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EERE Network News -- 10/29/03

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  • Tom Gray
    ====================================================================== EERE NETWORK NEWS -- October 29, 2003 A weekly newsletter from the U.S. Department of
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 29, 2003
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      ======================================================================
      EERE NETWORK NEWS -- October 29, 2003
      A weekly newsletter from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE)
      Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).
      <http://www.eere.energy.gov/>
      ======================================================================

      Featuring:
      *News and Events
      DOE, EPA Announce Fuel Economy Leaders for Model Year 2004
      Japanese Automakers Look to the Future at Tokyo Auto Show
      Thirteen of 22 Cars Complete the World Solar Challenge
      Big Wind Energy Projects Hit the Great Plains
      USDA, Rural Electric Coops to Advance Efficiency, Renewables
      St. Lawrence Hydropower Station Earns New 50-Year License

      *Energy Connections
      EIA: U.S. Energy Use Increased 1 Percent in 2002

      *About this Newsletter


      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      NEWS AND EVENTS
      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      DOE, EPA Announce Fuel Economy Leaders for Model Year 2004

      DOE and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the
      latest edition of the Web-based "Fuel Economy Guide" on October 23rd.
      The latest edition of the guide includes fuel economy, emissions, and
      safety data for all model year 2004 vehicles sold in the United
      States. It also includes fuel-saving tips and additional information
      on advanced-technology vehicles, including hybrid electric,
      alternative fuel, and fuel-cell vehicles. See the Fuel Economy Guide
      at: <http://www.fueleconomy.gov/>.

      For the fourth year in a row, hybrid electric vehicles are at the top
      of the fuel efficiency list, and with the new, larger Toyota Prius,
      hybrids also lead three vehicle classes: the Honda Insight leads the
      two-seaters, the Honda Civic Hybrid leads the compact cars, and the
      Toyota Prius leads the midsize cars. The bottom of the list is mostly
      dominated by the Italian sports cars -- Lamborghini, Ferrari, and
      Maserati -- with one domestic entry: the four-wheel-drive Ford F150
      pickup. See the October 23rd press releases from DOE and the EPA at:
      <http://www.energy.gov/engine/content.do?BT_CODE=PR_PRESSRELEASES>
      and <http://www.epa.gov/newsroom/headline_102303.htm>.

      Although the Honda Insight remains at the top of the list, its impact
      on the total U.S. fleet of vehicles is negligible, since Honda has
      sold only 1,036 of the vehicles this year. Honda's sales of the Civic
      Hybrid are much greater: 13,707 vehicles in 2002, and 17,177 through
      the end of September this year. However, the new Toyota Prius may
      dwarf those numbers, as Toyota plans to produce 36,000 Prius vehicles
      for the U.S. market in 2004. See the October 23rd press release on the
      Honda Media Newsroom Web site at:
      <http://www.hondanews.com/forms/honda/insight/>.


      Japanese Automakers Look to the Future at Tokyo Auto Show

      While Honda and Toyota currently lead the world in the production of
      hybrid electric vehicles with high fuel efficiencies, their concept
      vehicles at the Tokyo Auto Show, now underway, suggest an intent to
      use hybrid technology for more high-powered performance in the future.
      Toyota stands out with its Lexus "LF-S," a sedan powered by a hybrid
      electric V8 engine; its "SU-HV1," a sport utility vehicle that
      combines a 3.3-liter V6 engine with a 120-kilowatt motor, boosted by a
      50-kilowatt motor on the rear axle; and its "CS&S," a sports car that
      marries a 1.5-liter engine to a 50-kilowatt motor. Toyota's CS&S aims
      to accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour in 8.6 seconds while
      achieving a fuel economy of nearly 78 miles per gallon. Toyota is also
      displaying the "Fine-N," a fuel cell car that uses four 25-kilowatt
      wheel-mounted motors. See the press releases, images, videos, and
      detailed information on Toyota's Tokyo Auto Show Web site at:
      <http://www.toyota.co.jp/en/event/auto_shows/index.html>.

      Honda brought its own vision of high-performance hybrid technology to
      the Tokyo Auto Show. The "IMAS," which looks like a Honda Insight on
      steroids, incorporates Honda's newest hybrid power system into a
      carbon-bodied two-seater that weighs slightly more than 1,500 pounds.
      Honda estimates the vehicle would achieve more than 94 miles to the
      gallon. Honda also introduced the "ASM," a hybrid electric minivan,
      and the fuel-cell-powered "KIWAMI," a wedge-shaped sedan that uses an
      ultracapacitor for energy storage. See Honda's Tokyo Auto Show Web
      site at: <http://world.honda.com/Tokyo2003/auto/>.

