EREN Network News
July 18, 2001
News and Events
- Survey Finds Most Californians Are Saving Energy
- City Block Changes Bulbs, Cuts Lighting Load 45 Percent
- California Utility Group Receives $6 Million for Renewables
- Solar Cars Racing in Winston, American Solar Challenges
- Solar-Powered Aircraft Successfully Completes Test Flight
- New Solar Energy Systems Online in Los Angeles, Chicago
Energy Facts and Tips
- CANMET Energy Technology Centre
About this Newsletter
- U.S. Power Outages and Glitches Cost $119 Billion Per Year
News and Events
Survey Finds Most Californians Are Saving Energy
A survey released last week finds that 83 percent of Californians
claim to be taking steps to reduce their energy use. Nearly three-
quarters of those polled said they were reducing their use of indoor
lights, and roughly half had reduced their outdoor lighting. About
four out of ten had limited their use of heating or air conditioning.
See the press release from J.D. Power and Associates.
The J.D. Power survey results are supported by recent media reports,
which say that roughly 30 percent of the customers of the state's
two largest utilities have cut their electricity use by 20 percent
in July, compared to last year. The response to the state's 20/20
rebate program, which offers a 20 percent rebate to those customers
that reduce their electricity use by 20 percent, has been stronger
than expected. For information on the program, see the state's
Rebate and Demand Reduction Program Database.
The California Department of Water Resources (DWR), which has
been buying electricity for much of the state, credits conservation
as a key factor in keeping electricity costs low in July. DWR spent
$30 million per day or less on power last week, compared to a daily
average of nearly $65 million in May. See the DWR press releasee.
City Block Changes Bulbs, Cuts Lighting Load 45 Percent
One simple illustration of the possible benefits of energy efficiency
was carried out recently in Berkeley, California, where every
light bulb on an entire city block was replaced with the most
energy-efficient alternative. Standard incandescent light bulbs, for
instance, were replaced with energy-efficient compact fluorescent
lamps. The switch cut the electricity use for lighting on the block
by 45 percent, saving an estimated 62,712 kilowatt-hours per year.
DOE's Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory participated in the project. See
the press release from the Philips Lighting Company.
Another great way to save energy is by replacing an inefficient
refrigerator. Southern California Edison (SCE) recently announced
that its eight-year-old refrigerator recycling program has reached a
milestone of recycling 300,000 old refrigerators. The program
provides customers with free pickup and recycling and gives
customers either $35 or a five-pack of compact fluorescent light
bulbs. SCE also offers a $100 rebate when homeowners buy new
high-efficiency refrigerators. See the SCE press release
California Utility Group Receives $6 Million for Renewables
A team of municipal utilities in California that is committed to
renewable energy received a $6 million grant from the California
Energy Commission. The Public Power Renewable Energy Action
Team (PPREAT) intends to support the public power system in
California with advice and information to facilitate the development
of utility-scale projects that generate electricity from renewable
energy. The Center for Resource Solutions (CRS) is managing
PPREAT. See the CRS press release.
Solar Cars Racing in Winston, American Solar Challenges
Two U.S. solar car races are underway this week, taking advantage of
the long summer days to provide plenty of solar fuel for the sleek
racing vehicles on their difficult journeys.
The longest of the two races, the American Solar Challenge (ASC),
started on Sunday in Chicago and will cover 2,300 miles along
historic Route 66, ending next Wednesday in Claremont, California.
ASC pits university teams, companies and clubs from around the world
against each other to build and race the fastest solar-powered cars
on the continent. As of Monday, the University of Missouri-Rolla led
the 30-car pack with an average speed of 38 miles per hour. But then
again, the race ended up at Rolla on Monday, so maybe the racers
were just anxious to get home! See the ASC Web site.
Race results are posted daily at, 2001 American Solar Challenge
You can also view a map that tracks the progress of the race at, American Solar Challenge.
Meanwhile, the Winston Solar Challenge began yesterday in Austin,
Texas, on its 1,370-mile trek to Columbus, Ohio. Sponsored by Green
Mountain Energy Company, the Winston Solar Challenge is an
international race for high school students. This year, nine teams
are competing in the race, which ends next Wednesday. See the
Winston Solar Challenge Web site, with links to race results, photos, and streaming videos.
You can also view a map that tracks the progress of the race at Winston Solar Challenge
Solar-Powered Aircraft Successfully Completes Test Flight
Cars aren't the only vehicles powered by the sun. A solar-powered
aircraft called Helios took off on its first test flight on Saturday
morning. The remote-controlled aircraft is essentially a 247-foot
wing with solar panels mounted on its upper surface. Fourteen
motor-driven props mounted across the wing propel the craft at
about 20 to 25 miles per hour.
Helios is designed to fly at high altitudes for extended periods.
Although the craft had been previously tested at low altitudes under
battery power, this weekend's flight was the first under solar power.
The craft reached a maximum altitude of just over 76,200 feet on
Saturday afternoon, then descended and landed safely on early
Sunday morning. In August, Helios will attempt a new milestone in
flight by cruising to an altitude of 100,000 feet.
Helios is intended to eventually carry scientific payloads at high
altitudes for extended periods, serving a function similar to
satellites. To achieve that goal, the project team is developing a
regenerative fuel cell that will convert excess electricity during
the day into hydrogen and oxygen, which will be stored onboard.
At night, the fuel cell will convert the hydrogen and oxygen into
electricity to power the craft. See the latest update on NASA's
Dryden Flight Research Center Web site.
A fact sheet and recent photos are available at,
Dryden Flight Research Center
New Solar Energy Systems Online in Los Angeles, Chicago
Two major U.S. cities were graced with new solar electric systems
recently. In Los Angeles, the Department of Water and Power (DWP)
announced last week the completion of a 200-kilowatt solar electric
system on the roof of the Neutrogena Corporation's headquarters
building. Neutrogena received a $1 million incentive payment from
DWP for the $1.4 million system. See the DWP press release.
In Chicago, Spire Solar Chicago completed the installation of a
49-kilowatt solar electric system on the roof of the Field Museum of
Natural History. The system will produce 60,000 kilowatt-hours of
electricity per year, enough to power 10 houses. See the Spire
Corporation press release.
CANMET Energy Technology Centre
The CANMET Energy Technology Centre (CETC) is the key research
arm of Natural Resources Canada. CETC works with private and other
public- sector partners to develop and deploy leading-edge energy
products and processes for virtually all sectors of the Canadian
economy. The site describes the facilityís ten research areas,
explains how to work with the center, and provides information on
funding, publications, and the centerís accomplishments.
For this and other recent additions to the EREN Web site.
Energy Facts and Tips
U.S. Power Outages and Glitches Cost $119 Billion Per Year
A study released Monday by the Electric Power Research Institute
(EPRI) finds that power outages and power quality problems cost the
U.S. economy more than $119 billion per year. The study emphasizes
the growing need for highly reliable, high-quality power what
EPRI refers to as "digital quality" power.
The study finds that U.S. establishments collectively lose
$45.7 billion annually to outages, and another $6.7 billion
to power quality disturbances, such as voltage sags. The study
then extrapolates these costs to determine their effect on the
U.S. economy as a whole.
Surprisingly, although digital firms like internet providers
are potentially the most sensitive to power disruptions, their
investment in power conditioning equipment and uninterruptible
power supplies makes them the least susceptible. More traditional
industries using new computerized machinery experienced higher
power-related costs. See the EPRI press release.
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