Friday, March 26, 2010

Cities, Counties Receive Grants for Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy

64 communities receive energy efficiency, conservation block grants

Sixty-four communities in Georgia have earned grant funds for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program, which is administered by the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority (GEFA). EECBG funds totaling $13.3 million were available to small-to-medium sized cities and counties through GEFA as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The state’s largest cities and counties received direct EECBG funding from the U.S. Department of Energy.

“Investment in energy efficient infrastructure creates jobs, promotes economic development and increases our citizens’ quality of life,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “Financing renewable energy projects encourages good stewardship of our environment.”

“Many local governments throughout Georgia are investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that will directly benefit their communities,” said GEFA Executive Director Phil Foil. “I’m pleased that the EECBG program is helping local governments save energy.”

EECBG funds for local governments were awarded following a competitive application process. Out of 84 applications, GEFA funded 57 projects benefiting 64 communities. General activities receiving EECBG funding include:

· Energy efficiency programs and incentives for residential and commercial sectors:

· Energy efficiency retrofits for local government facilities;

· Energy code compliance and training; and

· Renewable energy installations.

The EECGB funds will help local governments meet the Governor’s Energy Challenge. In April 2008 Governor Sonny Perdue committed Georgia’s state agencies to reduce energy consumption 15 percent 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 energy, land and water resources. More information about the Governor’s Energy Challenge is available at www.GovernorsEnergyChallenge.org.

Since the passage of the ARRA in February 2009, GEFA has awarded $185 million in stimulus funds for the following energy efficiency and renewable energy programs:

· $99 million for the Weatherization Assistance Program to weatherize approximately 13,000 low-income homes statewide;

· $63.1 million for 135 energy efficiency projects in state facilities;

· $10 million for 16 renewable energy and energy efficiency (commercial, industrial and residential) projects;

· $4.5 million for 14 solar energy projects through the Clean Energy Property Rebate Program; and

· $8.6 million for the Energy Star Appliance Rebate Program (www.georgiarebate.com).

A list of the EECBG local government projects approved by the GEFA board of directors is below.

Applicant
Project Summary
Funding Awarded
City of Decatur
The city of Decatur will partner with the cities of Chamblee and Dunwoody to offer funding to schools, non-profit organizations, authorities and local government agencies. Activities include the installation of energy efficient lighting and HVAC upgrades, and establishing a revolving loan fund for future energy efficiency projects.
$500,000
City of Kingsland
The Camden Energy Efficiency and Conservation Program is a partnership with the cities of Kingsland, Woodbine and St. Mary's. The program will fund energy efficiency retrofits to local government buildings within each local government and create a revolving loan fund that will provide low interest loans to business and industry for energy efficiency improvements to their buildings.
$500,000
City of Covington*
Revolving loan Fund for residential efficiency. Energy efficiency upgrades to the City Hall/Public Works and Utility Operations Center, including interior and exterior lighting upgrades and replacing existing electric water heaters with a rooftop solar water heater system.
$300,000
City of Sylvester*
Government building energy efficient lighting and HVAC upgrades to include Henry Hall Woolard Community Center, Jeffords Park community building, and the Depot Police Department Courtroom. Establishes a revolving loan fund for commercial buildings.
$297,443
Rockdale County
Energy saving performance contracting on government buildings. Incentives to promote use of
residential energy efficient products and services, which includes training and education.
$300,000

City of Doraville
LED lighting retrofit for five government buildings. Lighting audits for businesses and financial assistance for commercial retrofits.
$300,000

City of Cartersville
Revolving loan Fund for municipal energy efficiency retrofits, energy code training and education for city staff.
$300,000

Chatham County
County building retrofits focused on lighting and HVAC upgrades. The program will redirect 25 percent energy savings to fund 20 new green jobs annually for four years (80 jobs total) for “Project Step Up,” a community-based poverty reduction initiative.
$300,000

City of Woodstock
HVAC upgrade at the City Council Chambers, installation of a small solar project on the Performing Arts Center, LED light replacement at the city park and lighting retrofit at Dupree Park.
$220,000
City of Brunswick
High efficiency lighting, HVAC and building automation control retrofits at multiple municipal buildings. Energy savings will be reinvested back into community energy efficiency and poverty reduction programs.
$300,000

City of Douglas*
Government building energy efficiency upgrades for the Martin Center, City Hall, and the City Airport terminal building.
$293,327

City of Washington
Green Street Communities Program. Provide funding for residential energy efficiency projects.
$254,855

Effingham County*
School lighting retrofits and commercial retrofits.
$300,000

City of Calhoun*
Lighting retrofit at Calhoun High School, revolving loan fund for residential energy efficiency projects, energy code training for city staff.
$297,846

