The Rise of Clean Energy in Connecticut Jonathan Edwards SmartPower May 16, 2006
SmartPower is a non-profit marketing campaign on clean energy; Funded by 5 private foundations (Pew, Rockefeller, etc.) and various state clean energy funds (Connecticut, Pennsylvania, etc.); We are the “Dairy Council” on clean energy; Created model operation in Connecticut, grew regionally, now growing nationally; Background on SmartPower
Used extensive polling and focus groups to better understand why American consumers say they will purchase clean energy -- when in reality they don’t; We identified “language” as the first barrier -- we confuse the consumer by calling our product a variety of things: Renewable Green Alternative Research Review: Creating the Message
Surveyed 1000 Americans Which term best describes electricity generated by sources such as wind, solar and water?
We wanted to understand what are the emotional barriers which prevent people from purchasing clean energy; We wanted to understand what are the most powerful emotional hooks we could use to make clean energy important and desirable to the American public; The Obituary: The best way to find out how someone feels about something is to take it away from them. Thus, we asked them to write an obituary for fossil fuels. Research Review: Creating the Message
Fossil Fuel died after a long, slow illness called greed. Fossil has left the family of the Middle Eastern nations and former President George W. Bush and his cabinet members. Currently, the world is adjusting from heating by oil and illuminating by electricity to solar and wind mill sources. There are several kinks to be worked out and roadblocks to conquer. Will we ever be warm again? Miss you fossil fuel. — Massachusetts Opinion Leader
“It is with great sadness and regret that we announce the demise of fossil fuel. After hundreds of years of supplying the population of earth, the resource had been depleted. It will be remembered for the warmth, comfort and pleasure it provided to living things. There will be a great void that needs to be filled perhaps through wind and solar power. It will be sorely missed by all beings that depended on it to warm them, supply their transportation, power their equipment and support all the resources necessary for a safe and comfortable life.” - Connecticut Opinion Leader
Fossil Fuels Make Our World Work; It’s Terrifying to Lose Them; People were far less critical of fossil fuels than we might have imagined. It keeps them warm; it keeps the lights on; Using clean energy means huge trade offs -- and it’s very inconvenient. Also -- is it as strong as what coal and oil? While they recognize the problems of pollution, they see fossil fuels as a “necessary evil” -- it can be relied on to power our world. Research Review: What does it all mean?
“I’ve heard this since elementary school.” “It’s more concept than product. I don’t see it in real life. I don’t see it on television.” “I know it’s good for the environment, I know it’s good for health. But quite frankly, I just don’t think it works.” The Crux Of The Matter: clean energy isn’t seen as ready
Based on this research, clean energy will not be sold simply because it is good for the environment. But rather, this campaign is built around the concept that clean energy is more real and more powerful than you think. It is as strong, as reliable and as available as coal and oil! Conclusion:
“It’s Real. It’s Here. It’s Working!”
Barriers to Purchasing Clean Energy Through intense consumer market research in 2004, we identified that the American consumer encounters three barriers when purchasing clean energy: Reliability -- does it work? Availability -- Where/how do I buy it? Cost -- why pay more for a product that doesn’t work?
To Combat These Barriers: We created a marketing campaign that speaks to the consumer about the first barrier: It’s Real. It’s here. It’s working. Let’s Make More!
The 20% by 2010 Campaign Our challenge to municipalities, businesses and institutions to obtain 20% of their electricity from clean, renewable sources by the year 2010
Why 20%? • Cost Considerations: Premium Price • CT RPS: 7% in 2010 • Challenging, yet attainable goal • Message: It’s real. It’s here. It’s working!
The Connecticut Clean Energy Fund was searching for ways to tie together a number of state clean energy initiatives and their solar PV program. SmartPower had been seeing some success with town purchases through our 20% by 2010 Campaign. The CCEF asked us to “partner” with them by making our 20% by 2010 Campaign a piece of their Clean Energy Communities Program The Connecticut Clean Energy Communities Program
Three Easy Steps: A town/municipality commits to the SmartPower 20% by 2010 Campaign; A town/municipality gets 100 residents to sign up for the residential clean energy program (CT Clean Energy Options -- managed by the CT DPUC); The Connecticut Clean Energy Fund gives the town/municipality a Solar System. The Connecticut Clean Energy Communities Program
“Free” Clean Energy – Easy as 1–2–3! • Town commits to SmartPower 20% x 2010 Campaign
“Free” Clean Energy – Easy as 1–2–3! 2. Sign up local customers to the CT Clean Energy Options program
The CT Clean Energy Options is a program of the state Public Utility Commission and implemented via the utilities and the two state approved suppliers, Community Energy and Sterling Planet; The “give away” of the Solar PV is an offshoot of the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund’s Solar Project And throughout the Campaign SmartPower continues its media and messaging campaign -- using radio, television, newspapers ads, etc. to highlight the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund’s Clean Energy Communities Program! The Connecticut Clean Energy Communities Program
The Results: Within 12 months 25 towns committed to purchasing 20% clean energy by 2010. These are large, long-term customers for the clean energy suppliers! (Hartford, Stamford, etc.) Ten of these communities have signed up the required one hundred customers; (These are largely residential customers -- helping to make CT Clean Energy Options extremely successful in its first 12 months!) Several more communities are within striking distance of getting their hundred customers Solar arrays are being installed now -- the first one during “Clean Energy Week” (Earth Day, 2006) The Connecticut Clean Energy Communities Program
A partnership between CCEF and SmartPower designed to assist CT communities in their support of clean energy • Launched Nov. 2004
Creates real customers of clean energy -- both large and small; It’s a wonderful “local” story which the local papers devour! Multiple occasions for newspaper stories -- the commitment to 20% by 2010; the 100th customers; the installation, etc. etc. It’s created true community pride; Several mayors/town leaders have struck up friendly bets with “rival” communities to see which town can get the most residential consumers signed up! It supports multiple programs, agencies and NGOs and has created a strong collaboration among all; The “politics” of the program are unbeatable. Every mayor, City Councilor, selectman want to be seen as “clean”; It proves to the average consumer that clean energy is real. It’s here. And it’s working. The Benefits of the Program are Tremendous:
Earned Media Putting New Energy into Clean Power Connecticut Lights the Way for Clean Energy West Hartford, city wager on clean energy usage Mayors pitch switch to clean energy Buying Cleaner Energy Few People Realize the Potential http://www.hamden.com/ City getting ‘clean’ RESIDENTS URGED TO JOIN TOWN’S 20% CLEAN ENERGY BY 2010 CAMPAIGN Town to Receive Free Solar Arrays for Every 100 Resident Sign ups
For More Information: Contact: Jonathan Edwards Chief Operating Officer SmartPower 100 Pearl Street – 14th Floor Hartford, CT 06103 860-249-7040 email@example.com