EERE Network News -- 07/28/04
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 28, 2004
- DOE Breaks Ground on New Energy Research Building
- Water Treatment Plant Meets Daytime Needs with Solar Power
- Proposed Wisconsin Wind Project Grows; Iowa Plant Dedicated
- Wisconsin Task Force Recommends Efficiency and Renewables
- State Requirements and Green Power Markets: Both Yield More Renewables
- DOE Awards $1.13 Million to Weatherize Homes in Arizona
- Energy Education Offered at Oakland Community College
- At Mid-Point, 2004 Ranks as Third-Hottest Year on Record
An architect's rendering of the future Science and Technology Facility.
DOE broke ground yesterday on a new research facility at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado. The 71,000-square-foot Science and Technology Facility (S&TF) will include a 10,000-square-foot laboratory dedicated to thin-film photovoltaic devices, which promise lower-cost solar power. The facility will also enable NREL to expand its research capabilities in hydrogen, solid-state lighting, superconductivity, electrochromic windows, and nanotechnologies. Construction is expected to begin in fall, and the building should be complete in 2006.
"This new facility will extend DOE's and NREL's research capabilities and hasten the day when we reach our goal of providing the kind of clean, affordable energy solutions that can be used by all Americans," said David Garman, DOE's acting Under Secretary of Energy. See the NREL press release.
The new S&TF building is also designed to use about 40 percent less energy than similar laboratory buildings. Daylighting will be combined with automated controls to minimize the use of electric lights, and the design also includes energy-efficient climate control features. In addition, energy will be recovered from the air vented from laboratories. The building is designed to achieve a gold rating from the Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. See the building's description on the NREL Web site.
Sun Power &
Geothermal Energy press release.
While large solar systems are becoming more common, smaller systems mounted on homes and schools remain popular. Last week, Prevalent Power secured contracts to install a total of 180 kilowatts of solar power on six schools in California. The company obtained most of the funding for the projects from the California Energy Commission's Solar Schools rebate incentive program. Meanwhile, on the East Coast, PECO Energy announced a grant of $232,100 to the Philadelphia Housing Authority to install 1.11-kilowatt solar power systems on 22 homes in affordable housing developments. And Western Massachusetts Electric Company has finished building its first "zero energy home," which includes a 2.6-kilowatt solar power system. The utility worked with Steven Winter Associates, Inc. to design the home, built as part of DOE's Building America Zero Energy Home program. See the press releases from Prevalent Power (PDF 75 KB), PECO Energy, and Steven Winter Associates (PDF 166 KB). Download Acrobat Reader.
Wisconsin Public Service press release and last week's article.
Meanwhile, in northwest Iowa, the 44-megawatt Flying Cloud Wind Power Plant was dedicated last week. The project is owned by PPM Energy, was developed by Clipper Windpower, Inc., and is operated by GE Energy. The project developers brought the plant online in December 2003, before the wind energy production tax credits expired. See the PPM Energy press release and the Clipper Windpower project description.
The task force also addressed energy efficiency, recommending that the state update and improve its building energy codes, and calling for improvement in Wisconsin's Focus on Energy efficiency programs by increasing the role of the Public Utilities Commission in setting energy efficiency targets and funding levels. See the task force recommendations.
Governor Doyle welcomed the recommendations, noting that they will provide "needed balance in the state's energy policy." The task force plans to issue a final report in September, at which time the governor will develop a plan to implement the recommendations through regulatory, administrative, and legislative changes. See the governor's press release.
In a June memo titled "Estimate of New Renewable Energy Capacity Serving U.S. Green Power Markets (2003)," analysts at DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) report that nearly 1,650 megawatts of new renewable energy capacity was supplying green power customers at the end of 2003, with another 390 megawatts either under construction or formally announced. According to the NREL memo, wind power provided nearly 94 percent of that new capacity. Competitive power markets and renewable energy credits produced about twice as much new capacity as voluntary "green pricing" programs offered by utilities. See the memo, posted on the newly redesigned Green Power Network Web site.
The King Mountain Wind Ranch in Texas is one result of that state's renewable energy mandate.
Credit: Cielo Wind Power
State renewable energy requirements and goals have been slightly more successful than green power programs, resulting in 2,004 megawatts of new renewable energy capacity as of the end of 2003, according to a new analysis by DOE's Energy Information Administration (EIA). Fifteen states now have some form of renewable energy requirement or goal, according to the EIA. Nine have renewable portfolio standards (RPS), which require renewable energy to supply a percentage of the state's electricity, and four states have mandates that specify how much new capacity should be built. Since most RPS requirements are just beginning to take effect, they have resulted in only 321 megawatts of new renewable capacity, but the EIA credits state mandates with 2,335 megawatts of new capacity, about half of which is in Texas. Similar to the green power markets, 93 percent of the new capacity was provided by wind power. See the EIA report.
DOE press release.
DOE's Weatherization Assistance Program performs energy audits to identify the most cost-effective measures for each home, which typically include adding insulation, reducing air infiltration, servicing the heating and cooling systems, and providing health and safety diagnostic services. For every dollar spent, weatherization returns $1.40 in energy savings over the life of the measures. The program is delivered through the states and 970 local agencies, and gives priority to low-income households with elderly members, people with disabilities, and children. See the Weatherization Assistance Program Web site.
Environmental Systems Technology program provides alternative energy classes that focus on harnessing energy from renewable sources. The program offers coursework in renewable energy systems, energy management, automated building systems, and digital controls.
At Mid-Point, 2004 Ranks as Third-Hottest Year on RecordAfter a string of record-breaking global temperatures in recent years, 2004 is so far shaping up to be hot, but not record-breaking, according to preliminary data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The average global temperature for January to June is 0.97 degrees Fahrenheit above the long-term average, currently placing 2004 in third place compared to the January to June averages for other years (the first half of 1998 and 2002 were hotter). If the average global temperature holds steady through the end of the year, 2004 will be the fourth-warmest year on record. See the summary and graph of global climate trends from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center.
As reported in this newsletter in January, the years 2002 and 2003 tied as the second-warmest on record, at 1.01 degrees Fahrenheit above the long-term average. The hottest year on record was 1998, at 1.13 degrees Fahrenheit above the long-term average. See the article from the January 21st edition of this newsletter.
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.
If you have questions or comments about this newsletter, please contact the editor.
You are currently subscribed as: tomgray@...