Wind Energy Weekly #693, Vol 15, 15 April 1996


The following is the electronic edition of WIND ENERGY WEEKLY, Vol. 15, #693, 15 April 1996, published by the American Wind Energy Association. The full text of the WEEKLY is available in hardcopy form for $595/year and is recommended for those with a serious commercial interest in wind (the electronic edition contains only excerpts). A monthly hardcopy publication, the WINDLETTER, more suitable for those interested in residential wind systems is included with a $50/year individual membership in the Association. AWEA's goal is to promote wind energy as a clean and environmentally superior source of electricity. Anyone sharing this goal is invited to become a member--please help!. For more information on the Association, contact AWEA, 122 C Street, NW, 4th Floor, Washington, DC 20001, USA, phone (202) 383-2500, fax (202) 383-2505, email Or visit our World Wide Web site at


El Nino goes off track; greenhouse gases blamed


Slash R&D? 'Historic blunder,' say DOE executives


Congress's plans to substantially reduce federal research funding for renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies (in multi-year budget projections) are "a blunder of . . . potentially historic proportions," according to an article by two high-ranking U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) officials in the April issue of ATLANTIC MONTHLY magazine.

Joseph J. Romm, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, and Charles B. Curtis, Deputy Secretary of Energy, describe two future energy scenarios--one negative and one positive--developed by prestigious organizations. Pursuing renewables and efficiency, they write, can help the U.S. recover from the former and better position itself to take advantage of the economic and employment growth prospects likely to be offered by the latter.

The first scenario, from DOE's own Energy Information Administration (EIA) for the year 2005, portrays "a world in which the Persian Gulf control[s] two-thirds of the world's oil for export, with $200 billion a year in oil revenues streaming into that unstable and politically troubled region, and America . . . importing nearly 60% of its oil, resulting in a $100-billion- a-year outflow that undermine[s] efforts to reduce our trade deficit."

Romm and Curtis note that little can be done at this point to alter this fundamentally gloomy picture of the next decade. But they add that the development of new technologies that can diversify the nation's energy supply and stretch out its fossil fuels could help to reduce the additional shock of a new oil price rise if one should occur during that time period.

Multi-year research and development (R&D) budget cuts proposed by Congress, they say, "all but guarantee that if an oil crisis comes, our national response will be reactive, uninformed, and unduly burdensome. Having abandoned the technological means to minimize the crisis, the nation will be left in the next century with little more than its usual responses . . .: price controls or other rigid regulations, or unplanned, ineffective attempts to deal with the effects of sharp price or supply fluctuations."

While acknowledging that the probability of a new oil shock remains unclear, Romm and Curtis observe that the fundamental conditions for one--steadily rising global oil demand and increasing concentration of world reserves in the Persian Gulf-- are already in place.

In particular, they note that the industrialization of some of the most populous developing countries, China and India among them, will place new demands on global supplies, as farm workers move to the cities to seek employment: "The fundamentals of urbanization--commuting, transporting raw materials, constructing infrastructure, powering commercial buildings--all consume large amounts of oil and electricity.

"At the same time, fewer farms will have to feed more people, and so the use of mechanization, transportation, and fertilizer will increase, entailing the consumption of still more energy and oil. An analysis by one of [DOE]'s national laboratories found that a doubling of the proportion of China's and India's populations that lives in cities could increase per capita energy consumption by 45%--even if industrialization and income per capita remained unchanged."

The second, more positive scenario, is for the longer term-- through the middle of the next century--and is one of two planning forecasts developed by Royal Dutch/Shell Group last year. It depicts "a world in which fossil fuel use has begun a slow, steady decline; more than a third of the market for new electricity generation [is] supplied from renewable sources; the renewables industry [has] annual sales of $150 billion; and the fastest-growing new source of power [is] solar energy," according to Romm and Curtis. Additionally, they point out, the Shell scenario does not assume either that fossil fuel prices will rise--although there is a case to be made that such rises will occur--or that governments will incorporate environmental costs into fossil prices, "even though every single independent analysis has found that fossil fuel generation has much higher environmental costs than non-fossil fuel generation has."

