Babson College was among the partners honored when the Environmental Protection Agency celebrated Wellesley, MA as the first Green Power Community in Massachusetts, and the second in all of New England during Tuesday’s ceremony at Wellesley’s Town Hall. The awards were presented by EPA Region One Deputy Regional Administrator Ira Leighton along with Massachusetts, State Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Richard Sullivan, Jr. who gave recognition to Wellesley from the Commonwealth.
Babson College, along with several other community partners, were among the list of supporters who helped the Town of Wellesley become a Green Power Community, helping the town achieve a total percentage of 4.12 % green power usage. Green power, as defined by the EPA, is electricity generated from renewable resources such as wind, solar, geothermal, biogas, and biomass and low-impact hydropower.
“We applaud Wellesley for increasing their use of clean and renewable energy sources,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “This is a great example of a community working together to help ensure a cleaner environment for us all. Wellesley’s example can be replicated all over New England,” Spalding said.
To achieve this designation, the municipal government supported the purchase of green power, and coordinated its own POWER TO CHOSE campaign to encourage rate payers to voluntarily pay a modest premium to purchase all or part of their electricity through Wellesley Renewable Energy, power produced by Spruce Mountain wind farm in Maine.
The campaign’s success was significantly boosted by the participation of town partners Babson College, MA Bay Community College, Sun Life Financial, Wellesley College, all of which, along with the Town of Wellesley, received Green Power Partner designation by the EPA for their efforts and proactive action towards making Wellesley a renewable community. Whole Foods Market, Starbucks, and TD Bank, which were already Green Power Partners, also added to the success of the campaign.
For the Town to be designated a Green Power Community at least 3% of the community-wide electricity use must be “green power,” according to the EPA. The Wellesley community usage is now 4.12% green power, far exceeding this requirement.
“We congratulate Wellesley for receiving the EPA’s Green Power Community designation,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan. “The clean energy revolution begins at the local level, and we are pleased to see Wellesley taking the initiative and committing to using renewable energy.”
Wellesley’s municipal government led the way by committing to 5% Wellesley Renewable Energy for its power needs. Rate-payer participation increased by 88% in the first half of 2012 to 1,146 accounts. Now 11.8% of the accounts of Wellesley’s Municipal Light Plant, the Town-owned local utility, participate in POWER TO CHOOSE. When compared to the most recent published participation rates from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (2010), this would place Wellesley’s participation rate third in the country after Palo Alto, CA and Portland, OR for voluntary renewable energy programs.
“We succeeded because we found a way to unlock latent support for sustainability among many electricity customers in Wellesley,” said Ellen Ledley Korpi, Chair of the Town’s Sustainable Energy Committee. “This was a collaborative effort by the Town government and many of the Town’s organizations.”
To learn more on the EPA’s Green Power Partnership visit: http://www.epa.gov/greenpower/
Wellesley residents can sign up and/ or increase the amount of renewable energy here at: http://www.wellesleyrenewableenergy.com/