Green Energy Purchasing and Labelling

New government policies to support green purchasing and labelling continue to advance only slowly. Green energy labelling provides consumers with the opportunity to purchase "green" electricity as well as "green" gas, heat, and transport fuels, by evaluating the generation source of available energy supply options. Green power labels are employed in a number of countries and are mostly voluntary, but some governments mandate their use. In 2013, Austria enacted mandates to ensure that suppliers label the energy that they provide.143

In addition to voluntary sales of green energy by energy providers to private individuals and businesses, a number of governments require that utilities and/or electricity suppliers offer green power products. Further, governments themselves have committed to purchasing renewable energy to meet their own energy needs. While this is particularly common at the local government level (see the following sub-section on City and Local Government Policies), there are examples at the national level. In 2013, Thailand established a USD 121 million (THB 4 billion) fund to encourage state agencies to deploy solar PV systems on their buildings.144 In the United States, a 2013 Executive Order requires the federal government to source 20% of its electricity from renewable technologies by 2020.145

143 Jan Burck, Germanwatch, personal communication with REN21, 9 December 2013.

144 "State agencies get B4bn in solar panel assistance," Bangkok Post, 5 December 2013, http://www.bangkokpost.com/business/news/383269/state-agencies-get-b4bn-in-solar-panel-assistance.

145 GTM Research, PV News, January 2014.