Wind Powering America/FEMP Partnership Update
February 1, 2002
Wind power is the fastest growing energy technology in the world today. In the United States, wind power plant installations are expanding rapidly in many parts of the country. At the end of 2001, the installed U.S. wind capacity totaled 4,300�megawatts, enough to met the electricity needs of 975,000 households annually.
The Federal Government supports the growth of wind energy with a variety of incentives, production tax credits, and renewable energy purchase requirements. In 1999, the Wind Powering America (WPA) Initiative, challenged the Federal Government to obtain at least 5 percent of its electricity from wind by 2010 either through the direct use of wind power or through renewable power purchases.
WPA is partnering with FEMP to assist Federal agencies with renewable power purchases and on-site wind installation. WPA can provide assistance with evaluating possible wind energy projects on Federal lands. In addition, WPA has anemometers available for loan to Federal agencies interested in finding out whether their site would be suitable for on-site wind turbines. See www.eere.energy.gov/windpoweringamerica/regional_activities. html for information on WPA activities in your region.
Federal facilities located in states where traditional renewable power products are not available may be able to purchase renewable energy credits (REC), also known as "green tags." In an REC transaction, the customer continues to purchase energy from its existing utility or power marketer and purchases the RECs from a different supplier. The two key benefits of RECs to Federal agencies are availability and lower cost. RECs are available anywhere in the United States, providing Federal agencies in any location the opportunity to purchase renewable power. The purchase of RECs versus receipt of actual power eliminates the need for, and thus the associated cost of, transmission and distribution. RECs can also reduce the administrative costs associated with multiple procurements for a multi-location agency.
One of the major barriers to renewable power purchases by Federal agencies is that most energy suppliers charge a premium for their renewable power products. WPA/FEMP are available to assist Federal agencies with finding funding sources to pay any associated premiums. For example, Executive Order 13123 allows for the use of energy efficiency savings to offset renewable power premiums. WPA and FEMP are encouraging Federal energy managers to invest part of the savings resulting from energy efficiency projects in renewable power purchases. FEMP is looking for agency volunteers for a pilot project that includes a renewable power purchase in conjunction with either energy savings performance contracts or utility energy service contracts.
Highlighted Federal Wind Projects
DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has announced its intention to prepare an environmental impact statement for a proposal to allow the Nevada Test Site Development Corporation, M&N Wind Power, Inc., and Siemens to construct, operate, and maintain a wind farm at the Nevada Test Site. M&N Wind Power, an energy development company, has proposed to develop 1,069 acres of land administered by NNSA within the Nevada Test Site. The NNSA has received this proposal to help fulfill a national need for additional electrical energy generation. The purpose of the proposed facilities would be to provide a viable renewable energy source. This proposal, if fully implemented, would consist of 545 wind turbines generating approximately 600 megawatts of electricity. Public meetings have been held, and a summary of comments has been developed.
In another project, the Air Force's remote tracking station on Ascension Island located about 500�miles south of the equator, halfway between South America and Africa, electricity and drinking water desalination has historically been provided by burning fuel oil to operate generators and desalination units. With assistance provided from DOE, the Air Force was able to reduce the Ascension Island Station's dependence on fuel oil demonstrating how renewable energy sources can and should play an important role in increasing America's energy diversity. The Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory's design assistance efforts contributed greatly to the project resulting in the installation of four 225-kilowatt wind generators and a 90-kilowatt photovoltaic system to supplement the station's electrical power requirements. The wind generation project is saving 290,000�gallons of fuel oil, $350,000, and 3.2�million kilowatthours of electricity annually. The project has been operational now for 4 years.
As the largest single energy user in the United States, consuming almost 55�billion megawatthours of electricity annually, the Federal Government can continue to support the growth of the wind energy market through its use of wind energy and through its purchase of renewable power or RECs. Working together, WPA and FEMP are finding ways to remove the barriers to renewable energy purchases to make it easier for Government agencies to meet their growing electricity needs with clean renewable energy resources like wind.
For more information on Federal wind energy projects, visit the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's National Wind Technology Center at www.nrel.gov/wind or contact Ed Cannon of NREL at 303-384-6920 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For information about the Nevada Test Site project, go to www.nv.doe.gov. For details about the Ascension Island wind farm project, visit www.ma.doe.gov/energy100/world/51.html.
For assistance with renewable power purchases contact Chandra Shah of NREL at 303-384-7557 or email@example.com.