Report Benchmarks Renewable Energy and Efficiency Progress Among Top Utilities

Report Benchmarks Renewable Energy and Efficiency Progress Among Top Utilities

by RP Siegel
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Benchmarking report from @CeresNews + @CleanEdgeInc marks progress by #utilities - via @Justmeans

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014 - 4:00pm



A recent report jointly produced by Ceres and Clean Edge, Inc., benchmarks the progress of the utility industry in deploying renewable energy and energy efficiency. The study examined data from the 32 largest investor-owned utilities in the US. The companies were then ranked based on their performance in three categories: renewable energy sales, cumulative energy efficiency savings; and energy savings from new programs (all as a percentage of 2012 retail sales).

There was a wide disparity among utilities, particularly in the area of renewable energy. All of the top five utilities in the renewable energy category exceeded 15% of their annual sales, with the leader, NV Energy of Nevada, achieving 21.8% of sales. In fact, NV (which was ranked 23rd in overall size) has now exceeded 1 GW of installed renewable capacity. Second-ranked Excel Energy, who was 8th overall in size, actually achieved the highest level of renewable sales with over 16 million MWh, accounting for just over 18% of sales. The largest utility in the survey, Duke Energy sold slightly more MWh of renewable power than NV, but because of its large size, that only accounted for 3.29% of sales, giving Duke a ranking of 19. Others scored worse. Each of the bottom five achieved renewable sales that were less than 1% of total. SCANA Energy of Georgia, who received a score of zero, should not have been included in the study since SCANA sells only natural gas and not electricity. Still, Southern Company, the third largest utility in the study, which sold some 156 million MWh of electricity, generated only 71,000 MWh of that, less than half of one percent, from renewables. Southern does operate more solar under its Southern Power subsidiary, which recently acquired the largest solar plant in New Mexico, the  50 MW Macho Spring facility in Luna County. Drivers behind these rankings appeared to be either abundant renewable energy resources or aggressive policy goals. 

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Image Courtesy of Duke Energy: Flickr Creative Commons

RP Siegel, author and inventor, shines a powerful light on numerous environmental and technological topics. He has been published in business and technical journals and has written three books. His third, co-authored with Roger Saillant, is Vapor Trails, an eco-thriller that is being adapted for the big screen. RP is a professional engineer – and a prolific inventor, with 50 patents, numerous awards, and several commercial products. He is president of Rain Mountain LLC and is an active environmental advocate in his hometown of Rochester, N.Y. In addition to Justmeans, he writes for Triple Pundit, ThomasNet News, and Energy Viewpoints, occasionally contributing to Mechanical Engineering, Strategy + Business, and Huffington Post. You can follow RP on Twitter, @RPSiegel.