The City of Oak Ridge, Tenn., is on the verge of being selected by the Environmental Protection Agency as a Green Power Community, the first in the Southeast.

The EPA’s Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that encourages organizations to buy renewable energy. To be designated as a Green Power Community, a local government must purchase or produce green power in amounts that meet EPA minimum purchase requirements as determined by community electricity usage.

Green power is defined as electricity generated from renewable resources, such as wind, solar, biogas, biomass and low-impact hydropower. Oak Ridge Electric Department customers can buy Green-e Energy certified renewable energy through TVA’s Green Power Switch program.

To qualify, local governments must also initiate a community-wide green power campaign to encourage renewable energy purchases. The City of Oak Ridge, playing off its nickname as the Secret City due to its historical origins, created a campaign called, “The Secret’s Out: Oak Ridge Loves Green Power,” to encourage residents and businesses to buy green power.

“If we can get 100 new green power purchasers, Oak Ridge will have the highest green power program participation rate in the Tennessee Valley,” said City Manager Mark Watson. “The large green power purchase by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the City of Oak Ridge’s recent commitment, and the ongoing support of the residents and businesses of Oak Ridge has made our community a leader in green power purchasing.” 

The city’s green power community challenge will kick off Saturday, April 26, at the Earth Day Festival in Bissell Park, and will conclude with a community event on June 21. 

About Oak Ridge, Tenn.: Oak Ridge, a city framed by the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, was built under a cloak of great secrecy during World War II. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, the city of Oak Ridge did not even exist. In an effort to bring an end to the war, Oak Ridge and two other cities were chosen to be part of the top-secret Manhattan Project which would produce the world’s first atomic weapons. Oak Ridge currently has a population of 29,300 with federal offices, industrial facilities, a major medical center and approximately 800 private firms. The Oak Ridge school system has maintained a high ranking both within the state and the southeastern United States. There are many cultural activities including a symphony orchestra, civic ballet and community playhouse. 

About TVA: The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power distributors serving 9 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation.

About the EPA Green Power Partnership: EPA, through the Green Power Partnership, works with partner organizations to reduce the environmental impacts of conventional electricity use. Nearly two-thirds of partners use 100 percent green power. Together, the partners are using more than 28 billion kilowatt-hours of green power annually, enough carbon-free energy to supply more than 3 million American homes. 

For more information, please contact Marlene Witt with the City of Oak Ridge Utility Office at 865-425-3400.

Media Contact: Candice Brogan at 865-425-3526 or cbrogan@oakridgetn.gov