Oak Ridge has been recognized as a Green Power Community of the Year by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Oak Ridge is one of only two cities to receive the award. The other is Medford, Oregon.
Oak Ridge is one of 19 Green Power Partners and four suppliers from across the country receiving Green Leadership Awards given each year by the EPA. Awardees are recognized for their achievements in advancing the nation’s renewable energy market and reducing greenhouse gas emissions fueling climate change, a press release said.
The 2014 Green Power Leadership Awards will be presented on Wednesday, December 3, at the annual Renewable Energy Markets Conference in Sacramento, California.
“By using more than 7.6 billion kilowatt-hours of ‘green power’ annually, these communities, businesses, and organizations are leading the way in cutting U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, reducing the impacts of climate change, and protecting public health,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “These partners demonstrate that green power is not only a smart business investment, but it’s affordable, accessible, and it reduces emissions while growing the renewable energy market and spurring innovation.”
Green power is electricity that is generated from renewable sources, including solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, and low-impact hydroelectric sources. Green power does not produce fossil fuel-based greenhouse gas emissions that fuel climate change.
The award winners are being recognized for their efforts in expanding the domestic renewable energy market—from using enough green power to meet more than 100 percent of electricity needs to installing solar arrays on-site or entering long-term power purchase agreements. These organizations are demonstrating that green power is both accessible and affordable, the press release said.
These award-winning partners were chosen for their exemplary use of green power from more than 1,300 partner organizations that comprise EPA’s Green Power Partnership. Utilities, renewable energy project developers, and other green power suppliers are eligible to apply for the Green Power Supplier award.
EPA, through the Green Power Partnership, works with partner organizations to use green power as a way to reduce the environmental impacts associated with conventional electricity use. The Partnership currently has more than 1,300 partner organizations voluntarily using billions of kilowatt-hours of green power annually. Partners include a wide variety of leading organizations such as Fortune 500 companies, small and medium sized businesses, local, state, and federal governments, and colleges and universities.
Here is more information about the Oak Ridge award from the EPA website:
Oak Ridge, Tennessee Community
Oak Ridge, Tennessee’s identity has long been intertwined with the energy sector. Also known as the “Secret City” and the “Atomic City,” Oak Ridge was established in 1942 as a Manhattan Project development site. While remaining a secret, the city’s population ballooned from 3,000 to more than 75,000 by the end of World War II as it hosted major advances in nuclear technology.
Today, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory continues the city’s energy tradition by conducting research related to solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, and hydropower technologies, and purchasing green power for its electricity use. Oak Ridge is recognized as a Platinum Community in the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Valley Sustainable Communities Program and has set the ambitious goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2030. With city-wide attention focused on using clean energy, Oak Ridge became the Southeast’s first EPA Green Power Community in 2014.
In the spring of 2014, Oak Ridge launched a community challenge to encourage greater participation in TVA’s renewable energy program, resulting in community-wide green power use of 5.5 percent, and a participation rate nearly three times the rate at the start of the challenge. Residents, businesses, and the local government are using more than 73 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of renewable energy annually, including more than 126,000 kWh of on-site solar power at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
The city also intends to leverage its role as the first Green Power Community in TVA’s territory into a leadership position for promoting green power regionally. Using TVA’s communication channels along with local outlets, the community’s advertising plan includes the use of newsletters, radio ads, community events, mailers, door-to-door canvassing, and social media marketing campaigns.
Read more on the 2014 Green Power Leadership award winners here: http://www.epa.gov/greenpower/awards/winners.htm.