Electric power industry, DOE agree on framework to voluntarily reduce greenhouse gas intensity

WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb. 3, 2005 — In December, the nation’s six electric power trade associations, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that establishes a framework for the power sector to voluntary reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emission intensity over the next decade.

The trade associations signing the MOU are Edison Electric Institute, the American Public Power Association, Electric Power Supply Association, Large Public Power Council, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, and Nuclear Energy Institute.

The Power PartnersSM, as the group is referred to in the MOU, earlier pledged to act through their members to reduce the GHG emissions intensity of the power sector by an equivalent of 3 to 5 percent (measured as carbon emissions per unit of electricity produced) below 2000-2002 baseline levels, as measured over the 2010-2012 period.

The MOU framework will facilitate Power PartnersSM commitment to achieve their goal. It will also support the President’s Climate VISION (Voluntary Innovative Sector Initiatives: Opportunities Now) program. Established in 2003, Climate VISION is a public-private partnership to make a meaningful contribution to the President’s goal of reducing the overall GHG intensity of the United States’ economy by 18 percent by 2012.

The MOU agreement creates a framework for the Power PartnersSM and DOE to:

* Monitor and report emissions
* Identify and implement near term GHG reduction opportunities
* Develop cross-sector emission reduction projects, and
* Accelerate R&D investment in emission-reduction technology.

Emissions reporting

The Power PartnersSM individual members currently report their GHG reduction activities under DOE’s 1605(b) program, which provides a means for organizations and individuals that have voluntarily reduced their emissions to record their accomplishments and share their ideas for action. This individual reporting will continue, but in addition, as described in the MOU, the Power PartnersSM as a group will also prepare an annual report by 2006 on their activities and accomplishments. That report will include a metric for measuring progress in reducing carbon emission intensity for the electric power sector.

GHG reduction initiatives

As set forth in the MOU, the Power PartnersSM will develop industry-wide, individual, and cross-sector activities to achieve their goal of reducing the power sector’s GHG intensity by 3 to 5 percent.

Industry-wide Actions: Since 2002 the Power PartnersSM have been developing and promoting initiatives that will enable their individual members to pool their resources. These include:

* PowerTree Carbon Company: Twenty-five U.S. power generators-investor-owned utilities, a rural electric cooperative, and TVA-have committed more than $3 million for a new reforestation effort in the lower Mississippi River valley to remove and store more than 1.5 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2).

* Coal Combustion Products Partnership (C2P2): A public-private initiative involving the electric utility, highway and building construction industries is striving to increase the use of coal combustion byproducts (fly ash) in lieu of Portland cement in making concrete, thus reducing the annual CO2 emissions associated with concrete production. The goal is increase the CO2 being avoided annually today, approximately 14 million tons, to 20 million tons by 2010.

* International Power Partnerships (IPP): This program works with DOE and the State Department to identify GHG reduction opportunities overseas, and is committed to fund projects promoting use of renewable energy and clean coal technologies.

* Technology and Other Initiatives: Further reductions in GHG emission intensity in the medium- to long-term will depend upon the development and availability of cost-effective technologies that allow for a stable, reliable and affordable supply of energy. Working with EPRI, two initiatives focusing on long-term actions are underway-“Pilot-Scale Test Centers for Engineering, Economic, and Environmental Evaluation of CO2 Capture and Containment”, and “Advanced Coal Plant Partnership”.

Individual Member Actions: Actions by the individual members of the Power PartnersSM will be the foundation for the initiative. As part of a wide array of efforts, the members of the six electric power trade associations and TVA plan to expand:

* The amount of electricity generated by nuclear power plants

* The biologic and geologic sequestration of CO2

* The number of renewable energy, ‘green’ power/pricing, and energy efficiency/demand side management programs

Cross-Sector Projects: DOE and the Power PartnersSM will also seek to broaden participation in, and increase the impact of, the Climate VISION program by exploring cross-sector and intergovernmental enabling initiatives. These include:

* Clean Coal Technologies-New clean coal technologies offer a number of advantages, but certain factors inhibit more widespread commercial use. The Power PartnersSM and DOE will work together and with other key stakeholders to explore partnerships that could accelerate commercial adoption of advanced clean coal power systems and gasification technologies.

* Utility Hybrid Truck Initiative-Significant opportunities exist to improve fuel economy and reduce GHG emissions through the development of an electric utility hybrid “bucket” truck, which will ultimately have significantly broader market potential. The core chassis, once hybridized, is ideal for not only cable and telecommunications operations but also for hundreds of thousands of urban work trucks, such as cargo, delivery, dump and other truck applications. The goal is to develop a commercial hybrid work truck and meet 2010 emissions standards three years ahead of the federal goal, while improving fuel economy 50 percent (and thereby reducing emissions). To help meet this challenge, more than 25 utilities are taking part in the Utility Hybrid Truck Working Group to establish user requirements and performance specifications. By the end of 2005, several electric utilities will purchase and phase in the first pre-production vehicles for national assessment and may start ordering them for fleet replacement by 2007.

* Initiative for New Homes-The commercial and residential sector-represented mainly by buildings and houses-is responsible for a significant portion of U.S. GHG emissions. Upgrading the energy performance of U.S. homes can help meet the President’s emissions intensity goal by 2012. The Power PartnersSM and DOE will work together and with other interested parties to explore partnerships to achieve greater market penetration of energy-efficient new homes. This effort will involve a wide range of stakeholders in the private and public sectors across the new homes transactional chain.

Accelerating R&D investment

The final element outlined in the MOU is for the Power PartnersSM and DOE to work collectively to create a process for developing technologies that would lead to a reduction in GHG emissions. This process will include:

* Identifying high-priority areas for power sector research, development, demonstration and deployment (“RDD&D”), and

* Recommending steps to carry out power sector RDD&D in the identified, high-priority areas.

DOE actions

For its part, DOE will promote a number of initiatives. The following actions are essential, given that future trends and conditions within the power sector are affected by government policies:

* The harmonization of governmental policies and procedures

* The minimization of regulatory barriers and uncertainties

* Supportive fiscal and other actions and incentives, and

* An atmosphere that encourages and supports Power PartnersSM in their efforts to achieve the goals and purposes of this MOU.

For more information on the individual Power PartnersSM and their efforts on the climate change issue, please visit their Web sites:

* American Public Power Association ( www.appanet.org )
* Edison Electric Institute ( www.eei.org/power-partners )
* Electric Power Supply Association ( www.epsa.org )
* Nuclear Energy Institute ( www.nei.org )
* National Rural Electric Cooperative Association ( www.nreca.coop )
* Tennessee Valley Authority ( www.tva.com )
* Large Public Power Council ( www.lppc.org).

Author

  • The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com.

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com.

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