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EERE Network News -- 04/20/05

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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 , Apr 20, 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:

      April 20, 2005

      News and Events

      * NREL Reports Growth in Utility Green Power Sales in 2004
      * Novozymes and NREL Cut Cost of Converting Biomass to Ethanol
      * FERC: No Hydropower License Required for N.Y. Tidal Power Test
      * Washington State Approves Green Building Law
      * Wisconsin Paper Mills Cut Costs with Energy Efficiency, Hydropower

      Site News

      * Commercial Windows Initiative

      Energy Connections

      * EIA Study Finds Minor Economic Impact from Greenhouse Gas Cuts

      News and Events

      NREL Reports Growth in Utility Green Power Sales in 2004

      An increasing number of U.S. electric utilities are selling greater amounts
      of green power to their customers, causing the total utility sales of green
      power to increase to 1.9 billion kilowatt-hours in 2004, according to the
      DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Austin Energy, the
      nation's leader in total green power sales for three years running, saw an
      increase in green power sales of more than 15 percent, exceeding 334
      million kilowatt-hours in 2004. NREL's annual "top ten" lists of utility
      green power programs shows many of the same leaders as in 2003, although
      the lists now include renewable energy sales from utilities in competitive
      electricity markets, which were formerly excluded. According to NREL,
      nearly 600 utilities in 34 states now offer green power to their customers
      as a voluntary option at a premium price. Several large utilities have also
      lowered their premiums, making green power increasingly affordable,
      according to NREL. See the
      <http://www.nrel.gov/news/press/2005/1405_nrel_highlights.html>NREL press
      release and
      ten" lists.

      Here's another sign of the maturing green power market: the Tenth National
      Green Power Marketing Conference will be held in late October in Austin,
      Texas, accompanied by the Fifth Annual Green Power Leadership Awards. The
      first conference (actually more of a workshop) was held just over nine
      years ago. DOE, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Center
      for Resource Solutions are organizing this year's conference, which carries
      an appropriate theme: "A Decade of Marketing: Best Practices, Programs and
      Policies." See the
      <http://www.eere.energy.gov/greenpower/conference/tenth.html>conference Web

      Novozymes and NREL Cut Cost of Converting Biomass to Ethanol


      Bird's-eye view of the pilot plant, which consists of eight lar

      Novozymes' new enzymes will be tested at the Abengoa Bioenergy pilot plant
      in 2006.
      Credit: Abengoa Bioenergy

      Novozymes A/S announced last week that it has successfully achieved a
      30-fold reduction in the cost of enzymes needed to convert biomass to
      ethanol. Since early in 2001, Novozymes has been working with DOE's
      National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to reduce the cost of producing
      ethanol from cellulosic biomass, specifically the cobs, stalks, and leaves
      of corn plants, which are collectively referred to as corn stover. As
      opposed to starchy biomass sources such as corn kernels, such "woody"
      sources require special pretreatments and enzymes to release their
      carbohydrates and convert them into ethanol. The cost reduction was
      achieved through a combination of an improved pre-treatment process
      developed by NREL and new enzymes developed by Novozymes. Abengoa
      Bioenergy—an ethanol producer operating in both Europe and the United
      States—plans to test the improved process at its pilot plant in York,
      Nebraska, in 2006. See the
      press release and the
      <http://www.abengoabioenergy.com/feature.cfm?page=6>Abengoa Bioenergy Web site.

      According to a recent study by the United Nations' Food and Agriculture
      Organization (FAO), a short-term target of replacing up to 13 percent of
      petroleum-based fuels with biofuels appears feasible in the United States
      and Europe, using available cropland. And although some people worry that
      converting crops to fuels can hurt world food supplies, the FAO finds that
      producing energy from biomass could be a key to eliminating extreme poverty
      and hunger throughout the world. The FAO notes that biomass energy projects
      bring economic development opportunities to rural areas, creating jobs and
      generating new sources of incomes for farmers. See the
      <http://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/news/2005/101397/index.html>FAO press release.

      FERC: No Hydropower License Required for N.Y. Tidal Power Test

      The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) announced last week that a
      proposed 18-month test of tidal energy turbines in New York City's East
      River does not require a hydropower license, but does require the necessary
      federal, state, and local permits. Verdant Power proposes to test six
      underwater turbines to determine their potential impacts on the environment
      and to study their performance. By 2007, Verdant Power plans to install 494
      21-kilowatt turbines in the river near Roosevelt Island to form the
      Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy Hydropower Project, which will have a total
      capacity of about 10.4 megawatts. See the
      <http://www.ferc.gov/press-room/pr-current/04-13-05-hydro.asp>FERC press
      release and <http://www.verdantpower.com/initiatives/eastriver.html>Verdant
      Power Web site.

      A similar tidal current project is planned for Canada's Race Rock
      Ecological Reserve, off the coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia.
      The project received a $3 million grant from the EnCana Environmental
      Innovation Fund and is expected to start producing power in early 2006. See
      the EnCana Corporation press release
      106 KB). <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>Download
      Acrobat Reader.

      Photo of the Wave Dragon getting slammed by a wave on stormy se

      The Wave Dragon, a wave energy prototype, takes a beating during a January
      Credit: Wave Dragon

      In other ocean energy news, a prototype wave power generator was launched
      in Australia in late March. Called the CETO wave energy converter, the
      device is mounted on the seabed floor and uses the pressure of passing
      waves to pump seawater into an onshore reservoir. A conventional hydropower
      turbine then generates power as the water returns to the sea. According to
      Pacific Hydro Ltd., one of the project developers, the seawater could also
      be pumped through reverse osmosis filters to produce fresh water. The
      seabed mounting is meant to avoid battering of the device by the ocean, as
      recently happened to another wave energy prototype, the Wave Dragon. After
      21 months at sea in a Danish fjord called Nissum Bredning, the Wave Dragon
      prototype broke its mooring and blew ashore during a rough January storm.
      The company later towed the device to harbor and is modifying it for
      redeployment. See the Pacific Hydro press release
      14 KB) and the <http://www.wavedragon.net/news/index.htm>Wave Dragon Web site.

