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EERE Network News -- 05/11/05

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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 , May 11, 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:

      May 11, 2005

      News and Events

      * DOE Funds Five Research Projects to Boost Mining Efficiency
      * Washington State Adopts New Renewable Energy and Efficiency Laws
      * Montana Laws Set Requirements for Renewable Energy and Ethanol
      * Ormat Breaks Ground on New Geothermal Plant in California
      * Large Wind Power Plant Moves Ahead in Idaho
      * EPA: Ten U.S. Corporations to Cut Greenhouse Gases

      Energy Connections

      * Studies Find More Solar Energy Reaching Earth's Surface

      News and Events

      DOE Funds Five Research Projects to Boost Mining Efficiency


      Photo of men in a coal mine crouching next to a 'continuous min

      The new DOE-funded projects aim to achieve greater efficiency in mining
      Credit: Ernie Sistek, Kennametal

      DOE announced last week its selection of five new projects to develop new
      mining technologies that will reduce energy use and lower costs. DOE will
      contribute nearly $1.88 million to the five projects, matched by $1.13
      million from the private sector. The largest project is the development of
      an integrated data analysis system that aims to change the way mines
      measure, predict, control, and monitor their processes, with a goal of
      making the processes more efficient. The other four projects will
      investigate the use of high-pressure water jets for hard rock mining,
      develop a novel processing technology for dry coal, and evaluate two
      methods to remove water from wet slurries containing small particles of
      coal. See the
      press release.

      Each year, nearly 47,000 pounds of materials are mined for each person in
      the United States. The Mining Industry of the Future—a collaboration
      between the U.S. mining industry and DOE's Industrial Technologies
      Program—is working to make the U.S. mining industry the most efficient,
      advanced, and energy-efficient in the world. See the
      <http://www.eere.energy.gov/industry/mining/>Mining Industry of the Future
      Web page.

      Washington State Adopts New Renewable Energy and Efficiency Laws

      Washington Governor Christine Gregoire signed a number of energy-related
      bills into law on Friday that will set up the state as a policy leader for
      renewable energy and energy efficiency. For renewable energy, perhaps the
      most significant bill is Senate Bill 5101, which pays incentives of 15
      cents per kilowatt-hour (capped at $2,000 per year) to individuals,
      businesses, or local governments that generate electricity from solar
      power, wind power, or anaerobic digesters. The state's utilities will pay
      the incentives and earn a tax credit for those payments. The incentive
      increases if certain components for the system are manufactured within the
      state, but could also be uniformly reduced if too many utility customers
      apply for the incentive. The bill applies to power generated as of July 1st
      and remains in effect through June 30, 2014. It applies initially to
      off-grid power sources, but will extend to grid-connected power sources
      once most utilities in the state adopt uniform standards for connecting to
      the grid. In addition to Senate Bill 5101, the governor signed Senate Bill
      5111, which creates tax credits for manufacturers and wholesale marketers
      of solar photovoltaic modules or silicon components of those systems. See
      the texts of
      Bill 5101 and the
      Bill 5111.

      Washington is also the latest state to adopt energy efficiency standards
      for 12 products not covered by current federal standards, a step taken most
      recently by Arizona in late April. House Bill 1062 sets standards for
      illuminated exit signs, low-voltage dry-type distribution transformers,
      metal halide lamp fixtures, external power supplies, incandescent reflector
      lamps, torchieres, traffic signals, unit heaters, and automatic commercial
      ice cube machines, as well as commercial clothes washers, pre-rinse spray
      valves, and refrigerators and freezers. According to the legislation, the
      standards are expected to save consumers $490 million by 2020 while
      reducing the state's annual energy and water consumption by 900,000
      megawatt-hours of electricity, 13 million therms of natural gas, and 1.7
      billion gallons of water. The governor also signed House Bill 1895, which
      encourages energy efficiency at all levels of government, and Senate Bill
      5916, which provides a sales tax exemption for passenger cars and trucks
      purchased during 2009 or 2010 that run on natural gas, propane,
      electricity, hydrogen, or hybrid technology. See the
      release from Washington Representative Jeff Morris, a sponsor of several of
      the bills, or go directly to the texts of
      Bill 1062,
      Bill 1895, and
      Bill 5916.

      Last but not least, Washington has become the latest state to adopt
      California's motor vehicle emissions standards, including its greenhouse
      gas emission standards, but not including California's zero emissions
      vehicle program. The regulations take effect in 2009, but only if Oregon
      also adopts the standards. See the governor's
      release and the text of the vehicle emissions bill,
      Bill 1397.

