Thursday, December 01, 2005

Energy Freedom Challenge: Clean Energy Capital of the United States of America

Austin 8 News reports that Austin, Texas is to host a nationwide competition and the prize is the title of "Clean Energy Capital of the U.S."

The group Solar Austin pitched the idea of the contest to the U.S. Department of Energy. The group received a $45,000 grant to organize and host the contest. "Renewables have become a real attractive source for any community, any city," Solar Austin Co-Director Jane Pulaski said. She is convinced alternative energy has become so attractive, cities across the nation would be willing to compete to see which can move away from fossil fuels first.

"Clean Energy Capital of the U.S., I mean, who wouldn't want that title?" Pulaski added the title would attract new businesses, residents and positive publicity for the community that earned it.
In August Solar Austin received the grant to organize, market and host the contest in its first year. On Wednesday, the group officially launched the contest with an evening fundraiser.

The Energy Freedom Challenge is a race to see which city in the U.S.A. can be the first to get 50 percent of its energy from renewable energy sources like wind, solar, geo-thermal, methane and biomass power by the year 2025.

Right now Austin receives 5 percent of its energy from either wind, solar or landfill methane power; well short of hitting the 50 percent mark.

Austin can expect plenty of competition from other cities for the clean energy title from places like Portland, Seattle, Phoenix, Chicago, New York, and New Jersey.

The Union of Concerned Scientists will be in charge of establishing the rules, metrics and qualifications for the contest.

Solar Austin expects to have cities signed up to compete by early next year. Austin will be both the host and a competitor in the first year.

Austin's Green Choice program already sells more renewable energy to customers than any other program in the country.

Green Choice allows Austin Energy customers to choose to have their power come from wind or solar sources. The program is so popular Austin Energy had to place new subscribers on a waiting list. One of the city's wind farms is expanding this winter. Austin Energy hopes to open up the Green Choice wait list once the expansion is finished in February.

The clean energy contest will be run in Austin, Texas for the next 20 years.

Full Austin8News Article


Blogger Jesse Jenkins said...

Awesome idea. Getting the competitive spirit to work in a positive direction is excellent.

Go Portland!

1:13 pm, December 05, 2005  
Blogger Cleanergy Newsdesk said...

Hi. I invite you to join Cleanergy community,, uniting experts voices all over the world to promote clean energy.

6:04 am, December 06, 2005  
Blogger Tony Hall said...

Hi, it's inspiring to see this information collected together and organised in one space. It's my first visit. I'm particularly interested in how groups of people can get together to construct living-learning-working communities using new technologies, and thinking, especially architecture and large buildings.

8:35 am, December 13, 2005  
Blogger Rod Adams said...

Since the Union of Concerned Scientists would be the judge, I presume that cities receiving the majority of their power from emissions free nuclear power - like Chicago - would be out of the running.

Too bad, since their environmental impact on a per capita basis is much lower than that of a city like Austin.

5:40 pm, December 22, 2005  
Blogger Stewart Peterson said...

Of course: burning trash and plants is clean and nuclear energy isn't.

8:54 pm, December 22, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Found this on net:
Who is blackmailing whom?
translated by Vitaliy Voznyak, 12.12.2005, 11:24

Original article by Mykhailo Krasnyanskyi

For a while now, I have been tired to listen and read about how the cowardly Ukraine is blackmailing Russia with natural gas.

The Russian side's main argument defends the need to raise the price of natural gas for Ukraine by pointing to the West where the price is determined by market conditions. Thus, for example, Germany purchases natural gas at the price of $160.

Can the price which Germany pays Russia for natural gas be considered a sound, valid reasonable argument? Not really. The only argument that can be considered is the mutually signed contract between Russia and Ukraine!

In that contract between "Naftogas Ukraine" and Gazprom (to be specific under the Clause #4 dated 21 June 2002) is written that the value of natural gas delivered to Ukraine in exchange for transit consists of $50 per 1000 cubic meters, and the value of the actual transition through the territory of Ukraine - $1.09.

Also discussed, in this contract, is the permanency and obduracy of the agreement by either side until 2009. The $50 and $1.09 are not prices per se; these are mutually agreed upon "interconnected digits" by both parties.

In other words, if either party intends to multiply one side of the equation by any coefficient, for example:
50 (x) 3.2=$160 then the "altering party" is required to multiply the other side of the equation by the same coefficient: $1.09 (x) 3.2 = $3.49 - and European price averages have nothing to do with this.

