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EERE Network News -- 09/14/05

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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 , Sep 14 4:18 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:

      September 14, 2005

      News and Events

      * San Diego Signs Up for 300 Megawatts of Solar Thermal Power
      * Oregon and New York State Offer Solar Energy Incentives
      * New York Provides $15.5 Million for Clean Energy Projects
      * Honda Debuts Improved Civic Hybrid as its Hybrid Sales Hit 100,000
      * BMW, GM, and DaimlerChrysler Combine Efforts to Develop Hybrid Cars

      Site News

      * EERE Launches its Financial Opportunities Web Site

      Energy Connections

      * EIA: Katrina is Likely to Cause High Winter Heating Costs

      News and Events

      San Diego Signs Up for 300 Megawatts of Solar Thermal Power


      A photo of a field of dish Stirling systems, each composed of n

      The new solar facility in California's Imperial Valley will consist of a
      field of dish Stirling systems.
      Credit: Randy J. Montoya, Sandia National Laboratories

      San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) announced last week that it has signed a
      20-year power purchase agreement with Stirling Energy Systems for 300
      megawatts of solar power, to be generated by Stirling solar dishes in a
      three-square-mile array in California's Imperial Valley. The installation,
      to be called "SES Solar 2," will require new transmission lines to carry
      the power to SDG&E customers. SDG&E also has options for another 600
      megawatts of solar thermal power that could be built in two future phases
      of the solar power project. See the
      press release.

      Stirling solar dish technology converts solar thermal energy to electricity
      by using a dish-shaped array of mirrors to focus the sun's rays on the
      receiver end of a Stirling engine. The internal side of the receiver then
      heats hydrogen gas, causing it to expand. The expanding gas creates
      pressure that drives a piston, which turns a small electricity generator.
      To learn more about the technology, see the
      <http://www.energylan.sandia.gov/sunlab/overview.htm#dish>SunLab Web site.

      The announcement is the second in as many months for Stirling Energy
      Systems, which could quickly become the leading source of solar power in
      the United States. In early August, Southern California Edison signed a
      similar agreement with the company for 500 megawatts of solar power, with
      an option to expand the project to 850 megawatts. See the
      <http://www.eere.energy.gov/news/news_detail.cfm/news_id=9287>article from
      the August 17th edition of this newsletter.

      Oregon and New York State Offer Solar Energy Incentives

      Both Oregon and New York State recently put new legislation in place to
      offer tax credits and sales tax exemptions for solar energy systems.

      Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski signed a bill into law on September 2nd that
      will provide expanded tax credits for solar energy systems. The state
      already had a tax credit in place for alternative energy systems; that
      credit was based on the energy produced during the system's first year of
      operation and capped at $1,500. The new solar electric system tax credit is
      much larger, at $3 per watt of installed output capacity, up to a maximum
      of $6,000. The credit is limited to half of the installed cost of the solar
      electric system and expires in 2016. The bill will take effect on November
      4th, and will provide a strong incentive when matched with funds from the
      Energy Trust of Oregon. The Energy Trust announced in July that its solar
      incentives had already yielded more than one megawatt of solar power in the
      state over the past three years. See the
      of Senate Bill 31 (the changes are marked with brackets and plus signs),
      its <http://www.leg.state.or.us/05reg/pubs/senmh.html>status (scroll down
      to SB 31), and the Energy Trust press release
      30 KB). <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>Download
      Adobe Reader.

      In New York State, solar energy systems became exempt from state sales
      taxes on September 1st. New York Governor George Pataki signed a bill in
      August that exempts both the sale and installation of the equipment from
      state sales and compensating use taxes, and allows municipalities to waive
      their city sales taxes as well. The governor also signed a separate bill
      that extends the state's personal income tax credit for solar energy
      systems to include systems used for water heating and space heating or
      cooling. The credit applies to 25 percent of the cost of buying and
      installing solar energy equipment, and now has a cap of $5,000, up from
      $3,750. See the governor's
      <http://www.state.ny.us/governor/press/year05/aug1_05.htm>press release.

      For information about incentives available in other states, see the
      of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE) Web site.

      New York Provides $15.5 Million for Clean Energy Projects

      New York Governor George Pataki announced in late August the award of $15.5
      million to support 32 distributed generation and combined heat and power
      (DG-CHP) projects throughout the state. The 32 projects should generate a
      total of 29 megawatts, about half of which will come from landfill methane
      systems or anaerobic digesters. The projects are being funded by the New
      York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and,
      including private funding, represent a total investment of more than $90
      million. Since its inception in 2001, NYSERDA's DG-CHP program has resulted
      in 34 completed projects that produce 13 megawatts of power. By the end of
      this year, NYSERDA expects its DG-CHP projects to be providing 40 megawatts
      of power for New York's electrical grid. See the
      <http://www.state.ny.us/governor/press/year05/aug22_05.htm>governor's press

      Honda Debuts Improved Civic Hybrid as its Hybrid Sales Hit 100,000


      Photo of the Honda Civic Hybrid.