      Montana Laws Set Requirements for Renewable Energy and Ethanol

      Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer signed two bills into law in late April,
      establishing requirements for renewable energy and ethanol use throughout
      the state. Senate Bill 415 requires public utilities to purchase at least 5
      percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources in 2008,
      increasing to 15 percent by 2015. Eligible renewable energy sources include
      small hydropower, most biomass sources, and wind, solar, and geothermal
      energy, as well as fuel cells using hydrogen generated from any of these
      energy sources. The law also requires public utilities to buy some of their
      renewable energy from customer-sited facilities with capacities of 5
      megawatts or less. By 2015, such "community renewable energy projects" must
      provide 75 megawatts of renewable energy capacity for each of the state's
      public utilities. Montana has two public utilities: NorthWestern Energy and
      Montana-Dakota Utilities. See the
      <http://data.opi.state.mt.us/bills/2005/billhtml/SB0415.htm>full text and
      of Senate Bill 415.

      Senate Bill 293 requires nearly all gasoline in the state to be blended
      with 10 percent ethanol. The law will take effect a year after the state's
      ethanol plants achieve the ability to produce 40 million gallons of ethanol
      per year and demonstrate that ability for three months. With the mandate in
      place, the law also reduces tax incentives and credits for the production
      and sale of ethanol. See the
      <http://data.opi.state.mt.us/bills/2005/billhtml/SB0293.htm>full text and
      of Senate Bill 293.

      Other energy-related bills that the governor recently signed include Senate
      Bill 50, which expands the state's alternative energy revolving loan
      program and extends it to local government, universities, and nonprofits;
      Senate Bill 83, which clarifies that renewable energy projects are eligible
      for the state's renewable resource grants and loans; Senate Bill 340, which
      provides a tax credit for residential geothermal heating and cooling
      systems; and Senate Bill 365, which extends funding for energy efficiency
      and renewable energy projects through 2009. See the texts of
      <http://data.opi.state.mt.us/bills/2005/Billhtml/SB0050.htm>Senate Bill 50,
      <http://data.opi.state.mt.us/bills/2005/Billhtml/SB0083.htm>Senate Bill 83,
      <http://data.opi.state.mt.us/bills/2005/billhtml/SB0340.htm>Senate Bill
      340, and <http://data.opi.state.mt.us/bills/2005/billhtml/SB0365.htm>Senate
      Bill 365.

      Ormat Breaks Ground on New Geothermal Plant in California


      Photo of the Heber geothermal complex, which consists of a comp

      Ormat is adding to its Heber geothermal complex in California's Imperial
      Credit: Warren Gretz

      Ormat Technologies, Inc. broke ground last week on a new 10-megawatt
      geothermal power plant at its 40-megawatt Heber Geothermal Facilities
      Complex in southern California's Imperial Valley. Ormat, a leader in
      geothermal power production, is also modifying its existing Heber
      facilities to generate an additional 8 megawatts of power. Ormat helped to
      cement its position in southern California on Friday, when the Southern
      California Power Purchase Authority agreed to purchase power from the Heber
      facility and Ormat's 73.2-megawatt Ormesa Geothermal Facilities Complex
      (also in the Imperial Valley) for the next 25 years. Ormat plans to add an
      additional 125 megawatts of generating capacity over the next two to three
      years. See the <http://www.ormat.com/news_073.htm>Ormat press release and
      Ormat's descriptions of its <http://www.ormat.com/projects_608.htm>Heber
      and <http://www.ormat.com/projects_614.htm>Ormesa facilities.

      Geothermal power plants have a number of environmental benefits, as spelled
      out in a new 87-page publication, "A Guide to Geothermal Energy and the
      Environment," produced by the Geothermal Energy Association. The new guide
      updates information on geothermal energy use—particularly electric power
      production—for a wide range of environmental issues and offers pictures,
      graphs, and charts that help to place the potential benefits of expanded
      geothermal energy use in perspective. See the guide
      (<http://www.geo-energy.org/Facilities/Links/GeothermalGuide.pdf>PDF 1.1
      MB). <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>Download Acrobat

      Large Wind Power Plant Moves Ahead in Idaho

      Invenergy, LLC is preparing to build Idaho's largest wind plant, a
      64.5-megawatt wind power project located about 10 miles southeast of Idaho
      Falls. PacifiCorp announced last week that it signed a power purchase
      agreement with Invenergy, allowing the company to move ahead with its
      Wolverine Creek project, which will comprise 43 1.5-megawatt wind turbines
      from GE Energy. Invenergy's subsidiary, Wolverine Creek Energy LLC, will
      build the project and place it in service by the end of this year. The
      project was one of many proposed to PacifiCorp in response to its February
      2004 solicitation and is the first to result in a power purchase agreement.
      The utility remains in negotiations on other renewable energy projects. See
      press release.