Instead, the forecast is based on the current trend of technical improvements and falling prices of renewable energy technologies. Biomass and wind, Romm and Curtis write, have already reached the stage where they are competitive with coal and traditional energy sources for wholesale power generation.

The future outlook for these technologies, they argue, will be strongly influenced by federal R&D: "Federal investments clearly make a difference in technology development and global market share. Consider the case of photovoltaics. In 1955, Bell Laboratories invented the first practical PV cell. Through the 1960s and 1970s investments and purchases by NASA [the National Aeronautics and Space Administration], the Pentagon, and the National Science Foundation helped to sustain the PV industry and gave America leadership in world sales. In 1982, federal support for renewable energy was cut deeply, and within three years Japan became the world leader in PV sales. The Bush Administration began to increase funding for solar energy and, in 1990, collaborated with the American PV industry in efforts to improve manufacturing technology; three years later the United States regained the lead in sales in this rapidly growing industry . . .

Renewable energy technologies, Romm and Curtis write, "may well be the single largest new source of jobs in the next century," since most manufacturing industries are now mature.

Conclude the two, "Some of the most pressing national needs in the coming decades are to reduce the country's huge and growing trade deficit in oil, to minimize any economic or political threat . . . from . . . growing world dependence on Persian Gulf oil, to prevent pollution, to avoid irreversibly changing the global climate, and to capture a large share of the enormous potential market for energy and environmental technologies.

"Remarkably, a great many of the same R&D investments can simultaneously achieve all these ends while cost-effectively reducing the energy bills of businesses and consumers."

The ATLANTIC MONTHLY article is posted on the World Wide Web and can be reached through AWEA's Web site at A newspaper article summarizing the Shell future energy scenario is available at the same address.


Global climate change resulting from the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities is the likely culprit in the strange behavior of the El Nino Pacific Ocean current over the past several years, according to researchers Kevin Trenberth and Timothy Hoar of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo.

El Nino traditionally refers to the periodic warming of Pacific waters off the coasts of Peru and Ecuador. It is part of ENSO, the El Nino/Southern Oscillation, a large and complex interaction between the tropical Pacific Ocean and the global atmosphere. The Pacific warming has been linked to such impacts as drought in Australia and South America and flooding in California and along the Gulf Coast.

New findings on the globe's most recent El Nino were released March 29 by NCAR. This warming of waters in the central and eastern tropical Pacific lasted from 1990 to mid-1995, the longest in 130 years of records.

Using a series of sophisticated statistical tests, Trenberth and Hoar found that such an event would be expected to occur only once in about 2,000 years--if the climate were unchanging. The results of their study, they said in an article in the journal GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS in January, raise such climate questions as: "Is this pattern of change a manifestation of global warming and related effects of increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere? Or is this pattern a natural variation that occurs on a time scale of a decade or longer? We have shown that the latter is highly unlikely."

Both the unusual length of the recent El Nino and the pattern of more frequent El Ninos over the past 20 years are statistically unlikely to be the result of natural variations, Trenberth and Hoar said. An El Nino of such length, given the existing historical record, is likely to occur about once every 1,500 to 3,000 years, while the change in frequency is a one-in- 2,000 years occurrence.

Current global climate models do not yet do a very good job of simulating El Nino events, the two said, so the question of what is causing the recent trend cannot be stated with certainty. Nevertheless, the low probability of natural causes "opens up the possibility that the ENSO changes may be partly caused by the observed increases in greenhouse gases."

                       LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
              *             from the               *
                        August 12, 1996

Contact: Sheila McNamara, (202) 383-2500


As you may have already heard, funding for renewable energy programs was provided for in both the House and Senate. In the House, an amendment offered by Reps. Schaefer (R-CO), Klug (R- WI), Thurman (R-FL), Minge (R-MN), Fazio (D-CA), and Salmon (R- AZ) was passed by an overwhelming majority floor vote of 279 to 135. In the Senate, an amendment being offered by Senators Jeffords (R-VT), Leahy (D-VT), Roth (R-DE), Chafee (R-RI), Bumpers (D-AR), Daschle (D-SD), and Murkowski (R-AK) was not brought to a floor vote but, by unanimous agreement, an amendment to its Energy and Water Appropriations bill was agreed to which adds a total of $23 million to renewables programs.

