EREN Network News
May 17, 2000
News and Events
- Arizona Sets Minimum Requirement for Solar Electric Power
- Maryland Creates Tax Incentives for Efficiency, Renewables
- Alternative Vehicles Shine in 2000 American Tour de Sol
- Toshiba Announces Dye-Sensitized Solar Cell Achievement
- DOE Funds Energy Efficiency Improvements in Schools
- DOE Announces Clean Energy Projects for the Pacific Rim
Energy Facts and Tips
- IEA Photovoltaics Power Systems Program
- Harvard Study Links Two Coal Plants to 159 Annual Deaths
- Bob Vila's "Home Again" Tours Innovative Development
About this Newsletter
News and Events
Arizona Sets Minimum Requirement for Solar Electric Power
The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) in late April
approved a new "Solar and Environmentally Friendly
Portfolio Standard," which set minimum requirements for
electricity generated from renewable energy and
particularly solar energy in Arizona. The standard starts at
0.2 percent of total electricity in 2001, grows to 1.0 percent
by 2005, and eventually increases to 1.1 percent. Of that, at
least 50 percent must come from solar electricity. Various
credits are available for power suppliers that already have
solar energy installations, that invest in solar energy
research and development, and that invest in solar electric
manufacturing facilities within the state. The final decision is
now posted on the ACC Web site.
Maryland Creates Tax Incentives for Efficiency, Renewables
Last week, Maryland enacted a series of tax credits that will
encourage the use of energy efficiency technologies and
renewable energy in the state. The package partially or fully
waves sales taxes for buyers of energy efficient appliances,
heating and cooling equipment, fuel cells for buildings, and
hybrid electric cars. The bill also provides income tax credits
for buying solar photovoltaic systems or solar hot water
systems, and for the production and sale of electricity from
renewable energy sources, including wind power, biomass,
and landfill gas. The American Council for an Energy
Efficient Economy (ACEEE) praised the legislation. See the
press release, with a link to a detailed summary of the
legislation, on the ACEEE Web site.
Alternative Vehicles Shine in 2000 American Tour de Sol
The 2000 American Tour de Sol, sponsored by the
Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA), started
Friday in New York City and will end tomorrow in
Washington, D.C. The Tour de Sol includes a range of
vehicles from production-level electric and hybrid electric
cars to experimental solar-electric vehicles. The vehicles are
judged within their categories on the basis of performance,
environmental emissions, fuel economy, and other factors.
The road rally is making stops in major cities to inform
people about alternative vehicles, with test drives available
for several of the vehicles. For more information, see the
Tour de Sol page especially the "Scoring and Tracking"
section on the NESEA Web site.
Honda scored a marketing coup at the event, providing its
Insight hybrid electric car as the pace car and encouraging
Insight owners to sign up for the event. According to NESEA,
10 Insights are participating in the road rally. See the Honda
Toshiba Announces Dye-Sensitized Solar Cell Achievement
Toshiba Corporation announced earlier this month that it has
made a significant achievement in the production of organic-
dye-sensitized solar cells. Unlike typical photovoltaic solar
cells, which use expensive semiconductor materials such as
silicon, the dye-sensitized cells use dye-coated particles of
relatively inexpensive titanium dioxide. The dye captures the
sunlight's energy and the titanium dioxide converts that
energy into an electrical current. One drawback, however,
has been the use of a liquid electrolyte to carry the charge
through the solar cell.
Toshiba's main achievement is the development of a solid
electrolyte for dye-sensitized solar cells. Toshiba has also
reduced cost by building the cell on a sheet of plastic, rather
than glass, while boosting the conversion efficiency of the
cell from about 5 percent to 7.3 percent that is, 7.3 percent
of sunlight striking the cell is converted to electricity. Toshiba
hopes to license the technology, which is still at the research
stage. See the Toshiba press release.
DOE Funds Energy Efficiency Improvements in Schools
DOE announced last week that it is providing $4.7 million in
funding towards the EnergySmart Schools program, which
encourages energy-efficiency improvements in U.S. schools.
