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EERE Network News -- 11/26/03

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  • Tom Gray
    ====================================================================== EERE NETWORK NEWS -- November 26, 2003 A weekly newsletter from the U.S. Department of
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 26, 2003
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      EERE NETWORK NEWS -- November 26, 2003
      A weekly newsletter from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE)
      Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).

      *News and Events
      DOE Helps Launch an International Partnership for Hydrogen
      DTE Energy to Build Hydrogen-Fueled Microgrid in Detroit
      Hybrid Toyota Prius Named Motor Trend "Car of the Year"
      Marine Corps Base Installs Large Solar Power System
      CEC Report: California Green Power Could Increase 10-Fold

      *Site News
      Pennsylvania State University Hydrogen Energy Center

      *Energy Connections
      U.S.-Canada Task Force: August 14th Blackout was Preventable

      *About this Newsletter

      DOE Helps Launch an International Partnership for Hydrogen

      Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham joined with ministers representing
      14 nations and the European Commission to establish the International
      Partnership for a Hydrogen Economy (IPHE) last week. Representatives
      from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Commission,
      France, Germany, Iceland, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Norway, Russia,
      the United Kingdom, and the United States signed the Terms of
      Reference, formally creating the IPHE as an international mechanism to
      coordinate hydrogen research and hydrogen technology development and
      deployment. The IPHE will provide a mechanism to organize, evaluate
      and coordinate multinational research, development, and deployment
      programs that advance the transition to a global hydrogen economy. See
      the November 20th press release on the DOE Web site at:

      The spirit of cooperation also spilled over to the international fuel
      cell industry, as the world's leading fuel cell organizations agreed
      to start collaborations on information sharing, education, regulation,
      and technical exchange. The U.S. Fuel Cell Council (USFCC), the Fuel
      Cell Commercialization Conference of Japan, Fuel Cells Canada, the
      World Fuel Cell Council, and Fuel Cell Europe signed the agreement.
      The organizations collectively represent more than 300 businesses,
      research institutions, and others interested in fuel cells and
      hydrogen. See the joint press release on the USFCC Web site, in PDF
      format only, at: <http://www.usfcc.com/MOU_Signed.pdf>.

      In addition, a coalition of hydrogen and fuel cell users and suppliers
      has come together to advance fuel-cell-powered buses. The National
      Fuel Cell Bus Technology Initiative is envisioned as a six-year,
      $150-million development effort to advance fuel cell and hydrogen
      technology. WestStart-CALSTART -- a leading North American consortium
      for advanced transportation technologies -- is coordinating the
      initiative. See the press release on the WestStart-CALSTART Web site
      at: <http://www.weststart.org/>.

      DTE Energy to Build Hydrogen-Fueled Microgrid in Detroit

      DTE Energy announced last week that its subsidiary, DTE Energy
      Technology, will build a $5.4-million microgrid project in Detroit,
      Michigan, at the facilities for NextEnergy, an organization that
      encourages alternative energy development within the state. As the
      name implies, microgrids are miniature power grids that can operate in
      conjunction with the regional power grid or can operate in isolation.
      They are usually connected to the larger power grid in a way that
      allows them to maintain higher reliability and power quality for the
      electrical loads they serve.

      The microgrid project will be fueled by hydrogen, natural gas, and
      solar power, and will include the use of several emerging on-site
      energy technologies, including fuel cells, microturbines, solar power
      systems, and internal and external combustion engines. It will also
      include underground electrical and thermal distribution systems to
      provide electricity, heating, and air conditioning to the NextEnergy
      facility. In addition, the microgrid will have the capability to serve
      the broader energy needs of the entire research and business
      technology park where NextEnergy will be located, on the campus of
      Wayne State University in Detroit. DTE Energy expects to complete the
      project by December 2004. See the November 20th press release from
      DTE Energy at: <http://www.dteenergy.com/cgi-bin/press.pl>.

      NextEnergy was created by the State of Michigan to advance alternative
      energy technologies for both stationary and vehicular power systems,
      and to establish Michigan as a leader in these technologies. The
      NextEnergy facility will include a 5,600-square-foot "Power Pavilion,"
      which will house the microgrid, a hydrogen-fueling infrastructure,
      office space, a laboratory, and product demonstration and exhibition
      facilities. See the NextEnergy Web site at:

      As noted in this newsletter last week, DTE Energy is also developing a
      hydrogen technology park in Southfield, about 10 miles northwest of
      Detroit. See last week's article at:

      Hybrid Toyota Prius Named Motor Trend "Car of the Year"

      Motor Trend magazine has named the hybrid-electric Toyota Prius as its
      2004 Car of the Year. After weeks of exhaustive testing, the Motor
      Trend editors found the Toyota Prius to be "a user-friendly
      gas/electric hybrid capable of delivering an impressive 60 miles per
      gallon in city driving." According to Kevin Smith, Motor Trend's
      editor-in-chief, "We believe the performance, engineering
      advancements, and overall significance of the Toyota Prius merits the
      distinction of Motor Trend's Car of the Year. The Prius is a capable,
      comfortable, fun-to-drive car that just happens to get spectacular
      fuel economy. It also provides a promising look at a future where
      extreme fuel-efficiency, ultra-low emissions, and exceptional
      performance will happily coexist. That makes it meaningful to a wide
      range of car buyers."

      Motor Trend magazine is part of Primedia, Inc. See the Primedia press
      release at: <http://www.primedia.com/pr/press/mtcaroftheyear112003/>.

