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News Release NR-0609

NREL Highlights Utility Green Power Leaders

Annual assessment shows more consumers making clean power choices

April 13, 2009

GOLDEN, CO. - The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) today released its annual assessment of leading utility green power programs.  Under these voluntary programs, consumers can choose to help support additional electricity production from renewable resources such as wind and solar. 

According to the NREL analysis, more than 850 utilities across the United States now offer green power programs. Green power sales in 2008 increased by about 20 percent over 2007, and they represent more than 5 percent of total electricity sales for some of the most popular programs. Wind is the primary source of electricity generated for green energy programs nationwide.

“Despite the economic downturn, utility green power sales continued to expand nationally last year,” said NREL senior energy analyst Lori Bird. “These utilities are the national leaders.”

Using information provided by utilities, NREL developed “Top 10” rankings of utility programs for 2008 in the following categories: total sales of renewable energy to program participants, total number of customer participants, the percentage of customer participation, green power sales as a percentage of total utility retail electricity sales, and the lowest price premium charged for a green power program using new renewable resources.

Ranked by renewable energy sales (kWh/year), the green power program of Austin Energy (Texas) is first in the nation. Rounding out the top five are Portland General Electric (Ore.), PacifiCorp (Oregon and five other states), Xcel Energy (Minnesota and seven other states), and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (Calif.).

Ranked by the percentage of customer participation, the top utilities are City of Palo Alto Utilities (Calif.), Lenox Municipal Utilities (Iowa), Portland General Electric, Madison Gas and Electric Company (Wis.), and Silicon Valley Power (Calif.). (See attached tables for additional rankings).

Customer choice programs are proving to be a powerful stimulus for growth in renewable energy supply. “Participating in green power programs is one way that consumers can reduce their environmental footprint,” NREL analyst Claire Kreycik, who co-authored the report. In 2008, total utility green power sales exceeded 5 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh), about a 20% increase over 2007.  More than 600,000 customers are participating in utility programs nationwide.

Utility green pricing programs are one segment of a larger green power marketing industry that counts Fortune 500 companies, government agencies and colleges and universities among its customers, and helps support about  5,000 MW of new renewable electricity generation capacity.

NREL analysts attribute the success of many programs to persistent marketing and creative marketing strategies, including some utility partnerships with independent green power marketers.  In addition, the rate premium that customers pay for green power continues to drop.

The Green Power study was performed by NREL's Strategic Energy Analysis and Applications Center (SEAAC), which integrates technical and economic analyses and leads NREL's efforts in applying clean energy technologies to both national and international markets.

NREL released its first annual Green Power study in 2000.

NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for DOE by the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.

Visit NREL online at www.nrel.gov

For further information contact NREL Public Relations at 303-275-4090.

####

Green Pricing Program Renewable Energy Sales

(as of December 2008)

Rank Utility Resources Used Sales
(kWh/yr)
Sales
(aMW)a
1 Austin Energy Wind, landfill gas 723,824,901 82.6
2 Portland General Electric b Wind, biomass 681,943,576 77.9
3 PacifiCorp cde Wind, biomass, landfill gas, solar 492,892,222 56.3
4 Xcel Energy ef Wind 362,040,082 41.3
5 Sacramento Municipal Utility District e Wind, solar, biomass, landfill gas, hydro 325,275,628 37.1
6 Puget Sound Energy e Wind, solar, biomass, landfill gas, hydro 291,166,600 33.2
7 Public Service Company of New Mexico Wind 176,497,697 20.1
8 We Energies e Wind, landfill gas, solar 176,242,630 20.1
9 National Grid gh Biomass, wind, small hydro, solar 174,612,444 19.9
10 PECO i Wind 172,782,490 19.7

a An "average megawatt" (aMW) is a measure of continuous capacity equivalent (i.e., operating at a 100% capacity factor).
b Some products marketed in partnership with Green Mountain Energy Company.
c Includes Pacific Power and Rocky Mountain Power.
d Some Oregon products marketed in partnership with 3Degrees Group, Inc.
e Product is Green-e certified. For Xcel Energy, the Colorado and Minnesota Windsource products are Green-e certified.
f Includes Northern States Power, Public Service Company of Colorado, and Southwestern Public Service.
g Includes Niagara Mohawk, Massachusetts Electric, Narragansett Electric, and Nantucket Electric.
h Marketed in partnership with Community Energy, Inc., EnviroGen, Green Mountain Energy Company, Mass Energy, People's Power & Light, and Sterling Planet.
i Marketed in partnership with Community Energy, Inc.

