For the second year in a row, the use of green power through the Village’s Community Choice Electricity Aggregation Program has earned Oak Park special recognition from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The USEPA recognized Oak Park as one of only two communities selected from among nearly 50 participating communities nationwide for a Green Power Community (GPC) Challenge award for having the highest green power percentage of total electricity use.
Launched in September 2012, the GPC competition challenges communities to boost their voluntary green power usage and compete to see which one can use the most green power and achieve the highest green power percentage of total electricity use.
The purchase of green power not only helps the Village become more sustainable, but also sends a message to other communities across the U.S. that supporting clean sources of electricity is a sound business decision and an important choice in reducing climate risk, officials say.
More than 90 percent of electricity used by Oak Park’s local government, residential and business electricity users comes from renewable power sources. According to EPA, Oak Park’s collective use of more than 170 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power is equal to avoiding the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of more than 25,000 passenger vehicles per year, or the equivalent of the electricity needed to power more than 18,000 homes annually.
Green power is electricity generated from renewable sources like solar, wind, and low-impact hydropower. Communities using green power benefit from cleaner air and a healthier environment, while helping advance the market for renewable energy, EPA officials say.
The nearly 50 Green Power Communities across the country collectively buy green power in amounts that meet or exceed the EPA’s purchase requirements as part of the Green Power Partnership. Other participating Illinois communities include Aurora and Rolling Meadows.
Last year, the USEPA also named Oak Park a Green Power Community of the Year for its electricity aggregation program that purchases power and credits from 100-percent green sources, primarily from Illinois wind farms.
More information about the Green Power Community Challenge and program is posted at www.epa.gov/greenpower/communities. To learn more about Oak Park’s environmental initiatives visit www.oak-park.us.