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EERE Network News -- 11/24/04

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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 , Nov 25, 2004


      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:

      November 24, 2004

      News and Events

      * United States and 13 Other Countries Form Methane Energy Partnership
      * Solar "Utilities" and Credit Trades Boost Solar Water Heating
      * Study: Worldwide Use of Solar Thermal Energy Underestimated
      * Wind Power Brings Jobs to Nevada, Utah, Vermont, and Wisconsin
      * Ethanol Fuel Industry on Building Spree in the Midwest
      * American Chemistry Council Honors Energy Efficiency Efforts

      Energy Connections

      * Energy Companies Continue to Propose New LNG Terminals


      News and Events

      United States and 13 Other Countries Form Methane Energy Partnership

      The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced last week that 13
      countries have joined the Methane to Markets Partnership, an international
      effort to capture methane emissions and convert them into energy. In the
      United States, the major source of methane emissions is landfill gas, but
      the partnership also focuses on recovering methane from coal mines and from
      natural gas and oil systems. Methane to Markets has the potential to reduce
      net methane emissions by up to 50 million metric tons of carbon equivalent
      annually by 2015, equivalent to eliminating the carbon emissions from 50
      500-megawatt coal-fired power plants. Representatives from Argentina,
      Australia, Brazil, China, Colombia, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria,
      Russia, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom joined the United States in signing
      a document to formally create the Methane to Markets Partnership. See the
      press release and the EPA's <http://www.epa.gov/methanetomarkets/>Methane
      to Markets Web site.

      Globally, landfill gas is the third-largest human-caused source of methane.
      The United States is the world's largest source of landfill methane
      emissions, producing 26 percent of global emissions, followed by China at
      11 percent, and Russia at 5 percent. Thanks in part to voluntary efforts
      led by the EPA, total U.S. methane emissions in 2001 were 5 percent below
      1990 levels. See the EPA fact sheets on landfill gas emissions
      (<http://www.epa.gov/methanetomarkets/docs/factsheet_lfg.pdf>PDF 150 KB)
      and on the significance of methane and U.S. efforts to reduce methane
      71 KB). <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>Download
      Acrobat Reader.

      A new study by researchers at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies and
      the Earth Institute at Columbia University finds that reducing emissions of
      methane and other trace gases could stabilize global warming even with
      significant levels of carbon dioxide emissions. If measures are taken to
      reduce these other greenhouse gases, the authors argue that "acceptable
      (carbon dioxide) emissions in coming decades may be greater than commonly
      assumed." The study (<http://www.pnas.org/cgi/reprint/101/46/16109.pdf>PDF
      711 KB) was published in last week's "Proceedings of the National Academies
      of Science."

      Solar "Utilities" and Credit Trades Boost Solar Water Heating

      Most Americans may not think about using solar energy to meet their hot
      water needs, but a number of innovative companies and utilities are working
      to change that. In Green Bay, Wisconsin, for instance, the Solar Mining
      Company installs solar hot water systems at commercial, industrial, and
      non-profit facilities for free, and then bills the customer for the hot
      water at rates lower than competing fossil-fueled options. The company,
      which received startup funding from Wisconsin's Focus on Energy, will also
      build and install customer-owned systems. See the Focus on Energy press
      39 KB). <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>Download
      Acrobat Reader.

      Florida's Lakeland Electric went a step further: it recently sold renewable
      energy credits from its solar hot water systems. Lakeland Electric sold 50
      megawatt-hours of solar heating credits for $2000 in September, using
      Sterling Planet as a broker. After paying commission fees, the utility
      earned 3.2 cents per kilowatt-hour on the deal, which marks the first time
      that solar thermal credits have been traded. The funds will help support
      solar water heating in Lakeland, located about 25 miles east of Tampa. See
      the <http://www.lakelandgov.net/news/20041021le.html>Lakeland Electric
      press release.

