Renewables & Efficiency

Native Americans Go For Wind Power

TESTINGThe Blackfeet Tribe of Montana, U.S., and the Peigan Nation in Alberta, Canada are constructing the first utility scale wind energy projects on tribal lands to generate energy for their peoples and for sale. SeaWest WindPower, Inc signed a development agreement for the 22 megawatt Blackfeet project, scheduled to begin operating in October, 2001. It will provide enough energy to electrify over 6,000 homes. “Gaining electricity from the winds here on the Reservation has been talked about for many years.” says Earl Old Person, chairman of the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council. The project provides highly skilled employment opportunities on the Blackfeet Reservation and a commercially viable export business. The Peigan Nation is gearing up for a $200 million, 101 MW grid-connected wind farm. Peigan Utilities Inc. and Advanced Thermodynamics Corporation – which holds the exclusive licence to market Nordex turbines in Canada – formed a joint venture called Weather-Dancer Wind Power. They plan to serve the 3000 Peigan Nation residents and then sell the rest to the Alberta Power Pool, as well as many other potential customers.

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Anchorage U.S. Postal Service Runs on Fuel Cells

TESTINGThe largest commercial fuel cell system in the U.S. now provides energy for the U.S. Postal Service in Anchorage, Alaska. This is the first time a fuel cell system has been integrated into an electric utility’s grid, with the ability to sell excess energy back to the grid. Chugach Electric Association, Alaska’s largest utility, installed the $5.5 million, one-megawatt system, which was manufactured by International Fuel Cells. 425 employees work at the Anchorage Mail Processing Center, the main sorting and distribution point for mail going into and out of Alaska, which operates 24 hours a day. It is located next to Anchorage International Airport. Heat recovery from the fuel cells will help provide space heating to the facility, increasing the overall fuel efficiency of the Postal Service Center. As a result, less fuel will be needed for conventional systems.

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Breakthroughs for Fuel Economy/Emissions Announced

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TESTINGFord committed to improving the fuel economy of the most profitable and problematic portion of its fleet -SUVs. As part of its “Cleaner, Safer, Sooner” campaign, the company will increase fuel economy in all SUVs by 25 percent by 2005. John DeCicco of the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy spoke highly of this move. “It changes the tenor of the public debate on fuel economy. “A five percent per year energy improvement over the next five years is only slightly less than the rate our studies identify as economically practical.” He notes that stronger CAFE standards remain necessary to ensure that similar technology and design improvements are made by all companies and in all market segments. The improvements go beyond either the European automakers’ joint commitments on fuel consumption or previous Congressional proposals calling for a 20 percent fuel economy increase within 5 years and a 40 percent increase over 10 years. About 70 percent of the fuel economy gains will be achieved through improvements in existing vehicle lines, including the application of advanced powertrain technologies, weight reduction, and improved aerodynamics. The other 30 percent of improvements will come from new market entries that have higher fuel economy. […]

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Performance-Based Energy Efficiency Bill Introduced

TESTINGOn June 13, Senator Bob Smith (R-NH) introduced the Energy Efficient Buildings Incentive Act (S.2718) to Congress. The bill would provide tax deductions for residential and commercial energy efficiency improvements: whole-building performance, PV systems, certified solar hot water systems, and high-performance water heaters, heat pumps, and central air conditioners. The proposed maximum deduction is $2.25 per square foot for commercial buildings, $2000 for principle residences that are 50% more energy efficient than the standard, and $500-$6000 for specific equipment. What makes this bill more compelling than other building efficiency legislation is its level of specificity and emphasis on building and equipment performance. It sets the stage for competition among suppliers of energy efficient equipment. Requiring third party certification for equipment and building performance will encourage market development of these service industries, which have long suffered from a lack of critical mass. It sets government-approved methods for estimating energy costs and savings and as well as methods to incorporate this value into property assessments. The standard for certification of solar hot water systems will come from the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation; for PV systems, the bill cites two ASTM standards. The Department of Energy will be required to set standards […]

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Common Sense Construction Means Reduced Emissions in UK

TESTINGAs of January 1, 2001, British homeowners and developers will be required to integrate standard energy efficient products into construction and renovation projects. The proposed standards for attic insulation, windows, and other common energy efficient products will save homeowners money and reduce emissions by 25 percent. This act alone will fulfill the country’s commitment to the Kyoto Protocol. There are standards for insulation in new or repaired roofs and walls, boiler efficiency, windows, and requirements for compact fluorescent bulbs in new construction. Presently, 46 percent of Britain’s carbon dioxide emissions come from heating and hot water, cooling and lighting.

