EREN Network News
November 3, 1999
News and Events
- New Wisconsin Law Boosts Energy Efficiency, Renewables
- Tokyo Motor Show Highlights Automotive Advancements
- BP Amoco Adds Solar Power to Maryland Service Station
- DOE Announces Energy and Water Management Awards
- California Releases Draft Report on Ethanol Production
Energy Facts and Tips
- U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Increased Little in 1998
- ACEEE Updates "Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings"
About this Newsletter
News and Events
New Wisconsin Law Boosts Energy Efficiency, Renewables
Wisconsin Governor Tommy G. Thompson signed the
"Reliability 2000" act into law on October 27th, making
Wisconsin the first state to establish an energy efficiency
fund and a renewable energy requirement without
deregulating its electric utility industry. The law creates a
$20-million-per-year fund for the state to award grants for
energy efficiency services and renewable energy resources.
It also requires electricity providers to generate some of their
electricity from renewable energy, starting at 0.5 percent by
the end of 2001 and increasing to 2.2 percent by the end of
2011. For more information, including a link to the text of the
bill, see the Customers First! Coalition Web site.
Tokyo Motor Show Highlights Automotive Advancements
The Tokyo Motor Show, Japan's answer to Detroit,
concludes today after an 11-day run. The show featured
several environmentally friendly concept cars and was
accompanied by many announcements by automakers.
General Motors Corporation (GM) revealed the Triax, which
features a choice of electric, hybrid, or gasoline-powered
drive trains. Suzuki unveiled its EV-Sport, a sports car
powered by GM's electric drive train; and Isuzu showed a
Sport Utility Vehicle featuring a fuel-efficient direct-injection
diesel engine. For more information on these vehicles, see
the GM press release.
GM and the Toyota Motor Corp. also presented an update
on their collaboration to develop electric, hybrid, and fuel-cell
technologies for vehicles. One example of this progress is
Toyota's HV-M4 concept car, a four-wheel-drive hybrid
minivan with fuel-saving continually variable transmission.
The front-axle hybrid drive train combines a gasoline engine
with an electric motor for extra power when accelerating; the
rear axle uses an independent electric motor. For more
information, see the GM press release.
For more information about the Tokyo Motor Show, see the
Web site (especially the Concept Car section).
BP Amoco Adds Solar Power to Maryland Service Station
BP Amoco held a ceremony last week for the addition of a
6-kilowatt solar photovoltaic electric system to an Amoco
service station in Olney, Maryland. The system uses thin-film
photovoltaic modules manufactured by BP Solarex. BP Amoco
also announced its partnership in the Maryland Solar Schools
Program, led by the Maryland Energy Administration. The
program will install photovoltaic systems on six Maryland
schools and will provide a solar energy curriculum for each
school. The photovoltaic installations will support the goals
of the President's Million Solar Roofs Initiative and DOE's
EnergySmart Schools program. For more information, see
the BP Amoco press releases.
DOE Announces Energy and Water Management Awards
DOE last week presented awards to 51 groups and
individuals that saved energy at federal facilities throughout
the United States. The combined efforts of the awardees
saved the U.S. federal government more than $60 million in
energy costs over the past fiscal year. The projects include
installations of solar photovoltaic electric systems and
energy-efficient motors, lights, and control systems.
Although a range of federal agencies won awards, the
U.S. Army -- led by the five members of the Army Energy
Team -- was the largest energy saver, representing projects
that saved $33 million in annual energy costs. For more
information, see the DOE press release.
See also the list of awardees on the Federal Energy
Management Program Web site on EREN.
California Releases Draft Report on Ethanol Production
The California Energy Commission (CEC) released last
week its draft report on the potential to produce ethanol
within the state. California is examining options to replace
the gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE),
which California Governor Gray Davis has ordered phased
out. Ethanol from biomass (organic) sources such as wood
chips, rice straw, municipal trash and solid waste can
potentially replace MTBE. However, the state currently has
only one facility producing 6 million gallons of ethanol per
year, and the potential market in the state is 1 billion gallons
per year. The CEC report recommends an interagency forum
to establish a state policy, including state funding for
research, development, and demonstration projects to
help build a California ethanol market. For more information,
see the CEC press release.
This Is Wood Heat
Sponsored by the GoodWood Project, a public information
program about the merits of wood heating, this site explains
the advantages and disadvantages of using wood heat.
While acknowledging that deforestation and pollution can be
an issue with wood burning, the site explains how wood can
be harvested sustainably, burned cleanly and efficiently, and
used to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause
For this and other recent additions see the EREN Web site.
Energy Facts and Tips
U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Increased Little in 1998
The U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases increased only
0.2 percent in 1998, according to a new report from DOE's
Energy Information Administration (EIA). The increase was
the lowest since the recession of 1991. A warm winter held
commercial and residential emissions steady, and industrial
greenhouse gas emissions declined 1.3 percent. However,
emissions from transportation increased 2.4 percent, and
emissions from electric utilities increased 3.2 percent.
Although EIA released carbon dioxide figures in June, the
new report includes all greenhouse gases. Gases other than
carbon dioxide declined 0.6 percent, helping to keep the
overall growth in emissions low. The decline was largely due
to efforts to capture emissions of methane from landfills;
total methane emissions dropped 1.5 percent. For more
information, see the EIA press release.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
administers the Landfill Methane Outreach Program to
encourage the capture of methane emissions from landfills
and its conversion to energy. As of June 1999, more than
270 projects to capture and use landfill methane emissions
were operating in the United States. For more information,
see the program Web site.
ACEEE Updates "Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings"
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy
(ACEEE), a non-profit organization, has published a new
edition of its booklet, the "Consumer Guide to Home Energy
Savings." Among other features, the 244-page booklet lists
the most energy-efficient appliances on the market today.
You must pay for the guide, but you can also find much of
the information from the booklet for free on the ACEEE Web
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