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EERE Network News -- 02/01/06

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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 , Feb 1, 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:

      February 01, 2006

      News and Events

      * President Bush Proposes Energy Initiative to Slash Oil Imports
      * New Study Confirms Energy Benefit of Ethanol Fuel
      * Ford Unveils Hybrid that Can Run on Ethanol-Rich Fuel
      * U.S. Wind Industry Marks 2005 as its Most Productive Year Ever
      * DOE and 15 Federal Agencies Sign Green Building Agreement
      * DOE Conducts Energy Saving Assessment at Fertilizer Plant

      Energy Connections

      * Nuclear Plant Revival Advances with Approval of New Design

      News and Events

      President Bush Proposes Energy Initiative to Slash Oil Imports

      President Bush outlined an Advanced Energy Initiative in last night's State
      of the Union Address, with the goal of replacing more than 75 percent of
      U.S. oil imports from the Middle East by 2025. The Initiative provides for
      a 22 percent increase in clean energy research at DOE. "America is addicted
      to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world," said
      President Bush. "The best way to break this addiction is through
      technology." See the <http://www.whitehouse.gov/stateoftheunion/2006/>State
      of the Union Address on the White House Web site.

      A White House fact sheet on the Initiative gives a preview of the
      President's proposed budget for 2007, which will include a new $148 million
      Solar America Initiative to accelerate the development of solar cells. The
      Solar America Initiative would more than double the funding for research in
      solar photovoltaic technologies. The budget will also include $44 million
      for wind energy research, a $5 million increase over this year's funding level.

      The President also proposed accelerated research in producing ethanol from
      cellulosic biomass sources, such as agricultural wastes or switchgrass,
      with the goal of making such cellulosic ethanol practical and competitive
      within 6 years. The President's 2007 budget will include $150 million for
      the effort, an increase of $59 million over this year's funding. Cellulosic
      ethanol has the potential to displace up to 30 percent of the current fuel
      use in the United States.

      The President's plan also aims to accelerate research in the next
      generation of battery technology for hybrid vehicles and "plug-in" hybrids,
      vehicles that can be recharged at night and can run significant distances
      on electric power only. The 2007 budget will include $30 million to speed
      the development of this technology. The budget also continues to fund the
      President's Hydrogen Fuel Initiative, providing $289 million in 2007, an
      increase of $53 million. See the
      House fact sheet.

      New Study Confirms Energy Benefit of Ethanol Fuel


      Bird's-eye view of the pilot plant, which consists of eight lar

      Abengoa Bioenergy's pilot plant in Nebraska is testing cellulosic ethanol
      Credit: Abengoa Bioenergy

      Ethanol fuel produced from corn reduces petroleum use by about 95 percent,
      while also reducing greenhouses gases by about 13 percent, according to a
      report published last Friday in the journal Science. In the report,
      researchers at the University of California-Berkeley's Energy and Resources
      Group and the Goldman School of Public Policy compared six analyses of the
      energy required to produce ethanol and the energy benefits of ethanol and
      other co-products. The report found that those studies most critical of the
      energy benefits of ethanol ignored the added energy benefits of co-products
      such as animal feeds and included old or non-representative data about the
      energy used in the processes. The report also examined the production of
      ethanol from grasses and other "cellulosic" biomass sources, and found that
      the energy benefit would decrease slightly, but the greenhouse gas benefits
      would be greatly enhanced. The authors suggest that such cellulosic ethanol
      could provide a sizeable fraction of the fuel needed for transportation in
      the United States. See the press releases from the
      Fuels Association and
      and download the full paper, the six analyses, and supporting research from
      the <http://rael.berkeley.edu/EBAMM/>UC-Berkeley Web site.

