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EERE Network News -- 12/21/05

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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 , Dec 21, 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:

      December 21, 2005

      News and Events

      * DOE Sets Tougher Standards for Energy Star Clothes Washers
      * Energy Saving Teams Sent to Federal Facilities in Six States
      * DOE Awards $2.2 Million for Energy-Efficient Pulp and Paper Production
      * BLM to Pursue Increased Wind Power on Public Lands
      * FERC Issues Rules Enabling Tax Credits for Hydropower Expansions
      * IRS Seeks Applications for $800 Million in Clean Energy Bonds
      * California Boosts Solar Photovoltaic Funding by $300 Million

      Energy Connections

      * Save Energy with LED Lights and Timers this Holiday Season

      News and Events

      Editor's Note: The EERE Network News will take a two-week break for the
      holidays, returning on Wednesday, January 11th. Today's issue marks the end
      of the sixth year of publishing this newsletter. We started in January 1999
      with only 1,000 subscribers, but thanks to readers like you, we have more
      than 10,000 subscribers today. We wish you all a joyful and
      energy-efficient holiday season!

      DOE Sets Tougher Standards for Energy Star Clothes Washers

      DOE announced on Monday that clothes washers will soon have to meet tougher
      standards to qualify for the Energy Star label. The new standards will take
      effect on January 1st, 2007, and will increase the efficiency of Energy
      Star-labeled clothes washers up to 37 percent, saving as much as $70
      million in energy bills and 8.9 billion gallons of water each year. Energy
      Star is a voluntary program co-sponsored by DOE and the U.S. Environmental
      Protection Agency.

      To earn the Energy Star label, clothes washers will have to meet two
      criteria: the Modified Energy Factor (MEF) and the Water Factor (WF). The
      MEF is the capacity of the clothes container divided by the total energy
      consumption per cycle, including washing machine energy, water-heating
      energy, and dryer energy. The higher the MEF, the more efficient the
      clothes washer. The WF is the gallons of water used per cycle divided by
      the cubic feet of washer capacity (for example, a three-cubic-foot washer
      using 24 gallons per cycle has a WF of 8). The lower the WF, the less water
      the machine uses. The new standards will require a minimum MEF of 1.72
      cubic feet per kilowatt-hour per cycle, up from 1.42, and a maximum WF of
      8. The current standards don't include a WF requirement. See the
      press release and the
      Washers Key Product Criteria page on the Energy Star Web site.

      Energy Saving Teams Sent to Federal Facilities in Six States

      DOE deployed Energy Saving Teams to federal facilities in Georgia, Indiana,
      Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, and Oklahoma over the past week to identify
      low-cost and no-cost measures to save energy and money. The energy
      assessments are part of DOE's
      "<http://www.eere.energy.gov/consumer/save_energy/>Easy Ways to Save
      Energy" campaign, which includes sending Energy Saving Teams to the 30
      largest federal facilities and the top 200 energy-intensive manufacturing
      facilities in the United States. According to an "EERE Progress Alerts"
      issued last week, DOE had performed energy assessments at 26 federal
      facilities and 5 industrial plants as of Friday. DOE has also received 286
      applications from industries representing 641 plants, and will continue
      accepting applications at its
      "<http://www.eere.energy.gov/industry/saveenergynow/>Save Energy Now" Web
      site through January 17th. See the
      Progress Alerts.

      The latest Energy Saving Teams visited Fort Gordon, Georgia; Fort Bragg,
      North Carolina; Fort Sill in Lawton, Oklahoma; the Naval Surface Warfare
      Center (NSWC) in Crane, Indiana; the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (AFB)
      in Dayton, Ohio; and the Romano L. Mazzoli Federal Building in Louisville,
      Kentucky. Fort Gordon covers 87.5 square miles and has a workforce of more
      than 16,600. Fort Bragg includes 5,447 buildings over more than 50 square
      miles. Fort Sill covers 147 square miles and houses 20,000 personnel. The
      NSWC Crane Division is the third largest U.S. Navy installation in the
      world, covering 100 square miles. Wright-Patterson AFB is the largest U.S.
      Air Force base in the United States, employing about 22,000 people. And the
      Romano L. Mazzoli Federal Building is an 11-story building with a gross
      area of about 473,000 square feet. See the DOE press release from
      14th and the December 19th press releases about
      Sill and the
      L. Mazzoli Federal Building.

