NREL Highlights Leading Utility Green Power Programs

Pricing programs give consumers clean power choices

Golden, Colo., March 8, 2004 - The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) today released its annual ranking of leading utility "green pricing" programs. Under green pricing, consumers can choose to help support additional electricity production from renewable resources such as solar and wind. More than 500 utilities in 33 states now offer these programs.

Using information provided by utilities, NREL develops "Top 10" rankings of utility programs in the following categories: total sales of renewable energy to program participants, total number of customer participants, customer participation rate, and the lowest price premium charged for a green pricing service using new renewable resources.

Ranked by sales of green power, the green pricing program of Austin (Texas) Energy is first in the nation, followed by Portland General Electric, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, PacifiCorp, and Xcel Energy.

Ranked by customer participation rates, the top five are Lenox (Iowa) Municipal Utilities, City of Palo Alto (Calif.) Utilities, Moorhead (Minn.) Public Service, Holy Cross Energy (Colo.), and (tie) Montezuma (Iowa) Municipal Light and Power, and Orcas Power and Light Cooperative (Wash.). (See attached tables for additional rankings).

"The number of utility green pricing programs continues to grow across the country as well as the number of customers that purchase green power," said Lori Bird, senior energy analyst at NREL. "Customer choice is proving to be a powerful stimulus for growth in renewable energy development."

In 2003, more than 1.2 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of renewable energy were sold through green pricing programs, an increase of more than 30% from 2002. Utility green pricing programs are one segment of a larger green power marketing industry that serves nearly 500,000 customers nationwide and helps support about 1,500 MW of renewable electricity generation capacity.

NREL also found that four of the 10 utilities with the lowest price premium charged for their green power products offer fuel price protection to their green pricing customers.

"With natural gas prices on the rise, greater use of renewable energy can help utilities stabilize electricity rates for their customers," said Blair Swezey, NREL principal policy advisor.

NREL's Energy Analysis Office performs analyses of green power market trends and is funded by DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

NREL is a national laboratory managed by Midwest Research Institute and Battelle. The lab is a leading center for research into photovoltaics, wind energy, plant- and waste-derived fuels and chemicals, energy-efficient buildings, advanced vehicle design, geothermal energy and hydrogen fuel cells.

Visit for tables of complete rankings.

Featured Product

Kipp & Zonen - DustIQ the novel soiling monitoring solution for solar panels

Kipp & Zonen - DustIQ the novel soiling monitoring solution for solar panels

Soiling of the panel glass is one of the major problems in the rapidly expanding solar energy market, with the attendant loss of efficiency and reduction in performance ratios. Now, there's a new, simple and very cost-effective alternative. Based on Kipp & Zonen's unique Optical Soiling Measurement (OSM) technology, DustIQ can be easily added to new or existing solar arrays and integrated into plant management systems. The unit is mounted to the frame of a PV panel and does not need sunlight to operate. It continuously measures the transmission loss through glass caused by soiling, so that the reduction in light reaching the solar cells can be calculated.