Clean Energy Electrifies Democratic National Convention

Organizers of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) don’t just want their party speaking about the importance of clean energy — they’re putting those words into action right at the conference. As the convention kicks off this week, an on-site fuel cell power plant is generating power for the FleetCenter in Boston, Massachusetts. Large purchases of green tags will ensure the extra power needed for the remainder of the convention comes from renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.

Boston, Massachusetts – July 26, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] The 250 kW fuel cell unit from FuelCell Energy is part of a distributed generation “micro-grid” that is providing electricity to support the existing grid and meet the expected additional demand of the convention. “Being the first fuel-cell powered Convention is just one of the ways this event will make history,” said Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino. “We are very pleased that Boston and the Democratic National Convention will be a showcase for how an environmentally sound energy policy is good for Boston and for America.” This particular fuel cell unit runs off natural gas, but fuel cells can run off a range of fuels that are created through renewable energy means. Hydrogen can be “cracked” out of water using electrolysis, while methane can be harnessed from farming or waste disposal operations. Because fuel cells generate electricity electrochemically instead of through combustion, there are virtually none of the pollutants associated with traditional power plants that burn fossil fuels. “It is great to see the Democratic National Convention planners showcasing environmental solutions by incorporating simple measures that can protect the earth and provide a quality convention experience,” said Bruce Hamilton, National Conservation Director for the Sierra Club. “Democrats have regularly promoted renewable energy, recycling, mass transportation, and reducing pollution that leads to global warming. It is encouraging to see a major national convention that reflects these environmental values.” 250 kW may be nice boost of energy, but it’s not enough to provide all of the power the convention will need. That extra will come from the local power grid – but green tags will make sure an equivalent use of power is generated from renewable energy. Working with CERC and Constellation NewEnergy, the utility company that supplies electricity to the FleetCenter, Convention organizers obtained Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) to match the electricity needed for the FleetCenter and the media work stations during the four days of the Convention. A variety of renewable sources including wind, hydroelectric power, biomass, and solar energy will be used. The purchase of these renewable energy certificates and green electricity are Green-e certified to meet the stringent consumer and environmental protection standards of the non-profit Center for Resource Solutions.
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