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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

Site News

  • This Is Wood Heat

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.


Site News

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 global warming.

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 site.


About this Newsletter

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