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Potawatomi Tribe Buys Green Energy Credits, Powers All Its Facilities

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In Wisconsin, the Forest County Potawatomi Communitypurchased wind energy credits that will power all of the tribe’s electricity usage, states the tribe's news release.

Every Potawatomi tribal facility, including its operation headquarters in Forest County, Potawatomi Bingo Casino in Milwaukee, and Potawatomi Carter Casino & Hotel in Carter, will run off its renewable energy credits—an annual purchase of nearly 55 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) for 2010, 2011, and 2012.

“As a people, the Potawatomi have been taught to protect the resources Mother Earth provides,” said Potawatomi Chairman Gus Frank in the press release. “Ensuring that our facilities are powered by clean, renewable resources is another way we can reduce our own impact and decrease the amount of harmful emissions that are released into our air and water from burning coal.”

Certified wind-energy facilities in the United States will generate the 55 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of power—a purchase equivalent to avoiding the carbon dioxide emissions of more than 8,000 cars per year, or the amount of electricity used by more than 5,000 homes annually.

The renewable energy purchase earned the Forest County Potawatomi membership as one of only two tribes in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Green Power Partnership, a voluntary program that promotes purchasing green power as a means of reducing the environmental impacts associated with conventional electricity use.

The Potawatomi is the only tribe purchasing green power for 100 percent of its electricity use, and the tribe claims the No. 13 spot on the EPA’s Top 20 Local Government list of green power purchasers.

The Samish Indian Nation in Anacortes, Washington, became the first tribe to join the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Green Power Partnership in October 2004. The tribe, which had received a grant in from the Department of Energy to devise a "comprehensive Strategic Energy plan," is committed to obtaining at least 10 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources, states the EPA online.

In addition to purchasing renewable energy credits, the Potawatomi tribe has taken measures to reduce energy usage in recent years like installing LED lights, replacing incandescent lamps with occupancy sensors and upgrading the lighting in the parking facility at Potawatomi Bingo Casino to reduce the parking facility’s annual electricity use by 73 percent, states the news release.