Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources
The Energy Department announced on April 26 a three-part plan to help implement the Clean Energy Education and Empowerment (C3E) Women’s Initiative aimed at attracting more women to clean energy careers and advancing their leadership positions. The new program, in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Energy Initiative, is designed to translate the goals of C3E into action in the United States.
The new components of the U.S. C3E action plan were announced at the Clean Energy Ministerial, a global forum of the energy ministers and leaders promoting clean energy technology and the transition to a global clean energy economy. Australia, Denmark, Mexico, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States each committed to undertake meaningful activities to advance women in clean energy. The U.S. C3E plan includes drawing together ambassadors, a cohort of distinguished senior professionals sharing an interest in broadening the recruitment, retention, and advancement of highly qualified women in the field of clean energy. Also, the DOE C3E Awards program will recognize mid-career individuals who advance the leadership and accomplishments of women in clean energy by offering six awards, including a cash prize of $10,000. Finally, an invitation-only symposium will be held on September 28, 2012, bringing together women and men to help build a strong national and international community of professionals who support women in clean energy. The MIT Energy Initiative, in partnership with the Energy Department, will sponsor this event. See the Energy Department press release and the inaugural C3E Ambassadors.
The Energy Department announced on April 30 that it has launched the Utility Data Access Map tool, an interactive Web platform that enables electric utilities across the country to show customers, in a simple way, the data they can access on their electricity use. DOE has already received responses from more than 500 participating utilities.
Many consumers do not have enough data or they are not aware of the data they can access to make informed decisions about energy efficiency measures that could save them money. Among those who do have access to their data, some lack the ability to share it with service providers who might help them identify energy savings opportunities and verify savings once improvements have been made.
The Utility Data Access Map tool provides “crowd-sourced” maps in user-friendly formats based on information gathered from electricity providers nationwide. It highlights local access to electricity data and allows consumers to compare their electricity data access to others in their state and across the country. The data access maps display different features of consumer electricity data, including the time period and timeliness of data—informing consumers, for example, whether their utility supplies same-day electricity use information—and the extent to which the data can be shared. By helping consumers better understand their energy use and providing new ways to compare, local utilities are adopting “smart grid” technologies. See the DOE Progress Alert, the Utility Data Access Map, and the DOE OpenEI website, a collaborative system managed by DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) on April 25 released an annual progress report highlighting the rapid progress made in some renewable energy technologies. The report, Tracking Clean Energy Progress, noted the gains are due to solar photovoltaic (PV) panels being easily installed by households and businesses as well as gains in onshore wind technologies. IEA said that onshore wind has seen 27% average annual growth over the past decade, and solar PV has grown at 42%, albeit from a small base. Even more impressive is the 75% reduction in system costs for solar PV in as little as three years in some countries.
According to the IEA, estimated energy use and carbon dioxide emissions would increase by a third by 2020 and almost double by 2050. The report notes that many technologies with great potential for energy and emissions savings are making halting progress at best. Vehicle fuel-efficiency improvement is slow, and significant untapped energy-efficiency potential remains in the building and industry sectors. The IEA is an autonomous organization that works to ensure reliable, affordable, and clean energy for its 28 member countries and beyond. See the IEA press release and the complete report.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced that the University of Pennsylvania won the 2012 College and University Green Power Challenge for the fifth consecutive year. The winner beat out 72 other schools across the country by purchasing more than 200 million kilowatt-hours of green power, which is 48% of its total power purchases. And at the conference level, the Pac-12 conference topped the list with more than 228 million kilowatt-hours, the largest total purchase among all conferences, and earned EPA recognition as the 2011-2012 Collective Conference Champion.
Green power is generated from renewable resources such as solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, biogas, and low-impact hydropower. Penn’s green power purchases represent reductions in greenhouse gas emissions of approximately 27,000 passenger vehicles each year. See the EPA press release, the list of winners, and the Green Power Partnership website.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on April 25 that it has awarded more than $1 million in grants to 15 university and college teams. The awards went to teams from across the country that participated in the eighth Annual National Sustainable Design Expo on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., for their innovative environmental solutions. EPA’s People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) award competition was held at the expo and featured more than 300 college innovators showcasing their sustainable projects designed to protect the environment, encourage economic growth, and use natural resources more efficiently.
The P3 team projects include a new process that uses spinach to capture and convert the sun’s energy to electricity, as well as a partnership with a local landfill to design a process that uses waste heat and drainage to grow algae for biodiesel production. Following an initial peer review process, this year’s winners were selected from 45 competing teams after two days of judging by a panel of national experts convened to provide recommendations to the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Each P3 award-winning team will receive a grant of up to $90,000 to further develop its design, apply it to real-world applications or move it to the marketplace. Previous P3 award winners have started successful businesses, and they are marketing technologies in the United States and around the world. See the EPA press release and the list of P3 award winners.
HVAC Efficiency Controls Could Mean Significant Savings
According to a new report from the Energy Department’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), commercial building owners could save an average of 38% on their heating and cooling bills just by installing a few new controls onto their HVAC systems.
These findings mean significant potential savings for building owners who use commercial rooftop systems, but there’s just one problem: the controls aren’t currently commercially available.
Srinivas Katipamula, the PNNL engineer leading the study, says the report makes “a convincing case for manufacturers to produce more advanced HVAC controllers and for building owners to adopt these energy-saving methods.” The PNNL team hopes the report will encourage manufacturers to begin producing the four different control methods. Three companies currently manufacture HVAC controllers, but only one company offers a product with all the control options that resemble the team’s simulations. To help the manufacturers better understand their market, PNNL’s report examines potential pricing options for the controllers and how long it would take building owners to recoup that cost. Since packaged HVACs regulate more than 60% of the commercial building floor space in the United States, the potential savings from retrofitting advanced controls on these systems is enormous. See the complete story on the DOE Energy Blog.
Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources(CCRES)