D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser inherited strong sustainability and other green city initiatives. Earlier this month, atop the Frank D. Reeves Municipal Center, Mayor Bowser reaffirmed her Administration’s commitment to sustainability and clean energy. She pointed to the city’s green power purchases as an example.
The city buys all of the electricity for its buildings and city operations from green power, either by purchasing renewable power directly from suppliers or indirectly through renewable energy credits, called RECs. RECs represent energy produced from eligible renewable sources, such as the wind or sun.
Last year, the city bought the rough equivalent of a year’s worth of electricity to power 43,000 homes, a D.C. Department of Energy and Environment spokesperson said by e-mail. The city purchases a good portion of that amount – about 35 percent – from a single windfarm in Pennsylvania.
D.C.’s large purchase of renewable electricity from a single supplier, Iberdrola Renewables, LLC, makes the wind power arrangement with Iberdrola a pioneering one, Mark Chambers, Sustainability and Energy Management Director at the D.C. Department of General Services, said over the telephone. The Iberdrola wind power purchase will save taxpayers $45 million over the 20-year life of the contract, the city calculated.
The city recently took other steps to increase its direct purchase of renewable energy and lower electricity costs through a contract with WGL Energy Services, a supplier of electricity and energy services.
“It’s a tipping point, and we hope it will promote other municipalities to actively manage their power supply,” Chambers said, referring to the Iberdrola contract.
Throughout the world, cities have increasingly become the dominant force of economic growth, and increasingly the places where population growth occurs most. That is certainly true in the U.S., where its citizens use a disproportionate amount of energy per person. That makes the role of U.S. cities in fighting global warming even more significant.
In the global fight to battle climate change, cities and states both have taken a lead role within the U.S., and the role of cities is key to that fight. Among its municipal peers, D.C. has shown strong leadership to pursue green strategies, and D.C.’s energy purchases bear that out.
“The District of Columbia will continue to lead the nation in the fight against climate change,” Mayor Bowser said in a statement in early August. “We are supporting green building, promoting energy and water efficiency, and fostering renewable energy. This wind agreement exemplifies how my Administration will use energy policy to boost our economy and create cleaner air for current and future generations,” Bowser said.