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EERE Network News -- 09/29/04

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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 29, 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:

      September 29, 2004

      News and Events

      * Congress Renews Wind Energy Production Tax Credit
      * New York State Sets a New Renewable Energy Requirement
      * National Solar Tour Kicks Off This Weekend
      * EIA: U.S. Solar Power Manufacturing Declined in 2003
      * California Passes Bills to Promote Clean Cars and Renewables
      * California Approves Rules to Cut Auto Greenhouse Emissions

      Site News

      * Renewable Energy Long Island

      Energy Connections

      * Approval of Reactor Design Opens Door for New Nuclear Power


      News and Events

      Congress Renews Wind Energy Production Tax Credit



      Photo of a man who appears tiny atop the hub of a massive wind

      A worker prepares to enter the hub of GE's 1.5-megawatt wind turbine. With
      the tax credit reinstated, about 200 of these wind turbines will soon be
      erected in Iowa.
      Credit: Sandia National Laboratories

      Congress approved a bill last week that will extend the wind energy
      Production Tax Credit (PTC) through the end of next year. The PTC was
      included in a major tax package that President Bush is expected to sign.
      The PTC provides a tax credit of 1.5 cents per kilowatt-hour (in 1992
      dollars, adjusted for inflation) for power produced by wind turbines.
      According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the PTC extension
      will allow wind energy investments of about $3 billion to move ahead over
      the next several years. See the
      <http://www.awea.org/news/news040924wti.html>AWEA press release and the
      <http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d108:HR01308:@@@L>full text and
      latest status of the bill, HR 1308.

      Wind power is yielding economic benefits for Pennsylvania, as Gamesa, a
      Spanish wind energy company, has agreed to base its East Coast development
      offices and U.S. headquarters in Philadelphia and to also locate a wind
      blade manufacturing facility in the state. According to Pennsylvania
      Governor Edward G. Rendell, the new Gamesa facilities could generate as
      many as 1,000 jobs in Pennsylvania over the next five years. See the
      <http://www.state.pa.us/papower/cwp/view.asp?Q=438315&A=11>governor's press

      Wind power is also moving ahead in Iowa, as MidAmerican Energy Company, the
      state's largest utility, has chosen two sites on which to install 310
      megawatts of wind power. One site is near Blairsburg, about 40 miles north
      of Ames in central Iowa, and the other is in northwest Iowa, near Storm
      Lake. The company will erect about 100 1.5-megawatt General Electric wind
      turbines at each location at a cost of about $323 million. MidAmerican
      Energy expects the Storm Lake site to be online before year-end, and the
      Blairsburg site should begin operating in 2005. See the
      Energy press release.

      New York State Sets a New Renewable Energy Requirement

      The New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) adopted a new renewable
      energy policy last week that requires 25 percent of the state's electricity
      to be supplied from renewable energy sources by 2013. Although the state
      already produces 19.3 percent of its electricity from renewable energy
      sources, primarily hydropower, the new Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS)
      program will result in about 3,700 megawatts of new renewable energy
      capacity. The new requirement credits medium- and large-scale facilities
      that draw on wind, biomass, or ocean energy sources, as well as solar
      photovoltaic systems, fuel-cell systems, hydropower upgrades, and
      low-impact, run-of-river hydropower plants of less than 30 megawatts in
      capacity. The requirement also credits customer-sited fuel cells, solar
      electric systems, and wind turbines. The RPS program will start in 2006
      with a target of roughly 1.3 million megawatt-hours from renewable sources,
      increasing to nearly 12 million megawatt-hours in 2013.

      The PSC estimates that the RPS program will have modest impacts on customer
      bills, and should cause the state's wholesale energy prices to decline.
      Overall, the PSC estimates residential customers may see as much as a 0.9
      percent reduction in their bills over the life of the program, or an
      increase of up to 1.68 percent. The projected impact on commercial
      customers ranges from a 0.78 percent reduction to a 1.79 percent increase,
      and for industrial customers, from a 1.54 percent reduction to a 2.2
      percent increase. See the PSC press release
      23 KB). <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>Download
      Acrobat Reader.

      National Solar Tour Kicks Off This Weekend

      October 2nd marks the date for this year's National Solar Tour, during
      which homes, schools, churches, and businesses across the United States
      will open their doors to the public to show how solar energy and energy
      efficiency are being put to work. Last year's tour attracted 35,000
      visitors in nearly 800 communities in 45 states; this year, the ninth
      annual National Solar Tour is offering tours in 37 states plus the District
      of Columbia. The tours are organized by chapters of the American Solar
      Energy Society (ASES), state energy offices, and volunteer groups. See the
      <http://www.ases.org/about_ases/press/2004_tour_9-27-04.htm>ASES press
      release and to find out if there's a tour near you, visit the
      <http://www.ases.org/tour/homepage.htm>ASES Web site.

      EIA: U.S. Solar Power Manufacturing Declined in 2003

      Despite a growing U.S. market for photovoltaic solar power, a drop in
      exports caused photovoltaic manufacturing in the United States to decline
      in 2003. According to a recent report from DOE's Energy Information
      Administration (EIA), the bankruptcy of AstroPower in 2003 contributed to
      the first decline in the U.S. production of solar cells and modules since
      the EIA began keeping track in 1986. The 2.5 percent decline from the
      previous year was the result of a 9 percent drop in exports, which
      outweighed a 7 percent increase in domestic shipments. Meanwhile, ABI
      Research reports that Japan has been leading the photovoltaic industry for
      years, but now the center of activity is shifting to the West­not to the
      United States, but to Germany, where strong subsidies are in place. See the
      EIA report,
      Thermal and Photovoltaic Manufacturing Activities 2003," and see the
      <http://www.abiresearch.com/abiprdisplay2.jsp?pressid=324>ABI Research
      press release.

