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EERE Network News -- 01/11/06

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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 , Jan 11, 2006
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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:

      January 11, 2006

      News and Events

      * New Energy Efficiency Tax Credits Take Effect
      * Weapons Plant to Save $2 Million Per Year Through Energy Efficiency
      * Hybrids, Flex-Fuels, and Subcompacts Debut at Auto Shows
      * Northeastern States Sign Pact to Limit Greenhouse Gases
      * Interior Department Seeks Comments on Offshore Energy Projects
      * EPA Publishes Regulations to Implement Renewable Fuel Standard

      Energy Connections

      * EIA: U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Increased 2 Percent in 2004

      News and Events

      New Energy Efficiency Tax Credits Take Effect

      New energy efficiency tax credits went into effect on January 1st, making
      it easier for U.S. families and businesses to reduce energy costs at home,
      at work, and on the road. As part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the new
      tax credits will allow consumers to reduce their 2006 tax bills on a
      dollar-for-dollar basis up to the amount allowed under the law. For
      example, consumers who purchase the most fuel-efficient vehicles could
      reduce their tax liability by up to $3,400, while those who install
      energy-efficient windows, insulation, doors, roofs, and heating and cooling
      equipment in the home can receive up to $500 off of their federal tax bill.

      Specific tax benefits for the home include $50 for purchasing an advanced
      main air circulating fan; $150 for installing a highly efficient furnace or
      boiler; $200 for installing energy efficient windows; $300 for purchasing a
      highly efficient central air conditioner, heat pump, or water heater; and
      30 percent of the purchase cost, up to $2000, for solar power and solar
      water heating equipment (this does not apply to equipment used to heat
      swimming pools or hot tubs).

      Businesses may be eligible for credits such as a 30 percent tax credit for
      the installation of qualifying solar equipment on buildings. Companies that
      build highly energy efficient homes or manufacture energy-efficient
      appliances can also earn tax credits. See the
      <http://www.energy.gov/news/2852.htm>DOE press release and for more
      details, see the <http://www.energytaxincentives.org/>Energy Tax Incentives
      Web site from the Tax Incentives Assistance Project.

      Weapons Plant to Save $2 Million Per Year Through Energy Efficiency

      DOE announced last week that it has signed a contract to significantly
      improve energy efficiency at its Pantex Plant near Amarillo, Texas,
      resulting in an estimated savings of more than $2 million per year. This
      contract will also help the nuclear weapons plant cut its annual energy use
      by two percent as required by the energy legislation signed by President
      George W. Bush in August 2005. The Pantex Plant covers 25 square miles and
      serves as the only nuclear weapons assembly and disassembly facility in the
      United States. See the <http://www.pantex.com/ds/pxgeng.htm>Pantex Plant
      Web site.

      Energy-saving measures will include: installing new energy-efficient
      lighting systems and control systems to reduce waste in heating and
      air-conditioning systems, repairing leaks in steam systems, installing
      energy-efficient cooling systems, and renovating dehumidifiers needed for
      industrial operations. These energy conservation measures will cost about
      $19.5 million over 19 years, but will save the Pantex Plant an estimated
      $38 million in that same time frame. See the
      <http://www.energy.gov/news/2878.htm>DOE press release.

      NORESCO, an energy services company, will oversee the improvements through
      an energy savings performance contract (ESPC). Under ESPCs, companies
      invest in energy-saving improvements and are repaid with a portion of the
      energy cost savings over the life of the contract, after which the federal
      agency continues to reap the cost savings. Since authorized in 1992, ESPCs
      have been implemented by 18 different federal agencies and departments,
      saving 14.4 trillion Btu annually. These projects will save the government
      $5.0 billion in energy costs, of which $3.5 billion will be used to pay off
      project investment, leaving a net savings of $1.5 billion. The Energy
      Policy Act of 2005 extends the authority for all Federal agencies to use
      ESPCs until September 30th, 2016. See the
      <http://www.eere.energy.gov/femp/financing/superespcs.cfm>Federal Energy
      Management Program Web site.

