EREN Network News
March 7, 2001
News and Events
- President Bush's Budget Continues Support for Renewables
- Alameda County Jail to Feature 500-kW Solar Power System
- New Wind Power Projects Slated for Iowa and Texas
- New Jersey Approves $358 Million for Efficiency, Renewables
- Governor Davis: California Cut Electricity Use by 8 Percent
Energy Facts and Tips
- Carbohydrate Economy Clearinghouse
About this Newsletter
- EPA Keeps Diesel Pollution Rule On Track
- IPCC: Energy Efficiency is Key in Mitigating Climate Change
News and Events
President Bush's Budget Continues Support for Renewables
President Bush addressed a joint session of Congress last
week in support of his proposed budget for 2002. Addressing
the energy issue, President Bush said, "We can promote
alternative energy sources and conservation, and we must."
See the text of the President's speech.
On the energy efficiency front, the President's budget
"blueprint" proposes increasing the Weatherization
Assistance Program funding by $1.4 billion over ten years,
essentially doubling the program funding. The blueprint also
proposes tax credits for the installation of rooftop solar
equipment and an extension of the tax credits for fuel
produced from renewable sources.
From roughly 2004 to 2008, the blueprint proposes that
renewable energy research and development would be
funded by an estimated $1.2 billion in bidding bonuses,
generated by oil and gas leases in the Arctic National
Wildlife Refuge. Until then, the blueprint proposes
"winnowing out those projects that are less promising and
focusing on those areas that offer the greatest ability to tap
or expand these new sources of energy." See the budget
blueprint on the White House Web site.
President Bush also spoke last week at the swearing-in
ceremony of Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, noting
that the development of cost-effective alternative energy
sources was one prong of a four-part U.S. energy strategy.
See President Bush's and Secretary Abraham's comments
on the White House Web site.
Alameda County Jail to Feature 500-kW Solar Power System
The Alameda County Board of Supervisors gave its approval
in late February for the installation of a 500-kilowatt solar
electric system on the roof of the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin,
California. The system, to be installed by PowerLight
Corporation, will be the largest rooftop solar power system in
the United States. Through a combination of the solar power
generation, the energy savings from the roof insulation
provided by the system, and an upgrade to the jail's air
conditioning system, PowerLight expects to cut the jail's
energy costs by $190,000 per year, for a total savings of
$5.5 million over the next 25 years. See the PowerLight
New Wind Power Projects Slated for Iowa and Texas
The production of wind power in the United States continued
to surge ahead last week with the announcement of
215 megawatts of new wind power coming to Iowa and
Northern Iowa Windpower LLC announced that it has signed
an agreement with Interstate Power Company for the
purchase of power from an 80-megawatt wind power plant in
Worth County, Iowa. The "Top of Iowa Wind Farm" will
feature up to 89 NEG Micon wind turbines and will generate
enough power for approximately 50,000 households.
Construction is planned to start in May, and commercial
operation should begin before the end of this year. Northern
Iowa Windpower a joint venture of Zilkha Renewable
Energy and Midwest Renewable Energy Corporation
(MREC) plans to eventually double the facility's capacity.
See the MREC Web site.
In Texas, Enron Wind announced that it will build a
135-megawatt wind power facility near the town of Iraan in
Pecos County. Another Enron Corporation affiliate, Enron
Power Marketing, Inc., will buy the power from the project
and resell it into the Texas wholesale power market.
According to Enron, this will be the first major project to sell
wind power on the wholesale market. The project will be
completed this year and will consist of 90 Enron Wind
1.5-megawatt turbines. It will generate enough power to
supply approximately 50,000 U.S. homes. See the
February 28th press release by selecting the "most recent"
press releases on the Enron Web site.
The Madison wind project in New York also sells power into
the wholesale market, but only after first selling off the
environmental attributes separately, through the use of
certificates. Individuals and businesses can support wind
power by buying the certificates, which pay the added cost of
the wind energy; the power is then sold in the power market
as if it were coming from a traditional power source. See the
PG&E National Energy Group's "Pure Wind" Web site.
New Jersey Approves $358 Million for Efficiency, Renewables
The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) last week
approved a proposal to fund new energy efficiency and
renewable energy programs with $358 million over the next
three years. The funds will be raised through a surcharge of
less than 1 percent for most New Jersey electricity
customers. Three quarters of the funds will go toward energy
efficiency programs and one quarter will go toward
renewable energy programs. The renewable energy
programs will include rebates directly to customers who
install "clean technologies such as fuel cells, solar electric
systems and wind generators in their homes and
businesses." See the March 1st press release on the NJBPU
According to the American Wind Energy Association
(AWEA), the new funding levels will more than double the
statewide funding for renewable energy and energy
efficiency in New Jersey. See the AWEA press release.
Governor Davis: California Cut Electricity Use by 8 Percent
California cut its electricity use by 8 percent in February,
reducing electricity demand by 2,578 megawatts, according
to Governor Gray Davis. The savings enough to power
more than 2.5 million homes helped California recover
from the tight electricity supplies that persisted for most of
the month. However, Governor Davis predicts that
Californians will "need to do even better and save at least
10 percent to get through the summer." See the March 3rd
The California Independent System Operator (ISO) the
operator of California's electrical grid has avoided the
Stage Three emergency level (operating reserves below
1.5 percent) since February 16th, but has reached Stage
One (reserves "less than minimum") and Stage Two
(reserves below 5 percent) emergencies repeatedly over the
past week. See the California ISO Notice Log.
Carbohydrate Economy Clearinghouse
This site provides information on plant matter-based
products and the companies and cooperatives producing
them. These so-called "bioproducts" can reduce U.S. oil
imports by using plant matter to produce chemicals and
materials that are currently produced from petroleum. The
site includes updates on new developments in the field and a
fully searchable database of publications.
For this and other recent additions to the EREN Web site,
Energy Facts and Tips
EPA Keeps Diesel Pollution Rule On Track
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
announced last week that it will move forward on schedule
with its rule that will cut harmful pollution from diesel trucks
and buses by 95 percent beginning in model year 2007. The
rule will also lower sulfur levels in diesel fuel beginning in
June 2006. In announcing the decision, EPA Administrator
Christie Whitman said that the Bush Administration chose
not to delay the order because of the need to protect public
health and the environment. See the announcement on the
EPA Web site.
For more information about the ruling, see:
IPCC: Energy Efficiency is Key in Mitigating Climate Change
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
accepted on Monday the third and final volume of its Third
Assessment Report on climate change. The new volume
examines climate change mitigation strategies and places a
heavy emphasis on using energy wisely. The report finds that
energy efficiency for buildings, transportation, and industry
account for more than half of the potential greenhouse gas
reductions achievable by 2020. Natural gas technologies,
more efficient power plant technologies, and combined heat
and power play an important role in reducing fossil energy
power plant emissions. And "low-carbon energy systems"
such as renewable energy can also make an important
contribution. Perhaps equally important is the finding that
there is "no single path to a low emission future."
The IPCC was established by the World Meteorological
Organization and the United Nations Environment
Programme (UNEP) in 1988. Although its full report is not yet
available, a "Summary for Policymakers" is available on the
IPCC Web site.
In response to the report, the UNEP issued several press
releases that emphasize the role of clean energy
technologies. "The potential for rapid technology innovation
leading to clean energy and other climate change solutions is
clearly extraordinary," said Klaus Topfer, UNEP Executive
Director. "Governments need to unleash this potential by
giving the private sector the signals and incentives it needs.
They also need to remove the economic, legal, behavioral
and institutional barriers that can discourage consumers and
companies from exploiting climate-friendly technologies." See
the UNEP press releases.
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