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Waste-To-Energy Projects Gain Momentum
Six Degrees Of Energy Efficiency Challenge
Co-ops Get Green Light For Renewable Energy Financing

Is Your Home’s Wiring Up To Date And Safe?
February Expected To Be Warmer Than Normal

Waste-To-Energy Projects Gain Momentum

A large number of projects are now underway throughout the United States to convert waste into electricity. Most projects are using methane generated either by landfills or by anaerobic digesters, devices that use anaerobic bacteria to break down manure and other organic substances.

 Landfill gas-to-energy efforts are progressing in Alabama, California, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Indiana. Wabash Valley Power Association, Indianapolis, Ind., has aggressively been working on landfill gas energy projects as part of its EnviroWatts® program. Working closely with Waste Management of Indiana the G&T has developed seven landfill gas projects totaling 22.4 mw. Wabash Valley Power supplies wholesale power to four Illinois electric co-ops.

 Tim Franklin, Manager-Gas Recovery for Waste Management, says, “These plants not only provide an economic boost to the local economy, but also allow Wabash Valley to continue to diversify its generating resources.”

Dairyland Power Cooperative, La Crosse, Wisc., also operates a landfill gas-to-energy plant. It also has five animal waste-to-energy projects that are either in planning or under construction on dairy farms in Dairyland’s service territory, which encompasses 62 counties in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois. As many as 3,000 homes will be powered by this new form of renewable energy.

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Six Degrees Of Energy Efficiency Challenge

Families across the nation continue to struggle with rising energy bills. Average U.S. households will pay nearly $5,000 to power their homes and vehicles this year.

But by taking small steps from insulating an attic to sealing cracks around the door and window frames, homeowners can save money and also are collectively making a big difference for everyone.

To demonstrate the important connections between our individual energy use and the world’s environment, economy and security, the Alliance to Save Energy, the American Gas Association (AGA), The Dow Chemical Company Inc. and 27 additional Power is in Your Hands partners launched the 6° of Energy Efficiency Challenge by making cost-effective energy-efficiency improvements to an old row house in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol.

You can take the challenge by going to the 6 Degree Challenge Web site, www.sixdegree
challenge.org. With a simple click of a mouse, the 6 Degree Challenge Web site will:

• Provide consumers with six easy energy-efficiency tips they can implement in their own homes and vehicles.

• Challenge them to take at least one of those six easy steps.

• Provide money-saving coupons for energy-efficient products.

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Co-ops Get Green Light For Renewable Energy Financing

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has approved 78 renewable energy projects proposed by co-ops in 22 states for financing through the issuance of Clean Renewable Energy Bonds.

According to the IRS, co-ops allocation of not less than $300 million in tax credit bond authority will support 33 solar facilities, 13 wind projects, 13 landfill gas facilities, 12 open-loop biomass facilities, six hydro projects and one refined coal production facility. Co-ops allocations ranged from $120,548 to $31 million.

State and local governmental borrowers received the go-ahead to issue some $500 million in the bonds for more than 500 projects in 24 states. The bonds, provided for by the Energy Tax Incentives Act of 2005, offer co-ops and other not-for-profit utilities tax incentives for renewable generation projects that otherwise would be unaffordable.

These incentives are comparable to those provided to IOUs through the production tax credit.

The law created a two-year window, through Jan. 1, 2008, for the program. It also capped bond authority at $800 million, which has proven insufficient. Co‑ops have sought some $554 million in bond authority and other potential program participants more than $2 billion, leading co-ops to urge program extension through Jan. 1, 2011, with a significant increase in the annual authorization.

Source: Electric Cooperative Today, Todd Cunningham.

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Is Your Home’s Wiring Up To Date And Safe?

While use of electric power has increased, electrical systems, particularly in homes built more than 20 years ago, have not kept up with the demand or the technology. Aged wiring, overloaded circuits and worn outlets are among the hazards that can start fires and cause electrical shock.

Most shocks and fires from electrical systems can be prevented. Have your electrical system inspected by a licensed electrician. Fix dangerous defects, install smoke detectors, arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs), ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs), and check lighting and home appliances for wear and tear.

Have your house inspected if your home is 40 or more years old; if it is 10 or more years old and you’ve completed a major renovation or installed new major appliances; or if you’re the new owner of a previously owned home.

Here are just a few hazards to look out for in your home system:

• Dim and flickering lights.

• Arcs and sparks – flashes of light or showers of sparks in your electrical system.

• Sizzles and buzzes – unusual sounds from your electrical system.

• Overheating – over­heated wires can give off an odor of hot insulation; switch-plates or receptacle covers are hot to the touch or discolored from heat buildup.

• Electrical shocks – any shock, even a mild tingle, may be warning of an electrical danger.

For more information go to: Consumer Product Safety Commission, www.cpsc.gov and www.recalls.gov; Occupational Safety and Health Administration, www.osha.gov; Electrical Safety Foundation International, www.esfi.org.


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February Expected To Be Warmer Than Normal

The weather phenomenon known as El Nino has continued to persist during the last couple of months and will be one of the main influences on the weather patterns across the United States during February. As a result of the ongoing El Nino, the weather pattern across the country is likely to remain in a spilt-flow regime. This type of weather pattern tends to keep the cold polar air masses entrenched further north across southern Canada instead of diving southward across the eastern two-thirds of the United States.

Another important climate indicator is the NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation). This index is forecasted to be primarily positive during February. A positive NAO means that areas of lower pressure will be in place across the North Atlantic Ocean. In response, upper-level ridging generally develops and brings milder temperatures to eastern portions of the country.

The combination of a steady moderate El Nino and a positive NAO is expected to bring warmer than normal temperatures to much of the northern United States and parts of the Ohio Valley, including Illinois, during the month of February. As can be seen in the Illinois map, El Nino has already made its mark on the winter of 2006-07 as the total heating energy usage as measured by heating degree days was near to below normal across the entire state during the November thru January time period. With mild temperatures expected to continue during February, total heating energy usage is expected to be slightly below to well below normal across Illinois, which will be a plus for the consumer.

Source: EJS Weather, Newton, Ill., go to www.ejsweather.com, or call 618-783-3040.

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