Public Education, Marketing, and Consumer Action: The Multi-Party Programs of Connecticut and Pennsylvania

TitlePublic Education, Marketing, and Consumer Action: The Multi-Party Programs of Connecticut and Pennsylvania
Publication TypeCase Study
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsClark, Roger, Mark Bolinger, and Ryan H. Wiser
Secondary TitleCase Studies of State Support for Renewable Energy
PublisherLBNL
Place PublishedBerkeley
Pagination6
Date Published09/2002
Abstract

A number of state clean energy funds have begun to explore and implement public education and marketing campaigns for renewable energy. While the purpose of these campaigns is clear – to motivate electricity customers to purchase renewable energy – they have often faced mixed and sometimes unclear results. Two specific renewable energy public education programs in the U.S. have broad coalition funding: The Smart Power Project in Connecticut and the Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition (MAREC) program in Pennsylvania. The Smart Power Project is funded at $1.4 million per year, while MAREC has attracted $881,000 of initial funding. This case examines the features, benefits, and challenges of these coalition-based efforts in public education. Innovative Features

  • The Connecticut and Pennsylvania campaigns represent two of the first publicly funded, large-scale renewable energy education and marketing efforts in the nation.
  • Each program has been funded and supported not only by state clean energy funds, but also by a variety of other organizations.
  • The Smart Power Project has worked to bring together a large number of foundations and community groups, while the MAREC program adds significant participation by the renewable energy industry.
  • Both efforts represent innovative, multi-party coalition-based campaigns.

Results

  • Neither the Connecticut nor the Pennsylvania campaigns have been operating for enough time to have strong results.
  • The Connecticut campaign has, after a period of planning, issued three grants and is still building its organizational foundation (an executive director has been hired, but board spots are still being filled).
  • The Pennsylvania campaign has completed its first marketing and education phase (including television, radio, print, and direct outreach), with limited immediate results.
  • Based on the experiences of both funds, the benefits of a coalition-based campaign include access to additional funding sources and the development of a consistent message.
  • Challenges include identifying a common set of goals and interests, reaching agreement on campaign materials, and maintaining the willingness to fund a high-risk and initially low-reward effort.
  • The need for close coordination between these campaigns and the marketing efforts of renewable energy suppliers has also become apparent.
Keywordselectricity markets and policy group, energy analysis and environmental impacts department
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