Green Power Leadership Awards
The 2021 Green Power Leadership Awards application period is now open and will close on April 16, 2021. See below for information about the application process.
EPA's Green Power Leadership Awards recognize exceptional achievement and leading actions of EPA Green Power Partners. Winners of Green Power Leadership Awards demonstrate actions and behaviors in green power use that accelerate the transition to a clean energy future.
The Green Power Leadership Awards (GPLA) have been awarded annually by EPA's Green Power Partnership (GPP) since 2001. Over the past 20 years, the GPP has recognized organizations for their exceptional achievement and leading actions in the green power marketplace. All winners demonstrate actions and behaviors that accelerate the transition to a pollution-free electricity sector.
Updated Awards and Application
The GPLAs have been updated in 2021 and feature a new award structure and application. Under the new structure, the GPP will designate all winners as EPA Green Power Leadership Award Winners1. The EPA is moving to a single award category to offer applicants a more comprehensive range of areas to detail their leadership actions that accelerate the transition to a clean energy future.
Applicants should review the new application in its entirety before beginning to fill it out. The application offers applicants the flexibility to detail their leading behaviors and actions that represent leadership and impact areas. The time required to complete the application will vary.
Should applicants have questions, they are welcome to reach out to their account manager or Rebecca Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Areas of Leadership and Impact
EPA seeks to recognize applicant behaviors and actions that accelerate the transition to a clean energy future, follow best practices and market principles, and provide social proof to others. The application addresses leadership and impact across the following areas:
- Intention and Ambition – Applicants' intention and ambition to establish and achieve a renewable energy or emissions reduction target using green power.
- Green Power Use – Applicants' green power use demonstrates leadership, drives demand, and increases market impact.
- Communication – Applicants' communications related to green power use help raise awareness, provide social proof, inspire others, and support market principles and best practices.
- Influence – Applicants' concrete actions to influence green power access and use within various communities. These communities could be defined as: where they operate; stakeholder groups such as competitors, suppliers, employees, customers, and load-serving entities; communities disproportionately burdened by environmental harms and risks, such as minority, low-income, and tribal communities; and others.
- Transparency – Applicants' willingness to collaborate, share information, report data, and advance best practices and market principles.
- Innovation, Sustainability, and Grid Improvements – Applicants’ innovative actions help create a more sustainable and improved grid to help accelerate the transition to a clean energy future. This includes actions around the deployment of storage, electrification of operations, support of resilient grid infrastructure, and supporting market principles and best practices.
EPA is proud to partner with organizations representing a range of sizes and industries. EPA will evaluate applicants against their peers and consider the applicant's relative size, industry, and access to green power.
An EPA evaluation panel reviews and evaluates all applications submitted by the deadline. EPA reviews all applicants to ensure that they are in good standing with EPA. Finalists will need to pass an EPA compliance screen to be selected. EPA will notify award winners and applicants in late summer.
1 The GPLAs will continue to recognize previous winners in separate award categories (i.e., Partner of the Year, Excellence in Green Power, Direct Project Engagement, Sustained Excellence in Green Power, Green Power Community of the Year). All future winners will be Green Power Leadership Award Winners.
Green Power Leadership Award Application Process
Below prospective applicants will find the steps to apply for a GPLA.
EPA encourages prospective applicants to review the webinar providing details on the application process.
- Assess Applicant Eligibility
An applicant (or organization nominated for an award by a third-party) is eligible if it meets the following requirements:
- All applicants must be an EPA Green Power Partner in good standing by the close of the application period (i.e., April 16, 2021).
- Only the applicant's U.S. based operations and facilities are eligible.
- Only green power generation sources located in the United States are eligible.
- Please review the Partnership Requirements for more information.
- Only active green power purchases or green power use are eligible. A green power purchase is considered active when the start of contracted delivery is executed or commercial operation has commenced. For GPLA eligibility, the green power use is considered active when the purchase or use start date is no later than April 16, 2021.
- Only activities not previously recognized with a GPLA are eligible. Previous GPLA winners are eligible for awards--however, they will be evaluated on the incremental green power activities they have undertaken since their last award. For example, if a Partner won in 2019 for activities they conducted during calendar year 2018, activities from January 1, 2019, onward are eligible.
- Applicants should contact GPLA@epa.gov (or their assigned account manager) if they are unsure of their eligibility or their activities' relevance.
Please note: Eligibility will be verified during the review process. Finalists will need to pass an EPA compliance screen to be selected.
- Complete a Green Power Data Report
Applicants can download a Green Power Data Report below. Applicants who are EPA Green Power Partner should request a pre-populated Green Power Data Report by contacting GPLA@epa.gov. The Green Power Data Report has additional details and instructions on how to complete the spreadsheet.
