A U.S. federal agency has awarded a grant of $50,000 to study barriers blocking the use of new clean energy systems.WASHINGTON, DC, US, 2001-08-22 [SolarAccess.com] A U.S. federal agency has awarded a grant of $50,000 to study barriers blocking the use of new clean energy systems. The Environmental Protection Agency hopes the grant to the Northeast-Midwest Institute will increase public understanding of how certain cost-effective, energy-efficient policies can lessen the consumption of fossil fuels, thereby reducing costs for utilities and reducing emissions of air pollutants and carbon dioxide. The project will examine the potential to create new ‘output-based’ or ‘efficiency-based’ standards as a means of reducing power plant emissions. Utilities currently use ‘input-based’ standards, which only consider the amount of fuel used. The goal of efficiency-based standards is to produce more energy and use less fossil fuel. Enhancing efficiency will help to reduce pollution and promote clean energy technologies such as fuel cells, combined heat and power and renewable sources. The new standards could also save money for utilities since less fuel is needed. It would also reward power generators that produce the highest amount of energy and generate the lowest amount of air pollution. The Institute is based in Washington and is a private research organization dedicated to economic vitality and environmental quality for northeast and midwest states.