Reprinted from Newsweek, October 25, 2010, Special Advertising Section
For many companies, electricity usage is the primary source of their greenhouse gas emissions. To dramatically reduce these emissions and fight climate change, a growing number of organizations are switching to green power, which is generated from eligible renewable energy sources, such as solar photovoltaics, wind and low-impact hydropower. Since 2001, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Green Power Partnership has been working with organizations to help them make this change.
The Partnership is designed to drive U.S. renewable energy supply by increasing demand of green power among leading U.S. organizations. By partnering with EPA, a company can benefit from EPA's credibility, technical assistance, recognition, and up-to-date market information. Today, nearly 1,300 organizations are Green Power Partners, including many Fortune 500 companies, small and medium-sized businesses, local, state, and federal governments, and colleges and universities. Overall, Partners are using 18 billion kilowatt-hours of green power annually.
By using green power, an organization not only can dramatically reduce its carbon footprint but it may also be able to save money, stand out from competitors, and meet corporate environmental goals, which is of growing importance to stakeholder groups such as customers, Wall Street analysts, shareholders, and employees. Partners have found by taking advantage of EPA's assistance, they can save time, effort, and cost in buying green power, better estimate the environmental benefits of switching to green power, and better promote their green power commitment to media and others.
EPA recognizes the actions of its leading Partners through the program's national- and sector-focused Top Partner Rankings. EPA's National Top 50 list recognizes the 50 largest green power purchasers in the program and receives wide media attention. This list is currently led by Intel, Kohl's Department Stores, Whole Foods Market, the City of Houston, and Dell.
Green Power Partners represent virtually every sector of the economy and purchase green power for a variety of reasons. Two companies in particular--Kohl's Department Stores and Wal-Mart--provide useful case studies for the many ways in which Partners are working to address climate change.
Kohl's Department Stores is one of the world's largest retail solar hosts, with solar panels at stores and distribution centers in California, New Jersey, Wisconsin, and Connecticut. The company recently activated its 100th solar system in New Jersey in September 2010. Kohl's has been reaping the economic benefits of on-site solar generation since 2007 when it first entered into an innovative procurement model known as the Solar Power Purchase Agreement (SPPA). Through this financial arrangement, a third-party developer owns, operates, and maintains the solar photovoltaic system while a host customer agrees to site the system on its roof or elsewhere on its property and purchases the system's electrical output from the provider for a predetermined period. The agreement allows the host customer to receive stable, and sometimes lower cost electricity, while the solar services provider acquires valuable financial benefits such as income generated from the sale of electricity to the host customer. A growing number of Green Power Partners, such as Staples and Kohl's, have taken advantage of this approach.
Wal-Mart has steadily invested in green power as part of its long-term goal of being supplied by 100 percent renewable energy. In September 2010, the company announce plans to add solar systems to another 20 to 30 Wal-Mart stores, Sam's Club locations and distribution centers in California and Arizona, and the majority of these locations will feature solar thin film solar technology.
For its Texas stores and facilities, Wal-Mart began purchasing wind power in April 2009 as part of a four-year wind power purchase agreement with a Duke Energy wind farm in Texas. This farm generates roughly 226 million kilowatt-hours of renewable energy annually, which supplies up to 15 percent of the electricity demand for Wal-Mart's Texas stores and facilities.
Collectively, Wal-Mart's annual on-site green power production and purchased wind power totals more than 260 million kilowatt-hours.
Learn more about the Green Power Partnership and Partners at http://www.epa.gov/greenpower
EPA's National Top 50 List
EPA's National Top 50 List recognizes the 50 largest green power purchasers in the Green Power Partnership. Below is a snapshot of the 25 leading Partners that appear on the list (as of July 2010). To view the complete list and learn about the Partners' green power usage, go to http://www.epa.gov/greenpower
Rank / Partner / Annual Green Power Usage
1 Intel Corporation 1,433,200 MWh
2 Kohl's Department Stores 1,367,376 MWh
3 Whole Foods Market 817,657 MWh
4 City of Houston, TX 438,000 MWh
5 Dell Inc. 431,058 MWh
6 Johnson & Johnson 416,510 MWh
7 Cisco Systems, Inc. 400,996 MWh
8 Commonwealth of Pennsylvania 400,000 MWh
9 U.S. Air Force 339,660 MWh
10 City of Dallas, TX 333,659 MWh
11 HSBC North America 300,000 MWh
12 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc./CA & TX Facilities 263,533 MWh
13 U.S. EPA 262,262 MWh
14 District of Columbia 244,267 MWh
15 TD Bank, N.A. 240,333 MWh
16 Starbucks 237,000 MWh
17 BNY Mellon 229,500 MWh
18 City of Chicago, IL 215,000 MWh
19 BD 200,631 MWh
20 University of Pennsylvania 200,000 MWh
21 U.S. DOE 188,599 MWh
22 Kimberly-Clarke Corp. 176,533 MWh
23 State of Illinois 176,000 MWh
24 Wells Fargo & Co. 175,000 MWh
25 Montgomery County Clean Energy Buyer's Group 161,790 MWh
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