The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has named Washington D.C. as the leading EPA Green Power Community. Combined, government, businesses, institutions, and residents in the nation’s capital are collectively purchasing nearly 756 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power each year. This is enough to meet 8 percent of the city’s total electricity use. All voluntary, this feat catapulted the city into the number one spot in the country on EPA’s rankings.
District leaders kicked off a District Green Power Challenge today during the District’s EPA Green Power Recognition Ceremony that was held at Phelps Career High School in northeast DC to encourage more residents and businesses to switch to green power. The first goal of the challenge is to increase citywide green power purchases by 33 percent by August 31 of this year in hopes of keeping their #1 ranking. This increase would also mean that the city’s electricity users are purchasing 10 percent from green power or 1 Billion kWh each year.
“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. 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.”
There are currently 36 Green Power Communities across the country. To be given the designation, a city, town or village must have government, business and residents that commit to purchasing green power in amounts that meet or exceed EPA’s Green Power Community purchase requirements. Qualifying energy sources include wind, solar, geothermal, biogas, biomass, and low-impact hydro-electric power.
“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.”