MILL RUN, Pa. – Her oxidized copper exterior is not the only thing green about Lady Liberty anymore.
An energy company celebrated the Statue of Liberty's 120th anniversary on Saturday by announcing that the statue's torch is now lit with "green" or environmentally friendly power generated by Pennsylvania windmills.
The torch has been lit since March using power from western Pennsylvania windmills, six near the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Somerset County and 10 more in Mill Run, Fayette County.
The windmills are owned by Community Energy, based in Wayne, Del., which sells the energy through Pepco Energy Services of Arlington, Va. Electricity from the windmills is also used to power Ellis Island, the historic immigrant portal in New York harbor.
"The General Services Administration, the federal agency that manages our buildings, has a commitment to sustainable energy," said Darren Park, spokesman for the National Park Service said.
"It's an honor to assist Lady Liberty in keeping the torch shining," Pepco spokeswoman Kim Price told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Using windmill power is part of a government program that ensures one-third of the energy used in government facilities in the Northeast and Caribbean region is from renewable sources.
"People always call and ask if there are windmills around the Statue of Liberty," Price said.
That's not how the energy program works.
Instead of hooking the statue up directly to a windmill, GSA purchases a renewable energy credit. The government then buys power for the statue and Ellis Island from a national energy grid, while the windmills pump an equal amount of power into the grid.
Lady Liberty and Ellis Island use enough electricity each year to power 1,000 homes, Pepco officials said.
The copper statue, 305 feet tall, was commissioned by France to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. The statue was completed and assembled more than 10 years late, and was dedicated on Oct. 28, 1886.