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EPA Recognizes Volkswagen Chattanooga for 'Green Power'
Volkswagen Chattanooga has received a 2013 Green Power Leadership Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The annual awards recognize the country’s leading green power users for their commitment and contribution to helping advance the development of the nation’s voluntary green power market.
EPA presented Volkswagen Chattanooga with the award at an event held in conjunction with the 2013 Renewable Energy Markets Conference in Austin, Texas on September 23, 2013.
Volkswagen Chattanooga was one of only four organizations nationwide to receive a Leadership Award for the on-site generation of green power. The award recognizes EPA Green Power Partners who distinguish themselves using on-site renewable energy applications, such as solar photovoltaic (PV) or landfill gas. Volkswagen Chattanooga is currently generating more than 13 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually from an on-site solar energy system, which is enough green power to meet 12 percent of the organization’s electricity use.
“We are honored that the EPA has recognized us with a Green Power Leadership award for the renewable energy generated by the Volkswagen Chattanooga Solar Park at our LEED Platinum certified factory in Tennessee,” said Frank Fischer, CEO and Chairman of Volkswagen Chattanooga.
“Volkswagen’s worldwide conservation program is called Think Blue and it’s a global call to sustainable ecological action on our blue planet,” Fischer said. “Generating green power onsite is an important part of Volkswagen’s efforts to be responsible for our footprint in everything from powering our factory to powering our cars.”
Volkswagen Chattanooga currently ranks No. 15 on EPA’s Top 20 On-site Generation list, which highlights EPA Green Power Partners that have achieved the highest annual on-site green power generation through July 3, 2013. EPA updates its Top Partner Lists quarterly at http://www.epa.gov/greenpower/toplists/.
Green power is electricity that is generated from environmentally preferable renewable resources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, biogas, biomass, and low-impact hydro. Using green power accelerates the development of new renewable energy capacity nationwide and helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector.
“EPA is pleased to recognize Volkswagen Chattanooga with a Green Power Leadership Award for its distinguished commitment to using on-site renewable energy resources,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.
“By investing in on-site green power, Volkswagen Chattanooga is generating cleaner electricity and reducing harmful carbon pollution, and providing a clear example of an organization thriving on innovation and sustainability.”
According to the EPA, Volkswagen Chattanooga’s current green power generation of more than 13 million kWh is equivalent to avoiding the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of nearly 2,000 passenger vehicles per year, or is the equivalent amount of electricity needed to power nearly more than 1,000 average American homes annually.
The solar installation at Volkswagen Chattanooga is an element of the highly-coveted LEED Platinum certification awarded to VW by the U.S Green Building Council in late 2011. At that time, the Building Council called the Chattanooga manufacturing facility “the world’s greenest auto plant” and noted it was the first automotive manufacturing plant in the world to receive the top LEED certification. Today, the Chattanooga plant remains the only auto plant worldwide to earn the LEED Platinum certification.
The Volkswagen Chattanooga Solar Park occupies 33 acres, or half of the 66-acre land parcel adjacent to Volkswagen’s state-of-the-art manufacturing plant. The solar park contains 33,600 solar modules from JA Solar designed to produce 13.1 gigawatt hours of electricity per year -- equivalent to the energy consumed annually by around 1,200 homes in the area.
The electricity produced from the solar park is expected to meet 12.5% of the energy needs of Volkswagen’s Chattanooga manufacturing plant during full production and 100% during non-production periods. The plant covers 1.9 million square feet and employs around 2,500 people who manufacture the highly-acclaimed Volkswagen Passat sedan. For Volkswagen, the solar park in Chattanooga will rank as the automaker’s largest photovoltaic installation worldwide.
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Last Update on July 23, 2014 17:22 GMT
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The International Monetary Fund has shaved its forecast for U.S. economic growth this year, mostly because of a sharp contraction in the first quarter.
But the global lending organization still expects that growth accelerated in the April-June quarter and will remain healthy for the rest of this year and next.
The IMF projects growth will be just 1.7 percent this year, down from a 2 percent estimate in June. That would make 2014 the weakest year since the recession ended in June 2009.
The IMF's outlook is more pessimistic than the Federal Reserve, which expects growth of at least 2.1 percent. But it matches most other economists.
The Fund also urged the U.S. government to take steps to boost growth, including encouraging more Americans to find jobs and lifting productivity.
RETAIL SALES-ANNUAL FORECAST
NEW YORK (AP) -- The nation's largest retail trade group is paring its annual sales forecast because of slower-than-expected growth during the first half of the year tied to winter storms and lingering economic woes.
