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EERE Network News -- 10/26/05

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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 , Oct 26, 2005
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      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:

      October 26, 2005

      News and Events

      * Voluntary Green Power Purchases Increased Tenfold in 5 Years
      * DOE Issues New Efficiency Standards for Appliances and Equipment
      * DOE-Funded Researchers Win 29 "R&D 100" Awards for 2005
      * Wind Projects in California and Washington to Exceed 200 Megawatts
      * New York City Orders 500 Hybrid Buses and Allows Hybrid Taxis
      * Tokyo Auto Show Features Hybrid and Fuel Cell Concept Vehicles

      Energy Connections

      * New Transmission Line Projects Could Benefit Wind Power

      News and Events

      Voluntary Green Power Purchases Increased Tenfold in 5 Years

      The voluntary purchase of power from renewable energy sources has increased
      by a factor of 10 over the past five years, according to a DOE report
      released Monday. The amount of renewable energy capacity supported through
      such "green power" purchases topped 2,200 megawatts by the end of 2004, up
      from only 167 megawatts in 2000. The report also documents a growing
      interest among utilities and their customers: about 600 utilities were
      offering green power programs in 34 states in 2004, and more than 330,000
      utility customers were participating in such programs, a fivefold increase
      since 1999. Meanwhile, the premiums charged by these programs have been
      dropping an average of 8 percent per year since 2000. See the DOE report
      (<http://www.eere.energy.gov/greenpower/resources/pdfs/38994.pdf>PDF 2.5
      MB). <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html>Download Adobe

      The DOE report notes that non-residential customers are leading the growth
      in green power purchases. That trend is confirmed by EPA's Green Power
      Partnership, which now includes 600 partner organizations buying more than
      3 billion kilowatt-hours of green power each year. That represents a
      doubling over the past six months. The partnership includes Fortune 500
      companies, universities, trade associations, and local, state, and federal
      government agencies, and has grown from only 21 founding partners in 2001.
      Among the leading green power buyers are Johnson Safeway, Inc.; Advanced
      Micro Devices; and Whole Foods Market. DOE and the U.S. Environmental
      Protection Agency (EPA) announced the news during the Tenth National Green
      Power Marketing Conference, which concludes today in Austin, Texas. See the
      <http://www.epa.gov/greenpower/news/epareleases.htm>announcements on the
      Green Power Partnership Web site.

      DOE, EPA, and the Center for Resource Solutions (CRS) also used the
      occasion to honor people and organizations that have helped establish the
      green power market. Green Power Partner of the Year Awards were presented
      to HSBC North America, Johnson & Johnson, the U.S. Air Force, and WhiteWave
      Foods Company for their green power purchases. The highest honor in market
      development, Green Power Pioneer, was presented to Blair Swezey of DOE's
      National Renewable Energy Laboratory, one of the co-authors of the new DOE
      report. In addition, Austin Energy's top-selling GreenChoice Program was
      named Green Power Program of the Year for the second consecutive year.
      GreenChoice supports four Texas wind facilities and allows customers to
      lock in a fixed rate for 10 years, a popular feature in today's volatile
      energy market. Because of its GreenChoice program, Austin Energy was also
      awarded the 2005 Wind Power Pioneer Award in a separate awards ceremony in
      Kansas City, Missouri, on Tuesday. See the awards announcement from the
      green power conference
      (<http://www.epa.gov/greenpower/pdf/2005_winners.pdf>PDF 59 KB) and the
      press release.

      DOE Issues New Efficiency Standards for Appliances and Equipment

      DOE announced last week that it published a final rule setting new energy
      efficiency standards for 15 types of residential appliances and commercial
      equipment. The standards were established as part of the Energy Policy Act
      of 2005. Seven of the new standards apply to lighting equipment, including
      medium-base compact fluorescent lamps; fluorescent lamp ballasts; ballasts
      for mercury vapor lamps; torchieres; ceiling fans and ceiling fan light
      kits; illuminated exit signs; and traffic signal and pedestrian crossing
      light modules. Five standards apply to commercial equipment only, including
      pre-rinse spray valves; package air conditioning and heating equipment;
      refrigerators, freezers, and refrigerator-freezers; automatic ice makers;
      and clothes washers. The remaining three standards pertain to low-voltage
      dry-type distribution transformers, unit heaters, and dehumidifiers. See
      press release.

