Monday, March 2, 2009

Capitol Power Plant: A Symbolic Clean Energy Hurdle GSHP Can Overcome

Imagine a loop field under the White House Lawn and a massive Capital Mall project to provide a community heating and cooling network to Congress and all the Federal buildings in the surrounding area. We would just be keeping up with Canada once again, as the Prime Minister's residence at 24 Sussex Drive in Ottawa, gets retrofitted.

Yes We Can! When thinking people call energy issues into question, we have the answer. Let's start with the DOE buildings....


WASHINGTON (AP) _ They are calling it one of the biggest U.S. protests on climate change _ hundreds of activists gathered around a tiny power plant in Southeast Washington that heats and cools the Capitol.

While small in size, the 99-year-old facility is a symbol of the challenges ahead for Congress on energy and the climate.That's because as lawmakers gear up to pass legislation to reduce the gases blamed for global warming and clean up the nation's energy sources, they have yet to succeed in their own backyard.

"We are holding it up as a symbol for how we can and must do better," said Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, one of 40 environmental groups organizing the protest to call on Congress to pass a bill to curb greenhouse gases. Among those expected to attend are NASA scientist James Hansen, who first testified before Congress about the perils of global warming in 1988.

Hansen has called for a halt on building any new coal-fired power plants without technology to capture and store carbon dioxide, the most prevalent greenhouse gas and the chief one at the Capitol Power Plant.

In 2007, the facility released 118,851 tons of carbon dioxide, according to the Energy Department _ a fraction of what the nation's 600 coal-fired power plants produce.

But despite repeated attempts by Congress to clean it up _ including provisions in two 2007 laws _ the plant still burns coal and accounts for a third of the legislative branch's greenhouse gas emissions.

Further updates here.

An Anecdote from Mike Sidwell's "SeeYou in Jail" article on Grist:
I'm reminded of the labor leaders who visited Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s. After hours of talks they persuaded the President to support a pro-union proposition. But FDR then surprised them. "Okay you've convinced me," he said. "Now go out and pressure me." That's kind of the weird way politics works. Obama and Congress need this pressure to help them keep doing what, for the most part, they already want to do.

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