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EERE Network News -- 01/26/05

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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 , Jan 26, 2005


      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:

      January 26, 2005

      News and Events

      * Home Builders Set New National Guidelines for Green Homes
      * California Government and Agencies Commit to Green Building
      * DOE and USDA Offer up to $15 Million for Biomass Projects
      * Kansas, Vermont, and New Jersey Encourage Wind Power but Set Limits
      * First Utility-Scale Wind Plants Slated for New Jersey and Montana
      * Gamesa to Produce Wind Turbine Blades in Pennsylvania

      Energy Connections

      * Growth in Global Oil Demand to Slow in 2005, Says IEA

      News and Events

      Home Builders Set New National Guidelines for Green Homes


      Photo of a small home.

      This energy-efficient home in Texas demonstrates affordable green building.
      Credit: Sustainable Living Alliance

      The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has introduced new
      voluntary guidelines to help mainstream homebuilders incorporate
      environmental practices into every phase of the home building process while
      putting a priority on housing affordability. NAHB unveiled the Model Green
      Home Building Guidelines during last week's International Builders' Show in
      Orlando, Florida. NAHB claims that green building has primarily been the
      province of high-end, niche builders who cater to a wealthy clientele,
      while the new guidelines aim to help builders construct resource-efficient
      homes that are both affordable and customized to local conditions. The
      guidelines offer voluntary, builder- and market-driven green solutions for
      lot design and preparation; resource, energy, and water efficiency; indoor
      environmental quality; operation, maintenance, and home owner operation;
      global impact; and site planning and land development. Developed for
      single-family homes, the guidelines also are applicable for multifamily and
      custom homes as well as remodeling projects for existing homes. See the
      <http://www.nahb.org/news_details.aspx?sectionID=148&newsID=1331>NAHB press
      release and <http://www.nahb.org/gbg>Model Green Home Building Guidelines.

      The NAHB also introduced the Green Building Initiative, a new
      not-for-profit organization supported by groups and individuals interested
      in promoting energy efficient and environmentally sustainable practices in
      residential and commercial construction. See the
      <http://www.thegbi.org/home/default.asp>Green Building Initiative Web site.

      The new guidelines and the Green Building Initiative are sure to be
      important topics of discussion at the 2005 National Green Builders
      Conference, the only national conference targeted to green building for the
      mainstream residential building industry. The conference will be held in
      Atlanta, Georgia, in mid-March. See the
      announcement on the NAHB Web site.

      California Government and Agencies Commit to Green Building

      California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed an executive order in
      mid-December that commits the state to following a Green Building Action
      Plan with two goals: to reduce electricity purchased from the grid by
      existing government and private commercial buildings by 20 percent by 2015
      through energy efficiency and distributed generation; and to retrofit,
      build, and operate public buildings that are highly efficient in terms of
      energy use and resource consumption. To help meet those goals, the
      executive order requires state-run entities to purchase Energy Star
      equipment; seek out leases in Energy Star-rated buildings; and design,
      construct, and operate all new and renovated state-owned and state-funded
      facilities to meet the Silver LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental
      Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). See the
      order and

      The state's two large retirement funds­the California Public Employees'
      Retirement System (CalPERS) and California State Teachers' Retirement
      System (CalSTRS)­both set goals in December to reduce the energy use in
      their real estate holdings by 20 percent over the next five years.
      Together, the two funds hold more than 200 million square feet of real
      estate. The California State Treasurer has estimated that the energy
      efficiency improvements will cost the two funds a total of $200 million,
      but will save $40.6 million in energy costs each year, reduce total energy
      demand by 73 megawatts, and create 4,200 jobs. The two funds have also
      committed a combined $450 million to private equity investment in
      cutting-edge environmental technology and renewable energy. See the
      treasurer's press releases for CalPERS
      (<http://www.treasurer.ca.gov/news/releases/2004/121304_eniv.pdf>PDF 171
      KB) and CalSTRS
      171 KB). <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>Download
      Acrobat Reader.

      The state's efforts in energy efficiency and green building follow the
      example of a Green Building Ordinance enacted in San Francisco in October
      2004. The Green Building Ordinance requires all new city projects,
      including both city-owned facilities and leased properties, to achieve at
      least a LEED Silver certification. A prime example is the new California
      Academy of Sciences museum (soon to be built in Golden Gate Park), which is
      designed to earn the LEED Platinum certification, the highest certification
      available from the U.S. Green Building Council. See the
      Francisco Department of Environment press release, the
      <http://www.calacademy.org/newacademy/index.php>California Academy of
      Sciences Web site, and design information on the
      <>Renzo Piano Building Workshop Web

      The USGBC's LEED Green Building Rating System sets five levels of
      certification for buildings: certified, bronze, silver, gold, and platinum.
      LEED standards are currently available or under development for a wide
      variety of buildings. See the <http://www.usgbc.org/LEED/LEED_main.asp>LEED
      page on the USGBC Web site.