      Washington State Approves Green Building Law

      Washington Governor Christine Gregoire signed a bill into law in early
      April that requires new public schools and other state buildings to meet
      green building standards. Under the new law, all major public agency
      facilities exceeding 5,000 square feet­including school buildings that
      receive state funding­would be required to meet the Leadership in Energy
      and Environmental Design (LEED) standards set by the U.S. Green Building
      Council. Among other benefits, the new law is expected to yield a 20
      percent savings in annual energy costs in the new buildings. See the

      In Arizona, Governor Janet Napolitano took a more direct route to encourage
      green building for new state buildings: in February, she issued an
      executive order. The order requires new state buildings to meet the Silver
      LEED standard, meet state energy efficiency standards, and supply 10
      percent of their energy needs from renewable sources. The order allows new
      buildings to either generate their own renewable power or buy renewable
      energy credits. See the executive order
      (<http://www.governor.state.az.us/eo/2005_05.pdf>PDF 278 KB).
      <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>Download Acrobat Reader.

      According to the U.S. Green Building Council, cities are also implementing
      green building requirements. In late March, the mayor of Scottsdale,
      Arizona, outdid her state's governor, declaring that all new city buildings
      be certified to the Gold LEED standard. See the
      Green Building Council press release.

      Wisconsin Paper Mills Cut Costs with Energy Efficiency, Hydropower

      Stora Enso, a papermaking company with six paper mills in Wisconsin, has
      proved that significant energy savings are possible in the paper industry.
      Since 2001, Stora Enso has lowered its annual energy use at the six mills
      by 22 million kilowatt-hours and 3.6 million therms of natural gas, saving
      $3.5 million each year on energy. Wisconsin's Focus on Energy, the
      statewide energy efficiency and renewable energy program, worked with the
      company to employ such technologies as a dryer management system, which
      automatically adjusts the operating conditions of the paper dryers to
      maximize their efficiency. Focus on Energy also helped the company
      refurbish two old hydroelectric generators at one of its mills. See the
      Focus on Energy press release
      113 KB). <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>Download
      Acrobat Reader.

      DOE considers papermaking to be part of the forest products industry, which
      is one of eight industries that are focused on by the Industries of the
      Future partnerships, part of DOE's Industrial Technologies Program. A
      recent review of the program by the National Research Council concluded
      that it is a well-managed and effective program, which leverages its
      resources through a large and growing number of partnerships. See the
      <http://www.eere.energy.gov/industry/>Industrial Technologies Program Web
      site and the <http://www.nap.edu/catalog/11243.html>National Research
      Council report.

      Industrial energy efficiency is also the subject of this summer's
      conference sponsored by the American Council for an Energy Efficient
      Economy (ACEEE). The 2005 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in
      Industry starts on July 19th in West Point, New York. See the
      <http://aceee.org/conf/05ss/05ssindex.htm>ACEEE Web site.

      Site News

      <http://www.commercialwindowsinitiative.org/index.html>Commercial Windows

      The Commercial Windows Initiative, a project of the Northwest Energy
      Efficiency Alliance, works to increase the energy efficiency of windows
      used in small to medium-sized commercial and multi-family construction
      projects in the Northwest. Its goal is to dramatically increase the market
      share of energy-efficient commercial glazing. To do this, the initiative is
      working with architects, developers, window manufacturers, and utilities.

      Energy Connections

      EIA Study Finds Minor Economic Impact from Greenhouse Gas Cuts

      DOE's Energy Information Administration (EIA) released a report last week
      that examined the impacts of implementing a variety of government energy
      programs, tax incentives, and energy efficiency standards in combination
      with a greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme. The proposed programs aim
      to achieve reliable and affordable energy supplies while limiting the risks
      and impacts from global climate change, the U.S. dependence on oil, and
      other potential liabilities. The EIA study found that the combined
      proposals would cut U.S. energy use by 5 percent in 2025, compared with a
      business-as-usual scenario, and would simultaneously cut greenhouse gas
      emissions by 11 percent. The economic impact of achieving these cuts is
      slight, according to the EIA: By 2025, the U.S. gross domestic product
      would drop only 0.4 percent below the level in the business-as-usual
      scenario. "These changes do not materially affect average economic growth
      rates for the 2003 to 2025 period," concludes the report. The study also
      found that the proposed government programs would pay for themselves by
      2022. See the
      <http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/servicerpt/bingaman/index.html>EIA report.

      The European Union (EU) officially launched its greenhouse gas emission
      trading scheme in January, although so far only five EU countries have
      established online registries of their greenhouse gas emissions. This
      Friday, April 22nd, the European Climate Exchange (ECX) will celebrate
      Earth Day by launching its trading of futures contracts for EU carbon
      dioxide emission allowances. The ECX is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the
      Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), which launched a voluntary program to trade
      greenhouse gas emissions in the United States in late 2003. See the
      <http://europa.eu.int/comm/environment/climat/emission.htm>EU Emission
      Trading Scheme Web site, the EU's list of
      greenhouse gas emissions registries, the
      press release, and the <http://www.ecxeurope.com/>ECX Web site.

      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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