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EERE Network News -- 12/08/04

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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 , Dec 8, 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:

      December 08, 2004

      News and Events

      * Pennsylvania Governor Approves Renewable Energy and Alt-Fuel Bills
      * Wisconsin Energy Task Force Recommends Efficiency, Renewables
      * New Large Wind Power Plants Planned for Washington and Oregon
      * Nevada Tribe Uses Solar Power, Earns First State Rebate
      * Connecticut and Moab, Utah, Show Support for Green Power
      * Energy Efficiency Report Highlights Commercial Buildings, Ducts, and
      Power Supplies

      Energy Connections

      * DOE Report on "Cold Fusion" Studies Recommends More Research


      News and Events

      Pennsylvania Governor Approves Renewable Energy and Alt-Fuel Bills



      Photo of two men working on a large surface covered with solar

      This 16-kilowatt solar power system in Ebensburg, Pennsylvania, is a sign
      of things to come for the state, as a new law will mandate 408 megawatts of
      solar power by 2019.
      Credit: Lyle Rawlings of First, Inc.

      Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell signed a bill into law last week that
      will require the state's electric utilities to draw on renewable energy and
      other alternative energy sources for a percentage of their electricity
      supply. By late in 2019, 8 percent of their electrical supply must be
      derived from "Tier One" sources, defined as solar power from photovoltaic
      systems, wind power, low-impact hydropower, geothermal energy, fuel cells,
      biomass energy (from dedicated crops or waste streams), biologically
      derived methane gas, and methane recovered from venting coal mines. In
      addition, 10 percent of their power must come from "Tier Two" sources,
      defined as demand-side management, distributed generation systems,
      large-scale hydropower, municipal solid waste, wood manufacturing
      by-products, waste coal, and integrated combined-cycle coal gasification
      technology (also known as "clean coal"). The bill specifically requires
      solar photovoltaic power to provide 0.5 percent of the state's power by
      late in 2019, a requirement that the Solar Energy Industries Association
      (SEIA) says will yield 408 megawatts of solar power. See the
      <http://www.seia.org/news/releases.asp?id=37>SEIA press release.

      For most utilities in the state, the bill's requirements begin to phase in
      two years from now. The bill, called the Alternative Energy Portfolio
      Standards Act and designated as Senate Bill 1030, also requires the state's
      Public Utilities Commission to establish a credit-trading system to help
      utilities meet the requirements and sets fees for non-compliance. The bill
      was lauded by Citizen's for Pennsylvania's Future (PennFuture), an advocacy
      group for the state's environment and economy. See the PennFuture press
      release (<http://www.pennfuture.org/docs/PressRelease_RPSpassage.pdf>PDF
      105 KB), the governor's press releases from
      <http://www.state.pa.us/papower/cwp/view.asp?A=11&Q=439274>November 30th
      and <http://www.state.pa.us/papower/cwp/view.asp?A=11&Q=439442>December
      7th, and the
      <http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/BI/ALL/2003/0/SB1030.HTM>full text of
      Senate Bill 1030.
      <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>Download Acrobat Reader.

      Governor Rendell also signed Senate Bill 255, the Alternative Fuels
      Incentive Act, which establishes a fund to help people and organizations
      buy alternative-fuel vehicles and convert existing vehicles to allow them
      to use alternative fuels. A one-time transfer of funds this fiscal year
      will support research and installation of alternative energy systems that
      produce power. The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) hailed the bill. See the
      <http://www.state.pa.us/papower/cwp/view.asp?A=11&Q=439232>governor's press
      release, the
      <http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/BI/ALL/2003/0/SB0255.HTM>full text of
      Senate Bill 255, and the NBB press release
      27 KB).

      Wisconsin Energy Task Force Recommends Efficiency, Renewables

      Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle released the final report of his Task Force on
      Energy Efficiency and Renewables last week. The task force report
      recommends establishing a requirement to draw on renewable energy for 10
      percent of the state's electricity needs by 2015, while setting tougher
      goals for state agencies: buying 10 percent of their power from renewable
      energy sources by 2006, and 20 percent by 2010. The report also recommends
      a sales and use tax exemption for customer-owned renewable energy systems,
      while taking a variety of actions to support renewable energy
      systems­especially anaerobic digesters­in rural areas. In terms of energy
      efficiency, the report recommends updating and improving the state's
      commercial building energy codes; requiring state agencies to buy
      energy-efficient products and appliances; establishing goals or
      requirements for state facilities to exceed energy-efficiency codes; and
      restructuring the state's Focus on Energy program. See the
      <http://energytaskforce.wi.gov/section.asp?linkid=33>task force report.