      DOE Awards $2.2 Million for Energy-Efficient Pulp and Paper Production

      DOE awarded $2.2 million in research and development grants on Tuesday for
      projects to save energy in the pulp and paper industry. The research will
      focus on removing water from pulp in the paper making process and
      determining the technical and commercial feasibility of next-generation
      manufacturing concepts.

      DOE awarded about $2 million to Voith Paper in Wisconsin to design and
      build a new press technology to reduce energy use for paper drying by 30
      percent; about $100,000 to North Carolina State University to define a
      next-generation pulping process to achieve higher yields and reduced energy
      consumption; and about $100,000 to Georgia Tech Research Corporation to
      examine new techniques for eliminating energy-intensive lime kilns from the
      pulping process. Lime kilns are used to recover and reuse calcium
      carbonate, a product of the pulping process. The recipients will provide a
      total of $2.1 million in cost sharing toward the three projects. See the
      press release and DOE's <http://www.eere.energy.gov/industry/forest>Forest
      Products Industry of the Future Web page.

      BLM to Pursue Increased Wind Power on Public Lands

      The U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) announced last week that its Bureau
      of Land Management (BLM) has completed an environmental review that will
      allow it to significantly expand its wind energy program on public lands.
      The Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) establishes broad
      guidelines for BLM's Wind Energy Development Program, ensuring that the
      best management practices are used to avoid impacts to at-risk species and
      migratory birds. With the publication of the PEIS, BLM also is amending 52
      land-use plans in nine western states with a goal of installing more than
      3,200 megawatts of wind energy. While changes in the land-use plans will
      speed development of wind energy, individual projects will still require
      site-specific analysis and permits. Nevertheless, BLM expects to be able to
      shorten the approval process for new wind energy projects from two or more
      years to less than a year. Over the past five years, BLM has issued 86 wind
      energy permits, compared to four issued in the previous five years. See the
      <http://www.doi.gov/news/05_News_Releases/051215.htm>DOI press release and
      the <http://windeis.anl.gov/>Wind Energy Development PEIS Web site.

      A new ruling by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will also
      make it easier for large wind plants to provide a reliable source of power
      for the electrical grid. The new rules provide greater flexibility for a
      wind plant to remain connected to the power grid when a momentary fault
      causes the grid voltage to drop. The FERC ruling adopts a proposal
      initiated by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and agreed to by
      both AWEA and the North American Electric Reliability Council. See the
      <http://www.awea.org/news/news_pr_12132005.html>AWEA press release and the
      FERC order
      179 KB). <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html>Download
      Adobe Reader.

      FERC Issues Rules Enabling Tax Credits for Hydropower Expansions

      The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued new instructions
      last week for hydropower facilities to earn tax credits for increasing
      their power output. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 allows tax credits for
      the incremental production gains from efficiency improvements or capacity
      additions to existing hydropower facilities. The act also allows
      FERC-licensed dams that do not generate power to earn the tax credit for a
      hydropower installation, but only if the installation requires no
      significant modifications to the dam. To earn the tax credit, the
      facilities must be placed in service after August 8th of this year and by
      the end of 2007, and FERC must certify both the historic and increased
      power production at the facility for the Internal Revenue Service. See the
      FERC guidelines
      193 KB). <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html>Download
      Adobe Reader.

      FERC also approved a project that will likely qualify for the tax credit.
      The Public Utility District (PUD) No. 2 of Grant County, Washington, plans
      to install nine new advanced hydropower turbines at the Priest Rapids
      hydroelectric project on the Columbia River. The so-called "fish-friendly"
      turbines, developed by DOE, will increase power production at the plant
      while improving the survival of juvenile salmon migrating downstream. The
      utility has already installed one of the new turbines at the site, and
      found that the average survival of juvenile Chinook salmon through the new
      turbine was at least as good as that of the existing turbines. The new
      turbine also produced 14 percent more electricity. The utility plans to
      replace one turbine at the facility every nine months. See the
      press release and order
      (<http://elibrary.ferc.gov/idmws/common/opennat.asp?fileID=10905530>PDF 151
      KB) and the
      <http://www.gcpud.org/aboutus/newsrelease05/fishsurvival.htm>related press
      release from Grant County PUD.