2021 GPLA Green Power Data Report(193 K, 3/8/2021)
All green power projects and usage included in the award application must align with the Green Power Data Report's information. EPA strongly encourages Partners to complete the Green Power Data Report before filling out the Award Application.
- Complete Award Application
The application includes various areas where applicants can highlight green power leadership and impact. Applicants should fill out areas that pertain to relevant achievements. If the applicant has not taken action in that area, leave that section or question blank.
Download the Award Application here:
2021 GPLA Applicaton(10 pp, 189 K, 3/8/2021)
- Submit Materials to GPLA@epa.gov
Submit all required materials to GPLA@epa.gov by April 16, 2021. Required materials include:
Note: Applicants can attach supplemental materials directly relevant to the information in the award application.
Please contact us if you have questions about the eligibility requirements and evaluation criteria for the 2021 Green Power Leadership Awards.
Green Power Leadership Award 2020 Winners
Sustained Excellence in Green Power Use
Partner of the Year
Excellence in Green Power Use
Direct Project Engagement
- California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
- Fifth Third Bank
- Lundberg Family Farms
- Madison Area Technical College - Main Truax Building
- QTS Realty
- Target Corporation
Sustained Excellence in Green Power Use
Microsoft Corporation, headquartered in Redmond, Washington, is one of the world's largest technology companies.
Microsoft is receiving the 2020 Sustained Excellence in Green Power Use award for:
- Its continued leadership in advancing green power development, scale of green power commitment, focus on innovation, and sustained commitment to direct project engagement.
- Its use of 100 percent green power for the fifth consecutive year across its U.S. operations while its power demand continued to grow.
- Its continued commitment to advanced sustainability, including increasing its internal carbon fee in 2020 to help achieve its goal to be carbon negative by 2030.
Microsoft has been a Green Power Partner since 2012 and has received numerous awards for its green power leadership. At time of the award, Microsoft ranked #2 on EPA's National Top 100 list and #2 on the Top 30 Tech and Telecom quarterly Partner rankings.
Partner of the Year
Equinix, Inc., is a U.S.-headquartered, global data center and interconnection real estate investment trust (REIT) that operates more than 210 data centers across 56 metros in 26 countries spanning five continents.
Equinix is receiving the 2020 Green Power Partner of the Year award for:
- Using more than 2.3 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power each year, covering more than 90 percent of its electricity load worldwide. Equinix's green power procurement has expanded rapidly, adding more than 884 billion kWh between the end of 2017 and the end of 2019. Equinix has not only grown its business to include 78 unique data centers in the United States, but it has also increased its green power use commensurately.
- Deriving nearly half of its 2019 green power growth from long-term contracts, which delivered new wind power to the grid in the middle of the United States. The balance of Equinix's green power also supported several other types of purchases, including Green-e wind renewable energy certificates (RECs) as well as community choice aggregation and utility green tariff programs in California and Colorado.
- Demonstrating leadership in green power use by being one of the first data center companies to utilize financial power purchase agreements, helping to address the volatility of electricity costs while also retaining REC attributes.
- Maintaining an active communication strategy and, since fiscal year 2015, publishing an annual sustainability report compliant with the Global Reporting Initiative. In 2019, Equinix developed customized green power reports that empower its customers to understand and attest to their green energy use and carbon footprint from collocating at Equinix as part of their own sustainability reporting efforts.
- Extending its successes to others through active engagement and leadership across leading industry groups and in regulatory proceedings. Equinix is a founding board member of the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance as well as an educator at its events and recently participated in policy proceedings in Virginia on opening green power access to other customers.
Equinix has been a Green Power Partner since 2015 and was recognized for Excellence in Green Power in 2017 and 2018, as well as Direct Project Engagement in 2019. At time of the award, Equinix ranked #5 on EPA's National Top 100 list and #4 on the Top 30 Tech and Telecom quarterly Partner rankings.
Excellence in Green Power
ALDI is one of the fastest-growing retailers, with more than 2,000 U.S. stores across 36 states serving more than 40 million customers each month.
ALDI is receiving an Excellence in Green Power Use award for:
- Using nearly a billion kWh each year, meeting more than 100 percent of its domestic electricity needs through a combination of self-supply projects and nationally sourced RECs.
- Installing on-site solar arrays on more than 100 stores and 10 distribution centers; the company's standard approach is to include solar on all new stores, wherever feasible.
ALDI joined the Green Power Partnership in 2019 and at time of the award ranked #3 on EPA's Top 30 Retail quarterly rankings.
General Motors LLC
General Motors LLC (G.M.) is an American multinational corporation headquartered in Detroit, Michigan, that designs, manufactures, markets, and distributes vehicles and vehicle parts and sells financial services.
G.M. is being recognized for Excellence in Green Power Use for:
- Increasing its green power from 10 percent to 31 percent by adding more than 652 million kWh of green power in 2019 and taking a multifaceted approach to its green power procurement using a variety of supply options, including power purchase agreement, self-supply, and green tariff supply structures.
