EREN Network News
March 1, 2000
News and Events
- Designers to Compete on New "Sun Wall" for DOE
- Report Shows Rapid Growth in California Green Power
- Reports: Texas, Florida Can Create Jobs, Cut Air Emissions
- Homeowner Installs Record-Setting Solar Energy System
- Princeton Researchers Develop Energy-Efficient LEDs
Energy Facts and Tips
- Office of Hydropower Licensing
- A Closer Look at High Oil Prices
About this Newsletter
News and Events
Designers to Compete on New "Sun Wall" for DOE
A 30,000-square-foot south-facing wall on the DOE
headquarters building in Washington, D.C., may soon sport
the largest solar energy system on any government building
in the United States. Starting today, designers can compete
for a $20,000 cash prize for the winning "Sun Wall" design.
The competition sponsored by DOE and the American
Institute of Architects closes on August 1st, with winners to
be announced in October 2000. The project is meant to
demonstrate that solar energy systems can be attractive as
well as practical. DOE estimates that the Sun Wall can
generate as much as 200 kilowatts of electricity, enough to
power more than 60 homes. See the new Sun Wall Web site.
DOE's Sun Wall will be in keeping with President Clinton's
Executive Order 13123, which sets energy efficiency goals
for federal agencies and encourages the use of renewable
energy and water management technologies. DOE's Federal
Energy Management Program (FEMP) has recently released
guidance documents to help federal agencies implement the
Executive Order. See the FEMP Web site on EREN.
Report Shows Rapid Growth in California Green Power
A recent report on California's market for green power
electricity from renewable energy found that the market
enjoyed rapid growth in 1999, but that the growth is largely
dependent on state-funded incentives. Written from the
business perspective by Warren W. Byrne of Foresight
Energy Company, the report notes how, in states that allow
green power markets, the rules that govern how those
markets operate often end up hampering the development of
the market. The report is posted on the Center for Energy
Efficiency and Renewable Technologies Web site.
In related news, the National Association of Attorney Generals
has adopted a resolution that finalizes its Environmental
Marketing Guidelines for Electricity. The guidelines are
intended to discourage deceptive environmental claims by
companies selling electricity. The guidelines include many
examples of what the state Attorney Generals consider
deceptive versus non-deceptive advertising. In particular,
they specify that deriving electricity from renewable energy is
not in itself sufficient for the claim of "green" or "clean"
companies have to show that the environmental impacts are
low. Attorney Generals throughout the United States are
likely to use the guidelines in deciding whether to prosecute
electricity marketers. The guidelines and relevant supporting
material are posted on EREN's Green Power Network.
Reports: Texas, Florida Can Create Jobs, Cut Air Emissions
Two separate reports prepared recently by the Tellus
Institute, a non-profit research and consulting organization,
find that both Florida and Texas can reduce air emissions
while saving money and creating new jobs. According to the
reports, Texas and Florida can create a total of 123,800 jobs
by pursuing a number of approaches, the majority of which
involve energy efficiency and renewable energy. The same
steps would save taxpayers in the two states $87 billion by
2010, while cutting the projected carbon emissions in both
states by roughly 35 percent about 15 percent below 1990
emission levels for both states.
Carbon emissions are the primary contributors to the
greenhouse effect, which causes global warming. Florida
and Texas are particularly vulnerable to any sea level
increases due to global warming. The reports were
commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and are
posted on the WWF Web site.
In related news, a recently updated public opinion poll by the
Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) has found
that more than 80 percent of the U.S. public thinks global
warming is a real problem that requires action. The poll
found that most Americans are not persuaded by the
argument that taking action to reduce global warming will
incur unacceptable economic costs. A strong majority also
favored the Senate ratification of the Kyoto treaty on global
warming. Unlike some pollsters, PIPA posts the actual
questions, so readers can see that the questions are not
slanted nor leading in any way. See the report on the PIPA
Homeowner Installs Record-Setting Solar Energy System
A family in Morrison, Colorado, has installed a record-setting
solar electric system at their home. The 12-kilowatt system
will provide most of the electricity for Jack Rickard's 6,000-
square-foot home and family of eight. The system is the
largest residential installation in the United States to be
registered with DOE's Million Solar Roofs program. Rickard
will also be able to sell excess electricity back to his electric
utility, Public Service Company of Colorado (PSCo) an
approach known as "net metering." PSCo is partnering with
Altair Energy to install home photovoltaic systems through a
program called Solarsource. For more information, see the
Altair Energy press release.
For more information about DOE's Million Solar Roofs
program, see the Web site on EREN.
Princeton Researchers Develop Energy-Efficient LEDs
Researchers at Princeton University have developed a light-
emitting diode (LED) that will be four times more efficient
than conventional LEDs, which use fluorescent materials.
Working with organic LEDs, or OLEDs, the researchers
found that adding small quantities of phosphorescent
molecules to fluorescent materials resulted in products that
emitted light in a highly efficient manner. The discovery
could lead to more energy-efficient flat-panel displays, and
should also allow developers of displays to choose from a
much wider range of materials than previously available. See
the Princeton press release.
OLEDs may one day be used in applications where regular
LEDs are now being used. One such application that has
gained attention lately is LED traffic lights, which use 80 to
90 percent less energy than standard traffic lights. The
Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) is promoting this
technology through its LED Traffic Signal Initiative, launched
in December 1999. See the CEE Web site.
Office of Hydropower Licensing
This Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) office
is responsible for determining if proposed hydropower
projects are best adapted for public use, ensuring that
environmental concerns are addressed, and making sure
that projects comply with applicable laws and regulations.
The site includes information on the Commission's dam
safety program, licensing of hydroelectric projects, and on
FERCís new Emergency Action Plan Design course.
For this and other recent additions see the EREN Web site.
Energy Facts and Tips
A Closer Look at High Oil Prices
Crude oil prices have surged above $30 per barrel, due
largely to reduced output from countries in the Organization
of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other oil
exporting countries, according to DOE's Energy Information
Administration (EIA). The high crude prices are partly to
blame for a recent spike in the price of home heating oil in
the Northeast, which depends heavily on heating oil as a
source of home heating. Also to blame were low inventory
stocks, exceptionally cold weather, and supply problems due
to frozen rivers and high winds hindering the arrival of new
supplies. In the three weeks between January 17 and
February 7, New England home heating oil prices rose
78 cents per gallon, from $1.18 to $1.96. The crude oil market
has also pushed up gasoline prices, which are expected to
go higher in spring. For the full story, see the reports and
testimony on the Petroleum page of EIA Web site.
To help low-income homeowners cope with the high heating
oil prices, President Clinton has asked Congress to provide
an additional $600 million in funds for the Low Income
Housing Energy Assistance Program, $1 million in loans to
small businesses, and $19 million in funds for the DOE's
Weatherization Assistance Program. In a speech on
Monday, the President noted, "I hope that we will begin a
discussion about how to make our economy even more
energy efficient, so we're not so dependent on the ups and
downs of supplies or so affected by future oil prices." See
the White House press release.
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