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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has closed a deal to use renewable energy for 100 percent of its annual electricity needs, making it the first federal agency to do so. The purchase will extend “Green power” to more than 190 EPA facilities nationwide.
The contract with 3 Phases Energy Services goes into effect Sept. 1, and includes more than 100 million kilowatt hours of renewable energy certificates. It continues through Sept. 30, 2007, and also supports the development of wind farms in California, South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Wyoming, according to the EPA. This purchase brings the agency total of green powered electricity to nearly 300 million kWh per year, equivalent to 100 percent of its usage.
The green power purchasing program at EPA began in 1999, when a California lab became the first federal facility to use 100 percent green powered electricity. Since then, the program has grown steadily, with the most dramatic growth occurring between 2003 and 2006. According to the EPA Web site, only 10 percent of electricity was purchased by green sources in 2003. In 2006, the figure rose to 100 percent.
On an annual basis, EPA's total green power purchases offset more than 600 million pounds of carbon dioxide — roughly the amount 54,000 cars emit during a year, the agency says.