EREN Network News
April 4, 2001
News and Events
- Turbines on Order for Largest Wind Project in Texas
- AWEA: Texas Energy Policy Spawns Large Wind Projects
- Connecticut Orders World's Largest Fuel Cell Installation
- USDA Funds Four Pilot Projects to Grow Energy Crops
- Ethanol Industry Reports Record Production, Rapid Growth
- How About a Phone Call When Your Bus is Coming?
Energy Facts and Tips
About this Newsletter
- World Energy Use Expected to Soar by 2020
News and Events
Turbines on Order for Largest Wind Project in Texas
The Danish wind turbine manufacturer Bonus Energy A/S
confirmed last week that it has received an order for
214 wind turbines for the King Mountain wind project in
western Texas. Each turbine will produce 1.3 megawatts of
power, yielding a total capacity of 278.2 megawatts, which
places the facility among the largest in the world. It will be
fully operational by the end of this year, producing enough
power for more than 139,000 Texas homes. See the Bonus Energy press release.
The King Mountain project is being developed by Renewable
Energy Systems Ltd. and Cielo Wind Power, LLC. According
to Cielo, the output from roughly 200 megawatts of the
installation will be purchased by Reliant Energy, roughly
76 megawatts will be purchased by Austin Energy, and just
under 3 megawatts will be purchased by Texas-New Mexico
Power Company (TNMP). See the Cielo Web site.
TNMP announced yesterday that its customers can start
signing up to receive wind power. TNMP's portion of the
project will be complete by July, at which time the company
will sell the power at a premium of one cent per kilowatt-hour.
See the TNMP press release.
Austin Energy noted last month that the first of the turbines
had passed through the city's airport on the way to King
Mountain. Austin Energy's portion of the power will be sold
through its "Green Choice" program, which already has more
than 3,000 residential customers, 58 small businesses, and
17 large commercial customers. See the Austin Energy
Reliant Energy announced its portion of the King Mountain
project last year see the August 30, 2000, edition of the EREN Network News.
AWEA: Texas Energy Policy Spawns Large Wind Projects
Why are such large wind projects being built in Texas?
According to the American Wind Energy Association
(AWEA), it's because of an effective policy in Texas that
requires a minimum amount of electricity generation from
renewable energy a policy known as a "renewables
portfolio standard." See the AWEA press release.
Need to learn more about renewables portfolio standards?
The National Association of Regulatory Utility
Commissioners (NARUC) recently published a 139-page
report, "The Renewables Portfolio Standard: A Practical
Guide" (PDF 291 KB), which is posted on the NARUC Web site.
Connecticut Orders World's Largest Fuel Cell Installation
The State of Connecticut has ordered a 1.2-megawatt
fuel cell system for installation at the Connecticut Juvenile
Training School in Middletown. The system, costing roughly
$18 million, will be the largest fuel cell system installed to
date. Select Energy, a subsidiary of Northeast Utilities, will
install the system using fuel cells provided by International
Fuel Cells (IFC), a unit of United Technologies Corporation.
See the Select Energy press release.
IFC recently sold two fuel cell systems to the Mohegan Tribe
of Indians of Connecticut for use in the Mohegan Sun
Casino. Each system will provide 200 kilowatts of electricity
and 900,000 Btus of heat, which will provide hot water and
space heating for the casino. See the IFC press release.
These recent fuel cell sales are likely harbingers of much
larger things to come, according to a recent report by Allied
Business Intelligence (ABI), a technology research think
tank. ABI anticipates that worldwide fuel-cell generating
capacity will grow by a factor of 250 over the next 10 years,
increasing to 15,000 megawatts by 2011. See the ABI press
USDA Funds Four Pilot Projects to Grow Energy Crops
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced late
in March that it had approved four pilot projects to grow
grasses and trees to be used as energy crops. Farmers will
grow switchgrass in Iowa and Pennsylvania, willow and
switchgrass in New York, and hybrid poplar trees in
Minnesota. In most cases the crops will be combined and
"cofired" with coal in existing coal-fired power plants, but the
Minnesota hybrid poplar trees will provide fuel for the
50-megawatt Whole Tree Energy power plant in St. Peter.
