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EPA: Bellingham is Washington’s First Green Power Community

Release Date: 04/19/2007
Contact Information: Carolyn Gangmark, EPA/Seattle 206-553-4072, gangmark.carolyn@epa.gov Mark MacIntyre, EPA/Seattle, 206-553-7302, macintyre.mark@epa.gov

Official Recognition Ceremony slated for Saturday, April 21, at Downtown Farmer’s Market

    (Seattle, Wash. - April 19, 2007) By purchasing more than 11 percent of all of the electricity used in the entire city from green power resources, Bellingham, Washington, has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a Green Power Community. Bellingham’s power purchasing achievement is even more remarkable considering that it’s actually double that of the six other “Green Power Communities” across the country.

    “EPA applauds Bellingham for its leadership as a green power community,” said Michelle Pirzadeh, Director of EPA’ Office of Ecosystems, Tribal and Public Affairs in Seattle. “By purchasing green power, Bellingham is reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and is leading the way for other cities across the Northwest and the nation."

    Bellingham will be officially recognized by EPA on Saturday, April 21 from 12 – 1 pm, during the City’s Earth Day Celebration at the Farmer’s Market in downtown Bellingham. EPA will be joined by Congressman Rick Larsen and other dignitaries to present Mayor Tim Douglas with two colorful street signs reading, “Welcome to a Green Power Community. We exceed EPA guidelines for buying clean, renewable energy.”

    The signs will be posted at high visibility locations within the community. Whatcom County Executive Pete Kremen, Northwest Clean Air Agency Executive Director and former Bellingham Mayor Mark Asmundson and a representative from Western Washington University will also participate in the ceremony.

    To qualify for the national designation, The City of Bellingham, Sustainable Connections and Puget Sound Energy (PSE) pioneered a community-wide “Green Power Challenge." The challenge promoted development of green power resources through participation in PSE’s Green Power Program. Nearly 2,000 households and 110 businesses have enrolled in the Bellingham Green Power Community Challenge.

    Bellingham businesses and residents are collectively purchasing 76 million kWh of green power from PSE, which accounts for more than 11 percent of the community’s total electricity load. This is enough power to light 6,333 households for one year.

    When asked for comment on the designation, Mayor Tim Douglas emphasized the “team effort” that was necessary for success.

    "Bellingham is proud to leader in Green Power purchasing, Douglas said. “We’re proving that locally-engineered solutions to global warming are effective, achievable, and good for business. Our Green Power Community Challenge is a success because the business community, city residents and local government have teamed up in an unprecedented partnership."
    The City, Whatcom County and Western Washington University are purchasing enough green power to serve 100 percent of their operations. EPA estimates that Bellingham’s community-wide green power purchases equal to eliminating the CO2 emissions of 10,000 passenger cars annually.

    To date, Bellingham is one of only seven communities in the nation to receive recognition as an EPA Green Power Community. EPA extends the Green Power honor to communities that voluntarily meet or exceed the Agency’s minimum green power purchase requirements. Green Power Community campaigns demonstrate the collective action and successful partnership between local government, businesses, residents and local organizations. The other six Green Power Communities are: Boulder, CO; Palo Alto, CA; Salem & Corvallis, OR; and Moab & Park City, UT.

    Green power is generated from renewable resources such as solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, biomass and low-impact hydro. Green power is considered cleaner than conventional sources of electricity and has lower carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, a greenhouse gas linked to global climate change. Purchases of green power help accelerate the development of new renewable energy capacity nationwide.

    About the U.S. EPA’s Green Power Partnership

    EPA’s Green Power Partnership encourages organizations to purchase green power as a way to reduce the environmental impacts associated with conventional electricity use. The Green Power Partnership currently has hundreds of 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, and federal governments, trade associations, as well as colleges and universities.

    For a full listing of EPA’s Green Power Partners and information about buying green power, and becoming a Green Power Community, visit the Partnership’s Web site at http://www.epa.gov/greenpower/
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