Wednesday, April 28, 2010

America's Anemic '13 Percent Economy': Experts Warn U.S. Risks Long-Term Growth by Focusing on New Energy at Expense of More Energy Efficiency

/PRNewswire/ -- What will play the biggest role in future U.S. economic growth: the new energy that we find ... or the energy that we avoid using?

Even as Congress and the news media focus almost completely on the question of where America will find new sources of traditional and emerging energy sources, the little-understood fact is that new energy sources are likely to play a much smaller role in the current U.S. economic recovery and future growth than are new advances in energy efficiency, according to leading experts. Even worse, the overwhelming emphasis today on new energy is "crowding out" meaningful national dialogue and progress on achieving greater energy efficiency in an economy that is struggling today at a level of just 13 percent efficiency in terms of energy use, meaning that 87% of the energy we use is wasted.

In a phone-based news conference today - John A. "Skip" Laitner, director, Economic and Social Analysis, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and Robert U. Ayres, emeritus professor, Economics and Political Science and Technology Management, European Institute of Business Administration (INSEAD), and co-author of "Crossing the Energy Divide: Moving from Fossil Fuel Dependence to a Clean-Energy Future" (2010) - summarized the thinking at a symposium session held Tuesday to mark the 30th anniversary year of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). See http://www.aceee.org/conf/30th/april26.htm for more information.

Among the key facts highlighted during the symposium:

-- America's economy has tripled in size since 1970 and three-quarters of
the energy needed to fuel that growth came from efficiency advances -
not net new energy. Going forward, the current economic recovery and
future economic growth are likely to be even more dependent on new
energy efficiency advances than was the period of 1970-date.
-- Americans may have an overly optimistic impression of how energy
efficient the United States is. Despite the enormous strides achieved
in the last four decades, the U.S. economy remains only about 13
percent energy efficient. That still unacceptably high level of
inefficiency either will be allowed to remain in place and therefore
leave the U.S. mired in lackluster economic activity ... or it will be
tackled head-on, leading to new efficiency advances and unleashing
robust future economic growth in the U.S. For example, Japan and
several European countries are about 20% efficient, a factor of 1.5
higher than the U.S.
-- How big might the next round of potential energy efficiency be? If we
invested in more energy productive technologies, energy efficiency
investments can provide up to one-half of the needed greenhouses gas
emissions reductions most scientists say are needed between now and
the year 2050. And that gain in energy efficiency would not only mean
reduced greenhouse gas emissions, it would result in lower energy bill
for consumers.


ACEEE's Laitner said: "The dirty little secret today is that most economic assessments of the current climate change policies either ignore or greatly understate the potential advances in energy efficiency, even though it is clearly the largest and most cost-effective form of greenhouse gas mitigation. There is no mistaking the fact the cheapest, least polluting and most economically productive energy is the energy that never gets used. Cost-effective investment that can reduce the amount of energy necessary to support a dollar of economic activity is the single most important driver of economic productivity within the United States and around the world. And this makes sense once we stop paying attention to outdated economic policy models and think about what is it that actually powers our economy. Is it expensive and conventional energy resources, or the increased use of more energy productive technologies? The evidence suggests that it is the latter. We ignore that at our considerable peril."

Ayres said: "The greatest barrier of all to more energy efficiency is the mentality of the growth imperative: the deep-seated conviction that growth assures survival in the competitive global race. The focus is on growth, with profits secondary. But we have to ask: The race is to where? Growth that consumes limited resources is itself unsustainable. A new paradigm is urgently needed. The new paradigm must focus on the cost-effective re-use, renovation, remanufacturing and recycling. The energy firms of the future will need to sell efficiency, and energy security, not fuel."

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Georgia Power's Green Energy Program Redesigned to Include More Solar Power

/PRNewswire/ -- Georgia Power received approval April 20 from the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) to modify its Green Energy program, giving customers more solar options.

At the request of PSC Commission Chair Lauren "Bubba" McDonald, the program has been redesigned to include the following:

Premium Green Energy - This option will now contain 50 percent solar energy at a cost of $5 per 100-kilowatt-hour (kWh) block. The option previously cost $4.50 per 100 kWh block and contained 10 percent solar energy.

