The Environmental Protection Agency has recognized Volkswagen Chattanooga with a 2013 Green Power Leadership Award.
"Volkswagen’s worldwide conservation program is called Think Blue, and it’s a global call to sustainable ecological action on our blue planet," Frank Fischer, CEO and chairman of Volkswagen Chattanooga, said in a prepared statement. "Generating green power on-site is an important part of Volkswagen’s efforts to be responsible for our footprint in everything from powering our factory to powering our cars."
Volkswagen leaders have been vocal about their environmental initiative, which is called Think Blue.
The initiative is the company's sustainable program, and leaders say it's a step beyond a "green effort."
In December 2011, Volkswagen officials announced they were the first U.S. auto manufacturer to obtain LEED Platinum Certification—the nation's top green building standard.
And in January, VW officials celebrated the company's solar farm, which is the largest in the state.
Volkswagen leaders want their company to be the world's largest and most environmentally friendly automaker by 2018. This means increasing market share and decreasing environmental impact, according to Nooga.com archives.
The EPA awards recognize the country’s leading green power users for their commitment and contribution to helping advance the development of the nation’s voluntary green power market, according to a news release.
EPA presented Volkswagen Chattanooga with the award at an event held in conjunction with the 2013 Renewable Energy Markets Conference in Austin, Texas, on Monday.
Volkswagen Chattanooga was one of four organizations nationwide to receive a Leadership Award for the on-site generation of green power.
The award recognizes EPA Green Power Partners that distinguish themselves using on-site renewable energy applications, such as solar photovoltaic or landfill gas.
Chattanooga's plant is currently generating more than 13 million kilowatt-hours of green power annually from an on-site solar energy system, which is enough green power to meet 12 percent of the organization’s electricity use, according to a news release.
Volkswagen Chattanooga currently ranks No. 15 on EPA’s top 20 On-site Generation list, which highlights EPA Green Power Partners that have achieved the highest annual on-site green power generation through July 3, 2013.
Green power is electricity that is generated from environmentally preferable renewable resources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, biogas, biomass and low-impact hydro. Using green power accelerates the development of new renewable energy capacity nationwide and helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector.
According to the EPA, Volkswagen Chattanooga’s current green power generation of more than 13 million kwh is equivalent to avoiding the carbon dioxide emissions of nearly 2,000 vehicles per year or the equivalent amount of electricity needed to power more than 1,000 average American homes annually.
"By investing in on-site green power, Volkswagen Chattanooga is generating cleaner electricity and reducing harmful carbon pollution and providing a clear example of an organization thriving on innovation and sustainability," EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in a prepared statement.
VW's 33-acre solar park is adjacent to Volkswagen’s manufacturing plant.
The electricity produced from the solar park is expected to meet 12.5 percent of the local manufacturing plant's energy needs during full production and 100 percent during nonproduction periods.
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