The City of Oak Ridge is on the verge of being selected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a Green Power Community, the first in the Southeast, a press release said.
The EPA’s Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that encourages organizations to buy renewable energy. To be designated as a Green Power Community, a local government must purchase or produce green power in amounts that meet EPA minimum purchase requirements as determined by community electricity usage.
Green power is defined as electricity generated from renewable resources, such as wind, solar, biogas, biomass, and low-impact hydropower. Oak Ridge Electric Department customers can buy Green-e Energy certified renewable energy through the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Green Power Switch program.
To qualify, local governments must also initiate a community-wide green power campaign to encourage renewable energy purchases. The City of Oak Ridge, playing off its nickname as the Secret City due to its historical origins, created a campaign called, “The Secret’s Out: Oak Ridge Loves Green Power,” to encourage residents and businesses to buy green power.
“If we can get 100 new green power purchasers, Oak Ridge will have the highest green power program participation rate in the Tennessee Valley,” said City Manager Mark Watson. “The large green power purchase by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the City of Oak Ridge’s recent commitment, and the ongoing support of the residents and businesses of Oak Ridge has made our community a leader in green power purchasing.”
The city’s green power community challenge will kick off Saturday, April 26, at the Earth Day Festival in Bissell Park, and will conclude with a community event on June 21.