EREN Network News
October 4, 2000
News and Events
- New Fuel Economy Guide Kicks Off Energy Awareness Month
- Efficiency, Renewables are Keys to World's Energy Needs
- United Solar to Increase Photovoltaic Production Five-Fold
- Calpine to Boost Geothermal Power Production at The Geysers
- DOE Proposes New Standards for Air Conditioners, Heat Pumps
- Organizations Receive Awards for Solar Energy Investments
- New Inverter Promises Increased Safety for Solar Power
Energy Facts and Tips
- High-Performance Commercial Buildings Roadmap
About this Newsletter
- A Look at the Energy Use of Energy-Intensive Industries
News and Events
New Fuel Economy Guide Kicks Off Energy Awareness Month
DOE marked the start of Energy Awareness Month on
Monday with an updated version of the Fuel Economy
Guide that includes the 2001 Model Year. The guide, a joint
effort of DOE and the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency, ranks the fuel efficiency of vehicles in various class
sizes. The Honda Insight and the Toyota Prius both hybrid
gasoline-electric vehicles currently top the list for fuel
efficiency. See the DOE press release.
If you should find yourself in the Denver area this month, the
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is providing
a variety of tours and workshops to celebrate Energy
Awareness Month. See the NREL press release.
The American Solar Energy Society (ASES) contributes to
energy awareness on October 14th, when it sponsors the
National Tour of Solar Homes. In more than 100 communities
in 42 states, solar homeowners open their doors to visitors to
demonstrate the renewable energy and conservation
features of their homes. For information on tours in your
area, see the ASES Web site.
Efficiency, Renewables are Keys to World's Energy Needs
New approaches to the world's energy requirements are needed
now, says a new report by several international agencies. The
"World Energy Assessment," released last month, concludes that
broad-based economic development in this century depends on
far-sighted policies and pricing mechanisms to encourage
greater energy efficiency, more reliance on renewable energy
sources, and accelerated development of new energy
technologies. The report was prepared by the United Nations
(UN) Development Program, the UN Department of Economic
and Social Affairs, and the World Energy Council. See the "News
and Events" section of the World Energy Council Web site.
The full report is available on the UN Development Programme Web site.
The World Energy Council has also launched a database of greenhouse gas reduction projects on its Web site.
United Solar to Increase Photovoltaic Production Five-Fold
United Solar Systems Corp. announced late last month that
it will build a new photovoltaic manufacturing facility in
Auburn Hills, Michigan. The facility will produce enough
photovoltaic products in one year to generate 25 megawatts
of electricity, increasing United Solar's production capacity
by a factor of five. The announcement was made by United
Solar and its two partners in the joint venture, Energy
Conversion Devices, Inc. (ECD) and Bekaert-ECD Solar
Systems LLC. See the press release on the ECD Web site.
Michigan Governor John Engler hailed the announcement of
the new facility, which will bring an estimated 646 jobs to
Michigan 272 jobs at the manufacturing plant and 374 jobs
due to economic growth caused by the plant. Despite a
significant tax incentive package for the company, Michigan
expects to garner $36.6 million in tax revenues from the
plant over the next 15 years. See the Governor's press
Calpine to Boost Geothermal Power Production at The Geysers
Calpine Corporation announced last week that it will invest
$140 million in The Geysers over the next five years, increasing
the electricity generated by about 140 megawatts. The Geysers
is a 30-square-mile region in northern California that holds one of
the world's largest resources of geothermal steam in
underground reservoirs that are very near the surface. Twenty
one power plants tap this steam to produce approximately
1,000 megawatts of electricity enough to power about
one million homes. Calpine, which owns 19 of the power plants,
will work to increase the efficiency of these plants to increase
their power production. Calpine will also invest in technologies
that will help ensure the long-term viability of the steam resource.
The announcement was made during the celebration of the
fortieth anniversary of commercial power production at The
Geysers. See the Calpine press release.
DOE Proposes New Standards for Air Conditioners, Heat Pumps
DOE proposed new standards yesterday for residential air
conditioners and heat pumps, which provide both heating
and cooling. The standards, which take effect in 2006, will
increase the energy efficiency for air conditioners by
20 percent and increase heat pump efficiency by 30 percent.
