The following is the electronic edition of _Wind Energy Weekly_, Vol. 14, #672, 13 November 1995, published by the American Wind Energy Association. The full text of the _Weekly_ is available
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Schaefer plans broad electric reform bill Residents of Salem, Ore., show strong support for renewables


Belize rain forest to become CO2 offset


Britain to move soon on fourth NFFO round Mitsubishi inks license deal with Indian firm


The government of the United Kingdom plans to conduct the fourth round of bidding for contracts to supply electric power from renewable resources later this month, according to the Reuters news service.

Competition in the latest section of the Non Fossil Fuel Obligation (NFFO) program will take place for the supply of 400 MW to 500 MW of new generating capacity from wind, hydro, landfill gas and other renewable energy sources. As in the last round (see Wind Energy Weekly #630, January 16, 1995), bids will be invited for wind farms and for smaller clusters of wind turbines.

Energy Minister Richard Page said in a statement that contracts in the new round will be signed for a period of 15-20 years. Bid awards are scheduled for early 1997.

The NFFO program is paid for by a surcharge on electricity rates and is designed to provide a market within which renewable energy companies can compete to bring prices down. In the third NFFO round, awarded in January, bids for wind farm projects averaged 6.7 cents/kWh, or 50 percent less than in the second round, which was held in 1991.

To date, the NFFO program has resulted in the construction of 146 new generating projects totalling 329 MW.


Congressman Dan Schaefer (R-Colo.), who chairs the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power, said Nov. 2 that he plans to introduce next year a "comprehensive" bill to reform the electric utility industry.

Schaefer has previously said that he believes changes in the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA), which requires utilities to buy power that is offered for sale by wind power plant operators and other independent producers, should be made only as part of a larger reform package that would address the overall question of competition in the industry (see Wind Energy Weekly #667, October 9, 1995).

Press reports said Schaefer expressed support for the general concepts of stranded asset recovery and retail wheeling, but some uncertainty about how both might be accomplished. Stranded asset recovery, in which utilities would be compensated somehow for past spending on expensive power plants that are no longer economical, is likely to be unpopular with a public that wants lower electricity rates. And some fear that retail wheeling, under which customers could choose from among many suppliers, will undermine state regulation of the utility industry and give more power to federal regulatory agencies.

In other related news:


Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI), of Japan said October 30 that it will license an Indian firm, Sree Rayalaseema Power Corp. (SRP) of Kurnool, to build 315-kW and 450-kW wind turbine models based on MHI technology.

Japan's Kyodo news agency said SRP plans to build wind power plants in the Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Gujarat.

In related news, China's Xinhua news service reported October 30 that India has reached a total of 540 MW of installed wind capacity, and plans to install an additional 200 MW during the next six months. According to India's Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources (MNES), wind capacity at the end of September surpassed the 500-MW goal set in the country's Eighth Five-Year Plan, which runs from 1992 to 1997.


Detroit Edison Co. said November 1 that it will join a voluntary international effort with three other utilities and two conservation groups to offset greenhouse gas emissions by protecting an endangered rain forest in Central America.

The possibility that emissions of greenhouse gases could change the Earth's climate is a concern that knows no national boundaries," said Edison President and Chief Operating Officer Anthony F. Earley Jr., said in announcing the move. "This project allows Detroit Edison and its partners to reduce a greater volume of greenhouse gas emissions than any power plant efficiency improvement known today. It complements our other voluntary efforts such as planting millions of trees in Michigan and developing biomass projects throughout the nation to reduce, avoid or sequester emissions."

Other partners in the Rio Bravo Carbon Sequestration Pilot Project, as the effort is called, are Wisconsin Electric Power Co. of Milwaukee, Cinergy of Cincinnati, Ohio, Pacificorp of Portland, Oregon, The Nature Conservancy and Programme for Belize.

The participating utilities will contribute $2.6 million to The Nature Conservancy and Programme for Belize to fund the project. Belize, a Central American nation of 200,000 people and a former British territory, lies between Mexico and Guatemala. The funds will be used to establish a sustainable forest management program on 65,000 acres of tropical rain forest in Belize's Rio Bravo Conservation Management Area and to purchase a 14,000-acre parcel of endangered forest lands in northern Belize, which will become part of the 65,000-acre protected area.

Scientists believe that forest preservation plays an important role in stabilizing the world's climate by absorbing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The Rio Bravo project is expected to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions--primarily carbon dioxide--by 5.2 million tons over 40 years.

Under the Climate Challenge agreement signed in February with the U.S. Department of Energy, Detroit Edison agreed to projects and activities that are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 1 million tons by the year 2000.

The Climate Challenge agreement evolved from a commitment made by the United States and nearly 200 other nations in 1992. The nations agreed to balance greenhouse gas emissions at 1990 levels by the year 2000 and created a joint implementation process.


Following a unanimous vote by its board of directors in September, Salem (Ore.) Electric Co. has begun to investigate options for displacing its nonrenewable sources of electricity with renewables.

The utility's board voted to invest in as much renewable power as possible within a 4% rate cap, which it estimates will allow the utility to obtain 15% to 20% of its power from renewables.

The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), a federal power marketing agency, now supplies all of Salem Electric's power and could dedicate a portion of the output from its planned renewable energy projects to the utility, but Salem Electric is looking at other possible renewable energy suppliers as well.

"We think that BPA should blend in the price of renewable power the same way that it blends in the cost of dead and dying nuclear plants," said Steve Weiss, who serves on the utility's board. "We want our purchase to result in renewables that would not otherwise have occurred, not pay for what BPA should be doing anyway." Salem Electric has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for a consultant to assist it in acquiring renewables and, if it stays with BPA, to help fashion a contract for renewable power.

The board's decision was based on customer support for renewables that was demonstrated when nearly 100 comments were received in response to an article in Salem Electric's newsletter. Near the end of the article that discussed BPA's renewable energy projects, customers were asked whether they would be willing to pay more for renewable power. Two methods were proposed:

  1. Offering each customer the opportunity to raise his or her own rates for the amount of green power desired; and
  2. Raising everyone's rates by 4-8% to make Salem Electric 20- 40% green.

Over 75% of the responses, which consisted of notes written on bill stubs as well as complete letters, supported paying more for renewables. Of those expressing a preference for a particular method, the majority supported the "all-in" approach. One customer wrote, "Since everyone will benefit, everyone should pay."

"We've never gotten that kind of response on anything," said Weiss. "It convinced the board that our customers want us to make a collective choice to green our system rather than leave it to individual choice where the outcome would be uncertain. It also goes along with the Board's thinking that renewables aren't just a 'social obligation,' but a prudent, conservative business decision to invest in diversity--especially in a resource with low O&M and no fuel risk."