Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Some of you, especially those involve in building construction, maybe interested in the articles below. As these years theme would say, "Go Green". (once again, courtesy of Dr. Florence T. Cua)

Elbert R. Regacho, P.E.

Electrical Engineer

Technical Services Branch


Phone: (312) 353-7504

Fax: (312) 353-9628
----- Forwarded by Elbert R. Regacho/5PCT/R05/GSA/GOV on 06/04/2008 04:11 PM -----

A weekly newsletter from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). The EERE Network News is also available on the Web at:
May 07, 2008
News and Events

DOE Helps Greensburg, Kansas, Rebuild as a Wind-Powered City
DOE Offers $60 Million for Concentrating Solar Power Research
DOE Offers $7.5 Million for Advanced Water Power Technologies
Ohio Requires 25% Renewable or Advanced Energy by 2025
Long Island Utility Calls for 50 Megawatts of Solar Power
New Jersey Utility Offers $105 Million in Solar Loans
Energy Connections
Record Oil Prices Spur More Increases in Projected Energy Costs
News and EventsDOE Helps Greensburg, Kansas, Rebuild as a Wind-Powered City

When BNIM Architects designed this new school for Greensburg, DOE provided technical advice about the use of solar electric systems, daylighting, and other energy efficiency and renewable energy features.
Credit: BNIM Architects

DOE's work with the city of Greensburg, Kansas, over the past year is bearing fruit, as the city is now rebuilding with a new emphasis on energy efficient buildings and renewable energy, particularly wind energy. Greensburg was devastated by a tornado on May 4, 2007, after which the city announced its plans to rebuild as a model of sustainability. When Greensburg contacted DOE for assistance, the agency sent a team of experts from its National Renewable Energy Laboratory to conduct studies; develop renewable energy and energy efficient business strategies; and assemble financing and ownership options to produce or procure renewable energy technologies. DOE opened an office in Greensburg and helped the city develop and pass a resolution that all large city buildings achieve LEED Platinum certification, the highest green building rating available under the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. Greensburg is the first city in the United States to pass such a strict green building requirement.

DOE has invested $1.25 million in its assistance to Greensburg, helping the city to design energy efficient buildings and power the entire town with renewable energy. As Kansas has the third-highest potential of any state for wind energy, Greensburg has decided to develop a 3- to 4-megawatt wind energy system, which is expected to produce enough energy over the course of a year to equal the city's electricity needs. While the community will still be connected to the electrical grid, the system will also include backup emergency generators that run on biodiesel. During the current fiscal year, DOE will provide Greensburg with a minimum of $500,000 in additional funding for energy efficient buildings and wind generation technical support. See the DOE press release, the City of Greensburg Web site, and the Greensburg GreenTown Web site.

DOE Offers $60 Million for Concentrating Solar Power Research

DOE announced last week that it will provide up to $60 million for concentrating solar power (CSP) projects that focus on advanced thermal energy storage or heat transfer fluids. The DOE funding will go toward both new research and development projects and demonstrations of technologies already under development. DOE anticipates that 10 to 25 industries or academic institutions will be selected to receive this funding, which will be distributed over the next 5 years. With a mandatory private industry cost share of 20% for research and development, and a 50% cost share for demonstrations, more than $75 million could be invested in these projects. Applications are due by July 10. See the DOE press release and the full solicitation on

In the 1990s, DOE investigated the use of thermal energy storage at a solar "power tower" demonstration plant near Barstow, California. Called Solar Two, the facility used molten salt as a heat transfer fluid and stored the hot molten salt in a large underground tank. Enlarge this image.
Credit: Warren Gretz

CSP systems collect thermal energy by absorbing and concentrating energy from the sun. Today's largest systems employ either arrays of parabolic mirrors, which focus the sun's heat on an absorber tube carrying a heat transfer fluid, or "heliostats," which are flat mirrors that focus the sun's heat on a thermal absorber mounted to the top of a "power tower," through which a heat transfer fluid is pumped. The parabolic mirrors can also be replaced with linear Fresnel reflectors. In all those cases, the thermal energy captured by the heat transfer fluid is used as a heat source for a boiler, which generates steam to drive a turbine. Dish-shaped mirrors generally focus the sun's heat on a heat engine, but they can also employ a thermal absorber through which a heat transfer fluid is pumped.

Heat transfer fluids with the capacity to store a lot of thermal energy can be combined with thermal energy storage systems to allow such CSP systems to continue operating after the sun has set, helping to meet peak power demands on hot summer evenings. Thermal energy storage also helps CSP plants to operate continuously on partly cloudy days. Because of these advantages, inexpensive thermal energy storage is considered a key technology for making CSP systems cost-competitive by 2020. For more information about CSP, see EERE's Solar Energy Technology Program.