      DOE and USDA Offer up to $15 Million for Biomass Projects

      DOE and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a joint
      solicitation in late December for development and demonstration projects
      that lead to greater commercialization of biobased products, biomass
      energy, biofuels, and related processes. This year's solicitation is
      focused on developing and producing biomass feedstocks; developing biobased
      products and evaluating their environmental and economic performance;
      integrating natural resource management and biomass use; and analyzing
      incentives for commercializing biomass technologies. Pre-applications are
      due by February 15th, and full applications are due by April 15th. DOE and
      USDA expect to provide as much as $15 million for the projects as part of
      their collaboration on the
      <http://www.bioproducts-bioenergy.gov/default.asp>Biomass Research and
      Development Initiative. See the

      A new research laboratory at DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory
      (NREL) is expected to advance biomass energy technologies by probing
      biomass-to-energy conversion processes at the atomic and molecular levels.
      The $2.85-million Biomass Surface Characterization Laboratory features an
      array of electron and optical microscopes, as well other advanced research
      tools. The lab includes systems to monitor and maintain temperature,
      humidity, acoustical vibration, and cleanliness to the most exacting
      standards, while employing the latest computer hardware and software
      systems to capture, record, and analyze the data. See the
      <http://www.nrel.gov/news/press/2005/0305_plants_for_fuels.html>NREL press

      Kansas, Vermont, and New Jersey Encourage Wind Power but Set Limits

      Kansas, Vermont, and New Jersey have seen fit recently to note the benefits
      of wind power, but to limit its development in certain areas. Kansas is
      limiting wind plants on grasslands, Vermont is limiting wind plants on
      state lands, and New Jersey has placed a moratorium on offshore wind power

      In Kansas, Governor Kathleen Sebelius announced in mid-January that she had
      adopted a set of recommendations for wind energy development while
      preserving the tallgrass prairie in the Flint Hills region. The key element
      of the plan is to defer to local control and decision- making and provide
      tools, best practices, and guidelines to assist local governments. The
      governor showed her support for wind power by calling on electric utilities
      to have at least 1,000 megawatts of renewable energy capacity installed in
      Kansas by 2015, and asked utility regulators to examine the benefits this
      goal. The governor also asked the Kansas Energy Council to analyze the
      impact of requiring state facilities to draw on renewable energy for
      between 2.5 to 5 percent of their electricity. The governor called on the
      Kansas Energy Council to develop standards for locating wind power
      facilities and has requested $800,000 in state funds to help wind
      developers. See the governor's
      <http://www.ksgovernor.org/news/docs/news_rel011405b.html>press release.

      In Vermont, the Agency of Natural Resources concluded in December that
      large-scale wind plants should not be built on state-owned lands. Noting
      that Vermonters largely support the development of renewable energy
      resources, the new policy still encourages small-scale wind installations
      on state lands when appropriate. See the
      <http://www.vermontwindpolicy.org/>Vermont Wind Policy Web site.

      In New Jersey, Acting Governor Richard Codey noted the benefits of wind
      power and the state's commitment to renewable energy while placing a
      15-month freeze on the funding and permitting of wind projects offshore of
      the state's coast, due to concerns about protecting the marine and coastal
      environment. In late December, the acting governor appointed a blue-ribbon
      panel to study the appropriateness of offshore wind power installations
      near the Jersey Shore; their report is due in March 2006. See the acting

      Currently, the only company publicly planning to build wind power
      facilities near the Jersey Shore is Winergy, LLC. However, Winergy's
      planned facilities­called Asbury Park, Great Egg, and Five Fathom Bank­are
      all located in federal waters at least 3.5 miles off the coast. The
      projects have seen little progress since Winergy announced them in October
      2002. See the <http://www.winergyllc.com/index.shtml>Winergy Web site.

      First Utility-Scale Wind Plants Slated for New Jersey and Montana


      Computer-generated image of four wind turbines installed at a w

      The Altantic City Wind Farm will be built at a wastewater facility and will
      feature five wind turbines, four of which are shown in this
      computer-generated image.
      Credit: Atlantic County Utilities Authority

      While offshore wind development in New Jersey has ground to a halt, the
      state's first large onshore wind project is moving ahead. The 7.5-megawatt
      Atlantic City Wind Farm is expected to start operating in mid-year. The
      wind plant developer, Community Energy, Inc., reached an agreement with the
      New Jersey Audubon Society in mid-December, allowing the project to move
      ahead. Community Energy and the Audubon Society will launch a detailed
      study using new radar technology to determine if the wind turbine towers
      affect bird migration. The facility will feature five 1.5-megawatt wind
      turbines from GE Energy and will be built at a wastewater treatment
      facility operated by the Atlantic County Utilities Authority (ACUA). See
      the <http://www.communityenergy.biz/cei_pr_ac_windfarm.html>Community
      Energy press release and the <http://www.acua.com/windpower.asp>ACUA Web site.

