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2938EERE Network News -- 03/02/05

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  • EERE Network News by way of Tom Gray
    Mar 2, 2005


      A weekly newsletter from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE)
      <http://www.eere.energy.gov/>Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable
      Energy (EERE). The EERE Network News is also available on the Web at:

      March 02, 2005

      News and Events

      * Northwest Power Industry Commits $100 Million for Efficiency
      * New York State Funds Two Wind Power and Three Hydropower Projects
      * Utilities Pursue Biomass Power in Arizona, Alabama, and Georgia
      * Ethanol Production Reaches New Heights in 2004
      * Hybrid Bus Fleets Grow in New York City, L.A., and Indianapolis
      * One-Megawatt Fuel Cell Planned for San Diego Hotel

      Site News

      * Study Leads to New Web Site for Energy Efficiency Best Practices

      Energy Connections

      * EIA: U.S. Companies Achieving Greater Cuts in Greenhouse Gases

      News and Events

      Northwest Power Industry Commits $100 Million for Efficiency

      The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance announced last week that it will
      receive $20 million each year over the next five years to support its
      efforts to increase energy efficiency in the region. The funds will come
      from the Bonneville Power Administration, electric utilities, and public
      benefit funds­state funds generated through a fee on electricity to support
      public benefits such as renewable energy and energy efficiency. The $100
      million investment will support market-based energy efficiency programs
      throughout Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington.

      Since the Alliance began in late 1996, energy efficiency efforts in the
      Northwest have saved the region an estimated 130 megawatts of electricity
      through 2003. The Alliance programs encourage appliance manufacturers and
      retailers to make and sell more efficient products, encourage commercial
      building designers to adopt practices that yield high-performance
      buildings, and promote new and innovative energy-saving technologies to
      industries in the Northwest. By 2010, the Alliance and related efforts are
      expected to save enough electricity to offset the need for two new power
      plants in the region, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by about 2 million
      tons. See the
      press release.

      Among the many useful services provided by the Alliance is a systematic
      review of energy efficiency products and technologies. Currently, five
      "Product Technology and Review Sheets" are posted on the
      <http://www.nwalliance.org/resources/ptr.asp>Alliance Web site.

      New York State Funds Two Wind Power and Three Hydropower Projects

      The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)
      announced last month that it selected five power generation producers to
      provide renewable power for the first phase of the state's Renewable
      Portfolio Standard (RPS) Program. Two of the five projects are wind
      facilities: the 300-megawatt Flat Rock Wind Project near Lowville in Lewis
      County, about 25 miles southeast of Watertown, and the 7.5-megawatt
      Atlantic City Wind Farm (also called the Jersey-Atlantic Wind Farm) in New
      Jersey, both of which are expected to be at least partially complete by
      year-end. The remaining three projects are recent upgrades of existing
      hydropower projects owned by Brascan Power: the 17-megawatt Browns Falls
      hydropower plant and the 6.1-megawatt Higley hydropower plant, both in St.
      Lawrence County, and the 56-megawatt Spier Falls hydroelectric plant in
      Saratoga County. In 2006, NYSERDA expects to pay $15.7 million for the
      renewable energy attributes of the power generated by the five projects,
      estimated at 700,000 megawatt-hours. See the press releases from
      and <http://www.brascanpower.com/NewsEvents/pr-2-17-2005.htm>Brascan Power.

      NYSERDA chose the five projects from 22 proposals that came in response to
      a request for proposals (RFP) issued in late December. That solicitation
      aimed to acquire the renewable attributes of 1,400,000 megawatt-hours of
      renewable power—double the amount actually acquired—to meet the state's
      RPS requirement. See the NYSERDA RFP
      (<http://www.nyserda.org/wms/docs_funding/916RFP.pdf>PDF 1.1 MB).
      <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>Download Acrobat Reader.

      For more information about the two wind projects, see the
      <http://www.flatrockwind.com/>Flat Rock Wind Project Web site, the Flat
      Rock project summary
      (<http://www.tughill.org/FLAT%20ROCK%20WIND%20project%20summary.pdf>PDF 176
      KB) from New York's Tug Hill Commission, and a summary of the Atlantic City
      project on the <http://www.acua.com/windpower.asp>Atlantic County Utility
      Authority Web site.