Under the revised program, the Standard Green Energy, Large Volume Purchase and Special Events Purchase options remain unchanged.

In addition to these changes, the PSC also approved Georgia Power raising the solar capacity cap under its Renewable Non Renewable (RNR) tariff from 1.5 megawatts (MW) to 2.5 MW. The company will now purchase solar energy from customers through this tariff at a new price of 17 cents per kWh.

Georgia Power and the Commission worked together to develop a new mechanism that will automatically raise the solar capacity cap as participation in the Green Energy program grows. Under this mechanism, for every 219 blocks of Premium Green Energy that are purchased by customers, Georgia Power will purchase an additional 100 kW of solar energy through the RNR tariff.

"With the latest changes in our Green Energy program we hope to make solar energy more attractive to our customers," said Angela Strickland, Georgia Power's director of Energy Efficiency and Conservation. "The new mechanism we've developed will ensure that we're keeping pace with customer demand for solar in a cost-effective manner."

Electricity generated for the Green Energy program helps grow the renewable resource base in Georgia and the Southeast and expand the market for renewable energy credits (RECs). RECs are created when a renewable energy facility generates electricity or uses renewable fuel. Customers who purchase RECs through the Green Energy program are paying for the benefit of displacing other non-renewable sources from the electric grid.

Changes to Georgia Power's redesigned Green Energy program and RNR tariff will go into effect June 1, 2010.

For more information or to sign up for Green Energy, visit www.georgiapower.com/green.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Energy Efficiency in Southeast to Get Huge Boost, Thanks to $20 Million U.S. DOE Award to SEEA Regional Alliance

/PRNewswire/ -- Energy Efficiency in the Southeastern United States will get a huge boost when the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA) rolls out its program of innovative, large-scale building retrofits for homeowners and businesses under its recently-announced $20 million award from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Retrofit Ramp-Up initiative.

The regional organization will partner with nearly a dozen communities of varying sizes and characteristics, each of which will use a different approach to increase the energy efficiency of small and large residential, commercial and public buildings. This diversity will allow SEEA to test and evaluate a variety of models in both smaller, more rural and larger, more metropolitan areas and make adjustments as needed. Another key aspect of the program, which will use a combined formula allocation and a pay-for-performance strategy to fund specific projects, will be the availability of affordable, accessible financing programs.

"This large infusion of funding from DOE into the Southeast provides an unprecedented opportunity to promote energy efficiency and innovation while also creating jobs in this tough economy," said SEEA Executive Director Ben Taube. "SEEA is looking forward to working with our various community partners across the region as we go forward and transform the market."

The Southeast Community Retrofit Ramp-up Consortium will partner with cities in eight southeastern states - Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Louisiana, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia - and with the U.S. Virgin Islands to dramatically increase the effectiveness of building retrofits across the region. SEEA's community partners include Huntsville, Ala., Celebration, Fla.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Atlanta, Ga.; Decatur, Ga.; New Orleans, La.; Carrboro, N.C.; Chapel Hill, N.C.; Charlotte, N.C.; Charleston, S.C.; Nashville, Tenn., Woodbury, Tenn.; Albemarle County, Va.; Charlottesville, Va.; and Hampton Roads Planning District, Va.

"News of the DOE award comes at a great time for us, as Charlottesville and the County of Albemarle have worked hard to help support our community-based local energy alliance program (LEAP), an energy efficiency program for residents and businesses," said Charlottesville Mayor David Norris. "We look forward to the economic stimulus and job creation energy efficiency can bring our community - as well as dollar savings for the utility bill payer."

"We are delighted to be a part of the SEEA coalition. Energy efficiency and water conservation are priorities for the City of Atlanta," said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. "This program will allow us to meaningfully deliver programs to help our residents and business owners reduce their energy and water use."

SEEA's community partners have been planning and organizing for this opportunity since February 2009, when SEEA challenged cities to make extraordinary commitments to energy efficiency programming and infrastructure with a $500,000 competitive solicitation and award. Fifteen communities from six states tendered applications, based on hundreds of hours of partnership-building, meetings, planning, research and negotiations with utilities and city councils.

