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Austin Energy again leads nation in green power sales

Austin Energy sold more than twice the amount by 4th ranked Sacramento Municipal Utility District. (Photo: Austin Energy) From Green Right Now Reports For the eighth year in a row,...
(Photo: Austin Energy)

Austin Energy sold more than twice the amount by 4th ranked Sacramento Municipal Utility District. (Photo: Austin Energy)

From Green Right Now Reports

For the eighth year in a row, Austin Energy led the nation in 2009 in voluntary renewable energy sales by a utility-sponsored green power program, according to rankings released yesterday by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Austin Energy sold 764.8 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of renewable energy — enough power to supply about 60,000 residential customers with all their electricity needs for one year.

Austin Energy sold more than twice the amount by 4th ranked Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s 377.5 million kWh and more than four times 10th ranked We Energies’ 173.2 million kWh. The Texas utility said its GreenChoice product now has 422 business customers who get 100 percent of their electricity needs from renewable energy sources such as wind and bio-energy.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, more than 850 utilities across the United States now offer voluntary green power programs. Utility green power sales in 2009 exceeded 6 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh), and they represent more than 5 percent of total electricity sales for some of the most popular programs. Wind energy represents approximately two-thirds of electricity generated for green energy programs nationwide.

“Despite the economic downturn, consumers are continuing to support the development of renewable energy by voluntarily participating in utility green power programs,” NREL senior energy analyst Lori Bird said in a statement. “These utilities are the national leaders.”

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 the percentage of customer participation, the top utilities are City of Palo Alto Utilities (Calif.), Portland General Electric, Madison Gas and Electric Company (Wis.), the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, and the City of Naperville (Ill.). (See attached tables for additional rankings).

Utility green pricing programs are one segment of a larger green power marketing industry that counts Fortune 500 companies, government agencies and colleges and universities among its customers, and helps support more than 6,000 MW of renewable electricity generation capacity.

NREL analysts attributed the success of many programs to continued efforts by utilities and their partners to raise awareness of the availability of green power options.  In addition, the rate premium that customers pay for green power continues to drop.  The average net price premium for utility green power products has decreased from 3.48¢/kWh in 2000 to 1.75¢/kWh in 2009.

Green Pricing Program Renewable Energy Sales
(as of December 2009)
Rank Utility Resources Used Sales (kWh/year) Sales (aMW)a
1 Austin Energy Wind, landfill gas 764,895,830 87.3
2 Portland General Electricb Wind, biomass, geothermal 740,880,487 84.6
3 PacifiCorpcde Wind, biomass, landfill gas, solar 578,744,080 66.1
4 Sacramento Municipal Utility Districtc Wind, hydro, biomass, solar 377,535,530 43.1
5 Xcel Energycf Wind, solar 374,296,375 42.7
6 Puget Sound Energycg Wind, landfill gas, biomass, small hydro, solar 303,046,167 34.6
7 Connecticut Light and Power/ United Illuminating Wind, hydro 197,458,734 22.5
8 National Gridh Biomass, wind, small hydro, solar 174,536,130 19.9
9 Public Service Company of New Mexico Wind 173,863,751 19.8
10 We Energiesc Wind, landfill gas, solar 173,217,802 19.8

a An “average megawatt” (aMW) is a measure of continuous capacity equivalent (i.e. operating at a 100% capacity factor).
b Marketed in partnership with Green Mountain Energy Company.
c Product is Green-e Energy (www.green-e.org) certified.
d Some Oregon products marketed in partnership with 3Degrees Group Inc.
e Includes Pacific Power and Rocky Mountain Power.
f Includes Northern States Power, Public Service Company of Colorado and Southwestern Public Service.
g Residential product marketed in partnership with 3Degrees Group Inc.
h Includes Niagara Mohawk, Massachusetts Electric, Narragansett Electric, and Nantucket Electric.

