EREN Network News
December 19, 2001
News and Events
- Kansas Adds Large Wind Plant, Plans Announced for Montana
- Bonneville Power Administration Doubles Its Wind Purchase
- Electric Vehicles to be Sold in California, Rented in Atlanta
- Honda Unveils the Hybrid Civic in Japan
- DOE Awards $26 Million for Industrial Energy-Efficiency
- Survey Finds Consumers are Looking for Energy Efficiency
- LED Lights Brighten Oregon, Montana Christmas Trees
- High-Performance Photovoltaic Project
Energy Facts and Tips
About this Newsletter
- DOE: Don't Worry About Natural Gas Prices and Supplies
The EREN Network News will be taking the next two weeks
off for the holidays. We'll return with a New Year's bundle of
news on January 9th. Until then, we wish all our readers a
joyous, peaceful, and energy-efficient holiday season.
News and Events
Kansas Adds Large Wind Plant, Plans Announced for Montana
Kansas became a major wind power producer late last
month with the completion of a 110-megawatt wind power
facility near Montezuma. FPL Energy dedicated its Gray
County Wind Farm on Monday in a ceremony attended by
Kansas Governor Bill Graves. The wind plant the first
major wind facility in Kansas will produce enough
electricity each year to power 33,000 homes. UtiliCorp
United will buy the entire output from the wind plant and
provide it to UtiliCorp's customers in Kansas and Missouri.
See the FPL Energy press release.
Montana will also join the major leagues of wind power
within the next two years, thanks to an agreement
announced early this month by Montana Power Company.
The utility will buy a total of 150 megawatts of wind power
from Montana Wind Harness, a wind plant developer. The
wind power capacity will be spread among at least three
sites in the state, with construction beginning next year and
finishing by 2003. Montana Power will buy the wind power
for the next 20 years at a cost of less than 3.2 cents per
Montana Wind Harness has engaged Nordex USA the
U.S. subsidiary of Nordex AG, a major European wind
turbine company to build the project. One of the conditions
of the contract, and contingent upon Nordex AG Board
approval, calls for the wind turbine manufacturer to build an
assembly plant in the state that will initially create 35 to 50
new full time jobs and an operations and maintenance center
that will create an additional 10 to 15 new jobs. See the
Montana Power press release.
Texas is also expecting a new addition to its wind portfolio
this month with the completion of the Llano Estacano Wind
Ranch near White Deer. Xcel Energy is purchasing the
power from the 80-megawatt facility for the next 15 years.
See the Xcel Energy press release.
On a much smaller scale, Mackinaw City, Michigan, also
joined the ranks of wind energy producers recently. Two
wind turbines producing enough power each year for
700 homes were dedicated early this month. The turbines
are owned by Bay Windpower and the power will be sold
through Consumers Energy's green power program. See the
Mackinaw City Web site.
Bonneville Power Administration Doubles Its Wind Purchase
DOE's Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) announced
last week that it is doubling its purchase of electricity from
wind power through a new agreement with PacifiCorp Power
Marketing Inc. BPA will buy 34 percent of the output from the
Stateline Wind Project, located along the Oregon-Washington
border and now nearing completion. BPA's purchase can
provide enough wind energy to power about 18,000 homes.
See the BPA press release.
Electric Vehicles to be Sold in California, Rented in Atlanta
Toyota Motor Corporation will begin selling its all-electric
RAV4-EV to retail customers in California starting in
February 2000, the company announced last week. In 1997,
Toyota began making the RAV4-EV available nationally
through a special fleet lease program to major corporations
and utilities, but this is the first opportunity for people to buy
the car. Toyota is making the car available to meet the Zero
Emissions Vehicle requirements of the California Air
Resources Board (CARB).
Orders will be accepted online for the RAV4-EV, which
features a 50-kilowatt motor (equivalent to a 67-horsepower
engine) with a top speed of 78 miles per hour and a range of
80 to 100 miles per charge. It will have a manufacturers
suggested retail price (MSRP) of $42,000, but a $9,000
incentive from CARB and a $3,000 federal tax credit will
bring the price down to $30,000 and that includes an
in-home charging device. Toyota will also offer three special
introductory lease options. See the Toyota press release.
Electric vehicles are also coming to Georgia. A relative
newcomer in the electric vehicle world, eMotion Mobility, is
planning to build a production plant in Hinesville, Georgia,
next year. The company intends to make its compact electric
vehicles available for rent in the metro Atlanta area by late
2002. The vehicles are expected to have a top speed of
70 miles per hour and will be a modification of the smart car,
a DaimlerChrysler product built in Europe. The company
plans to hire about 150 employees at the Hinesville plant,
which will produce between 5,000 and 6,000 electric
vehicles when it reaches full production in 2004. By then, the
company hopes to branch out to California and the
Northeast. See the eMotion Mobility Web site.
See also the smart car Web site.
Honda Unveils the Hybrid Civic in Japan
Honda Motor Company, Ltd. started selling the hybrid
electric version of its popular Civic sedan last week in Japan.
Unlike the hybrid electric Honda Insight, the Hybrid Civic has
a traditional appearance nearly equal to the standard Civic,
but Honda claims that it achieves a whopping 69.4 miles per
gallon (29.5 kilometers per liter). It features a continuously
variable transmission. U.S. buyers will have to wait until next
year, but you can get a preview on the Honda Web site.
