Monday, April 25, 2005

Austin Energy Texas First in America for Alternative Energy Electricity Sales

Austin Energy has shown its commitment to renewable energy.

The U.S. Department of Energy said Austin Energy's Green Choice program sold more than 334 million hours of renewable energy last year.

More than 350 businesses in Austin get their power from renewable sources as an alternative to fossil fuels.

Austin Energy uses electricity from 61 West Texas wind turbines.

Here's the top ten green energy programs in the United States (as of December 2004).

1. Austin Energy -
areas served include Austin, Texas
green energy from Wind Power, Land Fill Gas, Small Hydro -
334 MWh/year

2. Portland General Electric (PGE) -
areas served include Portland, Oregon
green power from existing Geothermal, Wind Power, Small Hydro - 262 MWh/year

3. PacifiCorp - includes Pacific Power and Utah Power
areas served include:
Oregon, Washington, Wyoming, California, Utah, Idaho
green energy from Wind Power, Biomass, Solar Energy -
191 MWh/year

4. Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) -
green power from Landfill Gas, Wind Power, Small Hydro, Solar Energy - 176 MWh/year

5. Xcel Energy -
areas served include: Denver,Colorado; Elkhart, Kansas; Wakefield, Michigan; Saint Paul, Minnesota; Roswell, New Mexico; Fargo, North Dakota; Boise City, Idaho; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Amarillo, Texas; Eau Claire, Wisconsin
green electricity from Wind Power - 137 MWh/year

6. National Grid -
areas served include:
New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Nantucket
green power from Biomass, Wind Power, Small Hydro, Solar Energy - 88 MWh/year

7. Los Angeles Department of Power and Water (LADPW) -
area served Los Angeles through the Green LA program
green energy from Wind Power, Landfill Gas - 75 MWh/year

8. OG&E Electric Services -
area served Oklahoma
green electricity from Wind Power - 56 MWh/year

9. Puget Sound Energy (PSE)-
area served Washington state
green energy from Wind Power, Solar Energy, Biogas -
46 MWh/year

10. We Energies -
areas served include Wisconsin and Michigan
green power from Landfill Gas, Wind Power, Small Hydro -
40 MWh/year

(source: NREL)

MWh/year = million kWh/year rounded down

List of Green Energy Providers by State

One of the single biggest ways we as individuals can encourage the use of alternative energy and help aid the transition to a post fossil fuel age is to buy electricity partly, or preferably completely, generated using alternative energy.

Switching your electricity utility provider may be as simple as requesting a form or filling one in online. That's exactly how I switched to 100% renewable energy (generated mainly from wind power with some solar power and small scale hydro thrown into the mix). Renewable energy options are available throughout the U.K. and in many other countries.

To find out if you can switch to renewable energy in your area look on your search engine of choice for "green energy", "green power" or "green electricity". You may also need to add your location to the search. If your local utility doesn't provide a renewable energy option yet, email or call them and ask why.

Original News 8 Austin Article

Green-e Certified Electricity Products

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you see The Green Guide's America's Top Ten Greenest Cities? Visit to see. Austin was number 1 there too.

9:33 am, April 26, 2005  
Blogger BoW said...

James, First let me say I totally agree with your intent of switching where possible to electricity generated by renewable means. However I am less sure that the portion of electricity we recieve has actually come from renewable generation.

In the UK electricity companies have an obligation to sell a certain amount of electricity generated by renewable means. This is done through a market mechanism where each MWh of renewable electricity gets what is called a Renewable Obligation Certificate (ROC). If a suppler can't show he has enough ROC's he has to go out and buy them on the open market. ROC's are quite expensive to buy and valuable to sell.

A supplier selling green renewable electricity would have to either go buy an appropriate number of ROC's and then match off the green electricty sold or give up those that they already hold to match off the same amount.

My doubt lies in whether the electricity supply companies actually do match off their renewable electricity sold. Or whether they tell you its green but its actually black.

Perhaps a direct question or two to your supplier asking them to demonstrate or show how they account for renewable energy bought and sold would be a good idea.

9:51 am, April 26, 2005  
Blogger James said...

Gordon, very good point.

I signed up with Good Energy which was recommended in a Friends of the Earth report, see:
(follow the pdf link)

Good Energy according to the FOE website:

For every unit of electricity you buy, it buys 1 unit of green electricity - and holds onto 7% of the Renewable Energy Obligation Certificates (ROC).

As you point out the electricity I actually use may be "black" (i.e. generated from non-renewable sources however an equivalent amount of renewable energy should be put somewhere else into the grid.

10:37 am, April 26, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can also check out this page of renewable energy suppliers from acroos the country:

Renewable eletricity

12:30 pm, April 29, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm new to the site. I am involved with a development project just south of Austin and I along with my employer are very interested in utilizing every form of alternative energy available to us; such as solar, wind, and using ground water to either heat or cool the homes we are putting in out here. Can any one suggest possible sites, organizations, or authorities that might be able to assist in this goal? It would be greatly appreciated. Also I have heard that Austin has made it a goal of the city to significantly increase their Alternative Energy use in the near future, I believe the specific goal is along the lines of number one in the southern US. Can anyone verify?
Whitney E. Lawrence III

7:43 am, July 26, 2005  

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