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EERE Network News -- 07/13/05

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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 , Jul 13, 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:

      July 13, 2005

      News and Events

      * DOE Awards $26.5 Million to 38 States for Energy Efficiency
      * DOE, HUD, and EPA Form Partnership for Home Energy Efficiency
      * G8 Leaders Commit to Clean Energy Technologies at Summit
      * Mariner Hybrid on Sale as Honda Unveils Improved Hybrid System
      * New National Coalition to Promote Wind Power
      * USDA Begins Process to Designate Preferred Biobased Products

      Site News

      * Industrial Efficiency Alliance

      Energy Connections

      * U.S. Carbon Dioxide Emissions Increased 1.7 Percent in 2004

      News and Events

      DOE Awards $26.5 Million to 38 States for Energy Efficiency

      DOE announced last week its award of $26.5 million in State Energy Program
      (SEP) grants to 38 states. The award is part of $44 million to be
      distributed this fiscal year to the 50 states, the District of Columbia,
      and five U.S. territories. The SEP grants support and encourage state goals
      for energy efficiency and renewable energy, including efforts such as
      energy awareness programs, technical support services for energy efficiency
      improvements, and projects to install energy efficient and renewable energy
      technologies. See the
      press release.

      On average, every dollar invested by SEP is matched by $3.54 by state and
      local governments and the private sector, and results in energy savings
      worth $7.23. Part of DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
      (EERE), SEP saves on average 41.35 trillion British thermal units (Btu) per
      year, reducing energy bills by $256 million. For a listing of state energy
      projects, many of which are partially funded by SEP grants, see the
      <http://www.eere.energy.gov/states/>EERE State Activities & Partnerships
      Web site.

      DOE, HUD, and EPA Form Partnership for Home Energy Efficiency

      DOE joined with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
      and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Monday to announce a
      new joint effort, the Partnership for Home Energy Efficiency. The new
      partnership aims to cut household energy costs by 10 percent over the next
      decade by expanding efforts to promote Energy Star products, launching new
      energy efficiency services for homeowners, and delivering energy efficiency
      savings to low-income and subsidized housing. The three federal agencies
      also plan to continue to invest in innovative research in building science
      technologies, practices, and policies to develop durable, comfortable, and
      affordable homes that use 40 percent less energy. By 2020, the partnership
      aims to develop design technologies and building practices to allow the
      construction of cost-effective homes that use net zero energy over the
      course of a year. See the
      <http://www.hud.gov/news/release.cfm?content=pr05-096.cfm>HUD press release
      Secretary Samuel Bodman's comments.

      To support the new partnership, the federal government launched a new Web
      site that provides energy-saving solutions for homeowners, contractors,
      builders, building managers, realtors, state agencies, and others. See the
      new <http://www.energysavers.gov/>Partnership for Home Energy Efficiency
      Web site.

      G8 Leaders Commit to Clean Energy Technologies at Summit

      Leaders of the world's eight largest industrialized nations have adopted a
      38-point plan of action to address the related issues of climate change,
      clean energy, and sustainable development. During last week's two-day
      summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, the Group of Eight (G8)­comprising Canada,
      France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United
      States­agreed that climate change is a serious and long-term challenge that
      has the potential to affect every part of the globe, and acknowledged that
      the use of energy from fossil fuels, and other human activities, contribute
      in large part to increases in greenhouse gases associated with the warming
      of Earth's surface. The G8 statement noted that "we know enough to act now
      to put ourselves on a path to slow and, as the science justifies, stop and
      then reverse the growth of greenhouse gases."

      The G8 agreed to a plan of action that calls for the promotion of greater
      energy efficiency in buildings, appliances, surface transport, aviation,
      industry, power generation, and other sectors. The agreement also calls for
      further efforts to promote renewable energy technologies and hydrogen
      technologies. Notable among those efforts is the G8's plan to launch a
      Global Bioenergy Partnership to support biomass and biofuels deployment.
      See the agreement
      327 KB) and the related White House fact sheets on the
      <http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/07/20050708-1.html>G8 Summit
      change. <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>Download
      Adobe Reader.

      Mariner Hybrid on Sale as Honda Unveils Improved Hybrid System


      Photo of the 2006 Mercury Mariner Hybrid.