      The South Carolina Energy Office (SCEO) is also promoting solar hot water
      systems. The office's new Public Building Solar Initiative is offering
      grants to cover three-quarters of the cost of installing solar hot water
      systems on public buildings throughout the state. The SCEO expects to award
      at least $80,000 to eligible projects. Applications are due on December
      10th. See the

      Study: Worldwide Use of Solar Thermal Energy Underestimated



      Photo of a solar collector, mounted on a roof, consisting of 20

      One type of solar energy collector is the evacuated-tube collector.
      Credit: Alan Ford

      Estimates of the world's use of solar energy for heating water and
      buildings have long been hampered by a technical issue: the difficulty of
      converting the size of the installed solar energy collectors into an energy
      capacity that could be easily compared to other capacity figures. Last
      week, however, the International Energy Agency's Solar Heating and Cooling
      Programme (IEA-SHC) and the world's major solar energy trade associations
      announced that they had agreed on a simple conversion factor for all types
      of solar thermal collectors: each square meter of solar collector,
      regardless of type, has the capacity to generate about 0.7 kilowatts of
      thermal heat. Applying that to worldwide estimates of installed solar
      collectors, the organizations found the world capacity to be nearly 70
      gigawatts of thermal heat. That compares favorably with wind power, which
      has a global installed capacity of 23 gigawatts of electric power. See the
      <http://www.estif.org/index.php?id=46&backPID=2&pS=1&tt_news=25>joint press
      release on the European Solar Thermal Industry Federation Web site, and for
      more information, see the <http://www.iea-shc.org/>IEA-SHC Web site.

      Wind Power Brings Jobs to Nevada, Utah, Vermont, and Wisconsin

      With companies like GE Energy reporting $1.3 billion in orders for wind
      turbines, some may assume that all the benefits from wind projects go
      toward large corporations, but that's far from the case. In fact, the
      current flurry of wind power projects is yielding job and economic benefits
      across the country.

      Nevada is the latest to gain from the current wind rush, as Energy Nevada,
      LLC has announced an agreement with Sweden's Nordic Windpower to establish
      Nordic's U.S. manufacturing activity in the northern part of the state. The
      agreement provides for Nordic Windpower to start manufacturing wind
      turbines in Nevada as soon as a wind developer commits to building a Nevada
      wind energy project of sufficient size. From the Nevada plant, Nordic and
      Energy Nevada plan to ship wind turbines throughout North America. See the
      Energy Nevada press release
      (<http://www.energynevada.com/PDF/NWP-EN_PR_10-21-04.pdf>PDF 254 KB).
      <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>Download Acrobat Reader.

      A fabrication plant in Provo, Utah, is already benefiting from the wind
      rush, having just earned a contract to build 150 tubular steel towers for
      wind turbines to be installed in the West. The 14-month project will
      require more than 18,000 tons of steel. The plant is owned by CB&I, a
      leading engineering, procurement, and construction company. See the
      <http://www.cbi.com/ir/release.aspx?releaseid=147344>CB&I press release.

      Photo of men working on a NorthWind 100-kilowatt wind turbine.

      Northern Power Systems will use its new manufacturing space to build
      several of its NorthWind 100 wind turbines, like the one shown here, for
      installation in Alaska.
      Credit: Warren Gretz, NREL

      Wind power's fabrication needs have also yielded benefits for Wisconsin, as
      a new company called Global Energy Systems has been established in Stevens
      Point. The new plant will fabricate wind turbine components such as towers,
      flanges, gearboxes, bedplates, and hubs, and will employ about 100 people,
      including 75 skilled laborers. The company was started with the help of a
      Wisconsin Focus on Energy grant. See the Focus on Energy press release
      21 KB).

      Last but not least, Vermont's Northern Power Systems is expanding its
      manufacturing facilities, having leased a 35,000-square-foot plant in
      Barre. The company plans to hire at least 35 new employees, including
      technicians, drafters, and engineers. The facility will first be used to
      build NorthWind 100 wind turbines for shipment to Alaska, and will also
      serve to fabricate industrial power systems. See the
      Power press release.

      Ethanol Fuel Industry on Building Spree in the Midwest



      Photo of an ethanol production plant

      An ethanol fuel plant in Nebraska.
      Credit: Chris Standlee

      A growth in demand and favorable new tax credits appear to have accelerated
      the U.S. ethanol fuel industry. Since October, the Renewable Fuels
      Association (RFA) has announced the start of construction on new ethanol
      plants in Illinois, Iowa, and Kansas, plus two plants under construction in
      Minnesota. In addition, Texas will soon host its first ethanol plant, as
      Panhandle Energies is building a plant in Dumas (in far northern Texas)
      capable of producing 30 million gallons per year. Ethanol plants are also
      expanding, as a plant in Wisconsin is doubling its capacity and another in
      Iowa is nearly doubling its capacity as well. With construction recently
      completed on a plant in Iowa, the industry now has 82 operating plants
      capable of producing nearly 3.5 billion gallons of ethanol each year. The
      16 plants now under construction will be able to produce another 750
      million gallons of ethanol each year. Given the growth in the industry, its
      no surprise that ethanol production in September set another record, and
      total ethanol production in 2004 is expected to top 3.35 billion gallons, a
      19 percent growth over 2003. See the
      <http://www.ethanolrfa.org/press.shtml>RFA press releases.