      While the Wolverine Creek project will be Idaho's largest to date, it's not
      clear if it will be the state's first large wind plant. The 10.5-megawatt
      Fossil Gulch Wind Plant is currently under development in Hagerman, Idaho,
      and it's uncertain which plant will be completed first. Like Wolverine
      Creek, the Fossil Gulch Wind Plant will feature GE Energy's 1.5-megawatt
      wind turbines. See the
      <http://www.gepower.com/about/press/en/2005_press/030205.htm>GE Energy
      press release.

      Meanwhile, a number of other large wind projects are pressing ahead. FPL
      Energy just started commercial operation of its 106.5-megawatt Weatherford
      Wind Energy Center in Oklahoma, and is already planning to add another 40.5
      megawatts. Farther north, the Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) broke
      ground in mid-April on its 60-megawatt Ainsworth Wind Energy Facility,
      located six miles south of Ainsworth, Nebraska. The project will be
      Nebraska's largest wind facility when it begins operation in fall. In the
      Northeast, EverPower Wind LLC announced plans in mid-April to build a
      70-megawatt wind project in Steuben County, New York, west of Elmira. And
      on the West Coast, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP)
      has approved the final Environmental Impact Report for the 120-megawatt
      Pine Tree Wind Project, which will be located about 12 miles north of
      Mojave, California. If construction is approved, LADWP will start on the
      project this summer and complete it next year. Once built, it will be the
      largest municipally owned wind plant in the United States. See the press
      releases from <http://www.fplenergy.com/news/contents/05040.shtml>FPL
      <http://www.everpowerglobal.com/steubenwind041405.html>EverPower Wind, and

      EPA: Ten U.S. Corporations to Cut Greenhouse Gases

      The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced last week that 10
      corporations in its Climate Leaders program have set specific goals for
      reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. According to EPA, 37 of the 68
      companies in the voluntary program have now set emissions goals that will
      prevent the equivalent of more than 8 million metric tons of carbon
      emissions per year. See the
      press release and the <http://www.epa.gov/climateleaders/>Climate Leaders
      Web site.

      Many of the actions companies are taking to reduce their greenhouse gas
      emissions involve energy efficiency and renewable energy. For instance,
      Xerox Corporation plans to achieve a 30 percent improvement in energy
      efficiency by 2012. Green Mountain Energy Company, a green power provider,
      is offsetting its carbon emissions by buying renewable energy credits, and
      is also encouraging its employees to find creative ways to get to work.
      Exelon Corporation, an electric utility, plans to increase its use of
      renewable energy while undertaking energy efficiency initiatives across its
      operations. Meanwhile, General Motors Corporation (GM), one of the early
      Climate Leaders partners, has already achieved its goal: an 11 percent
      reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over three years. GM achieved its
      goal in part by fueling coal-fired boilers with natural gas or landfill gas
      instead. See the press releases from
      Mountain Energy Company,
      Corporation, and

      Energy Connections

      Studies Find More Solar Energy Reaching Earth's Surface

      It's bad news for the planet, but it could be good news for solar power:
      more solar energy is now reaching the surface of the Earth. Although a
      report in the late 1980s showed a 4 to 6 percent decline in sunlight
      between then and 1960, a new report indicates that the amount of sunlight
      has increased about 4 percent in the last 10 years. The report, co-authored
      by a scientist from DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL),
      does not attribute a cause to the dimming and brightening, although it
      lists aerosols­liquids and solids suspended in the air­and their effects on
      cloud formation as possible explanations. According to PNNL, the
      brightening effect may accelerate warming at the surface and unmask the
      full effect of greenhouse warming. The report is one of two papers on the
      subject that were printed in this week's Science magazine, neither of which
      speculated on the potential effects on solar power production. See the
      <http://www.pnl.gov/news/2005/05-33.htm>PNNL press release.

      The PNNL news fits well with a recent study by NASA's Goddard Institute of
      Space Studies (GISS), which found that Earth is currently absorbing more
      energy than it is radiating out to space: about 0.85 Watts of energy per
      square meter, to be exact. The NASA scientists used global climate models,
      ground-based measurements, and satellite observations to measure the
      Earth's energy balance, and concluded that the oceans are absorbing much of
      the excess energy. The authors conclude that since a large amount of this
      excess energy is "hiding" in Earth's oceans, its full effect on the climate
      system is still unrealized. See the
      <http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/news/20050428/>GISS 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
      <http://www.eere.energy.gov/news/>EERE news page. You can
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