Wednesday, September 30, 2009

GSU scientists investigate a type of soil’s ability to absorb byproduct of nuclear reactions

Georgia State University researchers, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy and the Georgia Tech Research Institute, are investigating whether a type of soil might absorb a radioactive isotope, perhaps leading to better ways of remediating a byproduct of nuclear reactions.

W. Crawford Elliott, chair of the Department of Geosciences, is the lead investigator on a project to evaluate the absorption of cesium-137 by a soil commonly found in the Piedmont regions of the South at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina, near Augusta, Ga. The research has been funded with a $149,477 grant from the Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research.

Cesium-137 is a byproduct nuclear fission with uranium-235. The fission releases energy that can be used in nuclear reactors to produce power.

The Savannah River Site, located in Aiken and Barnwell counties in South Carolina was the home of production for elements of nuclear weapons during the Cold War, but much of the work performed there now involves mitigation of the legacies of nuclear reactions.

Cesium-137, which has a half-life of about 30 years, emits both beta particles and gamma radiation. It has been found in the environment as a result of nuclear waste and accidental releases.

One hypothesis is that a common soil mineral in Piedmont regions, called hydroxy interstratified vermiculite, might absorb the cesium, and researchers will first test the soil using natural, non-radioactive cesium-133.

“We think that there’s a special place in the hydroxy interstratified vermiculite lattice that favors the uptake of cesium, and if that's the case, we’re first going to study these soils to see how much natural cesium is being taken up,” Elliott said.

The next step is to take cesium-137 and pour it through the soil to see what kind of exchange happens.

“We have a good hypothesis that these soils sequester natural cesium on their own, as much and maybe more so than other micas or other kinds of minerals,” Elliott said.

The work might lead scientists to a better understanding of how to mitigate the radioactive element.

“The project would certainly give us some of the best knowledge about the role of soils in the process and how they could naturally attenuate the cesium," he said.

A side project will investigate a byproduct of kaolin processing — a clear, shiny mica that is sorted out from kaolin and sold to paint companies and others. The mica might be able to absorb and mitigate cesium-137.

“You might be able to make into a permeable barrier, or even make it into a material similar to what’s used at a grocery store to clean up a spill,” Elliott said.

Elliott is working on the project with Seth Rose and Eirik Krogstad, associate professors of geosciences at Georgia State; Marion Wampler, adjunct associate professor in geosciences; Bernd Kahn and Robert Rosson of the Georgia Tech Research Institute; and Daniel Kaplan of the U.S. Department of Energy.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cooler Weather Brings Heating Decisions -- Public Service Web Site Helps Georgia Consumers Compare and Save on Natural Gas

/PRNewswire/ -- If cold weather hits Georgia as quickly as the flooding rains, consumers will be scrambling to choose a natural gas marketer and price plan that's right for them. Luckily for Georgians, MyNaturalGasCoach.com is a free public service web site to help shop and save on natural gas before the colder weather arrives.

Georgians who live in the Atlanta Gas Light service territory can go to MyNaturalGasCoach.com for information about natural gas marketers and their rates to help make an informed decision and save money when choosing a natural gas marketer. The interactive site helps "coach" consumers with information all on one site, including the following:

-- A convenient list of Georgia's natural gas marketers, plus toll-free
numbers and links to their web sites for price comparison
-- An explanation of variable and fixed price plan options and how
service fees affect your natural gas bill
-- How to read and understand your natural gas bill

It's about choice and saving money. It's important that the consumer know there are options," said Bill Edge, public information officer for the Georgia Public Service Commission. "MyNaturalGasCoach.com is a great source to help everyone learn more about their options in terms of choosing a natural gas marketer."

