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EERE Network News -- 07/14/04

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  • EERE Network News by way of Tom Gray
    3db932.jpg 3db9dc.jpg A weekly newsletter from the U.S. Department of Energy s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 14, 2004
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      A weekly newsletter from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). The EERE Network News is also available on the Web at: www.eere.energy.gov/news/

      July 14, 2004

      News and Events

      Site News

      • DOE's Regional Offices Change Their Names and Web Addresses

      Energy Connections

      • EIA: Gasoline and Oil Prices will Stay High Through 2005

      News and Events

      DaimlerChrysler and Ford Acquire Fuel-Cell Unit from Ballard

      Ballard Power Systems announced last week that DaimlerChrysler AG and Ford Motor Company will acquire Ballard's vehicular fuel cell unit, Ballard AG (formerly XCELLSIS), and will be jointly responsible for the research, development, and manufacturing of the vehicular fuel cell systems, which include all the components other than the fuel cell itself. Ballard, meanwhile, will work on developing the next-generation electric drive system and the next two generations of vehicular fuel cells, for which it will receive up to $58 million in funding from DaimlerChrysler and Ford. The changes are intended to optimize the role of the three partners in developing vehicular fuel cells, while providing Ballard with improved financial and operational flexibility. See the Ballard press release (PDF 52 KB). Download Acrobat Reader.

      Political Conventions to Use Clean Power and Mass Transit

      This year's approaching political party conventions promise to employ clean energy sources and mass transit to minimize their environmental impact.

      The Democratic National Convention, which runs from July 26th to the 29th in Boston, will focus on clean energy by buying enough renewable energy credits to match the electricity used during the convention. The convention will also draw on a 250-kilowatt fuel cell, fueled with natural gas, to help power its facilities, and the convention committee will buy enough greenhouse gas emission credits to offset other greenhouse emissions attributable to the convention, such as transportation. General Motors will also provide hybrid-electric pickup trucks and buses for use at the convention. See the press release from the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

      Although the Republican National Convention is still more than a month away running from August 30th to September 2nd in New York City it has already announced plans to encourage its 50,000 participants to use mass transit. Along with providing its delegates with Metrocards, which will allow free access to the city's bus and subway systems, the convention will establish an express bus service of its own, called GOP Liberty Express, to whisk attendees between their hotel and the convention location, Madison Square Garden. See the press release from the 2004 Republican National Convention.

      Massachusetts Offshore Wind Plant Clears Regulatory Hurdle

      3dbaff.jpg 3dbb63.jpg

      The proposed U.S. facilities will use GE's 3.6-megawatt wind turbine, shown here installed off the coast of Ireland.
      Credit: Bob Thresher, NREL

      Cape Wind Associates, LLC cleared a regulatory hurdle in early July, when it received a tentative decision for approval for its electric transmission lines from the Massachusetts Energy Facility Siting Board (EFSB). After reviewing the major issues surrounding the project over a 22-month review process, the EFSB approved the proposal to build two 18-mile transmission lines to connect the proposed wind plant in Nantucket Sound to the electrical grid. The lines would run 12.2 miles under the sound and then through an underground duct for 5.9 miles. Cape Wind intends to build a 420-megawatt wind project on Horseshoe Shoal, five miles off the coast of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. See the Cape Wind press release and the EFSB decision (PDF 392 KB). Download Acrobat Reader.

      An effort to build an offshore wind plant south of Long Island also moved ahead in late June, when the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) Board of Trustees approved the utility's energy plan. See the LIPA press release.

      The offshore wind industry also suffered a setback last week, as Vestas Wind Systems A/S announced that it will remove, dismantle, and upgrade its 80 2-megawatt wind turbines installed at Horns Reef in the North Sea, about 9 miles off the coast of Denmark. The 160-megawatt project, installed in 2002, "has experienced a series of problems," says Vestas, "and it has been ascertained that all transformers and a number of generators had to be changed" because of the harsh environment. The U.S. offshore wind plants, by the way, plan to use turbines manufactured by GE Energy. See the Vestas press release (PDF 19 KB).

      New 20-Megawatt Geothermal Plant Slated for Nevada

      3dbbdb.jpg 3dbc2b.jpg

      ORMAT Nevada's new geothermal power plant will look much like this existing plant, which the company acquired in May.
      Credit: Joel Renner, INEEL

      A subsidiary of ORMAT Technologies, Inc. is planning to build a 20-megawatt geothermal power plant near Steamboat, Nevada, about 10 miles south of Reno. The Galena Geothermal 1 plant will be developed by ORNI 7, LLC, a subsidiary of ORMAT Nevada, Inc., which is itself a subsidiary of ORMAT Technologies. The Sierra Pacific Power Company announced in late June that it signed an agreement with ORNI 7 for 20 megawatts of geothermal power, starting in 2006. See the Sierra Pacific press release.