Total Number of Customer Participants

(as of December 2008)

Rank Utility Program(s) Participants
1 Xcel Energy a Windsource b
Renewable Energy Trust
71,571
2 Portland General Electric c Clean Wind
Green Source
69,258
3 PacifiCorp de Blue Sky Block b
Blue Sky Usage b
Blue Sky Habitat
67,252
4 Sacramento Municipal Utility District Greenergy b 45,992
5 PECO f PECO WIND 36,300
6 National Grid gh GreenUp 23,668
7 Energy East (NYSEG/RGE) f Catch the Wind 22,210
8 Puget Sound Energy Green Power Program b 21,509
9 Los Angeles Department of Water & Power Green Power for a Green LA 21,113
10 We Energies Energy for Tomorrow b 19,615

a Includes Northern States Power, Public Service Company of Colorado, and Southwestern Public Service.
b Product is Green-e certified. For Xcel Energy, the Colorado and Minnesota Windsource products are Green-e certified.
c Some products marketed in partnership with Green Mountain Energy Company.
d Includes Pacific Power and Rocky Mountain Power.
e Some Oregon products marketed in partnership with 3Degrees Group, Inc.
f Marketed in partnership with Community Energy, Inc.
g Includes Niagara Mohawk, Massachusetts Electric, Narragansett Electric, and Nantucket Electric.
h Marketed in partnership with Community Energy, EnviroGen, Green Mountain Energy Company, Mass Energy, People's Power & Light, and Sterling Planet.

Customer Participation Rate

(as of December 2008)

Rank Utility Customer Participation Rate Program(s) Program Start Year
1 City of Palo Alto Utilities ab 21.0% Palo Alto Green 2003
2 Lenox Municipal Utilities c 10.5% Green City Energy 2003
3 Portland General Electric d 9.7% Clean Wind
Green Source
Renewable Future
2002
4 Madison Gas and Electric Company 9.6% Green Power Tomorrow 1999
5 Silicon Valley Power ab 8.4% Santa Clara Green Power 2004
6 Sacramento Municipal Utility District 7.8% Greenergy 1997
6 City of Naperville Public Utilities e 7.8% Renewable Energy Program 2005
8 Pacific Power – (Oregon only) ab 6.2% Blue Sky Block b
Blue Sky Usage b
Blue Sky Habitat
2002
9 River Falls Municipal Utilities bf 5.3% Renewable Energy Program 2001
10 Lake Mills Light & Water bf 5.0% Renewable Energy Program 2001

a Marketed in partnership with 3Degrees Group, Inc.
b Product is Green-e certified (www.green-e.org).
c Program offered in association with the Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities.
d Some products marketed in partnership with Green Mountain Energy Company.
e Marketed in partnership with Community Energy, Inc.
f Power supplied by WPPI Energy.

Green Power Sales as a Percentage of Total Retail Electricity Sales (in kWh)

(as of December 2008)

Rank Utility Program Name % of Load
1 Edmond Electric a Pure & Simple 6.4%
2 Austin Energy GreenChoice 6.0%
3 River Falls Municipal Utilities be Renewable Energy Program 5.8%
4 City of Palo Alto Utilities ce PaloAltoGreen 5.7%
5 Portland General Electric d Clean Wind
Green Source
Renewable Future
3.9%
6 Madison Gas and Electric Company Green Power Tomorrow 3.8%
7 Sacramento Municipal Utility District e Greenergy 3.0%
8 Fort Collins Utilities f Green Energy Program 2.6%
9 Pacific Power – (Oregon only) c Blue Sky Block e
Blue Sky Usage e
Blue Sky Habitat
2.3%
10 Emerald People's Utility District EPUD Renewables 2.2%

a Power supplied by Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority.
b Power supplied by WPPI Energy.
c Marketed in partnership with 3Degrees Group, Inc.
d Marketed in partnership with Green Mountain Energy Company.
e Product is Green-e certified (www.green-e.org). 
f Power supplied by Platte River Power Authority

Price Premium Charged for New, Customer-Driven Renewable Powera

(as of December 2008)

Rank Utility Resources Used Premium
(¢/kWh)
1 OG&E Electric Services b Wind -1.01
2 Edmond Electric bc Wind -0.94
3 Avista Utilities Wind, landfill gas, biomass 0.33
4 Park Electric Cooperative Wind 0.44
5 Indianapolis Power and Light Wind, landfill gas 0.65
6 PacifiCorp dg Wind, biomass, landfill gas, solar 0.78
7 Emerald People's Utility District Wind 0.80
7 Basin Electric Power Cooperative h Wind 0.80
7 Clallam County Public Utility District b Landfill gas 0.80
10 Xcel Energy (Minnesota) bdf Wind 0.91

a Includes only programs that have installed or announced firm plans to install or purchase power from 100% new renewable resources.
b Premium is variable; customers in these programs are exempt or otherwise protected from changes in utility fuel charges.
c Power supplied by Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority.
d Product is Green-e certified (www.green-e.org).
e The price for new customers enrolling in the program (fifth batch of renewable energy capacity).
f Net premium of the Minnesota Windsource program.
g Pacific Power Blue Sky Usage and Blue Sky Habitat products; only available in Oregon. Product marketed in partnership with 3Degrees Group, Inc.
h A number of Basin Electric Power Cooperatives offer green power at a premium of 0.8¢/kWh

For further information contact NREL Public Relations at 303-275-4090.
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