EREN Network News
September 27, 2000
News and Events
- Hydrogen, Solar, and Wind Power Vehicles at the Olympics
- White House Touts Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency
- Green Power Marketers Exceed Promises Again in 1999
- Gasoline-Powered Fuel Cell System Powerful Enough for Cars
- DOE Helps Build Energy-Efficient Housing in Atlanta
- Mining Industry Teams with DOE to Boost Energy Efficiency
- Tribal Schools Receive DOE Funds for Renewable Energy
Energy Facts and Tips
- EREN's State and Community Programs
About this Newsletter
- Toxic and Greenhouse Emissions from Electric Utilities
News and Events
Hydrogen, Solar, and Wind Power Vehicles at the Olympics
The racers in the men's Olympic marathon on Sunday had
no concerns about noxious fumes from the pace car, since
this year's pace car was fueled with hydrogen. The
"HydroGen1," developed by Opel, an affiliate of General
Motors (GM), carries liquefied hydrogen to supply a fuel cell,
which generates electricity while emitting only water vapor.
The electricity powers a 75-horsepower electric motor to
drive the vehicle, which is based on a compact van produced
by Opel. The HydroGen1 will also serve as the pace car for
the women's Olympic marathon next Sunday. See the GM
While the HydroGen1 could take a gold medal for green
transportation on the Olympic grounds, the nearby harbor
also features a unique green achievement a solar- and
wind-powered vessel called the Solar Sailor. The boat uses
flexible solar photovoltaic panels that act as both electricity
sources and a crude form of sail; a generator fueled with
liquefied petroleum gas provides backup power. The Solar
Sailor carried media on September 15 as they followed the
Olympic flame across Sydney Harbour. See the Solar Sailor
White House Touts Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency
While last week's decision to release oil from the Strategic
Petroleum Reserve garnered the majority of the news
media's attention, the White House also emphasized that
renewable energy and energy efficiency were long-term
solutions to the current energy crisis.
"Let me just emphasize this, because it always gets
overlooked every time an energy issue comes up," said
President Clinton on Saturday. "Just look at what we have
done with immediately available technologies to reduce
energy consumption in the federal government. If we did the
same thing throughout the domestic and the business
sectors of the American economy, using off-the-shelf
technology with a two-year-or-less pay off if we did it
throughout the economy you would see reduced reliance on
foreign oil, lower fuel bills, higher productivity and more jobs
in the American economy."
Clinton also noted advancements in the use of solar, wind,
biofuels, and other renewable resources. See the White
House press releases for September 23rd, available this
week only on the White House Web site.
Green Power Marketers Exceed Promises Again in 1999
For the second year in a row, marketers of green power
electricity from renewable energy sources provided more
electricity to their customers from renewable sources in 1999
than they had promised, according to a report released last
week by the Center for Resource Solutions (CRS). CRS
manages the Green-e Renewable Electricity Certification
Program, which provides essentially a seal of approval for
green power products. Their annual Verification Report
provides third-party verification that green power marketers
are staying true to their promises.
In 1999, more than 400,000 people in California and
Pennsylvania bought green power that was certified by
Green-e. Green power marketers saw a 17 percent increase
in commercial customers in 1999, totaling 38 percent of the
demand for Green-e-certified products. The report found that
the green power purchases yielded an environmental benefit
equal to removing 1,083,737 cars from the road for one year.
See the Green-e press release.
The Green-e certification program extended its range to
include New Jersey early this year, and in June certified its first
power product in Connecticut, the Connecticut Energy
Cooperative's Co-op Ecowatt. See the Green-e press release.
Gasoline-Powered Fuel Cell System Powerful Enough for Cars
DOE and International Fuel Cells (IFC) announced last week
that IFC has developed the first gasoline-powered fuel cell
powerful enough to serve as the energy source for an
automobile. The system includes a fuel processor that
converts the gasoline to hydrogen while removing any sulfur,
which is harmful to fuel cells. The fuel processor feeds the
hydrogen to a 50-kilowatt fuel cell. The system has achieved
80 percent of its rated power in tests at IFC, which is
scheduled to deliver the system to DOE next month. See the
press release on the IFC Web site.