      While domestic automakers are planning to introduce their own hybrid
      electric vehicles in the near future, they are also making substantial
      investments in less flashy energy-saving technologies. Ford Motor
      Company, for instance, is investing up to $325 million in two
      manufacturing plants, allowing them to build new rear-wheel-drive,
      six-speed automatic transmissions. According to Ford, the new
      transmissions will increase fuel economy by 4 to 8 percent relative to
      a four-speed automatic transmission. By 2008, Ford expects 60 percent
      of its vehicles to have either six-speed transmissions or continuously
      variable transmissions. See the Ford press release at:

      Marine Corps Base Installs Large Solar Power System

      One of the largest solar power systems in the country is now online at
      a U.S. Marine Corps base in Twentynine Palms, California. The Marine
      Corp base installed a 1.1-megawatt photovoltaic system, which will
      provide about 10 percent of the base's electrical needs. The project
      earned a $4.5 million incentive award from the state's Self Generation
      Incentive Program. Southern California Gas Company presented the award
      to the base last week. See the November 20th press release by
      selecting "Press Releases" on the Southern California Gas Company
      Web site at: <http://www.socalgas.com/about/press.shtml>.

      A 1.05-megawatt solar power system is also under construction at
      California State University, Hayward. PowerLight Corporation is
      installing the system on four of the university's largest buildings.
      When complete in December, the system will be able to provide about
      30 percent of the peak electrical demand on the campus. See the press
      release under "Top Stories" on the Cal State Hayward Web site at:

      Other recent solar power installations in California include a
      191-kilowatt system -- combined with a 360-kilowatt cogeneration
      system comprising six microturbines -- at Pierce College in Los
      Angeles, a 245-kilowatt thin-film system at Shell Solar Industries'
      manufacturing building in Camarillo, a 120-kilowatt water-pumping
      system installed by WorldWater Corporation at a Bakersfield facility
      operated by Lehr Brothers Inc., a 120-kilowatt system installed by
      Nextek Power Systems on a Target retail store in El Cajon, and a
      59-kilowatt system installed at the University of California,
      Berkeley. See the press releases from Pierce College, Shell Solar,
      WorldWater Corporation, Nextek Power Systems, and UC Berkeley at:
      <http://www.nextekpower.com/Projects/target/elcajon.htm> and

      CEC Report: California Green Power Could Increase 10-Fold

      With all the new solar power installations cropping up in California,
      it may come as no surprise that the California Energy Commission (CEC)
      sees a great potential to boost the state's use of renewable energy.
      In fact, a report adopted by the CEC last week says that although the
      state currently draws on renewable energy for 11 percent of its
      electricity, the state could produce about 10 times more electricity
      from renewable energy than it does today. The document will be
      submitted to the California legislature on December 1st in support of
      the state's new Renewable Portfolio Standard, which requires that
      20 percent of the state's retail electricity sales come from renewable
      energy sources.

      The CEC also approved its 2003 Integrated Energy Policy Report on
      November 12th. The report calls more stringent energy efficiency
      targets, an accelerated timeframe for the Renewable Portfolio
      Standard, more ambitious renewable energy goals beyond the 20 percent
      goal, and efforts to encourage cogeneration and distributed generation
      throughout the state. In addition, the report recommends establishing
      a goal of reducing the consumption of petroleum for transportation by
      15 percent from current levels by 2020. See the CEC press releases at:

      Pennsylvania State University Hydrogen Energy Center

      Pennsylvania State University's Hydrogen Energy Center conducts
      research in hydrogen storage, production, and fuel cell technologies.
      It also is working to identify new uses of hydrogen for environmental

      U.S.-Canada Task Force: August 14th Blackout was Preventable

      The U.S.-Canada Power System Outage Task Force released its interim
      report on the August 14th blackout last week, concluding that grid
      operators in Ohio failed to take action that would have restricted the
      impact of the blackout to a smaller region. Secretary of Energy
      Spencer Abraham characterized the blackout as "preventable."

      The report found that a relatively minor incident -- the failure of
      three high-voltage transmission lines -- cascaded into a widespread
      blackout because computer problems at FirstEnergy Corporation
      prevented the grid operators there from knowing the extent of their
      predicament. Meanwhile, problems with system analysis tools at the
      Midwest Independent System Operator (MISO) -- the entity that
      coordinates power transmission in that region -- also prevented MISO
      from becoming aware of the situation and taking action. In addition,
      MISO lacked procedures to help it work with the PJM Interconnection --
      the nearby grid operator for Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, and
      parts of other states -- to address power fluctuations and overloads
      near the boundary of the two systems. See the interim report and
      Secretary Abraham's remarks by following the link under "Blackout
      Interim Report Released" on the DOE home page at:

      To solicit public comments, the task force will hold a series of
      public forums in early December in Cleveland, New York City, and
      Toronto. Comments can also be submitted by mail or email. After
      gathering these comments, the task force will release a final report
      that will include recommendations for corrective actions. For details
      on the public forums and public comment process, see the November 25th
      press release on the DOE Web site at:

      While FirstEnergy disputed the task force findings, MISO issued a
      press release that detailed the improvements it has instituted since
      the blackout. See the November 19th press releases from FirstEnergy
      and MISO at: <http://www.firstenergycorp.com/fenews> and

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      The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
      home page is located at: <http://www.eere.energy.gov/>.

      If you have questions or comments about this
      newsletter, please contact the editor, Kevin Eber, at
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