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EERE Network News -- 09/08/04

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  • EERE Network News by way of Tom Gray
    [] [] A weekly newsletter from the U.S. Department of Energy s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). The
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 8, 2004
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      A weekly newsletter from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE)
      <http://www.eere.energy.gov/>Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable
      Energy (EERE). The EERE Network News is also available on the Web at:
      <http://www.eere.energy.gov/news/>www.eere.energy.gov/news/


      September 08, 2004




      News and Events

      * Minnesota Utility to Award $22 Million to Renewable Projects
      * Renewable Energy Powered the Republican National Convention
      * Energy-Efficient Solar Homes Sprouting Up Nationwide
      * NASA Releases Report on Crash of Helios Solar Plane
      * U.S. Wind Power Industry Expects Meager Growth in 2004
      * California Utility Reopens Residential Energy Efficiency Program


      Site News

      * American Bar Association Focuses on Renewable Energy


      Energy Connections

      * Utility Plans Commercial "Clean Coal" Power Plant by 2010
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      News and Events




      Minnesota Utility to Award $22 Million to Renewable Projects

      Xcel Energy announced last week its selection of 25 proposed renewable
      energy projects to receive $22 million from its Renewable Development Fund.
      The projects include seven efforts to draw on renewable energy in
      Minnesota, including two wind turbines, two anaerobic digesters, a biomass
      energy combined heat and power plant, a project to increase biomass use at
      a University of Minnesota steam plant, and a hydropower facility
      refurbishment. The remaining 18 projects are research efforts relating to
      biomass energy, solar cells, and hydrogen production. DOE's National
      Renewable Energy Laboratory is working with the University of Minnesota on
      two of the three solar-cell research projects. The Renewable Development
      Fund was established by Minnesota statute and is funded by the state's
      ratepayers. The 25 selected projects are subject to final approval by the
      Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. See
      <http://www.xcelenergy.com/XLWEB/CDA/0,3080,1-1-1_15531_8634-14725-5_406_651-0,00.html>Xcel
      Energy press release or go directly to the selection report
      (<http://www.xcelenergy.com/docs/corpcomm/20040831SelectionReportComplete.pdf>PDF
      351 KB). <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>Download
      Acrobat Reader.


      Renewable Energy Powered the Republican National Convention

      The Coalition of Environmentally Responsible Conventions (CERC) announced
      on August 26th that the 2004 Republican National Convention relied in part
      on renewable energy to minimize its environmental impact. The convention's
      host committee bought enough renewable energy credits from New York's
      Fenner Wind Farm to equal the anticipated energy use at Madison Square
      Garden. In addition, CERC bought enough renewable energy certificates from
      New York's hydropower and landfill gas facilities to equal the electricity
      used by the 50,000 convention guests and delegates while staying at area
      hotels. CERC also bought carbon credits to offset the greenhouse gases
      emitted when the guests and delegates traveled to and from the convention.
      And, as previously announced by the convention, eight General Motors hybrid
      buses shuttled delegates and guests around the city. The convention
      concluded on Thursday, September 2nd. See the CERC press release
      (<http://www.cerc04.org/kit/pr_0825_nyhost_cerc.pdf>PDF 151 KB).
      <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>Download Acrobat Reader.

      CERC is a non-partisan, non-profit coalition of more than 50 leading New
      York and Boston environmental organizations and businesses such as Union of
      Concerned Scientists, Saunders Hotel Group, CERES, Starwood Hotels, and New
      England Aquarium. The group provided similar services to the Democratic
      National Convention in late July. See CERC's June 17th press release
      (<http://www.cerc04.org/pdfs/June%2017%20announcement.PDF>PDF 471 KB).

      Renewable energy certificates, also called tradable renewable certificates,
      are largely responsible for a large growth in green power sales in 2003,
      according to preliminary data from the Center for Resource Solutions (CRS).
      The non-profit organization, which manages the Green-e certification
      program, found an 86-percent increase in Green-e-certified renewable
      electricity sales in 2003 compared with the previous year. Although utility
      green power sales to customers increased 12 percent, the sale of renewable
      energy certificates increased 12-fold. Unfortunately, a loss of green power
      sales in California after the state's energy crisis led to a decline in
      retail sales of green power, as well as a decline in the number of
      customers buying retail green power in competitive power markets. See the
      <http://www.crs2.net/HTMLemails/PrelimVerifRelease_7.29.04.htm>CRS press
      release.

      Speaking of green power, the Ninth National Green Power Marketing
      Conference is only a month away. The conference will be held in Albany, New
      York, from October 4th through the 6th. See the
      <http://www.eere.energy.gov/greenpower/conference/ninth.html>conference Web
      site.


