Oak Park wins EPA Green Power Community Challenge

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By Community Editor

For the second year in a row, the use of green power through the Village's electricity aggregation program has earned Oak Park special recognition from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The USEPA announced today that Oak Park was one of 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.

"This is a huge honor for Oak Park and we are proud to be recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency," said K.C. Doyle, Oak Park's Sustainability Manager. "The purchase of green power by our citizens and businesses helps our community become more sustainable, while also sending 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."

More than 90 percent of Oak Park's local government, residential and business electricity usage comes from green power sources. According to EPA, the community's collective green power usage of more than 170 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) is equal to avoiding the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of more than 25,000 passenger vehicles per year, or is the equivalent amount of 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.

The nearly 50 Green Power Communities across the country collectively buy green power in amounts that meet or exceed 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.

To learn more about the Green Power Community Challenge and program, visit www.epa.gov/greenpower/communities.

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