Local Leaders Challenge City to Increase Green Power Purchases by 33% by August 31
WASHINGTON, March 18, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- District of Columbia officials announced today that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recognized the nation's capital as the leading EPA Green Power Community. District Government, businesses, institutions, and residents are collectively purchasing nearly 756 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually – enough green power to meet 8 percent of the community's total electricity use. This tremendous, voluntary effort ranks the District as the number one EPA Green Power Community in the country.
District leaders will also kick off a District Green Power Challenge on Friday, March 18, 2011 at the District's EPA Green Power Recognition Ceremony at Phelps Career High School in northeast DC to encourage residents, businesses and organizations citywide to make the switch to green power. The first milestone in the challenge is to increase green power purchases citywide by 33% by August 31, 2011 to help the District maintain its EPA rank as America's #1 Green Power Community. A 33% increase would mean that District electricity users are purchasing a full 10% from green power – more than 1 Billion kWh annually.
Green Power Communities are cities, towns, and villages where the local government, businesses, and residents all commit to buy green power in amounts that meet or exceed EPA's Green Power Community purchase requirements. Washington, D.C. is one of the newest of 36 Green Power Communities nationwide.
"This is a huge honor for Washington, D.C. and we are proud to be recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency," said Mayor Vincent Gray. "The purchase of green power by our citizens and businesses is cleaning our air and supporting growth of the clean energy economy. When we clean the air, we improve the health of our residents, and particularly our children."
According to Mayor Gray, "We are sending a message to other communities across the country that supporting clean power is a sound business decision and the right thing to do. I'm proud that the District of Columbia government is leading the way, purchasing 50 percent of our electricity through the Washington Gas Energy Services, Inc. wind power program."
"The District of Columbia is setting an excellent example for the nation by harnessing clean energy," said Elizabeth Craig, Acting Director of EPA's Office of Atmospheric Programs. "We hope the city will continue to increase its use of green power and that other communities will follow suit."
Green power is electricity that is generated from environmentally-preferable renewable resources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, biogas, biomass, and low-impact hydroelectric power. Purchasing green power helps accelerate development of new renewable energy capacity and reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from electric generation.
"Our leap as a city toward using green, renewable energy demonstrates just how committed we are to cleaner air and a healthier environment," says Christophe Tulou, Director of the District Department of the Environment (DDOE). "With a quick phone call or a few clicks of the mouse, any electric customer can make a real difference and contribute to the greening of our city and world." (see video below)
The combined green power purchasing of residents and organizations in the District is equivalent to avoiding the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of 102,000 passenger vehicles per year, or the electricity needed to power 65,000 average American homes annually.
"The Department of Real Estate Services is proud to join the Mayor, other District agencies, and Green Power Partners citywide to ensure the District remains a leader in EPA's Green Power Community program," said Brian J. Hanlon, Interim Director of DRES. "In conjunction with energy conservation measures, the purchase of renewable energy is actively reducing the District's carbon footprint."
The DowntownDC Business Improvement District (BID) is one of 71 EPA Green Power Partner organizations committed to purchasing green power. "This is one of many initiatives the DowntownDC BID is launching this year to create a downtown ecodistrict," said DowntownDC BID Executive Director Richard Bradley. "We are incredibly excited to demonstrate how easy it is to join the Green Power Challenge and to do our part to generate interest among other businesses and buildings to purchase green power."
"As a leading retail energy supplier, we're committed to doing our part to improve the environment by making it easy for customers to reduce their carbon footprint through the purchase of renewable energy in the competitive marketplace," said Harry Warren, President of Washington Gas Energy Services, Inc., wind power supplier to the District Government. "As more people buy renewable wind power, more wind turbines are built to meet that demand and dirtier sources of energy, like coal, are displaced. We congratulate the District community for its commitment to this cause and look forward to helping others assist D.C. in maintaining this leadership position."
(Video on Green Power Challenge http://emberwildeproductions.com/dropbox/GreenEnergyDC.mp4 )
About the District Green Power Challenge
By joining the EPA Green Power Community program, the District is also competing in the nationwide EPA Green Power Community Challenge that ends August 31, 2011. At that time, EPA will announce which communities have won the challenge. To keep the District on top, and demonstrate to the nation and world how committed our city is to creating a green and livable community, District Government, business, and organizations are coming together to issue the District Green Power Challenge. If you are a District customer, you can take the challenge by switching to green electric power. Businesses and organizations can take it a step further by joining the 71 other EPA Green Power Partners across the city. For more information, visit http://www.ddoe.dc.gov.
About EPA's Green Power Partnership
The Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that encourages organizations to buy green power to reduce the environmental impacts of electricity use. The Partnership currently has more than 1,300 Partner organizations who purchase more than 17 billion kilowatt-hours of green power each year. Partners include a wide variety of leading organizations such as Fortune 500® companies, small and medium sized businesses, local, state, and federal governments, and colleges and universities. For additional information, please visithttp://www.epa.gov/greenpower. For information on the Green Power Partnership, contact Melissa Donnelly at 202-343-9546 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SOURCE District Department of the Environment; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Washington Gas Energy Services, Inc.