CCRES Algae Project Q&A


CCRES Algae Project

See answers to common questions about growing algae for biofuel production.

    Algae’s potential
    What makes algae a better alternative fuel feedstock than cellulosic feedstocks, such as switchgrass or miscanthus?
    What transportation fuels can algae produce?
    How much fuel can algae produce?
    Where could this type of algae grow?
    What can you do with material derived from algae production not used for fuel?

    How much would a gallon of algae-based transportation fuel cost if it were available at a service station today?
    What can accelerate the commercial availability of algae biofuel?

    How will algae-based transportation fuels impact greenhouse gas emissions?
    Is the process capable of being replicated at the local level to increase energy efficiency and promote low-energy overhead?

    Can algae-based fuels be used in developing countries to help them bypass fossil fuel dependence?

Q: What makes algae a better alternative fuel feedstock than cellulosic feedstocks, such as switchgrass or miscanthus?

    A: Large-scale production of resource-intensive plants, like switchgrass or miscanthus, requires a substantial amount of fertile land, fresh water, and petroleum-based fertilizer to grow. The fuel derived is ethanol, a lower-energy fuel not compatible with the infrastructure now used to transport, refine, and deliver liquid fuels, like gasoline and diesel.

    Conversely, algae can produce hydrocarbons capable of being converted directly into actual gasoline or diesel fuel, which can be transported and delivered to market using the existing refinery infrastructure.

Q: What transportation fuels can algae produce?
    A: Algae produce a variety of fuel and fuel precursor molecules, including triglycerides and fatty acids that can be converted to biodiesel, as well as lipids and isoprenoids that can be directly converted to actual gasoline and traditional diesel fuel. Algae can also be used to produce hydrogen or biomass, which can then be digested into methane.

Q: How much fuel can algae produce?

    A: The United States consumes 140 billion gallons per year of liquid fuel. Algae can produce 3,000 gallons of liquid fuel per acre in a year, so it would take 45 million acres of algae to provide 100% of our liquid fuel requirements.

    For comparison, in 2008 the United States had 90 million acres of corn and 67 million acres of soybeans in production. So growing 45 million acres of algae, while challenging, is certainly possible.

Q: Where could this type of algae grow?

    A: Algae perform best under consistent warm temperatures between 20 and 30 degrees. Climates with plenty of sunshine offer optimal conditions. Ideal Croatian locations include many of the southern and southwestern areas, such as Dalmatia,(including Dalmatian hinterland ).

Q: What can you do with material derived from algae production not used for fuel?

    A: Production of 140 billion gallons of fuel from algae would also yield about 1 trillion pounds of protein. Since algae-produced protein is very high quality, this protein could be used to feed livestock, chicken, or fish. Presently, all livestock in this country consume about 770 billion pounds of protein per year.

Q: How much would a gallon of algae-based transportation fuel cost if it were available at a service station today?

    A: Today, the cost would be relatively expensive. Additional investment in research is needed to further refine and enhance the algae strains that generate such fuels. Also, more infrastructure needs to be developed to achieve the necessary economies of scale that will come with large-scale commercial production. Once overall efficiency increases, the cost of producing a gallon of gasoline from algae will dramatically reduce.

Q: What can accelerate the commercial availability of algae biofuel?

    A: As viable and potentially transformational as algae-based transportation fuels have already proven, we need a much better knowledge base on algae at the microbial level. We also need to build on this platform to develop the tools and train the next generation of scientists that will help usher in the age of accessible, affordable, and sustainable fuels made from algae. That is a central component of the Croatian Center for Algae Biofuels (CCRES Algae Project).

Q: How will algae-based transportation fuels impact greenhouse gas emissions?

    A: Production of alternative transportation fuels from algae will help reduce the amount of CO2 in the environment. Algae provide a carbon-neutral fuel because they consume more CO2 than is ultimately released into the atmosphere when algae-based fuel burns. The amount of carbon removed from the environment will depend on the number of algae farms built and the efficiency with which algae can be modified to convert CO2 to fuel products. Eventually, algae farms will likely be located adjacent to CO2 producing facilities, like power plants, resulting in potentially significant CO2 sequestration benefits.

Q: Is the process capable of being replicated at the local level to increase energy efficiency and promote low-energy overhead?

    A: Absolutely. There are huge advantages to locating algae farms near urban centers. The algae consume industrial waste and contaminants, which are usually found in higher concentrations near cities. A perfect location is near a power plant, where the algae can consume flue gas and other waste, or near a wastewater treatment plant where the algae could consume significant amounts of nitrates and phosphates from the waste stream. This could result in cleaner effluent discharge, and perhaps eventually create “new” sources of non-potable water for industrial or agricultural use.

Q: Could algae-based fuels be used in developing countries to help them bypass fossil fuel dependence?

    A: Algae-based fuels (and the protein byproducts derived from their production) definitely have the potential to positively impact developing countries. The requirements for farming algae are fairly straightforward and can be done almost anywhere in the world with an adequate supply of sunshine. In Africa, for example, millions of algae acres could be farmed in its less-populated regions, resulting in a reduced dependence on foreign oil and a reliable and sustainable energy supply.

part of 
Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)

