by Borderstan.com May 1, 2013 at 4:00 pm 6,256 0

From John Shannon, who writes about green energy, sustainable development and economics. Email him at john[AT]borderstan.com.

"Harry Warren"

Renewable energy in DC. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Borderstan’s John Shannon interviews Harry Warren, the president of Washington Gas and Energy Services, to find out more about the future of renewable energy in DC. Part I of the interview ran Wednesday and Part II ran on Friday.

Borderstan: What do corporate executives think of renewable energy, generally? Is it an easy fit, a normal upgrade, or is it troublesome to implement into an existing grid?

Harry Warren: I think they are very interested to learn that buying grid connected wind power is very easy to do and very affordable.

Our clients span corporations, governments and non-profits such as the University of Maryland, Panera Bread of Maryland, Mandarin Oriental, Washington, D.C., and The Phillips Collection. That’s a testament to how enthusiastic many leaders are about renewable energy options. You can see a more complete list of companies and organizations that we work with here.

Borderstan: Understanding that the wind can’t blow all the time, what is the backup power for wind and how much capacity is required? Does having to keep all that spare capacity available, actually save any money?

Harry Warren: The power grid operates with a variety of power plants constantly coming on line, going off line, and ramping production up and down to meet the varying demand for electricity over the course of the day and over the course of the year. There are always power plants idle and ready to generate more as part of the overall plan to assure reliable power. So, nothing special is needed to back up wind power. Load just shifts to other power plants when the wind isn’t blowing. When the wind is blowing, other power plants, many of which burn fossil fuels like coal, ramp their operation down.

Borderstan: When did, and why has, wind power suddenly become comparable with other kinds of electrical energy production in terms of electricity rates?

Harry Warren: The cost of wind power has come down significantly in recent years for a number of reasons, with the big driver being the increase in demand for clean energy in the U.S. and abroad. That demand has created economies of scale in the wind industry and supported research into more efficient wind turbine design and wind farm operation. In 2012, more new wind power capacity was built in the U.S. than any other type of power plant. So today, it costs as little as a fraction of a cent per kilowatt hour for a customer to include wind power as part of their electricity supply.

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by Borderstan.com April 26, 2013 at 2:00 pm 0

From John Shannon, who writes about green energy, sustainable development and economics. Email him at john[AT]borderstan.com.

"Power"

WGES is introducing new offers for residential customers. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Borderstan’s John Shannon interviews Harry Warren, the president of Washington Gas and Energy Services to find out more about the future of renewable energy in DC. Part I of the interview ran Wednesday.

Borderstan: Thank you for sharing your thoughts with Borderstan readers. Do you see WGES opportunities for renewable energy other than wind power?

Warren: Our parent company, WGL Holdings, is making very large investments in solar power, not only in the greater Washington, D.C. area, but around the country as well. Through affiliated companies like Washington Gas Energy Systems the corporation has invested more than $150 million. We own two large solar projects in D.C., a set of systems at Catholic University and another set at American University.

Borderstan: What WGES projects or plans are in the near future?

Warren: In the weeks ahead we are introducing some new offers for residential customers to allow them to buy renewable energy and carbon offsets in a packages suited to their needs.

We are offering new residential customers in Washington, D.C. a special WGES Green Energy Bundle, which includes both 100% WGES CleanSteps® WindPower and 100% WGES CleanSteps® Carbon Offsets. Customers that sign up not only help to improve air and water quality in their region, but they also receive a $75 VISA® Debit Card. DC residents can take advantage of this offer by going to www.wges.com/greenmeup and using the code: BUNDLEDC.

We are also offering a new product we call WGES Blanket Bill™ Plus. The Blanket Bill™ is a natural gas supply offer where each household receives a customized fixed monthly price for its entire gas bill including WGES natural gas supply charges, utility charges, taxes and all other fees. Unlike utility budget bills, there is never any true up or extra payment no matter what the weather. WGES Blanket Bill™ Plus customers also get 100% of their natural gas use matched with WGES CleanSteps® Carbon Offsets. To get a WGES Blanket Bill Plus quote, DC residents can request a quote for WGES Blanket Bill™ Plus by sending an email to blanketbill[AT]wgesinfo.com.

Read Part III of this interview this Monday, April 29.

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by Borderstan.com April 24, 2013 at 4:00 pm 0

From John Shannon, who writes about green energy, sustainable development and economics. Email him at john[AT]borderstan.com.

"renewable energy"

Union Station is now powered completely by wind energy. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Borderstan’s John Shannon interviews Harry Warren, the president of Washington Gas and Energy Services to find out more about the future of renewable energy in DC.

Borderstan: Thank you for making time for the Borderstan community. Washington, DC’s Union Station recently decided to switch to 100 percent wind power from WGES. How much energy does Union Station use per year and how many tons of greenhouse gases will their switch to wind power save?

Warren: Union Station’s electricity use is 19,000,000 kilowatt hours annually, about the same as 1,500 homes. The switch to 100 percent WGES CleanSteps® Wind Power will avoid more than 13,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year. This is comparable to avoiding the annual emissions of 2,700 cars using 1.4 million gallons of gasoline.

Borderstan: What does the future hold for renewable energy at WGES? Do you see solar, biomass, or Power Purchase Agreements with other renewable energy producers as part of that future?

Warren: The awareness about renewable energy that prestigious end-users like Union Station create is something we will look to capitalize on in communicating to other businesses and institutions throughout the region. Of course, Washington, DC, as a city, is a recognized leader when it comes to renewable energy. Currently 11.4% of the city’s energy — more than one billion kilowatt-hours annually — comes from green sources, making it the nation’s #1 EPA Green Power Community.

Beyond wind power sales, another near term focus is our WGES CleanSteps® Carbon Offsets product, which matches locally sourced carbon offsets to a customers’ natural gas usage. WGES CleanSteps® Carbon Offsets support independently verified emission-reduction projects in our region and also help to fund new projects, such as tree plantings along rivers and streams that flow into the Chesapeake Bay. That local focus makes WGES CleanSteps® Carbon Offsets a unique product and program.

Read Part II of this interview here on Borderstan this Friday, April 26.

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by Borderstan.com April 16, 2013 at 10:00 am 0

"Union Station"

Union Station now powered by 100 percent wind energy. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From John Shannon, who writes about green energy, sustainable development and economics. Email him at john[AT]borderstan.com.

DC’s Union Station is now powered by 100 percent wind energy. The popular tourist site has signed a three-year contract for 100 percent WGES CleanSteps® WindPower from Herndon-based Washington Gas Energy Services. Union Station previously used 50 percent wind power for its electricity needs.

According to Roy Staeck, vice president of business development for Union Station, “Reducing our environmental impact is a key priority for Union Station and using renewable wind energy greatly aids us in decreasing our carbon footprint. As one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world, Union Station’s switch to wind energy through Washington Gas Energy Services is an important milestone in its history and a great opportunity to inform visitors about wind energy’s viability for businesses of all sizes.”

Month-long Interactive Eco-friendly Event

Union Station is hosting Earth Month 2013, a month-long event throughout April featuring interactive, eco-friendly experiences designed to raise awareness of environmental issues and encourage sustainability. Presented by Earth Day Network and the Premier Tourist and Landmark Association, this event will reach the more than 100,000 visitors who travel through Union Station’s doors each day.

As an event sponsor, Washington Gas Energy Services will educate attendees about how they can reduce the environmental impact of their energy use through carbon offsets and wind power.

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