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EERE Network News -- 04/27/05

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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 27, 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:

      April 27, 2005

      News and Events

      * U.S. Air Force Leads the Nation in Green Power Purchases
      * District of Columbia Adopts a Renewable Energy Requirement
      * Iowa Governor Orders Greater Use of Efficiency and Renewable Energy
      * North Dakota Adopts Incentives for Wind, Hydrogen, Alternative Fuels
      * Idaho Provides Financing, Tax Rebates for Renewable Projects
      * U.N. Finds Huge Solar and Wind Potential in Developing Countries

      Site News

      * Ex-Im Bank's Environmental Exports Program Aids Clean Energy Exports

      Energy Connections

      * DOE and Oil Companies Search for Methane Hydrates in the Gulf

      News and Events

      U.S. Air Force Leads the Nation in Green Power Purchases

      The members of the organization buying the most green power in the United
      States often wear green themselves­camouflage green, that is. In 2004, the
      largest U.S. buyer of green power was the U.S. Air Force, which bought more
      than 321,000 megawatt-hours of renewable energy, with bases in California,
      Texas, New Mexico, Washington, and North and South Dakota leading the way.
      The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) list of the top 25 buyers
      of green power participating in its Green Power Partnership, released last
      week, also includes the U.S. Navy, the EPA, DOE, the U.S. General Services
      Administration, and the World Bank. The top companies on the list include
      Johnson & Johnson, Whole Foods Market, and WhiteWave Foods. Together, the
      top 25 EPA Green Power Partners are buying more than 1.6 million
      megawatt-hours of renewable power each year. See the
      <http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?storyID=123010348>U.S. Air Force press
      release, the
      press release, and the EPA's
      <http://www.epa.gov/greenpower/partners/top25.htm>top 25 list.

      The Air Force's green power purchases are hardly a fluke, in fact, a report
      released in March by the Department of Defense (DoD) concluded that green
      power purchases can provide its largest source of renewable energy,
      although the DoD prefers the energy security benefits of on-site production
      of renewable energy. The study found the potential for 70 average megawatts
      of wind power at 109 DoD facilities as well as three or four possible sites
      for geothermal power plants, six to eight possible sites for geothermal
      heating systems, and 430 locations where some form of solar energy use is
      practical. See the "DoD Renewable Energy Assessment"
      168 KB) and for background information, see the
      <http://dod-renewablesassessment.pnl.gov/>DoD Renewables Assessment Web
      site. <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>Download
      Acrobat Reader.

      District of Columbia Adopts a Renewable Energy Requirement


      Photo of a solar panel with the Smithsonian Institution in the

      Under the new law, solar panels will become a more common sight in the
      District of Columbia. Credit: Byron Stafford, NREL

      The seat of power in the United States will draw increasingly on renewable
      energy in the years to come, thanks to a new bill signed by District of
      Columbia Mayor Anthony Williams in January. Following a congressional
      review period, the bill, the "Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard Act of
      2004," officially became law on April 12th. The new law requires
      electricity suppliers in the district to draw on renewable energy for 4.5
      percent of their electrical supply in 2007, increasing gradually to 11
      percent in 2022. Power suppliers must also draw on solar power for 0.005
      percent of their electrical supply in 2007, increasing to 0.386 percent in
      2008. The law differentiates between "Tier 1" renewable sources—defined
      as solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, and ocean energy, or fuel cells
      powered by biomass energy—and "Tier 2" renewable sources, which include
      hydropower and waste-to-energy plants. Although Tier 2 sources are allowed
      to provide more than 60 percent of the renewable energy requirement in
      2007, their contribution is phased out by 2020. According to the Solar
      Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the new law will result in 32
      megawatts of solar power in the district by 2022. See the text of the law
      22 KB), its
      status, and the <http://www.seia.org/news/releases.asp?id=41>SEIA press
      release. <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>Download
      Acrobat Reader.

