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Energy Official Hears Federal Conservation Plans

May 1 — V.I. Energy Office's Patricia Lord in April was able to hear first hand what President George Bush's administration plans to do about the United State's addiction to oil.
Lord, who is Program Administrator at the Energy Office, a division of the Department of Planning and Natural Resources, attended the Renewable Energy and Fuels Conference in Las Vegas. Alexander Karsner, DOE's new assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy, gave the keynote address. He said Bush's Advanced Energy Initiative is a "Vision for Victory."
Lord, who has been with the V.I. Energy Office for 14 years, said Karsner's remarks were positive and forward thinking. She said, "He expressed excitement at the possibilities for the advancement of renewable energy and the United States lessened dependence on fossil fuel."
She added, "I learned there was a 37 percent growth in wind energy for 2004. It's estimated that by 2015 wind energy will produce 35,000 megawatts of electricity in the United States. Additionally, in North America, the solar market saw a tremendous growth with grid connection being the fastest growing segment at a whopping 52 percent."
The conference, according to Lord, demonstrated that renewable energy applications are growing not only in the United States but on the global market as well. Attendees and speakers came from all over the world. Relating what she heard to home, she said, "The Virgin Islands is in a position to be a leader in promoting and demonstrating the use of the sun and wind to meet its electrical needs."
Karsner was sworn as Assistant Secretary on March 16. He had been approved by the Senate earlier in March. He said in Las Vegas, "Maximizing energy efficiency and renewable energy is the domestic epicenter in the war on terror, and it is imperative that we maximize the partnerships between the public and private sectors in new and creative ways with a sense of seriousness, national purpose, and the urgency the situation merits."
He noted that it was no longer time for business as usual.
He told the government and industry officials. "I need your partnership and your support and your leadership to overcome bureaucratic obstacles and to redefine the interaction between the public and private sectors. I am asking you today to take this message to Capitol Hill and to the far corners of the country; to rise to the President's challenge; to rise above the conventional and insist on making a real difference in the way things are done."
Lord said other highlights of the conference included a tour of the Las Vegas Valley Water District Ronzone Reservoir and Pumping Station, a distributed solar array project. The 3.1 mega-watt project is the largest photovoltaic system built by a public agency in the United States. The power generated at the site supports daily operations for two ten-million-gallon reservoirs.
Lord is program administer for the Energy Office and is a resident of St. Croix.

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