Energy Department Recognizes Nation's Top Green Power Programs

November 16, 2011

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today recognized four leading organizations for expanding the market for electricity produced from renewable energy sources during the 11th annual Green Power Leadership Awards in San Francisco, California. These organizations' innovative "green power" programs provide consumers with the opportunity to purchase clean energy from environmentally-preferred sources, such as wind and solar energy.

Organizations that offer and promote green power programs support an industry that creates thousands of jobs each year, making clean, renewable energy accessible and affordable to the homeowners and businesses they serve. DOE encourages the growth of these programs nationwide by selecting exemplary programs to receive Green Power Leadership Awards.

This year's winners include 3Degrees and Washington Gas Energy Sources (WGES), which are each recognized as the Non-Utility Green Power Suppliers of the Year; Detroit Edison (DTE Energy) for Utility Green Power Program of the Year; and The Clean Energy Collective, for Innovative Green Power Program of the Year.

"These organizations have made a strong commitment to offer families and businesses more options to purchase electricity from clean energy sources," said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. "Their efforts support increased deployment of renewable energy technologies, create jobs, and transform business practices into sustainable solutions that help diversify our nation's energy supply and protect the environment."

Winning organizations are evaluated on criteria such as: total annual renewable energy sales, number of customers served, market impact, resources and technologies used, and overall value provided to customer participants. Through the combination of competitive markets, voluntary green power programs, and state and local initiatives, renewable energy options are now widely available in most states.

According to the DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory:

  • About 860 utilities offer green power programs in the United States.
  • Annual sales from utility green power programs have more than doubled since 2005.
  • Between January 2008 and September 2011, twelve utilities or third-parties have developed community solar programs.
  • Annual green power market sales increased to more than 35 million megawatt-hours (MWh) in 2010, with an annual growth rate of 31% since 2006.
  • More than 1.8 million customers purchased green power in 2010 through a green power program, competitive marketer program or a renewable energy certificates marketer.

The award for Utility Green Power Programs of the Year recognizes utilities that develop and implement voluntary green power programs to serve their customers. This category is open to all utilities that offer voluntary renewable energy programs to their customers, including rural electric cooperatives, and municipal or investor-owned utilities.

The award for Non-Utility Green Power Suppliers of the Year recognizes non-utility clean energy providers, such as companies that market renewable energy options to residential or nonresidential consumers who make voluntary purchases of renewable energy.

2011 Green Power Leadership Award Winners

3Degrees' mission is to mitigate the effects of climate change by accelerating the low-carbon, renewable energy economy. The San Francisco-based company realizes this mission by helping its utility, business, LEED green building, and other partners utilize environmental commodities to build stakeholder value. Through these partnerships, 3Degrees increases demand for Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) and carbon offsets, channels capital to renewable energy and carbon reduction projects, and improves the efficiency of environmental markets.

Washington Gas Energy Services, Inc. of Herndon, Virginia, is one of the Mid-Atlantic region's largest green energy suppliers that offer, wind, solar and carbon offsets. Since 2009, the company has increased its CleanStepsSM wind power customer base by more than 250%. In 2010, its green energy customers helped offset nearly 1 billion pounds of carbon dioxide, which is equivalent to taking nearly 90,000 cars off the road for a year.

DTE Energy generates, transmits, and distributes electricity to 2.1 million customers in southeastern Michigan. Founded in 1903, DTE is the largest electric utility in Michigan and one of the largest in the nation. Its GreenCurrents program helps reduce carbon dioxide emissions and strengthen Michigan's energy independence. Eighty-six percent of its renewable energy comes from wind turbines, and 14% comes from biomass sources like biogas from livestock and landfill gas. With the help of more than 22,000 GreenCurrents customers, the voluntary enrollment program has helped advance renewable energy sources in Michigan.

The Clean Energy Collective (CEC) is a Colorado-based company that develops affordable, community-owned solar farms in partnership with local utilities. The CEC partnered with Holy Cross Energy (HCE), a rural electric cooperative, to offer the nation's first customer-owned community-solar program. Customers actually own, not lease, part of a local "solar farm" by buying individual panels. The system credits customers' monthly bill for power produced by their panels. CEC finances and builds the systems using local contractors.

For more information on DOE's Green Power Leadership Awards and the award recipients, visit The Green Power Network website.

DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy invests in clean energy technologies that strengthen the economy, protect the environment, and reduce dependence on foreign oil. DOE co-sponsors the Green Power Leadership Awards with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Center for Resource Solutions (CRS).