NREL’s ambitious emissions reduction plan

The US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has announced plans to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 75 per cent from 2005 to 2009.

To achieve its goal, NREL will install two on-site renewable energy projects: solar cells on a 20,234 square metre site will provide seven per cent of NREL’s electric needs, and a biomass combustion plant fuelled by forest thinnings and other waste wood will apparently offset the need for 75 per cent of natural gas used to heat its research buildings.

In addition, NREL plans to purchase renewable energy certificates to offset all of its indirect emissions from electricity use and from operations such as employee commuting and business travel.

The latest intitiative is part of NREL’s participation in the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Leaders programme, which aims to help companies develop comprehensive climate change strategies.