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News Release NR-1910

NREL Highlights Utility Green Power Leaders

Annual assessment shows more consumers making clean power choices

May 3, 2010

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. Utility green power sales in 2009 exceeded 6 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh), and they represent more than 5 percent of total electricity sales for some of the most popular programs. Wind energy represents approximately two-thirds of electricity generated for green energy programs nationwide.

“Despite the economic downturn, consumers are continuing to support the development of renewable energy by voluntarily participating in utility green power programs,” 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 2009 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), Austin Energy in Austin, Texas sold the largest amount of renewable energy in the nation through its voluntary green power program. Rounding out the top five are Portland General Electric (Oregon), PacifiCorp (Ore. and five other states), the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (Calif.), and Xcel Energy (Col., Minn., Wis. and New Mexico).

Ranked by the percentage of customer participation, the top utilities are City of Palo Alto Utilities (Calif.), Portland General Electric, Madison Gas and Electric Company (Wis.), the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, and the City of Naperville (Ill.). (See attached tables for additional rankings).

“Participating in green power programs is one way that consumers can support renewable energy development and reduce their environmental footprint,” said NREL analyst Jenny Sumner. More than 650,000 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 more than 6,000 MW of renewable electricity generation capacity.

NREL analysts attribute the success of many programs to continued efforts by utilities and their partners to raise awareness of the availability of green power options.  In addition, the rate premium that customers pay for green power continues to drop.  The average net price premium for utility green power products has decreased from 3.48¢/kWh in 2000 to 1.75¢/kWh in 2009. 

The Green Power assessment was performed by NREL's Strategic Energy Analysis Center (SEAC), 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

 

Green Pricing Program Renewable Energy Sales
(as of December 2009)
RankUtilityResources UsedSales (kWh/year)Sales (aMW)a
1Austin EnergyWind, landfill gas764,895,83087.3
2Portland General ElectricbWind, biomass, geothermal740,880,48784.6
3PacifiCorpcdeWind, biomass, landfill gas, solar578,744,08066.1
4Sacramento Municipal Utility DistrictcWind, hydro, biomass, solar377,535,53043.1
5Xcel EnergycfWind, solar374,296,37542.7
6Puget Sound EnergycgWind, landfill gas, biomass, small hydro, solar303,046,16734.6
7Connecticut Light and Power/       United IlluminatingWind, hydro197,458,73422.5
8National GridhBiomass, wind, small hydro, solar174,536,13019.9
9Public Service Company of New MexicoWind173,863,75119.8
10We EnergiescWind, landfill gas, solar173,217,80219.8

a An "average megawatt" (aMW) is a measure of continuous capacity equivalent (i.e. operating at a 100% capacity factor).
b Marketed in partnership with Green Mountain Energy Company.
c Product is Green-e Energy (www.green-e.org) certified.
d Some Oregon products marketed in partnership with 3Degrees Group Inc.
e Includes Pacific Power and Rocky Mountain Power.
f Includes Northern States Power, Public Service Company of Colorado and Southwestern Public Service.
g Residential product marketed in partnership with 3Degrees Group Inc.
h Includes Niagara Mohawk, Massachusetts Electric, Narragansett Electric, and Nantucket Electric.

Green Power Sales as a Percentage of Total Retail Electricity Sales (in kWh)
(as of December 2009)
RankUtilityProgram(s)% of Load
1Waterloo UtilitiesaRenewable Energy Programb21.4%
2Edmond ElectriccPure and Simple8.1%
3Portland General ElectricdClean Wind, Green Source, Renewable Future7.9%
4City of Palo Alto UtilitiesePalo Alto Greenb6.9%
5Austin EnergyGreen Choice6.4%
6River Falls Municipal UtilitiesRenewable Energy Programa6.2%
7Madison Gas and ElectricGreen Power Tomorrow4.9%
8Sacramento Municipal Utility DistrictGreenergyb3.6%
9Park Electric CooperativefGreen Power Program3.4%
10PacifiCorp (Oregon only)beBlue Sky Blockb, Blue Sky Usageb, Blue Sky Habitat2.8%

a Power supplied by WPPI Energy.
b Product is Green-e Energy certified.
c Power supplied by Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority.
d Marketed in partnership with Green Mountain Energy Company.
e Marketed in partnership with 3Degrees Group Inc.
f Power supplied by Basin Electric Power Cooperative.