      Renewable energy requirements, often referred to as renewable portfolio
      standards (RPS), are being adopted by an increasing number of U.S. states.
      The New York Public Service Commission (PSC), for instance, approved an
      implementation plan for the state's RPS in mid-April. However, some states
      are falling behind on their requirements. In Massachusetts, for example,
      utilities fell short of a 1.5-percent-renewable requirement in 2004,
      resulting in $15 million in alternative compliance payments that will be
      invested in new renewable energy projects. Despite such shortcomings, a new
      report from Global Energy Decisions projects that 52,000 megawatts of new
      renewable energy capacity will be needed to meet RPS requirements over the
      next 15 years, with wind power providing more than 40,000 megawatts of the
      needed capacity. See the press releases from the New York PSC
      26 KB), the
      Division of Energy Resources, and
      <http://www.globalenergydecisions.com/news-renewables.asp>Global Energy

      Iowa Governor Orders Greater Use of Efficiency and Renewable Energy

      Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack chose to celebrate Earth Day by directing Iowa
      state agencies to conserve energy while increasing their use of renewable
      energy. Governor Vilsack issued Executive Order Number 41, which directs
      state agencies to obtain at least 10 percent of their electricity from
      renewable energy sources, to buy energy-efficient equipment, and to reduce
      their energy use in buildings by 15 percent by 2010, relative to their
      energy use in 2000. It also requires the state's light-duty vehicle fleets
      (the vehicles other than heavy trucks) to consist of either hybrid-electric
      vehicles or vehicles running on alternative fuels by 2010, with the
      exception of law-enforcement vehicles. The order requires bulk diesel fuel
      purchased by the state to contain 5 percent renewable fuel (such as
      biodiesel), by 2007, increasing to 20 percent renewable fuel by 2010. All
      Iowa agencies will be required to submit quarterly reports on their
      progress toward the goals of the new executive order. See the governor's
      release and the full text of the executive order
      (<http://www.governor.state.ia.us/legal/41_45/EO_41.pdf>PDF 970 KB).
      <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>Download Acrobat Reader.

      North Dakota Adopts Incentives for Wind, Hydrogen, Alternative Fuels

      North Dakota Governor John Hoeven signed several bills into law on Earth
      Day to accelerate wind power, hydrogen, and alternative fuel technologies
      in the state. The wind energy provisions reduce the siting application
      fees, lessen the regulatory burden for siting wind plants, allow the sale
      of renewable energy credits to other states, and promote new investments in
      transmission lines. A pending bill will also cut in half the assessed value
      of a wind plant for tax purposes. One bill also creates a sales tax
      exemption on hydrogen used to power either an internal combustion engine or
      a fuel cell.

      A photo of a fuel pump labeled 'E-85 Ethanol.'

      The new legislation will encourage the production and sale of alternative
      fuels throughout North Dakota.
      Credit: Warren Gretz

      Several bills relate to ethanol and biodiesel production. The
      ethanol-related bills provide $3.25 million in incentives for new and
      existing ethanol plants in the state, $1.35 million in incentives to expand
      existing ethanol plants, and a 20-cent-per-gallon tax incentive for retail
      sales of E85 (a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline), an
      incentive that must be passed on to the consumer. The biodiesel provisions
      include $1.2 million to buy down interest on new biodiesel production
      plants, income tax credits for fuel suppliers and retailers, and a sales
      tax exemption for equipment that allows a facility to sell biodiesel
      blends. New ethanol and biodiesel production plants will also earn a 30
      percent investment tax credit.

      In addition, the new legislation creates an Office of Renewable Energy
      within the Division of Community Services at the North Dakota Commerce
      Department. The new office will assist in the development of renewable
      energy within the state and promote the conservation of energy and the wise
      use of energy resources in both the public and private sectors. See the
      press release.

      Idaho Provides Financing, Tax Rebates for Renewable Projects

      Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne signed two laws in April that will promote
      renewable energy development in the state. Senate Bill 1192, signed into
      law on April 6th, allows independent developers of renewable energy
      projects in the state to request financing from the Idaho Energy Resources
      Authority, a new state bonding authority that was created by a separate
      bill, House Bill 106. That bill, signed by the governor in March, aimed
      primarily at creating a bonding authority that would work with utilities to
      develop new electric generation and transmission projects. See
      <http://www3.state.id.us/oasis/S1192.html>Senate Bill 1192 and
      <http://www3.state.id.us/oasis/H0106.html>House Bill 106.

