Texas and Iowa Utilities Top NREL's List of Green Power Programs

March 10, 2004

Texas' Austin Energy sold the most renewable energy of any utility green power program in 2003, according to the latest ranking from DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). According to NREL's "Top 10" list of utility green power programs—also called "green pricing" programs—Austin Energy is currently selling 289 million kilowatt-hours of green power per year, about 50 percent more than the second-place finisher, Oregon's Portland General Electric. Austin Energy also weighs in with the lowest price premium for its green power, which might explain its success.

In terms of the percentage of customers who buy green power, however, a small municipal utility in Iowa takes first place. Iowa's Lenox Municipal Utilities started its green power program in 2003, but 11.1 percent of its customers have already signed up. And Xcel Energy, which runs a green power program that spans several states, is the current leader for total number of customers, with more than 43,000 participants. Altogether, more than 1.2 billion kilowatt-hours of renewable energy were sold through green pricing programs in 2003, a 30 percent increase from 2002. See the NREL press release.

Both NREL and DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) have been churning out green power reports in recent months. NREL produced the sixth edition of its status report on U.S. green power marketing in October 2003, and last month, both NREL and LBNL issued reports on the effectiveness of utility green pricing programs. See the reports under the "Reports & Articles" heading on the Green Power Network Web site.