Cap Gemini calls for cheaper green electricity

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Support for a Greenpeace campaign for cheaper green electricity in the Netherlands has come from an unlikely quarter with the publication of a report by Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, "Trends in Energy 2000." The management consultancy's third annual report on trends in the Dutch energy market describes as "remarkable" Dutch power companies' current policy of selling green power at a premium price. With the recent increase of the ecotax (REB) on non-green electricity, it is quite feasible to sell green power at or below the price of grey, argues Greenpeace Nederland. Cap Gemini agrees. Moreover, the report points out that the marketing of green electricity is one of the few means open to power companies to attract new clients from outside their traditional distribution areas. With a client base valued at NLG 3000 a connection, attracting new clients is an important means of increasing shareholder value, a key consideration in a soon to be privatised market, says the report. Instead of using green power to grow their client base, the report reveals that of the 41 energy suppliers polled, only 12.2% consider a green image a "possible" means of defining a distinctive market position. Overall the report is critical of current Dutch liberalisation policy, arguing that economics minister Annemarie Jorritsma should accept that the government will have to retain a role within the energy sector if it is to meet CO2 reduction targets and indeed ensure guarantee of supply. Otherwise, a repeat of the Californian situation in the Netherlands "is not inconceivable."

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