Congratulations 2021 GPLA Winners
Center for Resource Solutions presented the 2021 Green Power Leadership Awards on September 28, 2021, awarding nine organizations and one individual for their roles in promoting and expanding the use of clean, renewable energy. The awards were presented during the annual Renewable Energy Markets 2021 conference in the categories of Market Development, International Market Development, Leadership in Education, and Leader of the Year.
“More than ever before, this year’s GPLA winners represent a movement toward increasing access to renewable energy in all communities,” said Jennifer Martin, executive director of CRS, which co-presents the annual awards with the U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Partnership. “Together these ten winners are demonstrating the power of renewable energy to create jobs, reduce costs, and bring electricity to underserved populations globally, while improving our environment one neighborhood at a time.”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also awarded additional Green Power Leadership Awards to five winners. More information about U.S. EPA’s awards is available at the U.S. EPA’s Green Power Leadership Awards page.
Center for Resource Solutions Awards
California Community Choice Association (CalCCA)
The California Community Choice Association represents 23 member aggregators in California, serving over 11 million customers in over 200 cities and counties. CCAs drive new clean energy project development in California, with long-term PPAs totaling more than 6,000 MW. In the last decade, CCAs purchased more than twice as much renewable energy as required, over 23 million MWh. And more than 80 California cities and counties are working with their CCAs to receive 100% renewable or 100% carbon free energy as their default supply.
Google / M-RETS
Google and M-RETS together are piloting a concept known as Time-based Energy Attribute Certificates, a new, hourly approach for verifying clean energy matching at Google data centers. T-EACs are time-based instruments that, in addition to tracking how and where electricity is produced, also certify specifically when that electricity was produced. Google is now piloting this concept with M-RETs, the midwestern regional energy tracking system, to incentivize approaches to supplying carbon-free energy exactly when, and where, it’s most needed.
Microsoft has committed to being carbon negative by 2030 and run 100% of its operations with renewable electricity by 2025, including all its data centers, buildings, and campuses. In June 2020 Microsoft announced its largest power agreement to date, a 500MW PPA with Sol Systems that ties the purchase of renewable energy to environmental justice initiatives and equity in under-resourced communities—representing a scalable model for how corporate renewable energy procurement can address issues of climate equity and environmental justice.
Seattle City Light / Washington State Housing Finance Commission
To expand the renewable energy market to underserved communities, Seattle City Light and the Washington State Housing Finance Commission together designed a solar financing program for both affordable housing and low-income service providers. Eligible providers can receive below market-rate loans and an upfront payment for the first five years of REC generation. This program provides a crucial income stream for social service organizations that otherwise wouldn’t be able to finance an onsite solar installation.
Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)
As a direct result of the pandemic, the solar industry saw significant disruptions that caused job losses, project cancellations, and upheavals in the solar economy. The Solar Energy Industries Association was instrumental in securing Essential Work status for the solar industry. New installations continued, with solar accounting for 43% of all capacity additions in 2020, the largest share in the industry’s history, ranking it first among all generation technologies. In addition, the Solar Energy Industries Association’s leadership was essential in securing the critical two-year extension of the Solar Investment Tax Credit.
INTERNATIONAL MARKET DEVELOPMENT
In 2020, Microsoft purchased the first-ever Peace Renewable Energy Credits, issued from Congolese solar developer Nuru’s newly commissioned 1.3MW commercial solar-plus-storage project in Goma, DRC, where less than 3% of residents have access to electricity. This purchase helped Nuru install and operate 35 mini-grid connected streetlights that improve safety, allow businesses to stay open at night, and reduce reliance on diesel generators in an area without grid infrastructure. This transaction unlocks a new renewable energy attribute option that other organizations can now leverage to drive renewable projects in underserved communities around the globe.
LEADERSHIP IN EDUCATION
CE. Clean Energy. Bright Futures. is a national clean energy, career-connected education program from BEF. With a focus on educating youth within Native communities, this year CE was able to train 60 educators, and reach over 6,000 students representing 9 states and 20 Tribes. CE developed a summer program to build Native student leadership, and piloted a virtual Regional Clean Energy Talent Development Hub that brings together industry and educational stakeholders to broaden public perspectives and opportunities for educators and students in clean energy.
Climate Action Pathways
Climate Action Pathways for Schools partners with under-resourced public school districts and disadvantaged communities to advance STEM education through sustainability projects. Students developed projects that reduced energy costs and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, including a district-wide energy conservation program combined with tracking solar performance that saved one district $320,000 in energy costs and reduced GHG emissions from facilities by 13%. Paid interns work on energy conservation, energy efficiency, renewable energy, transportation, and waste reduction programs in their school communities.
LEADER OF THE YEAR
A true leader in the renewable energy industry who has worked tirelessly as a thought leader and collaborator, Chris Pennington has outsized influence throughout the industry. He has worked with retail providers to establish innovative solutions delivered through accessible retail channels that help make renewable energy the norm for large corporations, rather than the exception. At Iron Mountain Data Centers and through his work with the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance, Chris has shown forward-thinking leadership. In 2020, Chris led the effort to install the largest Data Center rooftop solar system in the US, and continues to work on accelerating grid decarbonization through corporate energy procurement strategies. Congratulations Chris on being this year’s Green Power Leader of the Year.
U.S. EPA Awards
Boston University; Dane County, WI; Microsoft; Starbucks (Company-owned stores); University of California
Announcing the 2021 Green Power Leadership Award Winners (News Release)
EPA Honors 2021 Green Power Leaders (News Release)
About the Green Power Leadership Awards
The annual Green Power Leadership Awards (GPLAs) are competitive awards that recognize outstanding commitments and achievements in the green power marketplace. By choosing green power instead of conventional electricity, consumers, businesses, and organizations can support increased deployment of renewable energy technologies that will reduce the environmental impact of electricity generation and increase energy security. The GPLAs are presented by the nonprofit Center for Resource Solutions and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at the annual Renewable Energy Markets conference.
For more information about the EPA Awards, visit www.epa.gov/greenpower/green-power-leadership-awards or contact Rebecca Taylor at Taylor.Rebecca@epa.gov.
No endorsement by the EPA is intended or implied.