While I generally have nothing but praise for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), its Green Power Partnership
program falls short of the agency’s usual standard. In particular, the
program, by providing media recognition for participating companies who
procure renewable energy, inflates the activities of large companies at
the expense of businesses whose clean energy transformation is much more
Take Walmart, who appears at No. 3 in the EPA’s Green Power Partner
rankings with an annual procurement of 872 million kilowatt-hours
(enough to power approximately 87,000 homes per year). The EPA
inaccurately credits the super-retailer with getting 28 percent of its
electricity from green power, because the partnership program allows
Walmart to cherry-pick its only two regional divisions that have made
any strides on green energy (California and Texas).
But it’s not just that Walmart can green its appearance by narrowing the
focus to one or two company divisions. The truth is that many small
businesses and towns (and even individuals) can lay claim to much more
significant strides on renewable energy.