      New Large Wind Power Plants Planned for Washington and Oregon

      The Pacific Northwest may soon see more wind energy projects, as two new
      wind power plants are in the works for Washington and Oregon.

      In Washington, Blue Sky Wind, LLC is proposing to build a 150-megawatt wind
      power project in Columbia County, near the southeast corner of the state.
      Puget Sound Energy (PSE) signed a letter of intent with Blue Sky to
      purchase the project, which should be complete in late 2005 or early 2006.
      PSE estimates the cost of the project at roughly $200 million. While some
      utilities eschew owning wind plants in favor of simply buying the power
      from others, the new proposed purchase is the second for PSE. See the
      <http://www.pse.com/news/2004/pr20041201a.html>PSE press release.

      In Oregon, Columbia Energy Partners LLC (CEP) is planning to build a
      104-megawatt wind power project near Arlington, at about the center of the
      state's northern border. The Arlington Wind Farm will consist of 63
      1.65-megawatt wind turbines and should be completed in 2005. The
      Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation announced last week
      that they will invest in the project. Before entering into a partnership
      agreement with CEP, the tribe and CEP worked with DOE's National Renewable
      Energy Laboratory to analyze wind data collected over two years at the
      site. Those wind tests found ample wind resources, with winds averaging 14
      to 15 miles per hour at the site. See the
      <http://www.columbiaep.com/projects.htm#2>CEP Web site and the
      <http://www.umatilla.nsn.us/news120204B.html>Umatilla Tribe press release.

      Meanwhile, other large wind power projects are moving ahead. GE Energy
      announced in late November that it will supply 207 of its 1.5-megawatt wind
      turbines to MidAmerican Energy Company, which is installing a total of
      310.5 megawatts of wind power at two sites in Iowa. Vestas, a Danish wind
      company, announced it will supply 36 of its 1.65-megawatt wind turbines to
      Nebraska Public Power District for its 60-megawatt wind plant. And on a
      smaller scale, American Municipal Power-Ohio (AMP-Ohio) announced that its
      wind facility in Ohio, the state's largest, has doubled in size to 7.2
      megawatts. The facility, near Bowling Green, consists of four 1.8-megawatt
      wind turbines. See the
      <http://www.gepower.com/about/press/en/2004_press/113004k.htm>GE Power and
      press releases and the
      <http://www.amp-ohio.org/pressreleases/flash/pr_listing.php>November 19th
      press release from AMP-Ohio.

      Nevada Tribe Uses Solar Power, Earns First State Rebate



      Photo of solar panels on a roof, with mountains in the backgrou

      The 7.5-kilowatt solar power system installed by the Washoe Tribe on a
      building in southwest Nevada.
      Credit: Washoe Tribe

      The Washoe Indian Tribe of Nevada and California has achieved a milestone
      in renewable energy that no other group or organization has achieved
      before: it earned the first-ever rebate check for installing a solar power
      system in Nevada. The tribe received a $33,185 rebate check from Sierra
      Pacific Power Company for installing a 7.5-kilowatt solar power system on a
      small office building on Highway 395, just southeast of Lake Tahoe. See the
      Pacific press release and the
      <http://www.washoetribe.us/div_environment/solar.asp>announcement on the
      Washoe Tribe Web site.

      According to Sierra Pacific, another 55 small commercial and residential
      solar projects are now under construction in Nevada and will have a
      combined capacity of nearly 200 kilowatts. These projects are eligible for
      a combined total of $1 million in rebates through the state's
      SolarGenerations program. See the
      <http://www.solargenerations.com/>SolarGenerations Web site.

      Connecticut and Moab, Utah, Show Support for Green Power

      Here's a good deal for municipalities in Connecticut: Commit to buying 20
      percent green power by 2010, and earn a free solar energy system. The
      offer, announced by the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund (CCEF) last month,
      launched the state's new Clean Energy Communities program, which will let
      the state's cities and towns pitch in on efforts to promote renewable
      energy in the state. According to CCEF, New Haven and Portland have already
      committed to buy 20 percent green power by 2010. See the
      <http://www.ctcleanenergy.com/news/73.php>CCEF press release.

