(WASHINGTON, DC) -- The District of Columbia is the winner of the nation’s first Green Power Community Challenge for consuming the largest amount of green power annually, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced yesterday. Collectively, the District’s businesses, residents, and the District government are using more than 772 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power per year, enough to meet more than 8 percent of the community's total electricity use.
The recognition came six months after Mayor Vincent C. Gray issued a public challenge to the District’s business community and residents to work together to increase the city’s green power purchases by 33 percent.
“This recognition shows that our residents and businesses are willing to take action and make real commitments to reduce our carbon footprint, improve the health and well-being of our citizens and promote renewable energy as a viable alternative to fossil fuels,” said Mayor Gray. “I am very honored to represent a community of such environmentally conscious people and institutions, and proud that the District government played a major role in achieving this honor.”
The District government currently purchases approximately 50 percent of its power from clean-energy sources. Thousands of District households and hundreds of businesses are also using green power -- electricity generated from environmentally preferable renewable resources such as wind power, solar power, low-impact biomass power, geothermal power and low-impact hydropower.
“The Green Power Community Challenge proved that any community, no matter its size, can harness the collective power of its businesses and residents to achieve real environmental results,” said EPA Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy. “By increasing its use of renewable energy, the District of Columbia is investing in a more secure, healthy, and prosperous future.”
EPA launched the Green Power Challenge in September 2010 and encouraged communities across the nation to voluntarily increase their use of green power. More than 30 communities across 14 states and the District of Columbia took on the challenge, with an annual collective goal of using 1.8 billion kWh of green power. According to EPA, the Green Power Communities have surpassed this figure and are now using more than 3.3 billion kWh annually, which supports the prevention of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions generated from the electricity use of more than 284,000 homes.
EPA’s Green Power Challenge will continue until September 2012. The District government and private-sector partners, including the Downtown Business Improvement District (BID), are encouraging all residents and local businesses to participate and buy green power. For more information, visit www.green.dc.gov and click on “buy green power.”