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>Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable
Energy (EERE). The EERE Network News is also available on the Web at:
March 23, 2005
News and Events
* USDA Conservation Program Includes Efficiency, Renewable Incentives
* California Launches $30 Million Clean Energy Investment Fund
* Ormat Breaks Ground on New Geothermal Power Plant in Nevada
* Ethanol Plant to Take Advantage of Waste Heat from Coal Plant
* Illinois Provides $500,000 to Build Ethanol Infrastructure
* Report Predicts Huge Growth in Clean Energy Technologies
* DOE and White House Launch Hydrogen Energy Web Sites
* Record Gasoline Prices Slow Sales of Full-Size SUVs
News and Events
USDA Conservation Program Includes Efficiency, Renewable Incentives
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced last week that its
Conservation Security Program (CSP) will start accepting sign-ups from
farmer and ranchers on March 28th. Although the program is primarily meant
to support ongoing stewardship of private agricultural lands, this year's
program sign-up includes a renewable energy and energy efficiency
component. Eligible producers will receive compensation for conducting
energy audits, for cutting their energy use, for converting to renewable
energy fuels (such as biodiesel or ethanol), and for implementing renewable
energy production, including methane production as well as wind, solar,
hydroelectric and geothermal energy. See the
>USDA press release and the
>CSP job sheets for
energy enhancement activities.
According to the USDA, roughly 235,000 farmer and ranchers in 220
watersheds will be eligible for this year's CSP. The 220 watersheds
represent more than 185 million acres in every state and the Caribbean,
including 2 million acres of tribal lands. Congress funded the CSP at $202
million in fiscal year 2005, which will allow the USDA to write an
estimated 12,000 to 14,000 contracts. The payments are divided into three
tiers, based on the level of conservation achieved, with the highest tier
earning up to $45,000 annually for 5 to 10 years. See the
>CSP Program Web site, which
includes the latest amendment to the rules and a list of eligible watersheds.
California Launches $30 Million Clean Energy Investment Fund
The bankruptcy of California's Pacific Gas and Electric Company in 2001 was
bad news for the electric utility industry, but the utility's return to
solvency last year has an unexpected benefit for clean energy technologies:
As part of its bankruptcy settlement, the utility provided $30 million to
create a new investment fund, the California Clean Energy Fund (CalCEF).
CalCEF announced last week that three leading venture capital firms will
make equity investments in clean energy companies on its behalf, with each
firm investing $8.5 million in companies involved in renewable energy,
energy efficiency, energy storage, and enabling technologies and services.
CalCEF intends to make profitable investments that generate economic growth
while reducing California's dependence on fossil fuels. Any profits from
the investments will be reinvested in CalCEF. See the
>CalCEF press release.
Ormat Breaks Ground on New Geothermal Power Plant in Nevada
The Steamboat geothermal plant is a low, wide facility that cou
The existing geothermal plants in Ormat's Steamboat, Nevada, complex sit
low and unobtrusive against the desert landscape.
Credit: Joel Renner, INEEL
Ormat Nevada, Inc., a subsidiary of Ormat Technologies, Inc., broke ground
last week on the first geothermal electric generating plant to be built at
Steamboat, Nevada since 1991. Known as the Galena Geothermal Project, the
20-megawatt plant will bring the total output from the Steamboat geothermal
complex to 44 megawatts. According to Ormat, the Galena Geothermal Project
is the first to begin construction since the Nevada Legislature passed laws
in 2001 requiring utilities to supply a portion of their power from
renewable energy resources. See the
>Ormat press release.
Efforts to develop the first geothermal power plant in Idaho also continue
to press ahead. In February, U.S. Geothermal Inc. acquired two parcels of
land and energy rights at the proposed location of its Raft River Idaho
geothermal power project. The acquisitions add 417.5 acres of surface land
and 259 acres of new energy rights to the company's holdings at the site.
See the U.S. Geothermal press release
>PDF 88 KB).
>Download Acrobat Reader.
Ethanol Plant to Take Advantage of Waste Heat from Coal Plant
One common concern about ethanol production is the amount of energy
required to produce each gallon of ethanol, often referred to as the energy
balance of ethanol production. Last week, two companies announced an
innovative approach to tip that balance further in favor of ethanol:
Headwaters Incorporated has signed an agreement to build an ethanol plant
next to Great River Energy's Coal Creek Station power plant near Underwood,
North Dakota. The proposed facility would use the waste heat from the
coal-fired power plant in place of a boiler, thus saving energy while
reducing emissions from the ethanol plant. The plant will be able to
produce 50 million gallons of ethanol per year, and the two companies plan
to begin construction in the fall and start producing ethanol in fall 2006.
The coal-heated ethanol facility is a natural fit for Headwaters, which is
involved in coal combustion and the production of synthetic fuels from
coal. See the press releases from Headwaters
>PDF 57 KB)
>Download Acrobat Reader.
Another ethanol plant near Richardton, North Dakota, is taking a more
direct route: the facility will burn lignite coal as its energy source. The
plant's developer, Red Trail Energy LLC, claims the plant will produce 50
million gallons of ethanol per year with an energy savings of 70 percent
compared to ethanol plants that use natural gas. Red Trail Energy recently
raised sufficient cash to start the project and has begun site preparation
for construction of the plant. See the
>Red Trail Energy Web site.
By the way, even existing ethanol plants produce about 34 percent more
energy (embodied in the ethanol fuel) than they use in growing the corn,
harvesting it, transporting it, and distilling it into ethanol, according
to a July 2002 report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). See
the USDA report, "The Energy Balance of Corn Ethanol: An Update"
>PDF 168 KB).