"SEEA is pleased to be the organizer of the consortium of communities and an active leader in making the Southeast more energy efficient," said SEEA Board Chair Kate Offringa, president and CEO of the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA). "This initiative will help the region overcome some of the barriers that have prevented energy efficiency from really taking hold in the Southeast - namely lack of financing and the need for a program structure that addresses the uniqueness of the region."

SEEA intends to start this program in early June. More information on the SEEA program can be found at http://www.seealliance.org/programs/cities.php.

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Friday, April 23, 2010

Georgia Power Leads the Nation in ENERGY STAR(R) Campaign

/PRNewswire- -- For the second consecutive year, Georgia Power has been recognized as the nation's top pledge leader for driving energy efficiency awareness under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) "Change the World, Start with ENERGY STAR" campaign, which encourages consumers to take small steps that make a big difference to save energy and help the environment. This year, Georgia Power collected 145,751 pledges from consumers through its local offices, energy efficiency fairs and community outreach events.

"Our customers are seeing the light! They recognize that saving money and protecting the environment is as easy as using ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) or setting their thermostat to 78 degrees in the summer," said Georgia Power President and CEO Mike Garrett. "We continue to talk with our customers about energy efficiency and how it can make a difference in their homes, lives and communities. We are honored to be recognized by EPA for our efforts to promote energy efficiency and help the environment."

Georgia Power also recently earned the 2010 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Award from the EPA and the Department of Energy (DOE).

An ENERGY STAR partner since 2004, Georgia Power has exchanged over 450,000 CFLs with customers for pledges since participating in its first EPA annual pledge campaign in 2006. EPA's Web site, www.energystar.gov, shows that this year alone, Georgia Power's "Change the World, Start with ENERGY STAR" campaign has resulted in a savings of over $21 million, or 164,805,122 kilowatt-hours (kWh) or 265,735,377 pounds of greenhouse gases.

"EPA's 'Change the World, Start with ENERGY STAR' pledge campaign has given us the opportunity to engage customers one-on-one and teach them ways to save energy and money," said Angela Strickland, Georgia Power's Energy Efficiency and Conservation Director. "Our customers want solutions and information on how they can lower their energy costs and energy consumption."

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

For additional energy-saving tips, visit our Web site at www.georgiapower.com/save. To learn more about ENERGY STAR, visit www.energystar.gov.

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Sugarcane Ethanol Offers Clean, Affordable & Secure Alternative Energy

/PRNewswire/ -- As Earth Day approaches and Americans seek out environmentally friendly energy sources, the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) today launched an expansive national awareness campaign to explain sugarcane ethanol's benefits. UNICA's education campaign will include a new website, SweeterAlternative.com, online, print and radio advertising, new research and a high-profile partnership with the Indy Racing League.

"We hope the Sweeter Alternative campaign will help Americans understand how sugarcane ethanol is a clean and affordable renewable fuel that could help them save money at the pump, cut U.S. dependence on Middle East oil and improve the environment," said UNICA's Chief Representative in North America, Joel Velasco.

Sugarcane ethanol is a renewable fuel produced from sugarcane, which is grown in the United States, Brazil and more than 100 countries. Like other forms of ethanol, it can be added to gasoline and used in all American vehicles at blends up to 10 percent ethanol. The Sweeter Alternative education campaign will highlight three key benefits of sugarcane ethanol:

-- Energy Security. Sugarcane ethanol is one more good option for
diversifying energy supplies and improving U.S. energy security, so
Americans are not reliant on any one source or country.
-- Economic. Americans could save about a dollar per fill-up off the
price of regular gasoline by expanding the use of sugarcane ethanol.
At an average price of $0.50 less per gallon than corn ethanol,
sugarcane ethanol is one of the least expensive renewable fuels
available.
-- Environmental. Sugarcane ethanol cuts greenhouse gases by at least 60
percent compared to gasoline - better than any other biofuel widely
produced today. The Environmental Protection Agency confirmed
sugarcane ethanol's superior environmental performance earlier this
year by designating it an "advanced renewable fuel." This important
category of biofuels will make up 21 billion gallons of America's fuel
supply by 2020, or about 15 percent of today's gasoline market.

