NREL Releases Leading Renewable Utilities

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has released its annual assessment of utility green power programs. According to the 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.

Using information provided by utilities, NREL developed top ten ranking 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
  • Lowest price premium charged for a green power program using new renewable resources

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

In 2008, total utility green power sales exceeded 5 billion kWh, about a 20% increase over 2007. More than 600,000 customers are participating in utility programs nationwide.

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.

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