See the USDA press release.
The industry term for trees, grasses, and other organic
matter available on a renewable basis is "biomass." When
biomass is used to produce power, as in the USDA projects,
it's called "biopower"; when used for fuel, it's called "biofuel";
and when used to make products, they're called "biobased"
products. In general, energy from biomass is called
"bioenergy." Learn more on the EREN Bioenergy page.
Ethanol Industry Reports Record Production, Rapid Growth
The ethanol fuel industry has been setting production
records recently, with a record 116,000 barrels per day
produced in February. The Renewable Fuels Association
(RFA) credits the production peak to record expansion in
production capacity last year. According to RFA, that growth
is continuing, with 46 ethanol production facilities currently
being built or expanded, and construction scheduled to begin
on nearly 20 additional ethanol plants this year. See the RFA
Ethanol fuel may get a further boost if California acts on a
recent report that says the state would benefit from a
biomass-to-ethanol industry. Produced for the California
Energy Commission (CEC) by Arthur D. Little, Inc., the
report estimates that California would need state incentives
totaling $500 million over 20 years to create a 200-million-
gallon-a-year ethanol industry. In the same span of time, that
industry would generate $1 billion in benefits from new jobs
and increased tax revenues. See the CEC press release, with a link to the full report.
How About a Phone Call When Your Bus is Coming?
Public transportation systems, when actively used by a
community, provide great advantages in terms of energy
savings and reduced air emissions. But many bus systems
and some rail systems are plagued by slips in their schedules
that prove too inconvenient for many riders. Unfortunately,
bus schedules tend to slip the most during foul weather,
when riders want least to be left waiting outside.
But never fear, bus riders, a solution is in sight! Thanks to a
system created by NextBus Information Systems, riders at a
stop can see when the next bus will arrive not a schedule
but an actual tracking of the bus. NextBus combines
computer modeling software with Global Positioning System
(GPS) and wireless technologies to locate your bus and
calculate its arrival time. You can even check arrival times
on the Web from the comfort of your home or office. And if
that's not enough for you, the company will even send an
automated message to your wireless phone when your bus
is coming. As of late March, users with WAP (Wireless
Application Protocol) wireless phones can opt to receive a
phone alert at a pre-selected number of minutes before their
bus arrives. The company's system has been extensively
tested in San Francisco, and was recently installed in Vail,
Colorado. See the NextBus press releases.
GPS technology has great potential for increasing the
efficiency of transportation. At DOE's National Renewable
Energy Laboratory (NREL), GPS is being used to help
schedule and route a senior-citizen shuttle service. By
combining GPS information on the shuttle's location with
advanced scheduling and routing software, NREL is helping
the shuttle operators to handle a higher volume of calls on a
tighter schedule. Overall, the shuttles are using less energy
by covering their territory more efficiently. The technology
could be adapted to any "transit-on-demand" service, such
as shuttles or taxis. See the NREL press release.
NW Energy Coalition
The NW Energy Coalition is an alliance of nonprofit
organizations, utilities, and businesses from Oregon,
Washington, Idaho, Montana, Alaska and British Columbia.
The site features numerous articles and factsheets on
energy conservation and renewable energy resources,
affordable energy, and fish and wildlife restoration on the
Columbia and Snake Rivers.
For this and other recent additions to the EREN Web site,
Energy Facts and Tips
World Energy Use Expected to Soar by 2020
The world will use 59 percent more energy in 2020 than it
does today, according to a new report from DOE's Energy
Information Administration (EIA). The "International Energy
Outlook 2001" projects that half the growth in energy use
will occur in the developing countries in Asia and in Central
and South America. The report anticipates that natural gas
will be the fastest growing of all energy sources, while oil is
expected to remain the dominant energy source. Although
renewable energy use is projected to increase by 53 percent,
that won't keep pace with the growth in world energy use.
The EIA report anticipates most of the renewable energy
growth to come from large-scale hydroelectric projects in the
developing world. The projected increase in the use of fossil
fuels will result in a near doubling of carbon dioxide
emissions, from 5.8 billion metric tons in 1990 to 9.8 billion
metric tons in 2020. See the EIA press release, with a link to the full report.
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