DOE Funds U.S.-India Joint Clean Energy Research and Development Center

DOE announced on May 16 that it has committed $25 million over the next five years to support the U.S.-India Joint Clean Energy Research and Development Center. This first-of-a-kind effort is a key component of the U.S. and India’s commitment to improve energy access and promote low-carbon growth by facilitating joint research and development of clean energy technologies. Teams of scientists and engineers from the United States and India will initially focus on research in three priority areas: building energy efficiency, second-generation biofuels, and solar energy. President Obama and India’s Prime Minister Singh signed a comprehensive Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on November 24, 2009, for their nations to work together to accelerate the development and deployment of clean energy technology.

DOE will provide awards under each of the center’s three initial priority areas. Funding will be matched by U.S. grantees, and the Indian Ministry of Science and Technology will provide another $50 million in public and private funds for research in India. Universities, national laboratories, private companies, and others are eligible to apply. Applications are due by August 16, 2011, with selections expected later this fall.More info at

Green Power Leaders Shine on Campus and among Utilities

DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) on May 9 released its annual assessment of leading utility green power programs. Under these voluntary programs, offered by more than 850 U.S. utilities, consumers can choose to help support additional electricity production from renewable resources. Green power sales from utility programs exceeded 6 million megawatt-hours (MWh) in 2010. Energy from wind, landfill gas, biomass, small hydro, and solar is included in this year’s sources. Wind energy now represents more than three-fourths of electricity generated for green energy programs nationwide.

Using information provided by utilities, NREL developed rankings of utility green power programs for 2010 in a variety of categories. The rankings by renewable energy sales in kilowatt-hours (kWh/year) repeated last year’s top five: Austin Energy in Austin, Texas—which sold the largest amount of renewable energy in the nation—followed by Portland General Electric (Oregon), PacifiCorp (Oregon and five other states), the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (California), and Xcel Energy (Colorado, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and New Mexico). Also repeating from last year, the City of Palo Alto Utilities (California) recorded the largest percentage of customers participating, with more than 20% of its consumers enrolled in its green power program, which began in 2003. NREL has tracked green power programs since 2000.More info at

Energy Star Building Projects Honored

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on May 12 that 79 commercial building design projects achieved Designed to Earn the Energy Star certification in the past year. In total, the projects are estimated to save nearly 46,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually and more than $7 million in annual energy costs across nearly 6.5 million square feet. Twelve of the projects attained an estimated carbon dioxide emissions reduction of 50% or more, meeting Energy Star, American Institute of Architects (AIA), and industry goals for a 50% carbon dioxide reduction in new construction by 2030. Energy Star is a joint program of DOE and EPA.

EPA estimates that if they are built as designed, the projects will prevent greenhouse gas emissions equal to the emissions from more than 54,000 vehicles per year and will save more than $26 million in annual energy costs. For the past several years, EPA and AIA have worked together to promote the Designed to Earn the Energy Star certification for new building design projects. An architecture firm can achieve the certification for its projects by comparing the project’s intended energy performance against the average energy use of comparable operating buildings using EPA’s online tool Target Finder. Once the building is occupied, owners can track its actual energy performance using Portfolio Manager, EPA’s measurement and tracking tool, and can earn Energy Star certification if the building performs as planned.More info at

An Update on DOE’s Loan Programs

President Obama has made it clear that the nation that wins the clean energy race will likely be the nation that leads the global economy. In just over two years, DOE’s Loan Programs Office has become one of our most significant and most effective tools to meet this challenge and promote America’s leadership in clean energy production and manufacturing.

In that time, DOE has issued loans, loan guarantees, and conditional commitments for loan guarantees to 28 clean energy projects, 16 of which have reached “financial close,” meaning that they have met all requirements and their full loans are finalized. That equates to over $30 billion in financing for those projects with total project costs of over $47 billion. Project sponsors estimate these 28 projects will create or save over 61,000 jobs, including construction and operating jobs, while also building a foundation for clean energy technology manufacturing here in the United States.

One of the three types of loans or loan guarantees offered by the Loan Programs Office—Section 1705 loan guarantees from the Recovery Act—will expire by statute on September 30, 2011. To qualify, projects must have commenced construction and closed their loan guarantees by that date. Under 1705, DOE has issued 19 loan guarantees or conditional commitments since March 2009 that total $11 billion in investment.More info at

How Elyria, Ohio, Is Putting Money Back in Its Citizens’ Pockets

Elyria might be the quintessential middle-class American town. Located just off the coast of Lake Erie in northern Ohio, Elyria boasts a rich history rooted in the successes of an array of small businesses dating back to the early 19th century. Unfortunately, more and more of those businesses have had to close up shop in recent years due to the economic challenges facing many of our historic rust belt towns.

So, when the city was awarded $535,500 as part of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program, city officials decided to take that money back to the people by encouraging homeowners to make energy improvements and weatherize their homes through rebate incentives.More info at

CHIP House Takes Design to Different Heights in U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011

The team of students from the Southern California Institute of Architecture and California Institute of Technology, otherwise known as the SCI-Arc/Caltech Solar Decathlon team, have teamed up to take an interesting approach to the design of their Solar Decathlon home. Unlike the other houses the DOE Energy Blog has profiled, CHIP—which stands for “Compact House Infinite Possibilities”—looks nothing like a traditional home from the outside, but if all goes as planned, it will achieve ultra high efficiency energy use for its occupants.

In what can only be described as a truly “out of the box” approach to the design of the home (pun intended), the SCI-Arc/Caltech team has wrapped the polygonal home in a “skin” that acts as what the team refers to as “outsulation.” This skin is a system of cellulose-filled batts fastened in layers to the outside surface of the roof (underneath the home’s 235-watt photovoltaic panels) and exterior walls. This forms a shell, which is wrapped in airtight and water-resistant architectural grade polymer-coated vinyl.More info at

Renewables Could Provide almost 80% of Global Energy by 2050: UN Report

Nearly 80% of the global energy supply could be met by renewables by 2050 if backed by the correct public policies, a new United Nations report shows. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, released on May 9, indicates that the rising adoption of renewable energies could lead to cumulative greenhouse gas savings equivalent to 220-560 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide between 2010 and 2050. The upper end of the scenarios assessed, representing a cut of around a third in greenhouse gas emissions from business-as-usual projections, could assist in keeping concentrations of greenhouse gases at 450 parts per million.

The report’s findings are contained in a summary of the “Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation.” The summary is a short version of a roughly a thousand-page comprehensive assessment compiled by more than 120 leading experts from all over the world for the IPCC. The report noted that the substantial increase of renewables is very challenging technically and politically. The six renewable energy technologies reviewed included bioenergy, solar, power, geothermal power, hydropower, ocean energy, and wind energy. More than 160 existing scientific scenarios on the possible use of renewables by 2050 were reviewed.More info at



CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES (CCRES)• was founded in 1988 as the non-profit European Association for Renewable Energy that conducts its work independently of political parties, institutions, commercial enterprises and interest groups, • is dedicated to the cause of completely substituting for nuclear and fossil energy through renewable energy, • regards solar energy supply as essential to preserve the natural resources and a prerequisite for a sustainable economy,• acts to change conventional political priorities and common infrastructures in favor of renewable energy, from the local to the international level, • brings together expertise from the fields of politics, economy, science, and culture to promote the entry of solar energy, • provides the opportunity to play a part in the sociocultural movement for renewable energy by joining the association for everyone, • considers full renewable energy supply a momentous and visionary goal - the challenge of the century to humanity. Zeljko Serdar Head of CCRES association

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