An environmental group has certified the initial block of green power purchased by the City of Chicago.CHICAGO, Illinois, US, 2001-06-22 [SolarAccess.com] An environmental group has certified the initial block of green power purchased by the City of Chicago. Environmental Resources Trust Inc. (ERT) has given its EcoPower(sm) label to the electricity provided to the city by Commonwealth Edison. ERT substantiated ComEd’s claim that the energy meets the standard for clean energy and has certified the environmental benefits under the city’s agreement with the utility. The purchase agreement is the largest clean energy deal ever signed by a municipality, and commits the City of Chicago to purchase up to 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources within five years. ERT has agreed to manage the city’s clean energy purchases in coming years. ERT was formed in 1996 by Environmental Defense to promote the sale of renewable energy that has environmental benefits and to conduct other market transactions. Under its agreement with the city and ComEd, ERT will receive purchase orders from the City for up to 157,000 MWh in the first year and will work with ComEd to identify and certify sources that meet specific environmental criteria. At least 10 percent of the purchased energy must come from new renewable sources. ERT will track the city’s purchases, label each block as EcoPower and ensure that the blocks of clean power are marketed to only the City of Chicago. “Since no electron flowing into the power grid is distinguishable from any other, ERT’s certification and tracking services assure consumers that the energy bought really does come from clean, renewable sources,” explains Alden Hathaway of ERT. “We will make available the substantiation reports and the unique, identifying serial numbers of each clean energy block for anyone to see.” Initially, the energy will come from 18 area landfills that generate electricity from the methane gas formed by decomposing waste. Modern landfill plants are considered new renewable sources and will fulfill ERT’s requirement for 10 percent from renewables. The city’s commitment to obtain up to 50 percent of its power from new renewables within five years will spur development of wind and solar facilities as a key goal of the overall program. “The demand that the city is spearheading for new renewables is the most important result of this announcement,” says Barney Brannen, executive director of ERT. “It substantially lowers the risk involved in financing the development of new renewable power supplies, and we believe this demand will be a substantial catalyst for new renewable generation that will assure Chicago area citizens a supply of energy that is reliable, stably priced, and environmentally friendly.” The city will also provide seed capital for a reinvestment fund that will support the development of new renewable power sources. ERT will jointly manage this fund with ComEd, which is charging a premium for clean energy that will provide the fund’s initial capital source. ERT expects the fund to exceed $3 million within five years, as ERT branches out and works with other municipalities in Illinois to follow Chicago’s lead.