The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has named Mercer Island “Green Power Community of the Year.” This national award recognizes communities that distinguish themselves through their green power usage, leadership, and citizen engagement. The award was presented today at the annual Renewable Energy Markets Conference hosted by the Center for Resource Solutions in Austin, Texas. The mayor of Mercer Island, Bruce Bassett, accepted the award at the event.
The annual awards recognize the country’s leading green power users for their commitment and contribution to helping advance the development of the nation’s voluntary green power market. Mercer Island was one of only two communities nationwide to receive a Leadership Award for employingrenewable energy in amounts that meet or exceed EPA requirements for residents’ and businesses’ collective green power use.
Mercer Island currently uses more than 6 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually, which is enough to meet 4 percent of the community’s entire purchased electricity needs.Green Power Communities distinguish themselves through their green power usage, leadership, citizen engagement, renewable energy strategy, and impact on the green power market.
“This community of Mercer Island has a long history of commitment to sustainability,” said Mayor Bruce Bassett. “From the very beginning, Mercer Island’s campaign to meet a Green Power Challenge set by Puget Sound Energy was a community-wide effort, and we are honored by this national recognition from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Not only does the City cover 35 percent of its operational usage with green power, but also home and business participation increased by 55 percent. Our recent City-owned solar installation exemplifies Mercer Island’s ongoing efforts to shrink its carbon footprint, like many other cities nationwide working on local green energy solutions.
According to the EPA, Mercer Island’s current green power use is equivalent to avoiding the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of more than 900 passenger vehicles per year, or is the equivalent amount of electricity needed to power nearly 700 average American homes annually. Green power is electricity that is generated from environmentally preferable renewable resources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, biogas, eligible biomass, and low-impact hydro. Using green power accelerates the development of new renewable energy capacity nationwide and helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector.
“EPA is pleased to recognize the City of Mercer Island with a Green Power Community of the Year award for its leadership and citizen engagement in dramatically increasing its use of green power,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “We applaud Mercer Island’s residents, businesses, and organizations for choosing green power that will help address climate change and support a clean energy future.”