NREL Study: ‘Demand For Green Power Is Ubiquitous’ In The U.S.


The U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has released Status and Trends in the U.S. Voluntary Green Power Market (2016 Data). The report is part of an annual series tracking the U.S. voluntary green power market, where retail electricity customers make voluntary purchases of renewable electricity.

According to the report, the U.S. voluntary green power market continues to grow, with about 6.3 million voluntary customers buying 95 million MWh of renewable electricity in 2016, a 19% increase in sales from 2015.

The voluntary green power market represents about 28% of all U.S. non-hydro renewable electricity sales. The vast majority of green power customers are residential. However, the report adds, large non-residential customers have driven significant increases in green power sales in recent years. Non-residential customers – especially corporations – are finding new ways to procure green power through power purchase agreements and innovative utility renewable contracts. Electricity customers can also purchase green power through utility green pricing, unbundled renewable energy certificates, competitive suppliers, community choice aggregations, and community solar. The status and trends for each of these procurement mechanisms are fuether detailed in the report.

For the first time, NREL notes, this year’s Status and Trends report includes an analysis of the geography of green power. The national lab says demand for green power is ubiquitous; customers buy green power in every state in the U.S. in both urban and rural areas. Green power generation is similarly widespread, with contributions from every state and 18 different states generating more than 1 million MWh of green power in 2016.

Funding for the report came from the U.S. Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. More information about NREL’s green power research is available on the national lab’s website here.

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