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EERE Network News -- 03/09/05

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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 , Mar 9, 2005
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      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:

      March 09, 2005

      News and Events

      * USDA Offers Up to $14.3 Million for Biomass Energy Projects
      * Solar Power Leaders Launch Group to Grow U.S. Markets
      * Las Vegas Water District to Feature 3.1-Megawatt Solar Project
      * Solar Power Researchers Pursuing New, Innovative Materials
      * Fuel Efficiency Key to Around-the-World Flight
      * International Competition Recognizes Efficient Power Supplies

      Site News

      * Western's Energy Services

      Energy Connections

      * EIA: High Oil Prices Contributing to Rising Gasoline Prices

      News and Events

      USDA Offers Up to $14.3 Million for Biomass Energy Projects

      The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced last week the
      availability of $14.3 million in grants for value-added agriculture
      business ventures. In keeping with a trend started in 2003, the USDA is
      giving priority consideration to grant applications that dedicate at least
      51 percent of the project costs to biomass energy. To date, the USDA has
      provided more than $100 million in value-added grants, including grants to
      more than 80 energy projects that related to producing biomass energy,
      generating wind power, or producing biodiesel or ethanol fuel. Grant
      applications are due by May 6th. See the
      <http://www.usda.gov/2005/03/0076.xml>USDA press release.

      The Value-Added Producer Grant program was authorized by the Agriculture
      Risk Protection Act of 2000 and the 2002 Farm Bill. Grants are available to
      independent producers, agricultural producer groups, farmer or rancher
      cooperatives, and producer-based business ventures. The grants are
      available for the planning activities needed to establish a viable
      marketing opportunity for an agricultural product (such as a biobased fuel
      or co-product) or to acquire working capital to operate a business venture
      (such as a biomass energy facility) that will allow producers to better
      compete in domestic and international markets. See the USDA's
      <http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/coops/vadg.htm>Value-Added Producer Grants
      Web page.

      Solar Power Leaders Launch Group to Grow U.S. Markets

      Leaders from the solar power industry launched a new group, "Americans for
      Solar Power - PV Manufacturers Alliance," at last week's Power-Gen
      Renewable Energy Conference. The new alliance aims to establish thriving,
      sustainable mainstream markets for cost-effective distributed solar power,
      through policy and regulatory initiatives that lead to robust market
      growth. The alliance, based in Arizona, is dedicated to helping the United
      States achieve an annual 1-gigawatt market for distributed solar power by
      2010. See the <http://www.forsolar.org/?q=taxonomy/term/28>press release on
      the <http://www.forsolar.org/>Americans for Solar Power Web site.

      A study released by the Energy Foundation last week finds a price
      breakthrough would be one route to huge growth in U.S. solar power markets.
      The study, prepared by Navigant Consulting, Inc., concludes that a price of
      $2 to $2.50 per installed watt for grid-connected solar photovoltaic
      rooftops could yield a U.S. market of 2.9 gigawatts per year by 2010,
      nearly three times the alliance's goal. See the Energy Foundation press
      release (<http://www.ef.org/documents/PV_pressrelease.pdf>PDF 135 KB) or go
      directly to the full report
      (<http://www.ef.org/documents/EF-Final-Final2.pdf>PDF 2.0 MB).
      <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>Download Acrobat Reader.

      A less encouraging report from the Business Communications Company, Inc.
      (BCC) predicts that the worldwide market for photovoltaic devices will grow
      from 973.1 megawatts in 2004 to 1,778 megawatts (or about 1.8 gigawatts) in
      2009. If foreign markets continue to be larger than U.S. markets, that
      would make it difficult to create a 1-gigawatt U.S. market by 2010. In a
      related report from DOE's Energy Information Administration (EIA), a
      comparison of renewable energy policies in the United States and four other
      countries concludes that many U.S. policies are enacted at the state level
      and may not be synchronized with federal policies, which themselves are
      subject to periodic reauthorization or appropriations legislation. In
      contrast, policies to promote renewable energy in Germany, Denmark, and
      Japan have tended to be coordinated and consistent, thereby helping to
      build significant renewable energy markets in those countries. See the
      <http://www.bccresearch.com/editors/RE-038V.html>BCC press release and the

      Las Vegas Water District to Feature 3.1-Megawatt Solar Project

      PowerLight Corporation announced last week that it will build a
      3.1-megawatt solar power project at four sites in and around Las Vegas,
      Nevada. The project includes four solar power systems at the Las Vegas
      Water District's Las Vegas Springs Preserve, as well as three additional
      systems at reservoirs owned by the Water District. The Water District's
      board of directors approved the project in October 2004, and the Nevada
      Public Utilities Commission added its approval in late February. The solar
      arrays at the Springs Preserve will also provide shaded parking for up to
      200 cars. See the
      press release.