Consumers can go to the site and take an online "Natural Gas Fitness Test" between now and November 23, 2009, and be automatically entered into the My Natural Gas Coach Sweepstakes to win four tickets to the New Year's Eve Chick-fil-A Football Bowl Game, accommodations at the Buckhead Intercontinental Hotel and a limo for the evening.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Decline in Industrial Natural Gas Consumption Tied to Influences Other Than Recession

/PRNewswire/ -- Economists at C. H. Guernsey & Company have determined that the decline in industrial natural gas consumption since January 2008 is partly associated with a long-term trend in energy efficiency and structural changes to the economy and is not solely related to the effects of the recession. The Energy Information Administration reported that U. S. industrial natural gas consumption declined by approximately 14% during the recessionary period since January 2008 for a net average monthly decline of 80.4 Bcf. In fact, the Guernsey economists, Don Murry and Zhen Zhu, also found that if the price of natural gas had not declined by nearly 50% over the same period, industrial natural gas consumption probably would have declined by over 19%.

Murry and Zhu found that only 73 Bcf per month was a direct effect of the decline in economic activity. This is the rate at which the natural gas industrial sales are likely to expand even with a strong economic recovery, and this is only if prices stay near their current level. The economists associated the remainder of the decline with longer- term trends reducing gas consumption per unit of industrial output such as improvements in energy efficiency and changes in the economic structure.

As a corollary to their modeling, they determined that fuel switching had little effect, either positively or negatively, on the level of industrial natural gas consumption during this period. This is very likely because fuel oil prices declined at similar rates during the period. A brief explanation of the study can be found http://www.chguernsey.com/ema.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

CEA Urges Senate to Adopt Commonsense Offshore Energy Exploration Provision

/PRNewswire/ -- As the U.S. Senate considers an appropriations measure setting aside funds for the U.S. Department of the Interior, Sens. David Vitter (La.), Jim DeMint (S.C.) and John Barrasso (Wyo.) are working to include an amendment in the bill that would streamline and advance energy development along our nation's outer continental shelf (OCS). Consumer Energy Alliance, which has played a leading role in generating over 150,000 of the more than 350,000 favorable public comments to Secretary Ken Salazar in support of expanded offshore energy production, has urged the Senate to adopt this commonsense provision that would increase domestic energy production, helping to drive down and stabilize prices for American consumers.

CEA president David Holt issued the following statement:

"Our energy security, the price American consumers pay at the pump, and the much-needed jobs and revenues created through environmentally-sound, 21st century offshore energy development must be addressed head-on. This commonsense amendment helps do that, and it deserves strong bipartisan support in the U.S. Senate.

"This amendment, coupled with the overwhelming support that the American people delivered to the Interior Department for expanded offshore energy production yesterday as the 5-year comment period came to an end, should continue to send a strong message to the policymakers that decisive action is needed to help meet our growing energy needs, put Americans back to work, raise revenues for the local, state and federal governments and help get the U.S. economy rolling again."

CEA has participated in over 100 events over past three months focused on responsibly increasing American energy production, while ensuring environmental safeguards. Early indications suggest that favorable comments to the Interior Department handily surpass those in opposition to American energy production, which would be in line with virtually all public opinion polling.

Over the past several years, public comments to the Interior Department have overwhelmingly favored increased offshore energy production. During the 2006 period, 72 percent of comments received during four separate comment periods favored increased energy production offshore. In 2008, 53 percent backed domestic OCS energy exploration. And, early indications from yesterday's close of the public comment period, favorable comments will once again lead groups who are opposed to sensible offshore development by a sizeable margin. American consumers once again voiced clear support for increased energy production.

For more information, visit www.consumerenergyalliance.org.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Isakson, Chambliss Urge Administration to Open New Areas for Natural Gas, Oil Development

Expansion Would Create Jobs, Lessen Dependence on Foreign Oil

U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., today joined with 33 of their Senate colleagues in a bipartisan letter to the Administration expressing their strong support for a proposal by the Minerals Management Service to open up new offshore areas for natural gas and oil leasing and development.

“Environmentally responsible exploration of our offshore oil and natural gas resources is a critical part of a comprehensive policy that will enable the United States to become energy independent,” Isakson said. “I hope Secretary Salazar and President Obama will move quickly to utilize these resources, which are important to our national security and economic well-being.”

“It’s important that we utilize all of our domestic energy sources in an environmentally friendly way so that America can become energy independent,” said Chambliss. “Moving forward with the proposed program to lease areas in the Outer Continental Shelf for oil and gas exploration and development is a step in the right direction.”

