Top US corporations told to buy more clean energy

America's biggest companies are being asked to dig into their corporate wallets and use their massive purchasing power to boost the demand for renewable energy in the States.

The US Environmental Protection Agency has called upon the top 500 companies listed on the Fortune Index to pledge to double their current levels of green power purchasing by the end of 2007.

So far only 40 of the 500 companies have signed up to the EPA’s Green Power Challenge which tracks the purchasing of electricity from solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, biogas and low-impact hydro.

These 40 companies purchased around 2.5 billion kilowatt hours of clean power over the past year, enough to fulfil the energy needs of around 200,000 average American homes or neutralise the carbon emissions of 340,000 cars.

Those leading the charge by buying the most green energy are the bank Wells Fargo & Company, Whole Food Markets, chemical and cosmetics company Johnson & Johnson, coffee empire Starbucks and DuPont.

Corporations which are significantly increasing their green power purchase levels include IT outfits Cisco Systems Inc and Hewlett Packard and stationery supplier Staples as well as Starbucks and Wells Fargo.

“Through the Fortune 500 Green Power Challenge, we are encouraging the largest companies in the country to purchase more green power,” said Bill Wehrum, EPA’s acting assistant administrator for Air and Radiation.

“Purchasing green power is good for the environment, good for the economy and good for our energy independence.”

Electricity generation from non-hydro renewable sources currently account for just over two percent of America’s electricity supply.

The Green Power Partnership encourages organisations to purchase green power as a way to reduce the environmental impacts associated with conventional electricity use.

The Partnership is comprised of Fortune 500 companies, local, state, and federal governments, trade associations, and colleges and universities.

Taken as a whole Green Power Partnership members purchase more than 7 billion kilowatt hours of green power on an annual basis.

Sam Bond

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