Beginning in January 2012, the city will be purchasing Green-e Energy-certified renewable energy certificates for all its electricity. These RECs will offset about 4,896 metric tons of CO2 emissions annually from conventional electricity production. The environmental benefit can be compared to not driving 12,000,000 miles in a car, or planting 1,460 acres of trees, according to the municipality.
The REC purchase was conducted through Municipal Electric and Gas Alliance Inc., a non-profit power aggregation alliance of which Ithaca is a member. MEGA uses its collective bargaining power to leverage competitive energy prices for its members.
Ithaca has sourced 5 percent of its energy from wind farms since 2006 and is targeting a carbon footprint 20 percent smaller than 2001 levels by 2016, and it is not the only U.S. municipality to go 100 percent renewable.
In October, the City of Austin, Texas, announced it was to power all of its facilities using only renewable energy. The move catapulted the Texan capital into the U.S.’s top ten renewable energy buyers.