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DC Government Increases Proportion of Green Electricity to 100 Percent of Purchases & Wins EPA Award

Monday, September 24, 2012

DC Government Increases Proportion of Green Electricity to 100 Percent of Purchases & Wins EPA Award

DC’s Decision to Double Proportion of Green Power Garners Repeat of National Honors

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Mayor Vincent C. Gray today said he was gratified that the DC.government is being recognized for its commitment to green power by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with a prestigious award for the second year in a row. The award comes after the District’s Department of General Services (DGS) signed a new contract that means 100 percent – up from 50 percent – of the District government’s electricity usage will come from green sources. The new contract also dramatically reduces the cost for the government’s green power.

“Because of our groundbreaking commitment to sustainability, the EPA is once again recognizing the District as the nation’s greenest community,” Mayor Gray said. “Boosting our use of green power is integral to my Sustainable DC program’s goal of making the District the nation’s greenest, healthiest, most sustainable city, and I’m pleased we have been able to do so in a way that is both environmentally and fiscally smart.”

The honors come as part of EPA’s Green Power Community Challenge, launched in September 2011. The competition challenges communities coast to coast to boost their voluntary green power usage.

“We are pleased to recognize the Washington, DC community for the second year in a row for using the most green power annually in EPA's Green Power Community Challenge,” said Blaine Collison, Director of EPA's Green Power Partnership. “By doubling its green power purchasing and moving to 100 percent, the District government is demonstrating leadership and making a real impact on the green power market. We applaud the Community’s residents, businesses, and organizations that are choosing to use green power to make a significant difference for the environment.”

DGS acquires the energy for most DC government facilities – including all electricity purchasing – and, since 2009, the agency has purchased Renewable Energy Credits (REC) for half of its roughly 534,000,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity consumption. The contract announced today not only doubles the RECs purchased, but it dramatically reduces the District’s cost for its green power. The price per unit (kilowatt hours) is 43 percent less than the previous contract.

“DGS is thrilled about this new contract to make the District 100 percent green-powered,” said DGS Director Brian J. Hanlon. “At DGS, we strive to lead by example in the green energy space.”

DC businesses, residents, and government agencies are collectively using more than one billion kWh of green power annually, enough green power to meet more than 11 percent of the community's total electricity use. According to the EPA, the District’s collective green power usage of more than one billion kWh is equal to avoiding the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of more than 141,000 passenger vehicles per year. It is also the equivalent amount of electricity needed to power nearly 90,000 homes annually.

More than 30 EPA “Green Power Communities” across the country participated in the challenge. 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. The District became a Green Power Community in March 2011.

Green power is electricity generated from clean, renewable sources like solar, wind, and low-impact hydropower. Communities using green power benefit from cleaner air and a healthier environment while helping advance the market for renewable energy.

Not only does DGS pursue green energy initiatives aggressively, but the agency is looking to do so in a way that saves taxpayer dollars, said DGS Energy and Sustainability Division Associate Director Sam Brooks. “This new contract – which cuts our cost for renewable power nearly in half – reflects that approach,” he said.