      Utilities Pursue Biomass Power in Arizona, Alabama, and Georgia


      Photo of a tractor-trailer truck dumping a pile of wood chips o

      A truck dumps wood chips at a biomass power plant in Vermont. A similar
      plant is planned for Arizona.
      Credit: Dave Parsons

      Salt River Project (SRP)—a utility providing power to Phoenix,
      Arizona—announced in February that it will purchase 10 megawatts of power
      from a wood-fired power plant to be built near Snowflake, in east-central
      Arizona. Snowflake White Mountain Power, LLC plans to build a 15- to
      20-megawatt power plant that will derive at least 80 percent of its power
      from forest thinnings in Arizona. See the
      <http://www.srpnet.com/newsroom/releases/021005.aspx>SRP press release.

      Atlanta-based Southern Company has been making use of switchgrass—a
      native prairie grass that grows well in the South—at two of its plants
      since spring of 2001. In separate tests conducted at Alabama Power's
      Gadsden power plant and Georgia Power's Mitchell power plant, switchgrass
      was co-fired with coal to quantify the impact on environmental emissions
      and to determine the best method for handling it. Based on the successful
      results achieved from those preliminary tests, Southern Company committed
      to a three-year demonstration of biomass co-firing at the Gadsden power
      plant. Southern Company also announced last week that it is working with
      the Electric Power Research Institute and the Tennessee Valley Authority on
      a two-year project to test a process for gasifying wood. The project will
      involve grinding up the wood, feeding it into a high-pressure gasifier, and
      evaluating the quality of the wood-derived gas, which could be used to
      power a gas turbine generator. See the
      <http://newsinfo.southernco.com/article.asp?id=1699>Southern Company press

      Meanwhile, researchers at the State University of New York (SUNY) hope to
      convert wood into an entirely different form of energy: ethanol fuel. The
      researchers have developed a process to extract from wood the sugar xylan,
      which can be fermented into ethanol. The process can also yield acetic
      acid, a valuable chemical, as a byproduct. See the
      <http://www.esf.edu/newspubs/news/2005/01.13.biorefinery.htm>SUNY press

      Ethanol Production Reaches New Heights in 2004

      The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) announced last week that the U.S.
      ethanol fuel industry set an annual production record of 3.4 billion
      gallons in 2004, an increase of 21 percent from the 2.81 billion gallons
      produced in 2003. In December, the industry produced 232,000 barrels per
      day of ethanol, tying the monthly record set in November, and beating
      ethanol production in December 2003 by 25,000 barrels per day. Including
      imports, U.S. petroleum companies used a record 3.53 billion gallons of
      ethanol in 2004.

      Since late November, four new plants have started producing ethanol: one in
      Nebraska, one in Missouri, and two in Iowa. The latest one, near
      Emmetsburg, Iowa, started producing ethanol last week. In addition, an
      ethanol plant near Oshkosh, Wisconsin, finished doubling its capacity in
      December. According to RFA, there are currently 83 ethanol fuel plants
      nationwide with the capacity to produce more than 3.7 billion gallons of
      ethanol each year. In addition, 15 ethanol fuel plants now under
      construction and two major expansions now underway will eventually add
      nearly 700 million gallons in new ethanol production capacity. See the
      <http://www.ethanolrfa.org/press.shtml>RFA press releases.

      Hybrid Bus Fleets Grow in New York City, L.A., and Indianapolis

      A growing number of hybrid buses are now in service throughout the United
      States, and New York City's fleet of hybrid buses is poised to lead the
      world. On Monday, Orion Bus Industries finished delivering an order for 125
      hybrid buses to New York City's transit agency, and by the end of this
      year, Orion will deliver another 200 hybrid buses, creating the world's
      largest fleet of hybrid buses. The buses use the HybriDrive diesel-electric
      propulsion system from BAE Systems. See the
      <http://www.na.baesystems.com/releasesDetail.cfm?a=270>BAE Systems press

      New hybrid buses were also delivered recently to Los Angeles, California,
      and Indianapolis, Indiana. The Los Angeles International Airport is the new
      proud owner of two hybrid-electric buses that run on compressed natural
      gas. Hybrid Bus Technologies, LLC manufactured the buses using a hybrid
      propulsion system from UQM Technologies, Inc. Meanwhile, the public transit
      agency in Indianapolis received its first two hybrid buses in January and
      placed them in service last month. The buses use the hybrid propulsion
      system developed by General Motors Corporation (GM). See the press releases
      from <http://www.uqm.com/press/news/05-18.html>UQM Technologies and

