Weekly Clean Energy Roundup: Oct. 9, 2002

Provided by EREN Network News

*News and Events

University of Colorado Takes First Place in Solar Decathlon

DOE Extends Its Partnership with Architects on Buildings

Green Power Leaders Named as New Deals Announced

DaimlerChrysler to Launch Fuel-Cell Mercedes-Benzes in 2003

California Goal: 600,000 Natural Gas Vehicles by 2012

California and New York Extend Their “Net Metering” Laws

*Site News

BioBased Information System (BIS)

*Energy Facts and Tips

EIA Expects Heating Bills to Increase Up to $300 This Winter

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NEWS AND EVENTS

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University of Colorado Takes First Place in Solar DecathlonDecatholonFinal

The University of Colorado at Boulder (CU) won first place in DOE’s Solar Decathlon competition on Saturday, officially bringing an end to the 10-day competition. The University of Virginia placed second in the competition, and Auburn University came in third. See the DOE press release: [sorry this link is no longer available]

The Solar Decathlon is a team competition among universities to design and build the most energy-efficient solar-powered homes. Fourteen teams from throughout the United States and Puerto Rico brought their solar homes to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., for the competition, which ran from September 26th through October 5th. As the winning team, CU most successfully blended aesthetics and modern conveniences with maximum energy production and efficiency in its solar-powered home. See the Solar Decathlon Web site: [sorry this link is no longer available].

After taking an early lead in the competition, CU further cemented its lead on Thursday by tying with Crowder College for the most amount of points in Engineering Design, which honors excellence in the design of lighting, refrigeration, and heating and air conditioning systems and the setup and operation of a home-based business. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University earned second place and the University of Maryland placed third. [sorry this link is no longer available]


CU won the “Comfort Zone” contest by keeping its house at a comfortable temperature and humidity level, the University of Missouri-Rolla/Rolla Technical Institute won the “Refrigeration” contest, the University of Maryland won the “Hot Water” contest, and Crowder College won both the “Lighting” and “Home Business” contests. See the team rankings and contest descriptions:
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DOE Extends Its Partnership with Architects on Buildings

DOE and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) signed an agreement on October 4th that continues and expands their partnership on DOE’s buildings programs. DOE and AIA will continue their joint work by creating resource-efficient buildings; encouraging improvements in the quality of indoor environment and occupant productivity; advocating an increased use of renewable, clean energy sources; working to reduce the environmental impact of buildings; and promoting global economic opportunities through internationally recognized high-performance designs and energy-efficient structures. See the DOE press release at: [sorry this link is no longer available]


Green Power Leaders Named as New Deals Announced

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its second annual Green Power Leadership Awards last week. Kinko’s, Inc. and the City of Chicago were both named Green Power Partners of the Year for their significant purchases of electricity from renewable energy sources. The EPA also presented awards to Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.; the State of New Jersey; Uinta Brewing Company; Pennsylvania State University; and the University of Pennsylvania for their purchases of green power. In addition, Johnson & Johnson; the County of Alameda, California; and Local 332 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers were honored for their projects to generate renewable power at their facilities. [sorry this link is no longer available]

Green Mountain Energy Company (GMEC) also won two Green Power Leadership Awards: the Green Power Beacon Award, for its innovative marketing materials and themes, and the Green Power Pioneer Award, which went to its Chief Environmental Officer, Thomas Rawls. GMEC just entered a partnership with Hometown Connections International to offer green power programs to public utilities throughout the United States. Public utilities serve about 15 percent of the nation’s electricity customers. [sorry this link is no longer available]

The EPA also recognized a number of Washington, D.C.-area organizations for their green power purchases, including DOE’s Forrestal building and Germantown facility, the American Council for Renewable Energy, the American Wind Energy Association, the National Hydrogen Association, and the Solar Electric Power Association, among others. Select “Press Releases” on the EPA Newsroom page at: http://www.epa.gov/epahome/newsroom.htm

Several D.C.-area institutions recently purchased significant amounts of green power through Washington Gas Energy Services. The U.S. Army, Catholic University, and the National Geographic Society all bought wind power through a program offered by Community Energy, Inc. The Army bought the energy output from an entire 1.5-megawatt wind turbine; Catholic University bought enough wind power to meet 12 percent of its needs; and the National Geographic Society purchased enough to provide 5 percent of the electricity used in its headquarters. [sorry this link is no longer available]

Sadly, one green power leader is no longer with us. Rudd Mayer, who worked at the Land and Water Fund of the Rockies, passed away unexpectedly on August 13th. Mayer had won a Green Power Pilot Award in 2001 for her grassroots efforts to sell wind power in the West. Colorado Congressman Mark Udall entered a tribute to Mayer into the Congressional Record on September 12th. See the tribute: [sorry this link is no longer available]



DaimlerChrysler to Launch Fuel-Cell Mercedes-Benzes in 2003

The luxury car market took a leap ahead in technology yesterday, as DaimlerChrysler announced plans to deploy 60 fuel-cell-powered Mercedes-Benz A-Class models in the United States, Europe, Japan, and Singapore next year. The cars will be tested in fleets through cooperative ventures with companies. DaimlerChrysler will also supply 30 fuel-cell-powered city buses to public transport companies in ten major European cities in 2003. [sorry this link is no longer available]

Ballard Power Systems will provide its latest-generation 85-kilowatt fuel-cell engines for the Mercedes-Benzes. Ballard claims the new unit achieves a 60 percent improvement in power density over its previous model. Ballard fuel cells are also powering the DaimlerChrysler buses.
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DaimlerChrysler had previously planned to launch the fuel-cell buses this year, although the company didn’t expect to launch fuel-cell cars until 2004. See the June 21, 2000, edition of EREN Network News: [sorry this link is no longer available]

