Wind Farm Breaks Ground at Weapons Facility
The Energy Department broke ground Tuesday on the nation’s largest federally-owned wind project at the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas. When completed, this five-turbine 11.5 megawatt project will power more than 60 percent of the plant with clean, renewable wind energy and reduce carbon emissions by over 35,000 metric tons per year – equivalent to taking 7,200 cars off the road.
The Pantex Plant is the primary site for the assembly, disassembly, and maintenance of the United States’ nuclear weapons stockpile.
Located on 1,500 acres east of the Pantex Plant, the wind farm will generate approximately 47 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually – more than 60 percent of the annual electricity used for Pantex, or enough electricity to power nearly 3,500 homes. The project is expected to complete construction and start generating electricity in summer 2014.
“As the largest energy user in the country, the federal government has a tremendous opportunity to lead by example in taking actions to improve energy efficiency and increase renewable energy usage to save taxpayers dollars and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman.
“Responsible development of America’s wind energy resources is a critical part of our all-of-the-above energy strategy, and the Pantex wind project furthers our commitment to lead by example and to advance a cleaner, more sustainable energy future.”
Siemens will construct the wind farm under a performance-based contract that uses long-term energy savings to pay for the project costs, avoiding upfront costs to taxpayers. In 2011, President Obama challenged federal agencies to enter into $2 billion worth of performance-based contracts within two years. Federal agencies have since committed to a pipeline of nearly $2.3 billion from over 300 reported projects, including the Pantex wind project.
Last week, the Energy Department released two new reports showcasing record growth across the U.S. wind market, increasing America’s share of clean, renewable energy, and for the first time representing the number one source of new U.S. electricity generation capacity. The 2012 Wind Technologies Market Report found that Texas is the country’s largest and fastest growing market. With 12,214 megawatts of total wind capacity installed at the end of last year, Texas has more than twice as much wind power capacity as the next highest state and more wind capacity than all but five countries worldwide.
The Energy Department and the National Nuclear Security Administration worked with interagency partners, including the Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Aviation Administration, as well as Texas Tech University to launch this project.
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.