The Phillies players all wore green hats last night.

Whether it did anything to help their game, no one will know.

But it was a sign of the team's new environmental strategy and its new logo: Red Goes Green.

Yesterday, the team rolled out an entire green program, announcing that it would buy enough renewable energy - wind, in all likelihood - to cover all of its energy use at Citizens Bank Park this year.

The 20 million kilowatt hours will make the Phillies the third-largest purchaser of green power in the city. It will heat the fryers, light the field, power the scoreboard and more.

In short, it will juice everything except Chase Utley's swing.

The team also plans myriad smaller greenings such as switching to biodegradeable cups and plates.

The fry oil from the chicken tenders and French fries will be converted to biodiesel.

The stadium's cans and bottles - 20,000 for sodas alone - will be recycled.

All in all, it will be enough to turn the Phanatic . . . oh, wait, he's already green.

Major League Baseball executive vice president John McHale Jr., who donned his own green cap along with Mayor Nutter and Gov. Rendell at an afternoon ceremony, termed the Phillies' commitment "unprecedented."

He said the club had gone far beyond what his office imagined when it challenged the league's teams in March to green their operations.

It also opened the door for a host of groaner puns, from suggestions that saving the planet requires "a team effort" to hopes that the new initiative would be "a hit."

Meanwhile, the accolades flowed. "We will hold you up as an example to the rest of the country," said regional Environmental Protection Agency administrator Donald Welsh.

"This is absolutely a great thing," said Allen Hershkowitz, a senior scientist with the national environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council, which advised the league for free. "There's no downside to it."

He said it was important that a cultural icon like baseball would throw its considerable weight behind environmental initiatives, and to do so "in a fish bowl. It's a courageous thing."

Said Rendell: "It's our hope the fans will emulate the club."

The Washington Nationals may be building the nation's greenest stadium, and the Eagles may have beat them to it with their own burst of green projects last fall, including toilet paper made from recycled materials. But the Phillies are leading on the renewable energy front. With the wind-power purchase - expected to cost about $250,000 - they have become the first major-league baseball team to join the EPA's "Green Power Partnership," which encourages groups to buy green power.

In the city, the team will rank behind the nearly 200 million kilowatt hours the University of Pennsylvania purchases, and just below the 21.5 million kilowatt hours the city purchases for City Hall and the airport.

The team is also one of only 13 groups in the state to purchase the renewable energy equivalent to 100 percent of the energy it uses.

This does not mean, however, that a field of wind turbines will literally be sending the electrons they generate to Citizens Bank Park.

What the team is actually buying is renewable energy credits, brokered by WindStreet Energy Inc., a Perth Amboy, N.J., company.

Here's how it works:

All kinds of generators, from coal plants to wind turbines, pump electricity into the grid.

But in the case of wind turbines, solar panels and other forms of renewable energy, the environmental benefits - no air pollution, for instance - of each kilowatt hour can be separated and sold as "renewable energy credits."

The credits are certified by an independent auditing body - in the case of the Phillies, a company called Green-e Energy - and registered so they can only be sold once.

The credit system helps offset the higher costs of generating clean energy. So while the Phillies aren't literally powering the park with wind, "if people weren't buying these credits, the wind farms would not have the financial incentive to operate," said WindStreet president Christopher Kent.

Jeff Deyette, an energy analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit unconnected with the effort, called Green-e certification the "gold standard" for ensuring the validity of the credits.

Other than hooking the stadium directly to wind turbines or solar panels, "it's the next best thing they can do to support clean energy," he said.

Penn's new environmental sustainability coordinator - which tops the nation's colleges and universities with its wind purchase - welcomed the Phillies into the clean energy fold.

"The idea of influencing behavior through associating with things you like is very powerful," said Penn's Dan Garofalo. "So the Eagles and Phillies are greener; every little bit helps influence the general population."

The NRDC's Hershkowitz also saw potential for green growth. "The story as I see it is that one of the most culturally influential organizations is saying, 'We're going to look at our supply chain and our operations to see where to reduce our impact,' " he said.

"It really is a huge cultural shift . . . There's motherhood, apple pie, baseball, and now there's environmentalism."

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