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United States

Joining forces for greater strength

Six companies that market wind power and other sources of renewable energy in the United States have formed the Renewable Energy Alliance (REA), a trade association that aims to promote sales of renewables power by lobbying for open competition in the electricity industry.

Founding members include AllEnergy Marketing Co, Waltham, Massachusetts; Edison Source, City of Industry, California; Enron Corp, Houston, Texas; Foresight Energy Co, Larkspur, California; Green Mountain Energy Resources, South Burlington, Vermont; and PacifiCorp, Portland, Oregon.

"We are very optimistic about being able to find our common interests and see if we can get markets opened in a way that allows for robust competition and good opportunities for companies marketing renewable energy to offer their products competitively and successfully," says Tom Rawls, of Green Mountain Energy Resources and interim chairman of the REA board.

As the member companies become more successful, demand for their products will increase and additional wind, solar and other renewable power plants will be built, he says. The members market wind, biomass, and solar power, plus hydroelectricity, he adds.

One of REA's goals is to push for uniform disclosure rules about the environmental effects of power products. It also plans to work with the National Association of Attorneys General to develop advertising guidelines for power marketers in an effort to protect consumers from deceptive advertising practices.

The REA states it is now drafting electricity restructuring principles aimed at helping policy makers ensure renewable energy is available in open markets. The association claims it has already been active in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, and plans to expand its activities to New Jersey, New York, California and Connecticut.

"Traditional regulatory models say we must offer power at the lowest possible price. That's tough when you are dealing with newer technologies," comments Anita Marks of PacifiCorp. "One of the aims of this group: as electricity markets deregulate and customers begin to determine who they can buy power from, customers can vote with dollars. If they are willing to pay more, we will happily provide renewable resources."

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