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January 20, 1999

News and Events

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Energy Facts and Tips

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News and Events

AIChE Supports Energy Efficiency, Renewable Research
The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) released a white paper in late December calling for the federal government to pursue "an aggressive program of research on technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions." The paper called for expanded research on technologies to improve energy efficiency, utilize non-carbon energy sources such as renewable energy, and capture and store carbon emissions.

See the AIChE Public Policy Web site.

NOAA Proclaims 1998 the Warmest Year on Record
Global temperatures in 1998 were the warmest on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The global mean temperature in 1998 was 0.66 degrees C above the long-term average. NOAA Administrator James Baker noted that El Niño contributed to the record warmth. See the NOAA News Online Web site. In related news, two scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) reported that global warming may be accentuating El Niño's current and future impacts. The scientists presented the results of their research at the American Meteorological Society annual meeting in Dallas, Texas. The scientists theorize that much of the heat trapped by greenhouse gases is stored in the oceans and later released through El Niños. See the NCAR press release.

Wind Power is the World's Fastest Growing Energy Source
The world capacity for generating power from wind grew by 2,100 megawatts in 1998, a new all-time record for growth in wind power, according to preliminary estimates by the Worldwatch Institute. The wind power boom was led by Germany, which added 800 megawatts, but the United States also added 235 megawatts in 10 states. The surge in U.S. wind power was the largest since 1986, with large projects built in Minnesota, Wyoming, and Oregon.

World wind power has doubled in capacity in the past three years, making it the world's fastest growing energy source. The world capacity for wind power reached 9,600 megawatts at yearend.

See the Worldwatch Institute Web site.

CEC Funds 14 New Renewable Projects
The California Energy Commission (CEC) has approved funding agreements for 14 renewable power plants to be built in various California locations. The power plants will add nearly 90 megawatts of renewable energy to California's electricity generation mix. The projects include 62 megawatts of wind power in nine projects, 22 megawatts of landfill gas methane recovery in four projects, and one 3.8-megawatt biomass power plant.

CEC will provide a total of $162 million in funding to the 14 power plants. The funding is part of the $540 million renewables fund created as part of the restructuring of California's electric industry.

See the News Release page on the CEC's Web site.

Site News

New EREN Link: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Solar Initiative
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Solar Initiative site focuses on EPA's solar-related activities, including EPA's support for the Million Solar Roofs Initiative, which is led by DOE. The site also provides case studies, documents, program and contact information, and a pollution prevention calculator to estimate the benefits of using renewable energy.

New on EREN: Energy Savers" Enhanced with Multimedia
The Energy Savers Web site, which features tips on saving energy and money at home, has been enhanced with new multimedia features. Java animations and sound files add a new dimension to the site. The new "frames" format also allows easier navigation within the Web site.

For these and other recent additions, see the EREN Web site.

Energy Facts and Tips

Inventory of Greenhouse Gas Emissions
The EPA's "Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-1996" is a wealth of information about the sources and magnitudes of greenhouse gases in the United States. For instance, you can find out that fossil fuel combustion contributed 82 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in 1996. Published in March 1998, the publication is available in part or whole on the Web in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. See the document on the EPA Web site.

Up on the Roof: Gauging Your Home's Insulation Levels
Those who live in snowy climes have a free and easy way to gauge their home's insulation levels, and the energy performance of their attic or ceiling insulation. Simply pay attention to your roof the next time it snows.

Bare roofs and icicles are sure signs of a roof that leaks energy. Your home should maintain a blanket of snow as long as the temperatures stay below freezing, especially on north-facing surfaces. Also watch for bare patches as the snow starts to melt; the places that melt first may have wet or missing insulation.

This simple test is just a starting point; check your actual insulation levels or call in an energy auditor to get the full picture. For more information on insulation, including DOE recommended levels of insulation, see the Tips for Energy Savers Web site.

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