DOE Offers $7.5 Million for Advanced Water Power Technologies

DOE announced on Monday that it will make up to $7.5 million available to U.S. industries and universities to support the research and development of advanced water power systems, including systems that draw on free-flowing water; ocean waves, tides, or currents; and other water-based resources. Technologies that generate power from free-flowing water are often referred to as "hydrokinetic" technologies. Funding is available for industry-led projects involving in-water testing, development, and deployment of advanced water power technologies.

Funding is also available for projects that facilitate the market penetration of marine and hydrokinetic technologies, including projects to assess wave and tidal energy resources, develop international standards for the technologies, investigate issues with electric grid integration, develop best practices for locating projects, and identify and mitigate potential impacts on navigation. Additionally, universities can apply for funding to establish National Marine Renewable Energy Centers, which will serve as integrated, standardized test centers for marine and hydrokinetic technologies. The centers will also serve as information clearinghouses and will conduct research to advance marine and hydrokinetic energy technologies.

The solicitation is part of DOE's effort to establish a program of research, development, demonstration, and commercial application activities to expand the production of renewable energy from marine and hydrokinetic energy technologies. The new effort was authorized by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which President Bush signed in December. DOE anticipates selecting up to 14 recipients for the in-water testing and market facilitation topics, and up to 3 for the National Marine Renewable Energy Centers. Applications are due on June 16. See the DOE press release and the full solicitation on

Ohio Requires 25% Renewable or Advanced Energy by 2025

Ohio Governor Ted Strickland approved a bill last week that will require the state's utilities to draw on renewable or advanced energy for 25% of their electricity supply by 2025. Senate Bill 221 requires renewable energy to meet at least half of that requirement, which starts at 0.5% by the end of 2009 and gradually ratchets up to 25% by the end of 2024. So the actual renewable energy requirement starts at 0.25% at the end of 2009 and increases to 12.5% by the end of 2024. The bill defines renewable energy as electricity produced from solar electric systems, wind power, geothermal energy, biomass energy, low-impact hydropower, and fuel cells, regardless of their type and the fuel they use. A small fraction of the renewable energy must come from solar energy, starting at 0.004% of all electricity sales by the end of 2009 and increasing to 0.5% of electricity sales by the end of 2024. At least half of the renewable energy facilities must be located within the state, and renewable energy credits may be used to meet the requirement.

The bill deviates from most state renewable energy requirements by allowing half of the 25% requirement to be met through demand-side management, energy efficiency improvements for customers, and efficiency improvements at existing power plants that increase the plants' generating capacity. It also allows for power produced from customer-located cogeneration systems, which produce both heat and electricity, and from "clean coal" power plants, advanced nuclear power plants, and advanced waste-to-energy plants. Utilities that fail to meet the requirements will have to make payments to the state's advanced energy fund, unless the utility can show that the electricity from renewable or advanced energy sources would cost at least 3% more than electricity from traditional energy sources. The bill also lifts some restrictions on net metering of customer-located power generators and lifts all restrictions on net metering of generators located at hospitals. Net metering is a method of giving credit for power fed into the grid by customers.

While allowing energy efficiency and demand-side management programs to meet a portion of the advanced energy requirement, the bill also establishes separate requirements for energy efficiency and demand-side management. Starting in 2009, utilities will have to implement energy efficiency programs that achieve annual energy savings equal to at least 0.3% of their electricity sales, gradually increasing to 1% of sales for 2014-2018, then doubling to 2% of their sales for 2019-2025. By 2025, this will achieve a cumulative energy savings greater than 22% of today's electricity sales. Utilities will also have to implement demand reduction programs designed to achieve a 1% reduction in peak demand in 2009 and an additional 0.75% reduction each year through 2018. To further encourage such programs, the state's utility commission may approve measures to decouple utility revenues from actual electricity sales, that is, if sales go down because of energy-saving programs, the utility's profits won't suffer. Such "revenue decoupling" measures may also be established for natural gas utilities. Utilities must also report on their greenhouse gas emissions and establish plans to control those emissions. See the governor's press release and the full text of the bill.

Long Island Utility Calls for 50 Megawatts of Solar Power

The Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) released a request for proposals (RFP) on Earth Day that calls for 50 megawatts (MW) of solar power to be installed on Long Island. The solar energy could be produced by one or more developers of solar photovoltaic systems and will be fed into the electrical grid and purchased by LIPA. The project developers will own or lease the solar energy systems and sell the power to LIPA under a long-term contract, so the LIPA offer can serve as a way to receive financing for large solar power systems located on Long Island.

The solar power systems must be located on non-residential property, and each system must be at least 100 kilowatts in capacity. The solar energy project will meet nearly 1% of LIPA's power demand and will be the single largest block of solar energy in New York State. To support the RFP, a proposer's conference will be held on May 12. Proposals are due on June 27, and LIPA expects to provide recommendations for an award to its Board of Trustees during the board's October meeting. See the LIPA press release and RFP.

The LIPA project is one example of the rapid growth of solar power in the United States. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), 254 MW of photovoltaic and concentrating solar energy were installed in the United States in 2007. That includes 150 MW of grid-tied photovoltaic systems (systems based on solar cells), bringing the total U.S. grid-tied photovoltaic capacity to 750 MW. See the SEIA press release and full report.