- Demonstrating significant leadership in supporting increased green power access in various markets through green tariffs. G.M. helped negotiate a new green tariff program, MIGreenPower, which provided access to green power for a host of other Michigan-based companies, including Shiloh Industries, the Detroit Zoo, and the University of Michigan.
- Engaging in informative communication efforts, including press releases, website posts, and social media, to showcase its renewable efforts and to raise awareness that what is good for business is good for the environment.
G.M. joined the Green Power Partnership in 2019 and at time of the award ranked #12 on EPA's National Top 100 List of the largest green power users.
Saint Louis University
Founded in 1818 as the first university west of the Mississippi River, Saint Louis University (SLU) is one of the nation's oldest Catholic universities. Located in St. Louis, Missouri, SLU serves nearly 13,000 students.
SLU is being recognized with an Excellence in Green Power Use award for:
- Its student-led initiative to continue increasing the University's green power use and to fund green power purchases through the establishment of a student green energy tax. In one year, SLU grew its green power use from a purchase covering residence halls’ electricity use to matching 100 percent of institutional power consumption.
- Its student-led demonstration of how green power aligns with the school’s mission and commitments to public health and social justice. Students showcased how conventional energy sources contribute to poor air quality and increased asthma rates, a prevalent issue in the St. Louis region that statistically impacts lower-income, minority residents to a greater extent.
SLU joined the Green Power Partnership in 2019. At time of the award, SLU was #13 on EPA's Top 30 College and University quarterly rankings and #82 on EPA's Green Power Partnership National Top 100 rankings.
Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW) is a global developer and operator of flagship shopping destinations, with 30 shopping centers in the United States.
URW is being recognized with an Excellence in Green Power Use award for:
- Using green power through a diverse portfolio, including power purchase agreements, REC purchases, and 17 self-generation rooftop and carport solar projects. Together, these purchases amount to nearly 147 million kWh of green power each year.
- Utilizing its REIT status to purchase solar through an innovative taxable REIT subsidiary, which allowed the company to directly access the tax benefits that helped finance the project and that otherwise would have been out of the company's reach.
- Using multiple communication channels to deploy messages on its green power successes to an array of audiences. URW leverages public announcements, earned media, strategic partnerships, and reporting platforms to communicate its green power work to corporate departments, shopping center staff, tenants, visiting guests, investors, and the communities surrounding its centers.
URW is a new Green Power Partner, joining in 2019.
Direct Project Engagement
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
Located on the central coast of California, California Polytechnic State University–San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly) is a public university with more than 21,000 undergraduate and 700 graduate students.
EPA is recognizing Cal Poly with a 2020 Direct Project Engagement award for:
- Its 4.5-megawatt (MW) Gold Tree Solar Farm. In May 2018, Cal Poly entered into a long-term power purchase agreement that provides an estimated 25 percent of the school’s total electricity needs through on-site solar generation. This is the single largest solar deal within the California State University system.
- Its inventive approach to building and interconnecting the Gold Tree project. The school engaged in a unique tariff for California local governments and universities that enabled it to build the project and connect it directly to the utility’s transmission and distribution system, reducing both upfront capital and long-term power costs in the process. The solar farm will generate $17 million in savings over the 20-year life of its financial power purchase agreements.
- Its request for proposals, which included a focus on innovative academic uses for the eventual project. Now that the project is operational, Cal Poly can bring the solar farm into its classrooms by incorporating the project into curricular areas like microgrid research, engineering education, and research on sheep grazing around the array’s panels.
Cal Poly joined the Green Power Partnership this year.
Fifth Third Bank
As a large regional bank providing retail banking services in 10 states and commercial lending nationwide, Fifth Third Bank owns or leases more than 1,100 banking centers, 2,400 ATMs, and numerous commercial offices.
Fifth Third is receiving a 2020 Direct Project Engagement award for:
- Transitioning from annual REC purchases to a long-term contract that led to the construction of the Aulander Holloman Solar Project, bringing its total annual green power usage to more than 149 million kWh.
- Sharing its experiences and lessons learned from this and other projects at numerous conferences and with its communities and employees through press releases, videos, social media posts, and internal announcements—as well as its annual Corporate Social Responsibility Report, sustainability website, and investor relations website.
Fifth Third has been a Green Power Partner since 2010.
Lundberg Family Farms
Lundberg Family Farms is a family-owned and -operated farm founded in 1937 that is committed to growing and producing organic rice and rice products in the Sacramento Valley of Northern California. Lundberg’s environmentally focused philosophy has made green power a natural fit for the company.
Lundberg Family Farms is receiving a 2020 Direct Project Engagement for:
- Installing a 1.15 MW solar array on top of three facilities in 2019, increasing its total on-site generation from 10 percent to 25 percent of demand and its capacity to 1.9 MW.