      The 2006 Mercury Mariner Hybrid is now available online.
      Credit: Ford

      Ford Motor Company began selling the new Mercury Mariner Hybrid on Monday.
      Ford's second hybrid sport utility vehicle achieves 33 miles per gallon
      (mpg) in the city and 29 mpg on the highway, a fuel efficiency improvement
      of about 40 percent over the standard four-wheel-drive Mariner. Ford plans
      to build 2,000 Mariner Hybrids for the 2006 model year, but will eventually
      build 4,000 per year. The manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) for
      the vehicle starts at $29,840, which is $7,800 higher than the starting
      MSRP for the standard Mariner, although the hybrid includes a number of
      premium standard features. Ford expects to sell most of the Mariner Hybrids
      online, although buyers can also place their orders at dealerships. See the
      press release and the
      <http://www.mercuryvehicles.com/marinerhybrid/>Mercury Mariner Hybrid Web site.

      Meanwhile, American Honda Motor Company, Inc. announced last week that it
      will introduce a new hybrid system in its 2006 Civic Hybrid. The new hybrid
      system combines a more efficient motor assist system with an advanced
      engine to achieve a drive system that is smaller and more powerful than the
      current model while increasing fuel efficiency by about 5 percent. The new
      electric motor produces 50 percent more power while staying the same size,
      and the new battery pack produces 30 percent more power but is more
      compact. The engine includes an electronic valve timing system that allows
      it to operate in three modes, including one optimized for low engine speeds
      and one optimized for high engine speeds. The third mode kicks in while
      decelerating and stops combustion in the engine by sealing all the valves
      shut. This third mode will also allow the new Civic Hybrid to achieve a
      first for a Honda: It will cruise at low speeds on electric power alone.
      See the
      <http://www.hondanews.com/CatID1000?mid=2005070636116&mime=asc>Honda press

      Honda is also introducing new fuel-efficiency improvements to its standard
      Civic. Like the Hybrid Civic engine, the new Civic engine employs an
      electronic valve timing system, but uses it to delay the closure of the
      intake valve under low engine loads. Such an approach—referred to as a
      modified Atkinson cycle—allows the throttle to open wider and avoids the
      energy losses caused by the engine trying to suck air in through a small
      throttle opening. With such innovations as a drive-by-wire throttle, a
      variable-length intake manifold, and lightweight components, the new
      1.8-liter Civic engine is lighter, more powerful, and up to 6 percent more
      fuel-efficient than the current Civic's 1.7-liter engine. See the
      <http://www.hondanews.com/CatID1000?mid=2005070635968&mime=asc>Honda press

      New National Coalition to Promote Wind Power

      The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) announced last week that a
      broad national coalition of wind energy advocates are forming the largest
      pro-wind energy development organization of its kind in the United States.
      According to AWEA, "Wind Energy Works!" will actively and aggressively
      engage in the public conversation over the merits of wind energy, educate
      the public about the many benefits of wind energy development, and "act as
      a counterbalance to the misinformation being spread by wind energy
      opponents in communities across the country." See the
      <http://www.awea.org/news/news06Jul05_WEW.html>AWEA press release.

      Photo of five large wind turbines, two nearby and three further

      The wind turbines at the Weatherford Wind Energy Center dwarf nearby houses.
      Credit: PSO

      Wind energy developers are one group that certainly knows how well wind
      energy works. Notable among the recently completed projects is FPL Energy's
      106.5-megawatt Weatherford Wind Energy Center near Weatherford, Oklahoma,
      which was dedicated in late June. The company already plans to expand the
      facility to 147 megawatts by the end of this year. FPL Energy is also
      planning to build a wind power project in central North Dakota with a
      capacity of 49.5 megawatts. The Wilton Wind Project, located about 24 miles
      north of Bismarck, should be completed by year-end. The company is
      developing the project with Basin Electric Power Cooperative and has agreed
      to sell the power to Minnesota Power, which services northeast Minnesota.
      See the press releases from
      <http://www.fplenergy.com/news/contents/05072.shtml>FPL Energy,
      Electric, and

      Other major wind power projects include the 200-megawatt Forward Energy
      wind project in Wisconsin, which won approval from the Wisconsin Public
      Service Commission (PSC) last week. A subsidiary of Invenergy Wind LLC
      plans to build the project near Brownsville, about 10 miles south of Fond
      du Lac. Wisconsin utility We Energies has also bought the development
      rights to two 80-megawatt wind projects, to be built next year in northeast
      Fond du Lac County. And in California, PPM Energy plans to build the
      150-megawatt Shiloh wind project in Solano County by year-end. The company
      announced last week that it will sell most of the power from the project to
      the Pacific Gas and Electric Company and the Modesto Irrigation District.
      See the press releases from the Wisconsin PSC
      30 KB),
      Energies, and <http://www.ppmenergy.com/rel_05.07.07.html>PPM Energy.
      <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>Download Adobe Reader.

