Austin Energy Maintains U.S. Lead in Green Power Sales

April 30, 2008

The municipal utility for Austin, Texas, sold more than 577 million kilowatt-hours of electricity from renewable sources in 2007, holding onto its top spot in the United States for utility sales of green power, according to DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). More than 800 utilities across the United States offer voluntary green programs to their customers, according to NREL, which released its annual ranking of the leading utility green power programs on April 22. Total utility green power sales exceeded 4.5 billion kilowatt-hours in 2007, about a 20% increase over 2006. For the sixth time in a row, Austin Energy leads the pack for total sales. Austin Energy also comes in second for its percentage of total electricity sales that are green power sales, at 5%, beat out only by Edmond Electric, the municipal utility for Edmond, Oklahoma, which is at 5.7% of total electricity sales.

Other leading utilities include Xcel Energy, which has the greatest number of participants in its program at 75,534. Helped by its huge size, Xcel Energy has led that category for the past 5 years. On the smaller end of the scale, the municipal utility for Palo Alto, California, led the nation for the third year in a row in terms of the percentage of customers participating in their program. The municipal utility achieved a 20.4% participation rate, pulling far ahead of its nearest rival, the municipal utility for Lenox, Iowa, which has a 14.3% participation rate. See the NREL press release and the top ten lists of utility green power programs (including links to earlier lists) on the Green Power Network Web site.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has also updated its list of the leading purchasers of green power. The list has changed little over the past three months, with Intel Corporation still leading overall, Whole Foods Market leading the retail pack, the U.S. Air Force leading among government agencies, and the City of Dallas, Texas, leading among local governments. However, the University of Pennsylvania managed to overtake New York University in green power purchases, helping the Ivy League to win the crown as the top conference for green power purchases. The EPA announced the conference champs on Monday. See the EPA Green Power Partnership Web site, the EPA press release and the College & University Green Power Challenge Web page.