      DOE is continuing its work to increase the transparency and speed of the
      appliance standards process, which is managed by the
      <http://www.eere.energy.gov/buildings/appliance_standards/>Appliances and
      Commercial Equipment Standards Program, a part of DOE's Office of Energy
      Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

      DOE-Funded Researchers Win 29 "R&D 100" Awards for 2005

      DOE announced last week that scientists and engineers at 12 DOE national
      laboratories won 29 of the 100 awards given out this year by R&D Magazine.
      The prestigious "R&D 100" awards honor the most outstanding technology
      developments of the year that have commercial potential. Of the 12 DOE
      awards, 3 relate directly to energy efficiency and renewable energy. DOE's
      National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) helped develop a method of
      detecting impurities and defects in silicon boules, the single-crystal
      ingots from which solar cells are made. NREL also helped to develop an
      energy-modeling program called Targeted Residential Energy Analysis Tools
      (TREAT), which identifies the most cost-effective energy efficiency
      upgrades for both single-family and multifamily homes. The third award went
      to DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), which worked with SEMCO Inc.
      to develop a rooftop air conditioner that can independently control
      humidity and temperature while delivering any specified percentage of
      outdoor air into commercial and institutional buildings. See the press
      releases from
      and <http://www.semcoinc.com/News.nsf/0/12BD36ACC00CC4678625708C00045861>SEMCO.

      Some award-winning technologies not funded by DOE were also related to
      energy efficiency and renewable energy. Genencor International won an R&D
      100 Award for developing a new blend of enzymes that allow granular starch
      to be converted to glucose without an energy-intensive cooking step.
      Converting starch to glucose is a key part of the ethanol production
      process, and the new enzyme blend not only simplifies that process, but
      also increases ethanol yield by about 10 percent. Other related
      award-winning technologies include inexpensive membranes to separate
      hydrogen from hot gases, novel polymers that may boost the performance of
      polymer lithium batteries, and a hand-held device powered by a micro-fuel
      cell. See the <http://www.genencor.com/wt/gcor/pr_1121210008>Genencor press
      release, and for the complete list of winners, see the
      Magazine Web site.

      Wind Projects in California and Washington to Exceed 200 Megawatts


      Photo of cranes assembling wind turbines. A crane in the foregr

      In a sign of things to come, Puget Sound Energy is now building the
      150-megawatt Hopkins Ridge Wind Project in southeast Washington State.
      Credit: Puget Sound Energy

      Plans are proceeding to build wind power projects in California and
      Washington that will each exceed 200 megawatts. In southern California,
      enXco plans to build a 205.5-megawatt wind facility, called the Pacific
      Wind Project, by 2007 or 2008. Last week, San Diego Gas and Electric
      Company (SDG&E) announced its agreement to buy power from the project. In
      Washington State, Puget Sound Energy (PSE) will own the 229-megawatt Wild
      Horse Wind Power Project when Horizon Wind Energy finishes construction in
      late 2006. PSE bought the development rights for the project from Horizon
      (formerly called Zilkha Renewable Energy) early this month. The project
      earned approval from Governor Christine Gregoire in July. Currently, the
      largest U.S. wind power plant is the 300-megawatt Stateline Wind Energy
      Center in Washington, but projects larger than 200 megawatts remain a
      rarity. See the press release from
      and <http://www.pse.com/news/2005/pr20051004a.html>PSE and the
      <http://www.horizonwind.com/whatweredoing.asp?id=33>Wild Horse Wind Power
      Project page on the Horizon Wind Energy Web site.

      New York City Orders 500 Hybrid Buses and Allows Hybrid Taxis

      DaimlerChrysler announced on October 11th that its commercial buses unit
      has received a contract for 500 hybrid-electric buses from New York City
      transport services. New York City Transit has ordered 216 Orion VII
      hybrid-electric buses and Metropolitan Transportation Authority has ordered
      284 hybrid buses. According to DaimlerChrysler, the order is the largest
      ever for hybrid buses, and follows previous orders for the city that
      totaled 325 hybrid buses. The company also sold 56 hybrid buses to the San
      Francisco Municipal Railway in August. The Orion VII hybrid bus is
      propelled by a single electric motor, powered by an energy storage system
      and a generator, which in turn is driven by a diesel engine. BAE Systems
      developed the hybrid system. See the press releases from
      and <http://www.na.baesystems.com/releasesDetail.cfm?a=347>BAE Systems.

      Hybrid vehicles will soon be appearing in a popular form of transit in the
      city: the taxicab. The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission
      authorized the use of hybrid vehicles for taxicabs on October 16th. A city
      law passed last year required the commission to approve at least one hybrid
      vehicle, and the commission didn't hold back: only the two-door Honda
      Insight was excluded from the approved list. See the commission's
      <http://www.nyc.gov/html/tlc/html/news/ind05_24.shtml>announcement and the
      full rule (<http://www.nyc.gov/html/tlc/downloads/pdf/hybrid_rules.pdf>PDF
      114 KB). <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html>Download
      Adobe Reader.

