|The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released its annual ranking of Top Green Power Partners. The City of Austin is fifth in the nation among local government purchasers of energy produced by renewable sources.
“This ranking demonstrates our commitment to supporting clean sources of electricity and is an important part of our efforts to fight climate change,” said Lucia Athens, Austin’s Chief Sustainability Officer. “Our continuing commitment since 2012 to power all of our City facilities with renewable power helps lead the way to a sustainable energy future, as well as meet the community-wide goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.”
The City of Austin uses nearly 328 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually for its operations, which represents 100 percent of its total power needs. This is equivalent to the annual electricity use of nearly 30,000 average American homes. Austin’s choice to use green power supports a commitment to achieve carbon neutral municipal operations by 2020, helps expand the market for renewable electricity, and increases the amount of clean, renewable electricity flowing to the grid. Austin’s municipal economy is one of the strongest in the nation and the City’s commitment to GreenChoice has been in place since 2012.
Through its GreenChoice program, Austin Energy purchases enough Texas wind energy to match 100 percent of a subscribing customer’s usage. Subscribers to GreenChoice pay less than one cent ($0.0075) more per kilowatt hour (kWh) for energy than non-subscribers. GreenChoice is available to residents and business owners without a contract, as a continuous subscription service that they may cancel at any time. Subscribing to GreenChoice means relying less on fossil fuel combustion for energy and less air pollution and less water used in drought-prone Texas. In 2016 Austin Energy customers purchased more than 719 million kWh through GreenChoice. This translates into carbon emissions offsets equivalent to the impact of more than 11 million trees.
“The Austin City Council has taken a leadership role by reducing the City’s carbon footprint, allowing the City to encourage its residents and employers to do the same by leading the way with its own use of electricity,” said Jackie Sargent, Austin Energy General Manager. “You can’t do better than 100 percent. We are proud to support the council’s commitment to GreenChoice, which brings 100 percent Texas wind power to many businesses and residential customers throughout the region. GreenChoice has helped Austin Energy become a leader in renewable power sales.”
By moving the needle in the voluntary green power market, EPA and its Green Power Partners help support development of the clean energy economy. Together, the City of Austin and other Green Power Partners are collectively using as much renewable electricity annually as the electricity demand of Utah and New Hampshire combined.
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