      Hybrids, Flex-Fuels, and Subcompacts Debut at Auto Shows

      Toyota Motor Sales and General Motors Corporation (GM) are displaying the
      latest in hybrid-electric vehicles slated for production at the North
      American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. On Monday, Toyota
      unveiled its 2007 Camry Hybrid, which combines a 45-horsepower motor and a
      147-horsepower, 4-cylinder, Atkinson-cycle engine. Equipped with a
      continuously variable transmission, the Camry Hybrid achieves an estimated
      43 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 37 mpg on the highway. On Sunday,
      GM debuted two upcoming hybrid sport utility vehicles: the 2007 Saturn VUE
      Green Line and the 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Two-mode Hybrid. The Saturn VUE
      Green Line is expected to achieve 27 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the
      highway, a 20 percent improvement over the Saturn VUE. When it goes on sale
      this summer, the Saturn VUE Green Line will sell for less than $23,000,
      including a markup of less than $2,000 for the hybrid system. The Tahoe
      Hybrid is optimized to perform efficiently in two modes: in city driving
      and on the highway. The vehicle will operate on electric power only when it
      can, which will help it to achieve an estimated 25 percent gain in fuel
      economy over the base Tahoe. The Tahoe Two-mode Hybrid will go on sale next
      year along with the GMC Yukon Two-mode Hybrid, and a Cadillac Escalade
      hybrid is planned for the future. See the
      press releases and the GM
      release and <http://gmtv.feedroom.com/?fr_story=FEEDROOM128088>Webcast.

      As always, this year's NAIAS also features many intriguing concept
      vehicles. Ford Motor Company is displaying the Reflex Hybrid Coupe, a
      sporty car that achieves 65 mpg with a hybrid-electric diesel engine. Solar
      cells in the headlights and taillights help recharge the lithium-ion
      battery, while a roof-mounted solar panel powers fans to keep the interior
      cool. Ford also brought the F-250 Super Chief concept, a flex-fuel pickup
      that runs on gasoline, ethanol, or hydrogen. Mitsubishi Motors Corporation
      is displaying the Concept-CT MIEV hybrid, a sport hatchback that combines a
      lithium-ion battery with in-wheel motors, while Toyota's F3R concept is a
      hybrid minivan with modern styling. The NAIAS opens to the public on
      January 14th. See the Ford press releases on the
      Hybrid Coupe and
      Chief; the press releases from
      and <http://pressroom.toyota.com/Releases/View?id=TYT2006010628762>Toyota;
      and the <http://www2.naias.com/>NAIAS Web site.

      Fuel-efficient subcompacts are also coming on strong, as Honda unveiled the
      2007 Honda Fit at the NAIAS. The five-door subcompact achieves 33 mpg in
      the city and 38 mpg on the highway with its four-cylinder engine. Toyota is
      also introducing its Yaris subcompact to the U.S. market for the 2007 model
      year. Already popular in Europe, the Yaris sedan and hatchback models
      achieve 34 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway. The Yaris debuted
      last week at the Los Angeles Auto Show, which also features an innovative
      three-wheel concept vehicle from Volkswagen. The company says its GX3, a
      two-seat crossover between a motorcycle and a sports car, can achieve 46
      mpg in the city. Honda also introduced its 2006 Civic GX, which runs on
      compressed natural gas, at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The show is open to
      the public through January 15th. See the
      <http://www.laautoshow.com/2006/index.aspx>Los Angeles Auto Show Web site
      and the press releases about the
      <http://world.honda.com/news/2006/4060108Fit/>Honda Fit,
      Yaris, Volkswagen GX3
      93 KB), and <http://world.honda.com/news/2006/4060104LAAutoshow/>Honda
      Civic GX. A
      of the Volkswagen GX3 is also available.
      <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html>Download Adobe Reader.

      Northeastern States Sign Pact to Limit Greenhouse Gases

      Seven northeastern states announced an agreement in December to implement
      the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which will regulate carbon
      dioxide emissions from fossil-fueled power plants in those states. The
      governors of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New
      York, and Vermont signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that sets a
      cap on each state's carbon dioxide emissions from 2009 through 2014, after
      which the emissions will decline 10 percent by 2019. The RGGI will allow
      trading of emissions credits to help achieve the caps, and will allow
      credits for projects that capture and burn landfill methane; that encourage
      end-use energy efficiency for natural gas, propane, and heating oil; and
      for other projects.

      Under the RGGI, the participating states hope to become "world leaders in
      the creation, development, and deployment of carbon emission control
      technologies, renewable energy supplies, energy-efficient technologies, and
      demand-side management practices," according to the MOU. To implement the
      RGGI, the states anticipate the release of a draft Model Rule for public
      comment by March. The RGGI is expected to take effect on January 1st, 2009.
      See the <http://www.rggi.org/agreement.htm>RGGI Web site and the press
      releases from <http://www.ny.gov/governor/press/05/1220052.htm>New York
      Governor George Pataki and
      <http://www.state.de.us/governor/122005rggi.shtml>Delaware Governor Ruth
      Ann Minner.

