EREN Network News
April 25, 2001
News and Events
- Bush Nominates Garman for DOE Efficiency, Renewable Office
- DOE Marks Earth Day with Kickoff of Solar Decathlon
- Long Island Company to Install 1.5 Megawatts of Solar Power
- City and State of New York Buy 289 Hybrid Electric Cars
- Nine-Megawatt Wind Plant Slated for Pennsylvania
- DOE Awards $6 Million to Advance Solar Cell Research
Energy Facts and Tips
- Environmental and Energy Study Institute
About this Newsletter
- Report Examines Probability of Climate Change Outcomes
News and Events
Bush Nominates Garman for DOE Efficiency, Renewable Office
President Bush announced last week his intention to
nominate David Garman to be the new DOE Assistant
Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
(EERE). Garman is currently chief of staff to Senator Frank
Murkowski and served as a professional staff member on the
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee from
1995 to 1998. See the White House press release.
As the Assistant Secretary for EERE, Garman will provide
the direction for DOE efforts to advance energy efficiency
and renewable energy technologies. EERE provides funding
for a wide range of programs, including the EREN Web site
and this newsletter. See the EERE site on EREN.
The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) praised the
nomination, noting that Garman has handled issues related
to energy efficiency, renewable energy, and climate change
while serving on the Senate energy committee. See the
AWEA press release.
DOE Marks Earth Day with Kickoff of Solar Decathlon
Students from 11 colleges and universities converged on
Washington, D.C., this weekend and spent Earth Day
learning about solar home design. The weekend workshop
marked the start of DOE's Solar Decathlon, in which the
11 collegiate teams, starting with $5,000 of seed money from
DOE, will each design and build a solar house.
In September 2002, the teams will return to the capital with
their modular houses and will have four days to erect them
on the National Mall. Each house will be 500 to 800 square
feet and must have sufficient solar energy to provide
heating, cooling, hot water, and enough electricity for lights,
appliances, computers, and even an electric car. The entries
will be judged on 10 categories, which makes it a "decathlon."
See the DOE press release.
See also the Solar Decathlon site on EREN.
If building a solar home on the National Mall sounds like a
stretch, think again: there's one there right now. Called the
"Solar Patriot," the 3,000-square-foot, five-bedroom colonial
went on display Saturday and will remain on display through
this weekend. The house combines passive solar heating, a
solar hot water system, a photovoltaic system, and a battery
backup system with such features as well-insulated
construction, high-efficiency lights and appliances, and
water-conserving equipment. Solar energy meets all the
energy needs for the house, which will later be relocated to
Loudoun County, Virginia. See the press release from
McNeil Technologies, Inc. one of the sponsors for the
The Solar Patriot is part of Forum 2001, a solar energy
forum that is ending today. More than 2,000 participants
were expected at the forum, which is sponsored by the
American Solar Energy Society. See the Forum 2001 Web site.
Long Island Company to Install 1.5 Megawatts of Solar Power
New York Governor George E. Pataki announced on Earth
Day that a Long Island company, the Fala Direct DM Group,
will install a total of 1.5 megawatts of solar power this
summer at its facilities in Farmingdale and Melville. The
governor claims that the project will be the largest
application worldwide of solar power technology by a single
commercial enterprise. The systems will cut the direct
marketing company's energy bill by about 19 percent, at a
total cost of $9.3 million. To help underwrite the cost of the
systems, the Long Island Power Authority will provide a
research grant of $4.5 million to the company. See the
governor's press release.
The governor also highlighted the potential for geothermal
energy to heat and cool buildings in New York state. The
New York State Energy Research and Development
Authority is currently working with 25 schools, health care
facilities, churches and business to install geothermal heat
pump systems. Among these is Westchester Country Club,
which is installing a geothermal heat pump system as part of
a $7 million project to reduce energy consumption by
775,000 kilowatt hours, saving $130,000 annually on energy
costs. See the governor's press release.
City and State of New York Buy 289 Hybrid Electric Cars
Toyota Motor Corporation announced last week that the city
and state of New York have bought a total of 289 of its Prius
hybrid-electric cars. In the largest fleet transaction yet for the
Prius, the City of New York will buy 231 Prius hybrids for use
by a variety of municipal agencies, and New York City
Transit part of the state's Metropolitan Transportation
Authority will buy 56 Priuses. In addition, the State of New
Jersey will purchase 33 vehicles for use by the State Central
Motor Pool and the Port Authority. See the April 11th press release on the Toyota Web site.
