Residents of green and would-be green communities everywhere, take note: the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants to challenge you to use more renewable energy. Towards that end, it’s kicking off a national “Green Power Community Challenge,” a year-long campaign to encourage cities, towns, villages, and Native American tribes to use renewable energy and fight climate change.
In order to participate, a local government must join the EPA’s Green Power Partnership and use renewable power in amounts that meet the program’s purchase requirements, while encouraging local residents and businesses to do the same, whether by collectively purchasing or producing green power on-site. So far, more than 30 cities and towns in Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin have signed on for the challenge (including EarthTechling’s hometown of Portland). Together, they have agreed to collectively buy more than 900 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually, enough to offset the carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) from the electricity used by nearly 80,000 American homes.
During the Green Power Community Challenge–which lasts from from Sept. 20, 2010, to Sept. 1, 2011–all participating communities will be ranked for two award categories: most green power used and highest overall percentage derived from green sources. Green power as defined by the EPA includes electricity generated from solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, biogas, and low-impact hydropower. More information on the program is available online.