Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources
News and Events March 21, 2013
DOI Approves Three Renewable Energy Projects in California and Nevada
The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) on March 13 announced the approval of three major renewable energy projects in California and Nevada that, when completed, are expected to deliver 1,100 megawatts to the grid. That will be enough electricity to power more than 340,000 homes. The projects will help support more than 1,000 construction and operations jobs.
The 750-megawatt McCoy Solar Energy Project and 150-megawatt Desert Harvest Solar Farm are both located in California’s Riverside East Solar Energy Zone, an area established through the Western Solar Energy Plan and identified as most suitable for solar development. The 200-megawatt Searchlight Wind Energy Project will be constructed on public lands in Clark County, Nevada.
The McCoy Solar Energy Project, located about 13 miles northwest of Blythe, California, will occupy 4,394 acres. The project is expected to employ approximately 500 workers during peak construction, and create 34 permanent jobs. When operational, the facility will generate enough clean power for an estimated 225,000 homes in Southern California. McCoy Solar has agreed to purchase more than 4,500 acres of habitat to protect the Desert Tortoise, Burrowing Owl, and Mojave Fringe-toed Lizard species.
DOI and California state agencies are also engaged in the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan, a mutual landscape-level planning effort to streamline renewable energy development in appropriate areas in the California desert and simultaneously conserve important natural resources and natural communities for species protection and recovery. A draft of the plan is expected in summer 2013. Additionally, BLM has identified 23 active renewable energy proposals slated for review this year and next, including 14 solar facilities, six wind farms, and three geothermal plants. See the DOI press release.
New EPA Report Shows Significant Gains in Fuel Economy for 2012
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on March 15 released its annual report that tracks the fuel economy of vehicles sold in the United States, emphasizing major gains in the efficiency of American vehicles, which reduce oil consumption and cut carbon emissions. The EPA estimates that between 2007 and 2012, fuel economy values increased by 16%, while carbon dioxide emissions decreased by 13%. In 2012, there was a significant one-year increase of 1.4 miles per gallon (mpg) for cars and trucks.
EPA’s “Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide Emissions, and Fuel Economy Trends: 1975 through 2012” attributes the improvements to the rapid adoption of more efficient technologies, the increasing number of high fuel economy choices for consumers, and the fact that many automakers are already selling vehicles that can potentially meet more rigorous future fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards. The report indicates that the projected gains for 2012 more than make up for a slight dip in fuel economy in 2011.
The expected 1.4 mpg improvement in 2012 is based on sales estimates provided by automakers to EPA. These projections show a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions to 374 grams per mile and an increase in average fuel economy to 23.8 mpg. These numbers represent the largest annual improvements since EPA began reporting on fuel economy. Compared to five years ago, consumers have twice as many hybrid and diesel vehicle choices, a growing set of plug-in electric vehicle options, and a six-fold increase in the number of car models with combined city/highway fuel economy of 30 mpg or higher. See the EPA press release and the complete report .
East Asia Summit Energy Cooperation Task Force Announced
The United States and Brunei announced on March 14 that they will create, and jointly chair, a new workstream of activities on renewable energy power generation to promote and accelerate the deployment of renewable energy technologies in the countries participating in the East Asia Summit (EAS)
Proposed projects include a public-private dialogue on eliminating policy barriers to renewable energy investment. The partners will also address the dissemination of information needed to make investment decisions, such as results of solar power technology testing at Brunei’s new demonstration facility, which will be combined with information from Energy Department research on performance in different environments. The United States and Brunei will also share research about the impacts of climate change on hydropower production. The Energy Department and its laboratories, in partnership with the newly-established Brunei National Energy Research Institute, will advance the proposed work, and all EAS countries are being encouraged to participate and contribute. See the Energy Department press release.
President Obama Highlights Proposal for an Energy Security Trust
President Obama on March 16 highlighted his “all-of-the-above” approach to American energy, including his proposal to establish an Energy Security Trust, that would invest revenue from offshore oil and gas development in research to help transition cars and trucks from reliance on oil. Investments made through the Energy Security Trust would focus on a range of technologies, including electric vehicles (EV) and advanced batteries, as well as advanced biofuels and cars that run on natural gas. The investments will continue to reduce U.S. dependence on oil, support job creation, increase energy security, and save families money at the pump, while also cutting harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
“In my State of the Union Address, I called on Congress to set up an Energy Security Trust to fund research into new technologies,” President Obama said. “Much of our energy is drawn from lands and waters that we, the public, own together. So I’m proposing that we take some of our oil and gas revenues from public lands and put it towards research that will benefit the public, so that we can support American ingenuity without adding a dime to our deficit.” The president credited the idea to a proposal put forward by a non-partisan coalition of CEOs and retired generals and admirals. See the White House press release.
Energy Department Turns Up the Heat and Power on Industrial Energy Efficiency
Katrina Pielli, senior policy advisor, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Industrial processes—from petroleum refineries and paper mills to chemicals and metals industries—consume about one-third of all energy produced in the United States. While the Energy Department is investing in advanced energy-saving technologies like carbon fiber and 3D printing, we also see great potential in more traditional technologies—such as combined heat and power (CHP)—that strengthen U.S. manufacturing competitiveness, lower energy consumption, and reduce harmful emissions.
In August 2012, President Obama directed federal agencies to help facilitate investments in industrial energy efficiency, such as CHP systems, that can save manufacturers as much as $100 billion in energy costs over the next decade. The President’s Executive Order established a new national goal of 40 gigawatts of new CHP capacity by 2020, which is a 50% increase from today. Meeting this goal would save American manufacturers and companies $10 billion each year, resulting in $40 to $80 billion in new capital investment in plants and facilities that would create American jobs and reduce emissions equivalent of taking 25 million cars off the road.
These efforts underscore President Obama’s goal of cutting energy waste from homes and businesses in half over the next two decades and accelerating the resurgence of American manufacturing, as announced in the State of the Union last month. For the complete story, see the Energy Blog.
Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)