Public Power Maintains Top Spots in NREL's 2010 Rankings for "Top Ten" Utility Green Power Programs

Rachel Damery
Publication Date: 
June 1, 2011

National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently released its assessment of the top utility green power programs in the U.S. for 2010. Public power utilities once again featured prominently in every category, demonstrating public power’s commitment to promoting renewable energy.

More than 850 utilities across the United States now offer green power programs, and since 2000, NREL has conducted an analysis to determine the “Top 10” utility programs for the following categories:

  • Total sales of renewable energy to program participants;
  • Total number of customer participants;
  • 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.


Where Does Public Power Rank?

#1 in total sales for the ninth year in a row: Public power utility Austin Energy in Texas led the nation in voluntary renewable energy sales for nine straight years now, with sales of 754.2 million kWh for 2010. Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) held fourth place again on the NREL list for total sales. CPS Energy, the public utility providing service to the greater San Antonio area, also made it onto the total sales list this year, coming in at eighth place.

Public power communities show support for renewable energy: In 2010, public power communities earned 6 of 10 spots on NREL's list for customer participation rates. Palo Alto Utilities topped the list again this year with a customer participation rate of 21.5%. Other public power utilities on the lab's top 10 list in this category were SMUD; Naperville, Ill.; Silicon Valley Power; River Falls Municipal Utilities; Stoughton, Wis., Utilities; and Lake Mills, Wis., Light & Water;

Green power is a growing piece of the pie in public power communities: Public Power dominated the rankings in green power sales as a percentage of total retail sales, grabbing 6 of the 10 top spots in this category. At 22.6%, Waterloo Utilities held on to the top spot again this year. Edmond Electric remained in second at 9.9%, Palo Alto in fourth, River Falls, Wis., Municipal Utilities in fifth, Austin Energy in sixth, and SMUD coming in at ninth place.

Saving energy, saving money: Up from the three spots held last year, public power took 5 of 10 spots in the 2010 NREL list for lowest premium for green power measures in cents/kWh. Edmond Electric came in at second place, charging 0.27 cents per kilowatt-hour. The city of Onawa, Iowa took fourth place at $0.40/kWh, Moorhead, Minn. tied for fifth with SMUD at $0.50/kWh, and Emerald People's Utility District in Oregon took ninth with a premium of $0.80/kWh.

Learn More about Green Power Programs in the U.S.

NREL's full report on 2010 green power programs is available here: NREL Highlights 2010 Utility Green Power Leaders

NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development.

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