The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) continues to lead in the use of green power according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Top 100 list of the largest green power users nationally. USDA ranked eighth among federal agencies and 92 among all sectors.

"Our goal is to support domestic production and use of renewable energy," said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. "Using green power helps grow American jobs, helps USDA programs and services become more sustainable, and demonstrates to every level of government and private industry that supporting clean sources of electricity is a sound business decision and an important choice to help reduce climate risk."

In Fiscal Year 2014, USDA bought and produced a total of 57 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of renewable energy, up from 42 million kWh in fiscal Year 2013 and 37 million in 2012. USDA generates green power where feasible from a growing portfolio of on-site solar, wind, biomass, low-impact hydro, and geothermal energy systems. The Department also supports local clean energy production by buying green power products and renewable energy certificates from local utilities.

"EPA applauds the U.S. Department of Agriculture for its commitment to using green power and for taking a leadership position on the environment," said James Critchfield, Manager of the Green Power Partnership. "USDA is helping to reduce carbon pollution and provides an excellent example for other government agencies to invest in environmental progress."

The EPA estimates that USDA's 57 million kWh of renewable energy is enough to power about 5,000 average American households each year. The Department's commitment to sustainability also extends to the use of alternative fuels in fleet vehicles, recycling and minimizing waste, improving the design and construction of lower-energy green buildings and the purchase and promotion of renewable biobased products. To learn more about USDA's sustainable operations, please visit http://greening.usda.gov/.

Green power is zero-emissions electricity that is generated from environmentally preferable renewable resources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, biogas, eligible biomass, and low-impact hydro. Using green power helps accelerate the development of new renewable energy capacity nationwide and helps users reduce their carbon footprints.

EPA's Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that encourages organizations to reduce the environmental impacts associated with the use of electricity. From major corporations to small businesses, colleges, universities and all levels of government, more than 1,300 partner organizations together buy and produce billions of kilowatt-hours of green power annually. Usage amounts reported reflect U.S. operations only and are sourced from U.S.-based green power resources.

USDA also advances the production and use of American made renewable energy and biobased fuels and products through investments in research, international trade promotion, conservation and renewable energy production. Learn more at the USDA Energy Web.