EREN Network News
December 6, 2000
News and Events
- BPA and Calpine to Pursue 50-Megawatt Geothermal Plant
- American Superconductor to Power Ships with HTS Motors
- DOE Releases Plans to Expand Distributed Energy Resources
- U.N.: Governments Must Shift to Low-Carbon Energy Supplies
- Report: Hydropower May Emit Significant Amounts of Carbon
Energy Facts and Tips
- Biobased Products and Bioenergy Initiative
About this Newsletter
- Save Energy With the "Home Improvement Toolbox"
News and Events
BPA and Calpine to Pursue 50-Megawatt Geothermal Plant
The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) announced last
week that it plans to buy up to 49.9 megawatts of electricity
from a geothermal power plant to be developed in northern
California. The deal is contingent on the success of Calpine
Corporation, the project's developer, at finding a commercial
source of geothermal steam at the site. Calpine expects to
begin exploratory drilling in spring at a site called Fourmile
Hill, located within a known geothermal resource area called
Glass Mountain. If the project is successful, the power plant
could begin operating in late 2004, according to BPA. See
the BPA press release.
American Superconductor to Power Ships with HTS Motors
American Superconductor Corporation announced last week
that it has received a contract from the U.S. Navy to design
and develop high-temperature superconducting (HTS)
motors for electric ship propulsion. At extremely low
temperatures, superconducting materials conduct electricity
with no resistance, causing very low energy losses as
electricity passes through them. HTS materials achieve
superconductivity at relatively high temperatures, making
them more practical for use in motors and cables. When
HTS wire is used for the coils in motors, the motors can be
smaller and should operate at high energy efficiencies.
Under the Navy contract, American Superconductor will
complete the design of a 33,500-horsepower motor and
begin fabricating and testing motor components. The
company anticipates additional contracts that would lead to
sea trials of a 5,000-horsepower HTS motor within the next
three years. The company is also collaborating on the
project with Litton Ship Systems, a major shipbuilder for the
U.S. Navy. See the American Superconductor press
DOE Releases Plans to Expand Distributed Energy Resources
DOE released on Monday its new strategic plan for increasing
the use of distributed energy resources in the United States.
Distributed energy resources are non-centralized methods of
meeting electricity needs, including distributed generation
generating power at or near its point of use plus a wide
variety of energy storage and energy efficiency technologies.
In the near term, DOE's strategic plan focuses on developing
"next generation" distributed energy technologies and
addressing the institutional and regulatory barriers that
interfere with the development of distributed energy resources.
See the DOE press release.
In related news, Detroit Edison announced last week that it
is working with DOE and DOE's Sandia National Laboratory
to test a prototype of a transportable battery storage system.
The system consists of a 200-kilowatt zinc-bromide battery
and a power conditioning system in a package small enough
to be housed in a tractor trailer. Detriot Edison will use the
system for power quality and load leveling, charging it during
the night when electrical use is low and discharging it at
peak usage periods during the day. See the Detroit Edison
U.N.: Governments Must Shift to Low-Carbon Energy Supplies
In light of the recent failure of climate change talks at The
Hague in the Netherlands, a senior United Nations (U.N.)
official said the conference highlighted both the importance
and difficulty of creating a world less dependent upon
carbon-intensive fossil fuels.
"We must move toward low- and zero-carbon energy
supplies and a much higher degree of energy efficiency,"
said Klaus Toepfer, the Executive Director of the U.N.
Environmental Program. Toepfer advocates resuming the
talks early in 2001. See the U.N. press release, titled
"Meeting the Challenge of Climate Change."
Report: Hydropower May Emit Significant Amounts of Carbon
A new study by the World Commission on Dams finds that
hydropower facilities, often considered a zero-carbon source
of energy, may in fact emit significant quantities of carbon.
The reservoirs created by large impoundment dams
generate carbon dioxide and methane, due at least in part to
the flooding of forests when the reservoir is created.
However, the commission found a wide range of emissions,
ranging from ten times less than comparable fossil-fueled
plants up to "possibly greater" emissions than fossil-fueled
plants. See the commission's press release.
Biobased Products and Bioenergy Initiative
This site provides information about activities in various
U.S. federal agencies relating to biobased products and
bioenergy. Visitors can learn about the role of each agency
and its bioenergy programs, particularly the programs
carried out by DOE and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The site also features a monthly newsletter, solicitation
opportunities, and upcoming bioenergy events.
For this and other recent additions to the EREN Web site,
Energy Facts and Tips
Save Energy With the "Home Improvement Toolbox"
Looking to save energy on your heating bills? The Energy
Star program a joint program of the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency and DOE has launched a new
Web-based "toolbox" that provides online advice for saving
energy at home. Through four tools labeled "Home
Improvement Tool," "Remodeling and Home Improvement,"
"Home Doctor," and "Home Benchmarking Tool," this site
provides interactive guidance on energy efficiency for your
home. See the Energy Star Home Improvement Toolbox.
Those familiar with the Home Energy Saver Web site, produced by DOE's Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory (LBL),
may notice some similarities to the "Home Improvement
Tool" both Web sites are powered by the same
calculations. If you're not familiar with it, the Home Energy
Saver is worth investigating as a resource for energy-saving
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