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EERE Network News -- 02/09/05

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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 9, 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 09, 2005

      News and Events

      * White House Budget Boosts Funding for Hydrogen
      * 2005 Budget Includes Tax Incentives for Renewables and Clean Vehicles
      * DOE Proposes $1.2 Billion for Efficiency and Renewables in 2006
      * Bush Administration Pushes Renewable Energy on Public Lands
      * Lexus Hybrid SUV Aims for 30 mpg in City Driving
      * U.K. and China Plan to Build Wave and Tidal Energy Plants

      Site News

      * Please Update Your Links and Bookmarks to the EERE Web Site

      Energy Connections

      * EIA: Oil Prices to Stay Above $40 per Barrel Through 2006

      News and Events

      White House Budget Boosts Funding for Hydrogen


      A man works on the frame of a vehicle in the background of this

      A worker installs door components on the Ford Focus Fuel Cell Vehicle
      (FCV). The President's Hydrogen Fuel Initiative could allow such vehicles
      to be commercialized by 2015.
      Credit: Ford Motor Company

      President Bush released his proposed federal budget for fiscal year 2006 on
      Monday, and despite tight constraints on discretionary spending, the budget
      includes $260 million for the President's Hydrogen Fuel Initiative, an
      increase of $35 million over 2005 funding levels. The Hydrogen Fuel
      Initiative is a $1.2-billion, five-year commitment to develop the
      fundamental science and technologies to produce, store, and distribute
      hydrogen for use in fuel-cell vehicles, electricity generation, and other
      applications. The 2005 budget continues strong support for high-risk,
      high-payoff basic research that is closely coupled and coordinated with the
      initiative's applied research and development programs.

      Research funded through the initiative has already led to reduced costs for
      fuel cells, and progress continues on other technological challenges in
      hydrogen production and storage. According to DOE, technological advances
      have reduced the estimated cost to produce automotive fuel cells at high
      volumes from $275 per kilowatt, based on the state of technology in 2002,
      to $200 per kilowatt, based on the state of technology in 2004. Additional
      research is needed for fuel cells to achieve the cost target of less than
      $50 per kilowatt, which roughly equates to the cost of today's internal
      combustion engines. With complementary work ongoing under the FreedomCAR
      partnership, these efforts keep the Hydrogen Fuel Initiative on track for
      the industry to make a decision on commercialization by 2015. See the
      <http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2006/energy.html>White House
      summary of the DOE budget.

      2005 Budget Includes Tax Incentives for Renewables and Clean Vehicles

      President Bush's proposed federal budget for fiscal year 2006 includes tax
      incentives totaling $3.6 billion through 2010 to spur the use of renewable
      energy and energy-efficient technologies. The Bush Administration proposes
      extending the tax credit for producing electricity from wind, biomass, and
      landfill gas through January 1, 2008, while excluding electricity produced
      from agricultural livestock wastes. The Administration proposes a partial
      credit­running from 2006 through the end of 2008­for the use of biomass
      sources that are not specifically grown as a power source (so-called
      "open-loop" biomass) when co-fired with coal in a coal plant. The
      Administration also proposes a 10-percent investment credit for businesses
      that install a combined heat and power system that produces more than 50
      kilowatts of power or more than 67 horsepower, if placed in service between
      December 31, 2004, and January 1, 2010.

      For individuals, the Administration proposes a tax credit for the purchase
      of residential solar energy systems, equal to 15 percent of the cost of the
      equipment and its installation, up to a maximum of $2,000. The credit would
      apply to photovoltaic equipment placed in service after December 31, 2004,
      and before January 1, 2010, and to solar water heating equipment placed in
      service after December 31, 2004, and before January 1, 2008.

      Buyers of hybrid electric vehicles would benefit under a proposal to extend
      the current $4,000 federal tax credit through January 1, 2009. However, the
      Administration proposes adjusting the credit based on the percentage of the
      vehicle's power provided by the energy storage system and based on the
      amount that the vehicle's fuel economy exceeds the 2000 model year fuel
      economy in city driving. The Administration also proposes a credit of up to
      $8,000 for fuel cell vehicles purchased before January 1, 2013, with
      adjustments again based on the vehicle's fuel economy. See pages 288 and
      289 (PDF pages 300 and 301) of "Analytical Perspectives"
      (<http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2006/pdf/spec.pdf>PDF 2.6 MB), a
      detailed budget document.
      <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>Download Acrobat Reader.

