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State Advisory Committee to Discuss Future of Fuel Cells in Texas

Submitted by: Good Company Associates

Categories: Environment

Posted: May 16, 2002 – 12:00 AM EST

 

State Fuel Cell Commercialization Incentives Supported by Fuel Cells Texas

AUSTIN, Texas - The State Energy Conservation Office's (SECO) Fuel Cell Initiative Advisory Committee (FCIAC) is meeting in San Antonio on May 16-17, 2002 to discuss proposed fuel cell incentive programs. Included in the committee's draft proposals is a recommendation for the installation in public and private facilities in Texas of at least 1,000 MW of fuel cells by January 1, 2009. (See the State Energy Conservation Office website at www.seco.cpa.state.tx.us for complete copies of the working papers. The papers are also posted at www.FuelCellsTexas.org.)

The staff of the Public Utility Commission of Texas has filed a separate policy paper to be taken up by the Commission this summer that also uses 1,000 MW of fuel cell installation as an initial target for discussion. "A goal of 1,000 MW of fuel cells could result in a billion dollar state commitment. While this goal is only half that of the $2 billion renewable energy investment by the Texas legislature for renewable energy in the 1999 utility restructuring, it would still be a significant step towards cleaner air, more reliable electricity and economic growth for Texans," said Deanna Altenhoff, Executive Director of Fuel Cells Texas.

Recognizing that fuel cells may offer a viable solution to some of Texas' key energy problems, the Texas legislature passed House Bill 2845, effective September 2001, requiring the State Energy Conservation Office (SECO) to create the FCIAC and to develop a statewide plan to be submitted to the legislature by September 2002.

First developed for the manned space program, fuel cells are devices that generate electricity by converting a fuel electrochemically -- much like a battery. The process is extremely efficient and, because no combustion takes place, fuel cells are virtually non-polluting. The early commercialization of fuel cells in Texas would bring many public benefits, including cleaner air to our urban environments and the economic development and creation of jobs associated with the rise of this new industry. The U.S. fuel cell industry is expected to reach an estimated $95 billion by 2010, according to the Michigan Economics Development Corporation. Fuel cells will also provide energy security and avoid the financial and environmental costs of building new power plants and transmission and distribution lines.

The FCIAC meetings will be held May 16th from 1:30 pm to 5:00 pm and May 17th from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. The FCIAC meeting is open to the public and will be held in the conference room of Building 189. Some of the specifics of the draft policy papers to be discussed include:

·Urging the State of Texas to provide customer incentives to accelerate the emergence of fuel cells in the marketplace.

·Joining California and a handful of other states seeking to obtain early access to fuel cell vehicles.

·Exempting the purchase of a fuel cell power plant or fuel cell vehicle from local and sales taxes and from state franchise taxes for at least 7 years.

·Requesting that the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission spend environmental penalty funds to pay for fuel cell demonstration projects.

·Allowing all Alternative Fuel Vehicles (AFVs), including fuel cell vehicles, to be eligible by law to use HOV lanes in any Texas city despite occupancy count.

About Fuel Cells Texas

Incorporated in September of 2001, Fuel Cells Texas is a non-profit trade association representing the fuel cell industry in Texas. Fuel Cells Texas seeks to accelerate the broad commercialization and deployment of fuel cells in the state of Texas through public education, policy alignment, and development of state-sponsored initiatives. The members of Fuel Cells Texas include Center Point Energy Power Systems, FuelCell Energy, DCH Technology, Hunt Power, Methanex, ChevronTexaco Energy Technology Systems, Siemens Westinghouse Power Corporation, Shell Hydrogen and DuPont Fuel Cells.

For more information, please contact:

Deanna Altenhoff Good Company Associates
Phone: (512) 480-2218

For more from this organization:

Good Company Associates

 

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