Viridian is a fast-growing energy company founded in March 2009. It buys electricity wholesale on the open market, but takes care that at least 20% of all its electricity comes from renewable sources. It prides itself on a green image and tries to get involved in environmentally sustainable projects worldwide.
About the Company
Viridian resells electricity after buying it on the wholesale market. The company claims that it may not have the lowest price at any given moment, but that it can engineer a low price over a 12-month period. It offers a discount introductory rate for its basic (20% renewable) plan.
Viridian’s corporate structure is based largely on independent contractors, who pay a fee to become part of the program and then can make money back by signing up new contracts. Using this scheme, the company functions with only 40 main employees.
There’s a federal goal of 20% renewable energy by 2020—Viridian meets this goal already. According to CEO Michael Fallquist, switching from ordinary energy to the 20% standard causes an energy consumer to reduce their annual carbon emissions by 588 pounds (the equivalent of not driving 647 miles).
Each year, Viridian launches a sustainability project somewhere on Earth. The company’s 2011 effort involved reforestation in the Brazilian Amazon; next year, they plan to go somewhere in Africa. The company also welcomes inquiries about local environmental projects in areas of its operation.
Viridian offers two different types of plans: Everyday Green and Pure Green. Both involve some amount of renewable energy.
Everyday Green represents an energy mix from 20% renewable sources.
Pure Green is a 100% renewable power plan. It costs about 15% more (1.5 cents per kilowatt hour) and in exchange you have the knowledge that all of your electricity is coming from a renewable source of power.
Both of these plans are interpreted through Renewable Energy Credits (RECs), which are purchased in the market. When you buy energy from Viridian, you’re not necessarily supporting any one renewable power plant. What you’re doing is guaranteeing that some fraction of Viridian’s money is being paid to an energy supplier that managed to earn an REC.