An Educated Consumer is our Best Customer

Growing up in the New York area, I remember a certain clothing store’s commercial that had the tag-line, “an educated consumer is our best customer.” Exelon/Constellation’s recent foray into the anti-wind camp makes this point especially true in the green energy world. For Clean Currents, and other truly green companies, an educated consumer is indeed our best customer.

Exelon/Constellation is “publicly leading an organized campaign against the (wind) industry’s #1 priority,” according to the spokesman for the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the premier wind power group. Exelon/Constellation is apparently leading efforts to abolish the Production Tax Credit (PTC), set to expire this year.  The PTC is a huge driver in getting wind farms built, along with consumer demand through voluntary purchases and state Renewable Portfolio Standards. In fact, uncertainty surrounding the renewal of the PTC is already negatively affecting the wind industry, causing the loss of domestic manufacturing jobs. Exelon/Constellation’s efforts against the PTC is a serious enough issue that AWEA has expelled Exelon/Constellation from the group. As the AWEA spokesman notes, this is not just a “difference of opinion,” but rather the fact that Exelon/Constellation is leading the efforts to kill the PTC, thereby curtailing the development of wind power.

So where does the educated consumer come in? Our experience with Clean Currents customers, and from national data I’ve seen, shows that consumers who buy wind power or other forms of clean energy do so because they want to help build the wind industry and, in turn, help the environment or boost national energy security. The educated consumer will look beyond marketing to see the company behind the product, and make sure their values align before choosing to purchase from that company.

If a company is taking your “green” (money) on one hand, and using part of their proceeds to lead the efforts to destroy the top priority for the wind industry, is that money you spent actually helping wind, or is it helping a company oppose wind? At best, you could argue it’s a wash. If the consumer really wants to help build clean energy, he/she must buy from companies that only sell clean energy, and that support all the various legislative, regulatory, and market efforts to rapidly expand the growth of wind, solar and other forms of truly green energy.  The Exelon/Constellation issue is just the latest example of companies that don’t truly practice what they preach. For example, there are companies that are part of the natural gas fracking rush and companies that oppose Maryland’s effort to build offshore wind farms that also happen to sell green energy.

Companies that are not truly green are literally banking on the premise that there are many uneducated consumers in the marketplace. Their green washing and sometimes even active efforts to kill clean energy initiatives confuse the uneducated consumer and hurt the overall sustainability movement.  At Clean Currents, we’re hoping that our leadership by example demonstrates what it means to be a truly green company, solely committed to expanding solar and wind power to fight climate change and enhance national energy security.