EREN Network News
March 21, 2001
News and Events
- Large Wind Projects Planned for Kansas, Pennsylvania
- Massachusetts Makes $100 Million Available for Renewables
- Maryland Commits to Green Power, Energy Efficiency
- Facing Blackouts, California Adds Energy-Saving Incentives
- Will E-Commerce Turn to the Mainframe for Energy Savings?
Energy Facts and Tips
About this Newsletter
- President Bush: U.S. Shouldn't Regulate Carbon Dioxide
- EIA Examines Multi-Pollutant Strategies for Power Plants
News and Events
Large Wind Projects Planned for Kansas, Pennsylvania
Two wind projects announced last week promise to bring an
additional 125 megawatts of wind power to the United States.
UtiliCorp United announced plans to buy the entire output from
a 110-megawatt wind power plant that will be built near
Montezuma, Kansas. The facility will produce enough power to
provide the annual needs of 27,500 homes and will be the first
major wind facility in Kansas. FPL Energy, LLC will construct
the wind plant, starting in spring and completing by the end of
this year. UtiliCorp will sell the electricity from 30 megawatts of
wind power on the wholesale market and will provide
80 megawatts of wind power to its customers in Kansas and
Missouri at no extra cost. See the March 14th press release on the UtiliCorp Web site.
In Pennsylvania, a consortium of private companies and
non-profit organizations announced they will build a
15-megawatt wind power plant near Mill Run, about 40 miles
southeast of Pittsburgh. The Mill Run Wind Project, to be
built along more than a mile of ridge-top pastureland, will
generate enough electricity to power about 5,700 homes.
Construction of the wind plant will begin in spring and finish
late this year. It will feature ten 1.5-megawatt turbines from
Enron Wind Corporation and will be built by Mill Run
Windpower LLC, a joint venture between Atlantic Renewable
Energy Corporation and Zilkha Renewable Energy.
Community Energy, Inc. will market the wind power to
commercial and residential customers. See the Atlantic
Renewable Energy Web site.
Massachusetts Makes $100 Million Available for Renewables
The Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust announced
last week that it is making $100 million available to support
renewable energy development in the state. Of that total,
$47 million will go toward programs to promote the use of
fuel cells, the construction of "green" buildings that use
energy efficiency and renewable energy, and the
development of green power electricity from renewable
energy sources. Solicitations for those programs were also
released last week. The remaining $53 million will go toward
grants for pollution control equipment at waste-to-energy
plants. The trust is operated by the Massachusetts
Technology Park Corporation (MTPC) and is funded by a
small surcharge on electric bills in the state. See the MTPC
Maryland Commits to Green Power, Energy Efficiency
Maryland Governor Parris Glendening issued an executive
order last week that sets goals for state agencies to use
energy efficiency and buy "green power" electricity
produced from renewable energy. The order calls for state
owned facilities to buy at least 6 percent of their electricity
from renewable energy sources and allows at most half of
that to come from the burning of municipal waste. The order
also calls for state agencies to purchase either Energy Star-
labeled products or those that are ranked in the top
25 percent for energy efficiency. It sets goals for energy
reductions of 10 percent in state buildings by 2005 and
15 percent by 2010, and it establishes a council to develop a
High Efficiency Green Buildings Program for state-owned
buildings. See the Governor's press release.
Facing Blackouts, California Adds Energy-Saving Incentives
California Governor Gray Davis announced last week that
California businesses and homeowners can earn a
20 percent rebate on their summer electric bills if they
manage to cut their electrical use by 20 percent compared to
last year. The one-time discount will apply to bills for June
through September. See the Governor's press release.
Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham said last week that
summer blackouts in California "appear inevitable." In
testimony before the Senate Committee on Energy and
Natural Resources, Secretary Abraham noted that "some
analysts project California may experience up to 20 hours of
rolling blackouts this summer, while others project 200 or
more hours of blackouts." See Secretary Abraham's
testimony on the DOE Web site.
Secretary Abraham's comments carried more weight this
week, as rolling blackouts again struck California. A
combination of hot weather and low generating capacity
contributed to the blackouts, which affected roughly 500,000
homes throughout the state. Financial problems are also at
least partly to blame, as many small generating companies
are refusing to continue supplying power to the electric grid.
