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EERE Network News -- 03/30/05

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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 30, 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 30, 2005

      News and Events

      * USDA Offers $22.8 Million for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency
      * Company to Build Largest U.S. Biodiesel Plant in North Dakota
      * Lexus to Start Selling Hybrid Sedan in Spring 2006
      * California Wine Co-op to Install Two Large Solar Power Systems
      * Ongoing Drought in Northwest Threatens Hydropower Production
      * Clean Air Act Settlement to Yield Solar and Wind or Biomass Projects

      Site News

      * Wind Industry Launches Global Wind Energy Council

      Energy Connections

      * DOE Releases Revised Greenhouse Gas Reporting Guidance

      News and Events

      USDA Offers $22.8 Million for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency

      The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on Monday the
      availability of $22.8 million to support new renewable energy systems and
      energy efficiency improvements by agricultural producers and rural small
      businesses. The funds will support the use of renewable energy technologies
      such as biomass (including anaerobic digesters), geothermal, hydrogen,
      solar, and wind energy.

      The new funds will be made available in two stages. One half, or $11.4
      million, is available immediately for competitive grants of up to $500,000
      for renewable energy projects and up to $250,000 for energy efficiency
      projects. The grant request may not exceed 25 percent of the eligible
      project cost, and applications must be submitted by June 27th. The
      remaining $11.4 million will be set aside for guaranteed loans for
      renewable energy and energy efficiency projects through a process to be
      announced later this year. See the
      <http://www.usda.gov/2005/03/0107.xml>USDA press release.

      Section 9006 of the 2002 Farm Bill established the Renewable Energy Systems
      and Energy Efficiency Improvements Program to encourage agricultural
      producers and rural small businesses to increase their energy efficiency
      and use more renewable energy. To date, the USDA has invested $45 million
      in 32 states through this program. For complete information about the
      program, including the official Federal Register notice about the latest
      funds, see the
      <http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rd/farmbill/9006resources.html>USDA Web site.

      Company to Build Largest U.S. Biodiesel Plant in North Dakota

      North Dakota Senator Kent Conrad announced last week that North Dakota
      Biodiesel Inc. plans to construct a $50 million biodiesel manufacturing
      plant in Minot, North Dakota, drawing on local canola crops as a source.
      The facility will be the largest biodiesel refinery in North America, able
      to produce 100,000 tons of premium biodiesel annually from more than
      355,000 acres of canola. Construction on the plant is expected to begin in
      August, with the first sale of biodiesel products likely in December 2006.
      According to Senator Conrad, the new facility will pump millions of dollars
      into the local economy and produce hundreds of jobs. See the senator's
      <http://conrad.senate.gov/~conrad/releases/05/03/2005322908.html>press release.

      Currently produced mainly from soybeans, biodiesel is gaining ground on a
      number of fronts. According to the National Biodiesel Board, the U.S.
      Department of the Navy is requiring all Navy and Marine non-tactical diesel
      vehicles to operate on B20­a blend of 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent
      diesel fuel­by June 1st. Volkswagen AG just extended warranty protection to
      U.S. vehicles for the use of blends containing up to 5 percent biodiesel,
      and is testing engines using B20. And John Deere committed in February to
      filling all its new U.S.-made diesel vehicles with B2, a blend containing 2
      percent biodiesel. The company's first B2-filled tractors rolled out of its
      Waterloo, Iowa, assembly plant in early March. See the
      <http://www.biodiesel.org/resources/pressreleases/>press releases from the
      National Biodiesel Board.

      Lexus to Start Selling Hybrid Sedan in Spring 2006


      A photo of the GS 450h on display in New York.

      Lexus unveiled its GS 450h hybrid sedan at the New York Auto Show.
      Credit: Lexus

      Lexus unveiled the world's first rear-wheel-drive hybrid-electric sedan
      last week at the New York International Auto Show. The 2007 Lexus GS 450h
      features a new hybrid system that combines a 3.5-liter V6 engine with a
      high-output electric motor, yielding a combined power output "well in
      excess of 300 horsepower," according to Lexus. The result is a luxury sedan
      that outperforms the V8-powered GS 430, while achieving a fuel economy "in
      the high twenties," according to the company. See the
      press release.

      California Wine Co-op to Install Two Large Solar Power Systems

      PowerLight Corporation announced last week that it will install 424
      kilowatts of solar power at the Northern California facilities of the Wine
      Service Co-Operative, a leading wine storage and distribution center. The
      project will consist of a 195-kilowatt system and a 229-kilowatt system
      installed atop the Wine Co-op's St. Helena and South Napa facilities in the
      Napa Valley. The solar arrays, combined with energy efficiency measures,
      should provide nearly 100 percent of the facilities' annual energy needs,
      substantially reducing operating costs. The project is scheduled for
      completion this summer. See the
      press release.

      Meanwhile in Southern California, a long-running dispute over a much
      smaller solar power system was finally resolved in early March. Akeena
      Solar has been trying to install a solar electric system on its roof since
      2002, but the Town of Los Gatos, where the company is located, would not
      approve the system because of concerns about the visual impacts of some of
      the solar modules. While a lawsuit was pending, Akeena worked to update the
      state's Solar Rights Act so that it would apply to municipalities, and the
      updated act was signed into law in September 2004. With the new law in
      place, the company applied for a permit to build an expanded 6-kilowatt
      system in January, won building approval in February, built the system, and
      earned final approval from the town in early March. See Akeena Solar's
      <http://www.akeena.net/about/pr050310_lgapproves.html>press release and its
      <http://www.akeena.net/about/losgatossolarfinal.html>related Web page.