- Working with its project developer to donate a percentage of project costs to the Richvale Foundation, a civic league created to promote community welfare for charitable, educational, and recreational purposes.
- Demonstrating a multifaceted approach to communicating its project successes through product labeling, publishing a sustainability report and press releases, participating in podcasts, including solar on its facility tours, and speaking at conferences and participating in industry groups to share its experiences.
Lundberg Family Farms has been a Green Power Partner since 2003 and was recognized previously in 2004 for Green Power Purchasing and 2008 for On-Site Generation.
Madison Area Technical College – Main Truax Building
Madison Area Technical College is a public technical and community college serving more than 30,000 students every year in south-central Wisconsin. The school's flagship Truax Building is a 1-million square foot facility that provides instructional space for more than 175 associate degrees and technical diploma programs, including a Renewable Energy Certificate program that prepares students for careers in solar photovoltaic technology.
Madison Area Technical College is receiving a 2020 Direct Project Engagement award for:
- Completing construction of the largest rooftop solar photovoltaic system in the State of Wisconsin in 2019. Madison Area Technical College contributed more than 80 percent of the capital to develop the 1.85 MW solar project, which was also designed as an educational tool. The project also marked the completion of the first step in Madison College's solar roadmap to implement solar power projects at each of its campus locations.
- Designing its rooftop photovoltaic system with education in mind. A data platform enables students to monitor solar irradiance and electricity generation, teaching them about data analytics and performance verification while allowing for early detection of component degradation and maintenance needs. The system includes an accessible roof section and viewing deck that provides opportunities for educational outreach to prospective students and the general public.
- Demonstrating a broad reach in communicating its project success by creating promotional videos, providing media coverage and tours of the project, and authoring scholarly manuscripts and how-to guides to help others execute solar projects.
Madison Area Technical College is a new Partner, joining the Green Power Partnership in 2019.
QTS Realty Trust
QTS Realty Trust is a leading provider of data center solutions, with more than 6 million square feet of data centers throughout North America.
QTS Realty Trust is receiving a 2020 Direct Project Engagement award for:
- Using an innovative procurement model featuring a partnership with an investment bank to purchase a portion of the power from a financed project. This project's structure supports QTS Realty Trust's renewable electricity objectives while funding new projects, reducing market risk, and improving renewable electricity costs for other buyers supported by this procurement strategy.
- Increasing QTS Realty Trust’s renewable electricity procurement to more than 412 million kWh today over the course of three years.
- Working with utilities and organizations to develop tariffs and policies that make it easier and more cost-effective for everyone to procure renewable electricity.
- Communicating its successes through press releases and sustainability reports, as well as highlighting its status as a Green Power Partner online.
QTS Realty Trust joined the Green Power Partnership in 2018 and at time of the award ranked #12 on EPA's Top 30 Tech and Telecom quarterly partner rankings.
Target is one of the largest retailers in the United States and a new Green Power Partner, joining in 2020.
Target is receiving a 2020 Direct Project Engagement award for:
- Taking a multifaceted approach to developing both on-site and off-site projects, including nearly 260 MW of on-site solar and more than 140 MW of operating financial power purchase agreements. Together, these projects generate more than 400 million kWh to serve Target's operations.
- Utilizing its network. As one of the largest retailers in the country, with locations in every state, Target has leveraged its hundreds of utility partnerships to help get green tariffs off the ground in several states, working directly with state legislators and regulators.
- Working with market stakeholders to improve the quality and quantity of data on renewable electricity in the grid mix.
At time of the award, Target ranked #5 on EPA's Top 30 Retail quarterly rankings.
Renewable Energy Markets Conference
About the Conference
Renewable Energy Markets Exit is the industry's paramount annual gathering attended by leading renewable energy and green power stakeholders and is held in a different major city each year. Renewable Energy Markets 2021 will be held from September 27-30, 2021. Visit the Renewable Energy Markets Conference website Exit for more information.
At the REM conference, attendees:
- Network with the industry's key players, including power marketers, renewable energy developers, retail and wholesale green power suppliers, electric utilities, equipment manufacturers, government agencies, energy consultants, and nonprofit experts
- Gain new insights about the major issues facing voluntary renewable energy and carbon markets
- Learn about profitable strategies for industry growth and current renewable energy supply and demand trends
- Attend the Green Power Leadership Awards Banquet, which is held in conjunction with the conference
About the Awards Ceremony
EPA co-sponsors the Green Power Leadership Awards in conjunction with the Center for Resource Solutions (CRS). The awards recognize the leading actions of organizations, programs, and individuals that significantly advance the development of the voluntary green power market. This year’s Green Power Leadership Awards Ceremony will take place during the Renewable Energy Markets Conference.
To receive Partnership and awards updates, please contact us and indicate your interest in receiving updates from the Green Power Partnership.