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EERE Network News -- 06/29/05

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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 , Jun 29 6:39 AM


      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:

      June 29, 2005

      News and Events

      * David Garman Sworn in as Under Secretary of Energy
      * BLM Proposes to Encourage Wind Energy Development in the West
      * Pennsylvania Awards $10 Million to 17 Clean Energy Projects
      * Unmanned Airplane Flies Two Days on Solar and Battery Power
      * Nevada Law Promotes Green Building, Alters Renewable Mandate
      * Green Chemistry Challenge Honors Two Biomass Achievements

      Site News

      * Hybridcenter.org

      Energy Connections

      * BP Report Finds Record Growth in World Energy Demand in 2004

      News and Events

      David Garman Sworn in as Under Secretary of Energy


      Photo of David Garman speaking into a microphone with wind turb

      David Garman will continue to promote energy efficiency and renewable
      energy in his new role as Under Secretary of Energy.
      Credit: NREL

      David K. Garman was sworn in on Thursday as Under Secretary of Energy for
      Energy, Science and Environment. Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman swore in
      Garman at a small ceremony held at DOE headquarters. Garman, who has served
      as Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
      since 2001, was unanimously confirmed for his new post by the U.S. Senate
      on June 15th.

      According to Secretary Bodman, Garman will continue to promote energy
      efficiency in his new position, in which he will be responsible for the
      DOE's work in energy research and development, demonstration, and
      deployment; environmental cleanup; legacy management; radioactive waste
      management; and other activities. See the
      press release and see the EERE Web site for

      Following Garman's promotion, DOE named Douglas L. Faulkner as the Acting
      Assistant Secretary for EERE. Faulkner has served as Principal Deputy
      Assistant Secretary for EERE since 2001 and previously served as senior
      policy advisor to two former energy secretaries: Admiral James Watkins, who
      served under President George H.W. Bush, and Spencer Abraham, who served
      under President George W. Bush until late last year. See the
      press release.

      BLM Proposes to Encourage Wind Energy Development in the West

      The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is proposing to amend 52 of its
      land-use plans in nine western states to encourage wind energy development
      on public lands. Last week, the BLM released its final programmatic
      environmental impact statement (PEIS) for wind energy development on
      BLM-administered lands in the West, which BLM and DOE have been preparing
      since 2003. The PEIS proposes to speed up the permitting of wind energy in
      the West; the U.S. Department of the Interior claims the plan will open the
      door for the development of more than 3,200 megawatts of wind energy on
      public lands.

      According to the BLM, the proposed land-use plan amendments in Colorado,
      Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming
      are designed to encourage applications for wind energy development
      rights-of-way, but not to eliminate the need for site-specific analysis of
      individual development proposals. Along with the proposed land-use plan
      amendments, the PEIS also identifies specific areas where wind energy
      development would not be allowed. See the
      press release.

      The final PEIS was announced in the Federal Register on Friday; any person
      that participated in the planning process that may be adversely affected by
      the wind energy plan has 30 days to file a protest. See the
      <http://windeis.anl.gov/news/index.cfm>Wind Energy Development PEIS Web site.

      Pennsylvania Awards $10 Million to 17 Clean Energy Projects

      The Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority awarded $10 million to 17
      energy projects last week, including six projects to produce power from
      wind energy, biomass, and waste heat and three projects involving
      energy-efficient buildings. The power projects include $3.5 million to
      capture waste heat from a new coking operation in Cambria County to fuel a
      130-megawatt power plant; $1 million for Community Energy, Inc. to build a
      24-megawatt wind plant in the Pocono Mountains, 10 miles southeast of
      Wilkes-Barre; $650,000 to build a 3.2-megawatt landfill gas-to-energy
      project in Conestoga; $500,000 for Southeast Chester County Refuse
      Authority to build a landfill gas system that will produce 6.9 million
      kilowatts of electricity per year; more than $490,000 to convert waste heat
      from a graphite electrode manufacturer into 400 kilowatts of electricity;
      and more than $160,000 to run a microturbine on pure biodiesel fuel.

      The building efficiency projects include more than $410,000 to build energy
      efficient "green" homes and buildings, including some zero energy homes, on
      a 300-acre abandoned industrial site in Allegheny County; nearly $265,000
      to establish an Energy Star affordable housing program; and more than
      $77,000 to expand a loan program for energy efficiency improvements to homes.

