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Green Power Partnership

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about Green Power Communities?

James Critchfield

EPA's Green Power Partnership

Q. What is the Green Power Partnership?

A. EPA's Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that encourages organizations to buy green power as a way to reduce the environmental impacts associated with purchased electricity use. Started in 2001, the Partnership currently works with more than a thousand partners voluntarily purchasing 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, tribal, and federal governments, and colleges and universities.

EPA's Green Power Communities

Q. What is the Green Power Community?

A. A Green Power Community is a town, village, city, county, or tribal governments in which the local government, businesses, and residents collectively use green power in amounts that meet or exceed EPA's Green Power Community purchase requirements.

Green Power

Q. How does EPA define green power?

A. Green power is environmentally preferable electricity produced from a subset of renewable resources, including solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, eligible biomass, and low-impact hydropower.

Q. What makes it greener than other power?

A. Green power resources produce electricity with an environmental profile superior to conventional power technologies, and produce no fossil-fuel based greenhouse gas emissions, helping protect human health and the environment.

Q. Is green power available in most of the U.S., or only in certain areas?

A. Green power is available to every single U.S. business, institution, government agency, homeowner, apartment dweller and every other electricity user. There are three green power product options available:

  1. Currently, more than 800 utilities offer green power products to customers. These products allow customers to purchase some portion of their electricity from renewable resources—almost always at a higher price, but sometimes offered with price-hedging benefits.
  2. Second, regardless of whether a buyer has access to a utility green power product, any consumer or business in the U.S. can buy green power through renewable energy certificates (RECs). A REC is a certificate that represents the generation of one megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity from an eligible source of renewable energy and its associated environmental attributes. RECs can be acquired separately from electricity service. Combined, RECs and plain grid electricity produce green power.
  3. Last, a prospective buyer can also investigate the option of installing an on-site system on their business or residence.

    Buyers can learn more about these options by downloading The Guide to Purchasing Green Power (PDF) (58 pp, 2MB, About PDF) from the Green Power Partnership website. The guide helps explain the buying process as well as the benefits of each product option.

    To assist prospective buyers, the Green Power Locator offers a state-by-state, list of local utilities and renewable energy certificate marketers that provide green power products in their area. A link to the Green Power Locator can be found on the Green Power Partnership's homepage at www.epa.gov/greenpower.

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