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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Blogger stomv said...

Got an article or a list of the "Top 10" or somesuch? I'm always looking for interesting data... thanks!

3:40 pm, April 24, 2005  
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  
Blogger stomv said...


Interesting list, and a good read. Although I might add that Austin was only 1 there because "Cities are listed alphabetically and are not ranked among themselves."

7:58 am, April 28, 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  
Blogger Dancingh2o said...

I own a home in the Rio Grande Valley and I'm interested in advancing solar/wind where there are plenty of both. There is a huge need and an even huger opportunity to make alternatives work down here in a big way. The culture in the Valley is, well...weird. A lot of self-starters amd working poor along with exploitation and get-rich-quick transients. Population predominently Spanish-speaking and/or bilingual, Mex-Am ex-farmworker and border Mexicans that float back anf forth to work and/or live. Interesting place. The land and sky seem to have a magic sort of magnetism. Can't explain it. Anglos and Mexicans still seem polarized and distrusting, though. Both parties share same sense of entitlement. There is a giant-sized number of retiree from the auto industry who come down for the winterand live in isolated, self-contained trailer parks. I'm betting that solar systems can be designed to power these parks, too. Wind power would be ideal here. The wind never stops- only slows down. Really a bummer, that. Need for public education. People just don't know what's available to them and the contractors and developers down here build 1200-1500 SF houses with two-car garages, on little postage stamps, no landscaping. UGGGGLY. Obra Homes is big down here. Real crap. It's either that or a mobile home.

8:36 am, November 30, 2005  
Blogger Dancingh2o said...

I live in the Rio Grande Valley. Lots of wind, even more sun. Ideal place to utilize alternatives that can become the primary source of energy.

I would like to explore the possibility of partnering with an interested organization that can provide education and promotional support, as well as a contractor or contractors that can offer affordable, quality product to the working class and middle class folks, as well as a high-end product to the conspicuous-consumption, wealthy professional types that reside here. Land is still relatively inexpensive. I'm also interested in Corpus Christi area solar/wind development.

In honesty, there is lots of potential here in the Valley, but also a lot of ignorance. Big opportunity to educate. There is historical distrust. Lots of get-rich-quickers who exploit the systems and leave. Lots of fraud and poor consumer protection. Also polarized Anglo and Mex/Mex-American cultures with nothing in common but the same sense of entitlement. Snowbirds from the Midwest (a place I'll never understand), come to live in isolated trailerpark communities and intrude on the local culture with their own brand of self-entitlement. Weird scene.

But I love it here and I don't want it to get ruined. The land and the sky have a magic magnetism. The people can learn and change over time, but the land is vulnerable and it would be great to introduce a more benign lifestyle choice to this area that is being exploited and trashed with impunity. Migatory bird paths bring all sorts of species I've never seen before, plus resident egrets, cranes, ducks, hummingbirds, songbirds, pelicans, red-winged blackbirds, parrots, eagles, owls, herons, kingfishers, ospreys, green jays... abound. You name it, we got it.

Interested? Ideas to share?
956 532-8450, Barbie Dancingwater

9:06 am, November 30, 2005  

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