In mid-September 2003, the
World Resources Institute (WRI), an environmental think tank, issued
notice of two achievements, both signifying encouraging progress
toward green energy use. The first, released jointly by WRI and
the 12 members of its Green Power Market Development Group, announced
97 megawatts (MW) of groundbreaking green power deals. The second
revealed that WRI is now 100 percent powered by green energy, making
it the largest environmental non-profit in metropolitan Washington,
DC to use renewable energy.
Green power is broadly defined as energy coming from renewable sources
such as solar, wind, water, biomass and geo-thermal. Conventional
electricity production, from power plants that use oil, coal or
nuclear, are significant contributors to air pollution while the
environmental impacts from renewables is considerably lessened.
Unfortunately, non-hydro sources of renewable electricity account
for less than two percent of all U.S. electricity generation capacity.
Clearly any program that encourages the increased use of green power
is commendable, especially one that brings together large corporate
buyers whose influence will persuade other companies to diversify
their energy portfolios. The members of the Green Power Market Development
GroupAlcoa, Cargill Dow, Delphi, Dow Chemical, DuPont, General
Motors, IBM, Interface, Johnson & Johnson, Kinkos, Pitney
Bowes and Staplescertainly have the necessary clout, and their
newly announced deals are a good start toward reaching their eventual
goal to create 1,000 MW of new green power by 2010. This is equivalent
to one large coal-fired power plant or the power used by 750,000
In addition to the obvious global environmental benefits, green
power can provide other benefits to businesses including reduced
fuel costs by replacing natural gas with landfill gas, peak-shaving
opportunities, hedges against fluctuating fossil fuel prices, and
strengthening and improving stakeholder and customer relations.
The Green Power Group is beginning to make green power work
for corporate buyers, said DuPonts chairman and CEO,
Chad Holliday. WRI has helped us find cost effective green
power and proven that the marketplace has products to meet corporate
energy and environmental goals.
Those products include a wide variety of green power technologies
that offer companies the best economic and environmental value.
The recently announced 97 MW deals included the following purchases:
* renewable energy certificates (36 MW): Members of The Green Power
Group purchased 36 MW of renewable energy certificates (RECs) from
wind, biomass and landfill gas resources. This is the largest corporate
purchase of RECs in the U.S. RECs represent the amount of pollution
avoided when electricity is generated by renewable resources instead
of by fossil fuels. DuPont and Staples were joined in this purchase
by Alcoa, Cargill Dow, Delphi Corporation, Interface, Johnson &
Johnson, Kinkos, Pitney Bowes and the World Resources Institute.
* Hydrogen fuel cells (35 MW): The Dow Chemical Co. is purchasing
35 MW of hydrogen fuel cells from General Motors. This is the largest
corporate fuel cell purchase in the world.
* Wind (15 MW): Johnson & Johnson is now one of the largest
corporate users of wind power in the U.S., purchasing 11 MW of wind
in Texas and on the East Coast. Kinkos and IBM increased their
use of wind power by four MW over the past year.
* Landfill gas (5 MW): Interface and General Motors will be using
landfill gas as a green energy source at several manufacturing facilities.
* Other renewables (6 MW): Kinkos is using electricity generated
from biomass in Pennsylvania and from geothermal resources in California.
Johnson & Johnson has expanded its on-site solar photovoltaic
panel installations and is purchasing small-scale hydropower.
From hydrogen fuel cells to solar panels on rooftops, new
green power products are emerging for corporate markets, said
Jonathan Lash, WRIs president. These purchases help
bring down prices, reduce pollution and build a robust market to
deliver a clean energy future.
WRIs green power purchase demonstrates its own commitment
to reducing its carbon dioxide emissions. WRI partnered with its
landlord, the American Psychological Association (APA), and their
property manager, the Trammell Crow Co., to purchase renewable energy
equivalent to 75 percent of the electricity used in two Washington,
DC, buildings. WRI, headquartered in one of the buildings, bought
additional renewable energy to make its office 100 percent green.
All of the purchases were made in the form of RECs. Green Mountain
Energy Co. will supply WRI and APA with more than 20 million kilowatt
hours of RECs from wind and other renewable resources. With 100
percent green energy, WRIs annual greenhouse gas emissions
will also be reduced by more than 40 percentthe equivalent
of taking more than 3,700 cars off the road. The deal represents
enough energy to power more than 1,800 homes annually.
This purchase of green power helps WRI meet our public commitment
to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions to zero by 2005, said
Lash. We invite every landlord in metropolitan Washington,
DC, to follow this example and let our capital serve as a national
showcase of the benefits of green energy.