Philadelphia Café Serves Up Wind Power

A restaurant in Pennsylvania has had a new special on their menu since January – electricity generated by clean, renewable wind.

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania 2002-03-26 [SolarAccess.com] A restaurant in Pennsylvania has had a new special on their menu since January – electricity generated by clean, renewable wind. The White Dog Cafe and its adjacent gift store, The Black Cat, has become the only for-profit business in Pennsylvania to take advantage of statewide electricity deregulation and opt to buy their power from Community Energy’s New Wind Energy program. The wind power, fed into the mid-Atlantic grid, is produced at a wind farm located in Somerset, about three hours west of Philadelphia. “I feel fortunate to have access to sustainable energy sources. Without it, we would be trapped into dependence on a system that causes life-threatening pollution,” said White Dog proprietress Judy Wicks. “This gives us the opportunity to address the crisis of global warming with positive action, rather than feel helpless and hopeless.” The Cafe anticipates they will use 360,000 kilowatt hours of electricity this year. By purchasing wind power, they are reducing their yearly environmental impact by 432,000 pounds of Carbon Dioxide, 1,012 pounds Nitrogen Oxide and 3,244 pounds of Sulfur Dioxide Every year, this amount of wind power offsets the equivalent of taking 31 cars off the road or planting 59 acres of forest or 2,950 trees, according to Community Energy. Under the plan, the restaurant will be paying approximately 15 percent more for the wind power supplied through the Energy Cooperative, which amounts to approximately US$7,000 annually. They hope to offset some of that cost through conservation and more energy efficient technology. They have been working with organizations such as the Clean Air Council, Penn Future, and the Green Restaurant Association – as well as wind power supplier Community Energy – to audit current practices and equipment and come up with new, more energy efficient ways of conducting business. “I don’t mind paying extra to be part of the solution,” said Wicks. “ I see it as a long term investment in a sustainable economy which will pay dividends to future generations.” The White Dog Café, known locally for its unique blend of food, fun and social activism, grosses over US$4 million annually and employees over 100 people. In addition to the wind power program, Executive Chef Kevin von Klause purchases from local family farms and has been a leader in promoting sustainable agriculture. The Philadelphia Fair Food Project, a project of the White Dog Cafe Foundation, works to link sustainable farmers with other area restaurants and food purveyors.
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