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EERE Network News -- 02/02/05

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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 , Feb 2, 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:

      February 02, 2005

      News and Events

      * Dr. Samuel Bodman Sworn in as Secretary of Energy
      * Solar Power Industry Roadmap Looks to a Brighter Solar Future
      * AWEA Expects Record Wind Growth in 2005 after Slow 2004
      * U.S. Companies Turn Landfill Gas, Plants, and Manure into Power
      * Shell and GM to Establish a Fuel-Cell Fleet in New York City
      * More Than 1,700 New U.S. Buildings Pursue LEED Green Building Ratings

      Energy Connections

      * NRC to Accept Public Comments on Three Nuclear Plant Permits

      News and Events

      Dr. Samuel Bodman Sworn in as Secretary of Energy


      Photo of Secretary Bodman being sworn in.

      Secretary Bodman was sworn in on February 1st.
      Credit: DOE

      Dr. Samuel Bodman was sworn in as the 11th Secretary of Energy yesterday.
      The U.S. Senate unanimously confirmed Secretary Bodman on Monday, allowing
      him to replace Spencer Abraham, who resigned on November 15th. President
      George W. Bush nominated Dr. Bodman in December, describing him as a
      "problem solver." Secretary Bodman has worked as a professor of chemical
      engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as the president
      of an investment firm, and as the chairman and chief executive officer of
      the Cabot Corporation, a global chemical company. Over the past four years,
      he has served the Bush administration as Deputy Secretary of Commerce and
      Deputy Secretary of the Treasury. At the Department of Commerce, he had
      oversight of three important science and technology agencies: the National
      Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Patent and Trademark Office,
      and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. See the
      press release and the
      House press release from Secretary Bodman's nomination in December.

      Solar Power Industry Roadmap Looks to a Brighter Solar Future

      The U.S. solar energy industry released a report last week that looks to
      the future of solar power in the United States. The report, titled "Our
      Solar Power Future: The U.S. Photovoltaic Industry Roadmap for 2030 and
      beyond," was unveiled by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) at
      a Capitol Hill briefing in Washington, D.C. Noting that the United States
      has lagged behind Europe and Japan in solar industry manufacturing and
      deployment, the Roadmap report calls for sustained, annually declining tax
      credits for solar deployment on homes and business. It also proposes
      modifying the Production Tax Credit to include solar power, establishing
      uniform net metering and interconnection standards, boosting federal
      procurement of solar power to $100 million per year, and supporting state
      initiatives that promote solar power. In addition, the report calls for
      increasing the U.S. investment in solar power research and development to
      $250 million per year by 2010 while supporting higher-risk, longer-term

      According to SEIA, the proposed actions would lower retail solar
      electricity prices from the current rate of 18 to 25 cents per
      kilowatt-hour to 5.7 cents per kilowatt-hour in 10 years, making solar the
      least-cost retail option. Solar would provide half of all new electricity
      generation by 2025 under this scenario, creating 60,000 solar industry jobs
      in the United States and drawing more than $34 billion in new manufacturing
      investments over the next 10 years. SEIA claims the U.S. solar industry
      could employ 260,000 people by 2030. See the
      <http://www.seia.org/news/releases.asp?id=42>SEIA news release or go
      directly to the roadmap report
      (<http://www.seia.org/media/pdfs/pvroadmap.pdf>PDF 2.3 MB).
      <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>Download Acrobat Reader.

      The new solar energy report is sure to be a hot topic of discussion at the
      Power-Gen Renewable Energy conference, to be held in Las Vegas, Nevada,
      from March 1st to 3rd. Presented by Power Engineering magazine and the
      American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), the conference has been
      endorsed by nine renewable energy trade organizations. See the
      <http://pgre05.events.pennnet.com/>Power-Gen Renewable Energy conference
      Web site and the ACORE endorsement letter
      47 KB). <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>Download
      Acrobat Reader.

