The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is tracking organizations that make a point of using “green power” and ranking them by counting the kilowatts consumed.
Green power in this case includes electricity sources that don’t produce any greenhouse gases from fossil fuels and were built in the last 15 years (so hydropower from older dams doesn’t count but power from a new biomass plant does).
Care to guess who made the top 10 list?
The U.S. Department of Energy ranked sixth, but the other nine were giant companies.
- Intel took the top slot for having used 3.1 billion kilowatt hours of green power. All of Intel’s power usage – 100 percent – counts as “green” in the EPA’s program. The company uses biogas, biomass, small hydropower, solar and wind.
- Microsoft took second place with 1.9 billion kilowatt hours of biomass, small hydropower, solar and wind power. That represents 80 percent of the company’s total power usage.
- Kohl’s Department Stores used 1.5 billion kilowatt hours of solar energy and actually generated more than it used for 105 percent green power usage.
- Whole Foods Market used 800 million kilowatt hours of solar and wind energy and also generated more on-site power than it used for 107 percent green power usage.
- Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. used 751 million kilowatt hours of biogas, solar and wind energy, but that only represented 4 percent of the company’s total power usage.
- U.S. Department of Energy used 698 million kilowatt hours of green power for 14 percent of its total power use.
- Staples used 636 million kilowatt hours of biogas, wind and solar energy for 101 percent of its total power use.
- Starbucks Company-Owned Stores used 592 million kilowatt hours of wind energy for 70 percent of their total power use.
- Lockheed Martin Corporation used 546 million kilowatt hours of green power for 30 percent of its total power use.
- Apple Inc. used 537 million kilowatt hours of biogas, biomass, geothermal, small hydropower, solar and wind energy for 85 percent of it’s power use.
There’s another list of everyone who’s tracking their green power use with the EPA that’s kind of fun to scan for local organizations. Lewis & Clark College, Mount Hood Meadows Ski Resort, Mount Ashland Ski Resort and the Tualatin Valley Water District are all on the list for using 100 percent green power. The EPA is also ranking colleges for their green power use, and it looks like the University of Utah is winning the Pac-12 Conference.
It seems like it might be best to do these rankings by the percentage of total power use that qualifies as “green” so you don’t disincentivize energy conservation and efficiency.