      One-Megawatt Fuel Cell Planned for San Diego Hotel

      FuelCell Energy, Inc. announced in mid-February that it will provide four
      250-kilowatt fuel cell power plants to the Sheraton San Diego Hotel &
      Marina by year-end. The one-megawatt fuel cell installation will provide
      baseload power to the hotel, and its waste heat will be used to heat the
      pool. The project is the first in a series under an agreement between
      Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., which owns the Sheraton, and
      Alliance Star Energy LLC, a joint venture of FuelCell Energy and Alliance
      Power. The new agreement provides the framework for fuel cell projects for
      Starwood hotels, with an initial focus on its California properties. See
      the <http://ir.ccbn.com/ir.zhtml?t=FCEL&s=412&item_id=675682>FuelCell
      Energy press release.

      Photo of the two interconnected metal boxes that form the Tokyo

      The Tokyo Gas fuel cell system includes the fuel cell and a reformer that
      converts natural gas to hydrogen.
      Credit: Tokyo Gas Company, Ltd.

      FuelCell Energy and Alliance Power have also been working with the City of
      Santa Barbara to install two 250-kilowatt fuel cell plants at the El Estero
      Wastewater Treatment Facility. The 500-kilowatt system will be fueled with
      methane generated at the facility. The companies and the city dedicated the
      new system last week. See the
      <http://ir.ccbn.com/ir.zhtml?t=FCEL&s=412&item_id=678331>FuelCell Energy
      press release.

      Residents of certain areas of Tokyo, Japan, have the opportunity to provide
      power and hot water for their homes using a fuel cell cogeneration system
      developed by Tokyo Gas Company, Ltd.; Ebara Ballard Corporation; and
      Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. At a cost of about $9,550 (1
      million yen), customers will have use of a 1-kilowatt fuel cell system for
      10 years. Customers will also earn a 3 percent discount on their gas bills
      for three years and will have their bill capped at about $90 per month
      (9,500 yen). See the Tokyo Gas press release
      (<http://www.tokyo-gas.co.jp/Press_e/20041206-2e.pdf>PDF 137 KB) and the
      <http://www.tokyo-gas.co.jp/techno/rd/pefc_h_e.html>Tokyo Gas Web site.
      <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>Download Acrobat Reader.

      Site News

      <http://www.eebestpractices.com/index.asp>Study Leads to New Web Site for
      Energy Efficiency Best Practices

      The new Best Practices Benchmarking for Energy Efficiency Programs Web site
      is the online version of the National Energy Efficiency Best Practices
      Study, a benchmarking study to identify best practices in energy efficiency
      programs throughout the United States. The study, funded by the California
      Public Utilities Commission, divides the energy efficiency universe into 11
      categories: 6 residential categories, 4 non-residential categories, and
      mass-market advertising. For each category, the study profiles a number of
      programs across the country, then draws on those profiles to determine best
      practices for energy efficiency programs within that category. The Web site
      also provides a search tool for finding relevant profiles and reports based
      on the goal or structure of the energy efficiency programs. See the
      <http://www.eebestpractices.com/index.asp>Best Practices Benchmarking for
      Energy Efficiency Programs Web site.

      Energy Connections

      EIA: U.S. Companies Achieving Greater Cuts in Greenhouse Gases

      A total of 234 U.S. companies and other entities have reported undertaking
      2,188 projects in 2003 to reduce or sequester greenhouse gases, DOE's
      Energy Information Administration (EIA) announced last week. The companies,
      participants in EIA's Voluntary Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Program,
      reduced their emissions by the equivalent to 268 million metric tons of
      carbon dioxide through direct emission reductions, 81 million metric tons
      through indirect emission reductions, and 7 million metric tons through
      carbon sequestration. Indirect emission reductions are reductions from
      sources not owned or leased by the reporting entity, but occurring as a
      result of the entity's activities. Relative to 2002, the cut in direct
      emissions increased by 1.2 percent, while the cut in indirect reductions
      increased by 1.1 percent. See the
      <http://www.eia.doe.gov/neic/press/press251.html>EIA press release.

      Meanwhile, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released its
      draft inventory of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and sinks for 1990 through
      2003. The draft report finds that U.S. greenhouse gas emissions increased
      by 0.6 percent in 2003, slightly less than the EIA had reported in
      mid-December. See the
      draft report and the related
      <http://www.eia.doe.gov/neic/press/press246.html>EIA press release.

      This newsletter is funded by DOE's <http://www.eere.energy.gov/>Office of
      Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and is also available on the
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