Green Power Partnership
Voluntary and Mandatory Markets
Green Power Market
Mandatory markets exist because of policy decisions, such as state Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS). Such standards require electric service providers to have a minimum amount of renewable energy in their electricity supply. Often, these policy decisions specify eligible energy resources or technologies and describe how electricity service providers must comply.
Voluntary markets, also referred to as green power markets, are driven by consumer preference. Voluntary markets allow a consumer to choose to do more than policy decisions require and reduce the environmental impact of their electricity use. Voluntary green power products must offer a significant benefit and value to buyers to be successful. Benefits may include zero or reduced greenhouse gas emissions, other pollution reductions, brand development opportunities, and energy price stability, to name a few.
Voluntary markets help develop nationwide renewable energy capacity that exceeds what mandatory markets contribute alone (see graphic). Ensuring that voluntary markets are separate from and in addition to mandatory markets helps reduce the environmental impact of electricity generation.
EPA's Green Power Partnership recognizes organizations that voluntarily buy green power products. Partners should ensure that their green power purchase does not result from a mandate. For more information, please review the Partnership Requirements (PDF) (19 pp, 520K, About PDF).
The following document provides greater detail on issues related to this Web page.
For additional information and reports on the green power markets in the United States, visit the Department of Energy's Green Power Network.