Democratic National Convention Goes Green

In their effort to make the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Boston one of the most environmentally-friendly political conventions in U.S. history, event organizers have undertaken a number of initiatives including the purchase of renewable energy certificates and the installation of a large on-site fuel cell unit.

Boston, Massachusetts – July 12, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] To reach this goal, the Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) and Boston 2004, Inc., the host committee for the 2004 Democratic National Convention have conducted all-department meetings focused on environmental issues, have worked extensively with the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Conventions (CERC), and have collaborated with other organizations to design a multi-faceted plan to ensure an environmentally friendly Convention. Renewable Energy Certificates Working with CERC and Constellation NewEnergy, the supplier of electricity at 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. On-Site Fuel Cell Power The Convention will also utilize a 250-kilowatt fuel cell power plant, supplied by Connecticut-based FuelCell Energy to power Convention events at the FleetCenter. FuelCell Energy’s DFC300A power plant, a unit with enough power to provide the base load electricity requirements of a 300-room hotel, will directly convert natural gas, supplied by Keyspan Energy, through a patented internal reforming process into the hydrogen needed to electrochemically produce electricity. FuelCell Energy’s DFC power plants generate power without combustion and, due to their favorable emissions profile, are an ultra-clean product since they meet the most stringent air quality standards in the nation. FuelCell Energy’s DFC300A power plant will produce 99.9% less harmful air pollution and 59% less carbon dioxide than traditional combustion-based fossil fuel power plants, and will use half as much fuel per kilowatt hour of electricity than conventional power plants. The use of the fuel cell not only contributes to promoting the use of clean and efficient energy generation, it will also limit harmful emissions in the area around the FleetCenter during the Convention. To date, FuelCell Energy has generated over 40 million kilowatt-hours of electricity from 30 global installations at customer sites. “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.” Carbon Emissions Offset Program Using the 2002 Winter Olympics as a model, the DNCC and Boston 2004 have worked with CERC to offset the greenhouse gas (carbon dioxide or CO2) emissions attributable to the Convention. This was accomplished by acquiring greenhouse gas reduction credits, generated from a variety of CO2 reduction projects. The greenhouse gas emissions attributable to the Convention were estimated by CERC and include fossil-fuel combustion emissions from all forms of transportation used to bring delegates to and from the Convention (buses, cars, and trains). The greenhouse gas credits, which are quantified reductions generated from renewable energy projects, reforestation efforts, and other projects, will be retired on behalf of the delegates, compensating for the CO2 emissions attributable to their travel. Encouraging Environmentally-Friendly Transportation The DNCC and Boston 2004, Inc., have adopted a number of initiatives to promote environmentally-friendly transportation during the Convention. General Motors will provide the DNCC with hybrid pickup trucks and buses, which increase fuel efficiency by combining conventional internal combustion engines with an electric battery and motor. The hybrid buses provide 60% greater fuel economy and 90% fewer emissions than regular transit buses. The pickups are 10-15% more fuel-efficient and provide ultra-clean generator power by using the hybrid power train for electricity production. To limit emissions during the Convention, the Convention’s bus contractor has held trainings for drivers on Massachusetts’ anti-idling law. Also, CERC and WalkBoston have adopted an initiative to encourage delegates to walk from their hotels to the FleetCenter during the Convention. The DNCC and Boston 2004 Inc.’s efforts also included a number of other environmentally-friendly measures such as a comprehensive recycling plan, green construction practices, making sure unused food from the convention is provided to hunger-relief agencies, and other efforts.
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