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EERE Network News -- 07/28/04

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  • EERE Network News by way of Tom Gray
    18b863ee.jpg 18b864a3.jpg A weekly newsletter from the U.S. Department of Energy s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 28, 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 28, 2004


      News and Events


      Site News

      • Energy Education Offered at Oakland Community College

      Energy Connections

      • At Mid-Point, 2004 Ranks as Third-Hottest Year on Record
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      News and Events


      DOE Breaks Ground on New Energy Research Building

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      An architect's rendering of the future Science and Technology Facility.
      Credit: NREL

      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.

      Water Treatment Plant Meets Daytime Needs with Solar Power

      The South Feather Water and Power Agency in Oroville, California, about 70 miles north of Sacramento, is now able to meet all of its power needs for plant operations during the day using solar power. Sun Power & Geothermal Energy commissioned a new 566-kilowatt solar power system at the water treatment plant last week. Thanks to surplus power generation on sunny days, which will allow the agency to feed power back into the local power grid, the agency expects to have a zero net electricity bill. That's a significant drop from last year, when the agency's electric bill exceeded $160,000. See the 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.

      Proposed Wisconsin Wind Project Grows; Iowa Plant Dedicated

      The Forward Energy Center, a wind energy project proposed for Brownsville, Wisconsin, has more than doubled in size, thanks to a new power purchase agreement between the developer, Invenergy Wind LLC, and Wisconsin Public Service Corporation. The utility has agreed to buy 70 megawatts of wind power from the project, boosting its total size to 130 megawatts. As covered in this newsletter last week, two other utilities had previously teamed up to buy 60 megawatts of power from the proposed project. See the 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.

      Wisconsin Task Force Recommends Efficiency and Renewables

      Wisconsin's Task Force on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency unanimously approved recommendations last week for the state to draw on renewable energy for 10 percent of its electricity supply by 2015. The task force, created last September by Executive Order of Governor Jim Doyle, further recommended that the state government lead the charge by buying 20 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2010. To help meet those goals, the task force recommended providing incentives for rural energy projects, including wind generators and anaerobic digesters, which convert manure into methane for use as an energy source.

      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.

      State Requirements and Green Power Markets: Both Yield More Renewables

      Two policy approaches are currently proving popular for developing renewable energy supplies in the United States: green power markets, which use a free-market approach to allow consumers and businesses to buy renewable energy; and state renewable energy requirements and goals, which set specific amounts of renewable energy per year, usually imposed upon utilities within each state. According to recent reports, as of the end of 2003, the two policy options have resulted in about 3,650 megawatts of new renewable energy capacity.

      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.
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      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 Awards $1.13 Million to Weatherize Homes in Arizona

      Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham announced yesterday the award of $1.13 million to improve the energy efficiency of the homes of low-income families in Arizona. Such families spend an average of 14 percent of their income on energy, compared with 3.5 percent for the average U.S. family. Weatherization reduces an average home's energy costs by $218 a year. The Arizona funds were awarded on July 1st as part of $94.8 million awarded to 20 states. See the 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.
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      Site News


      Energy Education Offered at Oakland Community College

      Oakland Community College's 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.
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      Energy Connections


      At Mid-Point, 2004 Ranks as Third-Hottest Year on Record

      After 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.
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      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.
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