      ORMAT Nevada has been busy in the state over the past year. ORMAT announced in July 2003 that it was acquiring the existing Steamboat Geothermal Complex, and announced in May that it was acquiring the sole remaining plant in the area, the Steamboat Yankee geothermal project. In addition, a map of renewable energy power plants under contract in Nevada, prepared by the Nevada State Office of Energy, shows two 20.2-megawatt plants to be built near Desert Peak, Nevada by ORNI 3, LLC and ORNI 9, LLC, which are also subsidiaries of ORMAT Nevada.

      While conventional geothermal power plants are charging ahead in Nevada, a project to commercialize an advanced geothermal technology is making progress in Australia. On Friday, Geodynamics Limited started drilling Habanero 2, the second well in its project to extract energy from hot dry rock. The first well, Habanero 1, successfully reached high-temperature rocks at depths of more than 14,000 feet, and was able to create an underground reservoir by injecting water into the rock at high pressures. Habanero 2 will drill to 15,000 feet to intercept that reservoir. Once the second well is complete, the company can extract energy from the underground rock by injecting water into one well and extracting it from the other. In May, the company announced it was using a supercomputer simulation to model the flow of water through the fractured rocks and to predict the amount of heat it will extract over time. See the Geodynamics press releases.

      Marathon Ashland Sells Ethanol Fuel at 14 Fuel Terminals

      The National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition (NEVC) announced last week that Marathon Ashland Petroleum, LLC is now supplying a blend of 85-percent ethanol and 15-percent gasoline, called E85, at 14 of its fuel terminals. The availability of E85 at two fuel terminals in Illinois, one in Indiana, two in Kentucky, three in Michigan, one in Minnesota, and five in Ohio will encourage filling stations that draw their fuel from those terminals to add E85 to their offerings. Marathon Ashland is the fifth-largest refiner of fuel in the United States. See the NEVC press release.

      Ethanol production continues to grow in the United States. In April, the ethanol industry posted its seventh consecutive monthly production record by producing 218,000 barrels of ethanol per day, a 22 percent increase from April 2003. Currently, 78 ethanol plants have a combined capacity to produce more than 3.3 billion gallons of the fuel each year, and 10 plants now under construction will add another 400 million gallons of annual production capacity. See the press release from the Renewable Fuels Association.

      Californians Burn Through Energy Efficiency Rebate Funds

      California homeowners are quick to take advantage of energy-saving rebate offers, as the state's major utilities are discovering this year. Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has already stopped accepting applications for this year's residential energy efficiency rebates. The utility offered rebates for 30 types of energy efficiency products this year, and has already received 60,000 rebate applications. PG&E expects to deplete its $10.25 million in funds by the time it works through its current backlog of several thousand rebate applications. See the PG&E press release.

      The state's two other large utilities are not far behind. San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) has closed its rebates for appliances and water heaters and will close most other rebates for single-family residences on August 13th. It has also closed a number of its rebates for multifamily residences. Southern California Edison (SCE) was down to 5 percent of its funding for multifamily residences back in late May, and as of Monday, had 38 percent of its funding for single-family residences. See the SDG&E and SCE residential rebate Web sites.

      Site News

      DOE's Regional Offices Change Their Names and Web Addresses

      The six Regional Offices of DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) have changed their names to better reflect the regions that they serve. The Regional Offices are the primary vehicle through which EERE develops state and local partnerships to promote the use of its technologies. Under the renaming, the Denver Regional Office is now the Central Regional Office, the Philadelphia Regional Office is now the Mid-Atlantic Regional Office, the Chicago Regional Office is now the Midwest Regional Office, the Boston Regional Office is now the Northeast Regional Office, the Atlanta Regional Office is now the Southeast Regional Office, and the Seattle Regional Office is now the Western Regional Office. As a result of these name changes, the Web site addresses for the EERE Regional Offices page and for each Regional Office have changed; if you own a Web site that links to any of these offices, please update your links. Each of the new links are www.eere.energy.gov/regions/ followed by the name of the region, for instance: www.eere.energy.gov/regions/mid-atlantic/. See the EERE Regional Offices Web page, which includes a map showing the states and U.S. territories served by the six Regional Offices.

      Energy Connections

      EIA: Gasoline and Oil Prices will Stay High Through 2005

      Gasoline and crude oil prices have dropped from their spring peaks, but DOE's Energy Information Administration (EIA) doesn't see prices dropping further anytime soon. According to the EIA's "Short-Term Energy Outlook," released last week, a combination of low oil inventories and increasing demand is likely to crude oil prices near current levels through 2005. The EIA currently projects oil prices to average $37 per barrel in the third quarter of this year, about $1 per barrel higher than last month's projection. Summer gasoline prices are expected to average $1.89 per gallon, 2 cents lower than last month's projection, but the EIA expects gasoline prices to stay at $1.83 per gallon through 2005. See the EIA's Short-Term Energy Outlook.

      This newsletter is funded by DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and is also available on the EERE news page. You can subscribe to the EERE Network News using our simple online form, and you can also update your email address or unsubscribe online.

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