The electricity used to cool homes contributed significantly to
electrical power shortages during this summer's heat waves.
DOE estimates that by 2020, the standards will avoid the
need for 31 new 400-megawatt power plants in the United
States. DOE is accepting comments on the standards for the
next 60 days. See the DOE press release.
Organizations Receive Awards for Solar Energy Investments
The Utility PhotoVoltaic Group (UPVG) presented on
Monday six awards for investments in solar energy. The Los
Angeles Department of Water and Power won an award for
launching a five-year, $70 million program to provide solar
power to its customers. Spire Corporation and Commonwealth
Energy won for their revitalization of an abandoned industrial
site with a new Spire manufacturing facility. Hawaiian
Electric Industries won for creating a subsidiary, ProVision
Technologies, which will sell solar energy systems for off-
grid residences in Hawaii, Asia, and the Pacific. The Long
Island Power Authority won for its "Solar Pioneers" program,
which encourages homeowners and businesses to buy
photovoltaic systems. And the Electric Division of the City of
Westerville, Ohio, was awarded for helping to build a solar
community through a partnership with the school district and
by using solar power for emergency systems and traffic
The awards were presented as part of the UPVG's annual
conference. See the UPVG press release.
New Inverter Promises Increased Safety for Solar Power
DOE's Sandia National Laboratories announced last month
that it has developed a new inverter for solar photovoltaic
(PV) systems that will increase the safety of the systems
during a power outage. Inverters convert the direct current
(DC) electrical output from PV systems into alternating
current (AC), which is the standard current for household
wiring and for the power lines that supply electricity to
Because inverters can be used to connect the PV system to
the power grid, electric utilities have worried that the systems
can cause a safety hazard by keeping local power lines
energized during a power failure a situation known as
"islanding." Utility line workers attempting to repair the cause
of the outage could unexpectedly come in contact with these
energized lines. To avoid this situation, Sandia has
developed an inverter that automatically diverts power from
the power lines during a power outage. Two companies are
already using the technology in their commercial inverters.
See the Sandia press release.
In related news, Applied Power Corporation announced last
month that its SunSine 270-watt AC photovoltaic module has
been approved for connection to the electric grid in New
York State. The SunSine module has an integral inverter that
enables it to produce AC power, allowing a simpler
connection to home wiring systems. See the Applied Power
High-Performance Commercial Buildings Roadmap
This technology roadmap outlines a plan to integrate
research, development, and deployment for the next
generation of commercial buildings. The roadmap aligns
government resources with industry needs and explains how
a "whole-buildings" approach will help to coordinate the
efforts of researchers, developers, architects, and the many
other participants in the commercial buildings industry. The
site also provides news of upcoming events and includes a
look at 4 Times Square, a model high-performance building
A press conference and implementation workshop for the
roadmap will be held today at 10 a.m. eastern time at the
National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. A link to the
live Webcast of this event is available on this site.
For this and other recent additions to the EREN Web site,
Energy Facts and Tips
A Look at the Energy Use of Energy-Intensive Industries
DOE's Energy Information Administration (EIA) has prepared
a set of "Industry Analysis Briefs" for the seven industries
that use the most energy to produce their products: the
chemicals, forest products, glass, metalcasting, petroleum
and coal products, and steel industries. While providing an
overview of each industry, the briefs also present a detailed
summary of their energy use, the processes that use most
energy, the technologies being used to curb energy use, and
other energy-management techniques. Particularly
interesting are the charts of energy intensity the energy
used per dollar of product over time for each of the
industries (in the "Energy Use" section of each brief).
See the Industry Analysis Briefs on the EIA Web site.
DOE has targeted these and other energy-intensive
industries with its Industries of the Future strategy, which
aims to develop industry-specific technologies to reduce
energy use in these industries. See the Industries of the
Future page on DOE's Office of Industrial Technologies Web site.
About this Newsletter
To subscribe, unsubscribe, or change your e-mail address, please go to the Web
The Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Network (EREN)
home page is located at http://www.eren.doe.gov/.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have
questions or comments about the EREN Web site.
If you have questions or comments about this
newsletter, please contact the editor.