      AWEA Expects Record Wind Growth in 2005 after Slow 2004

      The growth of wind power in the United States is expected to accelerate
      this year, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). AWEA
      currently projects more than 2,000 megawatts of new wind power capacity in
      2005, as wind developers rush to complete their projects before the
      Production Tax Credit expires again at year end. That growth rate will
      easily beat the records set in 2001 and 2003, when just under 1,700
      megawatts of wind power were installed. It will also be a significant
      improvement over 2004, when only 389 megawatts of wind power were
      installed. See the <http://www.awea.org/news/news050127mkt.html>AWEA press

      Wind power may grow even more rapidly in the future, thanks to a new rule
      proposed in late January by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
      (FERC). The proposed FERC rules for connecting wind plants to the grid aims
      to remove barriers to wind-generated electricity while helping to ensure
      continued reliability of the power grid. To ease concerns about the effect
      of wind plants on the grid, FERC proposes to require wind plants to
      demonstrate the ability to continue operating when the grid experiences a
      low-voltage condition. Wind facilities would also be required to have
      supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) capability to ensure
      real-time communication with the operators of the transmission grid. See
      the <http://www.ferc.gov/press-room/pr-current/01-19-05-wind.asp>FERC press
      release and the proposed rule
      (<http://www.ferc.gov/whats-new/comm-meet/011905/E-1.pdf>PDF 75 KB).
      <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>Download Acrobat Reader.

      Photo of the Ponnequin Wind Farm.

      Xcel Energy's Ponnequin Wind Farm in northern Colorado may be a sign of
      things to come.
      Credit: Warren Gretz

      While a number of projects are currently underway, utilities are
      increasingly seeking to add wind power to their energy supply portfolios.
      For instance, Idaho Power issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) in
      mid-January for up to 200 megawatts of wind power. A notice of intent to
      bid must be submitted to the utility by February 10th. Alliant Energy also
      issued an RFP for up to 100 megawatts of wind power for its customers in
      Iowa and Minnesota; proposals are due on Friday. Oklahoma Gas and Electric
      Company (OG&E) issued an RFP for 80 megawatts of wind power in late
      December; bids were due last week. And lest you think utilities fail to
      follow through on these RFPs, Xcel Energy announced last week that it has
      begun negotiations with three wind power developers to add 400 megawatts of
      wind power in Colorado. The utility hopes to complete negotiations by March
      and begin buying power from the new facilities by year's end. See the
      release and <http://www.idahopower.com/aboutus/business/rfp/>RFP from Idaho
      Power; the
      release and RFP
      97 KB) from Alliant Energy; the
      release and <http://www.oge.com/es/wp/wind-power-rfp.asp>RFP from OG and
      Energy press release.

      U.S. Companies Turn Landfill Gas, Plants, and Manure into Power

      Companies throughout the United States are pursing new projects to convert
      landfill gases, plants, and animal wastes into power.

      Methane-rich landfill gas is a growing source of power, as landfills seek
      to reduce both their greenhouse gas emissions and the odors associated with
      the emissions. Ameresco, Inc. announced in late December that it is working
      with Santa Cruz County in California to generate 3.2 megawatts of power
      from the county's landfill in Watsonville. In late January, the U.S.
      Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) honored Ameresco as its 2004
      "Industry Partner of the Year" for its work to complete five new landfill
      gas projects totaling 81 megawatts in capacity. The EPA also named
      Dairyland Power Cooperative its "Energy Partner of the Year" for
      participating in a 3-megawatt landfill gas project in Eau Claire,
      Wisconsin. Ameresco also participated in that project. See the Ameresco
      press releases from <http://www.ameresco.com/release.asp?ID=52>December
      28th and <http://www.ameresco.com/release.asp?ID=53>January 19th.

