The United States Environmental Protection Agency in 2006 threw out a challenge to Fortune 500 Corporations to exceed five billion kilowatt-hours green power purchasing collectively. This challenge was to be until the end of the year 2007. The EPA was proud to announce that fifty-three companies have gone past the goal by one hundred thirty percent collectively.
The biggest winner of this challenge was Intel, the largest chipmaker in the world. The company has plans to purchase one point three billion kilowatt hours each year of renewable energy certificates from wind, solar energy sources, biomass sources, and small hydro-electric sources. By making this large purchase it makes them the biggest purchaser of green energy here in the United States in a Fortune 500 Corporation. With this purchase Intel has energy enough to power approximately two hundred fifteen thousand homes each year. The company also states that the amount of kilowatts they have purchased it has the equivalent environmental impact of removing more than three hundred forty thousand cars off the road every year.
Renewable energy certificates, can also be known as green energy certificate, tradable renewable certificates, or green tags. These are a way for coorporations to buy green energy indirectly because many times companies do not always know if the power they are using is from green energy or not. The reason is that the energy is sent into the grid from a variety of sources with some of them green and some of them are not.
When a company purchases renewable energy certificates they can continue to maintain the providers they already use and fulfill their green energy goals. By doing this, purchasing renewable energy certificates could be cheaper than just switching their providers of energy. The purchase that Intel made is equal to forty-six percent of the total amount of energy used in the United States.
When they speak of renewable energy resources, they are referring to energy sources such as geothermal, wind, or solar. When the company makes these purchases some view this as a way to offset the carbon impact of electricity that is consumed from gas or coal fired powered plants.
Intel has its largest base of operation in Oregon and is one of the largest consumers of electricity in the state because its chip factories, which are energy-intensive operations, run twenty-four hours a day. In 2008, Intel bought twenty-five million kilowatt hours of wind power in Oregon. This was enough to give power to approximately two thousand three hundred homes.
In addition to having the top honor from the EPA, they also made the EPA’s Green Power Partners Top 25 List.