Most sugarcane ethanol is currently produced in Brazil, a South American country with a democratically elected government and a long-standing trade relationship with the United States. Brazil has replaced more than half of its gasoline needs with sugarcane ethanol - making gasoline the alternative fuel in that country. Many observers point to Brazil's experience as a case study for other nations seeking to expand the use of renewable fuels.

"Unfortunately, Americans cannot fully benefit from this clean, less expensive alternative while Congress continues to maintain trade barriers against imported ethanol," Velasco continued.

The U.S. government currently imposes a $0.54-per-gallon tariff on ethanol from most foreign countries, making sugarcane ethanol practically unavailable in the United States. By contrast, imported oil enters America duty free. The 54-cent import tax on ethanol will expire at the end of this year.

Last week, Brazil took an important first step to build an open and global biofuels marketplace by eliminating its tariff on imported ethanol through the end of 2011. UNICA is asking the Brazilian government to make the tariff elimination permanent if Congress will do the same and drop the U.S. tax on imported ethanol.

"Consumers win when businesses have to compete in an open market, because competition produces higher quality products at lower costs. The same principle holds true for the renewable fuels market where competition will create a race to the future and generate better alternatives for consumers. Americans will benefit from having the sweeter alternative - sugarcane ethanol - available as an option at the pump," Velasco concluded.

The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) is the leading trade association for the sugarcane industry in Brazil, representing nearly two-thirds of all sugarcane production and processing in the country. UNICA's priorities include serving as a source for credible information and analysis about the efficiency and sustainability of sugarcane products, particularly its biofuels. The association works to encourage the continuous advancement of sustainable practices throughout the sugarcane industry and to promote biofuels as a clean, reliable alternative to fossil fuels.

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Friday, April 9, 2010

IEER: French-Style Nuclear Reprocessing Will Not Solve U.S. Nuclear Waste Problems

/PRNewswire/ -- Contrary to some prevailing opinion, reprocessing would not eliminate the need for a deep geologic disposal program to replace Yucca Mountain. It aggravates waste, proliferation, and cost problems. The volume of waste to be disposed of in deep geologic repository is increased about six times on a life-cycle basis in the French approach compared to the once-through no-reprocessing approach of the United States.

A new report by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER), a nonprofit scientific research group, shows that France uses less than 1 percent of the natural uranium resource, contrary to an impression among some policy makers. The report has several recommendations for President Obama's Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future, which was created to address U.S. nuclear waste issues after the administration's cancellation of the Yucca Mountain program.

IEER President Dr. Arjun Makhijani, the author of the report: "In recent years, a 'French fever' has gripped the promoters of nuclear power in the United States. Praise of France's management of spent fuel by reprocessing, including its use of the extracted plutonium as fuel in its nuclear power reactors, is now routinely heard. But it is a fantasy on the scale of the 1950s "too cheap to meter" mythology about nuclear power to imagine that 90 or 95 percent of the "energy value" of U.S. spent fuel can be extracted by reprocessing."

Key IEER report findings include the following:

-- On a life-cycle basis, French-style reprocessing and recycle increases
the volume of waste that would have to disposed of in a geologic
repository. Reprocessing results in high-level radioactive waste and
large volumes of Greater than Class C waste, both of which must be
managed by deep geologic disposal. Their combined volume on a
life-cycle basis is estimated to be about six times more than the
no-reprocessing approach that is current U.S. policy, according to
Department of Energy estimates. Low-level waste volume and waste
transportation shipments are also estimated to increase several-fold.
-- France spends about two cents per kilowatt-hour more for electricity
generated from reprocessed plutonium compared to that generated from
fresh uranium fuel.
-- Attempting to combined reprocessing with breeder reactors to convert
uranium in U.S. spent fuel in plutonium will create intolerable costs
and risks. Reprocessing plus breeder reactors are much more expensive
than light water reactors today, which are themselves expensive. Such
a system is required to convert most of the uranium in spent fuel into
a reactor fuel. Even a single penny in excess generation cost per
kilowatt-hour in a breeder reactor-reprocessing system would lead to
an added $8 trillion in costs to convert nearly all of the uranium in
the 100,000 metric tons of U.S. spent into usable fuel. It would take
hundreds of years to accomplish the task and require separation of
tens of thousands of bombs equivalent of fissile material each year.
The proliferation risks will be far greater than today.
-- Adoption of French-style reprocessing program would not eliminate the
need for a deep geologic repository. Even complete fissioning of all
actinides - an unrealistic proposition - will leave behind large
amounts of very long-lived fission and activation products like
iodine-129, cesium-135, and chlorine-36 that will pose risks far into
the future -- much beyond the 24,100-year half-life of plutonium-239.
In fact, France needs a geologic repository and opposition to one has
been intense there. The French appear to dislike nuclear waste in
their backyards as much as people in the United States.
-- Proliferation risks are inherently part of the French (and any other)
approach to reprocessing. Even advanced reprocessing technologies will
not significantly reduce proliferation risks. For instance a study
authored by scientists from DOE laboratories, including Los Alamos and
Sandia, concluded that it would take only a few days or a few weeks
for proliferant country to make material for nuclear bombs once it had
reprocessing plants. It found that new technologies, including
electrometallurgical processing, resulted in "only a modest
improvement in reducing proliferation risk over existing PUREX
technologies and these modest improvements apply primarily for
non-state actors." The IEER report concluded that electrometallurgical
increases risks in other ways. For instance, it is far less difficult
to conceal a plant than the present PUREX technology.