City of Griffin*
Partnership with Griffin Technical College for city building solar installation.
$293,774

Dodge County
Agriculture rebate program for diesel to electric irrigation system conversion $500,000 Bartow County Retrofits of seven government buildings, energy education for city staff.
$246,186

Pulaski County
School and government building solar hot water retrofits, advocacy program for residents, and energy code training.
$129,140

City of Helen
Retrofit waste water treatment facility with energy efficient water pumps, motors and diffusers.
$120,000

City of Tybee Island
Create revolving loan fund for energy efficiency projects geared to residential and community buildings.
$299,677

Floyd County
Energy efficiency retrofits for courthouse and community buildings.
$300,000

City of Gainesville
Replace the gas-fired boiler at the Georgia Mountains Center with an ENERGY STAR efficient boiler, replace two roof-top HVAC units at Community Service Center, proposed HVAC energy efficiency retrofits at the city’s Georgia Mountains Center, traffic division building, maintenance shop, vehicle services building, and the Joint Administration Building; establish a revolving loan fund for future energy efficiency projects from energy savings.
$300,000

City of Darien
Revolving loan fund for energy efficiency projects for residential and commerical buildings, an energy efficiency conservation strategy and the installation of a solar hot water system at the public safety complex.
$200,000

City of LaGrange
Energy efficient lighting retrofits for 11 municipal buildings, and a solar installation at the county landfill.
$140,000

Gordon County
35-acre solar cover on a county-owned abandoned landfill.
$300,000
City of Mountain Park
Weatherization projects for homeowners and renters bringing homes up to compliance with Georgia Energy Code for insulation and HVAC efficiency. A 50 percent subsidy for residents' energy efficiency investment. City Hall to recieve a ground source heat pump and photovoltaic system, with the intent of creating a demonstration/education tool to inspire visitors to pursue similar energy savings techniques.
$300,000

Bulloch County
County building lighting retrofits and building code inspection training for county staff.
$215,413

Morgan County
Building retrofits of city, county, and school system facilities.
$249,208
Union County & Gilmer County
Solar hot water for detention centers in the two counties.
$300,000
City of Folkston
Retrofit the city's waste water treatment plant with energy efficient aerators.
$300,000
City of Tifton
HVAC upgrades at the three historic buildings and provide building operator certification training.
$299,970
Bibb County
Lighting retrofits for three government buildings; the Engineering Office, the W.P. Randall Building and the Public Works Building
$38,115
Ben Hill County
Replace inefficient HVAC units and lighting in six county-owned facilities: the Sheriff’s office, the county jail, the Magistrate Court, the E911 facility, the office of the Superior Court Judge, and the senior center. In addition, the county will send one building maintenance employee to training for building operator certification. Energy savings resulting from the retrofits will be captured and set aside for future retrofits for other public facilities.
$201,244

City of Waycross
Government building retrofits, energy savings will establish a revolving loan fund for future municipal retrofits, building operator certification training for staff.
$250,800

City of Clarkesville
Water treatment plant retrofit.
$247,500
City of Hinesville
Building energy efficiency retrofits and lighting retrofits for the Police Department, Department of Public Works, and water treatment facilities, and building operator certification training for two city staff.
$245,712
City of Young Harris
Solar installations on six government buildings
$238,216

South Fulton (College Park, Hapeville &
Union City)
Government building retrofits, reinvest energy savings.
$350,000
City of Madison
Water treatment plant pump improvements and lighting retrofits
$300,000
City of Perry
Revolving loan fund for commercial and residential energy efficiency projects.
$99,000
City of Hephzibah
Municipal energy efficiency retrofits and energy code training for city staff.
$114,125
City of Flowery Branch
Retrofits at the city's waste water treatment plant.
$204,630
Clay County
Retrofits at eight county building and energy code training.
$173,513
City of Cedartown
Weatherization and HVAC upgrades for publicly owned buildings such as libraries, auditoriums and administrative buildings.
$125,000
Brooks County
Three building retrofits at the County Courthouse, County Administration and Agriculture buildings to include HVAC and insulation upgrades, building operator certification training for one county employee.
$139,187

