On December 4, 2006, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Department of Energy (DOE) presented Pennsylvania with a 2006 Green Power Leadership Award for being the largest state purchaser of green electricity in the nation. It was presented in conjunction with the 11th National Renewable Energy Marketing Conference taking place in San Francisco, which recognizes leading national green power purchasers and suppliers for their commitment and contributions to helping advance the development of the nation’s green power market.

In August, Pennsylvania’s green electricity purchase was doubled to 20 percent from 10 percent, harnessing state resources to further develop markets for sustainable energy sources that will create jobs and significant environmental improvements in the commonwealth. In 2000, Pennsylvania was the first state to make a voluntary purchase of green electricity, contracting for 5 percent of its electricity load.

Through modifying its existing contract with Community Energy Inc., the commonwealth is purchasing renewable energy credits equal to 200,000 megawatt hours a year, or 20 percent of state government’s electricity, from renewable sources such as wind and hydroelectric energy.

“Pennsylvania’s clean energy efforts are producing real results—our economy is growing, residents are working more and the environment is improving,” Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen A. McGinty said. “With long-term investments from leading global firms and the continued national recognition of our efforts, our commonwealth remains at the forefront of building and deploying alternative energy solutions. That means more jobs, more development and, in today’s rapidly expanding energy market, even more opportunities.”

The EPA and DOE presented awards for green power purchasing to 22 organizations that have demonstrated leadership by voluntarily purchasing green power or by creating innovative supply options for consumers.

This year, a panel of judges reviewed nearly 100 nominations based on criteria ranging from the amount of green power purchased or generated to each organization’s strategy for incorporating green power into its operations and communications.

Pennsylvania’s new law promises to build substantially on the state’s leadership in wind production east of the Mississippi, with wind sources providing enough clean energy to power approximately 70,000 homes.                EC