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EPA honors Microsoft Corporation and Mercer Island for their green power leadership in the Pacific Northwest

Release Date: 09/23/2013
Contact Information: Suzanne Skadowski, U.S. EPA Public Affairs 206-295-4829

(Seattle - September 23, 2013) Microsoft Corporation and Mercer Island, WA are among 21 Green Power Partners awarded Green Power Leadership Awards by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today for their achievements in advancing the nation’s renewable electricity market.

EPA defines green power as electricity that is generated from renewable resources, such as solar, wind, and low-impact hydroelectric sources and produces no fossil fuel-based carbon pollution. The award winning communities and businesses have dramatically increased their green power purchases and installed large-scale solar panel arrays, among other actions.

Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, WA: Green Power Partner of the Year
Microsoft is one of the world’s largest tech and software companies. Microsoft’s business strategies include ambitious environmental and sustainability goals. Microsoft set a goal to reduce its carbon emissions in 2012 by least 30 percent per unit of revenue below their 2007 baseline. They met this goal through increased energy efficiency and investments in high-quality, externally-verified renewable energy and carbon reduction projects. In 2012, Microsoft purchased renewable energy credits totaling more than 1 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power. In 2013, Microsoft upped its use of renewable energy percent to nearly 2 billion kWh annually, an increase of more than 815 million kWh from 2012. This increase put Microsoft in 2nd place on EPA’s Green Power Partnership National Top 50 and Top 20 Tech and Telecom lists in 2013. The company’s green power includes solar power generated from a 480 kW on-site at its Mountain View, CA campus. In total, Microsoft purchases green power equivalent to 80 percent of its U.S. electricity needs.

Mercer Island, WA: Green Power Community of the Year
In 2009, Mercer Island established the Green Ribbon Commission, a public-private partnership dedicated to reducing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions. The city and commission implemented innovative strategies to encourage the community to use green power and seven percent of residents and businesses currently use green power. In 2012, the “Mercer Island Gets Green” challenge increased renewable energy use participation by 55 percent, with 750 homes and businesses purchasing over 5.81 million kWh of green power. Their efforts qualified Mercer Island as the first city in the Seattle area to become an EPA Green Power Community. For exceeding their 2012 goal, the city received a $30,000 grant from Puget Sound Energy (PSE) to fund a solar photovoltaic system. The city also piloted PSE’s first inter-school bonus challenge with local schools to educate residents about renewable energy and enrolling residents designated a local school to receive a small donation. In 2012, 180 residents enrolled to purchase green power and participating schools received over $2,000 to fund environmental programs.
Close to one-third of America’s carbon pollution – a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change – comes from power plants. By using green power, communities and businesses dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, support a growing renewable energy industry, and improve public health.

EPA, through the Green Power Partnership, works with partner organizations to reduce the environmental impacts of conventional electricity use. Nearly two-thirds of partners use 100 percent green power. Together, the partners are using more than 28 billion kWh of green power annually, equivalent to avoiding carbon pollution created by the electricity use of more than three million American homes each year.

Green Power Partnership:

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