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EERE Network News -- 03/16/05

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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 21, 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:

      March 16, 2005

      News and Events

      * DOE and EPA Recognize Energy Star Leaders at Award Ceremonies
      * Global Wind Power Capacity Grew 20 Percent in 2004
      * California Utility to Buy Power from Six New Renewable Energy Projects
      * Appliance Efficiency Standards Signed Into Law in New Jersey
      * Lexus Announces Hybrid SUV Pricing and EPA Mileage
      * Builders' Group Presents 11 National Awards for Green Building

      Energy Connections

      * Major Oil Companies Report Low Reserve Replacement Ratios

      News and Events

      DOE and EPA Recognize Energy Star Leaders at Award Ceremonies


      The Energy Star logo.

      DOE and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) honored 50
      businesses and organizations with Energy Star Awards last night. The award
      winners include Lowes Companies Inc., Food Lion, Pardee Homes, USAA Real
      Estate, and 3M. See the
      press release.

      Last week, DOE and the EPA presented Energy Star CHP Awards and
      Certificates of Recognition to six organizations for their exemplary
      combined heat and power (CHP) projects. Weyerhaeuser's containerboard mill
      in Albany, Oregon, earned the Energy Star CHP Award for its 93-megawatt CHP
      system fueled with biomass and natural gas. The system operates at 70
      percent efficiency, requiring 17 percent less fuel than a typical mill,
      which generates its thermal energy needs onsite but draws its electricity
      from the power grid. In addition, the California Institute of Technology
      won an award for a 12.5-megawatt gas-fired CHP system that is more than 70
      percent efficient. See the
      press release and find details about the winners on the
      <http://www.epa.gov/chp/news/idea.htm>EPA Combined Heat and Power
      Partnership Web site.

      On Monday, the EPA recognized 13 Energy Star "Leaders": companies, school
      districts, and healthcare organizations that have measured the energy
      efficiency of all their buildings and achieved energy efficiency
      improvements of approximately 10 or 20 percent, or achieved overall top
      performance. The EPA also joined with more than 20 leading associations,
      states, and businesses to announce the Energy Star Challenge, which calls
      on owners of commercial and institutional buildings to improve the
      efficiency of their buildings by 10 percent or more. According to recent
      reports, nearly 2,000 commercial and institutional buildings in the United
      States have earned the Energy Star label, and nearly 10 percent of new
      homes built in 2004 earned the Energy Star label. Since 1995, more than
      360,000 new U.S. homes have earned the Energy Star, saving homeowners an
      estimated $200 million in energy costs. Overall, 64 percent of U.S.
      households are now aware of the Energy Star, and nearly half of those
      households purchased an Energy Star product in the past year. See all the
      recent Energy Star press releases and reports on the
      <http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=news.nr_news>Energy Star News Room
      Web page.

      Global Wind Power Capacity Grew 20 Percent in 2004

      The global wind power industry installed nearly 8,000 megawatts (MW) of new
      wind turbines in 2004, according to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).
      The 20 percent growth in global wind power capacity is actually somewhat
      lower than in 2002 and 2003, when the world wind capacity grew by 28
      percent and 26 percent, respectively. According to GWEC, the slower growth
      is largely due to a slowdown in the United States, caused by last year's
      expiration of the production tax credit for wind power (the credit was
      renewed this year, but will expire again at year's end). With the U.S.
      slowdown, Europe continued to dominate the world wind power market,
      installing 5,774 MW that accounted for 72.4 percent of the growth in 2004.
      Total world wind capacity is now at 47,317 MW, with 16,629 MW in Germany,
      8,263 MW in Spain, and 6,740 MW in the United States. See the
      <http://www.gwec.net/index.php?id=30&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=1>GWEC press release.

