Annapolis, Md. and Herndon, Va. - A unique public-private collaboration between Washington Gas Energy Services (WGES), Sterling Planet and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) reached another milestone today when nearly 100 volunteers, including more than 40 WGES volunteers, planted 1,500 trees on an eight-acre tract of land in Frederick, Md. The tree planting will prevent the runoff of 200 pounds of nitrogen pollution a year into a nearby creek that feeds into Frederick's city drinking water supply. The effort will also eliminate 1,600 metric tons of carbon dioxide pollution that would otherwise affect air quality. In addition, checks were presented by WGES in the amount of $84,000 and by Sterling Planet in the amount of $42,000, for a total contribution of $126,000 to the Carbon Reduction Fund managed by CBF. This brings the total combined contributions of WGES and Sterling Planet to this fund since 2010 to $276,000.
"It is rewarding to know WGES staff and green energy products are making a real and tangible difference in our community," said Harry Warren, President of Washington Gas Energy Services. "Through the sale of our innovative natural gas product matched to locally sourced carbon offsets and our partnership with CBF, we are helping to reduce greenhouse gases and improve the air and water quality in our region."
WGES CleanSteps® Carbon Offsets reduce a customer's carbon footprint by matching local certified carbon offsets with the customer's natural gas usage. When customers choose WGES as their natural gas supplier, a portion of their natural gas usage is matched with CleanSteps® Carbon Offsets, a green product offered by WGES. Customers can also choose to match 100 percent of their natural gas usage with WGES CleanSteps®Carbon Offsets. In turn, WGES and Sterling Planet contribute to the Carbon Reduction Fund to support tree plantings and other environmental projects that reduce greenhouse gases and improve water quality. The product and Carbon Reduction Fund were both launched in September of 2010.
As of April 21, more than 7,900 trees have been planted as a result of this partnership and funding. Program-funded tree plantings have taken place in Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Talbot and Frederick counties in Maryland. In addition, Carbon Reduction Fund monies have also been used to start new nutrient management research and grant programs.
"Sterling Planet, along with WGES, is committed to reinvestment that builds on the current environmental benefits and creates additional positive effects for years to come," said Mel Jones, Sterling Planet President and Chief Executive Officer. "We vigorously support this fund and similar efforts to reduce carbon loading, increase energy efficiency and develop additional sources of renewable energy."
"This type of market-driven solution is a key ingredient to the success of the Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts," said Beth McGee, Senior Scientist for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. "We need creative and cost-effective ways to reduce pollution to our waterways, and this partnership is one of those solutions."
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 160 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.
Alicia Moran, 410-991-7027
Tom Zolper, 443-482-2066