EREN Network News
June 6, 2001
News and Events
- DOE Reviews Research Programs in Efficiency, Renewables
- DOE Advances Energy Savings in Buildings, Funds New Energy-Saving Projects, Adds Clean Cities Member
- SeaWest Building 50-Megawatt Wind Plant in Wyoming
- Carnegie Mellon Makes Large Wind Power Purchase
- Californians Cut Electricity Use By 11 Percent in May
Energy Facts and Tips
About this Newsletter
- EIA Examines Recent and Future Trends for Natural Gas
News and Events
DOE Reviews Research Programs in Efficiency, Renewables
DOE in recent weeks has initiated strategic reviews of its
research and development programs in both energy
efficiency and renewable energy. The reviews were
recommended in President Bush's National Energy Policy,
and were among the first steps taken by DOE to implement
the policy. The Presidentís energy policy recommended a
review of the current funding and historic performance of
these programs, and based on the reviews, Secretary of
Energy Spencer Abraham will propose appropriate funding
of those programs that are found to be performance-based
and are modeled as public-private partnerships. The reviews
are scheduled to be completed by September 1st. See the
DOE press releases:
May 23, 2001 and
May 30, 2001.
As part of the reviews of these programs, DOE is seeking
public input regarding the objectives and achievements of
the current programs, suggested objectives for future
programs, and implementation of current and future
programs. DOE will hold day-long public meetings in June in
the cities of Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Philadelphia,
Seattle, and Washington, D.C. For further information,
including times and locations, see the EREN Web site.
Note that there is also a mailing address to send written
comments to, or you can email comments to:
DOE Advances Energy Savings in Buildings, Funds New
Energy-Saving Projects, Adds Clean Cities Member
In recent news, which ranges from efficient buildings to
alternative fuel vehicles, DOE presents several examples of
the diversity of its current energy efficiency and renewable
In early May, DOE announced that in partnership with the
building industry, it has developed a 20-year plan to make
buildings more energy efficient, comfortable, and healthy.
The plan specifically addresses the so-called building
"envelope" the part of the building that separates it from
the outside environment. This includes the floors, walls, and
ceilings. By 2020, the plan envisions building envelopes that
are net producers of energy, using intelligent features to
provide naturally derived lighting and ventilation. See the
DOE press release.
Last week, DOE announced that it was helping to fund
164 energy efficiency and renewable energy projects
throughout the country. Through its State Energy Program,
DOE will provide $17.5 million in funds that will be combined
with approximately $22.5 million in funds from states and
their project partners. The projects will run the gamut from
assisting states in developing energy-efficient building
codes, to showing state and local governments methods of
saving energy that were developed for the federal
government, to examining how small, modular power
systems can help meet the nation's energy needs. The
projects are located in 48 states, three U.S. territories, and
the District of Columbia. See the DOE press release.
More than $4 million of the DOE funds announced last week
will go toward 52 projects to accelerate and expand the use
of alternative fuel vehicles, in support of DOE's Clean Cities
Program. DOE also announced last week that it has added
Minnesota's Twin Cities Clean Cities Coalition as its 81st
member of the program. The coalition will serve the
Minneapolis-St. Paul region of the state and is developing
local markets for E85, a mixture of 85 percent ethanol and
15 percent gasoline. Fourteen ethanol plants are located in
Minnesota, and coalition partners have already helped build
an infrastructure of 57 public refueling stations that sell E85.
See the DOE press release.
SeaWest Building 50-Megawatt Wind Plant in Wyoming
SeaWest WindPower Inc. announced Monday that it has
begun construction on a 50-megawatt wind power plant near
Arlington, Wyoming. PacifiCorp, which serves customers in
six western states, will buy all the power from the wind plant.
Called the Rock River I wind project, it will produce enough
electricity to power 27,000 typical homes in the region. The
project will use one-megawatt wind turbines manufactured
by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and is expected to be online
in fall. See the SeaWest press release.
Projects like Rock River I may benefit local farmers and
ranchers, who often own the land that the project is built on
and profit by leasing the wind energy rights to the developer.
