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Walmart, BMW lead for on-site renewable energy generation

<p>The car company relies on biogas to produce 38 percent of the electricity it needs.</p>

Every quarter, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency updates its Green Power rankings for U.S. businesses and communities making investments in clean, renewable energy.

One list we watch closely is the one that follows on-site generation, because it reflects direct investments, not just purchases of renewable energy credits (RECs).

Considering all its rooftop solar investments, it shouldn't surprise you much that Wal-Mart Stores tops the latest ranking. It now uses 174.8 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of renewable energy at its U.S. stores, generated by a combination of biogas, solar and wind.

That's just one percent of its annual energy consumption, though.

The No. 2 company on the EPA list, BMW Manufacturing, actually gets an impressive 38 percent of the electricity it needs from on-site renewable generation sources (70.8 million kWh). It relies on biogas.

Coca-Cola Refreshments is third (47.5 million kWh, or 6 percent), followed by the U.S. Air Force (37 million kWh, which is less than one percent) and Kohl's Department Stores (36.5 million kWh, or two percent).

Kohl's actually leads the EPA's separate list of Top 20 Retailers. Between on-site resources and REC purchases, it sources 105 percent of the electricity it needs from renewable energy (1.5 billion kWh).

Yet again, Intel leads the National Top 50 -- a position it has held since 2008. The giant high-tech company uses 3.1 billion kWh of green power annually, according to the EPA data. For perspective, the combined clean power consumption the organizations on this list is about 17 billion kWh annually.

The District of Columbia heads the Top 20 Local Governments ranking, eclipsing the City of Houston, which led the list last year.

EPA's Green Power Partnership works with 1,300 organizations that voluntarily use green power -- more than half of them are small businesses and nonprofits.

To view the latest Green Power rankings, click here.

Photo of solar panels on top of a Walmart store provided by Walmart.

This story is reprinted with permission from Sustainable Business.

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