      In addition, four research projects will investigate biofuels, solid-oxide
      fuel cells, and solar cells, including new technologies to produce silicon
      for solar cells, and four grants will go toward other energy projects. See
      the <http://www.dep.state.pa.us/newsreleases/default.asp?ID=3502>press
      release from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

      Unmanned Airplane Flies Two Days on Solar and Battery Power

      AC Propulsion announced early this month that it has successfully flown an
      unmanned aircraft for more than two days using only solar energy. Dubbed
      the "SoLong," the craft stores solar energy in a lithium-ion battery pack
      during the day to keep it flying at night. The company incorporated the
      lightweight batteries into an energy-efficient craft made of composite
      materials, weighing only 28 pounds with a wingspan of slightly more than 15
      feet. Along its wing are 76 Sunpower solar cells that could produce 225
      watts of power, while the craft required only 95 watts for level flight.
      According to the company, a critical factor in the SoLong's success was its
      high-efficiency electric motor, driven by the company's patented power
      controller. The radio-controlled craft featured 23 channels of telemetry,
      navigation data from a global positioning system, and even a live video
      downlink. AC Propulsion claims that the SoLong could have remained flying
      indefinitely. See the press release, a detailed report on the craft, and a
      detailed description of the electric drive system on the
      <http://www.acpropulsion.com/>AC Propulsion Web site.

      Illustration of a shiny silver airplane with long wings that ca

      The latest conceptual illustration of the Solar Impulse. Artist: Claudio

      The news must be encouraging for Bertrand Piccard's much more ambitious
      Solar Impulse project, which aims to design and build a solar-powered
      airplane that will circumnavigate the world. First announced in 2003, the
      project is taking shape, as Solvay, Altran, and Dassault Aviation have
      signed on as financial and technical partners. The European Space Agency is
      also continuing to provide its expertise, which led to a model unveiled in
      mid-June. The craft will have a 262-foot wingspan and will weigh only two
      tons, carrying a single pilot. Piccard hopes to build the craft by 2007 and
      begin test flights the following year. The actual circumnavigation in 2010
      will involve four- to five-day flights with stops on each continent to
      change pilots. See the
      <http://www.solar-impulse.com/scripts/page702.html>press release,
      <http://www.solar-impulse.com/scripts/page712.html>schedule, and
      <http://www.solar-impulse.com/scripts/page722.html>flight plan on the Solar
      Impulse Web site.

      Of course, any attempt to cross new boundaries carries with it the risk of
      failure, as the leaders of the Planetary Society's solar sail project found
      out last week. The Cosmos 1 spacecraft was meant to test the concept of
      using thin films of reflective material to capture the solar wind as a
      means of propulsion in space. Unfortunately, according to the Russian space
      agency, the solar sail's launch vehicle failed, and the rocket and its
      spacecraft crashed into the Barents Sea. See the
      <http://planetary.org/solarsail/update_20050625.html>update from the
      Planetary Society.

      Nevada Law Promotes Green Building, Alters Renewable Mandate

      Nevada Governor Kenny Guinn approved a bill on June 17th that will create
      new incentives and standards for green building within the state, while
      modifying the state's renewable energy requirement. The first half of
      Assembly Bill 3 focuses on green building, requiring most state-funded
      public buildings to meet the minimum requirements of the LEED (Leadership
      in Energy and Environmental Design) green building standards or an
      equivalent standard. Every two years, the state must designate two new
      state-owned buildings as demonstration projects to meet the LEED Silver
      standard or its equivalent. Also, any private buildings meeting that
      standard would earn a tax credit, and the products and materials used in
      building will be exempt from sales tax. The bill also requires the state to
      create a plan to cut its grid-based energy purchases for state-owned
      buildings by 20 percent over the next 10 years.

      Under the new law, the state's renewable energy requirement, referred to as
      its "portfolio standard," now allows credit for energy efficiency. The law
      delays the requirements by two years and drops the near-term requirement by
      one percent: For 2005 and 2006, utilities must now generate or acquire
      energy from renewable energy sources or achieve savings from energy
      efficiency equal to 6 percent of their electricity sales, with energy
      efficiency providing at most a quarter of the requirement. At the same
      time, the law extends the portfolio standard by two years and increases the
      final requirement by 5 percent, boosting the requirement to 20 percent by 2015.