      DOE Proposes $1.2 Billion for Efficiency and Renewables in 2006

      President Bush's proposed federal budget for fiscal year 2006 includes
      roughly $1.2 billion for the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable
      Energy (EERE). The proposed EERE budget emphasizes hydrogen technologies;
      offshore wind power; renewable and synthetic fuels; biorefineries; and a
      new collaborative initiative on crystalline silicon solar cells. In
      addition, the proposed budget increases funding for DOE's Weatherization
      Assistance Program. DOE plans to shift the emphasis of its Industrial
      Technologies Program from industry-specific research to multi-industry,
      high-risk research that could achieve significant energy savings. DOE also
      plans to transfer EERE's successful research and development of hydropower
      turbines and water management techniques to industry, thereby closing out
      EERE's involvement in hydropower technologies. See the
      <http://www.eere.energy.gov/office_eere/budget.html>fiscal year 2006 budget
      documents on the EERE Web site.

      Bush Administration Pushes Renewable Energy on Public Lands

      The U.S. Department of Interior announced last week the availability of a
      new report that highlights the Bush administration's efforts to increase
      interest in the development and use of renewable energy resources on U.S.
      public lands. The 26-page report, "Renewable Resources for America's
      Future," shows that lands managed by the Interior Department provide 48
      percent of the nation's geothermal energy, 17 percent of hydropower, and
      nearly 10 percent of wind energy production in the United States.

      Since 2001, the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has
      processed 200 geothermal lease applications, compared to 20 in the
      preceding four years. In 2003, the Interior Department licensed two new
      49-megawatt geothermal power plants in California, the first such approvals
      in over 10 years. The department also approved two geothermal power plant
      expansions and one new 30-megawatt power plant in Nevada. In the same
      timeframe, the BLM issued more than 60 rights-of-way for wind energy
      testing and development, quadrupling the number of permits nationwide. And
      as a result of increased interest in the development of wind on public
      lands, the agency is also preparing a
      <http://windeis.anl.gov/index.cfm>comprehensive Environmental Impact
      Statement to address wind development, which is scheduled for completion
      this summer. See the
      <http://www.doi.gov/news/05_News_Releases/050204b>Interior Department press
      release, or go directly to the report
      (<http://www.doi.gov/initiatives/renewable_energy.pdf>PDF 1.6 MB).
      <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>Download Acrobat Reader.

      Lexus Hybrid SUV Aims for 30 mpg in City Driving


      A photo of the Lexus 400h.

      The Lexus 400h, the world's first luxury hybrid SUV, will hit the road in
      Credit: Lexus

      Lexus is gearing up for the launch of its hybrid electric sports utility
      vehicle (SUV), the RX 400h, in April, and announced last week that the
      vehicle should achieve 30 miles per gallon (mpg) in city driving, a 67
      percent improvement over the comparable RX 330. Lexus estimates that the RX
      400h will achieve 26 mpg on the highway, for a combined mileage of 28 mpg.
      The RX 400h will draw on a maximum 268 horsepower and 3,500 foot-pounds of
      torque from a standstill to accelerate faster than the RX 330, reaching 60
      miles per hour in only 7.3 seconds. Lexus has not yet announced its
      suggested retail price for the vehicle.

      The RX 400h employs three motor-generators in its powertrain. The
      engine-driven generator can charge the battery pack or power other electric
      motors as needed, and serves as a starter motor for the engine. By
      regulating the amount of electrical power it produces, the generator also
      controls the output speed of the transaxle, eliminating any need for a
      clutch or viscous coupling in the transmission. Power from the engine and a
      123-kilowatt front drive motor is distributed to the drive wheels via a
      continuously variable transmission, while a 50-kilowatt motor drives the
      rear axle. The RX 400h combines all that with Electronic Power Steering and
      a new Electronically Controlled Brake system to yield a new integrated
      control system for stability and traction, called the Vehicle Dynamics
      Integrated Management System. And if that's not enough technology for you,
      the RX 400h includes enough high-tech features to make a gearhead dizzy.
      See the
      press release and preliminary product sheet
      128 KB). <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>Download
      Acrobat Reader.

      A new report from J.D. Power and Associates says that the growing number of
      hybrid vehicles available in the United States will not translate into
      significant market share. Although the report anticipates that 38 hybrid
      vehicle models will be available by 2011, it also expects the hybrid share
      of the U.S. automotive market to peak at 3 percent around that time. See
      the <http://www.jdpower.com/news/releases/pressrelease.asp?ID=2005013>J.D.
      Power press release.