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Reducing Greenhouse Emissions Can Be Quite Profitable

TESTINGAccording to a recently released report by USAID (U.S. Agency for International Development), environmental technologies and services that assist in reducing greenhouse emissions will be a rapidly growing market over the next ten years. The authors predict the market will grow from its present $29.9 billion today to between $52 -$65 billion by 2010. The report, “Market Opportunities for Climate Change Technologies and Services in Developing Countries,” explains that the energy sector is among the fastest growing sectors in most developing countries and also generates the largest proportion of greenhouse gas emissions. Energy suppliers will acquire over half of the market for climate change services – energy efficiency and clean fuel technologies.

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New Energy Bills Introduced in Congress

TESTINGThe “Clean Power Act” (HR.4861), introduced by Representatives Rick Lazio (R-NY) and Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) on July 13, addresses the impact of electric utility restructuring on acid rain and greenhouse gas emissions by providing incentives for utilities to develop renewable energy resources. If enacted, electricity suppliers would be able to trade nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide permits across the U.S. Participating facilities would be allowed to emit a ton of NOX for the year, except between May 1 – September 30 – the “ozone period” – when only half a ton would be permitted. One ton of CO2 would be permitted per year. Facilities would be subject to fines and fewer allotments for lack of compliance. Starting in 2004, renewable resources must contribute to at least three percent of total U.S. electricity generation as tracked by the Energy Information Administration (Department of Energy). If it falls below this percentage, electricity suppliers would be required to use (tradable) renewable energy credits equal to three percent of the total electric energy sold for that year. In 2010, the credits are scheduled to increase to six percent per year. On June 13, Senator Bob Smith (R-NH) introduced Bill S. 2718 to offer tax […]

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U.S. Mayors Call on Congress to Address Climate Change

TESTINGCity Mayors passed a resolution 78-36 to reduce global warming during the U.S. National Conference of Mayors in June. The resolution calls on Congress and the Administration to fully fund the Clean Air Partnership Fund – which provides grants to states and municipalities to reduce emissions – and to support tax incentives and targeted investments that will accelerate the development and deployment of clean energy technologies. They note that scientific evidence demonstrates that global warming is a serious threat and that its impacts and costs are already being felt in the form of extreme weather events adding up to an estimated $140 billion in property damage. The group points to energy and transportation efficiency, waste reduction and recycling, and renewable energy programs as key methods to not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but also to save money, create jobs and strengthen the local economy.

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Clean Power Surge: Ranking the States

TESTINGA report by the Union of Concerned Scientists, “Clean Power Surge: Ranking the States,” documents and analyzes the surge of interest for renewable energy on the part of many U.S. states. Commitments made by about a third of the states will increase use of these energy sources in the U.S. by 40 percent over 1997 levels, providing clean power to meet the entire electricity needs of 4 million homes. This is equivalent to taking 3.4 million cars off the road in terms of reduced carbon dioxide emissions. States are ranked based on their accomplishments in supporting new and existing renewable electricity generation and capacity, increasing renewables’ share of state electricity use, and providing funding to support renewables. In general, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Texas, New Jersey, Minnesota, and California have made the most significant commitments to developing new renewables. UCS also identifies the states that have not shown support for renewables. [sorry this link is no longer available]

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New Book: Prospects for Sustainable Energy

TESTINGThis new book, Prospects for Sustainable Energy: A Critical Assessment, published by Cambridge University Press and written by Edward Cassedy, provides a critical overview and assessment of market readiness for the gamut of sustainable energy technologies: solar, biomass, wind, geothermal, ocean energy sources, and solar-derived hydrogen fuel. Written for the non-technical reader, it explores the technical features, status of research and development, and marketability of these alternatives. It addresses arguments for and against the implementation of each option. [sorry this link is no longer available]

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