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Computer component manufacturer Intel and Microsoft are the top ranked companies in the latest Green Power Partnership (GPP) quarterly rankings of organisations in the US, issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The list ranks organisations in order of how much electricity consumed by each can be termed as ‘green power’, as defined by EPA. The agency formed the GPP voluntary programme as a way to make it easier for US organisations to use green power. This includes companies as well as government departments, trade associations, educational institutions and others.

Intel was top of the National Top 50 rankings, using the most green power of any company, 3.1 billion kWh, using green energy for 100% of its energy requirements. Microsoft, the second highest ranked organisation, used around 1.9 billion kWh of green power annually, meeting around 80% of its energy needs. Notably for the PV industry, Kohl’s Department Stores, ranked third, used solar power exclusively to generate its 1.5 billion kWh of green power.

EPA considers ‘green power’ to be a subset of renewable energy, representing “those renewable energy resources and technologies that provide the highest environmental benefit". This includes solar, wind, biogas, eligible biomass and low impact hydroelectric. Around 1,400 organisations have opted in to the programme, with around 800 of those using green power to meet 100% of their electricity requirements.

Organisations who wish to join must sign a partnership agreement and provide accurate data about their energy use as well as committing to obtaining a certain percentage of their electricity from renewable energy facilities that are less than 15 years old. Rankings are published on the EPA’s website, in various categories including National Top 50, Top 10 Federal Government, Top 20 On-Site Generation and Fortune 500 Partners.

Top in the On-Site Generation category was Wal-Mart Stores, which used a combination of solar, wind and biogas to generate 174 million kWh of green power usage to contribute 1% of its total electricity use. Wal-Mart purchased an additional 577 million kWh annually in green power.   

Notable absentees from the GPP list include IKEA, Google and facebook, none of which have joined the program as yet, although all are thought to obtain a sizable percentage of their energy from renewable sources.

According to EPA, the 20 billion KWh of green energy annually used by the National Top 50 is enough to offset the CO2 emissions of around 2.1 million homes. In addition to issuing the quarterly rankings, EPA gives advice and market data to organisations that have opted into the Green Power Partnership programme.