Green Power Partnerships

Did you know that you can partner with the United States Environmental Protection Agency to become a Green Power Partner?

If you do become a partner, then you will join a list of other companies such as Intel Corporation, Kohl’s Department Stores, Wal-Mart Stores (in California and Texas), Whole Foods Market, Lockheed Martin Corporation, and the cities of Houston, Austin, and Dallas to reduce your carbon footprint.
Benefits of Partnership

When you join with the EPA, you will receive expert advice identifying the types of green power products that best meet your goals. The EPA is happy to answer questions to save you time and money.
Green Power Partners can use the EPA’s tools and resources to communicate your efforts to protect the environment, bringing publicity and recognition to your company.

Your company may be eligible to participate in partner initiatives such as collaborative procurement (combining with other companies to purchase things like solar panels). Awards are also given to participants in different categories.

“More than half of our partners are small businesses,” says Mollie Lemon, communications director for Green Power Partnership. “We provide technical support to help you figure out what your options are. We help with press releases and give annual awards. We help with artwork and companies can use the Green Power Partner mark on communications. Partnering also offers credibility—our initiative has been ongoing for more than a decade now. We offer a lot of tools and resources, such as the equivalency calculator to calculate the impact of your purchase. It’s an easy way to make a big environmental impact.”

How to Become a Partner

To become a partner, your company will need to determine your annual electricity use and purchase a minimum amount of its electricity from green sources such as wind, solar, biogas, geothermal, eligible biomass, or eligible low impact hydroelectric sources.

If you use more than 100,000,001 kilowatt hours per year, then at least 3 percent of your power will need to come from a green energy source. If you use between 10,000,001 and 100,000,000 kilowatt hours per year, then you will need to purchase at least 5 percent. If you use between 1,000,001 and 10,000,000 kilowatt hours, then 10 percent needs to come from green power. If you use less than 1,000,000 kilowatt hours, then 20 percent needs to come from a green source.

Green Power

The EPA defines green power as “a subset of renewable energy and represents those renewable energy resources and technologies that provide the highest environmental benefit.”

By buying green power, your company can reduce carbon dioxide emissions and some types of air pollution, and possibly save money. In the EPA’s “Guide to Purchasing Green Power” they outline a case study for Advanced Micro Devices. AMD realized savings after its first purchase of renewable energy in 2000 when natural gas prices soared and became more costly than the fixed green power, saving $100,000 in one year.

Companies can typically purchase green power in one of three ways: a fixed-energy quantity block, a percentage of their monthly use, or through long-term fixed price contracts. A fixed-energy quantity block is a block of 100 percent renewable electricity at a fixed monthly price in a predetermined block (i.e. 100 kilowatt hours). Companies can also purchase a percentage of their electricity as green power. For example, you can sign up to purchase 3 percent of your monthly kilowatt use to come from green sources. Both of these methods are typically higher than conventional power sources. Companies can also buy “a portion of the output of a renewable energy project in a long-term contract (to) help a project developer secure financing, while giving the end-user a stable electricity contract.”

Some companies opt to generate their own electricity through solar, wind, landfill and sewage methane gas, biomass, or fuel cells. With the rise in extreme weather each year, it makes even more sense to go green. Becoming a Green Power Partner will show your customers that you are a good steward of the environment.

For more information on how you can become a Green Power Partner and the requirements, visit www.epa.gov/greenpower.

Story by Jennifer Taylor

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