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EPA's Green Power Purchases and Results

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Purchases

In September 2006, EPA became the first major federal agency to purchase green power equal to 100 percent of its estimated annual electricity use nationwide.

To continue offsetting 100 percent of EPA facilities’ estimated annual electricity use with renewable energy certificates (RECs) through the end of fiscal year (FY) 2012, EPA signed three green power contracts in August 2011 for a total of 265 million kilowatt hours (kWh). These three contracts support renewable energy generation from wind, landfill gas, and biomass resources. Learn more about EPA's active and past blanket green power/REC contracts.

Results

EPA has increased its green power purchases over the past decade, as shown in the Electricity Consumption Offset by Green Power chart. By purchasing green power, EPA reduces emissions associated with its conventional electricity use. In FY 2010, EPA's green power purchases avoided emissions equal to nearly 206,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent1,2—comparable to removing more than 40,000 cars from the road for an entire year. The types of renewable energy supported by EPA are shown in the Green Power Purchases by Energy Source pie chart.

EPA's green power purchases represent approximately 100 percent of its estimated annual electricity use. The Green Power as a Share of EPA's Total Electricity Use line chart illustrates EPA's increasing percentage of its total electricity use that is offset by the purchase of green power. Increases in EPA's green power purchases are directly correlated to reductions in emissions associated with its electricity purchases. Individual EPA facilities are using different mixes of green power and onsite renewable energy.

1 EPA uses the Agency's Emissions and Generation Resource Integrated Database (eGRID) to calculate greenhouse gas emission offsets from EPA's extensive green power purchases. The data presented here reflect eGRID2007 version 1.1, which EPA released in January 2009.

2 Federal “cap and trade” programs in the United States set a maximum level, or “cap,” for total power plant emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) in states approximately east of the Mississippi, and sulfur dioxide (SO2) nationwide. These programs distribute a fixed number—the capped level—of tradable emission allowances—the right to emit 1 metric ton of the pollutant—to electric generating plants. Renewable energy-generating facilities typically do not receive allowances, though there are some exceptions. Only by receiving and retiring allowances do such facilities reduce capped pollutants.

Nevertheless, the more than 287 million kWh of green power EPA purchased in FY 2010 reduced demand for conventional power generation and increased demand for the generation of renewable energy. If generated by conventional means, the amount of renewable energy purchased by EPA would have emitted more than 388,000 pounds of NOx and 1.7 million pounds of SO2.


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