The full text of the letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is below:

Dear Mr. Secretary:

We are writing to convey our strong support for the Draft Proposed Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program (DPP) proposed by the U.S. Minerals Management Service (MMS). By opening up new offshore areas for natural gas and oil leasing and development and also allowing for the development of renewable energy as proposed in the DPP, the Department of the Interior can provide the United States with an opportunity to responsibly produce our own energy. This development will bolster our nation’s economy, create new jobs and decrease our dependence on foreign sources of energy.

It is more important than ever that the federal government allow for development of domestic offshore energy supplies made available in the DPP. By offering new leasing opportunities, the DPP is appropriately expansive and provides the Department with maximum flexibility to properly utilize our nation’s domestic resources.

Now is the appropriate time to promote long-term policies that responsibly encourage job creation while growing the economy. Important offshore areas, like those in Alaska, offer tremendous natural gas and oil resources. By some estimates, the Chukchi Sea alone off Alaska’s coast contains as much natural gas and oil as the country has produced in the Gulf of Mexico since 1942.

Additionally, we urge MMS to move forward with the 2007-2012 Leasing Program while working to approve and finalize the new DPP. Implementing a sensible, forward-thinking energy policy will allow for responsible leasing and development of America’s energy resources and will help industries and businesses here at home that rely heavily on natural gas and crude oil. It will also further our national security and energy security interests and, of course, spur jobs and economic growth as we open new areas to leasing and development.

In conclusion, we are pleased to see that the MMS has included new leasing areas in the DPP and has acknowledged the need for the United States to begin responsibly developing the abundant energy resources located off our coasts. We believe that the DPP is an important step in creating a robust, diverse, national energy policy which will help secure our energy future.

We urge you to move forward on the DPP as you work to finalize a new five-year OCS plan. Thank you for your attention to this important matter. Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of assistance to you.
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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Why the Gas is Always On

Turn the knob on a gas oven and the energy flows immediately. While the blue flame from the burning gas is obvious, the delivery system that is bringing the gas hundreds of miles to the oven isn't. That system includes not only the vast network of pipelines, but numerous pumps to maintain pressure.

A new study shows that this complex grid of gas pipes is surprisingly robust, so that even when one pipeline fails the gas generally finds an alternative way to reach its destination.

Rui Carvalho, who works at Queen Mary University in London, said that the gas grid resembles the electrical grid in some respects. In both cases, energy is added to the grid by one or more suppliers, travels over various available pathways, and then is extracted by customers. Unlike the electrical grid, where a power line can shut down, individual gas pipes go on working.

Carvalho and his colleagues studied how the gas grid in Europe functions so well. They found that the pipe network has evolved over time in two ways. The grid is partly deliberately planned by gas companies with pipes built as short as possible (to save money) and as wide as necessary to carry the expected load.

Another competing mechanism is at work, however. This is the redundancy in the grid that emerges when a lot of pipes are added over the years by different companies. The resultant grid is a bit like the vasculature system, the mesh-like system of veins reliably supplying blood to all parts of the body. Redundancy might seem like a wasteful thing, but it is the factor that allows gas to go on flowing even blockages in any one node arise.

This redundancy of nodes and possible paths helps the gas grid to survive occasional pipe breakdowns. The consequence is that it's almost impossible for the gas grid to suffer the kind of blackouts that occur on the electricity grid.

When the gas does fail to flow, it's usually something other than the pipes. In January a disagreement between Russia and the Ukraine led to the shut-off of gas to some parts of Europe.

This study of the Trans-European gas network was published recently in the journal Physical Review.

By Phillip F. Schewe
Inside Science News Service

Friday, September 18, 2009

Southern Company to Deploy Clean Coal Technology in China

/PRNewswire/ -- Southern Company today announced that China will be the site for the first worldwide commercial implementation of the Transport Integrated Gasification (TRIG(TM)) technology for producing low-emission coal-based electricity.

TRIG is an advanced integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) technology that produces electricity with lower emissions than traditional coal power plants. It also is compatible with lower rank coals that are abundant in China.

