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District of Columbia Receives C40 Cities Award for Global Leadership on Climate Change

Thursday, December 3, 2015
DC’s groundbreaking wind power purchase agreement leads to prestigious recognition

(Paris, France) — The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) announced today that the District of Columbia has won the global award for Green Energy at the 2015 C40 Cities Awards. The District was recognized for its groundbreaking wind power purchase agreement between the District Government and Iberdrola Renewables, LLC that will reduce DC’s carbon footprint and save $45 million over the next 20 years. In Paris, Department of Energy and Environment Director (DOEE) Tommy Wells and DGS Associate Director for Sustainability and Energy Mark Chambers accepted the award on behalf of the District and Mayor Muriel Bowser.

The C40 Cites Awards provide global recognition for cities demonstrating policies and programs to reduce carbon emissions and advance sustainability.  This year, C40 received more than 200 applications from 94 cities.

“The District of Columbia is proud to be recognized among global cities that are truly at the vanguard of fighting climate change,” said Mayor Bowser. “Our wind agreement, coupled with the solar power purchase agreement signed last month, demonstrates my Administration’s commitment to investing in clean energy, creating green jobs, and fulfilling our pledge to cut 80% of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.”

“The combined wind and solar power purchases will power approximately one third of the District Government’s electricity needs while cutting our carbon footprint by 110,000 tons each year,“ said Department of General Services (DGS) Director Chris Weaver. “This recognition by C40 affirms our renewable energy efforts can be a model for cities around the world.”

The awards ceremony coincides with the activities of the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) and the historic Climate Summit for Local Leaders – the largest global convening of mayors, governors, and local leaders focused on climate change. DOEE Director Tommy Wells and DGS Associate Director Mark Chambers are participating in the Summit as a representative of the Compact of Mayors, a global coalition of mayors and city officials pledging to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions, enhance resilience to climate change, and track their progress transparently.  

Including the Wind Farm PPA at 35 percent, the District now purchases enough green power to cover 100 percent of its municipal use, more than 470 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) through renewable energy certificates (RECs). This is equivalent to greening the annual power supply of 44,000 average American homes.

The wind purchase agreement places DC government at number two on EPA’s Green Power Partnership List of Top 30 Local Government Partners, and makes it one of few large municipal governments using clean, renewable energy for all of its electricity use.

“Along with hundreds of other cities in the Compact of Mayors, we are showing that actions at the local level can have a global impact,” said DOEE Director Wells. “The District will add its voice to those local leaders calling for city efforts, like the District’s pioneering renewable energy efforts, to be recognized during the international negotiation process, in order to reach a universal agreement that will protect the world for our generation and for those to come.”

Mayor Bowser has made sustainability a focus of her Administration. In addition to the wind power purchase agreement, the District is also home to more LEED and ENERGY STAR-certified buildings per capita than any other city in the country and is first in green power purchases among U.S. cities for three years running. Just last month, the District signed a solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) deal that will complete the largest municipal solar PPA deployment in U.S. history. The District was also the recent recipient of the 2015 Standard Bearers Award, a national program that recognizes innovation and leadership in the enforcement of energy code at the state and local level.