The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has released its annual assessment of utility green power programs, which ranks utilities in several green power categories.
NREL used information provided by utilities to rank them 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 (kWh/year), Austin Energy in Austin, Texas, sold the largest amount of renewable energy in the nation through its voluntary green power program. Rounding out the top five were Portland General Electric (Oregon), PacifiCorp (Oregon and five other states), the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (California), and Xcel Energy (Colorado, Minnesota, Wisconsin and New Mexico).
Ranked by the percentage of customer participation, the top utilities are City of Palo Alto Utilities (California), with more than 20% of its customers participating in its green power program, followed by Portland General Electric, Farmers Electric Cooperative of Kalona (Iowa), Madison Gas and Electric Co. (Wisconsin), and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.
According to NREL, more than 850 utilities across the U.S. offer green power programs, and green power sales from utility programs exceeded 6 million MWh in 2010. Wind energy now represents more than three-fourths of electricity generated for green-energy programs nationwide. In addition, more utilities are also developing community solar programs.
The assessment was performed by NREL's Strategic Energy Analysis Center, which integrates technical and economic analyses and leads NREL's efforts in applying clean energy technologies to both national and international markets.
For more details on the rankings, click here.