Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources
News and Events February 28, 2013
Three New Businesses Join the Better Buildings Challenge
The Energy Department on February 21 announced that Johnson Controls, Macy’s, and Sprint are joining the Better Buildings Challenge. Launched by President Obama in 2011, the Better Buildings Challenge brings together corporations, universities, municipalities, and other national leaders to make significant commitments to energy efficiency to reduce waste and save on energy costs. Johnson Controls, Macy’s, and Sprint will collectively upgrade more than 200 million square feet of building space to cut energy use by at least 20% by 2020. These steps support the President’s goal of cutting energy waste from homes and businesses in half over the next two decades, which was articulated in the 2013 State of the Union address.
The United States spends about $200 billion annually to power commercial buildings and another $200 billion to power industrial facilities. Better Buildings Challenge partners work with the Energy Department to implement energy-savings practices that reduce energy waste and save money. These new partners will also share facility-level energy use data and successful strategies with Better Buildings Challenge partners as well as other U.S. businesses and organizations helping to lead a clean, sustainable energy economy. The Better Buildings Challenge now has more than 110 partners, representing two billion square feet of building space and more than 300 manufacturing facilities. See the Energy Department Progress Alert and the Better Buildings Challenge website.
ARPA-E Announces Projects Have Attracted over $450 Million in Private Sector Funding
The Energy Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy (ARPA-E) on February 26 announced that ARPA-E projects have demonstrated major technical successes and shown significant market engagement in the four years since the agency began catalyzing energy breakthrough technologies. Overall, 17 projects have attracted over $450 million in private sector follow-on funding after ARPA-E’s initial investment of approximately $70 million, 12 have leveraged their technologies to form new companies, and more than ten have partnered with other government agencies for later stage investment. The innovations include improved batteries, electric vehicle motors, solar thermochemical fuel production, and wind turbines among a range of technologies.
Building on President Obama’s call in his 2013 State of the Union address to further American energy independence through innovation, key thought leaders from academia, business, and government are coming together this week to discuss cutting-edge energy issues at ARPA-E’s fourth annual Energy Innovation Summit in National Harbor, Maryland. See the Energy Department press release.
DOE’s SunShot Announces $17 Million for Solar Reliability, Grid Integration
The Energy Department’s SunShot Initiative recently announced up to $17 million to support the development of innovative, cost-effective solutions to boost the amount of solar energy that utilities can integrate seamlessly with the national power grid. This funding will help utilities develop adaptable and replicable practices, long-term strategic plans, and technical solutions to sustain reliable operations with large proportions of solar power on the grid. It will also support projects aimed at improving the lifetime and reliability of solar modules and electronics.
The funding is being offered through two opportunities. The Solar Utility Networks: Replicable Innovation in Solar Energy (SUNRISE) funding opportunity is making up to $12 million available for projects to enable utilities to develop long-term strategic plans that integrate high levels of renewable energy generation and ensure reliable real-time power system operations under high renewable penetration. Funding is also available for projects to provide technical assistance for capacity-building activities regarding utility-scale photovoltaic (PV) planning and installation. The application deadline for the funding opportunity is April 24, 2013. See the SUNRISE solicitation.
Also, the Physics of Reliability: Evaluating Design Insights for Component Technologies in Solar (PREDICTS) funding opportunity is making up to $5 million available for projects aimed at improving the lifetime and reliability of PV modules, concentrating solar power (CSP) components, and the electronic hardware used to operate and connect to the grid. The funding covers two topic areas: identification, evaluation, and modeling of intrinsic failure mechanisms in PV and CSP subsystems and system components; and development of standard testing procedures for the lifetime of microinverters and microconverters. The application deadline is April 29, 2013. See the PREDICTS solicitation and the SunShot newsletter for more information.
Energy Department Names Two 2012 Wind Cooperatives of the Year
The Energy Department on February 21 recognized the East River Electric Power Cooperative of South Dakota and the Golden Valley Electric Association of Alaska as the 2012 Wind Cooperatives of the Year. East River and Golden Valley were selected by a panel of experts from the wind industry, utilities, government, national laboratories, and cooperatives.
East River Electric Power Cooperative of Madison, South Dakota, is a wholesale electric power supply cooperative serving eastern South Dakota and western Minnesota. The cooperative is regarded as one of the earliest champions in installing the first utility-scale wind turbines in the Dakotas. In 2009, the co-op created South Dakota Wind Partners LLC, which is a model for community-based, locally-owned wind development that is fully financed by South Dakota residents.
The Golden Valley Electric Association is focused on generating 20% of its peak load electricity—the power supplied when customer demand is highest—from renewable energy by 2014. As part of this commitment, Golden Valley developed the 25-megawatt Eva Creek Wind Farm in Ferry, Alaska, in 2012. The remote site is located at the end of a 10-mile dirt road, contributing to unique construction challenges. The Eva Creek Wind Farm project is expected to help the cooperative meet its renewable goals ahead of schedule, reduce dependence on oil, and save Golden Valley members as much as $4 million in annual electricity costs by the end of 2013. See the Energy Department Progress Alert and the Wind Powering America website.
Survey Finds U.S. Rivers Could Provide 3% of Nation’s Electricity
The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) recently completed a mapping and assessment of hydrokinetic resources in continental U.S. rivers and found that these undeveloped resources could provide 3% of the nation’s annual use of electricity. The assessment is part of an effort by the Energy Department to characterize U.S. hydrokinetic waterpower resources, including river, wave, tidal, ocean thermal, and ocean current.
The assessment analyzed 71,398 river segments across the 48 contiguous states and additional river segments in Alaska. It yielded a total theoretical resource estimate of 1,381 terawatt-hours per year (TWh/yr) for the continental United States, which is equivalent to approximately 25% of annual U.S. electricity consumption. Because there are constraints on developing many sites, the study found that the technically recoverable resource estimate for the continental United States is 120 TWh/yr, or approximately 3% of annual U.S. electricity consumption.
The results show that the Lower Mississippi region contributes almost half (47.9%) of the technically recoverable resource estimate; Alaska, 17.1%; the Pacific Northwest region, 9.2%; and the Ohio region, 5.7%. See the EPRI press release.
Savings to Chew On: Wrigley Expands Commitment to Sustainability
Known for chewing gum and candy products, Wrigley Manufacturing Company recently expanded its commitment to sustainability and is collecting solar power to help run its Altoids manufacturing plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Using funds from the Energy Department’s State Energy Program, the company installed 240 rooftop solar panels (a 50.4-kilowatt array) on its Chattanooga facility in December 2010. The solar panels cover about one-seventh of the plant’s roof, leaving plenty of room for expansion. The array generates more than 170,000 kilowatts of clean energy per year—about 3% of the plant’s energy use—and eliminates 117 tons of greenhouse gas emissions. During the first year of operation alone, the solar installation saved Wrigley more than $16,000 in electricity costs.
The solar installation is a part of Wrigley’s “Sustainable in a Generation” effort to eliminate fossil fuel energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. Wrigley is developing a strategy to minimize its impact on the environment, focusing on reducing fossil fuel energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, and waste. From 2007 to 2011, Wrigley’s landfill waste decreased by 71.62%, greenhouse gas emissions by 2.37%, and energy use by 7.75%. See the Energy Blog.
Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)