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Top U.S. Cities For Green Energy Programs
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Top U.S. Cities For Green Energy Programs

Over the last few years, there has been a great deal of public discussion about the need to transition to sources of energy beyond fossil fuels such as coal and petroleum.  The reasons are clear: some of these fuels are likely to be exhausted in the next few decades, the U.S. must import large amounts of oil and all fossil fuels create some level of pollution.  To commemorate Earth Day, The Nielsen Company studied the top 10 DMA markets most likely to participate in renewable energy programs derived from natural resources such as the sun, the wind, water, geothermal and biomass. These are abundant in supply and do no harm to the environment. Companies and consumers are looking at these energy alternatives to reduce their carbon footprint and ensure a sustainable energy future.

Residents in the San Francisco metro area were the most likely to participate in such programs – not much of a surprise given the region’s long-time reputation for being among the most environmentally conscientious areas in the country.  More surprising might be the second and third ranked metro areas of Los Angeles and the Washington, DC.

Top 10 Market Potentials for Utility Green Energy Programs
Rank DMA Users/100 HHS Index
1 San Francisco metro area, CA 4.54 138
2 Los Angeles, CA 4.1 125
3 Washington metro area, DC-MD 4.04 123
4 New York, NY 4.01 122
5 San Diego, CA 3.95 121
6 Chicago, IL 3.95 120
7 Las Vegas, NV 3.86 118
8 Sacramento metro area, CA 3.77 115
9 Salt Lake City, UT 3.74 114
10 Houston, TX 3.71 113
Source: The Nielsen Company

Nielsen works with a number of utilities around the U.S. to help them evaluate such programs.  One such client is Oregon’s Portland General Electric (PGE), which has been recognized as having one of the most successful residential programs of its kind. While the Portland DMA falls just outside of the Top 10 market potential report above, PGE’s customers have enthusiastically adopted this program, and participation levels are approximately three times the national average for residential renewable energy programs. With 73,000 renewable power customers, PGE is constantly evaluating customer “touch-points” to make enrollment into renewable programs easy.

“Embracing renewable power is one of the easiest ways for customers to reduce their carbon footprint,” said Thor Hinckley, Manager of PGE Renewable Power Program.  “We have to thank our more than 73,000 renewable power customers who have made PGE’s renewable power program one of the nation’s most successful. For the past four years, PGE residential customers have purchased more renewable power than from any other utility in the nation.”

“As PGE has shown, there is greater market potential out there for renewable energy support from the U.S. consumer than has been tapped. Understanding which households and consumers embrace renewable energy will continue to be a driving factor in the success of these types of programs nationwide,” said Jonathan Drost, Account Executive, Nielsen Claritas.

The Nielsen Energy Audit is an annual survey of more than 32,000 respondents conducted online to track changes in the energy sector and its impact on consumer behaviors. This survey was conducted in June 2009.