      On April 12th, Governor Kempthorne signed House Bill 110, which provides a
      rebate of sales or use taxes to purchasers of machinery and equipment used
      to generate power from clean energy sources. The rebate applies to
      facilities at least 25 kilowatts in capacity and using as their principal
      source of power either fuel cells, low-impact hydropower, cogeneration, or
      wind, geothermal, solar, or biomass energy sources. See
      <http://www3.state.id.us/oasis/H0110.html>House Bill 110.

      U.N. Finds Huge Solar and Wind Potential in Developing Countries

      Thirteen developing countries hold the potential for thousands of megawatts
      (MW) of solar and wind power, according to the preliminary results of a
      study by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The UNEP
      announced in mid-April that its Solar and Wind Energy Resource Assessment
      (SWERA) project has found the potential for 26,000 MW of wind power in Sri
      Lanka, as well as 7,000 MW of potential wind power in Guatemala and 2,000
      MW of potential wind power along Ghana's border with Togo. The project has
      also carried out studies in Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Cuba, El Salvador,
      Ethiopia, Honduras, Kenya, Nepal, and Nicaragua. The $9.3-million project,
      largely supported by the Global Environment Facility, started in 2001.

      One specific result of the project was the finding of significant wind
      power potential in Nicaragua, prompting the Nicaraguan National Assembly to
      pass a decree that gives wind-generated electricity priority over other
      options when fed into electricity grids. The U.S. Trade and Development
      Agency and Inter-American Development Bank have subsequently launched wind
      energy feasibility studies in Nicaragua, and two wind projects totaling 40
      MW are now moving ahead. See the
      press release and the <http://swera.unep.net/swera/index.php>SWERA Web site.

      DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is contributing to the
      project, which uses satellite data, ground-based instruments, and computer
      models to assess wind and solar energy resources in the 13 countries.
      Results from six of the countries are available on the
      <http://www.nrel.gov/international/geospatial_toolkits.html>NREL Web site.

      Site News

      <http://www.exim.gov/products/special/environment.html>Ex-Im Bank's
      Environmental Exports Program Aids Clean Energy Exports

      The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) provides support
      to U.S. exporters of renewable energy and environmentally beneficial goods
      and services and exporters participating in foreign environmental projects.
      Through its
      Exports Program, the bank provides insurance, guarantees, and loans for
      energy efficiency and renewable energy exports and projects. Applicable
      technologies include photovoltaic, wind, biomass, fuel cell,
      waste-to-energy, hydroelectric, and geothermal projects, as well as hybrid
      systems and energy efficiency products.

      The Ex-Im Bank recently named GT Equipment Technologies­a U.S. manufacturer
      of equipment to produce solar wafers, cells, and modules­as its 2005 Small
      Business Environmental Exporter of the Year. The company saw a 150 percent
      surge in revenues in 2004, which it credits to the bank's working capital
      guarantees. See the
      Bank press release.

      Energy Connections

      DOE and Oil Companies Search for Methane Hydrates in the Gulf

      While DOE continues to develop energy efficiency and renewable energy
      technologies, the hunt is also on for new sources of conventional fossil
      fuels such as natural gas. Literally, the hunt is on: Last week, DOE
      launched a semi-submersible drilling vessel in the Gulf of Mexico to seek
      out deep-water deposits of methane hydrate, an ice-like compound thought to
      exist in large quantities on deep ocean floors. Since the hydrates
      decompose readily to water and methane, the primary component of natural
      gas, these methane hydrate deposits are thought to hold potential as an
      immense energy source. In the near-term, however, the hydrates also pose a
      hazard to oil and gas operations in the Gulf of Mexico. The current 35-day
      expedition will study and characterize methane hydrates at two deep-water
      sites on the Outer Continental Shelf in the Gulf. A pair of wells, each
      1,000 feet deep, will be drilled at each location, both of which are about
      4,300 feet under the water. ChevronTexaco is leading the expedition in
      partnership with six other energy companies and DOE. See the DOE's
      Methane Hydrate R&D Program 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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