U.S. Firms Buy Record Amount of Green Power in 2008

Voluntary purchases of certified renewable energy by businesses in the Green-e Marketplace program hit a record high last year, according to the Center for Resource Solutions, the nonprofit that administers the third-party certification service.

Intel Corporation and PepsiCo Inc. claim first and second place respectively on the lists of purchasers of Green-e Energy Certified renewable power. Intel made the largest single buy in history when it purchased 1.3 million megawatt hours of green power last January.

The standings for Intel and PepsiCo are mirrored in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's lists of top renewable energy purchasers among businesses, municipalities and other agencies participating in the EPA Green Power Partnership program. The program charts corporate and institutional purchases from U.S.-based green power sources for domestic operations. The agency considers electricity produced from solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, biomass and low-impact small hydroelectric sources as green power.

Intel and PepsiCo took the No. 1 and No. 2 spots respectively on the EPA Green Power Partnership National Top 50 and Fortune 500 lists, according to the updated quarterly rankings released this week. The rankings reflect purchases of renewable energy certificates, purchases of utility green power products and on-site generation.

The leading 10 on the National Top 50 list for the EPA program are:

  • Intel
  • PepsiCo
  • Dell Inc.
  • Whole Foods Market
  • The Pepsi Bottling Group Inc.
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • U.S. Air Force
  • Cisco Systems Inc.
  • City of Houston
  • City of Dallas

The leading 10 on the Fortune 500 list for EPA program mesh exactly with the National Top 50 list through the sixth place position. In spots No. 7 to No. 10 are:

  • Cisco Systems Inc.
  • Kohl's Department Stores
  • Kimberly-Clark Corporation
  • Starbucks

Renewable energy purchases by the firms and agencies on the National Top 50 lists total 11.2 million MWh a year -- more than 70 percent of the commitments made all participants in the EPA's Green Power Partnership program. The purchases made by Fortune 500 participants in the program amount to 7.1 million MWh annually.

The Center for Resource Solutions said total certified renewable energy purchases among participants in the Green-e Marketplace program exceeded 2.8 million MWh in 2008. Green-e Energy certified 69 percent of the overall voluntary renewable energy market in 2007. A similar comparison was not immediately available for 2008.

Green power purchases have been on the upswing, according to the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Sales increased more than 50 percent in 2007 compared to 2006, and purchase of renewable energy certificates rose 55 percent NREL said.