The Congressmen and Senators noted above should be lauded for their considerable efforts on behalf of renewable energy. We are asking anyone who lives in either these Congressional districts or in these Senators' states to write their local newspaper with a letter to the editor. We are willing to help you craft such a document and ask that you please forward a copy of your submission to us. (Even better is an "op/ed" article for the editorial page--if you are interested in doing something like this, let us know and we will be happy to help.)

For House members, this is an election year and a letter in their local newspaper has a powerful effect. Attached is a list of all the Congressmen who voted in support of and opposition to this critical amendment. It is vital to our efforts that they hear from their constituency either to thank or criticize them for their vote on this amendment. We certainly want those who have supported us to know that their efforts on our behalf are greatly appreciated. Conversely, it is important to let those who did not support the amendment know that they do have a constituency that holds them accountable on these critical issues. If you are not sure who your Congressman is, please do not hesitate to contact me. If you cannot write your local paper, then the next best thing is a letter sent to your Congressman's office expressing your views on his/her position in this matter. Again, we will be happy to assist you in crafting such a document and we ask that you forward a copy of the letter or op/ed piece that you write to our offices for our files.

The Senators listed above as well as Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) should also be thanked for their efforts. Again an article in a newspaper in their state has a tremendous impact but a letter of thanks would also be appreciated. We request that a copy of any letter you may write be sent to our offices as maintaining a complete record of supporters will be critical to our efforts next year.

To write to your Congressman, the address is:

Rep. ___________
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

To write to your U.S. Senator, the address is:

Sen. ___________
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Thanks for your help!


The following is a list of how members of the House of Representatives voted on the Schaefer-Klug-Thurman-Minge-Salmon-Fazio Amendment to the FY '97 Energy & Water Appropriations bill. The amendment passed 279-135 and added $42 million to DOE's renewable energy budget. An asterisk (*) denotes a member of the House Renewable Energy Caucus.