      Bird's-eye view of a solar power plant shows a person as a mere

      A person is dwarfed by the solar modules at one of the Bavarian solar power
      Credit: K&S Consulting Group

      PowerLight recently had the honor of building the world's largest solar
      photovoltaic power system, a 10-megawatt installation in Bavaria, Germany.
      Like the Las Vegas project, the Bavarian project is spread over three
      sites, with the largest single installation providing 6.3 megawatts of
      solar power capacity. That project was supported by a $5-million working
      capital line of credit guaranteed by the Export-Import Bank of the United
      States. See the
      3rd and
      4th press releases from PowerLight.

      In other solar power news, WorldWater & Power Corporation announced last
      week that it is planning its second installation of a solar power system to
      power a 200-horsepower irrigation pump. WorldWater will install the system
      at the Cocopah Nurseries tree farm in Thermal, California. GE Energy also
      announced last week that it has supplied 256 solar modules for 16
      roof-mounted solar power systems in a residential development in Cornwall,
      New York. Each system has a capacity of 2.64 kilowatts, for a total
      capacity of 42.24 kilowatts. See the press releases from
      and <http://www.gepower.com/about/press/en/2005_press/030105a.htm>GE Energy.

      Solar Power Researchers Pursuing New, Innovative Materials

      The latest wave of research in solar photovoltaic cells aims to boost their
      efficiency while incorporating them into flexible plastics, lightweight
      foils, and even textiles. Konarka Technologies, Inc. announced in
      mid-February that it will work with a leading Swiss university to develop
      photovoltaic fabrics that will allow tents, shirts, hats­you name it­to
      generate power. Konarka is already known for its flexible plastic solar
      material (the company calls it "light-activated power plastic") and was
      recently awarded a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to
      improve its performance. See the
      16th and
      2nd press releases from Konarka.

      While Konarka's power plastic is intended for down-to-earth uses, DayStar
      Technologies, Inc. is producing a high-efficiency flexible solar material
      better suited for high-altitude aircraft or space vehicles. DayStar's new
      "LightFoil" consists of a high-efficiency copper indium gallium diselenide
      (CIGS) thin-film solar cell deposited onto a thin, lightweight titanium
      foil. With the ability to convert 15.2 percent of the sunlight that hits it
      into electricity, the LightFoil has produced 1,440 Watts of power per
      kilogram of material in laboratory tests. According to DayStar, that's a
      record production of solar power per weight, about 50 percent better than
      today's thin-film devices. The material is also flexible and can be cut to
      shape, making it ideal for covering surfaces of aircraft or space vehicles.
      DayStar is currently developing a manufacturing process for the material,
      with a commercial goal of producing at least 1,000 Watts per kilogram of
      material. The company expects to have engineering samples available by
      early this summer. See the
      <http://www.daystartech.com/govrelease.htm>DayStar Technologies press release.

      Fuel Efficiency Key to Around-the-World Flight


      Photo of the GlobalFlyer—with a wind span more than four time

      A chase plane trails the GlobalFlyer as it passes over the Sierra Nevada
      Credit: Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer

      When Steve Fossett completed his record-breaking solo flight around the
      world last week, a significant aspect of his achievement was the high fuel
      efficiency of his aircraft, the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer. Starting with
      a highly aerodynamic design, the aircraft structure was built entirely out
      of graphite and epoxy, including stiff carbon fibers in the wings. Even the
      seat was made of carbon fiber, keeping the vehicle's weight at only 3,350
      pounds when empty. At takeoff, however, the aircraft weighed 22,006 pounds,
      with fuel contributing to 83 percent of its weight. See the
      description on the GlobalFlyer Web site.