The technology was developed by Southern Company, KBR Inc., and other partners, including the U.S. Department of Energy, at the DOE's research facility in Wilsonville, Ala., that is managed and operated by Southern Company.

Under the terms of their technology licensing arrangements with KBR Inc., the companies will provide Beijing Guoneng Yinghui Clean Energy Engineering Co., Ltd. with licensing, engineering services and proprietary equipment for the implementation of TRIG technology at a power plant operated by Dongguan Tianming Electric Power Co., Ltd. (Dongguan TMEP) in Guandong Province, Peoples Republic of China.

At the Dongguan TMEP facility, TRIG technology will be added to an existing gas turbine combined cycle plant so that it can use clean synthetic gas from coal as its fuel for generating electricity, rather than fuel oil.

"China's rapid growth vividly demonstrates the global need for advanced technologies to ensure reliable, affordable and cleaner supplies of energy," said Southern Company Chairman, President and CEO David Ratcliffe. "This plant will demonstrate that TRIG offers an effective technological solution to these challenges."

The 120-megawatt Dongguan TMEP plant, expected to begin operation in 2011, would demonstrate an example of advanced U.S. IGCC technology that is being developed in partnership between the DOE and industry. This IGCC technology is compatible with carbon capture, and its deployment in China is an important step toward positioning IGCC for future integration with carbon capture technology.

Ratcliffe also noted that Southern Company subsidiary Mississippi Power currently is seeking regulatory approval to build a 582-megawatt plant using TRIG technology in Kemper County, Miss. That plant would include 65 percent carbon capture and sequestration.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

National Opinion Polling Finds Strong Support for Natural Gas

/PRNewswire-/ -- According to polling by Public Opinion Strategies and the Mellman Group, more than 75 percent of the American public expect natural gas to play a significant role in our nation's energy future.

Natural gas out-scored wind, solar, hydro, nuclear, coal, biofuels, oil produced in the US and oil imported from other countries as an energy source that the public most expects to play a significant role for the country in the next five to 10 years.

The American public not only expects to rely more on natural gas, but also has very favorable views about it. Opinions of natural gas rank right alongside solar power, hydro power, wind power, and domestically produced oil in favorable perceptions. In a "thermometer" ranking from cold/very unfavorable (0) to warm/very favorable (100), natural gas rated a mean score of 71, with other top tier energy sources ranging from 73-81. Second tier energy sources were ethanol and biofuels, nuclear power, coal and oil imported from foreign countries. Second tier thermometer ratings ranged from 26-54.

Americans also report a fairly high degree of familiarity with natural gas. Sixty-nine percent (69%) report being very or somewhat familiar with natural gas, and more than half (56%) reported using it in their homes. However, while Americans feel they have some basic knowledge about natural gas, they feel far from comfortable enough to consider themselves "very familiar" with how it is used. In fact, just 16% would consider themselves "very familiar" with natural gas, providing an opportunity for natural gas to educate the public about its uses and benefits. Americans know even less about how natural gas is produced (44% total familiar, 16% very familiar). Opinion Elites nationally and D.C. Policy Elites have a much higher familiarity with the uses of natural gas than the general public.

"It is very clear from the opinion polling that Americans have very positive views about natural gas today and as an energy source of greater importance for the future," said Rod Lowman, president and CEO of America's Natural Gas Alliance who funded the opinion study. "It is clear that the public has a good understanding of natural gas as a clean, efficient energy source. America's Natural Gas Alliance's mission is to educate policymakers about this support and how abundant American natural gas can help lead us to a cleaner energy future."

The research identified three key areas of strong public support for natural gas:

1. The national security issue since the overwhelming majority of natural
gas used in the U.S. is produced domestically in America;
2. The economic value of natural gas in its ability to create new jobs and
significant economic impact in America; and
3. The environmental value of natural gas in its ability to dramatically
reduce greenhouse gases.

"We found key themes about natural gas that clearly resonated with the public - a clean source of energy, its abundant supply, its domestic production, and its ability to create jobs and economic growth," added the ANGA president.