      Ongoing Drought in Northwest Threatens Hydropower Production

      The Northwest experienced its third dry winter in a row this year, leading
      the Bonneville Power Administration, regional utilities, and public
      interest groups to call last week on Northwest consumers to conserve
      energy. Barring unscheduled plant outages or other unforeseen
      circumstances, the region's utilities expect to have enough electrical
      generating capability to meet demand, but the hydropower shortage could
      drive up electricity rates, the groups warned. See the
      press release.

      Photo of the advanced hydropower turbine suspended from a crane

      The six-bladed hydropower turbine as it was about to be lowered into place
      on the Wanapum Dam.
      Credit: Grant County PUD

      The low water conditions should provide an interesting test of a "fish
      friendly" hydropower turbine, now producing power for the Grant County
      Public Utility District (PUD) at the Wanapum Dam, on the Columbia River in
      Washington State. The state-of-the-art turbine is designed to increase the
      survival rate of migratory fish while increasing efficiency and power
      output. The DOE-funded test is already showing promise: In early February,
      testing showed a 14 percent increase in power output and a 3 percent
      increase in efficiency. Fish passage data are not available yet. See the
      Grant County PUD press release
      109 KB). <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>Download
      Acrobat Reader.

      One company is working to bring new hydropower capacity to the Northwest,
      through low-impact installations primarily located at existing federal
      dams. Symbiotics, LLC was established in 2001 and has filed 250
      applications for preliminary hydropower permits with the Federal Energy
      Regulatory Commission (FERC). Of those, 22 projects are currently active,
      and 4 have reached the stage of applying for a final license. Those
      projects include a 10-megawatt installation near Medford, Oregon; an
      8.3-megawatt system east of Cottage Grove, Oregon; a 6.8-megawatt system
      near Prineville, Oregon; and a 3.3-megawatt system northeast of St.
      Anthony, Idaho. See the <http://www.symbioticsenergy.com/>Symbiotics Web site.

      Clean Air Act Settlement to Yield Solar and Wind or Biomass Projects

      When FirstEnergy Corporation settled a federal lawsuit in mid-March for
      violations of the Clean Air Act by its subsidiary, Ohio Edison, the result
      was not only a significant cleanup of the utility's coal-plant emissions,
      but also a significant commitment to wind power within the next three and a
      half years. Ohio Edison is required to enter into 20-year contracts to buy
      power from wind projects with a total capacity of at least 93 megawatts.
      However, if the wind energy production tax credit is not in force or not
      applicable to any of the projects, Ohio Edison need only contract for 23
      megawatts of wind power. The wind projects must be located in Pennsylvania,
      New Jersey, or western New York. With pre-approval from the plaintiffs,
      Ohio Edison can also substitute landfill gas projects in Connecticut, New
      Jersey, or New York for some or all of the wind power requirement. Ohio
      Edison must also provide $400,000 to fund a 52-kilowatt solar power system
      in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. See document pages 37 and 38 (PDF pages 40 and
      41) plus Appendix A (PDF pages 73 and 74) of the "Ohio Edison Consent
      278 KB). <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>Download
      Acrobat Reader.

      The FirstEnergy settlement was the result of Clean Air Act violations at
      the W.H. Sammis Station, a coal-fired power plant in Stratton, Ohio. The
      states of Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York were co-plaintiffs and
      joined in the settlement. See the press release, fact sheet, and other
      information on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's
      and Enforcement Web site.

      Site News

      <http://www.gwec.net/>Wind Industry Launches Global Wind Energy Council

      The Global Wind Energy Council, launched on March 10th, promotes the
      development of wind energy around the world through policy development,
      business leadership, global outreach, and information and education. Its
      membership includes more than 1,500 companies and organizations from more
      than 50 countries. See the <http://www.gwec.net/>Global Wind Energy Council
      Web site.

      Energy Connections

      DOE Releases Revised Greenhouse Gas Reporting Guidance

      DOE released revised guidelines for voluntary reporting of greenhouse gas
      emissions, sequestration, and emission reductions on March 22nd. Under the
      revised guidelines, utilities, manufacturers, and other businesses that
      emit greenhouse gases will be able to register their emission reductions
      achieved after 2002 if they also provide entity-wide emissions inventory
      data. The new guidelines also allow reporting greenhouse gas emissions and
      carbon sequestration in the forest and agriculture sectors, using
      information provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Small
      entities, such as farms and small businesses, will be encouraged to
      participate through simplified reporting and registration provisions. See
      the press releases from
      and the <http://www.usda.gov/2005/03/0104.xml>USDA.

      The guidelines were published in the Federal Register on March 24th for a
      60-day public comment period and are expected to become effective in late
      September. Two public workshops on the revised guidelines will take place
      in April and May. For more information on the workshops and guidelines, see
      the <http://www.pi.energy.gov/enhancingGHGregistry/>DOE Office of Policy
      and International Affairs Web site.

      The new guidelines coincide with a commitment by six U.S. oil and gas
      companies to increase their actions regarding climate change. According to
      the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES)­a coalition
      of investment funds, environmental organizations, and public interest
      groups­the six companies will take a range of actions, including disclosing
      their operational greenhouse gas emissions; disclosing the greenhouse gas
      emissions from the use of their products; setting absolute greenhouse gas
      emission goals and reduction targets; increasing investments in low- and
      no-carbon energy technologies, including renewable energy and carbon
      sequestration; integrating climate risk into core business strategies,
      including factoring carbon costs into capital allocation decision-making;
      and assigning their boards the direct responsibility to oversee corporate
      strategies regarding climate change. The six companies include Andarko
      Petroleum, Apache Corporation, ChevronTexaco, Marathon Oil, Tesoro
      Corporation, and Unocal. For a list of specific actions to be taken by each
      company, see the
      <http://ceres.org/newsroom/press/oilwith_pr_031705.htm>CERES press release.

      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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