The wind turbines take up little land and do not impact
surrounding farm and ranch operations. Recognizing these
benefits, the American Corn Growers Association (ACGA)
recently announced a new national program, called "Wealth
from the Wind," to help family farms and rural communities
reap the benefits of wind power. While educating farmers,
the new program will examine new opportunities such as
farmer-owned wind generating cooperatives. The program
will also help individual farmers take credit, through a utility
billing process known as "net metering," for any excess wind
power that they generate See the ACGA press release.
Carnegie Mellon Makes Large Wind Power Purchase
Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,
announced in late May that it will buy 5 percent of its
electrical power needs from wind energy. The university will
buy 4,778 megawatt-hours per year of wind power from the
Exelon-Community Energy Wind Farm at Mill Run, which is
currently under construction. The purchase will exceed the
output from one of the wind farm's 1.5-megawatt turbines,
and will be roughly equal to the annual electricity needs of
650 homes. See the press release on the EREN Green
Wind power has also arrived in El Paso, Texas. El Paso
Electric Company, which serves south-central New Mexico
and part of west Texas, announced Monday that its
customers can now buy wind power from its Hueco Mountain
Wind Ranch. The power will be sold in monthly blocks of
100 kilowatt-hours, at an added cost of $1.92 per block for
residential customers. See the press release.
Electricity from renewable energy sources such as wind
power is generically referred to as "green power." The
marketing of green power is a topic of great interest to the
electric power industry in fact, the Sixth National Green
Power Marketing Conference is coming up this July 31st in
Portland, Oregon. See the announcement on the EREN
Green Power Network.
Californians Cut Electricity Use By 11 Percent in May
California Governor Gray Davis announced on Monday that
Californians are meeting his goal for reducing electricity use.
Compared to one year ago, Californians cut their total
electricity use by 11 percent in May, and cut their electricity
demand during peak periods by 10 percent. The governor
had asked for a 10 percent reduction in January. The cut in
peak demand was enough to power roughly 3.6 million
homes. See the governor's press release.
The governor also signed an executive order on Saturday,
declaring a State of Emergency in the state due to the
energy shortage and ordering a two-day forecast of any
potential rolling blackouts and a one-hour warning prior to
the actual blackouts. See the June 2nd executive order by
selecting "Executive Orders" on the governor's executive order.
In anticipation of the governor's order, the warning system
has already been put to the test: On May 31st, the California
Independent System Operator (ISO), which operates the
state's power grid, warned of impending rolling blackouts,
which were ultimately avoided. It's noteworthy that the
state's 10 percent cut in electricity use was probably a critical
aspect of avoiding rolling blackouts on this occasion. See the
May 31st press release from the California ISO (PDF 23 KB). Download Acrobat Reader
Schools deserve at least some of the credit for the cut in
power use. According to the Alliance to Save Energy (ASE),
ten schools in three California school districts have cut their
energy use by 18 percent. The schools were participating in
the ASE's Green Schools program. See the ASE press release.
This portal site includes a wealth of information on
applications of solar energy, its use by electric utilities, its
role in distributed generation, and the technology behind
photovoltaic devices, including how they are manufactured.
Information about codes and standards, a solar module price
survey, and a worldwide listing of solar manufacturers are
For this and other recent additions to the EREN Web site.
Energy Facts and Tips
EIA Examines Recent and Future Trends for Natural Gas
Natural gas has been an increasingly important energy
source for the United States most new electric power
plants are fueled by natural gas, and 70 percent of the new
homes built in 1999 were heated with natural gas. U.S.
power companies built 22,000 megawatts of gas-fired
generation in 2000, and plan to build another 25,000
megawatts this year.
With these new demands for natural gas, its use in the
United States reached an all-time high last year of
22.8 trillion cubic feet, an increase of 4.8 percent above
1999 levels. Demand outstripped supply, leading to drops in
inventories and increased prices. Given concerns about
future natural gas supplies, DOE's Energy Information
Administration (EIA) has prepared a report that looks at
recent trends and looks toward the future for natural gas.
According to the EIA report, high prices have encouraged a
boom in drilling for natural gas, and the expected prices for
the coming years make the prospects for adding significant
amounts of new gas supplies between now and 2005 "look
promising." However, the report says that increased supplies
are not likely to bring prices down significantly in the next
two years. See the full report on the EIA Web site.
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