"I am pleased that EcoMotion has chosen to locate in Irvine, since energy efficiency and conservation are very important to me personally. Irvine is a City that reflects an innovative spirit and embraces sustainable principles."
Beth Krom, Mayor of the City of Irvine
The 30:30 Partnership in Palm Desert
Palm Desert, California's leaders are on a bold path. Their intent is to cut city-wide electricity and natural gas use by 30% in five years. Buttressed by success with recycling, drought-tolerant landscaping, public housing, and higher education, the City is now taking aim at energy use for economic, environmental, and national security reasons.
Mayor Jim Ferguson explains that, "Palm Desert can be a model for California and the nation." Target programs result in bill savings of some $40 million each year, savings that can be reinvested in the community, creating economic multipliers, while supporting local environmental and national security objectives.
Working for the City of Palm Desert and with Southern California Edison, Southern California Gas, and The Energy Coalition, EcoMotion's Ted Flanigan has served as a primary architect of the 30:30 Partnership Strategic Plan.
The 30:30 Partnership Plan provides a real view of the scope and dimensions of the endeavor. It features a detailed and sophisticated road map to realizing the target savings, including extensive spreadsheets allowing each type of energy user in the City to calculate 30:30 savings. The approach relies on major outreach and community promotion of a combination of technologies such as advanced air conditioning and solar panels, plus a sophisticated emphasis on the behavioral change required to sustain an ethic and savings.
Just as Palm Desert residents and businesses recycle - now diverting 74% of the waste stream throughout the City - the 30:30 Partnership can make smart energy use the norm and provide a demonstration of a new paradigm and model of responsible civic action.
Member Story: Henry Dudley -- Durango, Colorado
"With impeccable timing, last year I undertook two solar projects and completed them just in time to miss out on the new tax benefits, and because Colorado has absolutely no energy incentives, I paid full freight but find myself very satisfied anyway.
First project was to put 4.8 kW of PV capacity on the small (6,000 ft2) office building we own downtown. The building is known as the Sun Building because of some beautiful detailing trim dating back to the 1890s that evokes the sun. We finally got two-way metering in La Plata County, so at the last minute I changed course and skipped the battery farm, much to my delight. (I was not looking forward to that maintenance headache!) Now the building generates about 25% of its annual power demands by solar. Summer is the killer because the AC is electric, but in Fall and Spring when we use very little heat or air conditioning, we supply a lot more of our own power. The tenants are excited to be in a solar powered building, even if it isn't 100%.
About the time I finished that installation I embarked on a solar hot water project at our house. In addition to now supplying all our domestic hot water (which had been electric previously because the water heaters were in the middle of the house and too far from exterior to vent for gas heat), we also have radiant floor heating for part of the house. Ran out of real estate on the roof for more panels and capacity, nevertheless my annualized electricity consumption is now down by about 25%.
Global Wind Generation on the Rise
The Global Wind Energy Council reports that 11,769 MW of wind capacity was installed worldwide in 2005, up 43.4% from 8,207 MW in 2004, bringing total worldwide wind power capacity to 59,322 MW, and about the equivalent of 60 major nuclear reactors.
According to the American Wind Energy Association, while Europe continues to dominate the world's wind capacity, the major growth rates occurred in North America and Asia. Canadian wind capacity grew by 53% and China now has quickly built 1,260 MW of wind generation installed before the country's new Renewable Energy Law went into force on January 1, 2006. (See also www.awea.org)
The Top Five Wind Generators
1. Germany 18,428 MW
2. Spain 10,027 MW
3. United States 9,149 MW
4. India 4,430 MW
5. Denmark 3,122 MW
In related news, wind powered electricity will now light the Statue of Liberty! GE doubled its wind production last year. Royal Dutch Shell is rumored to be considering buying Vestas Wind Systems, the world's leading wind turbine manufacturer. And President Bush's Advanced Energy Initiative cites wind potential that could provide 20% of U.S. electricity needs… shattering hydroelectricity's 6% share today.
The latest buzz on the streets? Hybrid hybrids! Also known as PHEVs (Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles), these cars provide all the economic and environmental benefits of electric vehicles, but without their range limitations.
Let's back up: "Conventional hybrids" are on a major roll. Unlike most cars, they have a small electricity generator on board. It is fueled with gasoline. After their commercial introduction by Toyota in Japan in 1997, and then by Honda in 1999 in the United States, there were 46,000 hybrids on American roads by 2003 and 83,000 by the end of 2004. [RLF can you get number of hybrids for 2005?] Starting in 2006, hybrid buyers not only get $650 - 3,150 tax credits depending on the vehicle, but are highly satisfied, proud of taking responsible action, and in some states get access to coveted carpool lanes. (In just the last few days, new legislation has been introduced in the Senate to allow small business owners tax deductions of up to $100,000 for hybrids.)
While hybrids run on gas… plug in hybrids are "gas optional," providing the driver with two fueling options. By using off-peak electricity, hybrid hybrids cost less to operate, less than a dollar a gallon of gasoline equivalent. Hybrid hybrids recharge at night - promising easy "refueling" as well as even higher efficiency, and less than $1/gallon equivalence. Imagine avoided gas station visits! Just plug in when you get home and you're ready for your morning commute. For more information, visit www.hybridcars.com