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February 04, 2012
Intel Tops EPA's Green Power Partnership Rankings
    by Robert Kropp

EPA's quarterly ranking of top purchasers of renewable energy lists Intel first, followed by Kohl's and Wal-Mart; Kohl's and Whole Foods are largest purchasers of 100% green power.

Launched by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2001, the Green Power Partnership (GPP) is a voluntary program that encourages more reliance on renewable energy by companies and other organizations. EPA ranks the green power purchases of participants in its voluntary program on a quarterly basis.

EPA published the most recent GPP rankings earlier this week. Intel maintained its position on top of the list, with 2.5 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of annual green power usage. The amount comprises 88% of Intel's total electricity use.

Although Intel has piloted on-site solar at some of its facilities, most of its green power use consists of its purchase of renewable energy certificates (RECs) generated from wind, solar, geothermal, low impact hydro, and biomass sources.

Electricity produced from renewable and conventional sources is identical, so once electricity enters the grid it becomes impossible to identify its source. The purchaser of RECs is entitled to claim the legal rights to the environmental benefits of renewable energy generation. Each REC provides proof that one megawatt-hour (MWh) of renewable energy has been generated.

According to EPA, voluntary purchases of RECs create additional demand for power from renewable energy sources. The purchases allow organizations "to leverage their collective purchasing power to positively influence utility-scale generation."

Placing second on GPP's quarterly rankings was Kohl's Department Stores, with 1.5 billion kWh of annual green power usage. Kohl's also topped GPP's list of 100% green power purchasers, followed by Whole Foods Market, the city of Austin, TX, and HSBC North America. EPA itself was listed fifth among 100% green power purchasers, with 262 million kWh.

Wal-mart was the third largest organization in the GPP rankings. Ranked 15th in the previous rankings, Wal-mart's onsite generation of renewable energy increased from eight percent of its total to 28% at its facilities in California and Texas. Overall, four percent of the retail giant's electricity usage was generated on-site; only Kimberly-Clark generated more power from on-site renewable sources.

Rounding out the top five in GPP's quarterly rankings were Whole Foods and Johnson & Johnson.


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