Wind Energy Weekly, vol 15, #691, 1st April 1996
The following is the electronic edition of WIND ENERGY WEEKLY,
Vol. 15, #691, 1 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. 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 email@example.com. Or visit our World
Wide Web site at http://www.econet.org/awea
Gas generation to double while prices stay flat?
DOE opens community center on sustainable development
China battles pollution from its cheap high-sulfur coal
Poll shows public backs environmental policy
GAS DEMAND TO CLIMB,
PRICE TO REMAIN STABLE
U.S. demand for natural gas as a electric power generation
fuel is expected to double by the year 2015, an industry analyst
said March 14, but gas prices will not rise as a result.
Paul Holtberg, group manager of the baseline/gas resource
center at the Gas Research Institute (GRI), told attendees at a
natural gas conference in Calgary, Alberta, that gas prices might
increase slightly through the year 2000 as various regulatory
issues are dealt with, but should be "relatively flat" through
This seemingly remarkable forecast tracks reasonably well
with the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) ANNUAL ENERGY OUTLOOK
1996 (see WIND ENERGY WEEKLY #681, January 22, 1996), which sees
an even sharper increase in natural gas's share of electric
generation, from 14% today to 27% by 2015. The DOE projection,
however, is evidently disconnected from Administration climate
change programs--it predicts a substantial increase in U.S.
emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the leading greenhouse gas.
According to the OUTLOOK, "Between 1994 and 2015, [37,000
MW] of nuclear capacity are expected to be retired, resulting in
a decline of 207 billion kWh per year, or 32%, from current
nuclear generation. To compensate for the loss of baseload
capacity and to meet rising demand, [230,000 MW] of new fossil-
fueled capacity will be needed. The resulting increase in
generation from fossil fuels will increase carbon emissions by
160 million tons, or 32%, over current levels." Carbon dioxide
emissions from natural gas are seen as approximately doubling (in
line with its share of generation) over the period, even as coal-
fired generation and CO2 emissions also rise.
It will be interesting to see how this is ultimately
reconciled with Administration pledges to reduce CO2 emissions to
1990 levels by the year 2000. The OUTLOOK's forecast, which is
basically by definition a "business-as-usual" projection, notes
that "Although renewable capacity increases from [94,000 MW] in
1994 to [115,000 MW] in 2015--reducing the impact of nuclear
retirements on total carbon emissions--the intermittent nature of
renewable technologies prevents them from compensating completely
for the losses in nuclear capacity."
The Administration is currently working on an update of its
Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP), which is aimed at carrying out
the pledge to stabilize greenhouse emissions. A DOE spokesman
said March 27 in an interview that the OUTLOOK numbers, with some
minor modifications from other forecasts, are used as a starting
point for CCAP. He also said that the CCAP update will, for the
first time, project emissions effects out to the year 2010, which
should shed some light on the Administration's view of the longer
term. The update is likely to be released sometime in April,
Since gas is also viewed as the fuel of choice in much of
the developing world, there is also some question as to whether
rosy forecasts about low future prices will hold up. DOE's
INTERNATIONAL ENERGY OUTLOOK 1995 sees global energy demand
increasing by 36% between 1990 and 2010, but natural gas
consumption jumping by 47% over the same period, and by 140% in
the rapidly growing economies of southeast Asia. If global oil
production peaks around 2000 or shortly thereafter, as a number
of observers now predict, rising energy prices may make a hash of
Peter Fusaro of Global Change Associates, another speaker at
the Alberta conference, agreed that gas-fired capacity should
dominate the market for new power in the U.S. following utility
deregulation, which is expected to put a heavy premium on low
prices. However, Fusaro noted, that will require the development
of long-term supply contracts that will reduce the financing risk
of new plants and pipelines.
DOE CHARTERS CENTER FOR
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) said March 8 that it has
established a "Center of Excellence for Sustainable
Development," described in a news release as "a pilot program
that will help small communities . . . protect the environment
for future generations while promoting economic development."
