Green Power Pricing Grows As Oregon Leads

Where are the greenest electricity consumers in the United States? Risking the charge of bias – after all, EarthTechling is headquartered in Portland – we say it’s Oregon. And we’ve got the hard numbers to back up the claim.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s latest report on green pricing and net metering trends, released last month and covering 2009, says Oregon had 127,290 electric customers enrolled in green programs. In a state with a population of 3.8 million, that’s 1 customer for every 30 citizens. Texas was the only state with a bigger total number of customers in green programs, at 316,585. Yet that’s out of a population of 25.1 million – a paltry ratio of 1 green enrollees for every 79 Texans, making this a clear victory for Oregon. But nice try, Texas.

Green energy pricing programs, Oregon

image via Shutterstock

Nationwide, the number crunchers said, participation in green pricing programs rose for the third consecutive year in 2009, reaching 1,123,778. Just three states had no green programs – Alaska, Hawaii and New Hampshire. Ninety-four percent of the customers were residential.

Net metering is essentially allowing customers to spin their meter backward by sending power produced on site back to the grid. As we’ve reported, solar advocates sees net-metering policies as a key indicator of a state’s openness to solar power. According to the new data, the number of customers taking advantage of net metering jumped 38 percent in 2009 to 96,506. In raw numbers, California led the way with 53,187 customers, or 55 percent of the U.S. total. Colorado was next with 7,084 customers. Nationwide,  91 percent of net metering customers were residential.

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.