      Meanwhile, Daihatsu and Subaru are threatening to topple the Honda and
      Toyota hybrid electric dynasty. Daihatsu debuted the "UFE-II," a four-
      seat hybrid that looks like an Insight, weighs less than 1,300 pounds,
      and achieves the lowest aerodynamic drag yet (0.19), all of which
      yields an astounding 140 miles per gallon. Subaru unveiled the
      "B9 Scrambler" -- a two-seat sports car featuring its new hybrid power
      system -- and the all-electric "R1e" mini-car. See the Daihatsu and
      Subaru press releases at:
      <http://www.daihatsu.com/news/n2003/03101401/index_f.html> and
      <http://www.subaru-global.com/topics/ms/tms2003/>.

      Other Japanese automakers focused mainly on fuel cell vehicles and
      advanced internal-combustion engines. Nissan unveiled its "EFFIS" fuel
      cell car, which uses a lithium-ion battery and an efficient motor with
      two output shafts that can be controlled independently. Mitsubishi
      brought its new fuel cell vehicle to the show, and also introduced the
      "i," a small, lightweight car that uses an advanced gasoline engine to
      achieve low emissions and a fuel economy of 62 miles per gallon. And
      Mazda debuted the "RX-8 Hydrogen RE," which features a rotary engine
      that burns hydrogen. See Nissan's October 14th press release,
      Mitsubishi's October 15th press release, and the Mazda press release
      at: <http://www.nissan-global.com/EN/NEWS/>,
      <http://media.mitsubishi-motors.com/pressrelease/e/allcategory/all/>,
      and <http://www.mazda.com/publicity/public/200310/1014be.html>.


      Thirteen of 22 Cars Complete the World Solar Challenge

      The World Solar Challenge ended yesterday in Australia, and 13 of the
      22 cars that entered the race reached the finish line near Adelaide
      under their own power. For the leaders, the race was over last week:
      the Nuon Solar Team from the Netherlands finished the course on the
      afternoon of Wednesday, October 22nd, winning the race with an average
      speed of about 60 miles per hour. The second-place team -- from
      Melbourne, Australia -- reached the finish line an hour and forty-
      three minutes behind the Dutch team. A team from the Massachusetts
      Institute of Technology came in third, finishing early in the morning
      on Thursday, October 23rd. Three other vehicles finished that day,
      followed by three more the next day, two more the day after that, and
      the final two on Sunday, October 26th. The World Solar Challenge is a
      grueling course, stretching nearly 1,900 miles down the center of the
      Australian continent. See the "Latest Updates" and "Media" pages on
      the World Solar Challenge Web site at:
      <http://www.wsc.org.au/latestupdates.htm> and
      <http://www.wsc.org.au/media.htm>.

      The Nuon Solar Team earned its second consecutive win at the World
      Solar Challenge -- and achieved its second consecutive world-record
      speed -- by relying heavily on technology developed by the European
      Space Agency (ESA). The team's vehicle, the Nuna II, used 3,000
      triple-junction gallium-arsenide solar cells, which convert more than
      24.5 percent of the sunlight that hits them into electricity. The
      craft also featured 46 lithium-ion batteries (providing five kilowatt-
      hours of electrical energy storage), an advanced aerodynamic shape,
      and a carbon-fiber body reinforced with a plastic called aramide,
      which is used in space suits for protection against micrometeorites.
      See the ESA press release at:
      <http://www.esa.int/export/esaCP/SEMZLK7O0MD_Improving_0.html>.


      Big Wind Energy Projects Hit the Great Plains

      New wind power plants went online this month in the Great Plains
      states of North and South Dakota -- the first large wind facilities in
      those states -- while construction began on a new large wind plant on
      the plains of western Colorado.

      Both North and South Dakota gained 40 megawatts of wind power as
      FPL Energy completed the North Dakota I Wind Energy Center and the
      South Dakota Wind Energy Center in the first half of October. Basin
      Electric Power Cooperative is buying all the power from the two sites,
      each of which draws on 27 1.5-megawatt wind turbines manufactured by
      GE Wind Energy. Last week, FPL Energy completed its second wind
      project in North Dakota, the North Dakota II Wind Energy Center, a
      21-megawatt project that will provide power to the Otter Tail Power
      Company. The facility consists of 14 of the 1.5-megawatt GE Wind
      Energy turbines. See the press releases from Basin Electric and the
      Otter Tail Power Company at:
      <http://www.basinelectric.com/news/detail.php?id=809>,
      <http://www.basinelectric.com/news/detail.php?id=811>, and
      <http://www.otpco.com/safe/default.asp?pg=NewsReleases>.

