Weekly Clean Energy Roundup: December 15, 2010

  • Philadelphia Eagles Power Stadium with Renewable Energy
  • DOE: $400M Loan Guarantee for Abound’s Thin-Film Solar Manufacturing
  • First Companies Earn Industrial Energy Efficiency Certification
  • First Leaf, Volts Shipped
  • DOT Redirects $1.2B in High-Speed Rail Funds
  • DOE: $30M for Next Generation Biofuels Research

    Philadelphia Eagles to Power Stadium with Renewable Energy

    The Philadelphia Eagles recently announced it will power Lincoln Financial Field with a combination of onsite wind, solar and dual-fuel generated electricity, making it the world’s first major sports stadium to convert to self-generated renewable energy.

    SolarBlue will install the system, which includes 80, 20-foot spiral-shaped wind turbines on the top rim of the stadium; 2,500 solar panels on the stadium’s facade; a 7.6 MW onsite dual-fuel cogeneration plant; and a monitoring and switching technology to operate the system. The completion goal is September 2011.

    SolarBlue will invest over $30 million to build the project, and will maintain and operate the stadium’s power system for the next 20 years at a fixed annual price increase in electricity. The football franchise will save an estimated $60 million in energy costs. The system is expected to provide 1.039 billion kWh of electricity, enabling an estimated 4 MW of excess energy to be sold back to the local electric grid. See the SolarBlue press release.

    DOE Closes $400 Million Loan Guarantee for Thin-Film Solar Manufacturing

    DOE finalized a $400 million loan guarantee for Abound Solar Manufacturing, LLC to manufacture state-of-the-art thin-film solar panels.

    The project, with facilities in Longmont, Colorado, and Tipton, Indiana, will employ manufacturing technology for cadmium-telluride panels that has yet to be deployed commercially. At full capacity, Abound will produce 840 MW of solar panels a year, creating about 1,200 solar jobs.

    Abound will produce PV panels using an innovative process for depositing cadmium-telluride thin films onto glass panels. The company says the technology offers numerous improvements over existing manufacturing methods and reduces production costs. It also reduces greenhouse gas emissions significantly compared to crystalline silicon panels.

    DOE has issued loan guarantees or offered conditional commitments for loan guarantees totaling nearly $16.5 billion to support clean energy projects. Together, the 16 projects represent over 37 million megawatt-hours of capacity, enough clean energy to power 3.3 million homes. See the DOE press release and the Loan Programs Office Web site for more information.

    First Companies Earn Industrial Energy Efficiency Certification

    On December 9, DOE announced the first industrial plants in the country to be certified under its new market-based industrial energy efficiency program, the Superior Energy Performance program.

    Certification, which is provided by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), will offer a roadmap for industrial facilities to continually improve efficiency and maintain market competitiveness.

    The industrial and manufacturing sectors, which account for roughly a third of US energy consumption, have significant opportunities to improve operational efficiency.

  • Cook Composites and Polymers Co., Freescale Semiconductor Inc., and Owens Corning received the initial certifications after the pilot phase which began in May 2008. DOE and Texas Industries of the Future, located at the University of Texas at Austin, collaborated during the pilot.

    A series of additional energy management demonstration projects are underway to further test the Superior Energy Performance program. The goal is for companies to conform to the upcoming International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 50001 energy management system standard. ISO, the world’s largest developer and publisher of international standards, identified energy management as a priority for its significant potential to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Based on broad applicability across national economic sectors, the ISO 50001 standard could eventually influence up to 60% of the world’s energy demand.

    The Superior Energy Performance program, which is led by the U.S. Council for Energy Efficient Manufacturing with support from DOE, is already serving as the basis for the Global Superior Energy Performance initiative, a multi-country effort to create and harmonize nationally accredited energy performance certification programs. See the DOE press release, the Superior Energy Performance program Web site, and DOE’s Industrial Technologies Program Web site.

    First Leaf, Volts Shipped to U.S. Customers

    Nissan delivered its new electric vehicle (EV), the Leaf, to a San Francisco Bay area resident on December 11. The initial launch markets are Southern California, Arizona, Oregon, Seattle, and Tennessee; Hawaii and Texas are next in early 2011.

    350 Chevy Volt hybrids will be in showrooms this month for customers in California, New York, Texas, and Washington D.C.

    Leaf owners in several markets are participating in the EV Project, a research and charging infrastructure deployment project funded by DOE. In November, San Francisco announced it would work with Coulomb Technologies to install the first two EV charging stations there. They are part of the ChargePoint America program, funded in part by a $15 million Recovery Act grant. See the Leaf press release and the official Leaf post, Volt press release, the EV Project Web site, the ChargePoint America Web site, and the San Francisco mayor’s press release.


    DOT Redirects $1.2 Billion in High-Speed Rail Funds

    The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced that $1.2 billion in high-speed rail funds originally designated for Wisconsin and Ohio will be redirected to other states. Incoming Republican governors of Wisconsin and Ohio indicated they will not use the funds offered through Recovery Act. $810 million from Wisconsin and $385 million from Ohio will be re-directed to 14 other states.

    California and Florida will get the lion’s share of the funds, receiving up to $624 million and $342.2 million respectively. California recently allocated $4.15 billion of its $4.3 billion to begin work on a 65-mile stretch of high-speed rail in the Central Valley, which will connect the San Francisco Bay area to Los Angeles.

    In November, DOT awarded Florida $800 million for the Tampa-to-Orlando high-speed rail corridor. Washington state will get up to $161 million; Illinois will receive up to $42 million for rail projects.

    Overall, the Recovery Act included $8 billion to launch a national high-speed rail network to modernize America’s transportation system. See the DOT press release for a list of states to receive redirected funds and the December 8 edition of EERE Network News for news about California’s high-speed rail.

    DOE: $30 Million for Next Generation Biofuels Research

    DOE announced on December 14 that it’s accepting applications-for up to $30 million in total funding-for small-scale process integration projects that support development of advanced biofuels.

    DOE is looking to replace gasoline or diesel without requiring special upgrades or changes to vehicles or fueling infrastructure. The funds will support as many as five projects over the next three to four years.

    Projects will focus on optimizing and integrating process steps that convert biomass into biofuel and bio-products that will eventually be used to support hydrocarbon fuels and chemicals. Examples of process improvements include: pretreatment methods that alter biomass to improve sugar yields in subsequent process steps; less costly, more efficient enzymes that produce sugars; and fermentation organisms and catalysts that convert sugars into fuel and chemical intermediates.

    The FOA solicitation, eligibility requirements, and application instructions are on the FedConnect Web site that lists public opportunities. Applications must be submitted through Grants.gov no later than 11:59 p.m. EST on February 7, 2011. DOE’s Biomass Program works with industry, academia, and national lab partners on a balanced portfolio of research in biomass feedstocks and conversion technologies. See the DOE press release and the Biomass Program Web site.

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    EREE Network News is a weekly publication of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).

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