      While Fossett is the first person to fly non-stop around the world using
      fuel, a European team of adventurers still hope to fly around the world
      using only solar power. Although no news has come from the Solar Impulse
      team recently, the European Space Agency (ESA) announced last year that it
      was helping to design the craft. As currently envisioned, the craft will
      have a wingspan of about 76 yards that will be covered with solar cells,
      with two tail-mounted propellers. Initial test flights are expected to
      start in 2006, but the team doesn't plan to make its around-the-world
      attempt until 2009. See the
      <http://www.solar-impulse.com/en/index.php>Solar Impulse Web site and the
      <http://www.esa.int/export/esaCP/SEMJ90FCASD_index_0.html>ESA press release.

      International Competition Recognizes Efficient Power Supplies

      It's a far cry from the Super Bowl, but the first-ever competition to
      create energy-efficient power supplies—called "Efficiency Challenge
      2004"—drew entries from companies and universities around the world. The
      Grand Champion award winner in the "market-ready" category, announced on
      Monday, was a power supply for a home phone designed by Power Integrations,
      Inc. The power supply operates at an average efficiency of 69 percent,
      compared to operating efficiencies of at most 55 percent in conventional
      models. The Grand Champion in the "open" category is a stand-alone AA
      battery charger designed by Hong Kong Polytechnic University. The battery
      charger operates at 74 percent average efficiency and draws only 0.16 Watts
      of power when not in use. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the
      California Energy Commission jointly sponsored the Efficiency Challenge
      2004. See the <http://www.powerint.com/press_releases/050307a.htm>Power
      Integrations press release and the
      <http://www.efficientpowersupplies.org/competition.html>full details on the
      competition, including a press release
      68 KB) and fact sheet about the winners
      (<http://www.efficientpowersupplies.org/winner_fact_sheet.pdf>PDF 46 KB),
      on the <http://www.efficientpowersupplies.org/>Efficient Power Supplies Web
      site. <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>Download
      Acrobat Reader.

      While the Efficiency Challenge covers a wide variety of power supplies,
      electric utilities and energy efficiency programs in eight states are
      focusing their efforts on computer power supplies. The "80 Plus Program"
      offers financial incentives for desktop computer power supplies that are at
      least 80 percent efficient across a wide range of loads. In mid-February,
      the program announced its first successful entry: a power supply from Sea
      Sonic Electronics Co., Ltd. See the
      <http://www.seasonic.com/new/twevent200502.htm>Sea Sonic press release and
      the <http://www.80plus.org/index.html>80 Plus Web site.

      Site News

      <http://www.wapa.gov/es/>Western's Energy Services

      Western's Energy Services is a division of Western Area Power
      Administration, a DOE agency that markets and transmits federal
      hydroelectric power. The Energy Services Web site offers no-cost technical
      assistance, an equipment loan program, calculators, links, and other
      resources on energy efficiency and renewable energy.

      Energy Connections

      EIA: High Oil Prices Contributing to Rising Gasoline Prices

      With oil prices recently spiking above $50 per barrel, DOE's Energy
      Information Administration (EIA) has revised upwards its projected average
      oil price for the first quarter of 2005, to $48.70 per barrel. That's a
      $2-per-barrel increase over last month's projection and a $13-per-barrel
      increase since the first quarter of 2004. The EIA's latest "Short-Term
      Energy Outlook," released yesterday, finds that despite growing oil
      inventories, a projected 2.5 percent growth in oil demand per year will
      keep oil markets tight. As a result, the EIA projects that oil prices will
      stay above $45 per barrel through 2006, with the possibility of oil prices
      occasionally increasing well above $50 per barrel, as they have recently.

      With oil prices high and refineries running near their capacity, gasoline
      prices have increased, with the average U.S. pump price for regular
      gasoline hitting $2 per gallon on Monday. Despite high inventories of
      gasoline in the United States, growing demand is expected to cause regular
      gasoline to average $2.10 at the pump from April to September, the peak
      months for driving. That's a 20-cent increase over last year's gasoline
      prices. See the EIA's
      "<http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/steo/pub/contents.html>Short-Term Energy

      The figure commonly used for U.S. oil prices is the next-month futures
      price for light, sweet crude oil as traded on the New York Mercantile
      Exchange (NYMEX). See the latest
      <http://www.nymex.com/jsp/markets/lsco_fut_cso.jsp>NYMEX oil futures prices.

      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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