy want third-party verification that they’re really getting what they paid for. Green-e Energy is administered by the non-profit Center for Resource Solutions, and has provided independent oversight to renewable energy sales for 12 years to do just this.
Renewable energy is unique in that it’s not easy for consumers to verify on their own if they received it-their lights will turn on no matter what kind of resource is being used to generate the electricity they use, whether coal, wind, nuclear, or natural gas. Because there is no change in what you observe about your electricity use when you use renewables, it can be difficult to know that you are getting what you pay for.
Green-e Energy provides a set of rules to ensure that renewable energy sellers are delivering what they promise, and an annual verification function to ensure sellers are following those rules. It’s also a set of standards that define high-quality renewable energy and set rules for how that energy must be marketed and sold to consumers. How does Green-e Energy do this? Keep reading.
Renewables sold in Green-e Energy Certified transactions must meet the definition of high-quality renewable energy set forth in the Green-e Energy National Standard, which has been developed and revised through an open stakeholder process with leading environmental and energy organizations, many of which maintain staff on our Green-e Governance Board.
Verification of Sales
Sellers offering a Green-e Energy Certified renewable energy option undergo an annual audit that verifies that they have bought or generated enough renewable energy to match their sales of renewable energy. Sellers must hire an auditor to check contracts for supply and sales against audit protocols developed by Green-e Energy.
As part of verification, Green-e Energy tracks the path of ownership of renewable energy to ensure that no other party besides the end-user is making claim to the same megawatt-hours (MWh) and that customers are receiving the renewables they purchased instead of traditional polluting sources. See the main verification page for annual verification reports and verification rules.
Clear Marketing Materials
Sellers of Green-e Energy Certified products must also comply with the Green-e Energy Code of Conduct. Those selling to residential customers also undergo a twice-annual marketing compliance review, during which Green-e Energy Staff check marketing materials for clarity and compliance, to ensure that customers have enough information up front to make an informed choice about the renewables they are considering. All sellers participating in Green-e Energy must offer potential customers standardized Product Content Labels and Price, Terms and Conditions documents, so that customers know up front what they are signing up for.
Green-e in Other Programs
Some of the nation’s leading environmental programs rely on Green-e Energy’s standards for their definition of renewable energy and to verify that participants in these programs are supporting high-quality renewable energy. The U.S. EPA’s Green Power Partnership, U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED standard, Cradle to Cradle Certification and others reference Green-e Energy in their renewable energy criteria.