EREN Network News
September 6, 2000
News and Events
- Los Angeles Power Plan Emphasizes Renewables, Efficiency
- DOE's "E-Vision 2000" Examines Energy Research Priorities
- Report: Utility Green Power Programs Spur U.S. Renewables
- Vestas Receives Order for West Texas Wind Project
- Supramolecular Complexes Hold Promise for Solar Energy
- For Sale: Nearly 500 Kilowatts of Grid-Connected PV
Energy Facts and Tips
- DTI New & Renewable Energy Programme
About this Newsletter
- Report: Office and Network Equipment Consumes Only 2 Percent of U.S. Electricity
News and Events
Los Angeles Power Plan Emphasizes Renewables, Efficiency
The Los Angeles City Council approved in August a 10-year
power plan for the city's Department of Water and Power
(DWP). Nearly 1000 megawatts of new power capacity will
be needed over the next decade, and the DWP plans to
meet roughly half of that need with renewable energy
sources, distributed generation, and demand side
management. Distributed generation refers to small
generators at or near a customer's site, and includes fuel
cells, microturbines, solar energy systems, and other
technologies. Demand side management refers to
technologies and programs that reduce electrical use,
particularly during peak usage hours. It may refer to
technologies that simply shift energy use away from the
peak usage hours, but it also includes energy efficiency.
Solar energy systems that reduce the use of electricity, such
as solar hot water systems, can also provide demand side
management for a utility. See the DWP press release.
According to DWP, it will use demand side management to
reduce its projected load by 245 megawatts, while providing
150 megawatts from renewable energy facilities such as
wind, geothermal, and landfill gas power plants. Distributed
generation will provide about 70 megawatts, of which
15 megawatts will be generated from solar photovoltaic
DOE's "E-Vision 2000" Examines Energy Research Priorities
DOE is also taking a long-term look at energy needs, but at
a national level. The DOE-sponsored "E-Vision 2000"
Conference, to be held October 11-13 in Washington, D.C.,
will bring together some of the most influential energy
officials and researchers in the country to examine emerging
issues and identify future research priorities. The results of
the conference will be used to shape DOE's future energy
research agenda. See the conference announcement.
Report: Utility Green Power Programs Spur U.S. Renewables
Utilities in states that have not restructured their electric
systems are currently leading the way in selling green
power, according to a new report by the National Renewable
Energy Laboratory (NREL). So-called "green pricing"
programs, in which utilities sell renewable-generated
electricity at a premium price, grew dramatically in 1999, with
24 new utility programs. That nearly doubled the 1998
number of programs, bringing the total to 52. Those
programs have led to 73 megawatts of new renewable
energy installations, with another 120 megawatts planned.
Note that these numbers don't include renewable energy
installations mandated by state laws.
By comparison, competitively marketed green power in
California, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and some New
England states has led to 53 megawatts of new renewable
energy installations, with another 60 megawatts in the works.
See the report on the NREL Web site.
Vestas Receives Order for West Texas Wind Project
Vestas Wind Systems A/S, the U.S. subsidiary of a Danish
wind turbine manufacturer, announced last week that it had
received an order for an 82.5-megawatt wind project to be
constructed in the west Texas, roughly 90 miles west of
Odessa. The owner of the project has not been disclosed.
Vestas will supply and install 125 of its 660-kilowatt wind
turbines at the new facility, which is expected to be complete
by fall of 2001. See the September 1st press release on the Vestas Web
Supramolecular Complexes Hold Promise for Solar Energy
Research in molecular chemistry may point the way to new
ways of converting sunlight into electricity. Researchers at
Virginia Tech are using molecular groups known as ligands
as molecular bridges to connect two or more metal-based
molecules, forming a "supramolecular complex." In one
project, the researchers connected together two light-
absorbing ruthenium atoms with one rhodium atom, which
collects electrons. When the complex is exposed to light, the
rhodium atom collects electrons that could potentially be
converted into an electrical current. The researchers claim
the use of different metals and ligands could be used to
"tune" the response of the complexes to different energies of
sunlight. The research was presented in late August at the
national meeting of the American Chemical Society. See the
Virginia Tech press release.
For Sale: Nearly 500 Kilowatts of Grid-Connected PV
The California Energy Commission (CEC) announced last
week that it was putting the PVUSA grid-connected solar
power installation in Davis, California, up for sale. The CEC
is requesting bids for the photovoltaic (PV) system, which
was constructed in several stages starting in the late 1980s.
Originally part of a research effort called Photovoltaics for
Utility Scale Applications, or PVUSA, the facility was bought
by the CEC in 1996. Although the CEC is looking for a buyer
for the facility, it has also invited bids for decommissioning
and salvage of the site. See both bid requests on the CEC Web site.
According to the Renewable Energy Plant Information
System (REPiS), the PVUSA facility has a total generating
capacity of 491.5 kilowatts. See the "Photovoltaic Plants"
section of the REPiS database on EREN.
DTI New & Renewable Energy Programme
This Web site, sponsored by the United Kingdom's
Department of Trade and Industry, provides the current
status and future potential of wind power, wave energy,
hydropower, energy from waste, bioenergy, and solar power
in the United Kingdom. Environmental issues, economics,
and related publications for each technology are also
included, as well as current U.K. renewable energy policy,
success stories, and information on exporting renewable
For this and other recent additions to the EREN Web site,
Energy Facts and Tips
Report: Office and Network Equipment Consumes
Only 2 Percent of U.S. Electricity
A report released in August by DOE's Lawrence Berkeley
Laboratory (LBL) examines the electricity used by office
equipment and network equipment, and finds it totals only
about 2 percent of the electricity currently used in the United
States about 74 terawatt-hours of electricity per year. The report
finds that power management technologies including
software that puts your computer into a "sleep" mode when
it's not in use are currently saving about 23 terawatt-hours of
electricity per year.
If everyone were to use these power management tools, the
authors estimate that an additional 17 terawatt-hours of electricity
could be saved. So if you aren't using power management
on your computer, printers, and other equipment, it's worth
investigating. Note that even with power management tools,
you should still turn off your computer at night. The
exceptions, of course, are servers and other network
equipment that need to be on constantly.
The LBL report was produced in part to address an ongoing
debate about the electricity required by the new digital
economy, both now and in the future. An explanation of this
debate and a link to the new report (at the link labeled "first
comprehensive assessment") are available on the LBL Web site.
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