      U.K. and China Plan to Build Wave and Tidal Energy Plants

      Both the United Kingdom and China are working to build wave energy
      demonstration plants within the next few years. U.K. Energy Minister Mike
      O'Brien announced last week that the United Kingdom will commit about $79
      million (42 million pounds) to a new scheme that aims to result in
      large-scale wave and tidal energy plants contributing to the nation's power
      grid within three years. The funds will support the construction of
      demonstration plants around the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, China's
      Guangzhou Institute of Energy Conversion, part of the Chinese Academy of
      Sciences, is working to develop a 100-kilowatt on-shore wave power station
      on the east bank of Nan-Ao Island. See the
      <http://www.gnn.gov.uk/environment/detail.asp?ReleaseID=143807>U.K. press
      release and the
      Institute Web site.

      A detailed study of wave energy technology by the Electric Power Research
      Institute (EPRI) suggests that wave power may become economically feasible
      in the near future. The study examined five potential wave energy sites in
      the United States and determined that facilities at three of the five sites
      would be economically feasible once a total of 20,000 megawatts of wave
      power capacity has been built. That forecast is based on technology
      learning curves that would be expected to result in cost savings. As a
      result, EPRI concluded that the technology warrants additional research and
      development. See the
      press release or go directly to EPRI's
      energy reports.

      The recent wave energy announcements come as a number of related
      conferences are approaching. In late April, Energy Ocean 2005 comes to
      Washington, D.C., presented by the newly revived Ocean Energy Council. That
      conference is bookended by the Marine Renewable Energy Conference­sponsored
      by the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) and held in London in early
      March­and by the Renewable Power Association's Wave and Tidal Technology
      Symposium, better known as WATTS 2005, which takes place in Aberdeen,
      Scotland, in late May. See the <http://www.energyocean.com/>Energy Ocean,
      <http://www.bwea.com/marine/conference.html>BWEA, and
      <http://www.r-p-a.org.uk/article_default_view.fcm?articleid=1180>WATTS Web

      Site News

      <http://www.eere.energy.gov/>Please Update Your Links and Bookmarks to the
      EERE Web Site

      Two years ago, DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
      (EERE) moved its Web site to a new
      address—<http://www.eere.energy.gov/>www.eere.energy.gov—and left the
      old "EREN" name behind. And for the past two years, EERE has been good
      enough to allow anyone entering the old EREN Web address to be seamlessly
      redirected to the new Web address, a process so quick and automatic that
      many people may not have even noticed the change. But those times are over!
      As of last week, anyone using the old Web address will end up at a Web page
      that warns that their link is outdated and points them to the new home
      page. If you haven't updated your links and bookmarks to the new site,
      please do so now! A recent tally using a popular search engine indicated
      that more than 60,000 links still go to the old EREN Web address.

      Energy Connections

      EIA: Oil Prices to Stay Above $40 per Barrel Through 2006

      Oil prices for the first quarter of 2005 are expected to average $46.70 per
      barrel, according to DOE's Energy Information Administration (EIA). The
      EIA's latest "Short Term Energy Outlook," released yesterday, expects oil
      prices to remain above $40 per barrel throughout this year and next,
      despite increased oil inventories in industrialized countries and slower
      growth in oil demand. See the EIA's
      "<http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/steo/pub/contents.html>Short Term Energy

      While oil supplies appear to have stabilized, at least for the short term,
      the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies continues to adjust its estimates
      of available oil and gas supplies. Shell announced last week that it is
      again cutting its estimate of proved oil and gas reserves by 10 percent­the
      equivalent to 1.4 billion barrels of oil­to the equivalent of 12.95 billion
      barrels of oil. A year ago, the company cut its oil and gas reserves by 20
      percent, the equivalent of 3.9 billion barrels of oil. The petroleum
      company also continues to struggle with replacing its oil and gas
      production with new oil and gas reserves. Most companies aim to replace 100
      percent of their production with new reserves, a percentage known as the
      reserves replacement ratio (RRR). Not counting divestments, Shell's RRR for
      2004 is in the range of 31 to 41 percent. However, the company claims that
      it is still targeting a 100 percent RRR for the 2004 to 2008 period, with
      much of its new proved reserves added in the latter part of the five-year
      period. See Shell's
      Quarter and Full Year Results 2004."

      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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