Voluntary vs. compliance purchases of green power
Companies might purchase energy from renewable sources for a number of reasons – government mandates, a corporate sustainability goal, to achieve points toward LEED certification, or to fulfill a commitment they have made to a voluntary compliance program. But these types of purchases fall into two overall buckets – those that are voluntary, and those that are legally mandated.
Which type of purchase would you say accounts for the largest portion of overall purchases? At first glance it would seem apparent that mandated procurement would be the lion’s share of renewable energy purchases—for example, local governments decide that all new construction over a certain size must meet standards of sustainability that they set forth; the federal government legislates that all of their new construction projects will meet a minimum level of certification.
You might however be surprised to find out that voluntary purchases have historically competed with mandated requirements, and in 2007 they actually surpassed them, accounting for over 50% of total green power purchases, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Legislation on what the face of a national renewable energy policy might look like is pending; however, the market has already spoken and swung its weight in favor of renewables. Voluntary purchases have become more significant than those mandated, which stunningly exhibits the demand out there for sources of energy that are not sourced from dirty or finite resources. It looks like coal and its partners in grime are on their way out… ~ Matt
Matt Kiszka is the LEED and Greenbuilding initiatives project manager for Renewable Choice