      Montana is also poised to receive its first large-scale wind plant, as
      NorthWestern Energy has agreed to purchase the power output from a
      $150-million wind facility to be constructed by Invenergy Wind LLC. The
      wind plant will have a capacity of 135 to 150 megawatts and will be located
      near Judith Gap in south-central Montana. The 8,000-acre wind facility will
      feature roughly 75 to 100 turbines with a capacity of about 1.5 to 1.8
      megawatts each. Construction is expected to begin before mid-2005. See the
      Energy press release.

      A number of other wind power projects are now in various stages of progress
      throughout the country. In Washington, Puget Sound Energy (PSE) has agreed
      to buy the proposed 150-megawatt Hopkins Ridge Wind Project from Blue Sky
      Wind LLC. Located near Dayton in the southeast corner of the state, the
      project is expected to start producing power by mid-2006. In Oregon,
      Portland General Electric (PGE) agreed to buy power from a 75-megawatt
      expansion of the Klondike II Wind Project located near Wasco, just south of
      the state's northern border. In Kansas, PPM Energy is moving ahead with the
      150-megawatt Elk River Wind Power Project, located near Beaumont, about 45
      miles east of Wichita. Texas is also gaining another large wind plant, as
      AES Corporation announced on January 11th that it will buy SeaWest
      Holdings, Inc., and in the process, it plans to acquire and build SeaWest's
      planned 120-megawatt Buffalo Gap wind project near Abilene. AEP plans to
      complete construction by year-end. Finally, MidAmerican Energy has finished
      building the 160.5-megawatt Intrepid Wind Project in Sac and Buena Vista
      counties in northwest Iowa. The project is the largest in the state and
      will be joined this summer by the company's 150-megawatt Century Wind
      Project, located near Blairsburg in north-central Iowa. MidAmerican Energy
      even posted a virtual tour of the wind project. See the press releases from
      <http://www.ppmenergy.com/rel_04.12.14.html>PPM Energy,
      <http://www.aes.com/aes/index?page=news&reqid=661525>AES, and
      <http://www.midamericanenergy.com/newsroom/asp/news.asp>MidAmerican, and
      see the <http://www.midamericanenergy.com/html/aboutus3c.asp>MidAmerican
      virtual tour.

      Gamesa to Produce Wind Turbine Blades in Pennsylvania

      Spanish company Gamesa, the second-largest wind energy company in the
      world, announced last week that it will build a high-tech plant to
      manufacture wind turbine blades in Ebensburg, Pennsylvania, about 20 miles
      west of Altoona. The new manufacturing plant will create as many as 500
      construction and operations jobs, including 236 permanent positions. Gamesa
      previously announced that its U.S. headquarters and East Coast development
      offices would be located in Pennsylvania. Together with the construction,
      operation, and maintenance of its wind facilities, Gamesa's manufacturing
      facility and two Philadelphia offices are expected to create up to 1,000
      jobs in the state over the next five years. Gamesa claims to have
      agreements with Pennsylvania utilities for the sale of 600 megawatts of
      wind power, and has set itself a target for reaching 1,000 megawatts of
      wind power in the state. See the
      press release.

      Energy Connections

      Growth in Global Oil Demand to Slow in 2005, Says IEA

      After a 3.3 percent growth in global demand for oil in 2004, the
      International Energy Agency (IEA) expects the growth in demand to slow this
      year to about a 1.7 percent annual rate. According to the IEA's "Oil Market
      Report" (OMR), published last week, the growth in oil demand will continue
      to be led by China and developing countries in Asia. See the IEA's
      "<http://omrpublic.iea.org/>Highlights of the Latest OMR."

      A top executive at ExxonMobil Corporation noted in early January that the
      growing world demand for oil and gas is creating challenges for global oil
      production, because the world's oil and gas fields on average are declining
      in production at a rate of 4 to 6 percent per year. According to Senior
      Vice President Stuart McGill, this base decline, coupled with the growing
      demand for oil and gas, means that the amount of new daily production
      needed in 2020 is nearly equivalent to replacing all of today's daily

      "Plenty of oil and gas remains around the world, but it will take the best
      technology and the most capable and efficient organizations to produce it,"
      said McGill. See the
      press release.

      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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