      The ethanol industry may receive another boost from the Broin Companies, an
      ethanol producer that claims to have developed a new process for producing
      ethanol. The "Broin Project X" (BPX) process eliminates a cooking step,
      saving energy while significantly decreasing plant emissions, according to
      the company. Novozymes, a developer of starch conversion enzymes for the
      ethanol industry, helped Broin develop the process, which Broin is now
      using at three of its ethanol plants. The company has applied for a patent
      and intends to license the process to other ethanol plants. See the Broin
      press release (<http://www.broin.com/pdfs/broin_press_release.pdf>PDF 68
      KB). <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>Download Acrobat

      While the ethanol fuel industry is looking to increase ethanol's use in
      gasoline blends, the Gas Technology Institute (GTI) is already looking at
      how ethanol might power tomorrow's fuel cell vehicles. GTI recently
      announced that it was able to convert ethanol into hydrogen using its
      two-step steam-reforming process. See the
      press release.

      American Chemistry Council Honors Energy Efficiency Efforts

      The American Chemistry Council (ACC) recently honored eight chemical
      companies for energy efficiency improvements made in 2003. The eight
      companies­BASF Corporation; BP; Dow Corning Corporation; Eastman Chemical
      Company; ExxonMobil Chemical Company; Merck & Company, Inc.; Monsanto
      Company; and Sasol North America, Inc.­earned a total of 19 awards for
      their company-wide or plant-specific progress. According to ACC, the total
      annual energy savings represented by the 19 awards amounts to 4.9 trillion
      Btu, equal to the energy needs of about 26,000 households. See the ACC
      press release (<http://www.accnewsmedia.com/docs/2100/2065.pdf>PDF 121 KB),
      and for more information on the individual awards, see the press releases
      Chemical and <http://www.basf.com/corporate/111204_freeport.htm>BASF.
      <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>Download Acrobat Reader.

      Have you ever wondered how much energy each industry uses, and where that
      energy goes? The Industrial Energy Footprints, recently prepared by DOE's
      Industrial Technologies Program, spell it all out in graphic detail. The
      footprints summarize 16 manufacturing industries and also include an
      overview of all manufacturing industries. For instance, it's easy to find
      out that the chemical industries consume a total of 5 quadrillion Btu (5
      quads) each year, equal to about 5 percent of the energy consumed in the
      United States. See the
      Energy Footprints.


      Energy Connections

      Energy Companies Continue to Propose New LNG Terminals

      Energy companies are continuing to pursue new projects to import liquefied
      natural gas (LNG) into the United States. Last week, Philadelphia Gas Works
      proposed building an LNG terminal along the Delaware River, and
      ChevronTexaco proposed building an LNG terminal at its refinery in
      Pascagoula, Mississippi. LNG is the only practical way to import natural
      gas from overseas. See the press releases from
      Gas Works and

      With onshore LNG terminals facing some local opposition, companies are also
      turning toward offshore and international projects to import LNG into the
      United States. In late October, the draft Environmental Impact Statement
      (EIS) was released for a proposed LNG terminal located 14 miles off the
      coast of Ventura County, California, called the Cabrillo Port LNG Deepwater
      Port. In early November, TransCanada and Shell announced plans to build an
      LNG terminal in Long Island Sound, about 9 miles off the Long Island coast.
      And last week, Tidelands Oil and Gas Corporation announced a preliminary
      design study to examine building an offshore LNG terminal in the Gulf of
      Mexico. Meanwhile, ChevronTexaco received its environmental permit in
      September for an LNG terminal off the coast of Baja California, Mexico, and
      El Paso Corporation applied last week to build a natural gas pipeline from
      a proposed LNG terminal in the Bahamas to south Florida. See the
      <http://www.cabrilloport.ene.com/draft_eiseir.htm>draft EIS for the
      Cabrillo Port LNG terminal and the press releases from
      <http://www.tidelandsoilandgas.com/flash_newstide_111804.htm>Tidelands Oil
      and Gas,
      and <http://www.elpaso.com/press/newsquery.asp?sID=4331>El Paso.

      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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