The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has 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 solar and wind.
According to the NREL analysis, more than 850 utilities across the U.S. now offer green power programs. Green power sales in 2008 increased by about 20% over 2007's totals, and they now represent more than 5% of total electricity sales for some of the most popular programs.
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 (Oregon), PacifiCorp (Oregon and five other states), Xcel Energy (Minnesota and seven other states), and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (California).
Ranked by the percentage of customer participation, the top utilities are City of Palo Alto Utilities (California), Lenox Municipal Utilities (Iowa), Portland General Electric, Madison Gas and Electric Company (Wisconsin), and Silicon Valley Power (California).
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.
For further report details, visit www.nrel.gov.