EREN Network News
October 31, 2001
News and Events
- 24 Megawatts of Wind Power Go Online in Pennsylvania
- New Solar Power Installed in California, Coming to Ohio
- Ballard Power Systems Unveils New High-Power Fuel Cell
- Calpine Acquisition Aims at 49.5-Megawatt Geothermal Plant
- One Third of PG&E, SCE Customers Qualified for 20/20 Program
- Los Angeles to Try "Smart" Power Metering for Businesses
Energy Facts and Tips
- Updated Web Site Launched in Honor of "Weatherization Day"
About this Newsletter
- U.S. Energy Situation: Updates in the Wake of September 11th
News and Events
24 Megawatts of Wind Power Go Online in Pennsylvania
The switch was flipped last week on two new wind power
plants in Pennsylvania that will nearly triple the wind power
capacity in the eastern United States. The 9-megawatt
Somerset wind project and the 15-megawatt Mill Run wind
project were both brought online last Wednesday. Together,
the 16 wind turbines at the two projects will produce enough
electricity each year to power 8,200 Pennsylvania homes.
See the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection press release.
More than three-quarters of the wind power from the new energy projects has already been purchased, and most of it is going to three universities, one water utility, and one business. Those five wind power purchases by the University of Pennsylvania, Penn State University, Carnegie Mellon University, Philadelphia Suburban Water Corporation, and Giant Eagle, Inc. are the largest retail purchases of wind power to date in the United States. Penn State will purchase 13.2 million kilowatt-hours annually, which is more than the output of three of the turbines. Giant Eagle will purchase nearly 3 million kilowatt-hours of wind power over the next five years.
The wind farms were built through joint ventures of Atlantic
Renewable Energy Corporation and Zilkha Renewable
Energy, using 1.5-megawatt wind turbines produced by the
Enron Wind Corporation. The Exelon Power Team is the
long-term wholesale purchaser of the wind power, and
Community Energy, Inc. is selling the power to commercial
and residential customers.
New Solar Power Installed in California, Coming to Ohio
Schott Applied Power Corporation (SAPC) announced last
week the completion of a 113-kilowatt solar power
installation in Riverside, California. The system of
cantilevered photovoltaic panels acts as a carport, providing
shade for 152 parking spaces for the city's Utilities
Operations Center, while generating power that is fed into
the power grid. Under sunny conditions, the system
generates enough electricity to power 100 homes. See the
SAPC press release.
Ohio is also slated for a new solar electric system in the near
future. Green Mountain Energy Company (GMEC)
announced last week that it will help construct a 25-kilowatt
solar power system at Lake Farmpark in Kirkland, Ohio. The
solar power system will be one source of green power for
100 local communities that the company is serving through
the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council. In addition, the
company is performing a wind feasibility study in Ohio to
evaluate potential wind power sites. See the GMEC press release
Ballard Power Systems Unveils New High-Power Fuel Cell
Ballard Power Systems fired the latest round in the fuel-cell
performance war last week when it unveiled its new high-
power fuel cell, the Mark 902. Ballard's fourth-generation fuel
cell can serve either transportation needs or stationary
power applications and can be sized from 10 to 300 kilowatts
in power capacity. Passenger vehicles typically need about
35 kilowatts of power; transit buses will require the 300-kilowatt
model. The company has already shipped evaluation versions
of the fuel cell and expects to deliver production versions by
the end of this year. See the Ballard press release.
According to Ballard, the Mark 902 fuel cell can produce as
much as 2.2 kilowatts of electricity per liter of fuel cell
volume. This high "power density" is necessary for
transportation applications, which need a compact and
powerful energy source. The struggle to achieve high power
densities is fueling a rivalry in the fuel cell industry: Just one
month ago, General Motors (GM) was boasting about its
1.75-kilowatt-per-liter fuel cell, which at that time was the top
performer. See the September 26th edition of the EREN Network News.
GM, meanwhile, has formed a strategic partnership with Hydrogenics Corporation, a fuel-cell company. The two companies have already built a backup power system that uses an electrolyzer to generate hydrogen when the power is on. When grid power is lost, the system uses a fuel cell to generate electricity from the hydrogen. Yesterday, Nextel Communications signed an agreement with Hydrogenics to install a 25-kilowatt demonstration system at a cell tower site in California.
Calpine Acquisition Aims at 49.5-Megawatt Geothermal Plant
Calpine Corporation announced its acquisition of new
geothermal development rights in northern California
yesterday, a move intended to pave the way for development
of a 49.5-megawatt geothermal power plant in the area.
