EREN Network News
January 26, 2000
News and Events
- DOE Announces New Geothermal Energy Initiative
- Austin and Portland Kick Off Green Power Programs
- Green Mountain Energy Supplies Pennsylvania Government
- DOE Publishes "Roadmap" for Photovoltaics Industry
- Insurance Industry Looks to Reducing Environmental Risks
Energy Facts and Tips
- Wind Power in Iowa
- "EREN Network News Online" Now Searchable
- 1998 Inventory of U.S. Nonutility Electric Power Plants
About this Newsletter
News and Events
DOE Announces New Geothermal Energy Initiative
DOE announced Monday a new initiative to expand the
production of heat and electricity from U.S. geothermal
resources. The "GeoPowering the West" initiative aims to
provide 10 percent of the electricity in the western United
States from geothermal energy a total of 20,000 megawatts
of geothermal capacity by 2020. The initiative also has the
goal of heating or powering at least 7 million U.S. homes
with geothermal energy by 2010.
To support the initiative, DOE announced the award of
$4.8 million in research grants, most of which will go toward
increasing the understanding of geothermal reservoirs.
These underground reservoirs of steam and hot water serve
as the energy source for geothermal power plants. The
research will help to identify new geothermal reservoirs,
characterize them once they are found, and manage their
use once they are tapped to produce energy. For more
information, see the DOE press release.
See also the new GeoPowering the West Web site on
Austin and Portland Kick Off Green Power Programs
Austin Energy of Austin, Texas, announced earlier this
month the start of its new "GreenChoice" program, which will
provide customers with electricity generated from wind,
solar, and biomass energy sources. To support the program,
Texas Wind Power Corporation will build 12 wind turbines in
west Texas, with construction starting this spring and
completing by fall. Six landfill-gas power plants will also be
constructed within the next year.
By implementing the GreenChoice program, Austin Energy
aims to provide 5 percent of its power from renewables by
2005. The company is committed to spending $7.8 million
per year for the next ten years on the program, of which
customers are expected to provide $1 million per year. For
more information, see the Austin Energy press release.
In related news, Oregon's Portland General Electric (PGE)
has started two green power programs: "Clean Wind Power"
and "Salmon-Friendly Power." The Clean Wind Power
program buys wind power from the Vansycle Ridge Wind
Farm in northeastern Oregon while setting aside half the
funds to build new wind power facilities. The Salmon-
Friendly Power program buys power from an assortment of
renewable energy sources, including wind, solar, and
geothermal energy, and will add low-impact hydropower
sources when they become available. Half the funds are set
aside for salmon habitat restoration projects. For more
information, see the PGE Web site.
Green Mountain Energy Supplies Pennsylvania Government
GreenMountain.com began supplying its cleaner "Green
Mountain Energy" power to Pennsylvania's state government
this month. The company is providing cleaner electricity to
the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections; the Capitol
Complex buildings in Harrisburg; state office buildings in
Pittsburgh, Scranton, and Reading; and the state's
A portion of the power will be supplied by the Green
Mountain Wind Farm, now under construction in Garrett,
Pennsylvania. Ground was broken on the 10.4-megawatt
facility on December 1, 1999. Once completed, it will be the
largest wind power facility in Pennsylvania and one of the
largest in the eastern United States. See the
GreenMountain.com press releases.
DOE Publishes "Roadmap" for Photovoltaics Industry
U.S. electricity needs will grow considerably by 2020, and
manufacturers of photovoltaic solar cells expect their solar
electric systems to meet 15 percent of those new electricity
needs. To achieve that expectation will require bringing
down costs, overcoming market barriers, increasing
production and accelerating research and development.
Working with DOE's National Center for Photovoltaics, the
photovoltaic industry has produced a "roadmap" of goals and
strategies to meet its vision for 2020. See the press release
on DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory's Web site.
DOE has also published a five-year plan detailing the long-
term strategies and goals for the photovoltaic industry. The
report, "Photovoltaics: Energy for the New Millennium,"
establishes research and development goals and milestones
for the next five years.
Insurance Industry Looks to Reducing Environmental Risks
The past 24 climate or weather-related catastrophes resulted
in $150 billion in economic losses worldwide, according to
the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP). That
caused the world's insurance industries to pay out $65 billion
in claims. To help avoid those losses, the UNEP has
established an Insurance Industry Initiative, a voluntary
initiative to help the industry integrate environmental
considerations within their internal and external business
operations. The UNEP Insurance Industry Initiative has
expanded to 86 international insurance companies operating
in more than 50 countries. For more information, see the
UNEP press release.
Wind Power in Iowa
Sponsored by the American Wind Energy Association, this
site features resource maps listing wind speed, local site
characteristics, and turbine output estimates for 2,000 cities
in Iowa. In addition, the site has numerous downloadable
publications about wind power in Iowa, including facts and
figures, wind power's effect on Iowa's economy,
environmental factors, frequently asked questions, consumer
issues, and basic facts about small wind turbines.
For this and other recent additions see the EREN Web site.
EREN Network News Online Now Searchable
A new search feature has been added to "EREN Network
News Online," the Web-based archives for this newsletter.
The search box will search only the newsletter, allowing you
to easily retrieve old news. Whether you're trying to find out
what's been happening with fuel cells, or you're trying to
remember who is in the Pennsylvania Wind Energy coalition,
this search feature will help you find it. The archives date
back to the inception of the EREN Network News, just over
one year ago.
Energy Facts and Tips
1998 Inventory of U.S. Nonutility Electric Power Plants
Last week's newsletter looked at the most recent inventory of
utility power plants, published by DOE's Energy Information
Administration (EIA). This week we examine a new EIA
report that presents the flip side: the nonutility power plants.
According to the new report, as of the end of 1998, nonutility
power plants totaled more than 98,000 megawatts in
capacity, or roughly 12.6 percent of all U.S. power plant
capacity. Of the nonutility capacity, 55.1 percent is
considered cogeneration also called "combined heat and
power" in which the power plant's heat is used for
industrial purposes. Renewable energy powers 18.4 percent
of the nonutility capacity. In 1998, nonutility generators
added 57 renewable energy facilities totaling 281 megawatts
in capacity. But this was only 5.2 percent of the nonutility
new capacity additions, which were dominated by natural
gas facilities. See the new EIA report.
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