Other key findings include the following:

-- Six decades of sodium cooled breeder reactor development has so far
resulted in failure. Historical experience indicates no learning curve
for the sodium cooled fast breeder reactor, which is the breeder
technology that has received the most development. In fact, the two
most recent large scale demonstration reactors, Superphénix in France
and Monju in Japan, have been failures. Superphénix had a cumulative
capacity factor of less than 8 percent before it was shut. Monju has
been closed for almost 15 years, following a sodium fire, and has not
generated a significant amount of electricity. Sodium cooled breeder
reactors are not commercial today despite global expenditures on the
order of $100 billion over six decades. They face a host of safety,
proliferation and cost hurdles to overcome, some arising from the fact
that they use liquid sodium for cooling. They are unlikely to be
commercial in the near future. For instance, Japan's estimated date
for commercialization of the sodium cooled fast breeder is 2050.
-- Storage of liquid high-level wastes creates some risk of catastrophic
releases of radioactivity. For instance, the Norwegian Radiation
Protection Authority has estimated that a severe accident at the
liquid waste storage facility in Sellafield, Britain, could result in
cesium-137 contamination between 10 percent and 5,000 percent of that
created in Norway by the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear reactor accident,
which is the worst commercial accident to date, by far. A catastrophic
release of radioactivity from a military high-level waste tank
occurred in the Soviet Union in 1957.
-- Using more than 1 percent of the uranium resource in a light water
reactor system is technically impossible even with reprocessing and
re-enrichment. In light water reactor systems, almost all the uranium
resource winds up as depleted uranium or in spent fuel. Even with
repeated reprocessing and re-enrichment, use of the natural uranium
resource cannot be increased to more than 1 percent in such a system.
A corollary is that the use of 90 to 95 percent of the uranium
resource or of the material in the spent fuel is impossible in a light
water reactor system even with reprocessing.


These are physical constraints that go with the system and also apply to France's system.

The IEER report also sets out a number of recommendations for the Blue Ribbon Commission on

America's Nuclear Future appointed by Energy Secretary Steven Chu:

-- Spent fuel from existing reactors should be slated for direct geologic
disposal without reprocessing of any kind; a suitable path for a
scientifically sound program should be set forth.
-- In the interim, spent fuel should be stored on site as safely as
possible - in low density configurations while in pools and in
hardened storage when moved to dry casks.
-- Breeder reactors and reprocessing are not commercial after six decades
of development of sodium cooled breeder reactors, and enormous
expenditures. Given the long time frame for commercialization
estimated even by some promoters, the proliferation risks, and efforts
already made, it does not appear to be a good investment to spend more
R&D money in that direction. Rather energy supply R&D resources should
be focused on development and deployment of renewable energy
technologies and energy efficiency.
-- The Commission should request the French company AREVA and/or the
French government to supply it with data on the present use of the
natural uranium resource purchased for French nuclear reactors,
including, specifically, the increases in fission fraction that have
actually been achieved by reprocessing and recycling.
-- The Commission should also request official data on Greater than Class
C waste equivalent expected to be generated on a life-cycle basis in
France, and the total volumes and heat generation of packaged waste
expected to be disposed of in a deep geologic repository, including
estimates of decommissioning waste.
-- The Commission should investigate the public support or lack thereof
for repository programs in France and Britain, the countries with the
longest history of commercial spent fuel reprocessing.
-- The Commission should make the same requests regarding the British
reprocessing program.
-- Official analyses of the mechanisms, probability, and consequences of
large accidental releases of radioactivity to the atmosphere from
liquid high-level waste storage in tanks should be requested from the
French and British governments.