Calpine acquired two companies that owned most of the
geothermal development rights in the Glass Mountain
Known Geothermal Resource Area, located about 30 miles
south of the Oregon border. That acquisition gave Calpine
the geothermal development rights for nearly the entire
Glass Mountain area, totaling 66 square miles. The company
says the power plant, called the Fourmile Hill Geothermal
Project, is in advanced development and should go online in
late 2004. Calpine already has incentive financing from the
California Energy Commission and a power purchase
agreement with DOE's Bonneville Power Administration. See Calpine press release.
One Third of PG&E, SCE Customers Qualified for 20/20 Program
About one third of the electric customers of California's two
largest utilities Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E)
and Southern California Edison (SCE) cut their electricity
use by more than 20 percent for at least one of the past four
summer months, the two utilities announced recently. That
energy savings earned those customers an additional
20 percent off their bills through the state's 20/20 rebate
PG&E, which has 4.6 million electric customers, announced
on Monday that its customers earned a total of $120 million
in savings that's in addition to the savings caused by their
reduced electricity use. The utility says that more than half of
its customers cut their electricity use by at least 5 percent
during the summer months of June through September. See
the PG&E press release.
SCE reported last week that 32 percent of all the bills it had
processed as of October 5th qualified for the rebate. The
average savings per bill was $25, for a total of nearly
$117 million in credits for all qualifying customers.
See the SCE press release.
Arizona was doing its part this summer as well. Governor
Jane Dee Hull announced in mid-October that six major
state agencies reduced their energy use by 5 percent in July
and August (compared to last year's energy use), saving
$130,000 in energy costs and helping to avoid power
shortages. The state had instituted an energy-saving
campaign called "It's No Sweat," which emphasized simple
ways to save energy without inconvenience. See the
governor's press release.
Los Angeles to Try "Smart" Power Metering for Businesses
The Los Angeles Department of Power and Water (LADWP)
is preparing to install "smart" real-time electricity meters for
3,400 of its large business customers. The metering systems
will allow businesses to manage and forecast their energy
loads in real-time, calculate bills in detail based on when
they use power, and even monitor their energy usage on the
Internet. The system will also transmit outage and power
usage data via satellite to LADWP's communications center.
The systems are being provided by Siemens Power
Transmission & Distribution, Inc., which claims that the
systems will reduce electricity bills by 15 percent and free up
enough energy to power 240,000 households. See the
Siemens press release.
Puget Sound Energy in Washington already has more than
five months experience with a similar program aimed at
residential customers. The utility's experiment with time-of-
day pricing for 300,000 of its residential customers was
recently approved to continue through May 2002. In addition,
the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission
authorized the utility to begin charging variable, time-of-day
electricity rates to approximately 20,000 businesses.
According to Puget Sound Energy, power usage data from
June and July indicate that variable, time-sensitive rates are
promoting a strong conservation ethic among its customers.
Residential customers paying time-of-day rates shifted about
5 percent of their electricity usage, on average, away from
the morning and early evening hours, when power prices are
highest. These customers also reduced their overall
electricity use in June by more than 6 percent compared to
June 2000. See the Puget Sound Energy press release.
Updated Web Site Launched in Honor of "Weatherization Day"
Today is Halloween, of course, but did you know that
yesterday was "Weatherization Day"? Secretary of Energy
Spencer Abraham marked the DOE-designated day by
noting that the department's Weatherization Assistance
Program is helping U.S. households save an average of
$300 in heating and cooling costs this year. Since 1976, the
program has weatherized the homes of nearly five million
low-income families across the United States. See the DOE
DOE also marked the occasion by launching a newly updated
Web site for the Weatherization Assistance Program. The
new site features a clean design and simple navigation to
information that state officials and applicants need about the
program, its benefits, eligibility requirements, and DOE
guidelines. The site also features a map-driven guide to
weatherization activities that are being carried out in each
state. See the new Weatherization Assistance Program Web site.
For this and other recent additions to the EREN Web site.
Energy Facts and Tips
U.S. Energy Situation: Updates in the Wake of September 11th
Since the September 11th terrorist attacks on the United
States, U.S. energy security has been a strong focus of
attention, while concerns about U.S. energy supplies and
energy market disruptions have risen (although energy
prices have generally fallen since the attacks). Seeing a
need for constantly updated information, DOE's Energy
Information Administration (EIA) has established the Energy
Situation Analysis Report, which provides the latest energy
market highlights, weekly petroleum information, U.S.
petroleum price and supply statistics, and other information
related to energy markets. The October 30th edition, for
example, includes a quote from U.S. Homeland Security
Director Tom Ridge about the need for increased security
within the energy industry. According to EIA, the report will
be produced as long as events warrant. See the latest
Energy Situation Analysis Report on the EIA Web site.
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