This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.
Voluntary Green Power Purchases Increased Tenfold in 5 Years
The voluntary purchase of power from renewable energy sources has increased by a factor of 10 over the past five years, according to a DOE report released on October 24th. The amount of renewable energy capacity supported through such "green power" purchases topped 2,200 megawatts by the end of 2004, up from only 167 megawatts in 2000. The report also documents a growing interest among utilities and their customers: about 600 utilities were offering green power programs in 34 states in 2004, and more than 330,000 utility customers were participating in such programs, a fivefold increase since 1999. Meanwhile, the premiums charged by these programs have been dropping an average of 8 percent per year since 2000. See the DOE report (PDF 2.5 MB). Download Adobe Reader.
The DOE report notes that non-residential customers are leading the growth in green power purchases. That trend is confirmed by EPA's Green Power Partnership, which now includes 600 partner organizations buying more than 3 billion kilowatt-hours of green power each year. That represents a doubling over the past six months. The partnership includes Fortune 500 companies, universities, trade associations, and local, state, and federal government agencies, and has grown from only 21 founding partners in 2001. Among the leading green power buyers are Johnson & Johnson; Safeway, Inc.; Advanced Micro Devices; and Whole Foods Market. DOE and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the news during the Tenth National Green Power Marketing Conference, which concludes on October 26th in Austin, Texas. See the announcements on the Green Power Partnership Web site.
DOE, EPA, and the Center for Resource Solutions (CRS) also used the occasion to honor people and organizations that have helped establish the green power market. Green Power Partner of the Year Awards were presented to HSBC North America, Johnson & Johnson, the U.S. Air Force, and WhiteWave Foods Company for their green power purchases. The highest honor in market development, Green Power Pioneer, was presented to Blair Swezey of DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, one of the co-authors of the new DOE report. In addition, Austin Energy's top-selling GreenChoice Program was named Green Power Program of the Year for the second consecutive year. GreenChoice supports four Texas wind facilities and allows customers to lock in a fixed rate for 10 years, a popular feature in today's volatile energy market. Because of its GreenChoice program, Austin Energy was also awarded the 2005 Wind Power Pioneer Award in a separate awards ceremony in Kansas City, Missouri, on October 25th. See the awards announcement from the green power conference (PDF 59 KB) and the DOE press release.