EPA Becomes First U.S. Agency to Be Powered 100% Green

EPA Becomes First U.S. Agency to Be Powered 100% Green

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has closed a deal making it the first federal agency to purchase renewable energy equivalent to 100 percent of its annual electricity needs.

The agency signed a contract with 3 Phases Energy Services to purchase more than 100 million kilowatt hours (kWh) in renewable energy certificates, effective Sept. 1. The arrangement extends annual green-power purchases to more than 190 EPA facilities nationwide.

EPA's green-power purchase brings the agency total to nearly 300 million kWh per year, which is equivalent to 100 percent of the electricity EPA uses nationwide annually. It is enough electricity to power 27,970 homes for a year.

The green power purchasing program began in 1999, when EPA’s Region 9 laboratory, in Richmond, Calif., became the first federal facility to purchase green power equal to its total annual electricity consumption. Since then, the program has steadily expanded to offset demand for conventional electricity sources by supporting such renewable energy sources as wind power, geothermal sources, and biomass — primarily through the purchase of renewable energy certificates, or RECs.

RECs help reduce emissions associated with conventional electricity sources. On an annual basis, EPA’s total green power purchases offset more than 600 million pounds of carbon dioxide — roughly the amount 54,000 cars emit during a year.

EPA worked closely with the Defense Energy Support Center on this latest green power procurement. The contract, which continues through Sept. 30, 2007, supports the development of wind farms in California, South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Wyoming.

As the first federal agency to purchase 100 percent renewable energy, EPA continues to be an active partner in the agency’s own Green Power Partnership, a voluntary public-private program that promotes renewable energy.