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EERE Network News -- 03/23/05

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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 23, 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 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

      Site News

      * DOE and White House Launch Hydrogen Energy Web Sites

      Energy Connections

      * 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
      <http://www.usda.gov/2005/03/0093.xml>USDA press release and the
      <http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/csp/cspenergy05.html>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
      <http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/csp/>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
      <http://www.calcef.org/about/recent_press.asp>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
      <http://www.ormat.com/news_064.htm>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
      (<http://www.usgeothermal.com/news/nr140205.pdf>PDF 88 KB).
      <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>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
      (<http://www.headwaters.com/data/upimages/press/Ethanol%20II.pdf>PDF 57 KB)
      River Energy.
      <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>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
      <http://www.redtrailenergy.com/index.html>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"
      (<http://www.usda.gov/oce/oepnu/aer-814.pdf>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
      <http://www.eere.energy.gov/afdc/e85toolkit/>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
      <http://www.indycar.com/news/story.php?story_id=4102>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,
      "<http://www.cleanedge.com/reports-trends2005.php>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
      (<http://www.acore.org/pdfs/05_PGRE05_PressRelease.pdf>PDF 51 KB).
      <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>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
      <http://www.hydrogenconference.org/>Annual Hydrogen Conference to
      Washington, D.C., accompanied by the NHA's <http://www.nhf2.org/>Hydrogen
      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
      the <http://www.nrel.gov/ncpv/scc/>International Conference on Solar
      Concentrators for the Generation of Electricity or Hydrogen begins in
      Scottsdale, Arizona. On May 4th, the
      <http://www.greenroofs.org/washington/>Third Annual Greening Rooftops
      Conference kicks off in Washington, D.C. In mid-May, the
      <http://www.awea.org/wp05.html>Windpower 2005 Conference and Exhibition
      comes to Denver, Colorado. Finally, for the international travelers, the
      <http://wrec2005aberdeen.co.uk/>World Renewable Energy Congress 2005
      launches on May 22nd in Aberdeen, Scotland, accompanied on May 25th by the
      Renewable Power Association's
      <http://www.r-p-a.org.uk/article_default_view.fcm?articleid=1180>Wave and
      Tidal Technology Symposium (WATTS).

      Site News

      <http://www.hydrogen.energy.gov>DOE and White House Launch Hydrogen Energy
      Web Sites

      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.

      Energy Connections

      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
      the <http://www.jdpower.com/news/releases/pressrelease.asp?ID=2005043>J.D.
      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/>Office of
      Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and is also available on the
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