The company appears to be lagging behind Honda Motor Company, which will begin making production versions of its fuel-cell Honda FCX before the end of the year. American Honda Motor Company, Inc. announced on Monday that the City of Los Angeles will be its first U.S. customer for the vehicles, receiving five by year-end. http://world.honda.com/news/2002/4021007.html

Other car companies are also entering the fuel cell race: Fiat, an Italian automaker, recently demonstrated a hydrogen-powered car called the Seicento Elettra H2 and has ordered nine fuel-cell stacks from Nuvera Fuel Cells, Inc. of Cambridge, Massachusetts. [sorry this link is no longer available]

Meanwhile, DOE’s FreedomCAR program is moving forward. A new “FreedomCAR Partnership Plan” provides goals, objectives, and milestones for the program, including specific technical goals for fuel cell performance, electricity storage, vehicle weight reduction, and hydrogen infrastructure and storage, all to be achieved by 2010. See the plan: [sorry this link is no longer available]


California Goal: 600,000 Natural Gas Vehicles by 2012

California will gain 600,000 new natural gas vehicles in the next ten years if the newly formed California Natural Gas Vehicle Partnership gets its way. The public-private partnership includes government air quality, transportation and energy agencies, together with vehicle and engine manufacturers, natural gas suppliers, vehicle fleet operators and environmental organizations. DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory is among the many members of the new partnership.

The partnership has set three-, five-, and ten-year goals for the growth of natural gas vehicles (NGVs) in the state. Its ten-year goals aim to boost the number of California NGVs by a factor of thirty from the current 19,000 NGVs in use in the state. The partnership estimates that roughly a billion gallons of both compressed and liquefied natural gas would need to be dispensed annually to supply those 619,000 vehicles. [sorry this link is no longer available]
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One new development that may help achieve those numbers is a home fueling station for NGVs, unveiled yesterday by FuelMaker Corporation. The company claims the appliance will cost about $1,000 and can be mounted in a home garage and connected to an existing natural gas line. American Honda Motor Company, Inc., which owns a 20 percent stake in FuelMaker, followed the unveiling with its own announcement: Honda will now market its Civic GX, an NGV, to retail customers. Honda has been making the vehicle since 1998 but marketing it primarily to government fleet buyers.
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All the NGV announcements were made at the World NGV2002, now underway in Washington, D.C. The NGV Coalition is hosting the event, which is sponsored in part by DOE’s Clean Cities Program. [sorry this link is no longer available]


California and New York Extend Their “Net Metering” Laws

The states of California and New York took separate actions recently to encourage consumers to generate their own electricity using renewable energy sources.

In California, Governor Gray Davis app
roved a bill that will extend the state’s “net metering” law indefinitely. Net metering laws allow individuals to generate their own power from renewable energy sources and feed excess power into the electrical grid, paying only for the net electricity they use over the course of a time period (usually a month, but sometimes as long as a year). The California net metering law applies to systems up to one megawatt in size, although it places restrictions on wind installations greater than 50 kilowatts. See the September 24th press release by selecting “Press Releases”:
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In New York, Governor George E. Pataki signed a net metering law specifically to encourage farmers to produce energy from agricultural wastes using anaerobic digesters. The law applies to systems up to 400 kilowatts in size. The new law adds to an existing net metering law, which applies only to residential solar power systems of 10 kilowatts or less. [sorry this link is no longer available]

For more details on either of these laws (or to check whether such laws exist in your state), see the Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE). Select “Rules, Regulations & Policies”
from the left-hand column of the DSIRE Summary Tables Overview at:
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Net metering is one of the issues for people who generate their own power — many have trouble just connecting their system to the power grid. For instance, the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (PUC) recently approved a procedure that requires generators to pay the cost of connecting to the grid as well as the cost of regular independent inspections of their systems. Small generators did get a break, though: those under 25 kilowatts only need to be inspected every three years. [sorry this link is no longer available]

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is trying to simplify the process of making grid interconnections. FERC proposed a standardized set of interconnection agreements and procedures in August, including a simplified procedure for systems that are under two megawatts in size. Comments on the proposal are due November 4th. [sorry this link is no longer available]

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SITE NEWS

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BioBased Information System (BIS)

http://biobased.org/

BIS features news and information on biobased products from a variety of organizations and media. It also provides the opportunity for organizations and individuals to submit news articles online. BIS was created by Agrotech Communications and has many sponsors: the Biobased Manufacturers Association, Helena Chemical Company, Sorbilite, Inc., Panel Source International, Crain Consulting, Cargill Dow, Gemtek Products, SustainableBusiness.com, and BioMat.

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ENERGY FACTS AND TIPS

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EIA Expects Heating Bills to Increase Up to $300 This Winter

Expected boosts in both energy demand and energy prices pose a double whammy for U.S. consumers this winter, boosting home heating costs by $100 to $300, according to DOE’s Energy Information Administration (EIA). The Northeast will be hit the hardest, as those using heating oil are forecast to face a 45 percent increase in heating bills. Those using natural gas and propane will suffer less of a blow, with heating bills up 19 percent and 22 percent, respectively. Last year’s warm winter is partially to blame, as temperatures are expected to return to normal this winter. [sorry this link is no longer available]

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Kevin Eber is the Editor of EREN Network News, a weekly publication of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

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