Houston Number One in Green Energy Consumption

The City of Houston buys the most renewable electricity among the nation's municipalities, that's according to a list released by the EPA Green Power Partnership. Houston has long been known for its petrochemical industry, but as Wendy Siegle reports, the city wants to be recognized as a leader in alternative energies too.
The EPA Green Power Partnership ranks various organizations by how much renewable energy they use. The City of Houston came in as the largest municipal purchaser of green energy in America this quarter. Laura Spanjian is the city's sustainability director.

"We use 1.7 billion kilowatt hours of renewable energy, and that powers about 26,000 homes a year. So it really helps us reduce our use of fossil fuels; it helps reduce our costs; it helps ensure that we don't have to build expensive power plants in the area to meet our rising energy needs."

Out of all the organizations on the list, which includes hundreds of Fortune 500 companies, colleges, universities, and local, state, and federal governments, the City of Houston came in fourth overall. Only one other city made it onto the list's top ten... Dallas. Spanjian says the rankings may change people's oily perception of the Lone Star State.

"I think this ranking puts Houston on the map and Texas on the map as being an alternative capital of the nation instead of just being thought of as an oil and gas capital of the nation."

The City of Houston gets thirty-two percent of its electricity from wind power. Texas is the biggest producer of wind energy in the nation - something Spanjian says brings down the cost of purchasing renewables for the city.

Spanjian hopes to get the city's green energy consumption to fifty percent of the entire electricity load by the end of the year, but says she can't make any guarantees.

Wendy Siegle, KUHF News.