Gov. Davis says Bush energy savings order doesn't go far enough

California Gov. Gray Davis said President George W. Bush's Thursday order to cut power use 10% at federal facilities during power emergencies does not go far enough and asked for additional reductions. Bush directed all federal buildings in California to raise thermostat settings to 78 ° during Stage 2 and 3 emergencies and take other conservation measures.

May 4th, 2001


By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, May 4 -- California Gov. Gray Davis said President George W. Bush's Thursday order to cut power use 10% at federal facilities during power emergencies does not go far enough and asked for additional reductions.

"I appreciate the President making a good faith effort, but surely the federal government can do more than that," Davis said. "So, I would challenge the Bush Administration to measure up to the state's standard savings of 20%/day, day in day out, in all state buildings."

Bush directed all federal buildings in California to raise thermostat settings to 78 ° during Stage 2 and 3 emergencies and take other conservation measures in a bid to conserve power in the energy-deficient state. He also said the Department of Defense, which represents about 1% of California's peak load, will reduce peak usage 10% from year ago levels.

Agencies must report what actions they have taken within 30 days. Federal facilities will participate May 24 in an emergency load reduction test monitored by the California Independent System Operator.

Deputy Defense Sec. Paul Wolfowitz said the agency has a goal of cutting peak use 15% by 2002, which should make an additional 200 Mw available. He said the savings will come largely from energy efficiencies but 25% will come from new power sources, "including some fairly innovative ones."

Among them Wolfowitz said will be connecting an idle wind farm in the California desert to Edwards Air Force Base.

The Defense Department will be making investment totaling $32 million in the current fiscal year and $19 million in FY 2002. Wolfowitz predicted the $50 million investment will "leverage" an additional $300 million from the private sector and produce about $25 million in savings for the Defense Department when completed.

Bush also promised he would permit Davis to tap into any power generation facilities owned by the federal government during emergencies. The California Independent System Operator and Energy Sec. Spencer Abraham have predicted the state could experience up to 30-35 rolling blackout this summer.

During a White House press conference Thursday, Bush said he is "deeply concerned" about California and wants to be part of the solution. He also noted Abraham was meeting privately with California leaders, including Davis, Friday to discuss the situation.

Abraham earlier formed an energy emergency task force led by Major General John McBroom, USAF (Ret.), the current DOE director of emergency operations. Abraham said the task force has prepared for a possible energy emergency this summer in California by consulting with FEMA about its plans, and has participated in a workshop with state and utility industry leaders, the California ISO, and others. Secretary Abraham further directed the task force to have its initial plans for the summer developed by May 15.

More in Government