PTI announces DOE grants to 19 cities and counties
Nineteen city and county projects breaking new ground in energy research and technology transfer have received nearly $1 million in U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) funding for 1997 through a program administered by the Urban Consortium Energy Task Force of Public Technology, Inc. (PTI), Washington, D.C.
The grant-winning local government projects tackle energy challenges with creativity, promoting energy efficiency in the residential, utility, industrial/commercial and public sectors with strategies from methane recovery and electric vehicle technology to green building and telecommuting. Several explore energy- and cost-saving opportunities for local governments in a deregulated electric-utility market.
The following five projects will examine various aspects of the utility restructuring issue:
* Barnstable County, Mass., will conduct a national conference on competitive franchising to disseminate information, experience and resources that can help local governments exercise the options available to them through the franchise power. Contact: Margaret Downey (508) 362-2511;
* Chicago, Ill., will investigate the potential role of local government in bringing competitive electricity services to industrial sites by considering the roles of government as consumer, regulator, generator and possibly aggregator/marketer of electricity. Contact: Dwight Bailey (312) 744-3634;
* Columbus, Ohio, will conduct a case study to develop local distribution rates for retail electricity wheeling on its municipal grid. Contact: Jim Joyce (614) 645-6141;
* San Jose, Calif., will explore the impacts of the changing utility marketplace on municipal revenues, utility costs and energy management. Contact Rita Norton (408) 277-5533; and
* Portland, Ore., will develop a GreenPower Partnership to offer local businesses the opportunity to buy electricity generated by non-hydro, renewable resources such as wind, geothermal or solar. Contact Susan Anderson (503) 823-7222;
Projects designed to explore new ways to save energy and money include:
* Cabo Rojo/Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, will move into the demonstration phase of its program to use solar-assisted air conditioning and dehumidification systems to offset demand for electricity in subtropical climates. The project will design a pilot system for an existing facility, determine the technology’s economic and technical feasibility and outline a technology transfer plan. Contact Nohemi Zerbi (787) 721 -4370;
* Chittenden County, Vt., will attempt to expand the opportunity for biomass district energy systems, decentralized generating systems that can supply electricity to a group of buildings. The project will address institutional capacity and the support needed for implementation of a biomass district energy system. Contact Arthur Hogan (802) 658-3004;
* Phoenix, Ariz., will investigate waste minimization and digester-gas use at a large wastewater treatment plant. The project will produce a feasibility study indentifying alternative methods for handling sludge and digester gas and research and develop potential process changes to help increase the efficiency of wastewater treatment. Contact William Murphy (602) 261-7897; and
* Yolo County, Calif., has worked in partnership with other local governments in the state to accelerate the rate of generation of methane in landfills and maximize the capture of the resulting gas. The county will monitor a project to evaluate methane-capture technologies and develop guidelines for their application. Contact Ramin Yazdani (916) 757-5567.
Projects involving integration of energy considerations into public policy in ways that support local needs include:
* Albuquerque, N.M., will focus on the need for water conservation and reductions in energy usage for pumping operations. The project will develop guidelines for water distribution in parks in arid regions. Contact Glen Coontz (505) 768-5354;
* Hennepin County, Minn., will bring urban jobs to suburban neighborhoods by developing innovative combined telework and job-retraining centers. Employers will use the centers to meet telecommuters’ needs, while local government will use them as retraining facilities. Contact John McLaughlin (612) 348-8912;
* Honolulu, Hawaii, will introduce electric vehicles into municipal duty cycles and determine where electric vehicle use makes the most sense and what its benefits are. The project will generate data for 12 months of actual vehicle operation in municipal duty cycles. Contact Ross Sasamura (808) 523-04171;
* Memphis, Tenn., will investigate opportunities to centralize the monitoring and control of heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment by electronically linking city buildings through a building automation network. The project will examine available building automation technologies, estimate the demand-side management potential offered by a citywide network, determine the economic feasibility threshold for adding facilities to the network and include a pilot installation of a network to demonstrate the energy savings potential. Contact Dexter Muller (901) 576-7197; and
* San Francisco will aggregate the small business marketplace for energy efficiency improvements, offering new economic incentives for energy service providers to penetrate this important market. Contact John Deakin (415)554-3180.
Projects involving enhanced technology transfer include
* Chula Vista, Calif., will document the results of its telecenter project to provide guidance on how to make tele-centers work. A guidebook will show communities how to develop marketing and business plans, how to operate a center and how to recruit and educate managers and employees. Contact Barbara Bamberger (619) 691-5296;
* Metro-Dade County, Fla., will hold a regional conference and design competition that will target users, architects, builders, regulators and researchers and will feature sessions on sustainability in commercial and residential buildings. Contact Victor Monzon-Aguirre (305) 375-4460;
* Montgomery County, Md., will develop a CD-ROM version of its energy design guidelines, providing an easy-touse and widely transferable package for energy efficient building design. Contract Paul Tseng (301) 217-6071;
* San Francisco will translate its successful experience in energy conservation through boiler maintenance into a manual for other jurisdictions. Contact John Deakin (415) 554-3180; and
* Tucson, Ariz., will document the barriers to straw-bale construction for affordable, energy efficient housing. Contact Karen Thoreson (520) 791-4171.