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EERE Network News -- 11/09/05

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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 , Nov 9, 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:

      November 09, 2005

      News and Events

      * U.S. Government Exceeds its Goal for Renewable Energy Use
      * Renewable Energy Markets Showed Strong Growth in 2004
      * U.S. Wind Power Grows at Record Pace in 2005
      * California Approves Contract for 500-Megawatt Solar Facility
      * University of Delaware to Lead $54 Million Solar Cell Project
      * VeraSun and Ford to Convert Gasoline Pumps to Ethanol

      Site News

      * Ethanol Alliance Launches "Driving Ethanol" Web Site

      Energy Connections

      * EIA: Hurricane Recovery to Extend into Mid-2006

      News and Events

      U.S. Government Exceeds its Goal for Renewable Energy Use

      The federal government exceeded its goal of obtaining 2.5 percent of its
      electricity from renewable energy sources by the end of September,
      according to figures released last week by DOE. As the largest energy
      consumer in the nation, the federal government now uses 2,375 million
      kilowatt-hours of renewable energy per year. That represents a nearly
      14-fold increase in renewable energy use since 1999, when an Executive
      Order set the goal. Today, the federal government's annual use of biomass,
      geothermal, solar, and wind power is enough to power 225,000 homes or a
      city the size of El Paso, Texas. See the
      press release.

      The federal government now has a new goal to meet, as the Energy Policy Act
      of 2005 requires the government to obtain 7.5 percent of its electrical
      power from renewable sources of energy by 2013. A key facilitator for that
      goal is the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP), a part of the DOE
      Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy that helps federal
      agencies employ renewable energy by purchasing green power or deploying
      renewable technologies. As a result, solar panels, wind turbines, and
      thousands of geothermal heat pumps have been installed at federal
      facilities across the nation. See the
      <http://www.eere.energy.gov/femp/>FEMP Web site.

      Renewable Energy Markets Showed Strong Growth in 2004

      Global investment in renewable energy reached $30 billion in 2004, equal to
      20 to 25 percent of the global investment in the power sector, according to
      a report released on Sunday by the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the
      21st Century (REN21). According to the report, global investment in
      renewable energy has grown steadily since 1995, when it was at about $7
      billion. As a result, wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, and small
      hydropower technologies now supply 160 gigawatts of generating capacity,
      about 4 percent of the world total. The fastest growing technologies are
      grid-connected solar power, at 60 percent per year, and wind power, which
      grew 28 percent in 2004. REN21 is a global policy network aimed at
      providing a forum for international leadership on renewable energy. The
      report was authored and published by the Worldwatch Institute. See the
      <http://www.worldwatch.org/press/news/2005/11/06/>Worldwatch Institute
      press release and the full report
      (<http://www.worldwatch.org/brain/media/pdf/pubs/ren21/ren21-2.pdf>PDF 904
      KB). <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html>Download Adobe

      The rising global investments in renewable energy have also had a positive
      effect on clean energy stock prices, according to New Energy Finance. The
      company has created a stock index of 50 clean energy companies, called the
      Global Energy Innovation Index (GEIX). The index finished the third quarter
      up 32.5 percent on the year and nearly 20 percent on the quarter. New
      Energy Finance claims that stocks for clean energy companies in countries
      that have ratified the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gases have outperformed
      their competitors by 66.6 percent, a trend the company refers to as the
      "Kyoto Effect." See the New Energy Finance press release
      (<http://www.newenergyfinance.com/NEF/HTML/Press/GEIX_2005_Q3.pdf>PDF 18 KB).

      Meanwhile, a report released last week by the U.S. International Trade
      Commission (ITC) finds few barriers to international trade in renewable
      energy technologies. The report credits growth in renewable energy to
      government incentives, including those that stem from international
      agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol. It also credits technological
      advances that have improved the cost-competitiveness of renewable energy
      technologies, as well as concerns regarding the environment and energy
      security. According to the report, the United States is the world's largest
      market for biomass and geothermal power, while Germany leads the market for
      wind power, Japan for solar power, and France for ocean power. See the
      press release and the full report
      (<http://hotdocs.usitc.gov/docs/pubs/332/pub3805.pdf>PDF 2.3 MB).