Abercrombie D-HI
Ackerman D-NY
Allard R-CO*
Andrews D-NJ
Baker R-LA
Baldacci D-ME*
Barcia D-MI
Barrett R-NE*
Barrett D-WI
Bartlett R-MD*
Becerra D-CA
Beilenson D-CA
Bentsen D-TX
Bereuter R-NE*
Berman D-CA
Bilirakis R-FL*
Bishop D-GA
Bliley R-VA
Blumenauer D-OR
Boehlert R-NY*
Bonilla R-TX
Bonior D-MI
Bono R-CA*
Borski D-PA
Boucher D-VA
Brewster D-OK
Browder D-AL
Brown D-CA*
Brown D-FL
Brown D-OH
Brownback R-KS
Bryant D-TX
Bunn R-OR
Buyer R-IN
Calvert R-CA
Camp R-MI
Campbell R-CA*
Canady R-FL*
Cardin D-MD*
Castle R-DE*
Chabot R-OH
Chambliss R-GA
Christensen R-NE*
Chrysler R-MI
Clay D-MO
Clayton D-NC*
Clement D-TN*
Clinger R-PA
Clyburn D-SC*
Collins D-MI
Condit D-CA
Conyers D-MI
Cooley R-OR
Coyne D-PA
Cramer D-AL
Cummings D-
Cunningham R-CA
Danner D-MO
Deal R-GA*
DeFazio D-OR*
DeLauro D-CT
Dellums D-CA*
Deutsch D-FL
Dickey R-AR
Dicks D-WA
Dingell D-MI
Dixon D-CA
Doggett D-TX*
Dooley D-CA*
Doyle D-PA
Dunn R-WA*
Edwards D-TX
Ehlers R-MI*
Ehrlich R-MD
Engel D-NY
English R-PA
Ensign R-NV*
Eshoo D-CA
Evans D-IL
Ewing R-IL*
Farr D-CA
Fattah D-PA
Fawell R-IL
Fazio D-CA*
Fields D-LA
Fields R-TX
Flanagan R-IL
Foglietta D-PA
Foley R-FL*
Fox R-PA*
Frank D-MA
Franks R-CT
Franks R-NJ
Frost D-TX
Funderburk R-NC
Furse D-OR*
Ganske R-IA*
Gejdenson D-CT
Gephardt D-MO
Geren D-TX
Gilchrest R-MD*
Gillmor R-OH*
Gilman R-NY*
Gonzalez D-TX
Goodling R-PA
Gordon D-TN
Green D-TX*
Greenwood R-PA*
Gutknecht R-MN
Hall D-OH
Hall D-TX
Hamilton D-IN
Hansen R-UT
Harman D-CA
Hastings D-FL*
Hayworth R-AZ
Hefner D-NC
Hilliard D-AL
Hinchey D-NY*
Hobson R-OH
Hoekstra R-MI
Hoke R-OH*
Holden D-PA
Horn R-CA
Hoyer D-MD
Inglis R-SC
Jackson-Lee D-TX
Jacobs D-IN
Jefferson D-LA
Johnson R-CT
Johnson D-SD*
Johnson D-TX
Johnston D-FL
Jones R-NC
Kanjorski D-PA
Kaptur D-OH
Kasich R-OH
Kelly R-NY*
Kennedy D-MA
Kennedy D-RI*
Kennelly D-CT
Kildee D-MI
Kim R-CA
Kingston R-GA
Kleczka D-WI*
Klink D-PA
Klug R-WI*
LaFalce D-NY
Lantos D-CA
Latham R-IA
Lazio R-NY*
Leach R-IA*
Levin D-MI
Lewis D-GA
Linder R-GA
LoBiondo R-NJ
Lofgren D-CA*
Longley R-ME
Lowey D-NY
Luther D-MN
Maloney D-NY*
Manton D-NY
Markey D-MA*
Martinez D-CA
Martini R-NJ
Mascara D-PA
Matsui D-CA*
McCarthy D-MO*
McDermott D-WA*
McHale D-PA
McHugh R-NY
McInnis R-CO*
McKeon R-CA
McKinney D-GA
McNulty D-NY*
Meehan D-MA
Meek D-FL
Metcalf R-WA
Meyers R-KS
Miller D-CA
Minge D-MN*
Mink D-HI*
Moakley D-MA
Molinari R-NY
Montgomery D-MS
Moran D-VA
Morella R-MD*
Nadler D-NY
Neal D-MA
Nethercutt R-WA
Neumann R-WI
Nussle R-IA
Oberstar D-MN*
Obey D-WI
Olver D-MA*
Orton D-UT
Owens D-NY
Oxley R-OH*
Pallone D-NJ*
Pastor D-AZ
Payne D-NJ
Payne D-VA
Pelosi D-CA
Peterson D-MN*
Pombo R-CA
Pomeroy D-ND
Porter R-IL
Portman R-OH
Pryce R-OH
Quinn R-NY
Rahall D-WV
Ramstad R-MN*
Rangel D-NY
Reed D-RI
Regula R-OH
Richardson D-NM*
Riggs R-CA*
Rivers D-MI*
Roberts R-KS
Roemer D-IN
Roukema R-NJ
Roybal-Allard D-CA
Sabo D-MN*
Salmon R-AZ*
Sanders I-VT*
Sanford R-SC
Sawyer D-OH
Saxton R-NJ
Scarborough R-FL
Schaefer R-CO*
Schroeder D-CO
Schumer D-NY
Scott D-VA
Serrano D-NY*
Shays R-CT*
Sisisky D-VA
Skaggs D-CO*
Skeen R-NM*
Slaughter D-NY
Smith R-WA
Spratt D-SC
Stearns R-FL
Stenholm D-TX
Stokes D-OH
Studds D-MA
Stump R-AZ
Stupak D-MI*
Taylor D-MS
Tejeda D-TX
Thomas R-CA
Thompson D-MS*
Thornton D-AR
Thurman D-FL*
Tiahrt R-KS
Torkildsen R-MA
Torres D-CA
Torricelli D-NJ
Towns D-NY
Traficant D-OH
Upton R-MI
Vento D-MN
Visclosky D-IN
Volkmer D-MO
Walsh R-NY
Ward D-KY*
Waters D-CA
Watt D-NC
Watts R-OK
Waxman D-CA*
Weldon R-FL
Weldon R-PA
Williams D-MT*
Wise D-WV
Woolsey D-OR*
Wynn D-MD
Yates D-IL
Young R-AK
Zimmer R-NJ


