By Thomas Ott
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The supplier's Web site is a good place to start. Organizations should review the supplier's annual report or environmental report, examine its other electricity products, and review its other business activities. For green power products, consider the following criteria: • • • Price. Green power prices may be quoted in total cents per kilowatt-hour or in extra cents per kilowatt-hour (incremental to the standard power rate). If the organization is in a regulated utility's service territory, compare the price of green power with the price of conventional power.
When buying certificates or block products, an organization can still calculate the percentage of its energy use served by renewable power. Percentage of new or incremental renewable sources. Although it is important to support existing renewable generation, many experts argue that only new generation provides incremental environmental benefits. "New" renewable resources refer to renewable facilities that have been created specifically for the green power market. Existing facilities presumably sold power into the grid before a particular green power purchase and would continue to do so.
When the demand for green power exceeds the supply, purchasing from existing facilities can eventually lead to the installation of new renewable generation capacity. In states that have adopted a renewable portfolio standard (RPS), electricity providers are required to include a minimal percentage of renewable electricity in their standard product offering. Renewable electricity products create additional environmental benefits only if the power purchased is not already part of the provider's minimal RPS requirement.