Voluntary Green Power Purchasing Grows by 1000%

This news is a couple of days old, but definitely merits attention:

Renewable energy capacity in the United States supported by voluntary demand rather than regulatory requirements now tops 2,200 megawatts (MW) — up more than 1000% in just five years, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Energy. The report notes that purchases by large businesses, institutions and governmental entities are driving the growth of the U.S. voluntary green power market.

Green power currently accounts for about 2% of America’s electricity supply, but voluntary purchasing of renewable energy is accelerating development of new renewable energy sources. The report, from DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Green Power Marketing in the United States: A Status Report, shows that renewable generating capacity in the United States installed to meet voluntary green power purchasing soared from 167 MW in 2000 to more than 2,200 MW by the end of 2004.

While I still think some substantive government investment could really break open the floodgates on renewable energy, it’s very encouraging to see this rate of organic growth, particularly because this should continue to help bring prices down and build awareness. Is this simply a matter of companies responding to consumer demand for greener business practices, or do you think the corporate world is catching on to the concept of “doing well by doing good?”

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