Listening to Customers: How Deliberative Polling Helped Build 1,000 MW of New Renewable Energy Projects in Texas

    Research output: NRELTechnical Report


    Between 1996 and 1998, eight Texas electric utilities polled their customers to determine what energy options they preferred to meet future electric requirements. The Deliberative Polls(TM) combined telephone surveys with town meetings where customers learned more about energy choices and discussed energy issues with each other and with panels of experts. After deliberating, they responded to theinitial survey again, this time on the basis of their informed opinions. Customers changed their opinions substantially based on the information they gained during the town meetings. The results were unanticipated by either the utilities or their regulators--both entities changed their level of interest in and commitment to renewables and efficiency as a result of what they heard from customers.Subsequent to the Deliberative Polls, utilities and independent suppliers have made substantial investments in new renewable energy-based generation projects. And in 1999, the Texas Legislature included a renewable portfolio standard in the state's electricity restructuring law. All told, more than 1,000 MW of new renewables capacity has been developed in Texas since the deliberative pollingevents. The important contribution of the deliberative polls was to provide a measurement of what is important to those most affected by energy resource decisions--the public.
    Original languageAmerican English
    Number of pages27
    StatePublished - 2003

    NREL Publication Number

    • NREL/TP-620-33177


    • Blair Swezey
    • deliberative polls
    • energy choices
    • environment
    • markets
    • null
    • null
    • public opinion
    • renewable energy (RE)
    • renewable portfolio standard
    • Texas
    • town meeting
    • utilities
    • Will Guild
    • willingness to pay


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