"Top city" lists can be pretty subjective, and none more so than "greenest" city lists.
These tend to measure things like number of green-oriented events or "percentage of people who think and act in an eco-conscious way."
But new data from National Renewable Energy Laboratory give us some hard facts showing the actual greenest cities in America, as represented by the percentage of customers voluntarily buying into their local utility's green power program.
Here's the list (by utility):
|1||City of Palo Alto (Calif.)||18.2%|
|2||Portland General Electric (Ore.)||12.4%|
|3||Madison Gas & Electric Co. (Wisc.)||9.4%|
|4||Sacramento (Calif.) Municipal Utility District||9.2%|
|5||City of Naperville (Ill.)||7.6%|
|6||Pacific Power (regional, Ore.)||7.6%|
|7||Silicon Valley Power (regional, Calif.)||6.9%|
|8||River Falls Municipal Utilities (Wisc.)||6.1%|
|9||Stoughton Utilities (Wisc.)||5.1%|
|10||Cuba City Light & Water (Wisc.)||5.0%
Interesting to note the low percentages here.
Some might also wonder why there are so many small-ish Wisconsin towns on here (we did). So we called up Mike Noreen, the conservation and efficiency coordinator for River Falls, Wisc., (#8 on the list) to ask why.
He told us that the high customer participation rates in the state are thanks in part to a company called WPPI Energy, which sells renewable power sourced mainly from wind farms in Iowa at bulk rates. The company has gotten strong buy-in from residents in River Falls and the other two towns that round out the list.
In the case of River Falls, Noreen said, Mayor Dan Toland asked the town of 15,000 to get on board, with the municipality reciprocating by converting many of its facilities to renewables.
Noreen also said the town is about to construct a new solar array to power its baseball field, another demonstration of its commitment to renewable resources.
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