      USDA Begins Process to Designate Preferred Biobased Products

      The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has started its process to
      designate preferred biobased products for purchase by federal agencies.
      Under the 2002 Farm Bill, the USDA's Federal Biobased Products Preferred
      Procurement Program will identify more than 110 categories of
      products—the USDA calls them "items"—and then determine which biobased
      products are available within each of those categories.

      Under a proposed rule published last week, the USDA will begin by tackling
      the following six categories: mobile equipment hydraulic fluids, urethane
      roof coatings, water tank coatings, diesel fuel additives, penetrating
      lubricants, and bedding, bed linens, and towels. For each category, the
      USDA has been able to identify at least one manufacturer of biobased
      products. For most of the categories, the USDA was unable to determine the
      potential market, but the agency did note that DOE anticipates a large
      potential market for the use of biodiesel as a diesel fuel additive.

      Once the final rule is issued, manufacturers of qualifying biobased
      products that fall within the six categories will be invited to post their
      product and contact information on the program's Web site. Federal agencies
      looking to procure products in those categories will then have to give
      preference to the biobased products. The USDA is accepting comments on the
      first six proposed "items" through September 6th. See the
      <http://www.usda.gov/2005/07/0243.xml>USDA press release, the
      <http://www.biobased.oce.usda.gov/public/index.cfm?CFID=11271>program Web
      site, and the <http://www.regulations.gov/freddocs/05-12978.htm>proposed rule.

      Site News

      <http://www.industrialefficiencyalliance.org/>Industrial Efficiency Alliance

      The Industrial Efficiency Alliance helps Northwest industries gain a
      competitive advantage in the marketplace through strategic, broad-based
      energy management. The alliance focuses on providing food processing and
      pulp and paper companies with energy management assessments, training,
      educational tools, and collaborative opportunities. See the
      <http://www.industrialefficiencyalliance.org/>Industrial Efficiency
      Alliance Web site.

      Energy Connections

      U.S. Carbon Dioxide Emissions Increased 1.7 Percent in 2004

      The emissions of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels in the United
      States increased by 1.7 percent in 2004, according to preliminary estimates
      by the DOE's Energy Information Administration (EIA). Energy-related carbon
      dioxide emissions are the primary source of greenhouse gases in the United
      States, and are generally indicative of overall greenhouse gas emissions
      trends. According to the EIA, these emissions have increased by 18.2
      percent since 1990. At the same time, however, the U.S. gross domestic
      product (GDP) has grown at a faster rate, causing the carbon dioxide
      intensity of the economy—that is, the amount of carbon dioxide emitted
      per unit of GDP—to actually drop by 22.5 percent. The EIA expects a full
      inventory of greenhouse gas emissions to be available in November. See the
      <http://www.eia.doe.gov/neic/press/press257.html>EIA press release and the
      <http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/1605/flash/flash.html>preliminary emissions

      Despite the trends, a number of states and cities have committed to
      reducing their greenhouse gas emissions in recent weeks. Most notable is
      California, where Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has issued an executive
      order setting a number of greenhouse gas targets. Under the executive
      order, the state will aim to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 2000 levels by
      2010, to 1990 levels by 2020, and to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.
      Meeting those goals will be a challenge, since a recent report from the
      California Energy Commission (CEC) notes that if current trends continue,
      the state's greenhouse gas emissions will grow to 32 percent above 1990
      levels by 2020. See the press release and executive order on the
      <http://www.climatechange.ca.gov>California Climate Change Portal Web site
      or download the CEC report
      (<http://www.fypower.org/pdf/CEC_GHG_3-24-05.pdf>PDF 616 KB).
      <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>Download Adobe Reader.

      Mayors of U.S. cities are also getting into the act, as the U.S. Council of
      Mayors endorsed an effort by Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels to challenge cities
      to meet or beat the requirements of the Kyoto Protocol: cutting emissions
      to 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2012. Before the meeting of the council
      in mid-June, 164 cities had signed on to the challenge. Portland, Oregon,
      has the largest head start: City officials announced in June that Portland
      has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels. Portland officials
      credit the city's investments in public transit, energy efficiency,
      renewable energy, green building technologies, and recycling. See the press
      releases from
      <http://www.seattle.gov/news/detail.asp?ID=5260&Dept=40>Seattle Mayor
      Nickels and the City of Portland Office of Sustainable Development
      130 KB).

      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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