      In addition, the law modifies the state's Solar Energy Systems
      Demonstration Program­providing solar power systems to schools, public
      buildings, private residences, and small businesses­to add 9,500 kilowatts
      of solar power over the next five years. The law also establishes a
      licensing system for installers of photovoltaic solar power systems. See
      the Nevada State Legislature Web site for the bill's
      and full text
      (<http://www.leg.state.nv.us/22ndSpecial/bills/AB/AB3_EN.pdf>PDF 80 KB).
      <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>Download Adobe Reader.

      Green Chemistry Challenge Honors Two Biomass Achievements

      The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized leading
      researchers and industrial innovators last week for their significant
      contributions in preventing pollution. The 2005 Presidential Green
      Chemistry Challenge Awards ceremony honored six top achievements in
      pollution prevention, two of which were directly related to the process of
      converting biomass to energy or bio-based products. The first
      biomass-related award went to Professor Robin D. Rogers of the University
      of Alabama for his development of environmentally preferable solvents that
      dissolve cellulose, the "woody" component of many plants, trees, and paper.
      Dissolving cellulose is a critical first step in most processes to derive
      fuels and products from woody biomass sources.

      The second biomass-related award went to Metabolix, Inc. for its work to
      commercialize polyhydroxyalkanoates, or PHAs, a family of plastics derived
      from biomass sources such as cornstarch. Metabolix uses biotechnology to
      modify microbes so they produce PHAs; the company is then able to extract
      the PHAs from the microbes through a highly efficient commercial process.
      Those accomplishments have led Metabolix to form an alliance with Archer
      Daniels Midland Company; the companies plan to build a commercial plant in
      the Midwest that will be capable of producing 50,000 tons of PHA per year.
      See the
      press release and the awards for
      <http://www.epa.gov/greenchemistry/aa05.html>Professor Rogers and
      <http://www.epa.gov/greenchemistry/sba05.html>Metabolix on the EPA Green
      Chemistry Web site.

      Site News


      Hybridcenter.org features an interactive hybrid vehicle buyer's guide that
      allows users to input personal details about driving habits, location, and
      ownership history and receive customized information about hybrid models
      that fit their lifestyle and budget. The site also includes an interactive
      "under the hood" feature for technophiles, a guide to hybrid consumer
      incentives, tips for quicker access to the most popular models, comparisons
      of hybrid vehicles on the market, vehicle reviews, and anecdotes from
      hybrid owners. See the
      <http://www.hybridcenter.org/hybridcenterindex.cfm>Hybridcenter.org Web site.

      Energy Connections

      BP Report Finds Record Growth in World Energy Demand in 2004

      Rapid growth in world demand for all types of energy led to higher energy
      prices in 2004, according to a report issued in mid-June by BP. BP's annual
      Statistical Review of World Energy found a record increase in the world's
      total energy consumption, plus the highest percentage increase in energy
      use since 1984. According to BP, world energy demand increased 4.3 percent
      in 2004, with a 15.1 percent increase in China and a 2.8 percent growth in
      the rest of the world. Oil consumption grew 3.4 percent, the fastest growth
      since 1978, while the demand for natural gas increased 3.3 percent. Global
      coal consumption also rose 6.3 percent, with China causing three-quarters
      of the increase. See the
      press release.

      China was also responsible for much of the 5 percent growth in the world's
      hydropower production. Hydropower production grew 16.6 percent in China as
      new capacity came online, while Europe and Eurasia also contributed by
      rebounding from drought conditions. Unfortunately, the BP report does not
      include data on other forms of renewable energy, except to note that in
      2003, the world's geothermal power capacity was just over 8,400 megawatts
      and growing by 1.8 percent per year; the world's solar capacity was at
      1,800 megawatts after growing by 35 percent; and in 2004, the world's wind
      power capacity was almost 48,000 megawatts and growing at an average annual
      rate of 30 percent. According to BP, wind power now accounts for about 0.6
      percent of the world's power production. See the
      Statistical Review of World Energy 2005, and in particular, the section on

      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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