If, after all, Russia in a unilateral manner wishes to re-evaluate her agreement on natural gas with Ukraine, then she ought to understand that this is a PRECEDENT, and that Ukraine has all the basis to re-evaluate her agreement with Russia regarding the Black Sea Fleet.

The change - demanded by Russia - to market-oriented relations concerning natural gas should be justly "paralleled" with re-examinations of all other bilateral agreements (not just those at which the ring of Gazprom is capriciously pointing), including agreements with regards to the Black Sea Fleet, and the "understanding" concerning financial accounts between the Bank of the USSR and the banks of previous Republics dating from 10 October 1991.

As far as the latter mentioned "understanding," Russia received from Ukraine an interbank credit (zero interest) in the amount of 83 billion of Soviet rubles which to this day has not been returned. But these legally Ukrainian 83 billion are - with little patience - awaited from Russia by millions of deceived Ukrainian account holders who placed their savings (na knyzhku) at the Central Bank of the USSR.

The author experiences a feeling of true admiration and envy when he observes with what unyeilding ruthlessness and a huge chunk of cynicism that the Russian government fights for the national and geopolitical interests of Russia.

This position also enjoys the full supports of Russian politicians and mass media. Learn Ukraine!

Yet when Ukraine's government took on a similar approach the Ukrainian mass media judged it as "inability to agree about natural gas?!"

The agreements with Russia about oil and natural gas are considered probably the most noteworthy achievements of former president Kuchma. Indeed, they represent some of the largest failures of the Kuchma's government.

During the 15 years of Ukraine's independence, the numerous "successful understandings" brokered by Kravchuk-Kuchma should have been substituted (or at least alongside with those "understandings") by alternative sources of energy and energy conserving technologies, including new accounting techniques. Had this been accomplished, the issue would not have arisen in the first place.

By today, Ukraine would have rid herself from the monstrous (more than 8-10 times compared with EU) energy dependence in our heavy industry sector and everyday energy needs!

Ten years ago, what stood in the way for Ukraine to produce her own synthetic liquid heating substance made out of still "young" coal mines of Luhansk, red coal of Alexandria, peat of Volyn, by either purchasing United Arab Republic's coal technology "Sasol" or by developing our own?

During the past 10 years, what stood in the way of reopening and building more of Ukraine's own small hydroelectric stations?

Why did Crimea not get "dressed" in solar panels, and the steppes of Ukraine did not get covered with wind turbines?

Who or what served as an obstacle, five to six years ago, for Ukraine to start actively develop the growth of rapeseed (Brassica napus) for the production of biodiesel (today for a ton of rapeseed pay $160-180, while for a ton of Ukrainian wheat - only $80; in other words this would have raised the value of domestic farming sector)?

Why did the previous governing elite - when on numerous and costly foreign trips - not pay attention at the nearby Austria? Austria meets 50% of its energy demand with small hydroelectric stations, 30% - by capturing solar energy, and 5% - by using wind turbines (and only 15% of its energy needs are met by importing natural gas)?

The facts after all are that the yearly quantity of solar radiation which covers Austria is equal to that covering Ukraine (1200 kWh/m^2); the level of potential wind-power is lower than middle Ukraine's, and the energy potential of Austria's rivers is not that much higher than the potential held in middle Ukrainian rivers.

Professor Mikhail Krasnyanski at Donetsk National Technical University for "Ukrayinska Pravda"

1:15 pm, December 28, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the guy contradicted himself a little less I'd consider him somewhat credible. Also when it is cheaper to import energy instead of using up home resources it is economically sound to purchase that energy. But, if Russia keeps raising gas prices those industries which you speak of (wind, solar, etc) will begin to develop once they are a financially viable alternatives. Also per the gas calculations, it seems to be missing 2 critical values, the volume of gas delivered through Ukraine, and to Ukraine. If the amount of gas transferred is high enough it was probably financially sound for Russia to sell cheaper gas for cheaper transfer fees. And till the Nord Stream pipeline is finally built, that is if it ever gets started, Russia has no other choice. So till then if Russia jacks up their gas prices Ukraine should do the same to the transfer fees, which mostly hurts Europe causing their gas prices to spike. Then it will all begin over again when Russia will start bitching to Ukraine "Look at how much Europe is paying for their gas, we need to start charging you more."

2:33 am, May 08, 2008  

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