EREN Network News
September 13, 2000
News and Events
- California Holds Firm on Zero Emissions Vehicle Mandate
- Blackfeet Tribe to Build First Tribal Utility-Scale Wind Plant
- Natural Gas Trucks to Offset Power Plant Emissions
- Study: Solar Panel "Energy Payback" is Three Years or Less
- DOE Funds Projects for Energy Efficiency, Clean Energy
- American Superconductor Ships HTS Wires for Detroit Grid
Energy Facts and Tips
About this Newsletter
- A Quick Look at Recent Air Pollution Facts and News
News and Events
California Holds Firm on Zero Emissions Vehicle Mandate
The California Air Resources Board (ARB) unanimously
decided last week to stay the course with its requirements
for the sale of zero emissions vehicles (ZEVs). The ARB
regulations require that ZEVs comprise 10 percent of the
new light-duty vehicles offered for sale in California for
model year 2003. Depending on the size of the company,
manufacturers can meet a portion of this requirement
through the sale of near-zero emitting vehicles, referred to
as partial-ZEVs or PZEVs. These vehicles must meet the
state's Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (SULEV)
standard, have zero evaporative emissions, and come with a
150,000 mile warranty. To date, only the Nissan Sentra
SULEV has achieved PZEV status.
The ARB noted that 2300 electric vehicles are on the road in
California as a result of previous ZEV requirements, and
claimed that the need to meet these requirements has led to
a number of automotive advances. According to ARB,
automakers claim there is little demand for ZEVs, but the
hearing drew testimony from many consumers who said they
were turned away from auto dealerships when they tried to
While upholding the mandate, the ARB expressed concern
about the current lack of ZEV availability, uncertain market
demand, and the need for incentives to offset the higher cost
of the vehicles. ARB staff was directed to review the
regulation and propose appropriate modifications to address
these issues and assure the successful penetration of ZEVs
into the market. See the ARB press release.
Blackfeet Tribe to Build First Tribal Utility-Scale Wind Plant
SeaWest WindPower, Inc. announced last week that the
Blackfeet Tribal Business Council has agreed to develop a
22-megawatt wind power facility on Blackfeet tribal lands in
northwest Montana. The project will be the first utility-scale
wind plant to be built on tribal lands. Construction will begin
in May 2001 with commercial operation scheduled for
October of that year.
SeaWest also announced last week that its 16.8-megawatt
expansion of the Foote Creek Rim wind facility in southeast
Wyoming is near completion. All 28 turbines are in place,
and commercial operation should begin in October. See the
SeaWest press releases.
In related news, the developers of the 82.5-megawatt wind
project in west Texas, noted in last week's newsletter, have
gone public. National Wind Power Limited and Orion Energy
LLC will develop the project, to be called the Indian Mesa
Wind Farm. TXU Electric & Gas will buy 31.5 megawatts
of power from the facility, and the Lower Colorado River
Authority will purchase the remainder. According to National
Wind Power, the site could eventually be expanded to
150 megawatts. See the TXU press release.
See also the press release from Innogy, the parent company
of National Wind Power.
Natural Gas Trucks to Offset Power Plant Emissions
PG&E Corporation and Waste Management, Inc. announced
last week an innovative program to minimize air pollution in
San Diego, California. PG&E Corporation will build a new gas-fired power
plant in San Diego County, but it will offset the emissions
from that power plant by working with Waste Management to
replace 120 diesel-powered garbage trucks with cleaner
trucks fueled with natural gas. This is the first time that
emissions from a mobile source (vehicles) has been used to
offset emissions from a major new stationary source (a
power plant). See the PG&E Corporation press release.
Study: Solar Panel "Energy Payback" is Three Years or Less
One way to compare energy technologies in addition to
obvious factors like cost and environmental impacts is the
time it takes to get back the energy you put into making the
technology. Large fossil, hydroelectric, or nuclear plants, for
instance, require a significant investment of energy for their
construction. Now a new study from Energy and Environmental
Economics, Inc. has found that solar photovoltaic panels "pay
back" the energy used for their production in one to three years.
The study examined the manufacture of two types of solar
panels at a Siemens Solar Industries facility. Over their lifetime,
the panels are expected to generate from nine to seventeen
times the energy required to produce them. See the press
release and the report on the Siemens Solar Web site.
DOE Funds Projects for Energy Efficiency, Clean Energy
DOE announced yesterday that it is providing $8.4 million in
first-year funding for 18 projects to advance the energy
efficiency of homes and offices. The projects will last from
one to three years at a total federal cost of $18 million. They
run the gamut of home and office energy technologies, from
advanced high-efficiency lighting to energy-tight windows to
improved heating and cooling systems. See the DOE press
DOE also announced last week that it is providing $2 million
to advance clean energy technologies. Ten projects will
tackle a wide range of clean energy issues, from examining
possible effects of renewable energy installations on the
electric grid, to identifying strategies for using clean energy
to meet Clean Air Act requirements. See the DOE press
American Superconductor Ships HTS Wires for Detroit Grid
American Superconductor Corporation announced last week
that it has completed shipping 18 miles of high-temperature
superconducting (HTS) wire to Pirelli Cables and Systems,
which will process the wire into three 400-foot cables. Pirelli
has previously produced only one 165-foot HTS cable. Pirelli
expects to complete the cables by the end of this year, at
which time they'll be shipped to Detroit Edison for an
installation as part of the electric grid at the Frisbie Station
by mid-2001. The cables will carry 100 megawatts of power
and will replace nine copper cables at the station, allowing
for possibly adding greater current-carrying capacity in the
future. See the American Superconductor press release.
Sponsored by the British Photovoltaic Association, this site
features an introduction to photovoltaic (PV) technology,
explains the components of a typical system, and covers the
latest developments in PV technology. Also included is a
searchable database of suppliers and installers of PV
systems and components in the United Kingdom and a
listing of PV systems that have been installed on buildings in
that region. Frequently asked questions about buying,
connecting and using PV in the British utility environment are
For this and other recent additions to the EREN Web site,
Energy Facts and Tips
A Quick Look at Recent Air Pollution Facts and News
One clear advantage of renewable energy and energy
efficiency technologies is their potential to reduce air
pollution. This week we're taking a closer look at recent air
Air pollution has been in the news lately the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently noted that
limits on carbon monoxide emissions from vehicles have
significantly lowered urban exposures to the pollutant. See
the report on the EPA's National Center for Environmental
Assessment Web site.
Environmental Defense recently noted that the EPA's acid
rain program has reduced sulfur dioxide emissions to
30 percent below what the law allows, at a fraction of the
initially projected price. The group suggests that a similar
approach could be used for greenhouse gases. See the
report on the Environmental Defense Web site.
How pollutants mix, react, and travel directly affects their
impacts on health and visibility. To get a better
understanding of these phenomena, an intensive air quality
study is currently underway along the Gulf Coast of Texas.
See the Texas Air Quality Study 2000 Web site.
But nothing tells the story as well as a picture. The EPA
has put a new Web site online that allows users to view
current levels of ground-level ozone in many regions of the
United States. Animations of the data are available for many
cities and states. Ground-level ozone, or smog, forms from
nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds in the air.
These pollutants are emitted by vehicles, power plants, and
a wide variety of industries. See the EPA Web site.
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