The center will offer information and technical advice to
help communities become more energy efficient and environmentally
sound. It will also provide a "tool kit" of workbooks, computer
programs and data for guidance on sustainable development
projects ranging from "green" buildings to neighborhoods that
waste less energy. Communities can review case studies of
successful community projects and research technical and
financial programs that can provide further assistance.
Experienced personnel will be on hand to consult with local
The center's World Web site (address below) includes basic
information on renewable energy sources, wind energy among them,
and contact information for some wind turbine manufacturers. Its
section on "Success Stories" also contains renewable energy
projects, one being the "Midwest Wind Energy Project" carried out
by the municipal utility in Waverly, Iowa, which installed a
single wind turbine in 1994 to gain familiarity with wind
"By offering assistance at the local level, we hope to help
communities adopt practices that range from pedestrian walkways
to environmentally friendly sources of energy," said Secretary of
Energy Hazel O'Leary. "Communities with the foresight to adopt
sustainable development strategies will find they save taxpayer
money, improve the profits and productivity of local businesses
and make the community much more liveable."
The center grew out of DOE's assistance to Midwest towns
devastated by the 1993 floods. DOE helped communities rebuild
using sustainable development strategies, which integrate
economic development and environmental quality goals. This
assistance will be offered nationwide during a six-month
demonstration period. Two of the towns that benefited from the
DOE program after the floods, Pattonsburg, Mo., and Valmeyer,
Ill., were honored March 7 by the President's Council on
Sustainable Development. With federal assistance, Pattonsburg is
replacing flood-devastated buildings with energy-efficient
designs, building better water-quality systems and creating a new
power supply using renewable energy. Valmeyer also is embracing
energy-efficient design for buildings.
DOE's Denver Regional Support Office will manage the
program. Interested communities can contact the center toll-free
at (800) 357-7732 or via the center's "home page" on the World
Wide Web at http://www.crest.org/doe/sustainable
CHANGE NEEDED TO COMBAT
POLLUTION, SAYS CHINESE EXPERT
China needs to transform its economic system, aiming at
improving efficiency rather than new development, in order to
reduce its massive and growing environmental degradation, a high
environmental official said March 15.
Qu Geping, Chairman of the Environmental and Resources
Committee of the National People's Congress, said at a news
conference that China plans to increase spending on environmental
protection from the current 0.8% of gross domestic product to
1.5% at an unspecified time in the future.
According to Reuters, Qu zeroed in on the heavy use of
China's high-sulfur coal as the source of many environmental
problems. "Coal is at the center of China's energy structure,"
he said, adding, "This structure cannot be changed quickly. Acid
rain is developing [and] the amount of smoke and dust emitted is
still on the rise." China is accelerating hydro and nuclear
power development, he said, while also introducing larger and
more efficient coal boilers.
Qu drew a distinction between "extensive" development, where
the primary goal is building new projects, and "intensive"
development, which focuses on greater efficiency, and said China
must work toward the latter while at the same time moving from a
centrally-directed, Stalinist economy to one that unleashes
PUBLIC BACKS EPA BUDGET,
By a nearly 2-1 margin, voters oppose Congressional cuts in
the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) budget, according to
a recent public opinion survey conducted for the Clean Air Trust
by the Democratic polling firm Lake Research, Inc.
The poll also found overwhelming support for the view that
the agency should enforce air and water pollution laws "more
aggressively" than it does now, the Clean Air Trust said in a
news release. Of those surveyed, 55% backed stronger
enforcement, while 19% preferred to see the EPA "increase
flexibility and rely more on voluntary compliance. . . . "
The survey is one of several in recent months that have
suggested that Congressional backers of legislation to weaken
environmental laws may be out of step with the American public.
Nearly three of four voters, the release said, believe the
environment should be an important priority for the next
President, and "nearly 60% say they'd vote against candidates who
want to relax clean air and clean water laws." The view that the
environment is important extended across the electorate, with 71%
overall calling it either a "top priority" or "very important."
The random sample of 1,010 registered voters was conducted
January 21-23 and has a margin of error of 3.1%.