State energy programs are expected to equally match the
federal funds. See the DOE press release.
The announcement was made in San Diego, California,
where a recent $216,000 investment to improve Euclid
Elementary School has slashed the school’s electric bills by
40 percent and cut total energy consumption by 28 percent.
Although the size of the elementary school has increased
and utility rates have risen, the school has trimmed its
annual utility bill by $20,000. Because of its exceptional
energy performance, the school was awarded the DOE/EPA
EnergyStar Buildings Label. See the EnergyStar Buildings
DOE Announces Clean Energy Projects for the Pacific Rim
DOE has announced three new clean energy initiatives as a
result of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
Energy Ministers Conference, which concluded last week.
The three initiatives will promote voluntary cooperative
efforts among member economies that encourage the use of
renewable energy for sustainable economic development and
growth; promote greater development and standardization of
energy efficiency standards, testing procedures and labeling;
and help establish open energy markets to encourage the
practical application and marketing of clean energy
technologies. See the DOE press release.
APEC includes most countries that border the Pacific Ocean,
including Canada, the United States, Mexico, Japan, China,
and Russia. In conjunction with the APEC Energy Ministers
Conference, DOE's Energy Information Administration (EIA)
released a report summarizing energy issues and trends in
each of the APEC member countries. See the EIA report.
IEA Photovoltaics Power Systems Program
This program is a collaborative effort established by the
International Energy Agency (IEA). The program's
22 member nations are currently conducting eight research
projects on the applications of photovoltaic solar energy
systems. The site provides news on the latest research
developments from the program and other sources, as well
as contact information and lists of available publications and
upcoming photovoltaic events.
For this and other recent additions see the EREN Web site.
Energy Facts and Tips
Harvard Study Links Two Coal Plants to 159 Annual Deaths
It has long been known that coal-fired power plants produce
sooty particulates and other smog-producing pollutants, and
it is also well known that these pollutants contribute to health
problems. But actually quantifying the effect of a coal-fired
power plant on public health has remained elusive until
this month. Using a sophisticated model of how particulates
are dispersed in the atmosphere, the Harvard School of
Public Health (HSPH) has found that two coal-fired power
plants in Massachusetts cause an estimated 43,000 asthma
attacks and 300,000 upper respiratory problems per year in
the Northeast. An estimated 159 premature deaths occur
due to the pollution, according to the report, with 20 percent
of the health impact falling on the residents living within
30 miles of the power plants.
The Harvard study examined the Salem Harbor and Brayton
Point power plants, both of which are older plants that are
exempt from Clean Air Act emission restrictions. The study
estimated that using the best available control technology
would reduce premature deaths by 124 per year and
eliminate 34,000 asthma attacks and 230,000 upper
respiratory difficulties. See the HSPH press release, with a
link to the full report.
In response to the report, the operators of the plants and
four other coal-fired power plants in Massachusetts
announced an agreement with the state to reduce their
emissions by 50 percent by 2003. Meanwhile, the American
Wind Energy Association (AWEA) noted that the report
clearly shows the health benefits of using renewable energy
sources such as wind energy. See the AWEA press release.
Bob Vila's "Home Again" Tours Innovative Development
Continuing our look at Bob Vila's "Home Again," this week's
show includes takes a tour of the Civano development in
Tucson, Arizona. The development showcases energy-
efficient homes in a number of styles that include solar
energy features. Many of the homes are built with alternative
materials such as straw bale and adobe brick. For more
details about the "Home Again" show, plus lists of local TV
schedules, see Bob Vila's Web site.
Civano has been named a National Pilot Project for the
Partnership for Advanced Technology in Housing (PATH).
PATH is a voluntary initiative that links key agencies in the
federal government with leaders from the home building,
product manufacturing, insurance, financial and regulatory
communities to achieve technological innovation in the
U.S. housing industry. See the overview of Civano on the
PATH Web site.
See also the Civano Web site.
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