EREN Network News
October 3, 2001
News and Events
- Tuscon Electric Achieves One Megawatt of Solar Capacity
- California PUC Decision Prohibits New Green Power Marketing
- Two New Wind Installations Online in California
- Ford, DaimlerChrysler Increase Commitment to Ballard
- GAO Study Finds Promise in Bus Rapid Transit
- IBM Launches Low-Power Computing Effort
Energy Facts and Tips
- Canadian Agricultural New Uses Council
About this Newsletter
- Summer 2001 Fifth Warmest on Record in United States
News and Events
Tuscon Electric Achieves One Megawatt of Solar Capacity
Tuscon Electric Power Co. (TEP) announced Monday its
successful installation of more than one megawatt of solar
generating capacity, enough to meet the energy needs of
roughly 200 homes. TEP owns 315 kilowatts of solar
generating capacity in Tucson and recently installed
619 kilowatts of solar panels at its Springerville Generating
Station near Springerville, Arizona. TEP, Global Solar
Energy, and Southwest Energy Solutions plan to expand the
Springerville facility to 1.35 megawatts (1,350 kilowatts) by
the end of this year. The system is being financed by
customers through their voluntary participation in the
company's GreenWatts program. See the TEP press release.
Utility programs such as GreenWatts, known as "green
pricing" programs, have led to new or planned installations of
282 megawatts of renewable energy enough to supply the
power needs of 110,000 homes according to a new report
from DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
Such programs are now offered by 85 utilities in 29 states.
The NREL study found that the design and marketing of the
green pricing program is the key to success. In terms of the
amount of new renewable energy produced, the most
successful programs are run by the Los Angeles Department
of Power and Water (LADWP), Austin Energy in Texas, and
the Public Service Company of Colorado. In terms of
customer participation, the leaders are Moorhead Public
Service in Minnesota, LADWP, Holy Cross Energy in
Colorado, and Madison Gas and Electric in Minnesota.
See the NREL press release.
Consumers Energy, Michigan's largest utility, is the latest to
offer a green pricing program. The company announced
Monday that customers can now sign up for its Green Power
Pilot Program. The surcharge for 100 percent green power is
3.2 cents per kilowatt-hour. See the Consumers Energy
California PUC Decision Prohibits New Green Power Marketing
The California Public Utility Commission (PUC) decided in
late September to suspend so-called direct access in the
state, thereby prohibiting current utility customers from
buying their electricity from other power providers. The
decision effectively prohibits the marketing of green power
products directly to consumers in the state, although it allows
green power companies to continue existing agreements
with their customers.
California's Department of Water Resources (DWR) started
buying power for the state in January when financial
difficulties hit the state's largest utilities. To stabilize power
prices, DWR then entered into long-term contracts to
purchase power. This power will be sold to California
consumers through their utilities, but alternative power
providers offered a way for consumers to avoid buying that
power. To assure that consumers continue to buy power
from their utilities and thus repay the state for those long-
term power contracts, a state bill required that the PUC
suspend direct access and cut off those alternative ways of
buying power. Although some had hoped that the PUC
would make an exception for the green power market, no
exception was included in the PUC's final decision.
See the final decision on the PUC Web site. Also see the PUC's discussion of the issue, published for comment in late August.
Note that although green power marketing is halted in
California, the state's new power authority is committed to
buying renewable energy for the state's power supplies. See
the September 19th edition of EREN Network News.
Some of the DWR's long-term contracts also draw on
renewable energy sources, as demonstrated by the following
Two New Wind Installations Online in California
SeaWest WindPower, Inc. and PG&E National Energy
Group announced Monday that two new wind projects
Mountain View Power Partners I and II are now online in
California. With a total capacity of 66.6 megawatts, the wind
installations will produce enough power for more than 40,000
homes. The projects are located near the San Gorgonio
Pass in the Palm Springs area, a strong wind resource area
that has been producing wind power since the early 1980s.
The California Department of Water Resources will buy the
power from the projects under a long-term contract. See the SeaWest WindPower
press release on the Web site.
