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Find out Which Businesses, Cities and Universities Use 100 Percent Green Energy

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More and more businesses, municipalities and universities are promoting themselves as efficient, but only a select few can honestly say they use 100 percent clean energy.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) celebrated those green energy consumers yesterday by releasing its 100% Green Power Users list. The list is comprised of organizations in the agency's Green Power Partnership (GPP), which includes more than 1,500 organizations that collectively use more than 28 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of green power each year. The GPP includes some of the cities Americans live in, stores where they shop, governmental entities they rely on and colleges they might send their children to.

The 966 partners that made the 100% Green Power Users list account for 11.5 billion kWh, according to the EPA. Since all of the users power their structures with 100 percent renewable energy—some exceed that mark through a combination of renewable energy certificates (RECs) and on-site installations—they are only ranked by annual usage.

Here are the top 10 power users:

Click the image for the full list of 100% Green Power Users. Table credit: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Intel Corp. has 7,000 kilowatts of installed solar capacity. The company's green power purchasing has the equivalent environmental impact of taking more than 455,000 passenger cars off the road each year or avoiding the amount of electricity it would take to power more than 327,000 average U.S. homes each year, according to the EPA.

"Our renewable purchase is just one part of a multi-faceted approach to protect the environment, and one that we hope spurs additional development and demand for renewable energy," said Marty Sedler, Intel's director of global utilities and infrastructure.

The EPA yesterday also issued its ranking of the top 30 on-site generators of green power. Usage figures are based on annualized GPP member contract amounts in kilowatts, not calendar year totals. The rankings are updated each quarter.

The top 10 on-site renewable energy generators. Click on the image to view the full ranking. Chart credit: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Combined, the partners' on-site green power consumption totals nearly 860 million kWh of clean energy per year—an amount the EPA says is equivalent to evading the carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity use of more than 91,000 average U.S. homes each year.

Energy users can meet GPP requirements using any combination of three criteria: RECs, on-site generation and utility green power products.

Visit EcoWatch’s RENEWABLES page for more related news on this topic.

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Protestors marched outside the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey on Monday, August 26, during the MTV Video and Music Awards to bring attention to the water crisis currently gripping the city. Karla Ann Cote / NurPhoto / Getty Images

By Will Sarni

It is far too easy to view scarcity and poor quality of water as issues solely affecting emerging economies. While the images of women and children fetching water in Africa and a lack of access to water in India are deeply disturbing, this is not the complete picture.

The city of Flint, Michigan, where dangerous levels of pollutants contaminated the municipal water supply, is a case in point — as is, more recently, the city of Newark, New Jersey.

The Past is No Longer a Guide to the Future

We get ever closer to "day zeros" — the point at when municipal water supplies are switched off — and tragedies such as Flint. These are not isolated stories. Instead they are becoming routine, and the public sector and civil society are scrambling to address them. We are seeing "day zeros" in South Africa, India, Australia and elsewhere, and we are now detecting lead contamination in drinking water in cities across the U.S.

"Day zero" is the result of water planning by looking in the rear-view mirror. The past is no longer a guide to the future; water demand has outstripped supplies because we are tied to business-as-usual planning practices and water prices, and this goes hand-in-hand with the inability of the public sector to factor the impacts of climate change into long-term water planning. Lead in drinking water is the result of lead pipe service lines that have not been replaced and in many cases only recently identified by utilities, governments and customers. An estimated 22 million people in the US are potentially using lead water service lines. This aging infrastructure won't repair or replace itself.

One of the most troubling aspects of the global water crisis is that those least able to afford access to water are also the ones who pay a disproportionately high percentage of their income for it. A report by WaterAid revealed that a standard water bill in developed countries is as little as 0.1 percent of the income of someone earning the minimum wage, while in a country like Madagascar a person reliant on a tanker truck for their water supply would spend as much as 45 percent of their daily income on water to get just the recommended daily minimum supply. In Mozambique, families relying on black-market vendors will spend up to 100 times as much on water as those reached by government-subsidized water supplies.

Finally, we need to understand that the discussion of a projected gap between supply and demand is misleading. There is no gap, only poor choices around allocation. The wealthy will have access to water, and the poor will pay more for water of questionable quality. From Flint residents using bottled water and paying high water utility rates, to the poor in South Africa waiting in line for their allocation of water — inequity is everywhere.

Water Inequity Requires Global Action — Now.

These troubling scenarios beg the obvious question: What to do? We do know that ongoing reports on the 'water crisis' are not going to catalyze action to address water scarcity, poor quality, access and affordability. Ensuring the human right to water feels distant at times.

We need to mobilize an ecosystem of stakeholders to be fully engaged in developing and scaling solutions. The public sector, private sector, NGOs, entrepreneurs, investors, academics and civil society must all be engaged in solving water scarcity and quality problems. Each stakeholder brings unique skills, scale and speed of impact (for example, entrepreneurs are fast but lack scale, while conversely the public sector is slow but has scale).

We also urgently need to change how we talk about water. We consistently talk about droughts happening across the globe — but what we are really dealing with is an overallocation of water due to business-as-usual practices and the impacts of climate change.

We need to democratize access to water data and actionable information. Imagine providing anyone with a smartphone the ability to know, on a real-time basis, the quality of their drinking water and actions to secure safe water. Putting this information in the hands of civil society instead or solely relying on centralized regulatory agencies and utilities will change public policies.

Will Sarni is the founder and CEO of Water Foundry.

Note: This post also appears on the World Economic Forum.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Circle of Blue.

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