Illinois Provides $500,000 to Build Ethanol Infrastructure
A photo of a fuel pump labeled 'E-85 Ethanol.'
Illinois intends to make E85 fuel pumps a more common sight around the state.
Credit: Warren Gretz
Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich announced on March 8th that $500,000 in
funding is now available to establish new E85 facilities at retail gasoline
outlets throughout the state. E85 is a blend of gasoline with 70 to 85
percent ethanol for use in flexible fuel vehicles, which are designed to
burn E85, unleaded gasoline, or any combination of the two fuels. Illinois'
E85 program, run by the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity,
will provide up to $2,000 to convert an existing refueling facility to E85
operation, or up to $40,000 for the construction of a new E85 refueling
facility. See the governor's
For anyone wanting to build an E85 refueling facility, DOE's Alternative
Fuel Data Center recently launched the "E85 Fleet Toolkit," a Web resource
for fleet managers and other interested parties. The Toolkit includes
information on fueling equipment and processes; procedures for building new
stations or converting existing equipment to be E85 compatible; E85 fuel
specifications and suppliers; and much more. See the
>E85 Fleet Toolkit.
Here's an unusual fleet of vehicles that will soon switch to ethanol: the
Indy Racing League's IndyCar Series. Although the vehicles run on methanol
today, the IndyCar Series racers will add 10 percent ethanol to their fuel
in 2006, then shift to 100 percent ethanol in 2007. That means locally
grown fuels will soon be powering the Indianapolis 500. See the
>Indy Racing League
Report Predicts Huge Growth in Clean Energy Technologies
Prepare yourself for a boom in clean energy technologies: Markets for solar
energy, wind energy, and fuel cells are poised to grow from $16 billion in
global revenues in 2004 to more than $100 billion by 2014, according to a
report released yesterday by Clean Edge, Inc., an energy research and
publishing firm. Clean Edge projects that over the next ten years, markets
for solar photovoltaic devices will grow from $7.2 billion to $39.2
billion; wind power installations will expand from $8 billion to $48.1
billion; and fuel cells and distributed hydrogen will grow from $900
million to $15.1 billion. See the Clean Edge report,
>Clean-Energy Trends 2005".
Another indicator of the burgeoning clean energy industry is the growth of
key conferences. The POWER-GEN Renewable Energy conference, held early this
month, experienced a 100-percent growth in exhibitors and a 60-percent
growth in attendees, according to the American Council on Renewable Energy
(ACORE), a major sponsor. See the ACORE press release
>PDF 51 KB).
>Download Acrobat Reader.
The POWER-GEN conference essentially kicks off the 2005 conference season,
as many major renewable energy conferences are coming up soon. Today is the
start of <http://www.globalconevent.com/
>Globalcon 2005, a conference in
Atlantic City, New Jersey, sponsored by the Association of Energy Engineers
and featuring themes of energy efficiency and renewable energy. On March
29th, the National Hydrogen Association (NHA) brings its
>Annual Hydrogen Conference to
Washington, D.C., accompanied by the NHA's <http://www.nhf2.org/
Financing Forum and the <http://www.hydrogenexpo.com/
>Hydrogen Expo USA. On
May 1st, the <http://www.afvi.org/palmsprings/
>11th Annual Clean Cities
Conference and Exposition gets underway in Palm Springs, California, while
>International Conference on Solar
Concentrators for the Generation of Electricity or Hydrogen begins in
Scottsdale, Arizona. On May 4th, the
>Third Annual Greening Rooftops
Conference kicks off in Washington, D.C. In mid-May, the
>Windpower 2005 Conference and Exhibition
comes to Denver, Colorado. Finally, for the international travelers, the
>World Renewable Energy Congress 2005
launches on May 22nd in Aberdeen, Scotland, accompanied on May 25th by the
Renewable Power Association's
Tidal Technology Symposium (WATTS).
>DOE and White House Launch Hydrogen Energy
DOE launched a new Hydrogen Program Web site last week. The site links the
four DOE offices that participate in the President's Hydrogen Fuel
Initiative: the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy; the
Office of Fossil Energy; the Office of Nuclear Energy, Science and
Technology; and the Office of Science. The new Web site serves as a
one-stop location for the latest information on DOE's hydrogen fuel
efforts. See the <http://www.hydrogen.energy.gov
>DOE Hydrogen Program Web site.
Meanwhile, the Hydrogen R&D Task Force, a part of the President's National
Science and Technology Council, has developed Hydrogen.gov, a new Web site
meant to serve as the federal government's central source of information on
research and development activities related to hydrogen and fuel cells.
Visit the <http://www.hydrogen.gov
>Hydrogen.gov Web site.
Record Gasoline Prices Slow Sales of Full-Size SUVs
A report issued last week by the Power Information Network, an affiliate of
J.D. Powers and Associates, finds that consumer interest in full-size sport
utility vehicles (SUVs) has dropped significantly in the past year.
According to the report, most car and truck owners are now less likely to
trade their vehicles for a new full-size SUV than they were a year ago.
Compared to sales in 2004, full-size SUV sales fell 31 percent in January
and 21 percent in February, while the vehicles sat an average of 84 days on
dealer lots before being sold, compared to an industry average of 66 days.
The report's authors blame the drop in sales on rising gasoline prices. See
Powers press release.
According to the Daily Fuel Gauge Report from the American Automobile
Association (AAA), both regular unleaded gasoline and diesel fuel prices
are now at historic highs in the United States. As of yesterday, unleaded
gasoline averaged $2.095 per gallon and diesel fuel averaged $2.277 per
gallon. See the AAA's <http://www.fuelgaugereport.com/
>Daily Fuel Gauge Report.
This newsletter is funded by DOE's <http://www.eere.energy.gov/
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and is also available on the
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