      Several companies are already pursuing cellulosic ethanol. Abengoa
      Bioenergy, which has a pilot plant in Nebraska, is building a plant in
      Spain to produce 110,000 gallons per month of cellulosic ethanol from
      agricultural residues. MEMS USA, Inc. plans to build a facility in northern
      Ontario capable of producing 5 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol per
      month from forestry and mill waste. And Iogen Corporation is working with
      Volkswagen and Shell to study the feasibility of building a cellulosic
      ethanol plant in Germany. See the
      Bioenergy press release, the January 4th press release on the
      <http://www.memsusa.com/news.html>MEMS USA Web site, and the
      <http://www.iogen.ca/news_events/press_releases/2006_01_08.html>Iogen press

      Ford Unveils Hybrid that Can Run on Ethanol-Rich Fuel


      Photo of a woman filling the tank of a sport utility vehicle at

      If built, the Ford Hybrid Escape E85 would allow hybrid owners to fill
      their tanks with ethanol-rich E85.
      Credit: Ford Motor Company

      Ford Motor Company unveiled last week a prototype vehicle that reduces
      petroleum consumption in two ways: it achieves a high fuel efficiency using
      hybrid technology, and it can run on a fuel made chiefly of ethanol. The
      Ford Escape Hybrid E85 is a flex-fuel vehicle, capable of running on
      gasoline or on E85, a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.
      Ford is a leader in flex-fuel vehicles, having produced 1.5 million
      flex-fuel vehicles in the past decade. In December, Ford launched the first
      full-size truck with flex-fuel capability, the E85 F-150. Ford is also
      pursuing hybrid vehicles with the launch of the Mazda Tribute Hybrid next
      year and hybrid versions of the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan mid-size
      sedans in 2008. By 2010, Ford intends to launch hybrid versions of the Ford
      Five Hundred and Mercury Montego full-size sedans, and the Ford Edge and
      Lincoln MKX "crossovers," which are midway between sport utility vehicles
      and cars. See the press releases from
      <http://media.ford.com/newsroom/feature_display.cfm?release=22424>Ford and
      the <http://www.e85fuel.com/news/121505_ford_f150_release.htm>National
      Ethanol Vehicle Coalition.

      One problem with flex-fuel vehicles is the limited availability of E85
      pumps, leaving most owners to fuel with gasoline only. But both Ford and
      General Motors (GM) are working to remove that barrier. Ford and VeraSun
      Energy Corporation announced in November 2005 that they'd work together to
      convert fuel pumps in the Midwest to E85. GM announced in early January
      that it would work with the State of California, Pacific Ethanol, and
      Chevron Technology Ventures, LLC to deploy GM flex-fuel vehicles at state
      agencies to explore the merits of E85. Pacific Ethanol is currently
      building an ethanol plant in Madera and plans to build four more plants in
      California over the next two years. See the
      press release.

      U.S. Wind Industry Marks 2005 as its Most Productive Year Ever

      The U.S. wind energy industry grew at a record-breaking pace in 2005,
      installing 2,431 megawatts (MW) of new wind power capacity in 22 states,
      according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). The rapid growth
      increased the total U.S. wind power capacity to 9,149 MW, a 35 percent
      increase. Commercial wind turbines are now installed in 30 states,
      producing enough electricity annually to equal the power used by 2.3
      million U.S. households. Wind power developers invested more than $3
      billion in new wind turbines in 2005, and are expected to invest even more
      next year: AWEA predicts that 2006 will be an even bigger year for the
      industry, with the installation of 3,000 MW of new wind power capacity.
      Texas now rivals California as the state with the most installed wind
      power, while FPL Energy remains the nation's largest wind power developer,
      and GE Energy supplied most of the new wind turbine capacity. See the
      press release.

      A number of significant wind power projects were completed in 2005,
      including the 50-MW Kumeyaay Wind Power Project, the first large wind power
      project on tribal lands. Located on the Campo Indian Reservation east of
      San Diego, California, the project was financed by GE Energy Financial
      Services. Other major projects include: the 185-MW Century Wind Project in
      Iowa; the 150-MW Elk River Wind Farm, the largest in Kansas; the 135-MW
      Judith Gap wind project, the largest in Montana; the 59.4-MW Ainsworth Wind
      Energy Facility, the largest in Nebraska; the 7.5-MW Jersey-Atlantic Wind
      Farm, the first in New Jersey; the 137-MW Maple Ridge Wind Farm, the
      largest in New York; the 151.2-MW Blue Canyon II and the 147-MW Weatherford
      Wind Energy Center, the two largest projects in Oklahoma; the 210-MW Horse
      Hollow wind energy center in Texas, this year's largest project; and the
      149.4-MW Hopkins Ridge Wind Project in Washington. See the
      <http://www.ge.com/stories/en/20413.html?category=Product_Business>GE Web
      page on the Kumeyaay Wind Power Project, AWEA's list of 2005 projects
      (<http://www.awea.org/newsroom/2005_projects.pdf>PDF 17 KB), and AWEA's
      <http://www.awea.org/projects/index.html>updated map of all U.S. wind
      projects. <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html>Download
      Adobe Reader.

