They specifically evaluate voluntary programs which allow consumers to choose whether to support additional electricity production from renewable resources such as wind and solar.
The study found that more than 650,000 customers are participating in green utility programs nationwide, demonstrating a growing awareness of the value of clean power.
“Participating in green power programs is one way that consumers can support renewable energy development and reduce their environmental footprint,” pointed out NREL analyst Jenny Sumner.
More than 850 utilities offer green power programs and their 2009 sales exceeded 6 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh). For some of the most popular programs this figure represents more than 5% of total electricity sales.
The NREL ranked the Top Ten utility programs 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.
Austin Energy in Austin, Texas sold the most renewable energy while the City of Palo Alto Utilities (California) had the greatest percentage of customer participation. Portland General Electric in Oregon had the largest total number of participants (and the second largest percentage).
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