This week seems to be going pretty well for Cincinnati. For most inhabitants of my Midwest hometown, the Reds clinching a postseason position was the big news this week and the reason for a lot of celebration and local pride. The Bengals have been rocking it as well, now 2-1, at the top of the AFC North, and snagging a surprising win over Green Bay. I’ve never been much of a sports fan though (my friends had to fill me in on both of these big stories), yet despite that, this week I have managed to find a reason to be proud of this at-times wonderful city. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, Cincinnati was named one of the two Green Power Communities of 2013 by the EPA’s Green Power Leadership Awards! Oh yeah. Get some. Congrats to fellow winner Mercer Island, WA, as well. We both kick ass.
The winners of the Green Power Leadership Awards were announced this past Monday, September 9, and included such big names as Intel, Microsoft, Cisco, and Ohio State University (yeah, more Ohio pride, I couldn’t resist). The awards ranged from sustained excellence in green power to awards for on-site generation of power and green power suppliers.
Cincinnati’s award was in response to a wide variety of work being done to improve and endorse green power options here in my native town. According to the award summary, in June 2012, we became the first major city in the US to offer a 100 percent green power option, through our community choice aggregation program. This allows our citizens (numbering somewhere around 300,000) to opt into a sort of collective bargaining for green energy through the city. The city pools the aggregate’s energy demand, then negotiates for a lower price on green energy as if it was all one account. Pretty nifty, huh? Nifty enough for more than 50,000 residential properties and small businesses to take advantage evidently. Some of these green power sources are even local themselves, including the Zoo’s solar canopy project.
Cincinnati is also working on passing a Property Assessed Clean Energy legislation, which would help to fund upgrades to commercial buildings to help improve their energy efficiency or install renewable energy hardware. All in all we’re a pretty impressive city these days. Oh did I mention that 14% of our total energy use comes from green energy? Because it does. As the EPA’s award points out, we are a remarkable example showing that a major Midwestern city can incorporate green energy in a way that actually benefits both the city and its citizens. Kudos, Cincy. I’m proud to live here, which I don’t get to say too often.
You can read more about the other awards given and Cincinnati’s work on the EPA’s website below: