: Magazine : Back
Issues : Sept / Oct 2003 : Special
Section : What's Green-E? / Put the Power Where it's Needed
Green-e is a voluntary certification program
for renewable electricity products. It sets consumer protection and
environmental standards for electricity products, and verifies that
Green-e certified products meet these standards. Green-e provides
an easy way for consumers to quickly identify environmentally superior
electricity products in competitive marketselectricity products
that meet the Green-e standard for environmental
excellence are denoted by the Green-e logo.
The program requires that electricity providers disclose information
about their product to their customers in a standardized format. This
enables consumers to make informed purchasing decisions and helps
to build consumer confidence in retail renewable electricity products.
Through these efforts, the Green-e Program hopes to expand the retail
market for renewable electricity products and for power from cleaner
In each state where Green-e is active, the Green-e Program works with
diverse stakeholders to form regional advisory committees that ensure
that the consumer
protection and environmental standards of the Green-e Program work
for their regions.
When the Green-e logo is displayed next to an electricity product,
the product must meet the following requirements:
* 50 percent or more of the electricity supply comes from one or more
of these eligible renewable resources: solar electric, wind, geothermal,
biomass, and small or certified low-impact hydro facilities,
* if a portion of the electricity is non-renewable, the air emissions
are equal to or lower than those produced by conventional electricity,
* there are no specific purchases of nuclear power, and
* the product meets the Green-e new renewable requirement.
Put the Power Where it's Needed
The U.S. Fuel Cell Council (USFCC) points to Augusts blackout
across Northeastern states and parts of Canada as evidence that
the power grid is poorly equipped for getting power from where there
is surplus to where it is needed. The solution, says the council,
is not to build more transmission lines, but rather lies in an alternative:
distributed power generation.
The first step, says the USFCC, is to create an environment for
distributed resources to flourish. An example of how to move forward
can be seen in a recently-published standard to guide interconnecting
distributed generation technologies to the grid. The USFCC, which
participated in the writing of the standard, has sent a letter urging
governors to adopt the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
IEEE 1547 Standard for Interconnecting Distributed Resources
With Electric Power Systems. This standard addresses the performance,
operation, testing and safety of interconnection products and services.
Distributed generation technologiesincluding fuel cells, renewables,
microturbines and other ancillary servicescan be located closer
to where the power is needed, reducing traffic on the already grid-locked
superhighways of the electrical distribution system. Distributed
generation technologies can help states begin to address the challenge
of satisfying electrical demand for such critical loads by providing
flexibility in siting these technologies where they do not require
additional high voltage transmission lines. Newspapers reported
that fuel cells kept the lights on for offices, households and the
Central Park Police Precinct during the blackouts.
Since 1999, more than 350 individuals participated in the working
group that formulated the IEEE 1547 standard, which can now be used
in legislation and rulemaking, and by utilities in developing technical
requirements for interconnection agreements. Members of the working
group included those from manufacturers of electrical components,
fuel cells, photovoltaics, gas turbines, and diesel generators,
as well as those from utilities, government laboratories, and state
and federal governments.
Passage of IEEE 1547 shows what can happen when the industry
pulls together for the common good, said Robert Wichert, technical
director for the USFCC and participant on the IEEE 1547 working
group. This will have a significant effect on not only the
fuel cell industry, but other distributed generation technologies,
and the stability of our countrys electric grid.