Total Number of Customer Participants
(as of December 2009)
RankUtilityProgram(s)Participants
1Portland General ElectricaClean Wind, Green Source, Renewable Future72,812
2PacifiCorpbcBlue Sky Blockd, Blue Sky Usaged, Blue Sky Habitat71,165
3Xcel EnergyeWindSourced, Renewable Energy Trust70,393
4Sacramento Municipal Utility DistrictGreenergyd50,250
5PECOfPECO WIND34,491
6Puget Sound EnergycgGreen Power Program25,789
7National GridhGreenUp22,888
8Connecticut Light and Power/United IlluminatingCTCleanEnergyOptions22,336
9We EnergiesEnergy for Tomorrowd20,927
10Iberdrola USA: NYSEG and RG&EfCatch the Wind20,386

a Marketed in partnership with Green Mountain Energy Company.
b Includes Pacific Power and Rocky Mountain Power.
c Some Oregon products marketed in partnership with 3Degrees Group Inc.
d Product is Green-e Energy certified.
e Includes Northern States Power, Public Service Company of Colorado and Southwestern Public Service.
f Marketed in partnership with Community Energy Inc.
g Residential product marketed in partnership with 3Degrees Group Inc.
h Includes Niagara Mohawk, Massachusetts Electric, Narragansett Electric, and Nantucket Electric.

Customer Participation Rate
(as of December 2009)
RankUtilityProgram(s)Customer Participation RateProgram Start Year
1City of Palo Alto UtilitiesaPalo Alto Greenb20.8%2003
2Portland General ElectriccClean Wind, Green Source, Renewable Future10.2%2002
3Madison Gas and ElectricGreen Power Tomorrow9.6%1999
4Sacramento Municipal Utility DistrictGreenergyb8.5%1997
5City of NapervilledRenewable Energy Program8.4%2005
6Silicon Valley PoweraSanta Clara Green Powerb8.1%2004
7Pacific Power - Oregon OnlyaBlue Sky Blockb, Blue Sky Usageb, Blue Sky Habitat6.5%2002
8River Falls Municipal UtilitieseRenewable Energy Programb5.8%2001
9Stoughton UtilitieseRenewable Energy Programb5.2%2002
10Lake Mills Light & WatereRenewable Energy Programb5.1%2002
10Pacific County PUDGreen Power Tomorrow5.1%2002
a Marketed in partnership with 3Degrees Group Inc.
b Product is Green-e Energy certified.
c Marketed in partnership with Green Mountain Energy Company.
d Marketed in partnership with Community Energy Inc.
e Power supplied by WPPI Energy.

Price Premium Charged for New, Customer-Driven Renewable Power
(as of December 2009)
RankUtilityResources UsedPremium (¢/kWh)
1Edmond ElectricabWind-0.17
2OG&E CompanyacWind0.28
3Avista UtilitiesWind, landfill gas, hydro0.33
4Park Electric CooperativedWind0.39
5Arizona Public Service CompanyeWind, geothermal, biomass, landfill gas, solar0.40
6Indianapolis Power & Light CompanyWind0.42
7Flathead Electric CooperativedWind0.50
7Sacramento Municipal Utility DistricteWind, hydro, biomass, solar0.50
9Xcel Energy (New Mexico)aeWind, solar0.75
10Emerald People's Utility DistrictLandfill gas, wind, biomass0.80

a Premium is variable; customers in these programs are exempt or otherwise protected from changes in utility fuel charges.
b Power supplied by Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority.
c OG&E Company offers two rate structures for its Wind Power program; the lowest premium is for the rate which exempts customers from the fuel charge.
d Power is supplied by Basin Electric Power Cooperative.
e Product is Green-e Energy certified.

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