Renewable energy is picking up steam in Metro Detroit. Or, in this case, picking up the breeze.
The Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) will now power its operations with 100% renewable electricity from wind farms.
“We continue to look for ways to reduce our ecological footprint and thank ITC for helping us to accomplish that goal,” said DZS Executive Director and CEO Ron Kagan. “Our hope is to inspire others to look to clean, renewable energy sources.”
The DZS joins a growing list of companies and organizations choosing to reduce the impact of their energy use. It also serves to build the market for renewable energy, which currently accounts for less than 10 percent of total electricity generated nationwide.
There won’t be giant wind turbines going up on zoo property, though. The nuts and bolts of how this happens is through the purchase of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) with the support of ITC Holdings Corp. through 2018.
Each REC – a tradable, nontangible energy commodity – represents 1 megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity delivered to a power grid that was generated from an eligible renewable energy resource such as wind or solar power. The Detroit Zoo’s RECs are certified by Green e Energy, which provides independent, third-party certification to ensure that renewable energy products meet strict environmental and consumer-protection standards.
Recently, in recognition of their continuous efforts in sustainability – including discontinuing the sale of bottled water at the Detroit Zoo and building the first zoo-based dry biodigester in the country – the DZS received the 2015 Green Award from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and was also named 2015 Best-Managed Nonprofit by Crain’s Detroit Business.
Speaking of electricity and lights, currently, the zoo’s popular “Wild Lights” is up for an award in USA TODAY for the 10Best Readers’ Choice travel awards contest for Best Zoo Lights.