      Energy-Efficient Solar Homes Sprouting Up Nationwide

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      Photo of a house with solar panels on its roof.


      All 90 homes in this California community will include solar power systems.
      Credit: SunWize Technologies Inc.

      Energy-efficient homes that make good use of their solar energy resources
      are appearing in more and more communities throughout the United States. In
      Lakeport, California, for instance, a community of 90 energy-efficient
      solar homes is currently being built. Each home incorporates a 2.5-kilowatt
      solar power system from SunWize Technologies. The modular homes, built by
      Faqua in its factory in Oregon, are highly insulated and include
      low-emissivity windows and Energy Star appliances. The homes are also
      "affordable" by California standards: only $230,000 each, with the added
      advantage of low utility bills. See the SunWize press release
      (<http://www.sunwize.com/news/images/grandview_estates.pdf>PDF 115 KB).
      <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>Download Acrobat Reader.

      DOE and its home building partners are working toward a higher goal:
      so-called zero energy homes, which over the course of a year produce as
      much energy as they consume. In July, the fourth near-zero-energy Habitat
      for Humanity home was completed near Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Located in
      Lenoir City, the house features an airtight exterior built of structural
      insulated panels and insulated pre-cast concrete walls, and helps keep cool
      using roof and wall coatings with infrared reflective pigments. Power from
      a grid-connected solar power system helps drive a geothermal heat pump that
      provides efficient space heating and cooling as well as hot water. Built
      with support from DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the Habitat
      houses are part of DOE's Building America program. See the
      <http://www.ornl.gov/info/press_releases/get_press_release.cfm?ReleaseNumber=mr20040811-00>ORNL
      press release.

      Zero energy homes are the focus of the Solar Decathlon, a DOE competition
      in which teams from colleges and universities around the globe converge on
      Washington, D.C., to build energy-efficient, completely solar-powered
      homes. Nineteen teams from across the United States, as well as from
      Canada, Puerto Rico, and Spain, are gearing up for the 2005 competition,
      which is just over a year away. Find out the latest about the teams and the
      competition on the <http://www.eere.energy.gov/solar_decathlon/>Solar
      Decathlon Web site; a 141-page review of the 2002 Solar Decathlon is also
      available (<http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy04osti/33151.pdf>PDF 2.1 MB).

      While you're waiting for the 2005 Solar Decathlon, an event next month will
      give you an opportunity to visit solar homes in your own neighborhood. The
      2004 National Solar Tour, sponsored by the American Solar Energy Society,
      will be held on October 2nd. To find solar tours in your area or to help
      organize a local tour, visit the
      <http://www.ases.org/tour/homepage.htm>National Solar Tour Web site.


      NASA Releases Report on Crash of Helios Solar Plane

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      Two photos show first the Helios with its wing bent into a u-sh


      The wing tips of the Helios bent up sharply (left) shortly before the craft
      failed (right).
      Credit: NASA

      The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) released its final
      report last week on the crash of Helios, a solar-powered "flying wing" that
      suffered structural failure and fell into the Pacific Ocean during a
      long-duration test flight last summer. A review of the flight data
      concluded that atmospheric turbulence caused the plane's wing tips to bend
      upward abnormally and then caused the entire wing to oscillate. The growing
      oscillations caused the Helios to gain speed until it suffered a structural
      failure. The accident investigation board determined that the mishap
      resulted from the inability to predict, using available analysis methods,
      the aircraft's increased sensitivity to turbulence following modifications
      to allow long-duration flights. Specifically, the addition of a
      hydrogen-air fuel cell pod, hydrogen and oxygen storage tanks, and a
      battery backup system placed significant loads along the length of the
      flying wing, reducing the safety margins for the aircraft. See the
      <http://www.dfrc.nasa.gov/Newsroom/NewsReleases/2004/04-42.html>press
      release from the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center or go directly to the
      full report (<http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/64317main_helios.pdf>PDF 2.6 MB).
      <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>Download Acrobat Reader.


      U.S. Wind Power Industry Expects Meager Growth in 2004

      The growth of wind power in the United States has slowed to a crawl,
      according to a recent report from the American Wind Energy Association
      (AWEA). As of early August, the industry had installed less than 30
      megawatts of wind power in 2004, and AWEA expects less than 350 megawatts
      of new capacity by the end of the year, a steep drop from the 1,687
      megawatts installed in 2003. According to AWEA, the expiration of the
      federal production tax credit for wind power has left more than 2,000
      megawatts of new wind power projects on hold. The tax credit expired at the
      end of 2003, although a bill to extend the tax credit is working its way
      through Congress. See the <http://www.awea.org/news/news040810ptc.html>AWEA
      press release.