Bryan County
Building retrofits, primarily HVAC improvements.
$114,400
Jefferson County
Building retrofits and energy code training
$190,758
City of Ashburn
Installation of nine tankless water heaters on municipal buildings.
$27,500
Clinch County
Building retrofits and building operator certification training.
$24,970
Troup County
Energy code training for county employees.
$11,000
City of Lafeyette
Retrofit the city's waste water treatment plant with an energy efficient post-aeration system.
$300,000
City of Cornelia
HVAC and lighting retrofit for fire station.
$44,982
Liberty County
Energy efficiency retrofits for government buildings and energy code training.
$194,100
Elbert County
Energy efficiency retrofit of county building.
$30,000
City of Canton
Energy efficiency upgrades focused on Canton's historic downtown area and municipal buildings.
$99,900
Coweta County
HVAC retrofits at four fire stations.
$265,423
Dawson County
Indoor lighting upgrades with LED lighting technology at government facilities in Dawson and Lumpkin Counties; the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO), the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) Detention Centers and Dawsonville’s City Hall building. Building operator certification training for county staff.
$313,086
*A Green Street Communities (GSC) program participant. The GSC provides energy audit services and energy efficiency incentives for commercial and residential customers served by city-owned utilities partnered with Electric Cities of Georgia.

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.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Chance: Senate Passes Energy Savings Performance Contracts

Today the Georgia Senate voted in favor of a Constitutional Amendment that would allow multiyear performance contracts for energy efficient or conservation improvement projects. Sen. Ronnie Chance (R-Tyrone) sponsored Senate Resolution 1231 allowing Energy Saving Performance Contracts (ESPC) if approved by Georgia citizens on the November 2010 ballot.

“Key areas of job creation are in engineering, electrical, construction and HVAC – all areas that have been hit hard by the recession. If we authorize ESPCs via a Constitutional Amendment, then we could see a substantial amount of economic activity beginning in early 2011, with total numbers easily reaching the hundreds of millions,” said Chance.

Performance contracts would allow state agencies to divert funds that would normally be spent on utility bills into building improvements that lower energy consumptions. This would create jobs and lower energy costs at the same time. Some provisions in the Georgia Constitution ban multiyear contracts and prevent the state from partnering with private companies. Georgia is one of the few states in the nation that have these restrictions.

ESPCs allow the state to fast track energy saving improvements to buildings it already owns. Without ESPCs, building improvements must be made using cash or general obligation debt, which slows down the process, wastes energy and diverts funds from other critical needs. ESPCs help install such technologies as efficient HVAC, low consumption lighting, geothermal energy systems, solar energy systems, and other energy conservation innovations.

The bill passed by a vote of 47-3. Because this is a Constitutional Amendment, the bill must now pass the Georgia House by a two-thirds vote before going on the November 2010 ballot.

Sen. Ronnie Chance serves as Chairman of the Finance Committee. He represents the 16th Senate District which includes Lamar and Pike counties and portions of Fayette, Monroe and Spalding counties. He may be reached by phone at 404.651.7738 or via e-mail at ronnie.chance@senate.ga.gov.
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Monday, March 15, 2010

Southern Company and Ted Turner Acquire Solar Photovoltaic Power Project

/PRNewswire-- Southern Company (NYSE:SO) Chairman, President and CEO David M. Ratcliffe and Turner Renewable Energy founder Ted Turner today announced that the companies have acquired and will bring online one of the nation's largest solar photovoltaic (PV) power plants. The 30 megawatt project, the first to result from the partnership forged by Southern Company and Turner Renewable Energy in January, will supply power to approximately 9,000 homes.

The project was acquired from and will be built by Tempe, Ariz.-based First Solar, Inc., (NASDAQ:FSLR) the world's largest manufacturer of thin film solar modules.

"Expanding the role renewables play in our energy mix is a priority for Southern Company," said Ratcliffe. "Renewables, along with new nuclear, increased energy efficiency, cleaner coal technology and additional natural gas, all will be crucial to meeting this nation's growing energy demand."

"It is great that large-scale solar photovoltaic power generation is becoming a reality in the United States," said Turner. "Southern Turner Renewable Energy is excited to develop and own this project and we look forward to generating clean renewable energy in New Mexico."

The Southern Turner Cimarron I Solar Project is adjacent to Turner's Vermejo Park Ranch in northern New Mexico. First Solar is the contractor for both engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) and operation and maintenance for the facility.

"The Cimarron I project is yet another example of First Solar's capability to realize utility-scale solar projects," said Rob Gillette, First Solar chief executive officer. "Combining the required technology, manufacturing, project development and EPC expertise enables First Solar to be a leader in sustainable energy development."

Construction of the solar array will begin this month with completion and commercial operation expected by year end 2010. It will consist of approximately 500,000 2'x 4' photovoltaic modules constructed with First Solar's patented thin film semiconductor technology.

PV modules generate electricity directly from sunlight through an electronic process that occurs naturally in certain types of material, known as semiconductors. Solar energy frees electrons in these materials to travel through an electrical circuit, powering devices or sending electricity to the grid.

