Ulster County Is The Only County In New York State Recognized By The United States Environmental Protection Agency As A Leader In Green Power Use And Environmental Sustainability

Posted July 27, 2015

Ulster County Ranks 23rd Nationally Among Local Governments And Is The Only County In New York State To Obtain 100% Of Its Electricity From Renewable Sources

Kingston, N.Y – Today, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that Ulster County government ranks 23rd in its leading edge commitment to use green power among local governments nationally.  Currently, Ulster County purchases 139%, or nearly 19 million kilowatt-hours (kWh), of green electricity from sustainable sources annually through a combination of renewable energy certificates and utility green power products.  Ulster County’s green electricity purchases yield an environmental benefit of avoiding the greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to burning 14 million pounds of coal or 30,469 barrels of oil.  Ulster County is the first county in New York State to be net carbon neutral.

“This recognition from the EPA is a tremendous honor, but we also recognize there is much more we can do to ensure that we preserve an environment with clean air and clean water for our children,” said Ulster County Executive Mike Hein.  “That is why we are very excited about our two proposed solar projects at the RRA landfill site and SUNY Ulster; the two installations will generate more than a quarter of all the electricity used by Ulster County government.  Not only is that good for the environment, it will reduce our electricity expenses which is good news for property taxpayers.  Using green power helps county government become more sustainable, while also sending a message to others across the U.S. that supporting clean sources of electricity is a sound business decision and an important choice in reducing impacts on our climate.”

Judith Enck, Regional Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency

“Climate change is one of the most serious economic and environmental challenges facing the nation," said Judith A. Enck, Administrator of EPA's Region 2 Office. "For most county governments, electricity use is the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. By using clean, renewable power, the municipal government of Ulster County, New York is reducing its environmental impacts and helping to grow the market for cleaner, renewable resources. The EPA is excited to welcome Ulster County as a top leader among local governments and we applaud their use of clean, renewable power."

Amanda LaValle, Coordinator of the Ulster County Department of the Environment

“Our commitment to renewable energy has a real and positive impact on the environment,” Amanda LaValle, Coordinator of the Ulster County Department of the Environment.  “For 2015 alone, our renewable energy purchases means that over 13 thousand metric tons of greenhouse gas pollution was not emitted into the atmosphere. That is comparable to removing the emissions of over 2700 passenger cars from the atmosphere. As we move towards greater production of our own solar energy, through the installations at the Ulster Landfill and the SUNY Ulster Campus in Stone Ridge, we increase our reliance on locally generated renewable energy which only increases the environmental and economic benefits to our area.” 

The EPA recognition comes as Ulster County continues to lead the way in environmental stewardship by:  Being one of the first to ban the use of fracking fluid, prohibiting the use of polystyrene food containers to reduce impact on landfills, mandating the purchase of all County electricity from renewable sources, transitioning the entire UCAT bus fleet to biodiesel fuel, installing electric car charging stations at County facilities for use by the public free of charge, and planning 2 utility-scale solar projects at the site of a former RRA landfill and SUNY Ulster which will generate a combined 4.72 million kWh of electricity. 

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. 

 

Photographs: County Executive Mike Hein with environmental leaders at the former RRA landfill site in the Town of Ulster where the proposed 3.341 kWh solar project would be located.