      IRS Seeks Applications for $800 Million in Clean Energy Bonds

      The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requested applications last week
      for renewable energy projects to be financed with up to $800 million in
      "tax-credit" bonds. Unlike normal bonds that pay interest, tax-credit bonds
      pay the bondholders by providing a credit against their federal income tax.
      In effect, the new tax-credit bonds will provide interest-free financing
      for certain renewable energy projects. According to the American Public
      Power Association (APPA), this provides an effective new financing tool for
      public power companies, which are non-profit and cannot directly benefit
      from other tax credits.

      Under the new Clean Renewable Energy Bond (CREB) program, established by
      the Energy Policy Act of 2005, up to $800 million in tax-credit bonds may
      be issued by qualified bond lenders, cooperative electric companies, and
      government bodies (including public power systems). The borrower must be a
      cooperative electric company or a government body, and must use the
      financing for wind, biomass, geothermal, or solar energy projects, or for
      hydropower expansions, trash combustion facilities, or refined coal
      production facilities. The act allows government bodies to borrow up to
      $500 million for such projects, setting aside at least $300 million for
      cooperative electric companies. Since the federal government essentially
      pays the interest via tax credits, the IRS must allocate such credits in
      advance, which is why it is seeking applications now; they're due by April
      26th, 2006. See the APPA press release
      (<http://www.appanet.org/files/PDFs/APPAHailsBondProgram12-13-05.pdf>PDF 34
      KB), the IRS solicitation (<http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/n-05-98.pdf>PDF
      36 KB), and a <http://www.cbo.gov/showdoc.cfm?index=5624>report on
      tax-credit bonds from the Congressional Budget Office.
      <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html>Download Adobe Reader.

      California Boosts Solar Photovoltaic Funding by $300 Million

      The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) increased its funding for
      solar photovoltaic technologies by $300 million last week. The funding
      increase­the first step in the CPUC's proposed California Solar
      Initiative­will be issued via the CPUC's Self-Generation Incentive Program
      (SGIP). The decision also reduced the rebate level for solar photovoltaic
      systems from $3.50 per watt to $2.80 per watt of installed capacity,
      starting with projects that sign up for funding in 2006. For projects
      already on the waiting list, the rebate level will be $3 per watt.
      According to the CPUC, reducing the rebate level will allow it to stretch
      limited program funding to as many projects as possible. See the
      <http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/PUBLISHED/NEWS_RELEASE/52080.htm>CPUC press release.

      At the CPUC's January 12th meeting, the full ten-year California Solar
      Initiative funding and framework will be considered. According to the Solar
      Energy Industries Association (SEIA), that full proposal aims to install
      3,000 megawatts of solar power in California. See the
      Solar Initiative proposal and the
      <http://www.seia.org/solarnews.php?id=86>SEIA press release.

      Energy Connections

      Save Energy with LED Lights and Timers this Holiday Season

      The holiday season is here, and with it comes plenty of opportunities to
      either waste energy or save it. One way to save energy is to switch to
      holiday lights that use LEDs (light-emitting diodes). According to the
      Alliance to Save Energy (ASE), each LED bulb uses only 0.04 watts, about
      one-tenth of the energy used by mini-lights and less than one percent of
      the energy used by the large, old-fashioned holiday lights. LEDs also last
      a long time and produce no heat, helping to eliminate fire hazards. But
      just because they're energy misers, no need to flout it: you should still
      put your lights on a timer, so they'll only stay on when people are likely
      to see and appreciate them. For this and other holiday-season energy tips,
      see the <http://www.ase.org/content/news/detail/2737>ASE press release.

      Want to learn more about LEDs and other holiday lighting options? See the
      latest holiday lighting fact sheet
      860 KB) from the EnergyIdeas Clearinghouse, a service of the Washington
      State University Extension Energy Program.
      <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html>Download Adobe Reader.

      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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