The public opinion polling was funded by America's Natural Gas Alliance and included three studies by Public Opinion Strategies and the Mellman Group:

-- Eight focus groups in June in the cities of Indianapolis, Albuquerque,
Boston and Birmingham
-- A national telephone survey of 800 adults in July
-- The margin of error for this survey is +/- 3.46%;
-- A national online survey of 300 Opinion Elites in July
-- Opinion Elites can be defined as college graduates, who have a
personal income of at least $60,000 a year, are between the ages
of 26-69, are likely voters, follow politics/current events
closely, and have displayed at least two acts of civil
participation in the last two years.

Additionally, Strategy One conducted a Beltway area survey in July of 400 Policy Elites, including 200 Democrats and 200 Republicans.

-- D.C. Policy Elites can be defined as Opinion Elites who live in the
most politically active regions of Washington, have at least a college
degree, and work or have worked in key D.C. establishments.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

UGA licenses technology to make fuel from dead forests and agricultural waste

An innovative process for turning waste biomass—such as dead trees, agricultural waste and lumber byproducts—into a liquid fuel to power conventional engines has been licensed by the University of Georgia Research Foundation, Inc. to Tolero Energy, LLC, a private biofuels company based in Sacramento, Calif. The technology represents a leap forward for the biofuels industry: the ultra-low-sulfur biofuel does not require additional refinement or processing before blending with biodiesel and petroleum diesel.

The exclusive license provides Tolero Energy global rights to the technology, including the right to grant sublicenses.

Tolero CEO Chris Churchill said the company will focus on the transportation fuels market as it completes development of the UGARF bio-oil technology. He expects to make product based on the technology available in the first half of 2010.

Lead inventor of the technology is Tom Adams, a retired member of the University of Georgia Faculty of Engineering. Co-inventors are John Goodrum, Manuel Garcia-Perez, Dan Geller and Joshua Pendergrass—all presently or previously associated with the UGA Faculty of Engineering.

“Fuel produced through this efficient technology, which uses dead biomass as the starting material, holds the promise of being highly economical, carbon-negative and environmentally acceptable,” said Adams, now an engineering consultant.

Tolero will use this low-cost, on-site process to turn non-food, waste biomass into sustainable and renewable forms of energy and industrial products. The biomass is heated at carefully controlled high temperatures in the absence of oxygen, a process known as fast pyrolysis. The vapors produced during pyrolysis rapidly condense into a bio-oil that can be added to biodiesel or petroleum diesel. Other pyrolysis by-products are gas and bio-char, which can be used as a soil amendment.

Dead trees are one of the major sources of waste biomass for Tolero, said Churchill. He explained, “Infestations of the mountain pine beetle have devastated forests in the western United States and Canada, killing over 40 million acres of pine trees. As the trees decompose and decay, they release millions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, and the devastation has created a significant and dangerous fire hazard in the western forests.

“Harvesting dead trees and forest residue and converting them to renewable fuel and soil amendment products will help reduce the CO2 released into the atmosphere and reduce the fire danger. The recent fire in the Los Angeles foothills, which was fueled by years of highly flammable dead biomass build-up, is a prime example of a situation where this technology can be put to use. Tolero has the capability to establish pyrolysis facilities to process the dead underbrush and convert it to a renewable fuel that is easy to transport,” Churchill said.

Tolero also will convert other types of cellulosic biomass, such as agricultural waste and waste wood pallets, into renewable transportation fuels, heating fuels, soil amendments and industrial products.

“We are glad that our new business partner, Tolero, will be using biomass waste as starting material for the production of biodiesel,” said Gennaro Gama, senior technology manager at UGARF charged with the management of UGA’s bioenergy technologies. “Not only is this approach socially responsible, since it does not employ food crops as the source of biofuels, it also is ecologically sound, as it will open areas to reforestation and at the same time lead to the production of cost-efficient, sulfur-free fuels,” he said.

“This commercialization approach perfectly reflects the social and ecological concerns of UGA’s bioenergy researchers and the research partnership formed with Tolero,” Gama concluded.