In related news, six corporations have agreed to work
together to evaluate the potential for methanol-powered fuel
cell vehicles. BASF, BP, DaimlerChrysler, Methanex, Statoil,
and XCELLSIS announced the agreement earlier this month.
See the press release on the BASF Web site.
DOE Helps Build Energy-Efficient Housing in Atlanta
A new housing development in the Atlanta suburb of
Fairburn is offering affordable homes that will use up to
50 percent less energy than similar conventional homes,
thanks to a DOE partnership. DOE's Building America
Program provided energy efficiency expertise in the design
and construction of 33 single-family houses that include
high-efficiency windows and cellulose insulation. See the
DOE press release.
In related news, the National Affordable Housing Network
(NAHN) has released a report on 40 energy-efficient homes
built in six Texas cities in partnership with Habitat for
Humanity International. The best-performing homes, located
in San Antonio, used 42 percent less energy than the
average new home there. The report examines factors that
influenced the energy performance of the homes. Although
NAHN charges a fee for the full report, a summary is
available on the NAHN Web site.
In other news, the National Association of Home Builders
(NAHB) is already gearing up for the National Green Building
Conference, to be held in Seattle in March 2001. See the
NAHB Research Center Web site.
Mining Industry Teams with DOE to Boost Energy Efficiency
DOE and the National Mining Association announced last
week the start of 16 projects to improve energy efficiency in
mining operations. The projects span a wide range of
technologies, from advanced rock cutting equipment to fuel-
cell-powered vehicles for transporting ore and rock
underground. DOE is footing just under half the cost of the
research projects, which will total more than $16 million. See
the DOE press release.
Tribal Schools Receive DOE Funds for Renewable Energy
DOE announced last week the award of $700,000 to
evaluate the installation of renewable energy technologies at
seven Native American colleges and universities. Four of the
schools will also evaluate or develop educational resources
relating to renewable energy. See the DOE press release.
EREN's State and Community Programs
This site describes and links to DOE programs that offer
planning assistance, data, and funding for state and
community programs. Links to other prominent national
organizations and resources for states and communities are
For this and other recent additions to the EREN Web site,
Energy Facts and Tips
Toxic and Greenhouse Emissions from Electric Utilities
Two separate reports released recently give us two views of
the emissions from power plants in the United States. The
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published this
month the 1998 Toxic Release Inventory Public Data
Release, which summarizes the emissions of toxic
chemicals from a wide variety of industries. Electric utilities
that burn oil or coal were responsible for 38 percent of the
total toxic air emissions, releasing 783.7 million pounds of
toxic chemicals into the air in 1998. The majority of these air
emissions were hydrochloric acid (535.5 million pounds) and
sulfuric acid (166.4 million pounds). Mercury is not included
in the tally. The largest electric utility emissions were in Ohio,
Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.
Electric utilities burning oil or coal were added for the first
time in 1998, and are included in the section of the report on
"New Reporting Industries." See the report on the EPA Web site.
A different view is presented by a newly posted report from
DOE's Energy Information Administration (EIA), which
summarizes 1999 carbon dioxide emissions from the
production of electricity in the United States. The report finds
that carbon dioxide emissions grew only 1.35 percent in
1999, although electricity generation grew by 2.04 percent.
Carbon emissions from coal burning actually decreased
slightly even though generation increased slightly, probably
due to efficiency improvements. But the majority of the
growth in generation was provided by power plants burning
natural gas, which produces less carbon per kilowatt-hour
than other fossil fuel sources. This helped hold down the
growth in overall carbon dioxide emissions. See the report
on the EIA Web site.
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