The EPA recently designated Hanover as an EPA Green Power Partner to recognize the town’s efforts to reduce the risk of climate change through the use of green power. Hanover joins 1,500 public and private organizations nationwide which become Green Power Partners by obtaining a qualifying amount of their electricity from renewable resources such as solar, wind, geothermal, eligible biomass and low-impact hydro.
Green power is one element of the Town’s overall strategy to lower its carbon emissions. Other ongoing efforts include decreasing waste and improving energy efficiency; such efforts have achieved an 8% decrease from peak consumption in 2007. The Town plans to raise its green power usage, currently at 10 percent, through purchases of Green-e certified renewable energy certificates and the installation of solar panels.
Hanover’s Green Power program was developed by Sustainable Hanover (SHC), a town committee composed of residents and town officials. The program aims to increase awareness and use of green power across all sectors of the Hanover community, including the town for its municipal operations, large institutions and corporations, and residents and small businesses. All together, the Hanover community consumes 134 million kWh annually.
According to the EPA’s Green Power Equivalency Calculator, achieving 20 percent green power community-wide will mean 15,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions are avoided, an amount that is the equivalent of the emissions from 1.5 million gallons of gasoline. SHC has established 20 percent green as the target for year one.
Hypertherm Corporation, Kendal-at-Hanover and the Co-op Food Stores are large power users who have committed to support Hanover’s green power program. Hypertherm has been an EPA Green Power Partner since 2013 as a part of the company’s environmental stewardship strategy. Kendal-at-Hanover and the Co-op Food Stores add green power to the variety of measures they have in place to address sustainability.
Plans to offer green power choices to residents and small businesses are being developed. Resident and SHC member Yolanda Baumgartner said, “The 20 percent target is ambitious. But we have encouraging feedback from large users who want to support renewables. Also there are many people in Hanover looking for ways to adopt green power. Some are interested in installing PV panels. We will offer an option for them. There are others for whom PV panels are not the answer. We will have an option for them as well.” Sustainable Hanover expects to announce these options by summer.