ABOUT IEER


On March 24, 2010, IEER held a news conference to release documents acquired under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) showing that the outgoing Bush Administration inked 11th-hour agreements with more than a dozen utilities involving 21 proposed nuclear reactors. As IEER noted, between the output of existing commercial nuclear reactors and the 21 proposed nuclear reactors covered by the agreements quietly signed by the outgoing Bush Administration, the U.S. already has agreed to store enough spent (used) reactor fuel to fill the equivalent of not one, but two, Yucca Mountain high-level radioactive waste repositories. For more information on the March 24th news event, go to http://216.250.243.12/ieer/032410.cfm.

Georgia Environmental Protection Division Issues Final Permits for Plant Washington

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Power4Georgians LLC today announced the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) has issued final permits for the operation of Plant Washington, an 850 Megawatt coal-fired energy facility in Washington County, Georgia.

“These permits demonstrate that the process works”

The permits issued by EPD today to Power4Georgians, LLC, include Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permit for air quality; National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for water discharge; a groundwater withdrawal permit; a surface water withdrawal permit; and a notice of site suitability for the solid waste handling facility.

The permits are the culmination of more than two years of work by Power4Georgians’ development team not only to meet but to exceed Georgia EPD’s rigorous air and water quality standards. Although the air and water standards in Plant Washington’s draft permits, issued by EPD in August 2009, represented standards that are acceptable under the strictest guidelines of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Power4Georgians continued to work to reduce emissions levels further while also developing an unprecedented water management strategy.

“We made significant and positive changes in our application to make our permits among the very best, if not the best, in the country,” said Dean Alford, spokesman for Power4Georgians. “We responded to suggestions raised with regard to air and water and now have exceptional standards that far exceed the strictest federal regulations for protection of human health and the environment.”

Through careful review of more than two-and-a-half years of testing data, as well as an evaluation of the technology and coal types to be used, Power4Georgians was able to devise a strategy that produced significant reductions of the emissions levels contained in the draft permit. As a result, Plant Washington’s overall emissions profile, based upon the final permit, will be among the lowest that has ever been proposed for a coal-fired power plant in the United States.

For example, preliminary evaluations conducted in the fall of 2007 – before the initial permit application was filed with EPD in January 2008 – placed the maximum annual emission of mercury at approximately 120 pounds; that level was reduced to approximately 105 pounds per year in the draft permit. Depending on the blend of fuel used, Georgia EPD’s final permit will limit Plant Washington’s mercury emissions to between 62.2 and 55.6 pounds annually – roughly half the original mercury emissions levels.

In addition, developers were able to devise an unprecedented water management strategy to conserve and reuse water, reduce water withdrawal from the environment and allow zero discharge of stormwater from the plant site.

To accomplish these water management standards, what had been stormwater runoff retention ponds in the draft permit were converted to stormwater collection and storage ponds. Collected stormwater will be reused at the plant, reducing the use of river water and groundwater. In addition, by using the stormwater as makeup water for the plant, there will be zero discharge of process or contact water to either the Ogeechee or Oconee river basins.

“These permits demonstrate that the process works,” Alford said. “In the months since we received the draft permits, we listened closely to Georgia citizens and the EPD and conducted the engineering work to ensure a much more stringent level of operational and environmental standards. I am pleased to report that we achieved every objective.”

A key component to Power4Georgians’ success in obtaining final permits for Plant Washington from the EPD was its development team. These organizations, each with their own unique expertise, included: Allied Energy Services, BLACKACRE, Cookerly Public Relations, Energy Consulting Group, Fluor Corp., King & Spalding law firm and MACTEC Engineering.

