Canadian Consulting Engineer
U.S. federal government uses 663 gigawatthours of renewable powerEngineering
Despite the U.S. government's refusal to sign the Kyoto Protocol for reducing greenhouse gases, it has been encoura...
Despite the U.S. government’s refusal to sign the Kyoto Protocol for reducing greenhouse gases, it has been encouraging the use of renewable energies in its own facilities. In 1990, the government issued an executive order, with a goal for renewable energy sources to amount to 2.5 per cent of the government’s electricity consumption by 2005.
By February this year, the program had reached the halfway mark, and new renewable energy sources were feeding federal facilities with 663 gigawatthours of power.
One of the biggest recent additions to the renewable energy effort is the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, which has a new landfill gas project in Maryland that accounts for the equivalent of 108.5 gigawatthours (370 billion Btu). The plant uses biomass to produce gas, and transportation fuels such as ethanol.
Federal departments also purchase 310 gigawatthours of green power, mostly from wind turbines. The Department of Defense has more than 19 agreements to purchase renewable energy or energy credits.
Photovoltaic and solar thermal systems are increasing on federal facilities. There are approximately 3,400 federal solar systems, including a 750-kilowatt PV system at Naval Base Coronado in California. The U.S. Coast Guard and Departments of the Nay and Army are also developing several hundred solar water heating systems in Hawaii this year.
The U.S. government has been experimenting with large-scale renewable energy projects since the 1980s, including a geothermal plant at China Lake Naval Weapons Station in California and at Kevlavik Air Force Base in Iceland.
The Department of the Interior handles applications for the development of renewable energy projects on U.S. federal lands.
Source: FEMP Focus, U.S. Department of Energy publication, March/April 2003. www.eere.energy.gov/femp