EPA Recognizes SLO County for Leading Green Power Use
Author: Public Works
6/27/2023 3:04:06 PM
SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY – The County of San Luis Obispo has met the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s rigorous requirements to become a member of its Green Power Partnership.
The Green Power Partnership is a voluntary federal program recognizing organizations that demonstrate leadership in green power, growing the American market for green power and reducing air pollution and other environmental impacts associated with electricity use.
The County is using nearly 5 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually, which is enough green power to meet 19 percent of the organization's electricity use. According to the EPA, the County’s green power use is equivalent to the electricity use of nearly 500 average American homes annually.
The County’s high level of usage can be attributed to multiple Public Works projects. The County purchased electricity generated by solar systems at a competitive, predictable rate, thanks to an Energy Services Agreement structure. This allowed the County to purchase energy at a cheaper rate than its local utility without paying upfront costs for the system.
The County selected ForeFront Power as the developer for three solar projects through the School Project for Utility Rate Reduction’s Renewable Energy Aggregated Procurement Program, which allows any California public agency to obtain the best solar and energy storage pricing and terms from a competitive statewide solicitation. Since 2020, the County has installed nearly two megawatts of solar photovoltaic energy systems. These systems offset the energy produced at facilities across 10 departments.
Other land-constrained facilities have opted into PG&E’s 100 percent Solar Choice Program, which means electricity used at those sites will be matched with 100 percent clean, renewable energy purchases by PG&E. The County is continuing to examine additional options for green power procurement.
“This is a fantastic honor, and we are proud to be recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,” said Annie Secrest, County Public Works’ Energy & Water Coordinator. “Using green power helps our organization stabilize rising energy costs and lowers our emissions footprint, while also sending a message to others across the country that green power is an affordable, accessible choice.”
By moving the needle in the voluntary green power market, the County of San Luis Obispo and other Green Power Partners are helping to reduce the negative health impacts of air emissions including those related to ozone, fine particles, acid rain, and regional haze.
The County is also active in ensuring energy conservation, energy efficiency, and energy resilience remain top priorities for its facilities and infrastructure. Numerous energy efficiency projects have been implemented and are underway. The County, in coordination with the Department of Energy, is in the early stages of an energy management campaign at small facilities, and the County recently energized three battery energy storage projects, with two more projects in design.
About EPA’s Green Power Partnership
The Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that helps increase green power use among U.S. organizations to advance the American market for green power and the development of those sources to reduce air pollution and other environmental impacts associated with electricity use. In 2021, the Partnership had more than 700 Partners voluntarily using more than 85 billion 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; and colleges and universities. For additional information, please visit www.epa.gov/greenpower
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