Ford, DaimlerChrysler Increase Commitment to Ballard
Ford Motor Company and DaimlerChrysler AG announced
an agreement yesterday with Ballard Power Systems Inc. of
Canada that further cements the commitment of the two auto
companies to Ballard as a fuel cell supplier. The agreement
passes ownership of XCELLSIS GmbH, a fuel-cell engine
company, and Ecostar Electric Drive Systems LLC, a
producer of electric drive trains, to Ballard. Those companies
were previously owned jointly by the three parties. In return,
DaimlerChrysler and Ford will increase their ownership of
Ballard by an estimated $348 million (in U.S. dollars) worth
of stock trades. The three parties are also entering into a
20-year alliance, and Ford and DaimlerChrysler are
committing to invest an additional $103.5 million (in U.S.
dollars) over the next three years. See the Ballard press
GAO Study Finds Promise in Bus Rapid Transit
With many cities balking at the high cost of light rail and
other forms of mass transit, some are considering an
alternative approach using buses bus rapid transit. This
approach attempts to gain some of the advantages of light
rail by using buses on exclusive highways, on high-
occupancy vehicle lanes, or similar approaches. A recent
Government Accounting Office (GAO) study examined bus
rapid transit, comparing it to light rail and noting its
advantages and disadvantages. The study, released last
week, confirmed that bus rapid transit has lower capital costs
than light rail and found that neither system has an
advantage in terms of operating costs. Although bus rapid
transit has more flexibility than light rail, transit officials
believe the permanence of light rail encourages economic
development along its path, which helps to justify its higher
capital cost. See the GAO report, "Bus Rapid Transit Shows
Promise," (PDF 1.12 MB), (Download Acrobat Reader).
IBM Launches Low-Power Computing Effort
International Business Machines Corporation (IBM)
announced on Monday its launch of a new low-power
computing research effort, aimed at achieving energy
efficiency in information technology. Coordinated out of its
research lab in Austin, Texas, the research effort will
accelerate the development of energy-efficient chips,
computers, servers, and other components. A complementary
consulting service will help customers lower their information
technology energy use.
IBM has already demonstrated some success in energy-
efficient computing. The company's eServer z900 mainframe
was recently recognized by the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency for its energy-saving capabilities, and
Gap Inc. recently bought one because of its energy
efficiency, according to IBM. The company has also
developed new chip designs that it claims will allow
computers to use only one-tenth of their current energy
consumption. See the IBM press release.
IBM isn't the only information technology company that's
targeting energy efficiency Tadpole and Platform
Computing announced last week a new system called
"PowerBack" for use in data centers. The companies claim
the new system will power down servers when computing
demand is low, and then automatically power them back up
when computing demand increases. See the press release
on the Tadpole Web site.
Yet another company has a simpler energy-saving solution
for data centers. Instead of cooling the entire room, Sanmina
Corporation claims its new enclosed cabinets will allow data
centers to cool only the equipment-packed cabinets. The
company claims energy savings can be as high as 50 percent.
See the Samnina press release.
Canadian Agricultural New Uses Council
This site provides information on the industrial uses of
agriculture, including biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel,
biopower (producing electricity from agricultural products),
and bioproducts (products made from crops instead of
petrochemicals). The site is built around two databases an
"expert network" and a document library and it allows
users to access this information by country, by technology,
by end product, and via many other categories. The Council
is also producing analyses of product supply chains and
posting them on the site.
For this and other recent additions to the EREN Web site.
Energy Facts and Tips
Summer 2001 Fifth Warmest on Record in United States
The period from June through August in 2001 was the fifth
warmest on record in the continental United States,
according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA). August 2001 was the fourth
warmest on record. See the NOAA press release.
The situation looks worse on a global scale the global
average land and sea surface temperature was the second
warmest on record. For a detailed account, including maps
and trend graphs, see the "U.S. National" and "Global
Analysis" sections of NOAA's National Climatic Data Center
(NCDC) Web site.
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