President Obama Sets Goal to Cut Oil Imports by One-Third
President Barack Obama outlined his energy security plan on March 30, calling for a variety of energy efficiency and renewable energy measures designed to reduce U.S. oil imports by one-third by 2025. The president said that when he took office, the United States was importing 11 million barrels of oil a day. Now, he believes that in little more than a decade, that amount can be cut substantially. The roadmap to achieving that goal is contained in the administration’s “Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future,” which was also released on March 30.
As part of his strategy, the president cited an array of clean energy avenues worth pursuing. He noted that expanding biofuels markets and commercializing new biofuels technologies, such as promising cellulosic and advanced biofuels technologies, could help trim oil imports. To support that, the administration has set a goal of breaking ground on at least four commercial-scale cellulosic or advanced bio-refineries over the next two years. He endorsed setting new fuel economy standards, like the one for model years 2012-16 which will raise average fuel economy to 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016. As part of that effort, the administration in July will finalize the first-ever national fuel economy and greenhouse gas emission standards for commercial trucks. Additionally, the federal government will lead by example and make the 600,000-vehicle federal fleet vehicles more fuel efficient. The president called for administrative action directing agencies to ensure that all new vehicles purchased by 2015 will be alternative-fuel vehicles, namely hybrid or electric vehicles (EVs). Finally, he stressed promoting investments in energy efficiency for the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors. The administration, he said, is on track to weatherize 600,000 low-income homes through American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding, and pursuing a series of policies that will increase efficiency across sectors.
He reiterated that he has set a goal of having one million electric vehicles on U.S. roads by 2015. To reach this target, the government has created incentives for companies to develop these vehicles, and for consumers who want them to buy them. Already, clean energy investments, such as competitive grants for companies to develop the next generation of batteries for EVs, have helped to create a new U.S. high tech battery industry. Overall, the president said the United States must focus on expanding cleaner sources of electricity to build a clean energy economy.More info at http://solarserdar.blogspot.com
Major Corporate Fleets Align to Reduce Oil Consumption
Surrounded by cutting-edge vehicles, from all-electric trucks to hydraulic hybrids, President Obama announced on April 1 the National Clean Fleets Partnership, an initiative of DOE’s Clean Cities program, at a UPS fleet facility in Landover, Maryland. This public-private partnership will draw on the expertise of DOE to help large companies reduce diesel and gasoline use in their fleets by incorporating electric vehicles, alternative fuels, and fuel-saving measures into their operations.
Charter members of this partnership include AT&T, FedEx Corporation, PepsiCo, UPS, and Verizon Communications. These companies represent five of the nation’s 10 largest fleets and collectively operate over 275,000 vehicles. They are committing to deploy more than 20,000 advanced technology vehicles that are expected to save more than 7 million gallons of fuel per year. It was exciting for Clean Cities coalitions and stakeholders to see the Obama Administration’s support for our work and the efforts of participating companies.
The Partnership is focused on major fleets because these work vehicles can use much more petroleum than the typical driver. While an average American drives about 12,000 miles a year, a fleet vehicle, like a delivery truck, may travel more than twice as far. When the petroleum and emissions reduction potential for that single truck is multiplied across a fleet of thousands, it adds up to a tremendous social, economic, and environmental benefit. Helping fleets reduce their petroleum use through options such as electric drive vehicles, biofuels, natural gas, propane, idle reduction, and fuel economy improves America’s energy security while reducing carbon pollution and other harmful emissions.More info at http://solarserdar.blogspot.com.
DOE to Award $112 Million in SunShot Projects to Advance PV Manufacturing
DOE announced on April 5 its selection of three recipients for up to $112.5 million in funding over five years to support the U.S. development of advanced manufacturing processes for solar photovoltaic (PV) modules. DOE’s SunShot Advanced Manufacturing Partnerships will assist the solar power industry to overcome technical barriers and reduce costs for PV installations, help the United States regain the lead in the global market for solar technologies, and provide support for clean energy jobs. By engaging multiple companies across the PV supply chain, the SunShot Advanced Manufacturing Partnerships program is designed to have broad impact on the U.S. solar industry. Selected projects will create organizations designed to bring PV companies together in a coordinated environment to address common technology needs.
The selected projects are: the Bay Area PV Consortium (BAPVC)—managed by Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley—which will fund industry-relevant research and development to impact high-volume PV manufacturing using a competitive selection process open to all universities; SVTC Technologies in San Jose, California, which will create a fee-for-service PV Manufacturing Development Facility that will enable start-ups, materials suppliers, and other PV innovators to eliminate a major portion of their up-front capital and operating costs during product development and pilot production, with a focus on silicon solar cells; and the U.S. Photovoltaic Manufacturing Consortium, managed by SEMATECH, will coordinate an industry-driven research and development initiative to accelerate the development, manufacturing, and commercialization of next-generation copper indium gallium selenide, or CIGS, thin-film PV manufacturing technologies, driving down the cost and risk of bring them to market.
The investments are part of DOE’s SunShot Initiative, which aims to reduce the total costs of photovoltaic solar energy systems by about 75% so that they are cost competitive at large scale with other forms of energy without subsidies by the end of the decade. Achieving this goal, equivalent to approximately $1 a watt or roughly 6 cents per kilowatt-hour for utility systems, would allow solar energy systems to be broadly deployed across the country.More info at http://solarserdar.blogspot.com.
U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 Team Uses Appalachian Mountain History to Model Home
In honor of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011—which challenges 20 collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive—we are profiling each of the 20 teams participating in the competition. For our second profile, we spoke with Appalachian State University’s faculty advisors Jamie Russell and Chad Everhart about The Solar Homestead, their team’s entry into the competition. Both Chad and Jamie are professors from the university’s Building Science program in the Department of Technology. Chad provided guidance for the architecture and design portions of the project, while Jamie helped with the engineering side of things.
Chad told us that the original idea for The Solar Homestead was created in the fall of 2009 by a group of eight graduate students who put together a design proposal for entry into the Decathlon. The team, he says, was inspired by the pioneer spirit of the early settlers in the mountain region of North Carolina near the school’s current location.More info at http://solarserdar.blogspot.com.
CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES ( CCRES )