      U.S. Wind Power Grows at Record Pace in 2005

      The U.S. wind power industry will set new growth records this year,
      according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). The trade group's
      latest projections, released last week, anticipate the installation of
      2,500 megawatts of new wind power capacity this year, a record growth of
      more than 35 percent. AWEA's list of wind projects to be completed this
      year includes projects in 25 states. According to AWEA, the total U.S. wind
      power capacity will exceed 9,200 megawatts by the end of this year and
      should displace more than a half billion cubic feet of natural gas per day
      in 2006, or about 5 percent of the natural gas used for power production.
      See the
      press release and the full list of projects
      (<http://www.awea.org/newsroom/2005_projects.pdf>PDF 22 KB).
      <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html>Download Adobe Reader.

      Photo of a wind turbine with a huge tower that flares at the bo

      The Oregon project may use wind turbines nearly as large as this
      3.6-megawatt turbine.
      Credit: GE Energy

      Since the production tax credit for wind power projects does not expire
      until the end of 2007, wind power growth is expected to stay strong for at
      least the next two years, according to AWEA. That future growth is already
      evident, as PPM Energy just started building the 200-megawatt Big Horn Wind
      Project in northeast Klickitat County in Washington, with plans to complete
      it by next summer. In addition, Orion Energy LLC has submitted an
      application to the Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council to build the
      450-megawatt Biglow Canyon Wind Farm in north-central Oregon, near the
      Washington border, about 50 miles southwest of the Big Horn project. The
      company plans to begin construction in early 2007. See the
      <http://www.ppmenergy.com/rel_05.10.28a.html>PPM Energy press release and
      the Biglow Canyon
      announcement and
      documents on the Oregon Energy Facility Siting Web site.

      California Approves Contract for 500-Megawatt Solar Facility


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

      The new solar facility will consist of a field of solar dishes.
      Credit: Randy J. Montoya, Sandia National Laboratories

      The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) announced its approval in
      late October of a contract for Southern California Edison to buy power from
      a large solar thermal plant. Southern California Edison (SCE) and Stirling
      Energy Systems signed a 20-year power purchase agreement on August 9th that
      calls for a 4,500-acre solar generating station to be built 70 miles
      northeast of Los Angeles. According to the CPUC, the solar power plant
      would start power production in January 2009, but would not reach its
      planned 500-megawatt capacity until December 2012. The plant could
      eventually be expanded to a capacity of 850 megawatts. It will consist of
      large sun-tracking solar dishes, which will use Stirling engines to convert
      the sun's heat into electricity. See the
      <http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/PUBLISHED/NEWS_RELEASE/50627.htm>CPUC press release.

      Meanwhile, Solargenix Energy earned approval in late September to proceed
      with a 64-megawatt solar thermal plant near Boulder City, Nevada. Called
      Nevada Solar One, the facility will be the largest solar electric power
      plant built in the past 14 years and the third largest solar power plant in
      the world. The plant will use a series of trough-shaped solar mirrors to
      heat a liquid that is passed through glass tubes called "receivers," which
      are located along the line of focus for the mirrors. The hot liquid then
      boils water into steam to turn a turbine, generating power. DOE's National
      Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) worked with Solargenix to perfect its
      solar collectors, and in early October, Schott North America received an
      order to supply the receivers for the plant. Nevada Solar One is scheduled
      to begin producing power in early 2007. See the press releases from
      <http://us.schott.com/english/news/press.html?NID=141>Schott, and

      University of Delaware to Lead $54 Million Solar Cell Project

      The University of Delaware (UD) announced last week that it will lead a
      project to double the efficiency of terrestrial solar cells over the next
      four years. The university's Consortium for Very High Efficiency Solar
      CellsĀ­consisting of 15 universities, corporations, and laboratoriesĀ­could
      receive up to $33.6 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects
      Agency (DARPA), if all options are awarded, plus another $19.3 million from
      UD and corporate team members. Those corporate members may include DuPont,
      BP Solar, Corning Inc., LightSpin Technologies, and Blue Square Energy. The
      consortium's goal is to develop commercial solar cells that convert 50
      percent of the sunlight hitting them into electricity. Currently, high-end
      solar cells operate at a peak efficiency of 24.7 percent, and solar cells
      off the production line operate at 15 to 20 percent efficiency. See the
      <http://www.udel.edu/PR/UDaily/2006/nov/solar110205.html>UD press release.