      Even the growing U.S. market sometimes fails to yield new production
      capacity within the United States: Japan's Kyocera Solar, Inc. plans to
      double its photovoltaic manufacturing output within the next year, and will
      open a new production plant on Friday to serve the North American market.
      The company's new module assembly plant is meant to focus on the California
      market, but is located in Tijuana, Mexico. See the
      <http://www.kyocerasolar.com/news/news_detail.cfm?key=119>Kyocera press

      California Passes Bills to Promote Clean Cars and Renewables

      California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a number of bills over the
      past week that will be beneficial to hybrid-electric car owners and certain
      renewable energy installations.

      Photo of the Toyota Prius.

      The Toyota Prius may soon be a more common sight in California's HOV lanes,
      thanks to a new law.
      Credit: Toyota

      California owners of new hybrid electric cars and recent-model low-emission
      vehicles will benefit from
      2628, which allows those vehicles to use the HOV (high-occupancy vehicle)
      lanes normally reserved for carpools. The bill opens those lanes to
      low-emissions vehicles produced during the 2004 model year or earlier, as
      well as new low-emission hybrid-electric vehicles that achieve at least 45
      miles per gallon. Meant as an incentive for people to buy hybrid vehicles,
      the bill also limits the total number of HOV stickers for these vehicles to
      75,000 and sets procedures to avoid causing the HOV lanes to become
      congested. The governor
      the bill on September 23rd, but the measure will also require approval from
      the U.S. Department of Transportation.

      Several new laws will also help the development of renewable energy
      resources in the state.
      1689 expands the state's self-generation incentive program to include
      projects fueled with waste gas, while
      1565 requires the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development
      Commission to develop a strategic plan including renewable energy. The
      both bills on September 22nd. Governor Schwarzenegger also
      two solar energy bills on September 25th:
      2473, strengthening an existing law that prohibits local governments from
      placing restrictions on solar energy systems, and
      594, which requires Pacific Gas and Electric Company to establish a net
      metering agreement with the City and County of San Francisco for up to 5
      megawatts of solar power. The city currently owns a 688-kilowatt solar
      power system at the Moscone Convention Center, and plans to install a
      600-kilowatt system at a wastewater treatment plant.

      California Approves Rules to Cut Auto Greenhouse Emissions

      The California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved new regulations last
      week requiring automakers to sell vehicles that produce lower emissions of
      greenhouse gases. The new regulations begin to phase-in during the 2009
      model year and gradually tighten until 2016, when the average new car or
      light truck sold in California will be required to emit 30 percent lower
      greenhouse gases than today's vehicles. The CARB staff estimates that costs
      for the added technology needed to meet the rule will average about $325
      per vehicle in 2012 and about $1050 per vehicle in 2016. However, lower
      operating costs for the vehicles will result in a net savings to consumers,
      according to analyses by CARB. See the
      <http://www.arb.ca.gov/newsrel/nr092404.htm>CARB press release and the
      <http://www.arb.ca.gov/regact/grnhsgas/grnhsgas.htm>full regulatory documents.

      Although restricting greenhouse gas emissions from cars is often equated
      with fuel economy, that's not the full story. In June, CARB issued a report
      on greenhouse gas reduction technologies that suggested a variety of
      fuel-saving technologies­including improved engine technologies,
      turbocharging combined with smaller engines, and automated manual
      transmissions­but also suggested technologies to cut emissions of
      refrigerants from cars' air conditioning systems. Many refrigerants are
      powerful greenhouse gases. See the report
      (<http://www.arb.ca.gov/cc/factsheets/cc_isor.pdf>PDF 1.1 MB).
      <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>Download Acrobat Reader.


      Site News

      <http://www.renewableenergylongisland.org/>Renewable Energy Long Island

      Renewable Energy Long Island is a membership-based, not-for-profit
      organization promoting clean, sustainable energy use and generation for
      Long Island. It seeks public participation in energy policy decisions to
      encourage energy efficiency, use of renewable energy sources, and to
      protect our environment, economy, and public health.

      Energy Connections

      Approval of Reactor Design Opens Door for New Nuclear Power

      Will new nuclear power plants contribute to the U.S. energy supply in the
      future? The Westinghouse Electric Company thinks they will, as the company
      has just earned approval from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)
      for its new standard nuclear plant design, the AP1000. Described by
      Westinghouse as the "safest, most economical nuclear plant currently
      available with NRC approval," the new design "has already received strong
      interest from potential customers in Asia, Europe, and the United States,"
      according to Westinghouse. See the announcement on the
      <http://www.westinghousenuclear.com/>Westinghouse Web site.

      According to DOE, a recent study by the University of Chicago finds that
      advanced nuclear power plants could be cost-competitive with coal and
      natural gas as a source of electricity. The study shows higher costs for
      the first few nuclear power plants, but lower costs once a third or fourth
      plant comes online. See the
      <http://nuclear.gov/home/09-20-04.html>announcement and the
      <http://nuclear.gov/nucpwr2010/NP2010rptEconFutofNucPwr.html>full report on
      the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology Web site.

      This newsletter is funded by DOE's <http://www.eere.energy.gov/>Office of
      Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and is also available on the
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