      As many wind power developers in the United States rush to take advantage
      of the production tax credit, one project was recently completed: Catamount
      Energy's 91.5-MW Sweetwater 2 project, located west of Abilene, Texas,
      achieved commercial operation in February. Among the many projects underway
      is a 151-MW expansion of the 74.25-MW Blue Canyon Wind Farm near Lawton,
      Oklahoma. The Vestas Group is providing 84 1.8-MW wind turbines for the
      project, which Zilkha Renewable Energy expects to complete in December.
      Public Service Company of Oklahoma is buying all the wind power from the
      project. Another project aiming for a year-end completion is the 120-MW San
      Juan Mesa Wind Project, near Elida, New Mexico, about 65 miles northeast of
      Roswell. Xcel Energy recently agreed to buy all the power from the project,
      which is being developed by Padoma Wind Power. Xcel Energy also announced
      in late February that it will buy all the power from a 12-MW wind project
      near Velva in central North Dakota. Construction of that project is
      expected to begin this summer. See the press releases from
      <http://www.catenergy.com/press_022305.html>Catamount Energy,
      <http://www.vestas.com/uk/news/press/newsDetails_UK.asp?ID=126>Vestas, the
      Service Company of Oklahoma, <http://www.padoma.com/press030505.html>Padoma
      Wind Power, and

      Taking the longer view, Washington State's Last Mile Electric Cooperative
      has submitted the permit application for a 200-MW wind plant in Klickitat
      County, just north of the Columbia River near Roosevelt. If the White Creek
      Project is approved, the cooperative plans to complete it by the end of
      2006. And in New York, plans are underway for the 27-MW Adirondack Wind
      Energy Park, slated to be built about 80 miles north of Albany in 2007. See
      the <http://www.lastmile.coop/white%20creek%20press%20release.htm>press
      release and <http://www.lastmile.coop/whitecreek.htm>White Creek Project
      description from the Last Mile Electric Cooperative, and visit the
      <http://www.adirondackwind.com/>Adirondack Wind Energy Park Web site.

      California Utility to Buy Power from Six New Renewable Energy Projects

      Southern California Edison (SCE) announced last week that it has signed
      long-term contracts with companies developing six new renewable energy
      projects. The contracts, which must also be approved by the California
      Public Utilities Commission, include three new wind power plants (two at
      the Tehachapi Pass and one at the San Gorgonio Pass), two biomass power
      plants (one in the Imperial Valley, and one in the Western Sierra), and one
      geothermal power plant in western Nevada. According to SCE, the six
      projects would have an initial combined capacity of 141.5 megawatts, but
      could eventually be expanded to 427.5 megawatts. SCE expects the projects
      to be completed between 2006 and 2009. See the
      <http://www.edison.com/media/indiv_pr.asp?bu=&year=0&id=5443>SCE press release.

      Appliance Efficiency Standards Signed Into Law in New Jersey

      Acting New Jersey Governor Richard J. Codey signed a bill last week that
      sets new energy efficiency standards for certain products sold within the
      state. The new law sets standards for ceiling fans and ceiling fan light
      kits; commercial clothes washers; commercial refrigerators and freezers;
      illuminated exit signs; very large air-cooled commercial air conditioning
      and heating equipment; low-voltage dry-type distribution transformers;
      set-top boxes; torchiere lighting fixtures; traffic signal modules; and
      unit heaters. The standards are drawn from a number of sources, including
      the new energy efficiency standards in California and the Energy Star
      requirements for certain products. See the
      governor's press release or go directly to the
      <http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2004/Bills/AL05/42_.HTM>full text of the bill.

      Speaking of the California standards, the California Energy Commission
      (CEC) announced in early February that its requirement for appliance
      manufacturers to supply energy efficiency information on their products has
      withstood a lawsuit by several appliance manufacturers associations. The
      Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the regulations and
      lifted a preliminary injunction that was issued in December 2002. See the
      press release.

      The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) noted in
      January that such state-level appliance efficiency standards could save
      consumers and businesses billions of dollars. Along with California,
      Connecticut and Maryland enacted new efficiency standards in 2004. See the
      <http://www.aceee.org/press/a051pr.htm>ACEEE press release.

      Lexus Announces Hybrid SUV Pricing and EPA Mileage


      The LX 400h hood is packed full with technology, and a silver c

      A peek under the hood of the LX 400h.
      Credit: Lexus

      When the Lexus RX 400h goes on sale on April 15th, it will be touted as the
      world's first luxury hybrid sports utility vehicle (SUV), but until
      recently, the question was: How much does a luxury hybrid SUV cost? Lexus
      answered that question on February 28th with its announcement of a
      manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of $48,535—a premium of
      $11,360 over the base price for the comparable non-hybrid model, the RX
      330, which has an MSRP of $37,175 for its four-by-four version. Lexus notes
      that the RX 400h base price includes a wide array of premium standard
      features that, if included on the RX 330, would boost its base price by
      more than $6,000. Doing the math, the hybrid system and its accompanying
      stability control system contribute about $5,000 to the cost of the RX 400h.

