This summer's Democratic and Republican national presidential conventions are both being powered by renewable energy. The Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Conventions (CERC), a group of US environmental, health, and commercial organisations, is also working to ensure environmental best practices become an integral part of the planning for future events too. "Just like the Olympics now have to be green events, so should American political conventions and other large conventions," says Dan Ruben, CERC's executive director. Using money from grants and sponsorships, CERC is spending about $13,000 to buy 500 MWh of renewable energy certificates to match the electricity use at Boston's Fleet Center, where Democrats nominated John Kerry as their presidential candidate during the July 26-29 convention. About half the certificates were generated with wind, including 85 MWh from a nearby town-owned 660 kW Vestas turbine in Hull, Massachusetts. CERC organised a boat trip to take interested participants to visit the project. Other energy related plans included offsetting the carbon emissions produced by the 35,000 delegates flying or driving to Boston for the convention, producing power for the Fleet Center using an on-site fuel cell and hosting a star-studded event called New Energy for America. Before the event, Ruben said it was "going to be a call for investment in American-made renewable energy and energy efficiency, both to address global warming and to address national security needs." Similar plans are in the works for the Republican convention, to be held August 30-September 2 at Madison Square Gardens in New York. Ruben says CERC has the support of both political parties and from the mayor's offices in both cities. "It took us awhile because they didn't know us and were focused on other things. But at this point we have all the good working relationships that we need," he says.
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