      New innovations in solar cells continue to crop up. In October alone, UCLA
      announced it has developed a plastic solar cell with a 4.4 percent
      efficiency, and Wake Forest and New Mexico State universities announced
      their development of a plastic solar cell with a 5.2 percent efficiency.
      The Wake Forest development hinges on engineering materials on the scale of
      a billionth of a meter (a nanometer), a field called nanotechnology.
      Nanotechnology yielded several solar power advances in October: DOE's
      Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) developed a solar cell made
      from a solution containing nanoscale crystals of semiconductors, as did
      XsunX, Inc. HelioVolt announced that similar nanostructures may form
      spontaneously in some thin-film solar cells, causing their observed high
      efficiency. Taking a different route, the Gas Technology Institute (GTI)
      has earned a patent for a solar cell that converts water directly into
      hydrogen, and Stellaris Corporation has developed a concentrating solar
      glazing. The Stellaris invention incorporates 6-millimeter lenses that
      focus sunlight onto thin strips of solar cell material. See the press
      releases from
      <http://www.wfu.edu/wfunews/2005/110705n.html>Wake Forest,
      <http://www.heliovolt.com/stanberymodel.html>HelioVolt, and
      and the October 6th press release from

      VeraSun and Ford to Convert Gasoline Pumps to Ethanol

      VeraSun Energy Corporation, the nation's second largest ethanol producer,
      announced last week that it will work with Ford Motor Company in 2006 to
      convert gasoline pumps in the Midwest to E85, a blend of 85 percent ethanol
      with 15 percent gasoline. The companies will also launch a consumer
      awareness campaign to promote the benefits and use of E85, and Ford will
      ask local dealerships to participate in the campaign. Currently, of the
      more than 180,000 fuel stations in the United States, only about 500 offer
      E85. Flexible fuel vehicles can run on either E85 or gasoline, and Ford is
      offering four new models with the flexible fuel technology option for 2006:
      the Ford F-150, Ford Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town
      Car. See the <http://www.verasun.com/releases_11_4_05.htm>VeraSun press

      The ethanol fuel industry continues to grow rapidly. In the first week of
      November alone, construction started on four new ethanol plants in Indiana,
      Minnesota, Missouri, and Nebraska, and a new plant in Iowa started
      production. Currently, 92 ethanol plants nationwide have the capacity to
      produce more than four billion gallons annually. Another 23 ethanol plants
      and seven expansions are under construction, and will add more than a
      billion gallons in annual production capacity. Meanwhile, Panda Energy,
      which made news in May by announcing plans to build an ethanol plant in
      Texas powered by cow manure, has since announced plans to build similar
      plants in Colorado and Kansas. See the recent press releases from the
      <http://www.ethanolrfa.org/media/press/rfa/2005/>Renewable Fuels
      Association and <http://www.thepandagroup.com/press.htm>Panda Energy.

      Site News

      <http://www.drivingethanol.org>Ethanol Alliance Launches "Driving Ethanol"
      Web Site

      Driving Ethanol, a new site from the Ethanol Promotion & Information
      Council, is a place where consumers can learn more about ethanol, a
      renewable fuel. The site allows consumers to ask experts questions about
      ethanol and to take action by contacting local legislators and emailing
      information to friends. See the <http://www.drivingethanol.org>Driving
      Ethanol Web site.

      Energy Connections

      EIA: Hurricane Recovery to Extend into Mid-2006

      A prolonged recovery of oil and natural gas production in the Gulf of
      Mexico will continue to impact U.S. energy prices through mid-2006,
      according to DOE's Energy Information Administration (EIA). The EIA's
      "Short Term Energy Outlook," released yesterday, states, "it now appears
      unlikely that anything close to complete recovery will occur before the end
      of the second quarter of 2006." The report projects a gradual increase of
      Gulf oil and natural gas production, reaching 87.4 percent and 79.4 percent
      of their pre-hurricane levels, respectively, by March 2006. As a result,
      the EIA expects supplies of gasoline and natural gas to remain tight at
      least through the winter.

      Despite the grim production outlook, the EIA report revised slightly
      downward the cost of heating this winter, citing in part lower petroleum
      costs. The EIA now projects a 41 percent increase in winter heating costs
      for homes heated with natural gas, a 27 percent increase for homes using
      heating oil, and a 21 percent increase for homes using propane. Those
      numbers range from 5 to 9 percent lower than last month's projection. See
      the EIA "<http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/steo/pub/contents.html>Short Term
      Energy Outlook."

      According to Tuesday's "Hurricane Situation Report" from DOE, nearly 50
      percent of oil production in the Gulf remains out of service, plus about 41
      percent of natural gas production. Meanwhile, in Florida, more than 100,000
      customers remain without power, two weeks after Hurricane Wilma battered
      the state. See the latest
      Situation Report."

      This newsletter is funded by DOE's <http://www.eere.energy.gov/>Office of
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