EREN Network News
February 28, 2001
News and Events
- BPA Seeks 1,000 Megawatts of Wind Power
- Arizona Commission Adopts Renewable Energy Mandate
- General Motors Sues to Overturn California ZEV Rules
- Study: Ethanol Helps U.S. Economy by Cutting Oil Imports
- Green Mountain Gains 50,000 Philadelphia-Area Customers
Energy Facts and Tips
About this Newsletter
- U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Clean Air Act Standards
- Study Ties Black Carbon Soot to Global Warming
News and Events
BPA Seeks 1,000 Megawatts of Wind Power
The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) announced last
week that it seeks to install "upwards of 1,000 megawatts" of
wind power and is now soliciting proposals from companies.
"We want as much power as fast as we can get it to help
alleviate the energy shortage," said George Darr, BPA’s
renewable resource program manager. According to BPA,
wind power projects "are particularly attractive because they
can come online in a relatively short time (24 to 30 months),
offer power that is competitively priced with other sources
such as combustion turbines, are relatively easy to site and
expand, have low environmental impacts (including no
carbon emissions) and are highly desirable to buyers of
'green' power." The 1,000 megawatts BPA is soliciting would
supply the needs of about 150,000 households in the
Northwest. See the BPA press release.
Wind power will also get a boost in Colorado, where last
week the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC)
ordered Xcel Energy to include a wind energy project in its
plans. As part of a five-year energy plan, the CPUC ordered
Xcel Energy to negotiate a contract for a 162-megawatt wind
plant near Lamar. Although Xcel Energy currently has a
customer-supported wind energy program, the Lamar wind
plant will be the first Colorado wind installation to be included
in the company's rate base, which is paid by all of the
company's electric customers in the state. See the CPUC
Arizona Commission Adopts Renewable Energy Mandate
The Arizona Corporate Commission (ACC), which regulates
the utilities in Arizona, announced early this month the
adoption of a new rule, the Environmental Portfolio
Standard, requiring the state's regulated utilities to generate
a minimum of 0.2 percent of their total retail energy sales
from renewable sources in 2001. That percentage will
increase each year, reaching 1.0 percent in 2005 and
topping out at 1.1 percent in 2007. The ruling is particularly
significant for solar electric technologies, which must be
used to meet half of the requirement through 2003, and then
must be used to meet 60 percent of the requirement. See
the ACC press release.
For more information, including the full text of the order, see
the ACC's "Environmental Portfolio Standard Developments" Web page.
The Environmental Portfolio Standard is one example of a
policy that is generally referred to as a renewable portfolio
standard (RPS). For more information about RPS policies,
see the American Wind Energy Association's Web site.
General Motors Sues to Overturn California ZEV Rules
General Motors Corporation (GM) filed suit last week against
the California Air Resources Board (ARB) in an attempt to
overturn ARB's latest ruling on Zero Emissions Vehicles
(ZEVs). GM contends the ARB has violated California laws
by overlooking the effects of the regulation and declining to
consider better alternatives. See the GM press release.
The ARB adopted new rules for its ZEV program on January
25th. Since the new rules are somewhat confusing, the ARB
has published a fact sheet to summarize and clarify them.
See the fact sheet on California's "ZEVinfo" Web site.
One of the new rules is the creation of a new category of
vehicles, called the "advanced technology partial-credit
ZEV," or AT-PZEV, which use such advanced technology as
compressed natural gas, hybrid electric technology, or fuel
cells. Manufacturers of such vehicles earn partial credits
toward their required sales of ZEVs. Because the vehicles
must also meet California's Super Ultra Low Emission
Vehicle (SULEV) standard, have zero evaporative
emissions, and include a 150,000-mile warranty on
emissions control equipment, neither the current Honda
Insight nor the Toyota Prius qualify as AT-PZEVs. However,
the natural gas-powered 2001 Honda Civic GX has been
certified as meeting the standard, as Honda announced on
Monday. See the Honda press release.
Study: Ethanol Helps U.S. Economy by Cutting Oil Imports
A study released last week by Nebraska Governor Mike
Johanns finds that an increased use of ethanol in the United
States would channel more money into the U.S. economy
while reducing the amount sent overseas to pay for oil
imports. The study found that quadrupling the use of ethanol
over the next fifteen years would save U.S. consumers
$57.5 billion, add $685 billion to the U.S. gross domestic
product, increase the total income of U.S. households by
nearly $186 billion, and create more than 156,000 new jobs.
The study did not include the positive effect on farm income
that would result from the expanding domestic market for
agricultural products. The study was released at the
6th Annual National Ethanol Conference, sponsored by the
Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).
The conference also featured a demonstration of the
benefits of ethanol-blended diesel, which the RFA claims
reduces particulate matter emissions from diesel engines by
30 to 40 percent. See the press releases on the RFA Web site.
Green Mountain Gains 50,000 Philadelphia-Area Customers
Green Mountain Energy Company, a supplier of electricity
from renewable energy and other "clean" energy sources,
announced last week that it will be providing electricity to
50,000 customers in the Philadelphia area. The company will
provide discounted electricity to randomly selected
customers of PECO Energy who have not yet chosen a new
provider of energy services. See the press release on the
Green Mountain Energy Company Web site.
Cogen Europe is the European association for the promotion
of cogeneration. Its membership includes more than
190 power companies, power authorities and companies
involved in cogeneration in 30 countries. The Web site
provides a general explanation of cogeneration, an overview
of European legislation favorable to cogeneration, and a
related publications list.
For this and other recent additions to the EREN Web site,
Energy Facts and Tips
U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Clean Air Act Standards
The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday upheld the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) authority to set
clean air standards based on health considerations, without
considering the costs of meeting those standards. The
unanimous decision rejected a challenge by an alliance of
industrial groups that had opposed EPA rulings on smog-
causing ozone and fine particulates, or soot.
The Supreme Court ruling leaves both the ozone and fine
particulate standards in place. However, the EPA must
revisit its implementation of the ozone standard. For a
summary of the ruling, see the press release from the
American Lung Association.
For the full text of the Supreme Court decision, see the
Cornell Law School's Supreme Court Collection.
The EPA standards may impact a wide variety of activities,
many of which are energy related. Fine particulates are
primarily caused by industrial and residential combustion
and vehicle exhaust. Ozone is caused by pollutants emitted
from motor vehicles, power plants, factories, chemical
solvents, combustion products from various fuels, and
consumer products. For more information about these
pollutants and the EPA standards, see the EPA Web site.
Study Ties Black Carbon Soot to Global Warming
A scientist at Stanford University recently published a study
that finds emissions of black carbon soot may be responsible
for 15 to 30 percent of global warming. Sooty particulates
are ignored in most climate models because the soot alone
has very little warming effect. But the new study, published
in the February 8th edition of Nature, found that black carbon
particles, which compose much of the soot in the air, are
very likely to combine with other chemicals in the
atmosphere, greatly enhancing their effect on global
warming. See the Stanford University press release.
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