Those bored by the plain-Jane appearance of the Hybrid
Civic might check out Honda's RD-X concept vehicle,
scheduled to debut at Detroit's North American International
Auto Show (NAIAS) next month. It's interesting that this
concept sport utility vehicle incorporates a hybrid electric
system (what Honda calls an "Integrated Motor Assist"), but
for this vehicle, at least, Honda touts its acceleration benefit
rather than its fuel savings. We'll be hearing plenty more
from the NAIAS next month, but in the meantime, see the
Honda press release.
But let's not forget that other company that sells hybrids:
Toyota Motor Corporation announced last week that it is
boosting its U.S. allotment of Prius shipments to 17,000 in
2002, up more than 40 percent from its original allotment of
12,000 cars per year. Toyota is increasing the number of
Prius sedans available to meet growing demand in the
United States. See the Toyota press release.
DOE Awards $26 Million for Industrial Energy-Efficiency
DOE is awarding a total of $26 million to advance energy
efficient processes in industry. DOE's Office of Industrial
Technologies announced two separate awards over the past
DOE is providing the bulk of the funding, $22 million, for
28 new research and development projects relating to
materials research. Examples of the materials being studied
include diamond coatings that will enable extended wear-
resistance for equipment such as pumps, shafts and seals
found throughout industry; a new class of high-performance
steels for easier fabrication of large components for the
petroleum and chemical industries; and a coating that will
increase corrosion resistance in components used in the
chemicals, petroleum, and glass industries. See the DOE
One specific example of an awardee is Michigan
Technological University, which is receiving roughly
$1.6 million over three years to study improved reactor tubes
for the production of ethylene. These tubes are heated to
around 2000 degrees Fahrenheit while mixtures of
hydrocarbons and steam are passed through them, creating
extremely corrosive conditions. Michigan Technological
University will try dispersing oxides through the tube material
as a means of strengthening the tubes while improving their
corrosion resistance. Improved reactor tubes will save
energy by making the ethylene reactors more reliable, so the
furnaces are shut down for repairs less often. See the DOE
See also the full list of awardees.
DOE is also awarding $4 million in grants to eight
organizations that will demonstrate energy-efficient and
clean production practices in manufacturing. One example is
a process to make paper using a natural fungus rather than
corrosive chemicals. The process is expected to not only be
cleaner, but to also use 30 percent less electricity than
current processes. Paper mills currently spend as much as
$10 million per year for electricity. See the DOE press release.
See also the full list of awardees.
Survey Finds Consumers are Looking for Energy Efficiency
Could energy efficiency finally be on the minds of
U.S. consumers? Yes, it is, according to a new survey by
Primen, an independent energy market analysis company.
The survey found that three-fourths of U.S. consumers claim
energy efficiency was a very important factor in their
purchase of appliances during the past year. More important,
84 percent said they anticipate that energy efficiency will be
a "very important consideration" in making future purchasing
decisions. If true, that represents a shift for U.S. consumers,
who have traditionally been more focused on price,
appearance, and convenience features. See the Primen
The Primen study is good news for Whirlpool Corporation,
which has just introduced a new energy-efficient washer and
dryer combination called the Duet. Whirlpool claims the
front-loading units use 68 percent less water and 67 percent
less electricity than standard washing machines. Of course,
they also carry the Energy Star label. See the Whirlpool press release.
Selecting products that carry the Energy Star label can help
you save energy and money at home or at work. For more
information about Energy Star products, see the Energy Star Web site.
LED Lights Brighten Oregon, Montana Christmas Trees
Perhaps it's a new holiday tradition: two Western states have
chosen energy-efficient LED (light-emitting diode) lights for
their official state Christmas trees. Oregon started the trend
on its Capitol Christmas tree in late November, followed by
Montana last week. The LED holiday lights use about 99 percent
less energy than the larger, traditional holiday bulbs and last
up to 100,000 hours when used indoors. See the press release (PDF 53 KB) about Oregon on the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance Web site. Download Acrobat Reader
See the Montana announcement on Governor Judy Martz' Web site.
High-Performance Photovoltaic Project
DOE's High-Performance Photovoltaic Project, initiated
earlier this year, has a new Web site sure to be useful to
anyone interested in cutting-edge research on solar electric
technologies. The project encourages research to improve
the performance of existing photovoltaic technologies, with
the aim of doubling their efficiency of converting sunlight to
electricity, thereby making these technologies more cost
competitive. Participants in the project include DOE's
National Renewable Energy Laboratory, several universities,
and photovoltaic manufacturers. The Web site includes a
brief description of the research projects, contact numbers,
publications, and a message board.
For this and other recent additions to the EREN Web site.
Energy Facts and Tips
DOE: Don't Worry About Natural Gas Prices and Supplies
Let's end the year with a piece of good news for recession-
weary U.S. consumers: According to DOE, U.S. natural gas
prices are declining and will continue to drop in 2002.
According to an analysis by DOE's Energy Information
Administration (EIA), natural gas prices are expected to
continue declining from $4.09 per thousand cubic feet in
2001 to $1.96 per thousand cubic feet in 2002, while
supplies should increase from 22.45 trillion cubic feet in
2001 to 23.53 trillion cubic feet next year. The analysis also
determined that natural gas prices have dropped
substantially because of additional drilling combined with
mild weather and a slowing economy, which have reduced
the growth in natural gas consumption.
Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham lauded the news,
noting that, "EIA's analysis is welcome news for U.S.
consumers and for our economy." And on that good note, we
wish you a happy New Year. See the DOE press release.
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