      Interior Department Seeks Comments on Offshore Energy Projects

      The U.S. Department of Interior's Mineral Management Service (MMS) is
      currently seeking comments on how it should regulate energy development
      other than oil and gas on the outer continental shelf (OCS). The Energy
      Policy Act of 2005 authorized MMS to grant leases, easements, or
      rights-of-way on the OCS for the development and support of energy from
      sources other than oil and gas and to allow for alternate uses of existing
      facilities on the OCS. MMS anticipates that the majority of the
      applications received for non-oil and gas development projects will be for
      renewable energy projects, specifically for offshore wind plants, solar
      installations, and ocean energy projects such as wave, ocean current, or
      ocean thermal energy systems. The Act also directed MMS to develop a
      comprehensive program and regulations to implement its new authority by

      As the first step in the development of this regulatory program, MMS issued
      an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on December 30th, seeking
      comments on a variety of issues relating to its new authority. Comments are
      due by February 28th. On January 3rd, MMS also published several maps
      showing the extent of its offshore jurisdiction for each state. See the
      <http://www.mms.gov/ooc/press/2005/press1230.htm>MMS press release, its
      Energy and Alternative Uses Web site, and its
      <http://www.mms.gov/ld/lateral.htm>Federal OCS Administrative Boundaries
      Web page.

      EPA Publishes Regulations to Implement Renewable Fuel Standard

      The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published new regulations
      for ethanol use in our nation's fuel supply in late December. The Energy
      Policy Act of 2005 gave EPA the authority to establish a new Renewable
      Fuels Standard Program, which will double the use of fuels produced from
      U.S. crops by 2012. The regulation explains how industry will comply with
      the provision requiring that the gasoline blends sold or dispensed to U.S.
      motorists this year contain, on average, 2.78 percent renewable fuel (such
      as ethanol), an amount equal to about 4 billion gallons. And for this year,
      at least, the approach is simple: do nothing, because the EPA expects the
      industry to meet the standard without any additional regulations. In fact,
      the ethanol industry produced and sold more than 4 billion gallons last
      year, and expects to produce more this year. See the press releases on
      <http://www.ethanolrfa.org/media/press/rfa/2005/view.php?id=450>meeting the
      standard and the
      <http://www.ethanolrfa.org/media/press/rfa/2005/view.php?id=501>new EPA
      regulations from the Renewable Fuels Association.

      In the future, the EPA envisions requiring registration, recordkeeping, and
      reporting requirements; enforcement provisions; a credit trading program;
      and various fuel tracking mechanisms to implement the program. For this
      year, though, the EPA published its simpler regulations in the Federal
      Register on December 30th. Comments are due by January 30th, and if no
      adverse comments are received, the regulations will take effect on February
      28th. See the
      press release, the EPA's new
      <http://www.epa.gov/otaq/renewablefuels/>Renewable Fuels Standard Web page,
      and the EPA's
      of Proposed Rulemaking and accompanying
      Final Rulemaking, as published in the Federal Register.

      Energy Connections

      EIA: U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Increased 2 Percent in 2004

      The latest report on greenhouse gas emissions from DOE's Energy Information
      Administration (EIA) shows a 2.0 percent increase in 2004. Since 1990, U.S.
      greenhouse gas emissions have increased by 15.8 percent, for an average
      annual increase of 1.1 percent. The EIA attributes the large growth in 2004
      to a surging U.S. economy, which in turn resulted in more energy use. The
      economy grew 4.4 percent in 2004­the fastest since 1999­and in turn the
      carbon dioxide generated from energy use increased by 1.7 percent. But
      since the greenhouse emissions grew slower than the economy, the U.S.
      greenhouse gas intensity­the amount of greenhouse gas emissions per unit of
      economic output­decreased by 2.1 percent in 2004.

      The other significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions was
      hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a class of refrigerants. HFC emissions increased
      by 12 percent in 2004 and have increased 246 percent since 1990. The growth
      in HFCs is largely due to their use in place of ozone-depleting compounds
      such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). See the EIA report
      (<ftp://ftp.eia.doe.gov/pub/oiaf/1605/cdrom/pdf/ggrpt/057304.pdf>PDF 637
      KB). <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html>Download Adobe

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