UGARF performs the technology transfer function for the University of Georgia, taking assignment of patents and licensing such patents to the private sector in return for royalty income to support the research mission of the university. To learn more about technology commercialization at the University of Georgia, see http://www.ovpr.uga.edu/tco/industry/.

Tolero Energy LLC focuses on renewable transportation fuel from waste biomass. More information is available at www.toleroenergy.com.


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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Energy Industry Icon Calls for Lower U.S. Natural Gas Prices; Industry at Record Storage Levels and No Demand Drivers

/PRNewswire/ -- Karl W. Miller, a senior energy executive and institutional investor, today issued the following statement through his advisor VBCC, regarding the fact that U.S. natural gas is at record storage levels and overpriced.

Mr. Miller re-affirms expectations for natural gas to correct to the $2.50 to $2.75 mmbtu price range and will continue getting cheaper, as there will be no sustainable drivers either by natural gas fired electricity generation or industrial demand in the U.S. for the next 6-8 quarters.

The natural gas pipeline companies, master limited partnerships (MLP's) and natural gas producers will suffer substantially reduced earnings during the next 6-8 quarters and are substantially overvalued at the current time.

Oil is dollar based, but has no linkage to the price or demand of natural gas in the U.S.

Mr. Miller retains a sell recommendation on U.S. publicly listed renewable energy companies. He predicts we will see many of these companies, which are reliant upon massive government subsidies, state approval of pass through price increases, and highly levered fail and/or will be purchased at distressed prices.

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Georgia Natural Gas First Georgia Marketer to Obtain Recycled Natural Gas from Landfill

/PRNewswire/ -- Georgia Natural Gas (GNG), the state's leading natural gas provider, is the first and only natural gas marketer in Georgia to obtain recycled natural gas from a landfill, helping to conserve Georgia's precious natural resources. Specially designed equipment at the landfill collects the methane gas and makes it ready for consumer use.

GNG began purchasing the recycled gas from Georecover-Live Oak LLC, a Jacoby Development company, in early 2009. Georecover oversees processing of the gas at the Live Oak Landfill in DeKalb County, Georgia. The landfill is capable of producing enough natural gas to fuel approximately 15,000 Georgia homes and has a potential life cycle of about 20 years. GNG has exclusive rights to purchase all of the recycled gas produced at the landfill through 2011.

This week GNG launches its fall marketing campaign that focuses on GNG's leadership in obtaining recycled natural gas. Television, radio, billboards, print, direct mail and online marketing efforts will feature a distinctive flickering blue flower in the shape of a gas burner, symbolizing a clean-burning energy source.

"Georgia Natural Gas is very proud to be the first natural gas marketer in Georgia to obtain recycled natural gas," said Mike Braswell, president and CEO of GNG. "Turning landfill waste material into a clean-burning resource helps preserve our natural resources, and it gives our customers a way to help the environment simply by being a GNG customer. Natural gas is already one of the cleanest, most plentiful energy sources, and with the availability of recycled natural gas, natural gas is more compatible than ever with the country's energy goals."

What is recycled natural gas?

According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), landfills are the largest single human source of methane gas emissions in the United States, accounting for 25 percent of all methane sources. Methane is a greenhouse gas with a high global warming potential. Landfill methane gas is generated during the natural process of bacterial decomposition of organic material contained in municipal landfills. New technologies have made it possible to capture and combust the methane gas, breaking it apart to form water vapor, carbon dioxide, and other compounds that are less volatile than methane.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Energy Efficiency Projects to Help State Meet Governor’s Energy Challenge

State Facilities Receive $63.1 Million through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

Governor Sonny Perdue announced today the approval of 135 energy efficiency projects totaling $63.1 million as part of the State Facilities Retrofit Program. Funding for the projects is being provided by the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority (GEFA) through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The energy efficiency projects for state facilities include lighting system retrofits, HVAC system upgrades, replacement of inefficient chillers and boilers, advanced control systems, utility sub-metering and building tune-ups (also known as commissioning).

“Energy efficiency retrofits will save the state millions of dollars in energy costs year after year and will reduce our energy consumption,” said Governor Perdue. “Many of these projects may go unnoticed to the average Georgian, but the results will be substantial energy savings and a more efficient state government.”