      Lexus also announced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
      has certified the fuel economy ratings for the RX 400h. According to Lexus,
      the RX 400h met its previously estimated mileage in the city—31 miles per
      gallon (mpg)—while slightly exceeding the Lexus estimates for highway
      driving, achieving 27 mpg. The combined city/highway mileage of 29 mpg is 1
      mpg higher than Lexus had estimated. In comparison, the four-wheel-drive RX
      330 achieves an estimated 18 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway, for
      a combined city/highway mileage of about 21 mpg. See the
      press release.

      Hybrid-electric vehicles are gaining ground with car buyers, according to
      "Consumer Reports," the magazine published by the Consumers Union, a
      nonprofit organization. The magazine's "Annual April Auto Issue" placed the
      Toyota Prius at the top of its owner satisfaction survey, with the Honda
      Civic Hybrid also scoring well. The magazine listed the Honda Accord Hybrid
      as the top pick for family sedans and the Toyota Prius as the top pick for
      green cars. See the Consumer Reports press releases on the
      satisfaction survey and the

      Builders' Group Presents 11 National Awards for Green Building

      The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) presented 11 winners with
      National Green Building Awards on Monday. The awards went to five projects
      that exemplified green building in a variety of buildings, including an
      Oregon house that can produce more energy than it consumes;
      energy-efficient production homes manufactured in Wisconsin; an
      energy-efficient multifamily building in Pennylvania; and a historic
      building renovation in Maryland that used insulated glass and innovative
      foam insulation. Other winners include the California Green Builder
      program, an effort to market green buildings in Florida, and green building
      advocates in Georgia and Massachusetts. One notable winner was DOE's
      Building America project, which was named the Green Advocate of the Year
      for a Group or Organization. See the

      DOE's Building America project is a private-public partnership that
      develops energy solutions for new and existing homes by helping the
      industry adopt systems engineering approaches to home design and
      construction. Private sector partners contribute construction materials and
      labor costs for Building America's research homes and communities. The
      Building America approach has been used in the design of 26,245 houses in
      34 states. See the
      <http://www.eere.energy.gov/buildings/building_america/>Building America
      Program Web site.

      Energy Connections

      Major Oil Companies Report Low Reserve Replacement Ratios

      The latest annual reports from the world's major international petroleum
      companies indicate that the companies struggled to find enough new
      petroleum reserves in 2004 to replace the oil they produced. One measure of
      oil company performance is the "reserves replacement ratio" (RRR), the
      ratio of new reserves to oil produced, which ideally should be greater than
      100 percent. In 2004, however, using reporting rules set by the Securities
      and Exchange Commission (SEC), ConocoPhillips reported an RRR of 65 percent
      (excluding sales and acquisitions), BP reported an RRR of 89 percent, and
      ExxonMobil reported an RRR of 83 percent. ChevronTexaco did not explicitly
      state its RRR, but its net proved reserves of crude oil, condensate, and
      natural gas liquids (not counting sales or purchases, but including
      affiliated companies) decreased by 5 percent (449 million barrels) in 2004.
      All the companies noted that the SEC requires the use of year-end prices,
      which they believe distorted the reserves reporting, and noted that the net
      reserve changes in recent years are not necessarily indicative of future
      trends. ConocoPhilips and ChevronTexaco also noted that the SEC does not
      consider Canadian oil sands as proved reserves. See the press releases from
      page 5 of BP's "Fourth quarter and full year 2004 results"
      137 KB), and pages FS-63 to FS-65 of ChevronTexaco's
      (annual report) filing to the SEC.
      <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>Download Acrobat Reader.

      A report released on Monday by DOE's Energy Information Administration
      (EIA) examines the performance profiles of the major U.S. energy companies
      for 2003. The report finds that the companies added more oil and natural
      gas reserves in 2003 than they extracted through production, achieving an
      RRR of 104 percent, up from 96 percent in 2002 but considerably below the
      replacement levels achieved in 2000 and 2001. See the
      <http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/perfpro/index.html>EIA report.

      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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