      Tokyo Auto Show Features Hybrid and Fuel Cell Concept Vehicles

      The Tokyo Auto Show, Japan's premiere auto show, is now open to the public,
      allowing Japanese automakers to display their latest and craziest concepts
      in vehicles. This year's show has a heavy emphasis on fuel cell and hybrid

      Photo of a four-door sedan with a low arching shape forming a s

      The new Honda FCX fuel-cell concept will leave you wondering where the fuel
      cell is.
      Credit: Honda

      Honda debuted its latest FCX concept, a fuel-cell-powered sedan featuring
      an 80-kilowatt front motor and two 25-kilowatt rear in-wheel motors mounted
      in a low-slung vehicle. A 100-kilowatt fuel cell stack is tucked into a
      center tunnel running up the middle of the car and features vertical gas
      flow, an innovative process in which oxygen and hydrogen flow downward
      through the stack. This allows gravity to help discharge water from the
      stack, improving performance and allowing "ultra-low-temperature start-up
      performance on par with that of a gasoline engine," according to Honda. In
      addition, a "newly developed hydrogen absorption material" extends the
      vehicle's cruising range to 350 miles. The vehicle is matched with Honda's
      Home Energy Station, a system that converts natural gas into hydrogen to
      fuel the vehicle and power a 5-kilowatt fuel cell, which provides power and
      hot water to the home. See the
      <http://world.honda.com/news/2005/c051005.html>Honda press release and
      <http://world.honda.com/Tokyo2005/fcx/>FCX Web site.

      Toyota displayed a hybrid Estima minivan and a boxy new concept fuel cell
      vehicle, called the "Fine-X," which features four in-wheel motors. Toyota's
      Lexus division brought the GS450h, a rear-wheel-drive hybrid sedan
      featuring a V6 engine, a high-output electric motor, and an electrically
      controlled, six-speed automatic transmission. Ford Motor Company was
      represented by Mazda, which displayed the Premacy Hydrogen RE (rotary
      engine) Hybrid concept. Based on the Mazda5 minivan, the vehicle combines
      an electric motor with a rotary engine that can run on hydrogen or
      gasoline. In the concept vehicle, a tank filled with compressed hydrogen
      gas has replaced the third row of seats. Mazda also brought the Senku
      concept car, a hybrid sports car with a direct injection gasoline rotary
      engine and a motor, both mounted in the center of the car. Nissan debuted
      an egg-shaped three-seat electric vehicle called the Pivo, with a cabin
      that can be rotated completely around, thanks to drive-by-wire
      technologies. And carrying the spirit of the show to the two-wheeled world,
      Yamaha Motor Company, Ltd. introduced four concept vehicles: a hybrid
      scooter, two electric motorcycles, and a motorcycle powered with a methanol
      fuel cell. See the press releases from
      and <http://www.yamaha-motor.co.jp/global/news/2005/09/28/tms-ev.html>Yamaha.

      Energy Connections

      New Transmission Line Projects Could Benefit Wind Power

      Western utilities hungry for new power sources are exploring new or
      upgraded transmission lines, a trend that could benefit the growth of wind
      power in the region. Trans-Elect, Inc., the Western Area Power
      Administration, and the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority joined forces in
      late September to upgrade a transmission line that crosses the border
      between northeastern Colorado and eastern Wyoming. The American Wind Energy
      Association supports the project because it will help deliver Colorado and
      Wyoming wind power to customers along Colorado's urban Front Range. Last
      week, Arizona Public Service Company (APS) announced it will explore
      building two 500-kilovolt transmission lines from Wyoming to Arizona. While
      the new transmission lines would help deliver power from Wyoming coal
      plants to Arizona, the lines could also encourage wind power growth in
      Wyoming. See the press releases from the
      <http://www.wyia.info/announce.htm>Wyoming Infrastructure Authority and

      Wyoming is the largest U.S. producer of coal and is the main source of
      low-sulfur coal, which burns cleaner and helps coal plants meet their
      emissions requirements. Wyoming and neighboring states also have excellent
      wind power resources, creating a synergy between the two power sources. A
      case in point is a proposed coal plant called Big Stone II, which would be
      located in Big Stone, South Dakota. To garner support, the project
      participants committed last week to building a larger-than-needed
      transmission line for the plant: a 345-kilovolt transmission line from Big
      Stone to Granite Fall, Minnesota, instead of the 230-kilovolt line
      originally planned. The companies say the excess capacity could accommodate
      up to 1,000 megawatts of wind power, allowing large wind projects in
      wind-rich South Dakota to supply growing power needs in Minnesota. See the
      Tail Power Company press release.

      The importance of long-distance power transmission has led DOE, the U.S.
      Forest Service, and the Bureau of Land Management to propose designating
      "energy corridors" for power transmission and other purposes on federal
      lands in the West. Starting yesterday, the agencies began holding public
      comment sessions in cities throughout the West. See the
      press release and the <http://corridoreis.anl.gov/>West-wide Energy
      Corridor Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement 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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