Through the Governor’s Energy Challenge, an initiative of Conserve Georgia, Governor Perdue directed state agencies to reduce energy consumption 15 percent below 2007 levels. He also encouraged businesses, individuals, not-for-profits, schools and local governments to meet the same goal. The energy projects announced today will save the state approximately $15.1 million a year in avoided energy costs, resulting in a four year payback on the investment and an energy savings of 976,692 million BTUs (equivalent to the amount of energy consumed by approximately 4,544 housing units in one year).

“Georgia is leading by example through the Governor’s commitment to energy efficiency in state government,” said GEFA Executive Director Phil Foil. “Through the State Facilities Retrofit Program, we’ll make significant progress toward meeting the Governor’s 15 percent energy reduction goal.”

All businesses interested in competing for state energy retrofit projects should contact the Construction Division of the Georgia State Finance Investment Commission at www.gsfic.ga.gov and the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia at www.usg.edu/ref .

For more information regarding the energy efficiency and renewable energy opportunities available through GEFA, please visit www.gefa.org.

A complete listing of the state facility projects is attached, along with the estimated yearly energy cost savings and projected length of payback. Also, a chart is attached that shows the portion of the overall amount that is being used in the different project categories.

About the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority (www.gefa.org)
The Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority (GEFA) provides financial assistance and administers programs that encourage stewardship of the environment and promote economic development statewide. GEFA is the lead state agency for energy planning and alternative fuels; manages the Governor’s Energy Challenge and the Georgia Land Conservation Program; maintains state-owned fuel storage tanks; and offers financing for reservoir and water supply, water quality, storm water and solid waste infrastructure.

About the Governor’s Energy Challenge
In April 2008, Governor Sonny Perdue committed Georgia’s state agencies to reduce energy consumption 15 percent by 2020 and challenged Georgia businesses, local governments and citizens to do the same. Georgia’s population is projected to grow to more than 12 million people by 2030. This growth will significantly impact Georgia’s land, water and energy resources. The Governor’s Energy Challenge plays an active role in providing information to Georgia businesses and residents on how to meet this challenge and to help protect the state’s natural resources for generations to come.

About Conserve Georgia (www.conservegeorgia.org)
The Conserve Georgia program was developed to foster a culture of conservation throughout the state of Georgia. Nearly a dozen state agencies and authorities are working together with businesses, civic leaders, educational institutions, non-profit organizations and residents to make Georgia’s air, land, water, energy and wildlife resources more sustainable now and for generations to come. The program’s Web site – www.ConserveGeorgia.org – serves as a portal to help Georgians find information on a wide range of conservation resources and programs.

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The Clean Air Campaign’s Success Forum: Spotlighting the Best Commute Options Programs

New Webinar format creates a zero-pollution event, saves time for attendees

On September 17, The Clean Air Campaign® will host a free Lunch and Learn training seminar for employers interested in learning how some of the most successful commute options programs at a variety of Georgia employers are yielding results, from increased productivity to decreased operational costs. Hear from a panel of employer Partners about the innovative ways they’re using commute options programs and incentives to get their workforce out of gridlock, improve morale, recruitment and retention and clean the air. Representing a cross-section of industries, the case studies presented here will give you a glimpse into what’s possible for your program — and how to make it happen.

The Clean Air Campaign and the region’s transportation management associations are providing this training seminar at no cost to all metro Atlanta employers interested in learning how to create successful commute options programs.

Thursday, September 17
11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

As part of The Clean Air Campaign’s mission to improve air quality and reduce traffic congestion, this event will be a Webinar. Please register to receive the broadcast URL.

To register, email adunckel@cleanaircampaign.org or call 1-877-CLEANAIR (1-877-253-2624).

Georgia Employers Take Action to Reduce Unnecessary Diesel Idling

No-idle zones improve air quality and reduce operational expense

Since the 2008 launch of The Clean Air Campaign’s Diesel Idling Reduction Program, more than 60 employers and property managers in Georgia have taken the initiative to reduce unnecessary diesel engine idling among their fleets and at their work sites. Made possible by a grant from the UPS Foundation, the program has also educated more than 15,000 drivers about the harmful effects of vehicle idling.

