During the past twenty years, several states have embraced deregulation of the energy market and it has proven to be a boon for the wind industry. It’s simple. People want to go green, and having a deregulated energy market makes it easy for them to choose an electricity supplier that only purchases energy generated by wind or other renewable resources.
Let’s break down how energy deregulation works in order to understand why it makes such a difference for the advancement of wind-generated electricity.
In the past, and in areas that have not yet embraced deregulation, the energy market was a government-controlled monopoly. A single utility company controlled supply and distribution, allowing it to set prices as it saw fit. Deregulation changes all of that.
Instead of one company controlling all the steps in the process from generation to distribution, three separate entities coexist allowing for competition. Generation companies harness electricity then sell it in bulk to retail suppliers. These suppliers create competitive energy packages and sell them to consumers, while the existing utility companies continue to operate the infrastructure and are in charge of transmitting and distributing energy to each consumer.
Deregulated energy markets give people the power to choose which company they purchase energy from. Whether someone is looking for low rates or a specific form of energy generation – such as wind energy – deregulation allows them to sift through the pile of energy suppliers and support the company they feel fits their needs best.
As we all know, wind energy could be in trouble if some of the federal tax incentives begin to disappear in the next few years. Allowing people to consciously choose to support wind energy by selecting their energy provider is a great way to ensure support for the industry. Suppliers are able to market their products as they see fit, and there are plenty of suppliers out there emphasizing the fact that they support generation from renewable resources.
If you’re not sure whether or not you live in an area with a deregulated energy market, it’s pretty easy to find out. Contact your utility company, or visit your state’s public utility commission website. If you find that you aren’t in an area with energy deregulation, make your voice heard! Join forces with a group pushing for market reform in your area. Education is the key to moving energy deregulation from the back page to the forefront of the public’s mind.
In some areas of the country that have already been deregulated, people aren’t even aware that they have the power to choose. Without a concerted effort, opposing forces will continue to slam energy deregulation without giving any attention to the inherent benefits, including the ability for individuals to actively support of renewable resources.