Last DSIRE Review: 06/12/2012
In October 2000, a group six county agencies, consisting of Montgomery County, Montgomery County Public Schools, Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission, Montgomery College, the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, and the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, began purchasing power on a competitive basis. In March 2003, the county's energy policy was amended to incorporate the purchase of renewable energy and to expand energy-efficiency efforts. This resolution required all county agencies to purchase 5% of their total electricity supply from power generated by zero-emission renewable resources.
In May 2005, Montgomery County signed a contract with Washington Gas Energy Services and its wind energy supplier, Community Energy, to supply 5% of a multi-jurisdictional group's power with wind-energy resources, resulting in a purchase of 38.4 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year for two years from wind facilities in West Virginia. The contract applied to six county agencies, 11 municipalities and Prince George's County. In early 2006, the county and its partners doubled their commitment to 10% renewable energy (Resolution 15-1529) for FY 2007 with a further goal of 20% by FY 2011. The County further updated the green purchasing policy in October 2008, enacting a resolution setting an FY 2009 goal of 15% renewable energy while maintaining the FY 2011 goal of 20%. The 2008 resolution also updated the County's renewable energy qualification criteria to include only wind, solar, anaerobic digestion, landfill gas, biomass, geothermal, and tidal energy as defined under the Tier I resource definitions of the state RPS.
In April 2010, the County and its partners announced a new green power purchase of almost 162 million kWh, boosting the County's purchase to 30% of its annual electricity use. However, as of June 2012 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Green Power partnership lists a current purchase of 134.6 million kWh, or 25% of electricity demand for the collective group. The County's FY2013 budget documents assume a continuation of these purchases, with most county agencies achieving a minimum purchase of 20% renewable energy through the extension of current contracts. The Montgomery County Clean Energy Buyers Group currently consists of Montgomery County Government, Montgomery County Public Schools, Montgomery College and The Maryland-National Park and Planning Commission. Also participating are the City of College Park, Chevy Chase Village, Chevy Chase Village Section 5, City of Gaithersburg, City of Rockville, City of Takoma Park, Town of Glen Echo, Town of Kensington, Town of Laytonsville and Town of Somerset.
The group's initial commitment to purchase wind power was influenced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's designation of metropolitan Washington, DC, as a severe ozone non-attainment area. As a result of this designation, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC, approved State Implementation Plans (SIPs) in February 2004 in order to meet the national Ambient Air Quality Standard for ground-level ozone. These SIPs include the first state submissions of wind-energy purchases as control measures in regional air-quality plans required under the Clean Air Act. The wind purchase was designed to reduce dangerous ozone transport caused by fossil-fuel power plants in upwind areas.