Columbia, Maryland has become the fourth U.S. city to go 100 percent renewable. Last week the city entered into a 20 year power purchase agreement (PPA) with SunEdison.
Columbia, Maryland is a unique place. Home to approximately 100,000 people, Columbia is managed by the non-profit Columbia Association. Columbia was founded in 1967 by James Rouse and his Howard Research and Development Company. It is a product of the post war New Town Movement, a carefully planned city. Rouse set out to found a new type of city, one that would “…respect the land, provide for the growth of people and, ultimately, make a profit,” according to the Columbia Association website.
In going 100 percent renewable, Columbia has taken another giant step forward.
100% Renewable Cities
This was not a huge jump for Columbia. The city was already receiving 75 percent of their energy from wind. Now Columbia has joined just three other U.S. cities in setting the 100 percent trend. Following in the footsteps of Greensburg, Kansas; Burlington, Vermont; and, earlier this month, Aspen, Colorado; Columbia has filled the final 25 percent of their energy mix with solar.
Solar Completes the Mix
Through a 20 year power purchase agreement (PPA), the Columbia Association will receive the solar from SunEdison‘s newly completed 2 MW solar farm that is a part of the Nixon Farm solar project in West Friendship, Maryland.
“With the completion of the Nixon Farm solar power plant, the people of Columbia now enjoy the environmental and cost benefits of getting 100 percent of their electricity from renewable sources,” said Steve Raeder, SunEdison’s general manager of Eastern U.S. commercial and industrial solar. “Solar energy is a clean, reliable source of energy that makes great financial sense for communities across the U.S.”
“Columbia Association is proud to be a leader in clean energy,” said Jeremy Scharfenberg, Columbia Association’s energy manager. “The SunEdison solar installation is a key component of our renewable energy strategy, providing 25 percent of our power requirements. By supplementing Nixon Farm’s solar energy with wind-based renewable energy certificates, we’ve been able to achieve our sustainability goals and reduce our carbon footprint by more than half.”
Photo link: prnewswire