The Washington-based National Retail Federation says Wednesday that it now expects retail sales will rise 3.6 percent this year to $3.2 trillion, instead of its original prediction of 4.1 percent released in early February.
The figures include sales in stores and online but exclude automotive sales and sales at gas stations and restaurants.
Retailers now are heading into the back-to-school shopping season, the second-largest shopping period behind the winter holidays.
SEC-MONEY MARKET FUNDS
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Regulators have voted narrowly to end a longtime staple of the investment industry -- the fixed $1 share price for money-market mutual funds -- at least for some money funds used by big investors.
The idea is to minimize the risk of a mass withdrawal from the funds during a financial panic.
The Securities and Exchange Commission also is letting money funds block withdrawals when their assets fall below certain levels or impose fees for withdrawals.
The new rules were adopted Wednesday on a 3-2 vote. They were opposed by one Democratic and one Republican commissioner.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate has advanced an election-year bill limiting tax breaks for U.S. companies that move operations overseas. But big hurdles remain.
The Senate voted 93-7 Wednesday to begin debating the bill, which would prevent companies from deducting expenses related to moving operations to a foreign country. The bill would offer tax credits to companies that move operations to the U.S. from overseas.
Senate Democratic leaders say the bill would end senseless tax breaks for companies that ship jobs abroad. Republicans say the bill is an election-year ploy that has no chance of becoming law. They note that a similar bill failed two years ago.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Federal Aviation Administration says it will continue its ban on U.S. airline flights to Tel Aviv while assessing the danger of rocket attacks.
The agency said Wednesday it is working closely with the Israeli government to review new information they have provided and to determine whether safety concerns have been resolved.
FAA instituted the flight prohibition on Tuesday in response to a rocket strike that landed about a mile from the airport.
The directive applies only to U.S. operators, and has no authority over foreign airlines operating to or from the airport.
But European airlines are also avoiding Tel Aviv, after the European Aviation Safety Agency on Tuesday recommended doing so.
On Wednesday, Germany's two largest airlines, Lufthansa and Air Berlin, extended their cancellations through Thursday. Air France said it was suspending its flights "until further notice."
BRUSSELS (AP) -- The European Union's executive is proposing legislation to curb the energy use of households and firms by almost one third by 2030 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower its dependence on gas imports, particularly those from Russia.
The Commission proposed Wednesday to increase energy efficiency by 30 percent, an upward revision of its earlier target of 20 percent by 2020.
Energy savings can be achieved by improving building insulation, upgrading heating systems or lowering the electricity need of new appliances like fridges.
The Commission says that for one additional percent in energy savings, EU gas imports are expected to fall 2.6 percent.
It estimates reaching the target will require investments of 89 billion euros ($132 billion) annually across the 28-nation bloc.
The proposal still requires approval from EU governments.
BRUSSELS (AP) -- The European Union is giving Lithuania the green light to adopt the euro currency starting next year.
Ministers from the 28-nation bloc on Wednesday cleared the final legal hurdle for Lithuania to become the 19th member of the currency zone encompassing some 330 million people. The country had been given preliminary approval in June.
Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius said adopting the euro will strengthen the Baltic nation's economy.
Alluding to the tensions with Russia over Ukraine, he added deeper integration with western Europe "means greater security as well."
Lithuania's Baltic neighbors, Estonia and Latvia, are already members of the euro. All three countries achieved independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
The euro is just emerging from years of financial stress following debt problems in a number of countries.
LONDON (AP) -- Drug maker GlaxoSmithKline has cut its full-year earnings expectations as it says its second-quarter profits were hit by currency moves and a fall in sales of its respiratory drugs.
The company said Wednesday it expects 2014 earnings per share to be broadly similar to last year. It had previously forecast growth of between 4 and 8 percent.
GSK said second-quarter revenue fell 16 percent to 5.6 billion pounds ($9.5 billion) from 6.6 billion pounds in the same quarter in the previous year. Profit attributable to shareholders dropped from 1.05 billion pounds a year earlier to 654 million pounds.
The firm, which remains troubled by a high-profile bribery investigation in China, said sales there were down 20 percent.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee has endorsed former Procter & Gamble CEO Robert McDonald to be the new secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The panel unanimously backed McDonald on Wednesday, one day after a nomination hearing in which he faced no opposition.
Senators said they are eager for McDonald to begin work at the beleaguered agency, which has been plagued by treatment delays and falsified records at VA hospitals and clinics nationwide.
McDonald has pledged to "transform" the VA and address a series of "systematic failures," including patient access to health care, transparency, accountability and integrity.
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