      Companies are also working to convert forest thinnings and biomass-derived
      sugars into power. In Colorado, the Governor's Office of Energy Management
      and Conservation (OEMC) and DOE announced last week that the coal-fired
      W.N. Clark Generating Station­owned by Aquila, Inc. and located in Canon
      City­is replacing part of its coal supply with biomass from local forest
      thinning operations. The plant plans to sell the environmental benefits
      achieved by this project by issuing Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs),
      marking the first time that forest-derived biomass is used to create RECs.
      In Wisconsin, Virent Energy Systems is developing a demonstration project
      to convert sugars directly into hydrogen, which will help fuel a 5-kilowatt
      generator. The project will be the first to use Virent's patented
      Aqueous-Phase Reforming process. See the press releases from OEMC
      (<http://www.state.co.us/oemc/press/050124.pdf>PDF 31 KB) and
      <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>Download Acrobat Reader.

      Companies are also continuing to convert animal wastes into energy, relying
      primarily on anaerobic digesters, which convert the wastes into methane.
      Central Vermont Public Service (CVPS) supplies its entire green power
      program with anaerobic digesters, selling the resultant power as CVPS Cow
      Power. In mid-January, the 1,500-head Blue Spruce Farm in Bridport (west of
      Middlebury in west-central Vermont) began supplying power to the CVPS
      program, and is expected to produce 1.7 million kilowatt-hours of
      electricity each year. The anaerobic digester technology is growing in
      importance, and in December, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
      announced that it will work with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
      to advance the technology. See the press releases from CVPS
      (<http://www.cvps.com/documents/CowPowergeneration.pdf>PDF 111 KB) and the

      Shell and GM to Establish a Fuel-Cell Fleet in New York City

      Shell Hydrogen and General Motors Corporation (GM) announced last week that
      they will build a hydrogen fueling station and a fleet of 13 fuel-cell
      vehicles in New York City next year. Shell already has a hydrogen-fueling
      station in Washington, D.C., and plans to build another fueling station
      between the two cities to establish an "East Coast Corridor" for hydrogen
      fueling. The effort is part of DOE's Infrastructure Validation and
      Demonstration Project, which is managed by DOE's
      <http://www.eere.energy.gov/hydrogenandfuelcells/>Hydrogen, Fuel Cells and
      Infrastructure Technologies Program. See the
      press release.

      Photo of Governor Pataki shaking hands with Koichi Kondo in fro

      Governor Pataki accepts a Honda FCX from American Honda president Koichi
      Kondo in Albany.
      Credit: Honda

      New York may eventually have an east-west corridor for hydrogen fueling as
      well, thanks to two projects funded by the New York State Energy Research
      and Development Authority (NYSERDA). Hydrogen fueling stations will be
      built in Buffalo and Albany as part of the state's efforts to develop a
      sustainable hydrogen economy. The Buffalo installation will fuel several
      light-duty vehicles with internal combustion engines modified to run on
      hydrogen. The Albany site will fuel two Honda FCX fuel-cell vehicles,
      provided by American Honda Motor Company, Inc. The two projects, worth a
      total of $5.2 million, were announced by Governor George Pataki in late
      December. See the
      press release and the
      <http://www.hondanews.com/CatID1002?mid=2004111652353>press release from Honda.

      In related news, GM is joining with DOE's Sandia National Laboratories to
      develop advanced hydrogen-storage technologies for vehicles. Under a
      four-year, $10-million program, GM and Sandia will develop and test fuel
      tanks that store hydrogen in a solid form, as sodium aluminum hydride. See
      press release.

      More Than 1,700 New U.S. Buildings Pursue LEED Green Building Ratings

      The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building
      Rating System is gaining increasing attention from architects and builders.
      The LEED New Construction Rating System, or LEED-NC, which has been in
      place since 2000, has now certified 140 projects in all but 10 states and
      the District of Columbia, plus 27 projects in other countries. But a
      massive growth in LEED-certified projects is looming, as 1,717 projects
      throughout the country (plus 110 in other countries) have registered for
      certification, including projects in every state. Ohio, for instance, has
      only one certified project but has 45 projects that have registered for
      certification. The U.S. Green Building Council, which manages the LEED
      certification process, has also launched new LEED ratings for existing
      buildings (LEED-EB) and commercial interiors (LEED-CI) and is pilot-testing
      a LEED rating for core and shell construction (LEED-CS) while developing
      new rating systems for homes (LEED-H) and entire neighborhood developments
      (LEED-ND). See the <http://www.usgbc.org/leed/project/stats/index.asp>LEED
      project statistics and <http://www.usgbc.org/LEED/LEED_main.asp>LEED home
      page on the U.S. Green Building Council Web site.

