Within six months Orion plans to sell green electricity to the 65% of customers who indicate a "willingness" to pay more for green power in a marketing study. Orion's Ian Nichols says the company would consider the program a success if 10-15% of customers signed up. The surcharge for the green power will depend on the resource portfolio, said Nichols, but Orion is aiming for a 20% premium which would add about AUS$0.02/kWh for domestic customers who currently pay an average of A$0.10/kWh.
The marketing study that identified the green customer base was conducted over four months and was "consistent with other research in Australia" , says Nichols, adding the scheme is intended to "accelerate development of green energy technologies offering the potential to provide a significant contribution to Australia's future energy needs while having a low environmental impact" .
Orion's chief executive, Mark Franklin, says the company will develop procedures for public scrutiny to ensure consumer trust. One of the first projects will be a small wind farm which could be used "to establish a manufacturing facilityÉ to build larger grid-connected wind turbines which are not presently constructed in Australia.