When construction begins, the plant is expected to take approximately four years to build and will create up to 1,600 professional construction and skilled trade jobs. When complete, Plant Washington is expected to create between 120 and 130 new jobs onsite, as well as an additional 200 to 300 new secondary jobs in supporting businesses and industries. The plant will generate enough electricity to meet the annual needs of 500,000 to 700,000 Georgia homes.

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

UPS Deploys 200 Hybrid Electric Vehicles

(BUSINESS WIRE)--UPS (NYSE:UPS) today announced its fleet of alternative-fuel vehicles had expanded with the deployment of 200 next-generation hybrid electric delivery trucks in eight U.S. cities.

“We’re proud of this large HEV deployment to major cities in the United States”

The 200 new hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) join roughly 20,000 low-emission and alternative-fuel vehicles already in use and have been deployed in Austin, Houston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Long Island, Minneapolis and Louisville. Before this latest deployment, UPS was operating 50 hybrid electrics in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and Phoenix.

“We’re proud of this large HEV deployment to major cities in the United States,” said Bob Stoffel, UPS senior vice president of supply chain, strategy, engineering and sustainability. “This technology, where properly used, can yield a 35 percent fuel savings, the equivalent of 100 conventional UPS delivery vehicles.”

The 200 new HEV delivery trucks are expected to reduce fuel consumption by roughly 176,000 gallons over the course of a year compared to an equivalent number of traditional diesel trucks. The hybrids also should reduce by 1,786 metric tons the amount of CO2 gases released annually into the atmosphere.

The new hybrid power system utilizes a conventional diesel engine combined with a battery pack, saving fuel and reducing pollution-causing emissions. The small diesel is used to recharge the battery pack and to add power when necessary.

The HEVs also use regenerative braking. The energy generated from applying the brakes is captured and returned to the battery as electricity. The combination of clean diesel power and electric power, supplemented by regenerative braking, allows dramatic improvements in fuel savings and emissions reductions.

The HEV fleet features two different size vehicles from Workhorse Custom Chassis and Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation and a hybrid power system from Eaton Corporation. The external truck bodies are identical to UPS’s other signature brown trucks, although they feature additional labeling identifying them as hybrid electrics. The trucks use lithium ion batteries, which offer a faster re-charging capability and last longer than previous generation HEV batteries. Additionally, these vehicles are much quieter than conventional UPS trucks and feature keyless entry.

The UPS alternative fuel fleet is a diverse one with multiple technologies, including compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, propane, electricity and hydraulic hybrid technology. Since 2000, the alternative fuel fleet has traveled more than 165 million miles.

UPS was the first package delivery company to introduce a hybrid electric vehicle into daily operation with a research program in early 1998. In 2001, the company deployed the industry's first hybrid electric delivery truck into regular service in Huntsville, Ala., where the truck worked a 31-mile route with about 160 pickups and deliveries each day. UPS then introduced its second generation HEV in Kalamazoo, Mich., in 2004, while at the same time testing its first hydrogen fuel cell delivery truck in regular service.

While continuing to develop its alternative fuel fleet – UPS has invested more than $15 million in the effort – the company also has purchased and is operating more than 20,000 low emission conventional vehicles. These vehicles have regular gas- and diesel-powered engines but employ the very latest technology and manufacturing techniques to reduce emissions as much as possible.

“The wide variety of technologies in our green fleet is indicative of UPS’s ‘rolling laboratory’ philosophy to energy efficiency and reduced fuel consumption,” Stoffel said. “Our goal is to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, but there is no silver bullet technology to achieve this. This dependence will rely on a multi-modal approach.”

UPS (NYSE:UPS) pursues a wide range of socially responsible and sustainable business practices designed to reduce its impact on the environment and improve communities around the world. UPS operates one of the largest fleets of alternative fuel vehicles in its industry with more than 2,000 vehicles and continues to invest in alternative fuel technologies and operational efficiencies to reduce its carbon footprint. UPS is included in the Dow Jones and FTSE4Good Sustainability Indexes, which evaluate corporations based on economic, environmental and social criteria. Learn more about UPS’s responsible business practices at www.ups.com/responsibility.

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