New Jersey Utility Offers $105 Million in Solar Loans

New Jersey's Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G) is now offering up to $105 million in loans for the installation of solar photovoltaic systems. The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) approved the loan package in early April to support the development of 30 megawatts of solar power installations throughout the utility's service area, helping the utility to meet about half of its solar energy requirement for 2009 and 2010. For now, the loans are only available for non-residential customers, but the program will be expanded to residential customers in the future. PSE&G will provide loans to cover roughly 40%-60% of a solar project's costs, offering 10-year loans for residential systems and 15-year loans for non-residential systems. According to PSE&G, the non-residential loans are currently being offered at an interest rate of 11.11%.

The borrower can then repay the loan with cash or with solar renewable energy credits (SRECs), which are created as the solar power systems generate power. Every 1,000 kilowatt-hours of solar generation result in one SREC, which PSE&G will value at the current market price or $475, whichever is higher. The utility's goal is to provide loans for 12 megawatts of solar power at commercial and industrial facilities, 9 megawatts of solar power at municipal and not-for-profit facilities, 6 megawatts of residential solar power, and 3 megawatts of solar power at multi-family and affordable housing units. As of Monday, the loan program had committed to more than 3.1 megawatts of commercial and industrial solar power installations and 330 kilowatts of solar projects at municipal and not-for-profit facilities. See the press releases from the New Jersey BPU (PDF 75 KB) and PSE&G, as well as the PSE&G Solar Loan Program Web page. Download Adobe Reader.

California's Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) is taking another approach to providing its customers with solar power: the utility is paying enXco, Inc. to install a 1-megawatt solar power system, and SMUD's customers can sign up to buy a share of that system. Through the utility's new SolarShares program, customers will pay roughly $5-$30 per month to receive 10%-50% of their power from the solar power system (the utility hasn't released exact cost details yet). The system is being built near Wilton in southern Sacramento County and will be completed in July. According to enXco, the project will be the largest solar power system in the United States that is built to serve voluntary purchases of solar power by a utility's customers. See the press releases from enXco and SMUD (PDF 32 KB), as well as SMUD's "Solar Power for Your Home" Web page.

Energy Connections
Record Oil Prices Spur More Increases in Projected Energy Costs
With crude oil prices reaching $120 per barrel in April, oil prices for 2008 are now expected to average $110 per barrel. DOE's Energy Information Administration (EIA) also projects that oil prices will remain high in 2009, averaging $103 per barrel, up from $92.50 per barrel in last month's forecast. The EIA's "Short-Term Energy Outlook," released yesterday, expects gasoline prices to continue rising in response to the high oil prices, with regular-grade gasoline reaching a peak of $3.73 per gallon in June. The EIA previously expected gasoline prices to peak in spring. Prices for regular gasoline are projected to average $3.66 per gallon for the summer driving season (April through September) and $3.52 per gallon for the year as a whole. Diesel fuel prices are expected to average $3.94 per gallon for 2008, declining to $3.67 per gallon in 2009.

The EIA blames the latest price increases on supply disruptions in Nigeria and the North Sea and warns that the global oil system is operating near its capacity, remaining vulnerable to both actual and perceived supply disruptions. The agency expects crude oil production capacity to increase by early next year, providing some spare capacity to ease the upward pressure on oil prices. Meanwhile, the American Automobile Association's "Daily Fuel Gauge Report" notes that motor fuels again set record prices on May 1, at $3.623 per gallon for regular gasoline and $4.251 per gallon for diesel fuel. See the EIA's "Short-Term Energy Outlook," and for the latest prices on oil and motor fuels, see the New York Mercantile Exchange Web site and the American Automobile Association's "Daily Fuel Gauge Report" Web site.

Given the latest trends, what will the future hold? Shell's latest visit to its crystal ball concludes that the world is facing an unprecedented energy challenge, which the company sums up succinctly as "more energy, less carbon dioxide." The company has developed two scenarios to describe how the future may unfold, the first being "Scramble," in which global policymakers pay little attention to efficient energy use until supplies are tight. The policymakers also avoid addressing greenhouse gas emissions until there are "major climate shocks." The near-term result is a global scramble for energy resources, followed by draconian measures to cut energy use, resulting in severe economic impacts. The second scenario, which Shell describes as "the best hope for a sustainable future," is labeled "Blueprints" and starts with local and regional actions to address energy challenges. These actions eventually link together to form national and international energy policies. Shell declines to say which scenario is more likely, but aspects of both scenarios can be found in recent world energy news. See the Shell scenarios.

This newsletter is funded by DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and is also available on the EERE Web site. You can subscribe to the EERE Network News using our simple online form, and you can also update your email address, add a subscription to EERE Progress Alerts, or unsubscribe using our "Change My Subscription" page.
If you have questions or comments about this newsletter, please contact the editor, Kevin Eber.

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