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EPA Honors 2020 Green Power Leaders

09/22/2020
Contact Information: 
EPA Press Office (press@epa.gov)

WASHINGTON (September 22, 2020) — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announces the 20th annual Green Power Leadership Awards, recognizing 12 Green Power Partners across the country, including Aldi; Equinix; Fifth Third Bank; Lundberg Family Farms; Microsoft; QTS Realty Trust; and Target Corporation. 

“The 2020 Green Power Leadership Award winners are leaders in spurring innovation and promoting growth in the U.S. renewable energy market,” said Anne L. Austin, Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator of EPA's Office of Air and Radiation. “We commend their efforts, which help protect our environment and improve our air quality.”

These winners contribute to the growth of the green power market in the United States and demonstrate leadership by implementing best market practices. Green power is electricity generated from renewable energy resources that offer the greatest environmental benefit, such as solar, wind, low-impact hydropower, and some forms of biomass. This year’s 12 recipients are using approximately 11.7 billion kWh of green power, enough to power nearly 1.1 million average American homes for a year.

The winners for each of the four award categories are:

Sustained Excellence in Green Power

Microsoft Corporation (Redmond, Wash.) currently ranks #2 on EPA's National Top 100 rankings. Microsoft has sustained its green power use at 100 percent corporate-wide while maintaining excellence by keeping pace with its increasing corporate power demand through a portfolio of innovative procurements totaling nearly six billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year.

Green Power Partner of the Year

Equinix, Inc. (Redwood, Calif.) has rapidly expanded its green power use to more than 2.3 billion kWh, which represents 100 percent of its electricity load in the U.S. Through a portfolio of virtual power purchase agreements (VPPAs), utility green tariffs, community choice aggregation programs, and third-party certified renewable energy certificates (RECs), Equinix has transformed its electricity supply and decoupled its GHG footprint from its power consumption growth. Equinix also demonstrated leadership by actively and transparently communicating its green power priorities and use through corporate sustainability reports and social media, sharing its successes through leading industry groups, and actively working with utilities to improve open access to green power markets.

Direct Project Engagement

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) entered a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) with the Gold Tree Solar Farm that provides an estimated 25 percent of the school's total annual electricity needs through on-site solar generation. The project reduced both upfront capital and long-term power costs, generating $17 million in savings over the 20-year life of the PPA. The procurement is the single largest PPA deal within the California State University system and brings solar into the college curriculum.

Fifth Third Bank (Cincinnati, Ohio) realized its goal of 100 percent renewable power through a financial contract of an 80-Megawatt (M.W.) solar project in North Carolina, which will produce approximately 202 million kWh of electricity per year. Fifth Third Bank shared its experiences and lessons learned from projects with employees, communities, and stakeholders at numerous events. In addition, Fifth Third Bank utilized a range of social media channels to raise awareness among crucial target audiences.

Lundberg Family Farms (Richvale, Calif.) installed a 1.15 MW solar array on top of three of its facilities in 2019, expanding its total on-site green power generation by 150 percent. Lundberg also worked with its solar project developer to donate a percentage of the project costs to a local civic league promoting community welfare.

Madison Area Technical College/ Main Truax Building (Madison, Wis.) completed construction in 2019 of the most extensive rooftop solar photovoltaic system in Wisconsin. Madison Area Technical College contributed more than 80 percent of the capital to develop the 1.85 MW solar project that was also designed as an educational tool. The project allows students and faculty, alike, to learn about various factors impacting project performance.

QTS Realty Trust (Overland Park, Kan.) continues to rapidly increase renewable electricity procurement and currently uses more than 412 million kWh of green power. QTS used an innovative procurement model featuring a partnership with an investment bank to purchase a portion of the power from a financed project.

Target Corporation (Minneapolis, Minn.) used a multifaceted approach to develop both on-site and off-site projects over the past 17 years, including nearly 260 MW of on-site solar. More than 140 MW of financial PPAs supply Target with nearly 405 million kWh of green power annually. Target has also been active in engaging with public utility processes to expand and shape green tariffs in numerous states and has signed on to programs in Colorado, Georgia, and Washington.  

Excellence in Green Power Use

ALDI, Inc. (Dublin, Ohio) met 100 percent of its electricity needs for its U.S. operations through a combination of self-supply projects and RECs. It has 113 on-site solar arrays on 99 stores and nine distribution centers throughout the country. ALDI has committed to including solar on all new stores wherever feasible.

General Motors LLC (Detroit, Mich.) more than doubled its annual green power use in 2019 to more than 1 billion kWh and utilizes a variety of supply options, including self-supply, utility green tariffs, physical PPAs, and financial contracts. G.M. also is being recognized for supporting increased green power access. G.M. helped negotiate a new Michigan-based green tariff program through which it will purchase 300 million kWh of green power while assisting other Michigan-based companies and non-profits to access green power through the same tariff.

Saint Louis University (St. Louis, Mo.) greatly increased its green power use through a student-led initiative. Saint Louis University established a student renewable energy fee for green power purchases. The students aligned the University's electricity use with the University's mission of "higher purpose, greater good," achieving 100 percent green power. Students showed how green power advances public health and social justice by showcasing how traditional energy sources contribute to poor air quality and increased asthma rates, a significant regional health risk disproportionately impacting low-income, minority residents.

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (Los Angeles, Calif.) accesses green power through a diverse portfolio, including a physical PPA, an innovative taxable real estate investment trust subsidiary structure, a REC purchase, a subscription to a shared renewables program in Florida, and 17 rooftop and carport solar projects at its shopping centers. Together, these purchases amounted to an estimated nearly 147 million kWh of green power in 2020.

Background

EPA established the Green Power Partnership (GPP) in 2001 to protect human health and the environment by increasing organizations' voluntary green power use to advance the American market for green power and development of those resources. The partnership provides a framework that includes credible usage benchmarks, market information, technical assistance, and public recognition to companies and other organizations that use green power. As of December 31, 2019, more than 1,400 EPA Green Power Partners are collectively using more than 61 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually, which is equivalent to the annual electricity use of nearly 5.6 million average American homes.

The Green Power Leadership Awards are announced at the Renewable Energy Markets Conference, which EPA is a co-organizing sponsor. For a full list of EPA 2020 Green Power Leadership Award winners, please visit https://www.epa.gov/greenpower/green-power-leadership-awards