EREN Network News
February 7, 2001
News and Events
- California Adds $404 Million in New Energy-Saving Programs
- California Water Agencies to Generate Their Own Power
- Siemens Solar to Manufacture Solar Panels in Los Angeles
- U.S. Mayors Call for Cutting Energy Use by 10 Percent
- Trash-to-Ethanol Facility in New York State Moves Ahead
- Hybrid Electric Buses Being Added to Denver Open-Air Mall
Energy Facts and Tips
- Canadian Hydropower Association
About this Newsletter
- A More Detailed Look at the California Energy Situation
- Insurers: Climate Change to Cost $300 Billion Annually
News and Events
California Adds $404 Million in New Energy-Saving Programs
California Governor Gray Davis announced last week that
the state will spend more than $800 million this year to
encourage energy efficiency and electrical load reductions.
A new program, funded at $404 million, will augment the
$424 million in programs already being carried out through
the California Energy Commission and the Public Utilities
Commission. The new program includes an additional
$75 million in rebates for consumers who replace inefficient
appliances, $50 million to improve energy efficiency in state
buildings, and $50 million for reflective lighting and roofs,
improved shading, and other measures for commercial
buildings. See the Governor's February 1st press release.
California continues to face critically tight supplies of
electricity. Today is the 23rd day under "Stage Three" alert
for California, meaning that the state's electrical demand is
expected to be within 1.5 percent of the available power
supply. The company that operates the California electrical
grid, the California Independent System Operator (ISO),
estimates that conservation efforts are saving between 600
and 1000 megawatts currently about 2 to 3 percent of
California's peak electrical load. See the California ISO press
California Water Agencies to Generate Their Own Power
The Association of California Water Agencies-Utility Service
Agency (ACWA-USA) announced last week that it had
reached agreements with two companies to assist members'
purchase of solar power devices and microturbine electricity
generators. Water agencies throughout the state are now
able to buy solar electric systems at 30 percent off the retail
price and will also be able to buy 30-kilowatt and 60-kilowatt
natural-gas-fueled microturbine generators at a discount.
The deals could supply up to 140 participating water
agencies with alternative power sources amid the current
California energy crisis. See the ACWA-USA press release.
There is, in fact, a significant potential for such "distributed
generation" approaches to help meet U.S. power needs.
One example is a project announced last week by Sixth
Dimension, Inc. and Celerity Energy LLC. The companies
have created a network of existing standby generators
throughout New Mexico that can be called upon to provide
peak power to the Public Service Company of New Mexico.
The network will provide 25 megawatts of generating
capacity, enough to power 5,000 homes. See the Celerity
Energy press release.
Siemens Solar to Manufacture Solar Panels in Los Angeles
The Los Angeles Department of Power and Water (DWP)
announced yesterday that Siemens Solar, a leading
manufacturer of solar photovoltaic systems, will open a solar
panel manufacturing facility in Los Angeles. The Siemens
Solar facility will manufacture solar panels for residential and
commercial systems and will also include a showroom and a
training center for installers.
The facility will employ about 50 people, and its products will
qualify for a DWP cash incentive. DWP customers can
receive an incentive payment of up to $5 per watt for
installing solar power systems manufactured in the city
(those manufactured elsewhere earn at most $3 per watt).
Residential systems can earn incentive payments up to
$50,000; commercial systems can yield up to $1 million in
incentives. See the DWP press release.
A similar arrangement led last year to a commitment from
Spire Corporation to start manufacturing operations in
Chicago a venture called Spire Solar Chicago. The
venture's latest accomplishment is a 30-kilowatt system
installed on the roof of Chicago’s Peggy Notebaert Nature
Museum. See the Spire press release.
U.S. Mayors Call for Cutting Energy Use by 10 Percent
Mayors from throughout the United States called in January
for a 10-percent across-the-board reduction in energy use in
America's cities and communities. Expressing concerns
about an energy crisis, the mayors called for national energy
policies that would further this goal. The announcement was
made during the 69th Winter Meeting of the U.S. Conference
of Mayors. See the press release on the U.S. Conference of Mayors Web site.
In related news, the American Council for an Energy Efficient
Economy (ACEEE) released last week a new report, which
finds that the United States could cut peak electricity
demand by 5 to 15 percent without reducing comfort or
service. Nationwide, the savings could total 60,000 megawatts
by 2010, according to the report. To achieve these savings,
the report recommends six measures, all relating to either
air conditioning or commercial lighting. See the ACEEE
Trash-to-Ethanol Facility in New York State Moves Ahead
Masada OxyNol LLC announced Monday an agreement with
Kvaerner Process Services Inc. to provide engineering,
procurement, and construction services for a $100 million
waste-to-ethanol conversion facility in Middletown, New
York. The facility, which has been planned for years, will be
a state-of-the-art waste management facility capable of
reusing and recycling more than 90 percent of the incoming
municipal solid waste and sewage sludge. The waste
conversion process will primarily produce ethanol, which will
be sold as a fuel additive. Construction of the facility will
employ 350 to 800 workers, and the project is expected to
contribute an estimated $38 million annually to the local
economy. According to Masada OxyNol, the facility will
create 200 new permanent jobs for the Orange County
region. See the Masada OxyNol press release.
Hybrid Electric Buses Being Added to Denver Open-Air Mall
A fleet of new hybrid electric buses are now providing shuttle
service along the 16th Street Mall in Denver, Colorado.
Transportation Techniques LLC, or TransTeq, is providing a
fleet of 36 hybrid electric buses to Denver's Regional
Transportation District (RTD) for use on the open-air mall.
The buses use a 70-horsepower engine, fueled with
compressed natural gas, to generate electricity to charge a
battery pack. The battery pack runs a pair of electric motors
that together can produce up to 440 horsepower. According
to company president Dale Hill, 15 of the buses have been
delivered to RTD, and the remainder will be delivered by
September. See the TransTeq press release.
Canadian Hydropower Association
This trade association is dedicated to representing the
interests of the Canadian hydropower industry. The site
shares the history of hydropower, explains how hydropower
works, and provides recent news about the industry. It also
includes several publications on topics such as the
environmental impact of hydropower and its future.
For this and other recent additions to the EREN Web site,
Energy Facts and Tips
A More Detailed Look at the California Energy Situation
Want to know more about the energy situation in California?
One source of information is DOE's Energy Information
Administration (EIA), which has a page of statistics on
energy use in the state. An interesting fact is that California
actually ranks high in the United States in terms of energy
efficiency the average residential user in California uses
about 37 percent less electricity each month than the
typical U.S. consumer. That has a direct impact on the
pocketbook: even though Californians had the third-highest
cost of electricity in 1999, their monthly bills were 17 percent
below the national average. See the "California Electric
Energy Crisis" page on the EIA Web site.
Insurers: Climate Change to Cost $300 Billion Annually
A report by Munich RE, one of the world's largest
reinsurance companies, is predicting that the worldwide cost
of climate change will reach $300 billion annually by 2050.
The report anticipates losses due to more frequent tropical
cyclones, loss of land as a result of rising sea levels, and
damage to fishing stocks, agriculture, and water supplies.
The report was announced on Saturday by the United
Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). See the UNEP
Reinsurance, by the way, can be thought of as "insurance for
insurance companies," a way for a primary insurer to protect
against unforeseen or extraordinary losses. According to the
Reinsurance Association of America (RAA), reinsurance
plays a critical role in the financial management of natural
disaster losses. See the RAA Web site.
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