Archer R-TX
Armey R-TX
Bachus R-AL
Baesler D-KY
Baker R-CA*
Ballenger R-NC
Barr R-GA
Barton R-TX
Bass R-NH
Bateman R-VA*
Bevill D-AL
Bilbray R-CA
Blute R-MA
Boehner R-OH
Bryant R-TN
Bunning R-KY
Burr R-NC*
Burton R-IN
Callahan R-AL
Chapman D-TX*
Chenoweth R-ID
Coble R-NC
Coburn R-OK
Collins R-GA
Combest R-TX
Costello D-IL
Cox R-CA
Crapo R-ID*
Cremeans R-OH
Cubin R-WY
Davis R-VA
de la Garza D-TX
DeLay R-TX
Diaz-Balart R-FL
Doolittle R-CA
Dreier R-CA
Duncan R-TN
Durbin D-IL
Everett R-AL
Filner D-CA
Fowler R-FL
Frelinghuysen R-NJ
Frisa R-NY
Gallegly R-CA
Gekas R-PA
Gibbons D-FL
Goodlatte R-VA
Goss R-FL
Graham R-SC
Greene R-UT
Gunderson R-WI
Gutierrez D-IL
Hancock R-MO
Hastert R-IL
Hastings R-WA
Hefley R-CO*
Heineman R-NC
Herger R-CA
Hilleary R-TN
Hostettler R-IN
Houghton R-NY
Hunter R-CA
Hutchinson R-AR
Hyde R-IL
Istook R-OK
Jackson D-IL
Johnson R-TX
King R-NY
Knollenberg R-MI
Kolbe R-AZ
LaHood R-IL
Largent R-OK
LaTourette R-OH
Laughlin R-TX
Lewis R-CA
Lewis R-KY
Lightfoot R-IA
Lipinski D-IL
Livingston R-LA
Lucas R-OK
Manzullo R-IL
McCollum R-FL
McCrery R-LA
McIntosh R-IN
Menendez D-NJ
Mica R-FL
Miller R-FL
Mollohan D-WV
Moorhead R-CA*
Murtha D-PA
Myers R-IN
Myrick R-NC
Ney R-OH
Norwood R-GA
Ortiz D-TX
Packard R-CA
Parker R-MS
Paxon R-NY
Petri R-WI
Pickett D-VA
Poshard D-IL
Quillen R-TN
Radanovich R-CA
Rogers R-KY
Rohrabacher R-CA
Ros-Lehtinen R-FL
Royce R-CA
Rush D-IL
Schiff R-NM*
Seastrand R-CA
Sensenbrenner R-WI
Shadegg R-AZ
Shaw R-FL*
Shuster R-PA
Skelton D-MO
Smith R-MI
Smith R-TX
Solomon R-NY
Souder R-IN
Spence R-SC
Stark D-CA
Stockman R-TX
Talent R-MO
Tate R-WA
Taylor R-NC
Thornberry R-TX
Vucanovich R-NV*
Walker R-PA
Wamp R-TN*
Weller R-IL
White R-WA
Whitfield R-KY
Wicker R-MS
Wolf R-VA
Zeliff R-NH


Coleman D-TX
Collins D-IL
Crane R-IL
Dornan R-CA
Flake D-NY
Forbes R-NY
Ford D-TN
Frazer I-VI*
Hayes R-LA
Lincoln D-AR*
McDade R-PA
Peterson D-FL
Rose D-NC*
Roth R-WI
Smith R-NJ*
Tanner D-TN
Tauzin R-LA*
Velazquez D-NY
Wilson D-TX
Young R-FL

BACK TO *********************************************************************