“There is a strong business case to be made for establishing a no-idle policy,” said Executive Director Kevin Green. “It not only keeps pollution out of the air, but it improves operational efficiency. Less gas, less fleet maintenance and less wear on engine components are significant bottom-line budget considerations for this policy.”

Loading docks and delivery areas are the hot spots where you can usually find idling diesel engines. This exhaust is not only dangerous to drivers. Exhaust can also enter office buildings through air intakes, doors and windows, and studies show that diesel exhaust contains 15 carcinogenic pollutants. In Georgia, more business leaders are starting to take action to prevent harmful idling.

“We saw an opportunity to make an immediate difference in the air quality in and around our parking garages,” said Sean Cabrey of LAZ Parking. “After joining The Clean Air Campaign’s Diesel Idling Reduction Program, we enlisted the help of our Atlanta clients, and printed more than 50 “no-idle zone” signs for all of our delivery areas.”

“No-idle programs are the types of forward-thinking initiatives that should go in the pages of a company’s corporate sustainability report,” continued Green. “As more employers set out to cultivate a greener internal culture, this is another step toward that goal.”

The Clean Air Campaign continues to help Georgia employers develop best practices and policies for reducing unnecessary diesel engine idling, providing free “no-idle zone” signage, distributing educational and marketing materials, and providing the tools necessary to measure the impact and success of the Diesel Idling Reduction Program.

For more information about the program or to learn how your company can become a no-idle program participant, visit CleanAirCampaign.org or call 1-877-CLEANAIR (1-877-253-2624).

About The Clean Air Campaign
The Clean Air Campaign is a not-for-profit organization that works with Georgia’s employers, commuters and schools to encourage actions that result in less traffic congestion and better air quality. To accomplish this goal, The Clean Air Campaign, along with its associate organizations, partners with more than 1,600 employers to create custom commute options programs; and annually helps thousands of commuters find commute alternatives that work for them, providing financial incentives to get them started. The Clean Air Campaign also protects public health by distributing Smog Alerts and empowers students, parents and teachers to play a positive role in reducing traffic and cleaning the air through a multi-faceted education program reaching elementary, middle and high schools.

Each day, these programs reduce 1.6 million miles of vehicle travel and keep 800 tons of pollution out of the air we breathe. For more information, call 1-877-CLEANAIR (1-877-253-2624) or visit CleanAirCampaign.org.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Southern Company Announces New Partner at National Carbon Capture Center

/PRNewswire/ -- Southern Company, the manager and operator of the U.S. Department of Energy's National Carbon Capture Center, announced today that the technology research center has added another partner, NRG Energy, Inc.

Princeton, N.J.-based NRG joins DOE and a group of leading energy companies that are working to develop and test advanced technologies to capture carbon dioxide from coal-based power plants.

The National Carbon Capture Center, located in Wilsonville, Ala., was established earlier this year to work with scientists and technology developers from government, industry and universities who are creating the next generation of enhanced carbon capture technologies.

The center will conduct testing and analyses in a power plant setting, at a size large enough to provide meaningful performance data under real operating conditions to enable scale-up of the technologies.

Other current partners include American Electric Power, Luminant, Arch Coal, Peabody Energy and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). The center expects to add more partners as its work progresses.

"We welcome NRG to the growing partnership at the National Carbon Capture Center," said David Ratcliffe, chairman, president and CEO of Southern Company. "Carbon capture is an important component of the diverse portfolio of technologies our nation must pursue to meet our energy and environmental challenges. NRG's involvement strengthens our effort to develop and deploy these critical solutions."

The National Carbon Capture Center, scheduled to be fully operational in 2010, is expected to be a focal point of national efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through technological innovation.

"As we look to further decarbonize our fleet and push to develop and deploy these advanced technologies on a larger scale, initiatives like the National Carbon Capture Center will bring us closer to meeting the challenges of global climate change and transitioning to an environmentally sustainable energy future," said NRG President and CEO David Crane.

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