Federal Agencies Increase Renewable Power Purchases

April 1, 2002

Federal agencies throughout the country are actively seeking opportunities to buy renewable power for their sites. In Denver, approximately 30 agencies have fulfilled their commitment to purchase electricity generated by wind turbines. Agencies in other regions are increasing purchases of renewable energy as well, signifying their full support for using renewable power to meet Federal energy needs.

In the spring of 2000, 30 agencies committed to purchase the equivalent of 10 megawatts of wind power through Xcel Energy's Windsource® program. The Denver Federal Executive Board, which represents over 130 Federal agencies in the Denver area, led the initiative to encourage Federal agencies to sign up to purchase wind power. "This purchase of wind power by Federal agencies reflects a commitment to a clean, renewable power source," said Mike Hacskaylo, Administrator of the Western Area Power Administration and Denver Federal Executive Board Chairperson. The implementation team consisted of staff from DOE's Golden Field Office, DOE's Denver Regional Office, DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the General Services Administration (GSA), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). (See "Federal Agencies in Denver Commit to Wind Purchases Equivalent to 10 Megawatts," FEMP Focus, May/June 2000.)

To build support for the partnership, the team contacted large users individually and organized a "sales" meeting for the smaller agencies to explain the initiative. "Building collaboration across agency boundaries is always difficult in government," noted Bill Becker, Director of DOE's Denver Regional Office. "But on this project, Federal agencies in Denver came together brilliantly to support something we all believe in—clean air and clean power."

In November 2001, participating Federal agency staff celebrated the Denver wind power initiative with a tour of Xcel Energy's (formerly Public Service Company of Colorado) Ponnequin Wind Farm. Located northeast of Denver, near the Wyoming border, the wind farm has 44 wind turbines for a total capacity of 30 megawatts. "For those of us who have toured conventional power plants, the visit to Ponnequin was dramatic. Instead of pipes and smokestacks and steam and the roar of equipment, the wind turbines at Ponnequin were as quiet as a sailboat slicing through the water—a gentle swooshing sound. Ponnequin definitely is demonstrating a new paradigm in power production," added Becker. Xcel Energy also purchases approximately 30 megawatts of wind power from Cinergy Global Power's wind farm located in Peetz, Colorado, just south of the Nebraska border.

The Windsource® program is the largest customer-driven wind energy program in the nation. It is a "green pricing" program that allows customers to voluntarily support renewable energy development. Windsource® subscribers can purchase any number of 100 kilowatthour blocks of wind energy for $0.025 cents per kilowatthour. "Xcel Energy is pleased to offer its Colorado customers the opportunity to choose how their electricity is generated through the purchase of wind power through Windsource® Many Federal agencies in this State have taken a leadership role in supporting renewable energy development in our country and in Colorado through their substantial Windsource® purchases," said David Wilks, President of Energy Supply, for Xcel Energy.

Other agencies are also making significant commitments to purchase renewable energy. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Johnson Space Center in Texas recently signed a 3-year electricity contract that includes 5 percent renewables (10 million kilowatthours out of a total 200 million kilowatthours). The premium for the renewable portion of the contract is approximately $0.01 per kilowatthour. The Defense Energy Support Center was the electricity procurement agency for this purchase. As one of the Federal electricity procurement agencies, GSA is encouraging Federal agencies on the east coast and in Texas to purchase renewable power as part of their upcoming electricity procurements—an easy way for agencies to meet the 2.5 percent Federal renewable energy goal by FY 2005.

The EPA continued their commitment to renewable power in 2001 with the signing of a 100 percent renewable energy credits (also known as "green tags") contract between their Cincinnati, Ohio, site and Community Energy. The purchase, at 15.6 million kilowatthours, is the EPA's largest to date. EPA also purchases 100 percent renewable power for their facilities in Golden, Colorado; Richmond, California; Manchester, Washington; and Chelmsford, Massachusetts. Plans are underway for renewable power purchases for several additional EPA facilities around the country.

For more information or for assistance with renewable power purchases, please contact Chandra Shah of NREL at 303-384-7557 or chandra_shah@nrel.gov, or David McAndrew of FEMP at 202-586-7722 or david.mcandrew@ee.doe.gov.