NREL ranks utilities on renewable energy

GOLDEN – Several aspects of Xcel Energy Inc.’s renewable energy programs ranked in the Top 10 of all such programs across the country in 2012 in a report released Wednesday by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden.

Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy Inc. (NYSE: XEL) ranked No. 5 in sales of renewable energy, in the report. Xcel sold 390,056 megawatt hours of renewable energy through a green-pricing program, according to the report. Portland General Electric in Oregon was No. 1 on the green power sales list with 834,125 megawatts of renewable energy sold.

Xcel Energy covers communities in eight states, including Colorado. The report was compiled with information from 53 utility companies across the country, including all of the “major players,´ said Jenny Heeter, an NREL analyst. The rankings used Xcel Energy companywide information in most cases, although Xcel programs in Colorado and Minnesota were singled out for rankings in two of the lists in the report.

“Programs that are in (the report) are first-rate programs that allow their customers to support renewable energy,” Heeter said.

Overall, Xcel ranked No. 3 for the number of customers it has participating in renewable energy programs, according to the report. Xcel’s renewable energy programs had 61,315 participants in 2012. Portland General Electric was No. 1 with 87,987 participants.

Xcel Energy in Colorado ranked No. 3 of all utilities that use at least 2 percent solar power to supply green pricing programs, according to the report. Xcel Energy used 3 percent solar power in its programs, according to the report. Sacramento Municipal Utility District in California ranked No. 1 on the list, using 14.5 percent solar power.

At least 30 percent of the power in Colorado is expected to come from renewable resources such as wind or solar by 2020, under legislation passed this year.

Utility green-pricing programs are one segment of a larger green power marketing industry that supports more than 11,200 megawatts of renewable electricity generation capacity, according to NREL. The federal laboratory in Golden focuses on renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development for the Department of Energy. It is operated by the Alliance for Sustainable Energy LLC.


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