These independent power generators a group that
includes the state's renewable energy industry in many
cases haven't been paid for their power since October of last
year. See the press releases on the California Independent System Operator Web site.
So how can Californians cut their electricity use by a full
20 percent? The easiest and most cost-effective actions
would be to replace frequently used lights with compact
fluorescent light bulbs and to use natural ventilation and fans
in place of air conditioning, when possible. Replacing older
appliances particularly refrigerators with new energy-
efficient models is also cost effective, and can yield dramatic
energy savings. And of course, increasing your use of solar
or wind energy can also greatly reduce your need for utility-
supplied electricity. For more information, see DOE's Office of Building Technology, State and Community Programs
Web site on EREN.
Will E-Commerce Turn to the Mainframe for Energy Savings?
In light of the electricity crisis in California, an announcement
last week by the International Business Machines
Corporation (IBM) may prove significant for the future of
electronic commerce. In December 2000, IBM began
shipping a new mainframe computer, the eServer z900,
and IBM now notes that new studies show the computer to
be an energy-saving alternative to so-called "server farms."
Servers are the computers that drive the Internet, serving up
text files, graphics, and other information each time a user
visits a Web site. The growth of the Internet has led to the
creation of numerous server farms large facilities housing
hundreds or thousands of servers particularly in high-tech
California. According to IBM, its new mainframe computer
combines the tasks of hundreds of servers in one machine,
cutting energy use by a factor of 20. The machine also
requires only 400 square feet of floor space, compared to
"some 10,000 square feet" for server farms, resulting in even
more energy savings, according to the company. See the IBM press release.
This site focuses on the economic development potential of
wind energy. It provides the basics of wind energy
technology and its benefits, explains how to determine if a
location has potential for supplying wind energy, and
examines the economic risks and benefits of operating
small, distributed wind projects and large-scale wind farms.
Farmers can also evaluate the economics of installing a wind
turbine to provide electricity for their farm and home.
For this and other recent additions to the EREN Web site,
Energy Facts and Tips
President Bush: U.S. Shouldn't Regulate Carbon Dioxide
In a letter last week to four U.S. Senators, President Bush
declared that he does not believe government should
impose mandatory emission reductions for carbon dioxide on
power plants. He also reiterated his opposition to the Kyoto
Protocol, an international agreement to reduce greenhouse
gases. However, the President noted, "I am very optimistic
that … we will be able to develop technologies, market
incentives, and other creative ways to address global climate
President Bush also said that he intends to work with
Congress on a multi-pollutant strategy to require power
plants to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides,
and mercury. See the President's letter on the Web site of
the Global Climate Coalition, an organization of trade associations that are opposed to the Kyoto Protocol.
EIA Examines Multi-Pollutant Strategies for Power Plants
One reason President Bush now opposes carbon dioxide
reductions is the high costs for achieving the reductions,
predicted in a recent report from DOE's Energy Information
Administration (EIA). According to the report, reductions of
sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxides would cause only a
1 percent increase in electricity prices, but adding carbon
dioxide limits would result in projected price increases of up
to 43 percent above the business-as-usual reference case.
This cost impact is moderated somewhat by the fact that the
reference case projects falling electricity prices. Compared
to 1999 prices, electricity prices with carbon dioxide limits
are projected to be at most 26 percent higher in 2010 and at
most 20 percent higher in 2020. Of course, the actual
electricity cost is only a fraction of the average household's
electric bill in the worst-case cost scenario, carbon dioxide
caps would cause the average U.S. household to pay
roughly $12 per month more for electricity in 2010 than they
paid in 1999.
The report also found that carbon dioxide emissions caps
would result in a shift away from coal and toward a greater
use of natural gas and renewable energy. "Geothermal,
biomass, and wind are expected to show the largest
generation increases in the cases with (carbon dioxide)
caps, and total generation from non-hydroelectric
renewables is expected to provide as much as 8 percent of
total electricity generation in 2020 … substantially higher
than the 3-percent share projected in the reference case,"
says the report.
Please note that the EIA report does not examine the costs
of controlling mercury emissions, which President Bush is
still committed to pursuing. Those costs will be addressed in
a separate report. See the EIA report.
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