Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Pittsburgh buys energy from Ohio wind farm

Two large wind turbines.
Wayne Parry
The city will be purchasing “renewable energy certificates,” also known as RECs, from a company called NRG Energy. The purchase enables the city to buy energy produced from a wind farm in Ohio, rather than just paying to offset carbon emissions.

Pittsburgh will purchase “renewable energy certificates,” also known as RECs from NRG Energy. That’s according to Mayor Ed Gainey who made the announcement at a press conference Friday afternoon on the roof of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. The agreement enables the city to buy energy produced from a wind farm in Ohio, rather than just paying to offset carbon emissions.

“It's necessary to invest in renewable energy to provide not just for future generations, but those who are battling numerous health problems, such as asthma and asthmatic and other respiratory issues,” Gainey said.

This is one of multiple efforts to meet city climate and energy goals. The city’s Climate Action Plan outlines objectives to convert 100% of the operational electricity usage to renewable sources by 2030. Other efforts to get the city there include potentially turning a site in Frick Park into a solar farm, according to Deputy Mayor Jake Pawlak.

“We are, for the first time, directly purchasing fully produced energy from a wind farm not that far away from here,” Pawlak said. "It means that we are now moving to the next level of our development where we are directly purchasing renewably generated energy at a price that is competitive with the prices.”

Will Pickering, the CEO of Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority spoke during the press conference about Pittsburgh’s energy needs and changes that are in the works.

“This collaboration brings us closer to our clean energy goals,” Pickering said. “That 2030 goal is right around the corner, and we're also supporting that sustainable and resilient future for now and for future generations.”

Friday’s announcement comes one week after Mayor Ed Gainey met with the U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm to discuss energy investments in Pennsylvania, as well as across the country. One potential investment includes $20 million into the Duquesne Light power grid.

“That kind of project is going to enable, for example, the addition of renewable energy onto the grid,” said Granholm. “It’s going to allow for more electric vehicles to be powered by the grid, and that’s just round one. We’re going to see additional rounds.”