Reports Analyze U.S. Renewable Energy Programs

Two new reports on utility green pricing programs are now available on-line from The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Both reports are based on data gathered in early 2003 on green pricing program participation, sales, and various aspects of program design and implementation.

Berkeley, California – February 25, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] The LBNL report, “Utility Green Pricing Programs: A Statistical Analysis of Program Effectiveness,” by Ryan Wiser and Scott Olsen, of LBNL, and Lori Bird and Blair Swezey, of NREL, analyzes utility green pricing program data to gain insights into program features that might help maximize both customer participation in green pricing programs and the amount of renewable energy purchased by customers in those programs. Statistical analysis is performed on both the residential and non-residential customer segments. The authors of the LBNL report caution that while the results presented in this paper are suggestive, they urge readers to not place undue emphasis on them, because green pricing programs in the United States are still relatively new and have yet to gain a foothold in many markets. LNBL promises that as these programs continue to grow and mature, more data will be available from which to assess the key aspects to program success. The NREL report, ” Utility Green Pricing Programs: Design, Implementation, and Consumer Response,” by Lori Bird, Blair Swezey, and Jørn Aabakken, of NREL, provides data and trends on consumer response to green pricing, including: aggregate industry data on consumer response to utility green pricing programs that indicate the collective impact of green pricing on renewable energy development nationally; and market data that can be used by utilities as benchmarks for gauging the relative success of their green pricing programs. According to the authors of the NREL report, since the introduction of the concept in the U.S., the number of unique utility green pricing programs has expanded from just a few programs in 1993 to more than 90 by 2002. Because some of these programs are marketed by cooperative associations or public power entities that serve multiple distribution utilities, collectively more than 300 investor-owned and consumer-owned utilities in 32 states offered green pricing by the end of 2002. Thus, about 10 percent of U.S. utilities offered a green pricing option to about 26 million consumers.
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