      Among recent buildings that have either earned or applied for LEED
      certification is the California Environmental Protection Agency's new
      25-story headquarters building in Sacramento, which became the first
      high-rise building to earn the Platinum LEED rating (the highest rating) in
      December. The building, developed by Thomas Properties Group, Inc., will
      save the agency roughly $1 million per year through lower operating costs.
      In the country's heartland, the William J. Clinton Presidential Center,
      located in Little Rock, Arkansas, earned a Silver LEED rating (the third
      highest), thanks in part to a high-efficiency heating and cooling system
      that reduces energy use by more than 40 percent. Steven Winters Associates,
      Inc. consulted on the project, which also features solar panels on its
      roof. And on the East Coast, the University of Southern Carolina (USC)
      opened a new dorm in November that aims to also achieve LEED certification.
      The "West Quad" building uses 45 percent less energy than similarly sized
      traditional residence halls, combining daylighting with solar water
      preheating, a five-kilowatt hydrogen fuel cell, and a turf-covered roof.
      See the press releases from
      Properties Group, Steven Winters Associates
      146 KB), and <http://uscnews.sc.edu/stud280b.html>USC.
      <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>Download Acrobat Reader.

      Why are so many builders going green? According to a recent study by Steven
      Winter Associates, it may be in part because the cost impacts are minimal.
      The study, performed for the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA),
      found that a 2.5 percent increase in the GSA construction budget should
      ensure that most projects would be LEED certified; with a 4 percent
      increase, many Silver and occasional Gold ratings (the second-highest
      rating) would also be possible. See the Steven Winter Associates press
      (<http://www.swinter.com/PressReleases/Jan10_2005_GSALEEDStudy.pdf>PDF 107
      KB) or go directly to the full 578-page report
      (<http://www.ccb.org/docs/GSAMAN/gsaleed.pdf>PDF 3.8 MB).

      Energy Connections

      NRC to Accept Public Comments on Three Nuclear Plant Permits

      The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is advancing the "Early Site
      Permit" process for new nuclear plants at three existing nuclear plants
      sites: Exelon Generation Company's Clinton Power Station in Clinton,
      Illinois; Entergy Corporation's Grand Gulf Nuclear Power Station near Port
      Gibson, Mississippi; and Dominion's North Anna Power Station in central
      Virginia. The North Anna permitting process is the furthest along, with
      both the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and the draft Safety
      Evaluation Report complete. A public meeting to discuss the draft EIS,
      originally scheduled for January 26th, has been rescheduled to February
      17th because of inclement weather. The NRC is also accepting written
      comments through March 1st. This is the only public comment period listed
      in the process, which aims for an NRC decision on the permit in June 2006.
      The public comment period for the Clinton plant is scheduled for March
      through May, with a public meeting on April 19th, to support an NRC
      decision by August 2006. The public comment period for the Grand Gulf site
      is scheduled for May through mid-July, with a public meeting on June 14th,
      to support an NRC decision by October 2006.

      An Early Site Permit is a partial construction permit, good for 10 to 20
      years with an option to be renewed for up to 20 years. Currently, none of
      the companies have definite plans to build new nuclear plants. See the
      <http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/new-licensing/esp.html>NRC Early Site Permit
      Web page and the
      <http://www.nrc.gov/public-involve/public-meetings/index.cfm>NRC public
      meeting schedule.

      Meanwhile, one nuclear plant is actually under construction: the Tennessee
      Valley Authority (TVA) is revamping its Browns Ferry Unit 1, a project
      scheduled for completion in 2007. The 1,200-megawatt plant in northern
      Alabama has been idle since 1985. See TVA's
      <http://www.tva.gov/sites/brownsferry.htm>Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant Web page.

      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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