Herndon, Va. and Annapolis, Md. - In September 2010, Washington Gas Energy Services (WGES) launched the CleanSteps® Carbon Offsets product forging a partnership between WGES, Sterling Planet and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF). Since then, more than 25,000 carbon offsets have been matched to WGES customers' natural gas usage. Additionally, $150,000 in combined contributions from WGES and Sterling Planet have been made to the Carbon Reduction Fund managed by CBF. The funds have been used to plant 4,400 trees on 22 acres in Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties, and to start a new nutrient management grant program and research project.
The WGES CleanSteps® Carbon Offsets product reduces a customer's carbon footprint by matching local certified carbon offsets with the customer's natural gas usage. Over the past 16 months, purchases of these locally sourced intermodal offsets represent the removal of 71,000 truckloads from area roads and instead transporting their cargo via clean, efficient railcar.
In 2011, the CBF leveraged the Carbon Reduction Fund monies to become one of only nine organizations in the country selected to receive a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant to reduce greenhouse gases and to improve water quality through nutrient management work with farmers in Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania. In the spring of 2012, the CBF will begin using the federal funds, combined with Carbon Reduction Fund monies, as an incentive for farmers to use advanced nutrient management techniques. The water quality and greenhouse gas benefits of these projects will be quantified, with any resulting carbon offsets added to the pool of offsets available to WGES customers.
"This type of market-driven solution to address environmental concerns, involving corporate and nonprofit partnerships, is especially critical now," said Beth McGee, Senior Scientist for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. "We need creative and cost-effective responses to achieve the pollution reductions necessary to restore the Chesapeake Bay. It's heartening to see tangible results from our collaboration with WGES and Sterling Planet, and we look forward to reaching additional milestones in 2012."
The CBF intends to use Carbon Reduction Fund monies to undertake four more tree planting projects in 2012, and is currently evaluating additional projects with benefits affecting Chesapeake Bay clean up and climate change.
"We thank our CleanSteps® Carbon Offsets customers for their commitment to WGES and a cleaner environment," said Harry Warren, President of Washington Gas Energy Services, Inc.
"With our customers' sustained support, we'll continue working with Sterling Planet and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to improve our local air and water quality."
As a result of the product launch, in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., within their standard natural gas supply, WGES residential and small commercial customers receive 5% or 3.5% WGES CleanSteps® Carbon Offsets, respectively. Residential, small commercial and large commercial customers also have the option to purchase 100% WGES CleanSteps® Carbon Offsets. To learn more about this partnership and product, visit www.wges.com/carbonoffsets.
About Washington Gas Energy Services, Inc.
Washington Gas Energy Services, Inc. is one of the largest competitive providers of electricity and natural gas in the mid-Atlantic region and supplies more than 350,000 customers in Maryland, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania and Virginia. In 2011, The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) named WGES the Green Power Supplier of the Year in the non-utility category. Headquartered in Herndon, VA, Washington Gas Energy Services is an affiliate of Washington Gas and a subsidiary of WGL Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:WGL).
About The Chesapeake Bay Foundation
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) is the only independent 501(c)(3) organization dedicated solely to restoring and protecting the Chesapeake Bay and its tributary rivers. Across the six-state Chesapeake watershed, CBF sets the agenda, serves as a watchdog, and speaks out on behalf of the Chesapeake Bay to business, government, and the public. www.cbf.org
About Sterling Planet
Sterling Planet has been a national leader in innovative clean energy solutions since 2000. The first company with a nationwide retail offer of wind, solar, biomass and other forms of renewable energy, Sterling Planet has delivered billions of renewable energy kilowatt-hours in both voluntary and mandated markets. Clients include more than 150 utility partners, as well as multinational corporations, government agencies, educational and nonprofit institutions, and individual consumers. Sterling Planet also offers carbon offsets to counteract greenhouse gas emissions and White Tags® energy efficiency certificates, which the company introduced to the U.S. in 2006.