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USC’s energy contract with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power expires at the end of the year, and both the university and DWP are looking for ways to produce more sustainable energy.USC has been under contract with DWP for 10 years, according to Matthew Oden, manager of the USC Sustainability Program, and that contract has prevented the school from implementing more sustainable practices.Once the contract is up, however, the school and DWP will likely work out a memorandum of understanding — a non-legally binding list of agreements outlining future projects and goals. DWP has been working on such agreements with many of its larger customers.“I think that’s a reflection of how rapidly the landscape in the energy climate world is evolving right now that DWP doesn’t want to take the risk of getting locked into 10-year contracts,” Oden said.The switch from contracts to MOUs would also allow USC to change the way it approaches energy consumption. Under its 10-year contract, USC has been required to get all of its energy from DWP and been unable to produce its own energy.“There’s been a lot of inquiries about why USC doesn’t have solar [power] on campus, and that’s the answer,” Oden said. “We haven’t been contractually been allowed to, and the bottom line of that is that it could be a good thing.”Oden said, however, that USC won’t implement the DWP’s Solar Incentive Program once the MOU is drafted. The program asks customers like USC to purchase solar panels to power their own property. Any energy not used by the customer flows back to the city’s power grid and the customer receives a rebate and federal tax credits. Oden said such a program does not fit USC’s needs.“We have energy efficiency projects that are cheaper and will reduce greenhouse gases more quickly,” Oden said. “Until we have all those done, it doesn’t make financial sense [to go solar] when we could be building large wind farms out in the desert.”Mark Gangi, an expert on sustainable design, said by focusing on energy efficient projects, USC can earn DWP rebates, which are offered for more than just use of solar panels, and can use the transition as a learning experience.“It’s a great opportunity to actually have students in a building that teaches them about what they are studying that has value beyond economic analysis,” he said.A Sept. 15 executive order signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger requires a statewide, 33 percent increase in renewable energy use by 2020. Oden said the order could be one reason why DWP plans to change the way it approaches its contracts.DWP hopes to use 20 percent renewable energy by 2010 and 40 percent by 2020, said DWP spokeswoman Carol Tucker. Under California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, which provides regulations and benchmarks for the statewide switch to renewable energy, DWP would use hydropower, wind power, biomass energy and geothermal energy.To reach these benchmarks, DWP recently opened the largest municipally-owned wind farm in the country, located in Utah. Wind farms generate energy through turbines with spinning blades creating electricity and transmitting the power back to LA. DWP is also agreeing to other projects and transmission lines to transport power from places farther than LA, Tucker said.Although DWP is USC’s only source of energy, their new initiatives will not change the total amount of energy USC receives, Oden said.
With the Wisconsin statewide elections finally over with, I can’t say I’m ashamed one bit that I didn’t vote. Like most sports fans, I couldn’t care less about politics.But what if the candidates were sport icons instead? Then I’d cast a ballot, for sure.GovernorRunning: Brett Favre, Green Bay Packers Party; Barry Alvarez, Wisconsin Badgers Party.Favre would be the popular choice in the Dairy State, but Alvarez is the educated vote. I mean, the man already has experience running UW athletics and knows what the public (in this case, the sports fan) wants: victories.In 16 seasons as Wisconsin football’s head coach, Alvarez garnered three Rose Bowls and completely turned a crumbling program around, making it what it is today. Even when he hung up his coaching duties after last season, he left Wisconsinites with a qualified replacement in Bret Bielema, who is picking up just where Alvarez left off.Furthermore, Alvarez can relate to the average Wisconsin resident. Born in the small town of Langeloth, Penn., he had to work his way up the coaching ranks to where he is today, and he knows what it takes to get the job done coming from the bottom.Favre, on the other hand, hasn’t been handling his position of power with great ease the last couple of years. His status among elite Wisconsin athletes has diminished with interception after interception, but he will always have a place in the state’s history as a three-time MVP and 1996 Super Bowl winner, and possibly even the NFL’s all-time leader in touchdowns if he can manage to pump out 14 more to surpass Dan Marino.My vote: Alvarez.Lieutenant GovernorRunning: Ned Yost, Milwaukee Brewers Party; Mike McCarthy, Green Bay Packers Party; Bo Ryan, Wisconsin Badgers Party.Throw McCarthy out of the picture — he’s this ballot’s Ralph Nader, except I like Nader just a tad bit more.Yost isn’t a bad choice — he’s done a pretty good job of turning the tides for the Brewers in the franchise’s new era, but after last season, it looks as though he may have hit his peak.Obviously Ryan is the clear-cut favorite here.If anybody has been the face of basketball in the state, it’s Ryan. After a quiet 15 years at UW-Platteville in which he won eight Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championships, Ryan earned the head coaching job at UW-Milwaukee and, soon thereafter, here at UW. Heading into this season, he is just five wins away from 500 career victories.Ryan already knows how to handle the media, dodging questions by indulging the media with stories that you can’t help but laugh with him about.For example, when asked about the chemistry of the team’s guards, Ryan answered, “[A] cookie isn’t good if every ingredient that went into it [is just read] off of the paper, the wrapper. I want all the guards to make a sweet cookie that’s delicious because of everything that, every ingredient that each one of them puts into it.”Plus, Ryan already has experience working underneath Alvarez, so his duties as lieutenant governor would suit him just fine.My vote: Ryan.Attorney GeneralRunning: Ted Thompson, Green Bay Packers party; Doug Melvin, Milwaukee Brewers party; Larry Harris, Milwaukee Bucks partyThompson’s the odd one out of the bunch, not having made any stellar transactions in his two seasons as Packers’ general manager so far. As for Melvin and Harris, it’s a toss-up. Both have made some great moves, but also some questionable ones (Harris trading away Jamaal Magloire and Melvin shipping away Carlos Lee for little in return). However, it’s much more difficult being the general manager of a Major League Baseball team than it is an NBA team, having to manage prospects throughout the minor leagues and dealing with many more players to fill a roster so Melvin should get the edge.My vote: Melvin.State TreasurerRunning: A.J. Hawk, Green Bay Packers Party; Dan Gadzuric, Milwaukee Bucks Party; Brian Elliott, Wisconsin Badgers Party.If Reggie White, the Minister of Defense, was still alive (R.I.P.), he’d be the favorite for treasurer, despite his previous political stumble. But this one’s a no-brainer — Elliott, hands down.Elliott stopped nearly everything that came his way last year, leading the nation in winning percentage (.814), goals-against average (1.55) and save percentage (.938). He also tied the national lead for shutouts with eight, making him the perfect man for treasurer.My vote: ElliottNBA Rules Amendment — Should the league replace the leather ball with its new microfiber composite ball?A fair Association votes “No.” What was ever wrong with the leather ball? In the past 35 years, there was never a complaint with it, and nearly everyone will still grow up playing with a leather ball, as it will still be used in high school and college play. If anything, the NBA should bring back the classic red, white and blue ABA balls.My vote: No