      One of the few new projects currently moving ahead is a 60-megawatt wind
      power project spearheaded by Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD). The
      utility recently won approval from its board of directors to award a
      contract to Renewable Energy Systems to construct a facility 6 miles south
      of Ainsworth, Nebraska, and the Nebraska Power Review Board approved
      project construction on August 26th. The utility needs to finalize
      agreements with other utilities on the project before construction can
      begin. NPPD expects the wind plant to begin operating in late 2005. See the
      <http://www.nppd.com/News/News_Releases/default.asp>NPPD press releases.

      Meanwhile, companies in other countries are pushing ahead with offshore
      wind power projects. Nai Kun Wind Development Inc. is proposing to build a
      700-megawatt wind plant in the strait between Prince Rupert and the Queen
      Charlotte Islands in British Columbia, Canada. And Talisman Energy, an oil
      and gas producer, announced in late August that it will spend nearly $45
      million on a deep-water wind demonstration project located about 15 miles
      off the coast of Scotland. The wind turbines will be located in about 100
      feet of water and will provide power to nearby oil platforms in the
      Beatrice oil field. The project is expected to begin producing power in
      late 2006. See the <http://www.naikun.ca/index.cfm?content=home>Nai Kun Web
      site and the
      <http://www2.ccnmatthews.com/scripts/ccn-release.pl?/current/0826090n.html?cp=tlm>Talisman
      Energy press release.


      California Utility Reopens Residential Energy Efficiency Program

      Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), one of the largest utilities in
      California, announced last week that it has reopened its popular program of
      energy efficiency rebates for residences. The utility has an additional
      $6.5 million in funds to keep the rebates flowing until the end of the
      year. PG&E closed the program in early July for lack of funds, but recently
      earned approval from the California Public Utilities Commission to redirect
      some unspent funds toward the rebate program. See the
      <http://www.pge.com/news/news_releases/q3_2004/040831.html>PG&E press release.

      PG&E is also offering discounts on Energy Star lighting. Now through
      October 31st, 750 retail and hardware stores in the utility's service area
      are offering instant discounts on compact fluorescent lamps and
      energy-efficient light fixtures and torchiere lamps. See the
      <http://www.pge.com/news/news_releases/q3_2004/040903.html>PG&E
      press release.

      Meanwhile, the state's other major residential energy efficiency rebate
      programs continue to run low. As of August 25th, Southern California Edison
      (SCE) was down to 13 percent of its residential rebate funds. San Diego Gas
      and Electric (SDG&E) closed most of its residential rebate programs in
      mid-August. See the
      <http://www.sce.com/sc3/011_reb_off/011a_fyh/011a1_reb_off/default.htm>SCE
      and <http://www.sdge.com/residential/single_family_rebates.shtml>SDG&E Web
      sites.
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      Site News




      <http://www.abanet.org/environ/committees/renewableenergy/>American Bar
      Association Focuses on Renewable Energy

      The American Bar Association (ABA) recently launched a Renewable Energy
      Resources Committee, which aims to tackle such issues as financial
      structuring, incentives to stimulate development, techniques for addressing
      regulatory constraints, synergies with environmental legal requirements,
      and measures to maximize the value of the legal benefits of renewable
      energy projects. The committee is hosting a series of monthly
      teleconferences; the first, in San Francisco on September 15th, is
      available via videoconference in four major cities and via telephone hookup
      in eight major cities. See the
      <http://www.abanet.org/environ/committees/renewableenergy/>ABA Renewable
      Energy Resources Committee Web site.
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      Energy Connections




      Utility Plans Commercial "Clean Coal" Power Plant by 2010

      Will so-called "clean coal" technologies compete with renewable energy and
      other power sources within the next decade? Although these technologies
      currently exist only as demonstration plants, American Electric Power (AEP)
      announced in late August that the company will build at least one
      commercial-scale integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) plant as
      early as 2010. IGCC technology converts coal into a gas and passes it
      through pollutant-removal equipment before the gas is burned. The process
      is more efficient than conventional coal combustion and results in fewer
      emissions of nitrous oxides, sulfur dioxide, mercury, and carbon dioxide.
      Carbon capture is also expected to be easier from an IGCC plant than from
      typical coal plants, although that process has not been demonstrated yet.
      AEP has not yet set a construction timetable or location for its proposed
      facility. See the
      <http://www.aep.com/newsroom/newsreleases/default.asp?dbcommand=displayrelease&ID=1144>AEP
      press release.
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