Pittsburgh receives first place award in U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Awards
December 29, 2020
The award program demonstrates how cities of all sizes are dealing with the effects of climate change and the impact mayors are having on protecting the environment for future generations.
Pittsburgh was awarded the top prize amongst large cities (populations of 100,000+) for its leadership with the Western Pennsylvania Energy Consortium (WPEC). Started by the city in 2008, WPEC is an innovative electricity purchasing platform that helps reduce costs for members by aggregating electricity load from members' annual consumption. Earlier this year, the city announced WPEC's partnership with Direct Energy to utilize 100 percent locally sourced renewable electricity for all major city facilities.
WPEC has 32 members that includes some of Pittsburgh's largest authorities and institutions. Through their joint efforts and purchasing, WPEC has offset nearly 43,000 metric tons of CO2eq and is expected to save members $700,000 in energy costs this year.
"The really exciting part of the Western Pennsylvania Energy Consortium is that it has brought together a critical mass of energy users to reshape our region's energy future," said Mayor Peduto. "This broad partnership saves money for our taxpayers, creates local clean energy jobs and reduces our carbon use, today and into the future."
As part of the recognition, the Walmart Foundation will be granting $25,000 to ONEPGH for WPEC and energy-related investment.
"We commend these mayors and all of the awardees for sustaining their climate efforts and commitments during this most challenging year," said Amy Hill, senior director for Walmart. "Amidst this pandemic and all of its disruption and varied impacts, the successful efforts of these mayors are even more impressive given the many challenges before their cities, including climate protection."
"President-elect Biden has rightly pledged to make climate protection a top priority of his new Administration, and mayors stand ready to join with him to meet the climate challenges before all of us," said Tom Cochran, USCM CEO and executive director. "Mayors have a record of success in taking climate action at the local level and have urged greater federal engagement and commitments on climate protection to bolster and expand upon what mayors are already doing."
Pittsburgh is joined in the large city division with honorable mentions awarded to Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, Rochester (MN) Mayor Kim Norton and Tucson Mayor Regina Romero. West Hartford, Connecticut won the top award for small cities.