Green Power Partnership Frequently Asked Questions
EPA's Green Power Partnership
- Q. What is the Green Power Partnership?
- A. EPA's Green Power Partnership is a free, voluntary program that encourages organizations to buy green power as a way to reduce the environmental impacts associated with purchased electricity use. Started in 2001, the Partnership currently works with more than a thousand partners voluntarily purchasing billions of kilowatt-hours of green power annually.
- Q. How does EPA define green power?
- A. EPA defines green power as environmentally preferable electricity produced from a subset of renewable resources, including solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, eligible biomass, and low-impact hydropower.
- Q. What makes it greener than other power?
- A. Green power resources produce electricity with an environmental profile superior to conventional power technologies, and produce no fossil-fuel based greenhouse gas emissions, helping protect human health and the environment.
- Q. Is green power available in most of the United States, or only in certain areas?
- A. Green power is available to every single business, institution, government agency, homeowner, apartment dweller, and every other electricity user in the United States. There are three green power product options available:
- First, currently, more than 800 utilities offer green power products to customers. These products allow customers to purchase some portion of their electricity from renewable resources—almost always at a higher price, but sometimes offered with price-hedging benefits.
- Second, regardless of whether a buyer has access to a utility green power product, any consumer or business in the United States can buy green power through renewable energy certificates (RECs). A REC represents the generation of one megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity from an eligible source of renewable energy and its associated environmental attributes. RECs can be acquired separately from electricity service. Combined, RECs and plain grid electricity produce green power.
- Last, a prospective buyer can also investigate the option of installing an on-site system on their business or residence.
Buyers can learn more about these options by downloading The Guide to Purchasing Green Power from the Green Power Partnership website. The guide helps explain the buying process as well as the benefits of each product option.
To assist prospective buyers, the Green Power Locator offers a state-by-state, list of local utilities and renewable energy certificate marketers that provide green power products in their area.
EPA's Green Power Communities
- Q. What is the Green Power Community program?
- A. The Green Power Community program is an EPA–designed platform within the Green Power Partnership to promote community-based support for green power. EPA is working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the United States and expand the nation's renewable energy supply by driving demand for green power among communities across the country.
- Q. What are the benefits to joining the Green Power Community Program?
- A. For most municipalities, electricity usage is the single-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. By using green power, a local government can dramatically reduce its carbon footprint, demonstrate civic leadership, increase citizen pride, improve public health, and enhance its community image. Moreover, by answering this call to action, a community, its citizens, and businesses can collectively move the nation to a clean energy future and inspire other communities to do the same.
- Q. How much green power are these communities purchasing?
- A. As of January 1, 2016 there are 60 EPA Green Power Communities collectively buying more than six billion kWh of green power annually, equivalent to the electricity use of more than 580,000 average American homes.
- Q. What is Community Choice Aggregation?
- A. Community choice aggregation (CCA) is a state policy that enables local governments to aggregate electricity demand within their jurisdictions in order to procure alternative energy supplies while maintaining the existing electricity provider for transmission and distribution services. These are also known as Municipal Aggregations. Many states passed CCA laws as part of electric restructuring legislation in the late 1990s and early 2000s. States that have passed CCA laws include California (2002), Illinois (2009), Massachusetts (1997), New Jersey (2003), Ohio (1999), and Rhode Island (1997).