Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources

October 19, 2011

News and Events

DOE Lauds Winners of 2011 Federal Energy and Water Management Awards

Photo of a man in a hard hat working on the electronics for a light.

Master Sgt. Russ Wells of Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, tests an LED light. A team from the base, which leads the Air Force’s LED initiative, was honored for its efficiency program.
Credit: U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Ashley Tyler

DOE on October 13 lauded the winners of the 30th annual Federal Energy and Water Management Awards. These awards recognize the commitment by federal agencies to invest in efficiency measures that save money for taxpayers, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and create a stronger economy.

In 2011, 29 individuals, teams, and organizations across the federal government received awards for outstanding and innovative efforts to implement sustainable strategies that improve energy, water, and vehicle fleet efficiency. Winners include employees from DOE as well as the Departments of Agriculture, Homeland Security, Interior, and Veterans Affairs; the U.S. Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Defense Logistics Agency; and the General Services Administration.

The 2011 winners contributed to 7.9 trillion Btu of energy savings through initiatives across the federal government, an amount equivalent to the energy consumed by 83,000 households in a year. Winning initiatives also helped avoid the use of 49.6 million gallons of fuel—an amount equivalent to removing more than 113,000 cars from the road for one year—and they facilitated savings of more than $162 million in costs and 3.4 billion gallons of water. Additionally, these projects helped offset more than 250 billion Btu of fossil-based energy through a combination of renewable energy generation and purchases, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of more than 1.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. These efforts are also helping move cutting-edge clean energy technologies into the marketplace, create new jobs, and strengthen U.S. national security.

Over the past 30 years, winners have saved almost $16 billion and an estimated 770 trillion Btu of energy. This is enough energy to provide all the energy needs of federal government facilities for two years. See the DOE press release and complete list of winners.

New Clean Energy Partnership with the Republic of Korea Announced

DOE and the Republic of Korea signed on October 10 a new agreement establishing the U.S.-Korea Clean Energy Technology Partnership that will strengthen bilateral cooperation in clean energy technology research and development. The United States and the Republic of Korea cooperate closely in many multilateral initiatives, including the Major Economies Forum, Clean Energy Ministerial, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, the International Energy Agency, and the Korea-led Global Green Growth Institute.

The agreement states that the two countries will cooperate on clean energy research in energy efficiency, renewable energy, smart grid technology, green transportation, carbon capture and storage, and energy storage systems. Researchers from both countries will be able to exchange scientific and technical information, organize workshops, and consult to promote joint research and development projects, among other forms of collaboration. See the DOE press release.

City of New Orleans Launches Home Energy Efficiency Program

DOE applauded on October 3 the launch of the City of New Orleans’ NOLA Wise, one of DOE’s Better Buildings Neighborhood projects. The $1.7 million initiative, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will allow participants to increase the comfort, safety, and affordability of their homes through energy-saving home improvements. Through DOE’s Better Buildings Neighborhood Program, 41 projects are bringing state and local governments and partnering organizations together to provide high quality, accessible, and affordable energy improvements to homes and businesses across the nation to reduce energy use and save families money on their energy bills.

NOLA Wise, managed by the environmental nonprofit Global Green USA, helps homeowners through every step of the energy efficiency improvement process. Through the NOLA Wise program, New Orleans homeowners can learn about energy efficiency, gain access to home energy assessors and nationally certified green building contractors, and qualify for low-interest loans to make energy-efficient home upgrades. NOLA Wise also provides a project management service to ensure that homeowners receive professional and thorough home energy assessments and high-quality work from approved contractors. NOLA Wise expects to expand its market from residential clients to commercial properties in its second year.

The Better Buildings Neighborhood Program is part of the Better Buildings Initiative within DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The Better Buildings Neighborhood Program will leverage an estimated $3 billion in additional resources over the next three years after getting $500 million in DOE funding. The program aims to save consumers about $65 million annually on energy bills.

Better Buildings’ community partnerships support growth in the energy efficiency upgrade market by implementing innovative approaches to deliver energy improvements, bringing real solutions to market, and defining sustainable business models. The lessons learned from Better Buildings programs will be shared as promising approaches for improving the delivery of comprehensive energy efficiency upgrade programs that communities and administrators across the nation can adopt and implement. See the DOE press release and Better Buildings Web page.

SunShot Success: GE to Make PrimeStar Solar Panels at New Colorado Plant

On October 13, General Electric (GE) announced that it will build a new thin-film photovoltaic (PV) solar panel manufacturing facility in Aurora, Colorado. The plant will produce highly efficient, low-cost panels that are based on innovative technology originally developed at DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

GE expects that the plant will produce enough solar panels annually to provide electricity to 80,000 homes and that the project will create 355 jobs in Colorado over the next three to five years. The company expects that the factory’s manufacturing lines will be producing panels beginning next year and that the panels will be available for sale starting in 2013.

As noted in an earlier post, the panels to be produced at the plant are based on cadmium telluride thin-film PV technology initially developed by a team of researchers at NREL, and later commercialized by Colorado start-up PrimeStar Solar. GE announced its outright acquisition of PrimeStar, along with plans to invest $600 million around the company’s technology—plans that now officially include the plant in Aurora. See the Energy Blog post.

Regional Partnerships Target Technology Commercialization, Job Growth

Photo of two men working in a lab.

Dr. Thomas O’Neal of the University of Central Florida at Optigrate, a manufacturer of optical electronic components.

A project aimed at spurring growth in clean technologies—the Igniting Innovation Cleantech Acceleration Network—is helping to support the economically depressed area surrounding Orlando, Florida, by providing an extensive network of resources for entrepreneurs.

It’s one of three partnerships DOE selected for funding as part of the i6 Green Challenge, which is a $12 million initiative that rewards innovative, groundbreaking ideas that enable technology commercialization, job creation, and economic growth. The i6 Green Challenge builds on the success of the Obama Administration’s i6 Challenge, and more specifically targets the clean energy technology markets of the 21st century.

“America’s economy depends on both innovation and commercialization,” U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra said. “These six proof-of-concept centers will help to accelerate the commercialization of products based on exciting new research and support the development of green jobs in regions across the country.” See the Energy Blog post.

A Barn Raising for the 21st Century

In bygone years, neighbors in rural America would share their time, tools, and talent to raise a barn for a neighbor in need. This year, Benton County, Oregon, residents demonstrated this same commitment to community at the Benton County Fairgrounds, but they didn’t build any ordinary barn. They constructed a livestock building powered by 306 roof-top solar modules funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

“This building was built in the spirit of the traditional barn raising,” said Eric Thompson, past chair of the Benton County Fair Board and current Fairgrounds Foundation member, referring community coming together to build something of utility.

The array will meet nearly a quarter of the fairgrounds’ annual energy needs and cut energy costs by $4,200 per year. The 82,700 kilowatt-hours of solar-generated electricity will avoid 1.1 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions—an amount equivalent to reducing automobile travel by 121,724 miles a year or planting 7.7 acres of trees. See Energy Blog post.

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