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Subject:   City Light Announces First Contract to Combat Global Warming
Program Will Include Local Activities to Reduce Greenhouse Gases
For Immediate Release:   
1/15/2003  12:00:00 AM
For More Information Contact:
Scott Thomsen  (206) 386-4233

SEATTLE- Seattle's first contract for reducing its contributions to global warming is ready to go to the City Council for approval, City Light Superintendent Gary Zarker (right) and Seattle City Councilmember Heidi Wills (third from left) announced today.

When approved, the contract will begin putting City Light on track to become the first major utility in the country to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions. By the end of this year, City Light intends to secure enough projects to offset all of the greenhouse gas emissions associated not just with its power sources, but with its entire operation.

Wills, chair of the Council's Energy and Environmental Policy Committee, said her committee would discuss and vote on the contract at tomorrow morning's meeting.

City Light's first greenhouse gas mitigation project promotes the use of industrial waste products such as fly ash and furnace slag as replacements for traditional materials used in cement. Processing raw materials for cement creates huge amounts of greenhouse gases that by some estimates account for 7 percent of worldwide human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. By substituting waste materials that would otherwise go to landfills, cement producers and users can gain nearly a pound-for-pound reduction in emissions.

"This initiative is cost-effective, involves local businesses and projects, and is designed to help accelerate a market transformation," Zarker said. "It's a win-win for the environment and the economy. Waste substitutes can make a superior cement product at a low cost, conserve raw materials and reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

"Global warming is a reality, and local governments are in the forefront of efforts to fight it," Wills said. "Seattle is far ahead of national policy in recognizing and confronting this problem."

Zarker noted that City Light's commitment to zero net greenhouse gas emissions costs ratepayers just pennies a year and, added to the utility's energy conservation and salmon restoration programs, reconfirms Seattle's environmental leadership nationally and internationally.

City Light's program is a joint initiative with the Climate Trust of Oregon and the Civil Engineering Research Foundation (CERF) of New York. CERF will work with leaders in the industry and also engage stakeholders throughout the Seattle metropolitan area to promote the increased use of blended cement.

City Light will provide funding for 15 percent of the project and receive 15 percent of the offsets that result from the CERF projects. The Climate Trust will buy the other 85 percent of the offsets.

Under the contract, City Light will pay up to $102,375 for up to 52,500 metric tons of greenhouse gas offsets over a six-year period, mitigating about one-fourth of the annual emissions from the city's share of a gas-fired combustion turbine in Klamath Falls, Ore. City Light receives 100 megawatts from the 500-megawatt plant. The utility will issue more contracts in the future to offset the estimated emissions from all power purchases and utility operations.

CERF's blended-cement projects can be anywhere in the world, but City Light will promote the product's use locally - to cement producers, concrete mixers and end users. CERF will hold at least one workshop on blended cement in the area and actively promote projects that increase the use of blended cements.

"Our new City Hall is one successful example of using cement substitutes," Wills said. "This program can help build upon City initiatives and create new demand for use of smart, sustainable building materials."

The City of Seattle's net-zero greenhouse gas policy originated with a resolution passed by the City Council on Earth Day 2000.

 

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