EREN Network News
December 13, 2000
News and Events
- California Reconsiders Zero Emission Vehicle Rules
- Two Large Solar Electric Systems Go Online in California
- Sandia Buys Wind Power, Makes Plans to Buy 10 Megawatts
- Los Angeles DWP Orders Two More Fuel Cell Systems
- DOE Looks Back on 23 Years of Achievements
- Arizona College Student Builds Sustainable Home
Energy Facts and Tips
- Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies
About this Newsletter
- Use Energy Efficiency to Find Relief from High Energy Costs
News and Events
California Reconsiders Zero Emission Vehicle Rules
The California Air Resources Board (ARB) announced last
week that it will reconsider the rules that mandate the sale of
zero emissions vehicles (ZEVs) in the state. The current
rules require medium and large car manufacturers to make
ZEVs comprise 10 percent of their car sales in the year
2003. Part of that requirement can be met with the sale of
cars with near-zero emissions, referred to by the ARB as
partial-ZEVs or PZEVs. The ARB is now considering
allowing hybrid-electric vehicles, fuel-cell vehicles, and other
advanced-technology cars to meet a portion of the ZEV
requirement. The ARB is also proposing changes in the
accounting system that will effectively reduce the number of
ZEVs required. A public meeting on the proposed changes
will be held on January 25, 2001. See the "Public Hearing
Notice" and supporting documentation on the ARB Web site.
Meanwhile, new California legislation is providing $18 million
in grants to people or organizations purchasing or leasing a
ZEV. Individual grants of up to $9,000 will be awarded over a
three-year period. The ARB approved the guidelines for the
new ZEV incentive program last week and will begin
accepting applications on Friday. See the ARB press release.
The ARB is also starting a new $50 million program to
reduce diesel emissions from school buses. The program,
approved by the ARB last week, will help fund the purchase
of 375 new alternative fuel or cleaner-burning diesel buses,
while installing filters on 1875 existing buses. The program
will also help defray the added cost of low-sulfur diesel fuel
and will provide funds to help develop the alternative fuel
infrastructure. See the ARB press release.
Two Large Solar Electric Systems Go Online in California
Southern California's supply of electricity from solar energy
increased dramatically last week as two new solar electric
systems went online. The largest located in Orange
County is claimed to be the largest commercial solar
electric system in the Western Hemisphere. The system
uses almost an acre of solar panels, generating enough
electricity to power more than 240 single-family houses.
Nearby in Carlsbad, a second solar electric system was
dedicated that will generate roughly half as much power. The
two systems located on the rooftops of large commercial
and industrial buildings were developed by RealEnergy
Corporation, which will sell the power to the building owners.
Edison Development Corporation, a subsidiary of DTE
Energy, supplied the solar energy systems, which were built
and installed by PowerLight Corporation. See the DTE
Energy press release.
Sandia Buys Wind Power, Makes Plans to Buy 10 Megawatts
DOE's Sandia National Laboratories announced last week
that it has contracted to purchase the output from a wind
turbine located near Clovis, New Mexico. The purchase is
expected to provide approximately six percent of the
electricity needs at DOE’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.
Sandia plans to purchase one megawatt of wind power in
2001, increasing to 10 megawatts within the next decade.
The current purchase will lead to the installation of a new
wind turbine at the Clovis wind site, according to Sandia.
See the Sandia press release.
In related news, Vestas Wind Systems A/S announced last
week that it has received an additional order from FPL
Energy LLC for 346 more of its 660-kilowatt wind turbines.
FPL Energy ordered 200 of the turbines in July, with an
option to order an additional 600 turbines. In September the
company ordered 150 additional turbines, and last week's
order increases the total to 696 turbines, with a combined
capacity of just under 460 megawatts. See the Vestas press
Los Angeles DWP Orders Two More Fuel Cell Systems
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP)
has ordered two more 250-kilowatt fuel-cell power plants
from FuelCell Energy, Inc. The first power plant is to be
delivered in the fourth quarter of 2001, and the second in the
first quarter of 2002. A previously ordered fuel-cell power
plant, announced last year, is to be installed at the DWP
headquarters in the second quarter of 2001. See the
FuelCell Energy press release.
DOE Looks Back on 23 Years of Achievements
DOE recently took the occasion of its anniversary to look
back on its past 23 years and pick the department's 100 best
discoveries and innovations. The "Energy 100" includes a
wide variety of energy efficiency and renewable energy
achievements. The list was further winnowed by a panel of
citizen judges to pick the 23 best achievements. The
"Energy@23" list includes energy efficient refrigeration,
windows, and lights; an aerosol duct sealer; and advanced
wind turbines and fuel cells. When asked to pick the five best
advances from the past two years, the judges included solar
photovoltaic roof shingles in the list. See the Energy 100
Arizona College Student Builds Sustainable Home
Some students occasionally feel like they're living and
breathing their studies 24 hours a day, but perhaps none has
a right to as much as Brad Tito, a student at Prescott College
in Arizona. While studying sustainable development, Tito
used independent study classes to pursue his ideas for a
self-sufficient, environmentally friendly home. He then
teamed with an independent contractor to build it, and he
now lives in it. The home minimizes its energy use through
such features such as strawbale construction, energy-
efficient framing and insulation, and triple-paned argon-filled
windows. It also incorporates a solar electric system, solar
water heating, and passive solar heating. The home relies
on a rainwater collection and filtration system for much of its
water use. Let's hope he got an "A" for all his work. See the
Prescott College press release, which includes photos.
Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies
The Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable
Technologies a collaboration of environmental
organizations, public interest groups and clean technology
companies is engaged in providing technical support to
environmental advocates and clean technology developers,
primarily in the western United States. The Web site includes
clean power news and events as well as basic information
about solar, wind, biomass, hydroelectric, and geothermal
power, including current market status, cost, economic
benefits, and environmental benefits and issues. Visitors can
also find information on changes in the electricity industry,
sustainable success stories in California, and the cost of
maintaining current systems.
For this and other recent additions to the EREN Web site,
Energy Facts and Tips
Use Energy Efficiency to Find Relief from High Energy Costs
The high demand for natural gas caused by the current cold
snap hitting the United States has raised the prices of
natural gas futures to record highs, according to DOE's
Energy Information Administration (EIA). Last Wednesday,
the gas futures prices for January hit $8.485 per million Btu
(roughly equivalent to 1,000 cubic feet) nearly quadruple
the price from last year at this time. For more information,
select "Natural Gas Update" on the EIA home page. The Natural Gas Update page
also links to a new consumer brochure that explains how
natural gas prices work.
Want to see the market in action? You can actually check
the futures prices on the Web they're posted on the New
York Mercantile Exchange Web site.
Those consumers using heating oil and propane are also
facing increasing prices. See the "Heating Oil and Propane
Update," also provided as a link from the EIA home page.
And just like the Natural Gas Update, EIA has provided links
to new consumer brochures that explain how prices work for
these energy sources.
All of this energy news translates into higher heating costs
for most of the United States. Although some utilities and
their customers are sheltered from these prices by long-
term, low-cost contracts, others may see increases of
50 percent or more. To help you deal with these rising
energy costs, DOE has put together a special Web page
with pointers to a wide variety of energy efficiency
information. To access the page, select "How to Lower Your
Heating Bill," listed in the Featured Sites section of the
EREN home page.
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