Electricity generated by the plant will serve a 25-year power purchase agreement with the Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, a not-for-profit wholesale power supplier to 44 electric cooperatives serving 1.4 million customers across Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming. With the plant's output covered by a long-term contract, the Cimarron I Solar Project is a natural fit with Southern Company's overall business strategy and risk profile.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Oglethorpe Power To Build Gas-Fired Generating Plant

/PRNewswire/ -- Oglethorpe Power Corporation will construct a new 605-megawatt, natural-gas-powered "combined-cycle" generating facility in Georgia to help meet the growing energy needs of its members, the company announced today. The corporation recently received final approval from its member EMCs to proceed with the project.

The facility, which represents a capital investment of about $750 million (including interest during construction), will use natural gas to produce electricity and will gain additional efficiency by capturing waste heat from the combustion process and using it to generate more power. The final location for the project has not yet been determined. However, land already owned by Oglethorpe in Monroe County, as well as several other unspecified sites, will be considered.

Oglethorpe Power Chief Operating Officer Mike Price said combined cycle facilities offer many benefits, including very high efficiency, low emissions and good track records for reliability. "We expect this facility to be an outstanding addition to our power generating portfolio, providing clean, reliable electricity for our member owners throughout the state," Price said.

Over the coming months, Oglethorpe Power will be evaluating several potential sites for the plant, then will make a decision on a preferred location. Construction on the facility would begin in 2013, and the plant would become operational in 2015. About 22 full-time employees would operate the facility. In addition, up to 250 workers would be needed during the approximately 30-month construction period.

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Friday, March 5, 2010

Georgia Power wins ENERGY STAR(R) Partner of the Year for Program Delivery

/PRNewswire/ -- Georgia Power has earned the 2010 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year award for Program Delivery from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Energy (DOE) in recognition for educating and delivering energy efficiency programs to consumers throughout Georgia. Georgia Power will accept the award on March 18, 2010.

This is the fourth consecutive year ENERGY STAR has recognized the company for its energy efficiency achievements. This is the first time Georgia Power has won Partner of the Year. Previously, the company has won the Excellence in ENERGY STAR Promotion Award in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Being named Partner of the Year is a considerable accomplishment, with only a few utilities earning this level of recognition. This year's award, which is a higher honor than the previous three years, recognizes the combined marketplace impact of our ENERGY STAR programs. These include customer education, qualified products, New Home and Home Performance.

"We are proud of our partnership with ENERGY STAR and our efforts to increase awareness of energy efficiency among consumers and the number of people participating in our programs," said Angela Strickland, director of Energy Efficiency and Conservation. "Energy efficiency is a major priority for Georgia Power and we see great value in educating and helping our customers with how ENERGY STAR products and programs can help them save money and protect the environment."

An ENERGY STAR partner since 2004, Georgia Power has taken a lead role introducing energy efficiency and the ENERGY STAR brand to consumers in Georgia and throughout the Southeast. As a result of the company's customer education campaigns and programs, consumer research conducted in November 2009 showed awareness of ENERGY STAR is up 72 percent in Georgia since 2006.

Among the programs that have contributed to increased awareness is the company's promotion of the ENERGY STAR New Home program, which has encouraged builders across the state to build more than 4,300 ENERGY STAR-qualified homes since 2007. This program won the Excellence in Housing Award from the EPA in 2009.

Additionally, Georgia Power has encouraged customers to participate in the "Change the World, Start with ENERGY STAR" campaign, which requests consumers to pledge to change at least one standard light bulb in their home to an ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescent bulb. Customers who completed a "Change the World" pledge card received a free 14-watt CFL. Georgia Power has achieved top-five status in number of pledges submitted each year since

2006 and was recognized as the National Pledge Leader for the 2008-2009 campaign. In 2009, more than 90,000 CFLs were distributed and since 2006 more than 450,000 CFLs have been given in exchange for a pledge.

Other successful programs include:

-- The Refrigerator Recycling Program, which encourages customers to
recycle old, inefficient refrigerators and freezers, has resulted in
recycling more than 9,000 old refrigerators and freezers since August
2008.
-- The Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program, a new program which
encourages existing homeowners to make home energy improvements.


ENERGY STAR is a joint program of the EPA and the DOE aimed at helping Americans save money and protect the environment through superior energy efficiency. The 2010 Partner of the Year Awards are given to a variety of organizations to recognize their contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by promoting energy efficient homes in their community. Award winners are selected from more than 17,000 organizations that participate in the ENERGY STAR program.

Georgia Power encourages its customers and employees to practice energy efficiency year-round. Take the "Change the World" pledge online at http://www.georgiapower.com/energystar/home.asp.

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