With prices for solar and wind power falling steadily, there’s never been a better time for heavy power users to switch to renewables. And that’s what an increasing number of companies, governments, and colleges are doing.
To see who’s taking a lead, look no further than the Environmental Protection Agency’s latest Green Power Partnership rankings. They show how much green power the biggest users within the EPA program are either buying or generating themselves, and what percentage renewable sources make up of their total usage.
Intel comes out ahead. It consumes more than 3 million megawatt hours (MWhs) of green power a year, double the amount of the next heaviest user, Kohl’s Department Stores. Microsoft, in third, uses 1.3 million MWhs a year, while Google (730,000 MWhs) and Apple (626,000 MWhs) are in fifth and eighth place respectively.
Four of the top-10 users are retailers. Whole Foods, in fourth, uses 800,000 MWhs a year, for instance. And the figures show how many store chains are investing in their own generating capacity (as we also discussed here). Walmart, the top on-site generator by volume, uses 651,000 MWhs a year in total, with about a third of that coming from its own biogas, wind, and solar facilities.
Top college users include the University of Pennsylvania, which gets 51% of its power from wind, the University of Oklahoma, which is up to 85% wind, and Ohio State, which is at 23%.
Meanwhile, top government users include the Department of Energy itself (with almost 600,000 MWhs a year), the Department of Veterans Affairs (400,000 MWhs from biogas), and the cities of Houston, Austin, and Dallas, all which get high percentages from local wind sources (100% in Austin’s case). Yolo County, California, is 13th on the list of top on-site generators. Famously, it makes money for its citizens by selling power back to the grid, the first county to do so.
All of which shows how renewables are spreading across sectors and organization types. You can see the full rankings for yourself here.