      DOE and 15 Federal Agencies Sign Green Building Agreement

      DOE joined 15 other federal agencies and the White House Council on
      Environmental Quality on Monday in a joint commitment to designing and
      constructing sustainable buildings that achieve high energy performance.
      The agencies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) saying they would
      strive to adopt a standard set of guiding principles for sustainable
      buildings: employing integrated design principles; optimizing energy
      performance; protecting and conserving water; enhancing indoor
      environmental quality; and reducing the environmental impact of the
      building materials. The agencies will aim to achieve the Energy Star
      targets for new construction and renovation and will also employ
      daylighting and incorporate biobased materials into their buildings. See
      release from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the full MOU
      (<http://www.energystar.gov/ia/business/Guiding_Principles.pdf>PDF 191 KB)
      on the Energy Star Web site.
      <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html>Download Adobe Reader.

      The American Institute of Architects (AIA) thinks sustainable design can
      eventually achieve large energy savings: The group has adopted position
      statements to promote sustainable design and resource conservation, with
      the goal of cutting in half the fossil fuels used to construct and operate
      buildings by the year 2010. The AIA also supports using rating systems and
      standards to promote the design and construction of sustainable communities
      and buildings. One such rating system, the LEED (Leadership in Energy and
      Environmental Design) rating system, was recently streamlined and
      simplified by the organization that developed it, the U.S. Green Building
      Council (USGBC). See press releases from the
      <http://www.aia.org/release_121905_fossilfuel>AIA and the

      DOE Conducts Energy Saving Assessment at Fertilizer Plant

      DOE announced last week that a three-day Industrial Energy Saving
      Assessment will take place at the Terra Nitrogen Company, LP plant near
      Tulsa, Oklahoma. Through its free energy assessments, DOE is working with
      major manufacturing facilities to identify opportunities to save energy and
      money, primarily by focusing on steam and process heating systems. DOE's
      Energy Saving Teams have completed visits to 28 large federal facilities
      and are in the process of visiting 200 of the most energy-intensive
      manufacturing facilities in the United States as part of the national "Easy
      Ways to Save Energy" campaign launched in October 2005. See the
      "<http://www.eere.energy.gov/consumer/save_energy/>Easy Ways to Save
      Energy" Web site.

      Terra Nitrogen Company, LP is a major U.S. producer of nitrogen fertilizer
      products. Its manufacturing facility in Verdigris, Oklahoma­just northeast
      of Tulsa­has the capacity to produce 2.2 million tons annually of urea
      ammonium nitrate solutions and 1.1 million tons of anhydrous ammonia, both
      of which are ingredients in nitrogen fertilizers. See the
      <http://www.energy.gov/news/3104.htm>DOE press release.

      Energy Connections

      Nuclear Plant Revival Advances with Approval of New Design

      Advocates of new nuclear power plant construction moved closer to the
      goalpost on Tuesday, as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) published
      the final design certification rule for Westinghouse Electric Corporation's
      "advanced passive" reactor design, the AP1000. The rule certifying the
      AP1000 design will become effective on February 27th, allowing utilities to
      reference the design in their applications to build new nuclear plants. In
      December 2005, the NRC also accepted an application from the General
      Electric Company for its advanced design, the Economic Simplified Boiling
      Water Reactor, or ESBWR. That design is still under review at the NRC. See
      the NRC press releases about the
      and <http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/news/2005/05-162.html>GE

      A number of utilities are now moving ahead with applications to NRC for
      licenses to build new nuclear plants using the AP1000 design. Progress
      Energy, which previously indicated its intention to apply for a license,
      announced last week its selection of the Harris Nuclear Plant site near New
      Hill, North Carolina, as its proposed location. Georgia Power and Southern
      Nuclear Operating Company also announced plans last week to pursue new
      AP1000 nuclear plants at the Plant Vogtle nuclear site, near Waynesboro,
      Georgia. Duke Power announced back in October 2005 that it would also
      submit an application to build two reactors of the AP1000 design, but it
      has not yet named a location. See the press releases from
      Power, and
      <http://www.dukepower.com/news/releases/2005/oct/2005102601.asp>Duke Power.

      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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