Power Behind the Plug

August 7, 2015

We’re a society of knowledge seekers. We ask questions, demand answers and want the freedom to make our own choices.

But we seldom ask questions about our energy sources. Today we’re more dependent on energy than ever before, as the number of devices we use and our reliance on them increases. Yet we take that power for granted, often mindlessly plugging in without ever pausing to think about where the energy comes from — or how it’s created.

That is why we, at NRG, created the “Power Behind the Plug” campaign.

The campaign’s goal was to get people thinking about the power behind the plug and turn the mindless act of plugging-in, into a mindful one. NRG is delivering cleaner, renewable and more sustainable energy sources every single day, so people can make smarter choices when it comes to their energy supply and help play a major role in the future of our planet.

We wanted to be there when the proverbial switch flipped, and people started thinking about the power behind the plug. And, more importantly, we wanted to drive change and get people to realize that they do have a choice when it comes to powering their lives.


NRG believes that when given the chance to choose, most people will pick cleaner energy.  We knew the hunger for choice existed. In a recent study, we learned that 91% of sustainability-minded respondents wanted to know more about their renewable electricity offerings. This study also told us that roughly 80% of the same people had climate change at the top of mind and about 85% felt like reducing their carbon footprint was a main driver in their energy efficient behaviors.

But many still don’t realize that they have the power to choose where their energy comes from right now. Our first task was to get people to realize a choice ALREADY exists.

What better place to introduce this idea of energy choice than where battery bars are critical, and when you’re at the mercy of an airport terminal? Energy can be the one thing easily forgotten, and sometimes taken for granted, until you need power to call loved ones and tell them your flight is delayed or that you are safe and thinking of them.

The execution of this idea was simple. A wall of power outlets at Miami International Airport divided into three sections: solar energy, wind energy and fossil fuels. The results were profound. This exercise confirmed that, given a choice, where your power comes from matters to many people. We stood by as people made choices. For many this was the first time they ever thought about choosing where their power came from.


Many chose to power their devices with energy that came from the sun and wind. This decision, we hoped, could change someone’s outlook on energy and their role in our smart energy future. It was encouraging to know that when given the choice, there are people who do stop, consider and make thoughtful decisions.

A few interactions centered around the question of whether the ‘fossil fuels’ power source would charge a device quicker than the sustainable options, and some participants even struggled to comprehend the difference between the three energy sources that were displayed.

We know we have a long way to go in educating those who don’t currently care about their sources of energy and its impact on our world and our climate.

While we’re betting on a smart energy future, we realize that fossil fuels will remain part of the energy mix for the foreseeable future. We know that smart energy isn’t exclusive to renewables, it means making better use of the existing fossil fuel infrastructure we have, updating plants to run cleaner, retrofitting coal to natural gas and pioneering new technologies in carbon capture to ensure that we can minimize our impact.

The energy industry is in crisis, and a smart energy revolution must start now. The United States has an abundance of energy, from coal, natural gas, and oil reserves that could last hundreds of years. Yet, we know that the continued use of fossil fuels in their current state is the single largest contributor of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere — and that consumption cannot continue indefinitely without serious global environmental changes.

We know that energy is changing. Changing for the better, but it starts with you…and us.

Welcome to the #SmartEnergyRevolution. It’s a shared responsibility, the planet is ours to treat well — which is why we felt it was time for an energy company to start this conversation.

So, we did.