Sunday, January 09, 2005

The World Bank Goes Green

World Bank to Purchase 100% Renewable Energy for Washington HeadquartersGreenBiz.comWASHINGTON, Jan. 4, 2005 - The World Bank has announced it will purchase renewable energy for all of its electricity usage at its Washington, D.C. office from WindCurrent, a Maryland-based company that sells wind power to the mid-Atlantic power grid. This purchase will represent enough electricity to power almost 8,000 average homes for a year, and is equivalent to eliminating the carbon dioxide emissions of more than 10,000 cars for a year or planting roughly 15,000 acres of trees, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency figures. Produced using conventional electricity sources, including coal and gas, this would have generated an estimated almost 60,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. The bank will purchase 85,000,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of renewable energy certificates (RECs) which are allocated for each unit of power from a renewable energy power plant (such as a wind farm). “Wind power creates none of the hazardous emissions or mercury pollution that is associated with producing electricity from burning coal,” said Jim Maguire, the founder of WindCurrent. “The World Bank is serving as a role model for other organizations who want to be environmentally responsible.” As a result of this investment, wind power from the mid-Atlantic region and the Midwest will be supplied to the power grid, replacing electricity generated from less environmentally friendly sources. Electricity from a wind turbine acts the same as electricity generated from any other source. Once the energy leaves the generator and goes into the grid (the "power pool"), it is all mixed together. This commitment to renewable energy is part of an overall “Greening Program” by the bank’s General Services Department (GSD) to focus on sustainable development within the organization. The Greening Program was established to manage the environmental and social impacts of the bank’s Washington, D.C., facilities which promote waste management, environmentally and socially responsible procurement practices and energy conservation. ”Our decision to support wind power with this purchase is consistent with our commitment to sustainability, both within our organization and through our operations. Using renewable power will reduce our office’s environmental footprint, increase demand locally, and set an example for other institutions in the Washington area and globally that using alternative energy is a sound and important choice,” said Van Pulley, director, GSD. WindCurrent provides a way for mid-Atlantic organizations to support clean, renewable wind power. Each large wind turbine generates enough electrical power for hundreds of homes, or dozens of businesses. Leaders in the community are partnering with WindCurrent to encourage the creation of these new sources of alternative energy. “With its investment in renewable energy certificates, the World Bank is demonstrating environmental leadership in the development of new renewable energy sources,” said Kurt Johnson of the U.S. EPA. “The World Bank now qualifies for the Green Power Leadership Club and joins the top ranks of the U.S. EPA’s Green Power Partnership, a voluntary program that supports and recognizes outstanding green power purchasers. Their commitment to renewable energy makes them the fourth largest purchaser in our program,” he said.