Green Power Sales as a Percentage of Total Retail Electricity Sales (in kWh)
(as of December 2009)
Rank Utility Program(s) % of Load
1 Waterloo Utilitiesa Renewable Energy Programb 21.4%
2 Edmond Electricc Pure and Simple 8.1%
3 Portland General Electricd Clean Wind, Green Source, Renewable Future 7.9%
4 City of Palo Alto Utilitiese Palo Alto Greenb 6.9%
5 Austin Energy Green Choice 6.4%
6 River Falls Municipal Utilities Renewable Energy Programa 6.2%
7 Madison Gas and Electric Green Power Tomorrow 4.9%
8 Sacramento Municipal Utility District Greenergyb 3.6%
9 Park Electric Cooperativef Green Power Program 3.4%
10 PacifiCorp (Oregon only)be Blue Sky Blockb, Blue Sky Usageb, Blue Sky Habitat 2.8%

a Power supplied by WPPI Energy.
b Product is Green-e Energy certified.
c Power supplied by Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority.
d Marketed in partnership with Green Mountain Energy Company.
e Marketed in partnership with 3Degrees Group Inc.
f Power supplied by Basin Electric Power Cooperative.

Total Number of Customer Participants
(as of December 2009)
Rank Utility Program(s) Participants
1 Portland General Electrica Clean Wind, Green Source, Renewable Future 72,812
2 PacifiCorpbc Blue Sky Blockd, Blue Sky Usaged, Blue Sky Habitat 71,165
3 Xcel Energye WindSourced, Renewable Energy Trust 70,393
4 Sacramento Municipal Utility District Greenergyd 50,250
5 PECOf PECO WIND 34,491
6 Puget Sound Energycg Green Power Program 25,789
7 National Gridh GreenUp 22,888
8 Connecticut Light and Power/United Illuminating CTCleanEnergyOptions 22,336
9 We Energies Energy for Tomorrowd 20,927
10 Iberdrola USA: NYSEG and RG&Ef Catch the Wind 20,386

a Marketed in partnership with Green Mountain Energy Company.
b Includes Pacific Power and Rocky Mountain Power.
c Some Oregon products marketed in partnership with 3Degrees Group Inc.
d Product is Green-e Energy certified.
e Includes Northern States Power, Public Service Company of Colorado and Southwestern Public Service.
f Marketed in partnership with Community Energy Inc.
g Residential product marketed in partnership with 3Degrees Group Inc.
h Includes Niagara Mohawk, Massachusetts Electric, Narragansett Electric, and Nantucket Electric.

Customer Participation Rate
(as of December 2009)
Rank Utility Program(s) Customer Participation Rate Program Start Year
1 City of Palo Alto Utilitiesa Palo Alto Greenb 20.8% 2003
2 Portland General Electricc Clean Wind, Green Source, Renewable Future 10.2% 2002
3 Madison Gas and Electric Green Power Tomorrow 9.6% 1999
4 Sacramento Municipal Utility District Greenergyb 8.5% 1997
5 City of Napervilled Renewable Energy Program 8.4% 2005
6 Silicon Valley Powera Santa Clara Green Powerb 8.1% 2004
7 Pacific Power – Oregon Onlya Blue Sky Blockb, Blue Sky Usageb, Blue Sky Habitat 6.5% 2002
8 River Falls Municipal Utilitiese Renewable Energy Programb 5.8% 2001
9 Stoughton Utilitiese Renewable Energy Programb 5.2% 2002
10 Lake Mills Light & Watere Renewable Energy Programb 5.1% 2002
10 Pacific County PUD Green Power Tomorrow 5.1% 2002

a Marketed in partnership with 3Degrees Group Inc.
b Product is Green-e Energy certified.
c Marketed in partnership with Green Mountain Energy Company.
d Marketed in partnership with Community Energy Inc.
e Power supplied by WPPI Energy.

Price Premium Charged for New, Customer-Driven Renewable Power
(as of December 2009)
Rank Utility Resources Used Premium (¢/kWh)
1 Edmond Electricab Wind -0.17
2 OG&E Companyac Wind 0.28
3 Avista Utilities Wind, landfill gas, hydro 0.33
4 Park Electric Cooperatived Wind 0.39
5 Arizona Public Service Companye Wind, geothermal, biomass, landfill gas, solar 0.40
6 Indianapolis Power & Light Company Wind 0.42
7 Flathead Electric Cooperatived Wind 0.50
7 Sacramento Municipal Utility Districte Wind, hydro, biomass, solar 0.50
9 Xcel Energy (New Mexico)ae Wind, solar 0.75
10 Emerald People’s Utility District Landfill gas, wind, biomass 0.80

a Premium is variable; customers in these programs are exempt or otherwise protected from changes in utility fuel charges.
b Power supplied by Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority.
c OG&E Company offers two rate structures for its Wind Power program; the lowest premium is for the rate which exempts customers from the fuel charge.
d Power is supplied by Basin Electric Power Cooperative.
e Product is Green-e Energy certified.


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