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 wind and solar.
According to the NREL analysis, more than 850 utilities across the U.S. now offer green power programs. Utility green power sales in 2009 exceeded 6 billion kWh and represent more than 5% of total electricity sales for some of the most popular programs. Wind energy represents approximately two-thirds of the electricity generated for green energy programs nationwide.
Using information provided by utilities, NREL developed top 10 rankings of utility programs for 2009 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, Austin Energy in 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).
SOURCE: National Renewable Energy Laboratory Â Â