Nine-Megawatt Wind Plant Slated for Pennsylvania
PECO Energy Company announced Monday that a new
9-megawatt wind power plant will be built west of Harrisburg,
Pennsylvania, to provide wind power to its customers in the
southeastern part of the state. Somerset Windpower LLC, a
joint venture between Atlantic Renewable Energy
Corporation and Zilkha Renewable Energy, will build the
facility, to be called the Somerset Wind Farm. It will produce
about 25,000 megawatt-hours of electricity per year and
serve about 3,000 customers. See the PECO press release.
PECO and Community Energy, Inc. will sell the wind power
at a premium price to customers who sign up for it. Both the
Somerset Wind Farm and the 15.4-megawatt Mill Run Wind
Farm (announced in March) will provide wind power for
PECO's "New Wind Energy" option. See the New Wind
Energy Web site.
Recognizing the wind energy advances in the state, the
American Wind Energy Association has established a new
Web site, "Wind Power in Pennsylvania."
More wind power is destined for somewhere in the United
States soon: American Wind Technology, Inc. (AWT) has
been awarded a contract to supply 170 wind turbines to
FPL Energy, LLC. At 660 kilowatts each, the turbines will
total 112.2 megawatts in capacity. FPL Energy has ordered
a total of 866 of the turbines since June 2000, for a total
capacity of 572 megawatts. AWT is a wholly owned
subsidiary of Vestas Wind Systems A/S. See the Vestas
DOE Awards $6 Million to Advance Solar Cell Research
DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
announced earlier this month the award of $6 million to
11 universities and five companies for research into non-
conventional technologies to convert sunlight into electricity.
The wide range of technologies being examined is
somewhat startling and suggests the high degree of
innovation being applied to this field. The awardees will
examine the use of liquid crystalline organic layers, plastics,
dye-sensitized nanocrystalline titanium dioxide, and other
esoteric materials, as well as innovative fabrication
techniques and even an antenna designed to capture solar
energy. See the NREL press release.
If that's not enough of a departure from the standard silicon-
based solar cell for you, how about diamonds? Yes, a
researcher at Vanderbilt University is exploring the use of
polycrystalline diamond in solar cells. According to the
researcher, the cells would not be much more expensive
than silicon solar cells, but may be more resistant to the
harsh temperature and radiation exposures of space. See
the Vanderbilt press release.
Environmental and Energy Study Institute
Founded in 1984, this non-profit organization promotes
environmentally sustainable societies by providing
information about energy and climate, water and sustainable
communities, transportation, and economic and fiscal policy.
The site includes the group's briefing summaries and a
newsletter and allows users to register to be notified of future
For this and other recent additions to the EREN Web site,
Energy Facts and Tips
Report Examines Probability of Climate Change Outcomes
Early this year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change (IPCC) released its Third Assessment Report on
climate change, which now stands as the definitive summary
of our understanding of the global warming phenomena. In
that report, the IPCC projected a global warming of 1.4 to 5.8
degrees Celsius (2.5 to 10.4 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100.
But is the most likely outcome closer to 1.4 degrees Celsius
or closer to 5.8 degrees Celsius?
A report released last month by the Massachusetts Institute
of Technology (MIT) attempts to address that very question.
The report, "Uncertainty Analysis of Global Climate Change
Projections," projects that with no mitigation of greenhouse
gases, the most likely temperature rise is 2.5 degrees
Celsius (4.5 degrees Fahrenheit). It also finds a 95 percent
probability that the temperature rise will be 0.9 to 4.8
degrees Celsius (1.6 to 8.6 degrees Fahrenheit). The report
also finds a less than 1 percent chance that the temperature
rise will be as high as 5.8 degrees Celsius.
The report was prepared by the MIT Global Change Joint
DOE announced last month that it is establishing its own
Joint Global Change Research Institute to investigate the
scientific, social and economic implications of climate
change. DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
(PNNL) will team with the University of Maryland to form the
new institute. See the PNNL press release.
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