Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources
News and Events March 14, 2013
Energy Department Offers $50 Million to Advance PEV Technologies
The Energy Department on March 8 announced more than $50 million in funding for new projects that will accelerate the development of advanced plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) technologies to improve vehicle fuel economy and performance. This new funding supports the Energy Department’s EV Everywhere Grand Challenge, which aims to make PEVs as affordable to own and operate as today’s gasoline-powered vehicles within the next 10 years and will help to advance the technology goals outlined in the EV Everywhere Grand Challenge.
The Department will select new research projects that focus on lowering the cost and increasing the efficiency of PEV components and develop models and tools to predict these vehicles’ performance and help improve fuel economy. The Department will fund projects that cover 12 areas of interest across five major areas of research and development, including: advanced light-weight and propulsion materials; battery development; power electronics; heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems; and fuels and lubricants.
Through the Advanced Vehicle Power Technology Alliance between the Department of Energy and the U.S. Army, the Army is contributing $3.5 million in co-funding in several areas where there are joint development opportunities. The Energy Department will accept applications from industry, national laboratories, and university-led teams to address these challenges and enable technologies that will drive innovation in vehicle design. See the Energy Department Progress Alert, the Vehicle Technologies Office website, and the funding announcement.
DOE Announces Winners of Student Energy-Efficiency Building Competition
The Energy Department on March 8 announced the winners of the second annual Better Buildings Case Competition, which challenges university teams to develop and present real-world solutions to cut energy waste and improve the efficiency of commercial buildings. The winners included the Carnegie Mellon University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of California-Santa Barbara, University of Chicago, and Yale University. The Better Buildings Case Competition supports President Obama’s goal of cutting energy waste from homes and businesses in half over the next two decades.
This year, 14 university teams analyzed case studies focusing on a range of challenges faced by private-sector organizations and state and local governments that are looking to improve the energy efficiency of their operations. The case studies consisted of real scenarios, background information, and data provided by organizations that included partners in the Better Buildings Challenge program—a broad public-private partnership working to make U.S. commercial and industrial buildings 20% more efficient by 2020.
Student teams competed to find the best solutions to energy efficiency challenges presented in real-world case studies for the City of Fort Worth, Texas; the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub; the U.S. General Services Administration; and the “Everything Store,” representative of several retail stores including Kohl’s, Staples, and Target. These teams presented their ideas and written proposals to a panel of commercial real estate and energy experts at the White House. See the Energy Department Progress Alert and the Better Buildings case studies website.
Energy Department Partnerships Speed Advanced Vehicle Technologies
The Energy Department on March 5 announced that 16 major U.S. employers and two stakeholder groups have joined the Department’s Workplace Charging Challenge to give more workers access to new transportation options. Also, another three U.S. corporations have joined the National Clean Fleets Partnership.
As part of the Energy Department’s EV Everywhere Grand Challenge, the Department announced that the new partner employers have joined the Workforce Charging Challenge, which aims to expand the availability of workplace vehicle charging for U.S. workers—increasing the convenience of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs). The new partners include AVL, Bentley Systems, Biogen Idec, Bloomberg LP, The Coca-Cola Company, the City of Sacramento, Dell, Facebook, The Hartford, The Hertz Corporation, National Grid, New York Power Authority, NRG Energy, OSRAM SYLVANIA, Raytheon Company, and Southern California Edison. Each partner organization commits to assessing workforce PEV charging demands and then developing and implementing a plan to install workplace charging infrastructure for at least one major worksite location. In addition, the California Center for Sustainable Energy and the Green Parking Council have signed the Ambassador Pledge to develop and execute plans to support and promote the workplace charging initiative.
Further, the Energy Department announced that three new corporate partners—AMP Americas, Kwik Trip, and Waste Management—are joining the National Clean Fleets Partnership, a broad public-private partnership that assists the nation’s largest fleet operators in reducing the amount of gasoline and diesel they use nationwide. The new Clean Fleets Partners join with 18 other major national companies that are improving the fuel economy of their commercial fleets, integrating alternative fuels like natural gas and electricity into their daily operations, and reducing their overall fuel use. The National Clean Fleets Partnership is part of the Energy Department’s Clean Cities Initiative. See the Energy Department press release, the EV Everywhere website, and the Clean Cities website.
FEMP Issues Guide for Large Renewable Energy Projects at Federal Facilities
The Energy Department’s Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) on March 11 issued a new resource that provides best practices and other helpful guidance for federal agencies developing large-scale renewable energy projects. The Large-Scale Renewable Energy Guide: Developing Renewable Energy Projects Larger than 10 MWs at Federal Facilities provides a comprehensive framework, including active project management strategies, common terms, and principles that promote partnerships among the federal government, private developers, and financiers. Improving coordination on large-scale renewable energy projects will help ensure successful projects while diversifying the U.S. energy supply, creating jobs, and advancing national goals for energy security.
Renewable energy at federal facilities represents a large clean energy resource for the United States. Federal energy policies, requirements, and goals require the development of nearly 3 gigawatts of renewable power projects over the next decade.
Federal project managers who use the guide to design and develop their projects will learn best practices for private-sector financing across a variety of funding options and competitive acquisition processes. The guide will also help commercial developers better understand federal energy planning and acquisition processes. The guide was developed by FEMP and the Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, with contribution and assistance provided by the U.S. Army Energy Initiatives Task Force. See the Energy Department’s Progress Alert, the complete FEMP report , and the FEMP website.
Energy Department and USDA Partner to Support Energy Efficiency in Rural Communities
By Dr. Kathleen Hogan, deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency, and Todd Campbell, alternative energy advisor, USDA
Each year, urban households in the United States combined use more than three times the total energy that rural households use. Yet, the Energy Information Administration estimates that rural families spend about $400 more per year in energy bills compared to the typical urban household. Unlocking new opportunities to save energy will help rural Americans save money while improving our energy security, creating jobs, and protecting our air and water.
We have seen this work firsthand at USDA Rural Development. Through our Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), we have partnered with agriculture producers and rural small businesses to construct 6,605 renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvement projects since 2009, providing $213 million in grants and $178 million in loan guarantees. When complete, these projects will be responsible for generating or saving 7.32 billion kWh annually, enough energy to power 680,000 households each year. At the Energy Department, the Weatherization Assistance Program is helping low-income rural households save on their utility bills through a broad range of home efficiency upgrades—from installing insulation to replacing leaking windows to repairing heating and cooling systems. Since the program’s inception in 1976, we’ve helped low-income families permanently reduce their energy bills to the tune of hundreds of dollars per year. This is a good start, but there is much more work that can be done. For the complete story, see the Energy Blog.
Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)