EREN Network News
February 14, 2001
News and Events
- California Crisis Has Mixed News for Renewable Energy
- California Energy Agency Promotes Energy Efficiency
- Wind Power Growth Slows in 2000; Surge Expected in 2001
- California Company Revives Ethanol Production from Whey
- New Plant Begins Producing Fuel from Wood Waste
- "SunRace 21.C" Solar Race Underway in Australia
Energy Facts and Tips
- Sustainable Energy Coalition
About this Newsletter
- U.S. Alternative Fuel Vehicles Total Nearly 500,000
News and Events
California Crisis Has Mixed News for Renewable Energy
The tight electricity supplies and high prices in California
have spelled both good and bad news for renewable energy
suppliers there. The bad news is that sales of green power
electricity from renewable energy sources have essentially
come to a halt, as nearly all green power suppliers have
dropped out of the market. According to the Center for
Resource Solutions (CRS), a California-based non-profit
organization, a combination of price uncertainties and credit
difficulties forced most marketers to retreat from the state,
leaving their customers with little choice other than to return
to their traditional electric utility. See a summary of the
situation on CRS' Green-e Web site.
One of the leaders in the green power arena, Green
Mountain Energy Company, noted that despite California's
problems, the restructuring of electricity markets in other
states particularly in Pennsylvania has created a viable
market for green power. See the company's press release.
In fact, in recent weeks, Green Mountain Energy Company
has received approval to sell green power in Texas and
Connecticut, and has applied to sell green power in Ohio.
See the company's press releases.
Meanwhile, the threat of rolling blackouts and the high
electricity prices in California have spurred new interest in
using renewable energy to generate electricity at home.
According to the American Wind Energy Association
(AWEA), a leading manufacturer of residential wind turbines
has recently seen a sharp increase in sales. Bergey
Windpower Company, Inc. sold 40 home units in California
in January alone, compared to just 6 in all of 2000. A
California rebate of half the cost of the system is contributing
to the increased sales, according to AWEA. Media reports
are claiming that solar energy systems and energy efficiency
products have also seen a boost in sales. See the AWEA
California Energy Agency Promotes Energy Efficiency
While California's electricity supplies remain tight, the
California Energy Commission (CEC) announced last week
that its $50-million peak load reduction program is on course
to save 161 megawatts of peak electricity load by June 1st.
Roughly half of the load reductions will come from energy
efficiency projects, ranging from efficiency improvements in
wastewater treatment and agriculture to improved lighting,
heating, and air conditioning systems in state buildings and
public universities See the CEC press release.
One example of a CEC grantee is Kmart Corporation, which
will use a $2 million grant to retrofit inefficient lighting in 85 of
its older stores in California. The energy savings will be
enough to provide power to 11,500 residents, according to
Kmart. See the company's press releases.
Another part of the CEC program replaces dark-colored
building roofs with light-colored materials, thereby cutting
cooling costs. The benefit of such programs was verified in a
study released last week by the Florida Power & Light
Company. The study found that white metal and cement tile
roofs reflect 66 to 77 percent of the sun's energy, saving
about 23 percent annually on cooling costs for an average
Florida home. See the company's press release.
The CEC is also awarding $10 million to 44 public agencies
to switch their traffic lights to energy-efficient, light-emitting
diodes (LEDs). LED traffic lights have proven a popular way
to save energy, and are now cropping up in cities throughout
the United States. As one indication of this trend, the Energy
Star program a joint program of DOE and the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency recently added LED
traffic signals as a new Energy Star product category. See
Energy Star Labeled Traffic Signals.
Wind Power Growth Slows in 2000; Surge Expected in 2001
Wind power maintained a near-record growth rate in 2000,
with 3,500 megawatts installed worldwide, only slightly down
from the previous year's record growth of 3,600 megawatts,
according to the American Wind Energy Association
(AWEA). Yet 2001 is expected to top all the records, with
new additions likely to top 5,000 megawatts.
In the United States, however, the expiration of tax credits
cut wind power growth to only 53 megawatts in 2000,
compared to 732 megawatts in 1999. The renewal and
extension of those tax credits through 2001 is expected to
revive growth in the United States, leading to as much as
2,000 megawatts of new capacity this year enough to
power roughly 750,000 U.S. households. See the AWEA
California Company Revives Ethanol Production from Whey
The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) noted early this
month that Golden Cheese, a California-based cheese
producer, has revived its process to produce ethanol from
cheese whey residue. The company began producing
ethanol in the mid-1980s, but had halted production because
of the lack of an ethanol market in California. According to
RFA, Golden Cheese restarted production this month in
response to the growing California ethanol market resulting
from the phase-out of MTBE, a fuel additive. The company
creates enough cheese whey to produce 5 million gallons of
ethanol per year. See the RFA press release.
New Plant Begins Producing Fuel from Wood Waste
DynaMotive Technologies Corporation announced yesterday
that its new facility to produce liquid fuel from wood waste
has successfully completed its initial production runs. The
10-ton-per-day plant produces a fuel called BioOil, which is
intended to be used for power generation in gas turbines,
diesel engines and boilers. The fuel is produced by heating
the wood waste in the absence of oxygen, a process known
as pyrolysis. BioOil burns clean with low emissions of sulfur
dioxide and nitrous oxides. See the DynaMotive press
"SunRace 21.C" Solar Race Underway in Australia
SunRace 21.C an 8-day race of solar and electric cars
across 2,300 kilometers (1,429 miles) of Australia is now
in its fourth day of racing (day six of the overall event).
Today's race covers 297 kilometers (185 miles) from Mildura
to Charlton, both in the southern state of Victoria. On
Monday, the "Spirit of Canberra" from Lake Tuggeranong
College was leading the nine-car field. See the SunRace
21.C Web site.
Be sure to note the "Photos and Commentary" page.
Australia will also host the 6th World Solar Challenge,
another solar car race that will leave Darwin on November
18th. The winning teams are expected to arrive in Adelaide
about five days later. See the Web site.
Sustainable Energy Coalition
This site provides reporters and others with a list of expert
contacts on a wide range of energy issues from renewable
energy technologies and energy efficiency to climate
change. In addition, visitors can find background information
on the gamut of renewable and energy efficient technologies
as well as current news on the subject.
For this and other recent additions to the EREN Web site,
Energy Facts and Tips
U.S. Alternative Fuel Vehicles Total Nearly 500,000
A new compilation of U.S. statistics relating to alternative
fuels and alternative fuel vehicles has been made available
by DOE's Energy Information Administration (EIA).
According to EIA, the total number of alternative fuel
vehicles is expected to exceed 456,000 this year, using
enough alternative fuels to displace about 366,000,000 gallons of
gasoline. In addition, more than one billion gallons of ethanol are expected to be used as a fuel additive. See the EIA's alternative fuel statistics.
DOE encourages the use of alternative fuel vehicles and
their supporting infrastructure through its Clean Cities
program. The program will be holding its 7th National Clean
Cities Conference and Expo from May 13th to 16th in
Philadelphia. See the press release from DOE's National
Renewable Energy Laboratory.
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