By: Mark S. Watson, City ManagerMay 23, 2014
Oak Ridge is on the verge of being selected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a Green Power Community, the first in the Southeastern United States. The EPA’s Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that encourages organizations to buy green power such as wind, solar, biomass and biogas. Oak Ridge Electric Department customers can buy green power through TVA’s Green Power Switch program, which gets some of its supply from the nearby Buffalo Mountain wind farm.
To be designated as a Green Power Community, a local government and the community must purchase or produce green power in amounts that meet EPA minimum purchase requirements. The City of Oak Ridge has committed to doing just that. ORNL is also a large purchaser of green power, and several local establishments such as First United Presbyterian Church, Oak Ridge Associated Universities, Oak Ridge Unitarian Church, Saint Mary's Parish and Staples are also buying green power. Becoming a recognized Green Power Community will be a new page in Oak Ridge history of which we should be proud.You may have noticed the launch of our “The Secret’s Out: Oak Ridge Loves Green Power” campaign to encourage residents and businesses to purchase green power, which kicked off at the Earth Day Festival in Bissell Park last month. The campaign has already seen over 200 customers enroll, giving Oak Ridge the highest green power program participation rate in the Tennessee Valley. The campaign will conclude with a community event on June 21, which will be announced soon.
To learn more about Green Power Switch and enroll your home or business in the program, visit www.greenpowerswitch.com/oakridge.