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Hockey and the Importance of Green Power

by Blaine Collison /

Blaine Collison is the director of the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Partnership. He is on the advisory boards for the Association of Climate Change Officers, the Sustainable Endowments Institute, and the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

Hockey people are outdoors people. We joyfully spend hours upon hours on frozen ponds and lakes playing “Our Game.” When I was a kid growing up in northern Delaware, the best three weeks of winter were the weeks when the ponds on the farm froze and we could skate outside. Like thousands of kids (and adults) across North America, we’d race to the ice any moment we could and play until well after it was too dark to see the puck.

Playing on black ice is part of our collective experience, our heritage and our future. We love the outdoor connection that the Winter Classic brings us each season.

The bad news is that North America is seeing less and less black ice each year. Due to rising greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) from fossil fuel use, global temperatures are rising. We’re starting to get shorter and warmer winters in many places. Ski areas have to manufacture more snow. Ponds are freezing less often.

The good news is that the National Hockey League is using clean, green power – electricity derived from renewable resources like wind, solar and biomass – for 100% of its annual New York headquarters’ operations as well as for the entire Stanley Cup Playoffs. The NHL is the first major professional sports league to join the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Partnership, a national, voluntary program that currently includes more than 1,500 businesses, institutions, non-profits, and agencies, all using green power for some or all of their electricity needs. Close to two-thirds of these organizations are using 100% green power.

Green Power Partners include hockey cities: Washington, DC (Go Caps!); Philadelphia, PA; Boston, MA; Dallas, TX; and San Jose, CA. Green Power Partners also include a host of companies that support hockey fans and their businesses every day; here is a list of our Top 50 Partners.

The NHL and each of these cities and companies have chosen green power not only for the positive environmental benefits of clean renewable energy, but also because green power is a winning economic strategy for business and society alike. Renewable energy creates jobs in our communities. Renewable energy expands our domestic energy supply. Renewable energy protects our businesses and society from volatile prices in the fossil fuels markets. And renewable energy protects our environment.

Today, more than 1,500 Green Power Partners are collectively using more than 28 billion kilowatt-hours of green power annually, equal to avoiding the annual carbon pollution from the electricity use of more than three million average American homes. And today, green power is available to every single business, institution and electricity consumer in the United States.

We at the EPA are proud to continue to work with the NHL, its teams, its suppliers and its fans to grow our U.S. green power sector. We invite you to join us. And we hope to see you at an NHL game- or out on the black ice- this winter.

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