Alameda County is being recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the EPA's first-ever list of the 20 top on-site generators of green electricity from around the nation.
Alameda County generates nearly 4 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of solar power annually, demonstrating proactive leadership and commitment to support clean, renewable energy. In total the County's General Services Agency (GSA) uses nearly 6 million kWh of green power, equal to 11 percent of the electricity use of its facilities, and is one of eight California organizations highlighted by the EPA in its top 20 list. "Alameda County has long been a pioneer in deploying on-site renewable generation at our County facilities and we are very proud to be a national model for other government agencies," said Susan S. Muranishi, Alameda County Administrator.
Added Aki Nakao, Director of Alameda County's General Services Agency, which operates all County facilities: "The 3.3 megawatts of on-site solar power at 10 of our County facilities combine the environmental benefits of green power with the ability to provide on-site power. This has helped Alameda County lower overall energy costs, reduce pollution, and conserve natural resources."
Green power is electricity that is generated from renewable resources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, biogas, biomass and low-impact hydro. These resources generate electricity with a net zero increase in carbon dioxide emissions, thus carrying fewer environmental impacts than traditional power generation sources. The recognition by the EPA comes about one year after the Alameda County Board of Supervisors formally launched a Strategic Visioning Initiative to guide the County in decisions to preserve and enhance life in the community in the coming decades. Environmental stewardship and sustainability are key focus areas of the Strategic Visioning Initiative, and were the topics of two County-sponsored forums exploring the community's future: Summit 2016 in 2006 and the Alameda County and Cities Climate Forum in January 2009. Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson, who led the Initiative and the team of elected officials, policy makers and community leaders that planned the two forums, said, "Our green power usage of nearly 6 million kWh is equivalent to avoiding the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of more than 700 passenger vehicles per year, or is equivalent to the amount of electricity needed to power more than 500 average American homes annually."
The Top 20 List was distributed as part of the EPA's Green Power Partnership, a voluntary program that encourages organizations to buy green power as a way to reduce the environmental impacts associated with purchased electricity use. The Partnership includes more than 1,100 Partner organizations voluntarily purchasing billions of kilowatt-hours of green power annually. Partners include Fortune 500 companies, small and medium sized businesses, local, state, and federal governments, and colleges and universities. For additional information, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/greenpower