Washington Gas Energy Services (WGES) and Sterling Planet announced today the continuation of their collaboration to improve air and water quality in the Chesapeake Bay region through WGES CleanSteps® Carbon Offsets. The public-private partnership, which also involves the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), is now set to enter its third year. The WGES CleanSteps ® Carbon Offsets product has reduced the carbon footprint of WGES residential and small commercial natural gas customers by matching usage with locally sourced, certified carbon offsets. Unlike other carbon offsets, WGES CleanSteps® Carbon Offsets include an investment in future carbon reduction projects. To support these future initiatives, over $400,000 in combined contributions from WGES and Sterling Planet have already been made to a Carbon Reduction Fund managed by CBF. Since the launch of WGES CleanSteps® Carbon Offsets in September 2010, more than 70,000 carbon offsets have been purchased on behalf of WGES customers — the equivalent of eliminating emissions from using nearly 7,900,000 gallons of gasoline. "This program has helped the Chesapeake Bay Foundation promote innovative ways to reduce pollution while also mitigating greenhouse gas emissions in the region," says Beth McGee, senior scientist with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. "For example, as a result of the support from the Carbon Reduction Fund, we are working with farmers to implement a new technology, called the Greenseeker, that helps farmers do a better job of nutrient management, while providing environmental benefits of reduced water and air pollution.” The new 15-month agreement between WGES and Sterling Planet will build on the success of the existing program. Estimated additional carbon offsets during the term of the contract are 45,000 metric tons, and total contributions to the Carbon Reduction Fund are expected to reach $580,000. "Together with our valued partners, Sterling Planet and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, we are making an important investment in cleaning the air and water in our region," said Harry Warren, president, Washington Gas Energy Services. "We will continue to develop new products, such as CleanSteps® Carbon Offsets, that make it easy for our customers to reduce their carbon footprint."
To date, the Carbon Reduction Fund has been used to support the planting of 9,000 trees on 45 acres in Anne Arundel, Frederick, Talbot, Carroll, and Baltimore counties in Maryland, and to start a new nutrient management grant program and research project. The next tree planting will occur on April 20, Earth Day weekend, on a seven-acre farm in Carroll County, Md."We have found that customers like to participate in environmental programs in which they can see their actions directly benefit the Chesapeake Bay region,” adds Alden Hathaway, senior vice president at Sterling Planet. “Through this program we are showing that citizens can take actions to improve local air and water quality just by choosing a natural gas provider with a demonstrated commitment to the environment.” About Sterling Planet: Sterling Planet leads U.S. sustainable energy markets, offering clients in diverse sectors a comprehensive portfolio of carbon-reduction assets – renewable energy certificates (RECs), carbon offsets and innovative White Tags® energy efficiency certificates. Recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency as 2012 Green Power Supplier of the Year, Sterling Planet delivers more than 5 billion REC kilowatt-hours annually to EPA Green Power Partnership members, including the top three purchasers, and also supplies compliance markets through utility and government partnerships. Founded in 2000, the Atlanta-based company pioneered as the first nationwide retail REC provider and is committed to development of new renewable power generating projects. 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 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 Light Company and a subsidiary of WGL Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: WGL). www.wges.com