      While its mostly a matter of will and budget for towns to buy green power
      for their own facilities, getting all the town's residents to do so as well
      can be quite a struggle. That's why Moab, Utah, stands out as the nation's
      first "Green Power Community." Four percent of the electricity used in the
      entire Moab area community is now supplied by green power, an achievement
      that comes from the combined efforts of a committee of citizens, business
      leaders, and public officials, as well as the help of Utah Clean Energy and
      Utah Power. Although the town achieved its goal in August, it was
      officially recognized for the achievement by the U.S. Environmental
      Protection Agency (EPA) in November. See the
      Region 8 press release.

      Energy Efficiency Report Highlights Commercial Buildings, Ducts, and Power

      Without a doubt, there are a multitude of technologies for saving energy
      currently in the works, from light-emitting diodes (LEDs) for lighting to
      advanced compressors for air conditioners. But which of these is most
      likely to have an impact on U.S. energy use? A new report from the American
      Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) tackles that question by
      reviewing 200 emerging energy-saving technologies and practices, and
      ranking them based on their potential to save energy at low costs. Some
      technologies and practices, such as advanced window glazings, earned
      bonuses for avoiding lost opportunities in new building construction;
      others, such as evaporative coolers, earned bonuses for their potential to
      save energy in limited regions. Overall, the highest scores were earned by
      a diverse group of technologies and practices: new leak-proof ducts and
      duct-sealing systems; integrated design of high-performance buildings;
      "retrocommissioning," which means going over an existing building to
      correct problems and make sure its systems are operating efficiently; and
      standby power systems for home appliances that use 1 watt or less.

      Photo of Robyn Hladish of the University of Maryland, filling a

      Front-loading washing machines are one of the high-priority energy-saving
      items in the 1993 report that have found their way into the mainstream.
      Credit: Warren Gretz

      While the report itself is informative and interesting (including summaries
      of 66 energy efficiency technologies and practices), its comparison to
      similar reports prepared in 1993 and 1998 is enlightening. Since the first
      report in 1993, 16 technologies have moved into mainstream acceptance, 7
      have remained a high or medium priority, 2 have moved down to a low
      priority, 3 were moved into the special bonus category, and 24 are no
      longer included. Among the technologies now in the mainstream are improved
      washing machines and dishwashers, improved inkjet printers, low-power
      televisions, and bright screw-in compact fluorescent bulbs. See the
      <http://www.aceee.org/press/0412et.htm>ACEEE press release or go directly
      to the


      Energy Connections

      DOE Report on "Cold Fusion" Studies Recommends More Research

      DOE's Office of Science released a report last week that examined the
      results of roughly 15 years of experiments dealing with low-temperature
      nuclear reactions, commonly known as cold fusion. In 1989, researchers B.
      Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischman announced that a palladium
      electrochemical cell had generated heat from an unknown source, which they
      postulated was a low-temperature fusion reaction. Later that year, a review
      by DOE's Energy Research Advisory Board recommended against establishing
      DOE programs devoted to the science of cold fusion, but supported the
      funding of peer-reviewed experiments for further investigations. Since
      1989, research programs in cold fusion have been supported by various
      universities, private industry, and government agencies in several countries.

      In late 2003, a team of researchers approached DOE and requested another
      review of the experimental results to date. Their report, submitted to DOE
      in July, found experimental evidence for a physical effect that produces
      heat, the production of helium 4 (the product of fusing two nuclei of
      deuterium, which is a hydrogen nucleus with an added neutron), and the
      emission of high-energy particles. DOE, in turn, solicited comments from
      nine scientists, then held a one-day review of the material with another
      nine scientists.

      Reviewing the evidence for the production of excess heat and fusion
      products, two-thirds of DOE's reviewers did not feel the evidence was
      conclusive. Most reviewers also indicated that the evidence did not
      conclusively demonstrate the occurrence of cold fusion. In the final
      analysis, the reviewers were inconclusive about cold fusion's existence,
      and they recommended specific avenues for new research to resolve the
      uncertainties in the previous research results. See the
      on the DOE Office of Science 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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