      The Colorado plains will soon host the state's largest wind power
      plant, a 162-megawatt facility near Lamar, about 100 miles east of
      Pueblo. PPM Energy, Inc. and Shell WindEnergy, Inc. are building the
      Colorado Green Wind Project using -- you guessed it -- 108
      1.5-megawatt wind turbines from GE Wind Energy. Xcel Energy is buying
      all the power produced by the new facility, which should be complete
      by year-end. See the PPM Energy press release at:
      <http://www.ppmenergy.com/rel_03.10.27.html>

      PPM Energy is active in California, as well: the company is building
      the 22-megawatt Mountain View III wind facility in Riverside County,
      near the Arizona border. FPL Energy is also gaining more wind energy
      assets in California, but is buying rather than building them: the
      company is acquiring 130 megawatts of wind power capacity that is
      currently owned by Enron. The $80-million deal is subject to
      regulatory approval and acceptance at a bankruptcy auction, scheduled
      for early December. See the PPM Energy and FPL Energy press releases
      at: <http://www.ppmenergy.com/rel_03.10.20.html> and
      <http://www.fplenergy.com/news/2003/contents/03115.shtml>.


      USDA, Rural Electric Coops to Advance Efficiency, Renewables

      The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) signed an agreement with
      rural electric cooperatives last week to increase the use of renewable
      energy and energy efficiency in rural areas by removing technical and
      market barriers. The USDA signed a memorandum of understanding with
      the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) to
      identify cost-effective, voluntary opportunities for rural electric
      cooperatives to partner with farmers and ranchers to reduce greenhouse
      gases. The agreement includes -- but is not limited to -- the use of
      renewable energy, energy efficiency, fuel cells, microturbines, and
      biobased products. The agreement identifies areas for public-private
      cooperation in research, standards development, and education. See the
      USDA press release at:
      <http://www.usda.gov/news/releases/2003/10/0364.htm>

      The agreement also calls for NRECA to assist member cooperatives
      toward a goal of increased use of renewable power technologies,
      including biomass co-fired power plants, biomass gasification power
      plants, animal waste-to-energy projects, landfill-methane power
      projects, and wind and solar energy. NRECA will also support the
      development of industry standards for the interconnection of
      distributed power sources to the electrical grid. A link to the full
      agreement is included in the NRECA press release, posted on the NRECA
      Web site at:
      <http://www.nreca.org/nreca/Press_Room/Press_Releases/Press_Releases>.


      St. Lawrence Hydropower Station Earns New 50-Year License

      The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a new 50-year
      operating license to the 912-megawatt St. Lawrence-FDR hydropower
      project last week. The New York Power Authority (NYPA) owns the
      project, located on the St. Lawrence River near Massena, New York. The
      project regulates the water levels in Lake Ontario by controlling its
      flow to the Atlantic Ocean. It has been producing power since 1958.

      The relicensing of the facility involved a complicated settlement
      agreement among Native Americans, conservation groups, and local,
      state, and federal officials from both the United States and Canada.
      It includes a $24 million fund for fish enhancement and mitigation and
      the construction of a fish ladder to assist the upstream passage of
      the American eel. See the FERC press release at:
      <http://www.ferc.gov/press-room/pr-current/10-22-03-st-law.asp>.

      New York Governor George E. Pataki lauded the new license, which NYPA
      applied for two years ago. The original license was due to expire this
      month. Although the St. Lawrence project is aging, NYPA is currently
      spending more than $254 million on a 15-year modernization and upgrade
      for the project's turbine generators. NYPA aims to complete the
      upgrade in 2013. See the governor's press release at:
      <http://www.state.ny.us/governor/press/year03/oct22_2_03.htm>.


      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      ENERGY CONNECTIONS
      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      EIA: U.S. Energy Use Increased 1 Percent in 2002

      U.S. energy use held nearly steady in 2002, according to a new report
      by DOE's Energy Information Administration (EIA). U.S. energy use
      increased about 1 percent above 2001 levels, but is still 1.4 percent
      lower than the energy consumption in 2000 and only 0.6 percent greater
      than 1999 consumption levels. By sector, the trends in energy use
      reflect trends in the U.S. economy as a whole, with residential energy
      use increasing 3.4 percent and accounting for most of the overall
      increase. In contrast, the use of energy for transportation increased
      0.9 percent, commercial energy use increased 0.5 percent, and
      industrial energy use increased only 0.02 percent. The energy
      intensity of the economy -- measured in energy use per dollar of gross
      domestic product -- continued its downward trend, and is now at
      10.31 thousand Btu (British thermal units) per dollar, adjusted to
      1996 dollars. A decrease in energy intensity suggests that the
      U.S. economy is using energy more efficiently.

      As already noted in EIA's Renewable Trends Report, issued in late
      August, the use of renewable energy increased about 10.8 percent in
      2002, due largely to a 21.2 percent increase in hydropower use as the
      West bounced back from the 2001 drought. Wind power experienced the
      fastest growth of all renewable technologies, increasing nearly
      59 percent over 2001 levels. See the EIA's Annual Energy Review 2002
      at: <http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/aer/contents.html>.


      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
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