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Intel Makes Green Power Push, Keeps EPA Top Spot

Intel has increased its annual green power purchases by 75 percent, retaining the top spot in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ranking of Green Power Partnership companies.

The chip manufacturer has increased its annual green power usage to more than 2.5 billion kWh (2.5 TWh), the most of more than 1,300 members of the EPA’s Green Power Partnership, an initiative which encourages companies to buy renewable energy. The EPA defines green power as a subset of renewable resources that includes solar, wind, geothermal, biomass and low-impact hydro.

Intel announced Tuesday that it will buy 2.5 billion kWh of renewable energy credits (RECs) in 2011, a 75 percent increase over its 2010 commitment of 1.43 billion kWh, which was reported in the EPA rankings last quarter. The company has recently completed nine solar installations in Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon and Israel, which together generate 3.8 million kWh a year.

Intel’s energy portfolio also includes wind, solar, geo-thermal, small hydro-electric and biomass. The company made its first REC purchases with a 1.3 billion kWh commitment in 2008.

The Green Power Partnership offers organizations advice, technical support and other resources to help them procure green power, with an aim of reducing carbon footprints and reducing procurement costs.

Intel’s power purchase is the largest to date in the partnership, the EPA said, and avoids CO2 emissions equivalent to those from 218,000 average American homes. Intel’s green power purchases make up 88 percent of its total electricity use.

Second-ranked Kohl’s is the only other company on the list to use more than 1 billion kWh (1 TWh) of green energy, and is one of 14 organizations in the top 50 to buy RECs covering 100 percent or more of their energy use.

Other companies buying 100 percent green energy include Whole Foods, HSBC North America, T.D. Bank and Dannon.

Staples has more than doubled its green power purchases, and Sony Corporation of America nearly doubled its green power use. Best Buy appears on the top 50 list for the first time this year. Another list specifically for retailers ranks Kohl’s first, followed by Whole Foods, Starbucks and Staples.

Together, the top 50 use more than 13.5 billion kWh of green power a year, the EPA said, compared to 19.2 billion kWh across all Green Power partners.

The rest of the top 50, related lists for retailers and the Fortune 500, and rankings for previous years are posted here.

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