Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources
News and Events April 18, 2013
President’s 2014 Budget Proposes Critical Investments in Clean Energy
President Barack Obama on April 10 requested a $28.4 billion Fiscal Year 2014 budget for the Energy Department, including $2.78 billion for the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). The request is part of the Administration-wide effort to strengthen the U.S. economy with energy that is cleaner, cheaper, and creates sustainable jobs.
As Assistant Energy Secretary Dr. David Danielson explained in an April 10 presentation, the $2.78 billion EERE portion of the request includes $615 million in funding for research and development into sources of renewable electricity generation such as wind, solar, water power, and geothermal energy. The proposed budget also includes $949 million for energy savings programs including the Federal Energy Management Program, Weatherization & Intergovernmental, building technologies, and advanced manufacturing. And the proposed FY 2014 budget includes a $957 million request for sustainable transportation, including research and development of vehicles, bioenergy, and fuel cell technologies. This segment includes $575 million for cutting-edge vehicle technologies research and $282 million in research into next-generation advanced biofuels. See the presentation on the EERE proposed FY 2014 budget .
Overall, the budget request for the Energy Department invests in innovative research to lead in research, development, deployment, and production of clean energy technologies. It also creates a new Race to the Top for Energy Efficiency and Grid Modernization, and helps consumers and businesses save money and improve their energy efficiency through the President’s Better Buildings Initiative.
Other highlights in the FY 2014 budget include $80 million for advanced technologies and tools that improve clean energy integration into the grid; $147 million in research and development of smart grid investments, cybersecurity for energy control systems, and National Electricity Delivery within the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability; and $2 billion for an Energy Security Trust to help transition U.S. cars and trucks off of oil. See the Energy Department press release and the White House blog.
First U.S. Grid-Connected Enhanced Geothermal System Deployed
The Energy Department on April 12 recognized the nation’s first commercial enhanced geothermal system (EGS) project to supply electricity to the grid. Based in Churchill County, Nevada, Ormat Technologies’ Desert Peak 2 EGS project has increased power output of its nearby operating geothermal field by nearly 38 %, generating an additional 1.7 megawatts of power. EGS technologies utilize directional drilling and pressurized water to enhance flow paths in the subsurface rock and create new reservoirs, capturing energy from resources that were once considered uneconomical or unrecoverable.
Leveraging a $5.4 million Energy Department investment—matched by $2.6 million in private sector funding—the Ormat Desert Peak project is extending the life of previously unproductive geothermal wells. Since the project’s start in 2008, the Energy Department has worked with Ormat, GeothermEx, the U.S. Geological Survey, and Lawrence Berkeley and Sandia National Laboratories to develop cost-effective and innovative production technologies that utilize protective environmental best practices and monitoring. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that EGS in the United States has the potential to enable development of 100 to 500 gigawatts of geothermal resource capacity. See the Energy Department press release and the Energy Department’s Geothermal Technologies Office website.
DOE and NREL Name Inaugural Collegiate Wind Competition Teams
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and its National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) on April 11 announced the teams selected for the inaugural DOE Collegiate Wind Competition, which will take place in spring 2014. The Collegiate Wind Competition is a forum for undergraduate college students of multiple disciplines to investigate innovative wind energy concepts; gain experience designing, building, and testing a wind turbine to perform according to a customized business plan derived from market data; and increase their knowledge of wind industry barriers.
The 10 student teams selected through a competitive process are Boise State University, California Maritime Academy, the Colorado School of Mines, James Madison University in Virginia, Kansas State University, Northern Arizona University, Pennsylvania State University, the University of Alaska—Fairbanks, the University of Kansas, and the University of Massachusetts—Lowell.
The theme of the inaugural competition is to design and construct a lightweight, transportable wind turbine that can be used to power small electronic devices. A principal contest involves testing each team’s prototype wind turbine in a wind tunnel under specific conditions. Each team’s business plan and turbine will also be evaluated against other pre-weighted criteria. The third event of the competition will be a team-to-team debate relating to current wind market drivers and issues. The turbine from the college or university with the best overall score will be placed on temporary display at the DOE headquarters building in Washington, D.C. See the NREL press release.
USDA Announces $6 Million for Rural Smart Grid
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on April 10 announced funding for projects to improve electric service in rural areas across 13 states, including more than $6 million in smart grid funding, which increases access to information to better manage electricity use. Overall, $280 million will be available through loans for rural electric infrastructure in Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Texas.
For example, the Georgia Transmission Corporation, which serves customers in Alabama and Florida in addition to Georgia, will receive a USDA loan that includes more than $3 million for smart grid projects. The Heartland Rural Electric Cooperative in Kansas will receive a USDA loan that includes more than $192,000 for smart grid projects. Smart grid technologies involve adding communication capabilities and control systems to the electrical grid that are intended to improve home energy management for the homeowner, provide greater demand control for the utility, and create a more reliable power grid overall. Smart grid technologies are also expected to better accommodate the use of renewable energy, all forms of on-site power production, and electric vehicles. See the USDA press release.
And on March 29, USDA announced that it is seeking applications to provide assistance to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Funding is available from USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program. See the USDA press release.
Celebrating Earth Day 2013 in a Google+ Hangout
The Energy Department is celebrating Earth Day 2013 by hosting a special Google+ Hangout on Monday, April 22 at 3 p.m. EDT. We’ve rounded up our panel of experts to answer your questions and share best strategies for saving energy and money in the home. The live discussion will be streamed on Google+, YouTube, and energy.gov/live.
On average, U.S. families spend more than $2,000 per year on their home energy bills. Unfortunately, much of this money is wasted on air leaks and drafts. Considering that the residential sector accounts for about 22% of U.S. energy consumption, upgrading homes to run more efficiently is not only a great way to save money but can also help minimize our impact on the planet.
Our Earth Day Google+ Hangout not only gives you the opportunity to learn new approaches to home efficiency upgrades, it’s also your platform to share your best energy-saving tips. During the live discussion, we will be selecting video questions to answer in addition to taking real-time questions from Twitter and Google+ tagged with #askEnergy. You can also submit questions by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or posting in the comments on the Energy Department’s Facebook page. For the complete story, see the Energy Blog.
Earth Day – April 22 – is fast approaching. With environmental disasters escalating and international climate change talks at an impasse, your participation is needed now more than ever.
Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)