* from the *
* AMERICAN WIND ENERGY ASSOCIATION *
July 26, 1996
SENATE TO VOTE SOON ON WIND RESEARCH FUNDS;
MAJOR VICTORY IN HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
The U.S. Senate is expected to vote Tuesday afternoon on the
Energy and Water Appropriations bill for the coming year. When
it does, Senators James Jeffords (R-Vermont) and William Roth (R-
Delaware) will offer an amendment to restore renewable energy
research programs, including wind, to current year levels. For
wind, this would mean an increase from the $15 million approved
by the Senate Appropriations Committee to $32.5 million.
This past week, we scored a major victory when the House of
Representatives voted overwhelmingly, 279-135, to increase
renewables programs above the levels previously set by the House
Appropriations Committee. For wind, the appropriation was
increased from $6 million at the Committee level to $28.5
million--a 13% decrease from current year funding, but still a
This sweeping victory in the House sets the stage for a
positive outcome in the Senate, but we must leave nothing to
chance. PLEASE CALL YOUR U.S. SENATORS BETWEEN NOW AND TUESDAY
AFTERNOON AND URGE THEM TO SUPPORT THE JEFFORDS-ROTH AMENDMENT TO
INCREASE FUNDS FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY RESEARCH. You will find
attached a fact sheet on the House amendment that contains a
number of "talking points" for your use. You can reach any
Senate office by calling the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202)
224-3121. If you have any questions, contact Karl Gawell or
Sheila MacNamara of AWEA at (202) 383-2500.
The SAFE Amendment: Securing America's Future Energy
(summary of amendment as submitted, 23 July 1996)
The SAFE Amendment, introduced by Representatives Schaefer, Klug,
Thurman, Minge, Salmon, and Fazio, will restore most funding
which was cut for renewable energy research and development
programs in H.R. 3816, the FY 1997 Energy and Water Development
Q: What is the purpose of this amendment?
A: We must maintain viable renewable energy research,
development, and demonstration (RD&D) programs as an
insurance policy against increasing political instability
from countries where the United States imports over 50% of
its energy and to ensure that we have a "no-regrets"
approach to pollution control and prevention. The
extraction, conversion, and use of energy is the single
largest contributor to air and water pollution.
Q: Why is this amendment necessary?
A: The FY 1997 Energy & Water Appropriations bill, as reported
to the floor, fails to take into consideration that
renewable energy programs took the largest Department of
Energy (DOE) cuts--29%--in FY 1996. In the FY 1997 Energy &
Water bill, DOE renewable energy programs sustain the most
terminations and reductions of any civilian DOE RD&D
program. This is not balanced public policy.
Q: Are renewables worth it when we must reduce the budget?
A: We must gradually reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, as
we face the long-term prospect of running out of these
resources. If we continue our research and development now,
the cost and inconvenience to us and to our descendants will
be much less than if we force future generations to embark
on costly "crash programs" to research and develop energy
sources which we failed to fund in the 1990s. This is not
something we should delay until we see an oncoming crisis--
world energy crises have a habit of occurring when we least
Q: What are other countries doing in support of renewable
A: As renewable energy budgets in the United States are cut,
our industrialized competitors see a vacuum in this billion-
dollar market (which is projected to grow by 70% in five
years) and are filling it:
- Germany spends more for wind RD&D than the U.S.
- Japan spends twice the U.S. on photovoltaic (PV) RD&D and an
additional $150 million on PV procurement.
- Germany spends 50% more than the U.S. on PV RD&D and has a $100
million local government PV program as well.
- Spain invests an equal amount to the U.S. on solar thermal
Q: How does the American public feel about renewables?
A: The American public supports renewable energy. A public
opinion poll on energy was recently conducted by Vincent
Breglio, pollster for Presidents Reagan and Bush. Its
results show that Americans want a new emphasis placed on
developing renewable energy sources--more than any other
form of energy listed in the survey. Furthermore, a large
majority (59%) said that a congressional candidate's
position on energy funding policy was an important enough
priority to make the voter much more or somewhat more likely
to vote for that candidate. Clearly, the public supports
renewable energy and, if the opportunity is presented, will
take it into consideration when forming voting decisions.