February 26, 2013

Regarding the Feb. 24 editorial “The green city”:

It was great to read The Post’s support for many of the green initiatives D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) announced last week. From reducing energy consumption and implementing green building codes to expanding Capital Bikeshare and improving the tree canopy, there is much to be excited about with the mayor’s Sustainable DC plan. Yet we are compelled to address the unfounded comments about the economics of a potential wind-power deal for our government buildings.

Properly structured, a large-scale renewable-energy contract will significantly reduce costs, carry no debt for the District government and vastly reduce exposure to price risk in the traditional electricity market. There’s a reason many Fortune 500 firms, in addition to entities such as Maryland’s Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC), have executed similar renewable-energy deals in recent years: They reduce energy costs.

A fixed-price renewable-energy contract would protect taxpayers from price volatility in the traditional electricity market. Our initial estimate, with conservative estimates of traditional power-price escalation, is that this would save more than $110 million over 20 years. That’s what we call “making Washington green.”

Brian Hanlon, Washington

The writer is director of the D.C. Department of General Services.