Ulster County Executive Mike Hein Issues Executive Order Requiring County Government To Purchase 100% Of Its Electricity From Renewable Energy Sources

The Executive Order Is The First Of Its Kind In New York State

Kingston, NY- History was made today when Ulster County Executive Mike Hein signed an Executive Order requiring the County to purchase all of its electricity for the remainder of 2014 and all of 2015 from green, renewable energy sources.  Pursuant to the Executive Order the County will begin purchasing Green-e Energy certified Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), one of the leading renewable energy certification standards in the nation, for all of its electricity.  These RECs will offset 7,500 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually from conventional electricity production.  The purchase yields an environmental benefit of avoiding the greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to burning 7.3 million pounds of coal or driving one car around the earth – 647 times.

“Today is truly an historic day,” said County Executive Mike Hein.  “It is no secret that continued reliance on unsustainable fossil fuels has the potential to lead to a global energy crisis, and in situations such as this I firmly believe that government must lead by example. In the past, the County was striving towards a goal of purchasing 10% of its electricity from renewable sources, but when I look out and see the pristine beauty of Ulster County I am reminded that we must protect our environment all across the country, not just for us but for our children and grandchildren.  Purchasing 100% of our electricity from renewable sources considerably reduces our carbon footprint and embodies my administration’s continued commitment to the environment and to our future.”

Judith Enck, Regional Administrator, US Environmental Protection Agency

“Earlier this week, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed comprehensive new rules to combat climate change.  The commitment to use 100% renewable energy in Ulster County facilities is exactly the type of action we need to move toward a clean energy future and achieve the goals in the new EPA Clean Energy Plan.  I congratulate County Executive Mike Hein for launching this inspired and sensible renewable  energy program that  is a model for every other county government in the state,” said Judith Enck, Regional Administrator, United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Amanda LaValle, Coordinator of Ulster County Department of the Environment

“As a Climate Smart Community, we work tirelessly to reduce our energy use as well as improve the environmental benefits associated with our operations,” said Amanda LaValle, Coordinator of Ulster County Department of the Environment.  “The County Executive's Executive Order continues to show that Ulster County is a true leader on environmental issues.  The purchase of RECs to offset 100% of our usage is a major step forward that will benefit both the environment and the health of all those who enjoy it.”

Kathy Nolan, Research Director for Catskill Mountainkeeper

“This is wonderful, exciting news and I want to commend County Executive Hein for his leadership in protecting our most precious resource, the environment,” said Kathy Nolan, Research Director for Catskill Mountainkeeper.  “The environmental impact of purchasing 100% of the County’s electricity from renewable sources is significant and it sets a new standard for counties across New York State.”

By utilizing smart government initiatives such as comprehensive energy audits of County-owned facilities, consolidation of County departments, incorporation of energy efficiencies including updating interior lighting, solar power at the fairgrounds and comprehensive computerized tracking of energy usage, the County has reduced its electricity consumption by almost 2 million kilowatt hours since 2011 which represents a savings to taxpayers of over $350,000.  The RECs which the County will purchase are a tradable commodity that is created when electricity is produced by harnessing energy from the wind, sun, water, plants and other renewable sources.  RECs allow consumers to procure green power across a diverse geographical area even when green power products are not available locally.   

In addition to requiring the purchase of 100% of the County’s electricity from renewable sources, the Executive Order also directs the County’s Departments of Environment, Planning, Purchasing and Buildings and Grounds to develop and implement a long term plan to make the purchase of green energy a net neutral cost compared to conventional electricity purchases.