After the comparative frenzy of Melbourne Christmas dinner seating 23, our extended family celebrates a January birthday at a relaxed country gathering. This year the birthday was a 91st and we lunched casually on the deck at Chateau Tahbilk’s new Wetlands Restaurant, an ‘hour and a bit’ out of Melbourne. The novacentarian lives on a farm not far away.
With two of our number working in the enviro/sustainability area and others about to move house, the conversation quite naturally drifted to Green Power. I have seen the Government’s big green tick ‘somewhere’ and I am certainly moderately green, but I was amazed to learn you can actually opt to use renewable energy!
There was agreement around the table that ‘getting info out to the grassroots’ is very difficult. Most would like to do their bit to preserve the world as we know it for our kids BUT, short of an astronomically large marketing budget, how DO you get info out when the media is only interested in ‘sexy’ headline-grabbing stuff?
Back home when I rang to arrange the power for the new place there was no offer of the Green Power alternative. I checked around and discovered much confusion!
1)A number of electricity industries worldwide have voluntary schemes so consumers can buy ‘Green Power’, typically electricity generated from renewable energy sources – solar, wind, renewable biomass, tidal. This means the retailer is obliged to buy the amount of energy you use from renewable sources. Both the amount of renewable energy and its source/s are up to you. 100 per cent power from renewable sources costs around $5 a week extra.
2)206 Australian Councils, representing 80 per cent of our population, have been involved in a program to reduce greenhouse emissions since 1998 – part of a worldwide local governments for sustainability movement, the International Council for Local Environment Initiatives (www.iclei.org.) FYI the 5 milestones for the program are listed below.
3) Research has highlighted the need to educate consumers how to sign up to Green Power. 80 per cent of respondents to a 2005 Newspoll who didn’t buy Green Power didn’t know where to get it from.
4)NSW started a pilot education program ‘The Power of One’ – a model for a national program – in mid 2005, aiming to create a ‘call to action’ for people to take up Green Power.
5)Climate Action Network Australia (CANA)sees consumers are confused with the current Green Power marketing. Some of their recommendations:
i)clear branding of Green Power products;
ii) integration of the percentage of new renewable energy into the logo (eg 25% Green Power; 100% Green Power);
iii)retailers communicate HOW new and existing renewable energy are different as the two are blended.
CANA, formed in 1998, is an alliance of over 30 regional, state and national environmental, health, community development, and research groups from throughout Australia – a branch of the global CAN network. Visit http://www.ata.org.au/?p=72.
THE 5 MILESTONES OF THE CITIES FOR CLIMATE PROTECTION:
1. Develop an inventory and forecast for key sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the Council and community.
2. Set an emissions reduction goal.
3. Develop and adopt a Local Greenhouse Action Plan to achieve those reductions.
4. Implement the Local Greenhouse Action Plan.
5. Monitor and report on greenhouse gas emissions and implementation of actions and measures.
FOR MORE INFO VISIT www.greenpower.gov.au
Do you use Green Power?
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