A new centre for sustainable development, set up by the US Department of Energy (DOE), is so popular that it logged more than 20,000 "hits" on its World Wide Web page on the Internet in its first two months. The Centre for Excellence for Sustainable Development, run by the DOE's Denver office, is a pilot programme to help small communities protect the environment while at the same time also promoting economic development.
Featured in the centre's World Wide Web section on "success stories" is a wind project installed by the small municipal utility in Waverly, Iowa. "It seems there is a growing interest in sustainable development and environmental protection," says Bill Becker, the centre director. The centre's five staff have also received 450 phone and e-mail inquiries and have sent out 5,000 brochures.
Much of the interest is international, but recent interest has also come from two huge American groups, the US Conference of Mayors and the National Association of Counties. The centre was established on March 1 after the success of the DOE's assistance with sustainable development to two Midwest towns hit by river flooding in 1993. Using the DOE's sustainable energy "tool kit," once-flooded Pattonsburg in Missouri is now rebuilding a new power supply that uses renewables.