EPA Honors 24 Organizations For Green Power Leadership, 1 In PA

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency presented its 13th annual Green Power Leadership Awards to 21 Green Power Partners and three suppliers for their achievements in advancing the nation’s renewable electricity market.

In Pennsylvania, the Western Pennsylvania Energy Consortium was recognized.

The Western Pennsylvania Energy Consortium was established by the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County in 2007 to realize financial savings by aggregating electricity purchases for city authorities and local municipalities in the region, including the City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pittsburgh Water & Sewer, The Sports and Exhibition Authority, Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium, and Carlow University.

Its objective is to reduce energy costs for all of its members, which include 16 municipalities, nine authorities, and one university. By aggregating these large accounts, the Consortium members have seen cost savings of close to 20 percent per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for green power, compared to traditional electricity sources.

In 2008 the Consortium purchased more than 11 million kWh of renewable energy; in 2013, purchases totaled more than 42 million kWh, equal to 25 percent of members' overall electricity use. One of the Consortium's showcase endeavors is to help the City of Pittsburgh fulfill its goal to reduce carbon emissions to 20 percent of 2003 levels by 2023.

The Consortium staff also meet with smaller municipalities throughout the County regarding the environmental benefits and cost savings resulting from aggregated purchasing. Due to its success, the Consortium has provided guidance to a wide variety of other Pennsylvania organizations looking to increase their own green power purchases.

Through these collaborative efforts, the Consortium demonstrates a successful model of cities and counties jointly pursuing green power while saving taxpayer dollars. Purchasing green power not only cuts the region's carbon footprint, but also helps to create a demand for renewable energy in the region, which will continue to grow the clean energy economy of Western Pennsylvania.

The Western Pennsylvania Energy Consortium received a Green Power Purchasing Award in 2009.

Close to one-third of America’s carbon pollution – a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change – comes from power plants. By using green power, communities, businesses and organizations can dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, support America’s growing renewable energy industry, improve public health, and help transition the United States to cleaner energy sources.

“Our 2013 Green Power Leadership Award winners are driving new renewable energy generation and providing clear examples of organizations thriving on innovation and sustainability,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “These winners are moving us closer to the vision President Obama outlined in his Climate Action Plan—cutting harmful pollution and promoting American leadership in renewable energy.”

EPA defines green power as electricity that is generated from renewable resources, such as solar, wind, geothermal, biogas and low-impact hydroelectric sources and produces no fossil fuel-based carbon pollution. The winning organizations are recognized for dramatically increasing their green power purchases, installing large-scale solar panel arrays, and leading innovative renewable energy procurement efforts, among other actions.

For more information, visit EPA’s Green Power webpage.


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