NREL highlights "Top 10" list of green utility leaders

The Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has released its assessment of leading utility green power programs. Under these voluntary programs, residential and commercial consumers can choose to help support additional electricity production from renewable resources – such as wind and solar – that diversify our nation’s energy portfolio and protect our air and water.

“Participating in utility green power programs allows consumers to support renewable energy above and beyond what utilities are procuring to comply with state renewable portfolio standards,” NREL Analyst Jenny Heeter said. “These utilities are offering first-rate programs that give their customers an opportunity to support renewable energy deployment.”

Using information provided by utilities, NREL has developed “Top 10” rankings of utility green power programs for 2012 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 (megawatt hours /year), Portland General Electric (Oregon) overtook Austin Energy in Austin, Texas, in 2012, selling the largest amount of renewable energy in the nation through its voluntary green power program. Dominion Virginia Power and Oklahoma Gas & Electric are new to the top renewable energy sales list. Ranked by the percentage of customer participation, the top utilities are City of Palo Alto Utilities (California), followed by Portland General Electric, Madison Gas and Electric Company (Wisconsin), Sacramento Municipal Utility District, the City of Naperville (Illinois) and Pacific Power (Oregon). In addition, six utilities provided green power supply that included at least 2% solar.

Green power sales of the top 10 utility programs by sales exceeded 4.2 million MWh in 2012, up from 3.9 million MWh in 2010. Wind energy represents approximately 85% of electricity generated for green energy programs nationwide.

Utility green pricing programs are one segment of a larger green power marketing industry that counts more than 1.8 million customers, including Fortune 500 companies, government agencies and colleges and universities among its customers, and helps support more than 11,200 megawatts of renewable electricity generation capacity.

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.

Click here to access the complete rankings here: Top Ten Utility Green Power Programs

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