For many municipalities, electricity usage is the primary source of their greenhouse gas emissions. To dramatically reduce these emissions and fight climate change, a growing number of cities are switching to green power. Since 2001, the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Green Power Partnership has been working with U.S. cities and towns to help them make this change.
Partnering With EPA
The Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program designed to promote and recognize the use of green power by leading U.S. organizations and communities.
Green power is electricity generated from eligible renewable energy sources, such as solar photovoltaics, wind, biomass and low-impact hydropower. EPA works with organizations to help them procure green power by offering expert advice, technical support, tools and resources.
Today, nearly 1,300 organizations are Green Power Partners, including more than 100 local government partners. These local government partners are collectively using 2.1 billion kilowatt-hours of green power - more than 10 percent of the partnership's total.
Benefits for Green Power Partners
By using the free partnership resources available from EPA, Green Power Partners have found they may be able to save time, effort and cost in buying green power, better estimating the environmental benefits of switching to green power and better promoting their green power commitment to media and their stakeholders.
Another benefit to joining this EPA partnership is the public recognition. Purchasing green power can bring positive attention to a local government's commitment to environmental leadership. Partnering with EPA also gives credibility to a local government's green power commitment by signifying that it meets nationally accepted standards in terms of size, content and resource base.
EPA promotes the actions of its local government partners through the following recognition opportunities.
· Top Partner Rankings: A key promotional opportunity for Green Power Partners is the program's national- and sector-focused quarterly-updated Top Partner Rankings. EPA's list of the Top 20 Local Government Partners recognizes the 20 largest municipal purchasers in the program.
· Green Power Leadership Awards: Each year, EPA joins with the Department of Energy and the nonprofit Center for Resource Solutions in presenting the Green Power Leadership Awards. These awards recognize outstanding purchases and achievements in the voluntary green power marketplace.
· Green Power Communities: Many of EPA's local government partners are taking a leadership role by partnering with EPA to become a Green Power Community (GPC). GPCs are towns, villages, cities, counties or Native American tribes in which the local government, businesses and residents collectively buy green power in amounts that meet or exceed EPA's GPC purchase requirements.
· Green Power Community Challenge: Last week, the Green Power Partnership kicked off its national "Green Power Community Challenge," a year-long campaign to encourage local governments to use renewable energy and fight climate change. The campaign is designed to expand upon the successes of EPA's Green Power Communities, aiming to double the collective amount of green power used by these communities.