      The new Honda Civic Hybrid has something in common with the Toyota Prius:
      in certain conditions, it can run on battery power only.
      Credit: Honda

      Honda continues to improve on its hybrid vehicles, as the latest Civic
      Hybrid achieves an EPA estimated fuel economy of 50 miles per gallon in
      both city and highway driving, an increase of 6 percent in city driving and
      4 percent in highway driving over the 2005 Civic Hybrid. The new vehicle
      achieves one of the toughest emission standards as an Advanced Technology
      Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle, or AT-PZEV, while also achieving a first
      for Honda: when cruising at low speeds, the engine can shut down all four
      of its cylinders and run on electric power only. The car debuted at the
      2005 Sierra Club Summit in San Francisco, California. See the
      <http://corporate.honda.com/press/article.aspx?id=2005090943835>Honda press

      The Civic Hybrid debut came just after Honda hit a milestone: the company
      has sold 100,000 hybrid vehicles in North America. The company was the
      first to sell hybrid vehicles in the United States when it introduced the
      Honda Insight in December 1999. See the
      <http://corporate.honda.com/press/article.aspx?id=2005083159019>Honda press

      Of course, those sales numbers still leave Honda far behind Toyota, which
      had sold 100,000 Prius vehicles by the end of September 2004. Since then,
      the company has sold about 90,000 more. Californians alone have bought more
      than 60,000 Prius sedans, and now have an added incentive to buy the
      vehicle: Hybrids that achieve 45 miles per gallon or more are now allowed
      in California's carpool lanes. See the Toyota press releases from
      30th, 2004,
      4th, 2005, and
      11th, 2005, as well as the California Air Resources Board's list of
      <http://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/carpool/carpool.htm>vehicles that can drive
      in the carpool lanes.

      BMW, GM, and DaimlerChrysler Combine Efforts to Develop Hybrid Cars

      The BMW Group is joining General Motors Corporation (GM) and
      DaimlerChrysler AG in a cooperative agreement to develop hybrid drive
      systems. The three global automakers will jointly develop a "two-mode"
      hybrid drive system for cars based on a system developed for GM hybrid
      buses. The center of activity will be in Troy, Michigan, where a new "GM,
      DaimlerChrysler, and BMW Hybrid Development Center" will develop the
      technology. GM and DaimlerChrysler announced their agreement in December
      2004 but just signed binding agreements in late August; BMW signed a
      memorandum of understanding last week and intends to enter into a
      definitive agreement later this year. See the
      press release, and for more information on the "two-mode" hybrid drive
      system, see the
      <http://www.eere.energy.gov/news/news_detail.cfm/news_id=8705>article from
      the December 15th, 2004, edition of this newsletter.

      Site News

      <http://www.eere.energy.gov/financing/>EERE Launches its Financial
      Opportunities Web Site

      DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) has launched
      a new Web site that lists opportunities for financial assistance. The site
      lists current and past solicitations from EERE and provides specific
      funding information for business, industry, and universities, as well as
      consumers, federal energy managers, inventors, states, and tribes. In
      fiscal year 2004 alone, EERE awarded approximately $506 million in
      financial assistance. See the <http://www.eere.energy.gov/financing/>EERE
      Financial Opportunities Web site.

      Here's one solicitation to watch out for: on September 21st, DOE will
      release the solicitation for its Small Business Innovation Research and
      Small Business Technology Transfer programs. The solicitation will cover
      such topics as renewable energy sources, biofuels, solid-state lighting,
      energy-efficient membranes, lightweight materials for vehicles, electric
      energy storage for vehicles, and advanced motors, power electronics,
      sensors, and controls. See the
      topic titles" on the DOE Office of Science Web site.

      Energy Connections

      EIA: Katrina is Likely to Cause High Winter Heating Costs

      Hurricane Katrina's devastation in the Gulf states is currently driving
      fuel prices to record levels, but according to DOE's Energy Information
      Administration (EIA), the impact on winter heating bills may be worse. The
      EIA's "Short Term Energy Outlook" for September, released last week, is
      surely the most complicated report yet, since it features three scenarios
      for recovering from the hurricane: a slow, medium, and fast recovery.
      Focusing on the "medium recovery" scenario, gasoline prices will average
      near $3 per gallon for September, but should drop to an average of $2.58
      per gallon for the fourth quarter of 2005.

      The EIA's first look at winter heating costs contains a great deal of
      uncertainty, but tight supplies combined with the growing energy demand in
      winter are expected to keep fuel prices high. As a result, households in
      the Midwest fueled with natural gas are expected to see a 71 percent
      increase in heating costs compared to last winter; Midwest households using
      propane could see a 40 percent increase; households in the Northeast using
      heating oil could see a 31 percent increase; and households in the South
      using electricity could see a 17 percent increase. See the EIA's
      "<http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/steo/pub/contents.html>Short Term Energy

      According to the September 13th situation report from the DOE Office of
      Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, less than 320,000 customers in
      Louisiana and about 84,000 customers in Mississippi remain without
      electricity. It appears that most of the remaining customers without power
      cannot receive it due to flooding, damaged substations, or damage to the
      customer's building. Meanwhile in the Gulf of Mexico, 56 percent of oil
      production and 37 percent of natural gas production remain shut down.
      According to the EIA daily report on Katrina, four refineries remain shut
      down, including three in Louisiana that lack power. The EIA report says the
      four refineries represent 5 percent of U.S. refining capacity and could
      remain shut down for an extended period. The report also notes that fuel
      costs and energy futures are declining from their record highs. See the
      Katrina situation report and
      <http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/oog/special/eia1_katrina.html>EIA daily report.

      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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