For the first time, Yolo County appears on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Top 20 On-Site List of the largest green power users. Yolo is No. 14.
The ranking comes as a result of Yolo generating nearly 14 million kilowatt-hours of green power from on-site solar energy production, a program that creates enough green power to meet 152 percent of the county’s electricity use.
Terry Vernon, Yolo County deputy director of general services, called the recognition a “huge honor,” adding: “Using green power helps our county become more sustainable, while also sending a message to others across the U.S. that supporting clean sources of electricity is a sound business decision and an important choice in reducing climate change risk.”
Green power is electricity that is generated from environmentally preferable renewable resources such as wind, solar, geothermal, biogas, biomass and low-impact hydro.
According to the U.S. EPA, Yolo County’s green power generation of nearly 14 million kWh is equivalent to avoiding the carbon dioxide emissions of nearly 2,000 passenger vehicles per year or the CO2 emissions from the electricity use of more than 1,000 average American homes annually.
“The EPA applauds Yolo County for its impressive use of on-site solar power,” said Blaine Collison, director of the Green Power Partnership. “Yolo County is helping to reduce harmful carbon pollution while generating revenue from its on-site generation and should serve as an example for other cities and counties seeking to make meaningful environmental progress.”
The Board of Supervisors adopted a Yolo County Climate Action Plan in March 2011. This plan was one of the first of its kind, and encompassed a strategy for smart growth implementation, greenhouse gas reduction and adaptation to global climate change. The board also approved a number of renewable energy projects that would zero out the county’s entire electric bill, while clearly establishing an environmental leadership commitment to reducing the county’s carbon footprint and the effect on climate change.
The EPA’s Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that encourages organizations to buy green power. It has more than 1,500 partner organizations, including Fortune 500 companies, small- and medium-sized businesses, local, state and federal governments, and colleges and universities. For additional information, visit www.epa.gov/greenpower.