Designing, implementing, and growing utility green power programs
Renewable energy certificate (REC)-based utility green power programs have been around for 20 years. Today, there are more than 5.5 million customers enrolled in these programs, which are offered by the majority of large utilities nationwide. The growth and success of green power programs is understandable since they are straightforward for utilities to design, launch, and scale – and the accessibility, simplicity, and low cost make them a win for customers, too.
Product & Program Design
For over 16 years, 3Degrees has helped utilities answer fundamental questions as they design their REC-based green power program. We frequently advise our partners on topics including optimal program pricing to maximize customer enrollments, accurate forecasting of enrollments and MWh sales, Green-e energy certification, and REC procurement strategy.
3Degrees worked closely with long-time partner Pacific Power to develop a REC procurement strategy for their Blue Sky renewable energy program that helped ensure the development of 51 megawatts (MWs) of additional renewable capacity in the state of Oregon. The program included four new build projects across Pacific Power’s service territory, including the Huntington Wind Project and two projects in southern Oregon where 40 percent of Pacific Power’s customer base lives.
3Degrees commonly provides assistance when utilities have an established green power program but its growth has stalled, customer enrollments are declining, or when they are expanding their program options. We carefully assess the utilities’ challenges and design a strategy to effectively meet their financial and enrollment goals.
A Midwestern investor owned utility launched its green power program in 2011 but, after several years, customer enrollment was stagnating and the program was no longer hitting internal metrics. The utility engaged 3Degrees to craft a customized targeting and messaging strategy to help bring new life to the program. We began by analyzing customer research and market data to help identify distinct customer segments most likely to participate, then created custom value propositions and messaging pillars for each of the target segments. The new strategy kick-started the program and customer enrollments began to steadily increase.
Marketing & Outreach
Our teams have deep expertise developing effective marketing and outreach strategies for REC-based green power programs, which include a combination of insight-based integrated marketing campaigns, effective messaging, and multi-touch outreach efforts such as courtesy knock, courtesy call, events and tabling, and more.
With the support of the Maine Public Utilities Commission, 3Degrees ran a multi-channel community campaign in South Portland, Maine, to increase participation in the Maine Green Power Program. The campaign leveraged digital and print marketing channels and on-the-ground outreach, and produced extremely strong results — the average monthly green power participant rate and the number of South Portland participants both doubled, and twenty businesses enrolled or increased their participation in Maine Green Power as a result of the four week campaign.
BY THE NUMBERS:
3Degrees outreach teams have enrolled over 200,000 customers in utility programs through nearly one million one-on-one conversations at doorsteps, on the phone, and at events or storefronts.
"The 3Degrees team works directly with our department to promote the Blue Sky renewable energy program. They understand our brand and our processes and work with us to promote the Pacific Power brand through the Blue Sky program. Together we create marketing efforts that resonate with our customers and are in line with our goals for the Pacific Power brand."