News and Events by CCRES July 12, 2012

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources

News and Events July 12, 2012

Report: Energy-Efficient Lighting has Lower Environmental Impact

A new Energy Department report finds that LED lamps have a significantly lower environmental impact than incandescent lighting and a slight environmental edge over compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). The report, LED Manufacturing and Performance, compares these three technologies from the beginning to the end of their life cycles, including manufacturing, operation, and disposal. The most comprehensive study of its kind for LED lamps, the report analyzes the energy and environmental impacts of manufacturing, assembly, transport, operation, and disposal of these three lighting types. It is the first public report to consider the LED manufacturing process in depth. See the LED Manufacturing and Performance report PDF.
This is the second report produced through a larger Energy Department project intended to assess the life-cycle environmental and resource costs of LED lighting products in comparison with traditional lighting technologies. It utilizes conclusions from the previous report, Review of the Lifecycle Energy Consumption of Incandescent, Compact Fluorescent and LED Lamps, released in February 2012, to produce a thorough assessment of the manufacturing process. See the Review of the Lifecycle Energy Consumption of Incandescent, Compact Fluorescent and LED Lamps report PDF.
The initial report concluded that CFLs and today’s LEDs are similar in energy consumption—both consuming significantly less electricity over the same period of usage than incandescent lighting—and that operating these products consumed the majority of the energy used throughout their life cycles. Similarly, the new report finds that the energy these lighting products consume during operation makes up the majority of their environmental impact, compared to the energy consumed in manufacturing and transportation. Because of their high efficiency—consuming only 12.5 watts of electricity to produce about the same amount of light as CFLs (15 watts) and incandescents (60 watts)—LED lamps were found to be the most environmentally friendly of the three lamp types over the lifetime of the products, across 14 of the 15 impact measures examined in the study. See the DOE Progress Alert and the Solid State Lighting website.

Energy Department Honors Utilities with Public Power Wind Awards

The Energy Department on June 19 recognized three utilities—two in Minnesota and one in California—with the 2012 Public Power Wind Award. Minnesota’s Moorhead Public Service and the Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, along with California’s City of Palo Alto Utilities, received the awards. The American Public Power Association (APPA) and the Energy Department’s Wind Powering America initiative created the Public Power Wind Award to recognize APPA-member utilities that demonstrate outstanding leadership in advancing wind power and furthering energy independence.
Now in its tenth year, the annual award recognizes APPA members in three categories: Small Member System, Large Member System, and Joint Action Agency. Moorhead Public Service received the Small Member System award for its years of leadership in wind energy that began with its pioneering utility-scale wind investments in 1999. The City of Palo Alto Utilities received the Large Member System award for delivering 17% of its energy mix from wind power, and for using wind energy to provide 97.5% of the renewable energy credits the utility uses for its green power program, PaloAltoGreen. And Minnesota Municipal Power Agency received the Joint Action Agency award for installing a wind turbine in each of its member communities, with which it collaborated to develop the 44-megawatt Oak Glen Wind Farm in Steele County, providing enough electricity to power 14,000 homes. See the DOE Progress Alert and the Wind Powering America website.

EIA Sees Energy Efficiency Slowing U.S. Energy Consumption

Increased energy efficiency will contribute to a slowing of the annual growth rate of U.S. energy consumption from 2012 to 2035, expanding at an average annual rate of 0.3%, according to a new study from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). The agency recently released its Annual Energy Outlook 2012, which includes both a reference case and 29 alternative cases. By comparision to the lower projections, the U.S. growth rate of energy consumption was 1.8% in 2005. In the reference case, the share of U.S. energy generation from renewables is projected to grow from 10% to 15%. The report describes how different assumptions regarding market, policy, and technology drivers affect energy production, consumption, technology, and market trends.
According to the report, the slowdown in the rate of growth in energy usage reflects increasing energy efficiency in end-use applications, among other things. In one basic scenario, EIA estimates the overall U.S. energy consumption will expand at an average annual rate of 0.3% through 2035. During this period, the United States won’t return to the levels of energy demand growth experienced in the 20 years prior to the 2008-2009 recession. The authors cite existing federal and state energy requirements and incentives as playing a continuing role in more efficient technologies. Additionally, new federal and state policies could lead to further reductions in energy consumption. The document also examines the potential impact of technology change and the proposed vehicle fuel efficiency standards on energy consumption. See the EIA press release, and the complete reportPDF.

New Power Line Delivers Renewable Energy to San Diego

Photo of two helicopters and part of a power tower.

The Sunrise Powerlink transmission line under construction in California.
Credit: San Diego Gas & Electric
The $1.9 billion Sunrise Powerlink, a 500,000-volt transmission line linking San Diego, California, to the Imperial Valley, is now in service after a five-year permitting process and 18 months of construction. San Diego Gas & Electric announced on June 18 that the line will connect San Diego with one of the most renewable-rich regions in California. For environmental reasons, nearly 75% of the tower locations required helicopters to set the tower structures and it took more than 28,000 flight hours to complete the aerial construction.
The Sunrise Powerlink will soon deliver a significant amount of wind and solar power to San Diego. Over the past three years, San Diego Gas & Electric signed eight renewable energy agreements for more than 1,000 megawatts of solar and wind power from projects in Imperial County. In 2011, more than 20% of the utility’s power came from renewable energy, and by 2020, it will get 33% from renewable resources. See the San Diego Gas & Electric press release.

IEA: Renewable Energy to Grow During the Next 5 Years

Global renewable power generation is expected to continue its rapid growth over the next five years, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA). The Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2012, released on July 5, says that despite economic uncertainties, global power generation from hydropower, solar, wind, and other renewable sources is projected to increase by more than 40% to almost 6,400 terawatt hours by 2017. That amount would be roughly one-and-a-half times the current electricity production in the United States.
The study examines in detail 15 key markets for renewable energy, which currently represent about 80% of renewable generation, while it identifies developments that may emerge in other important markets. Of the 710 gigawatts of new global renewable electricity capacity expected, China accounts for almost 40%, with the United States, India, Germany, and Brazil also contributing to the growth. The report presents detailed forecasts for renewable energy generation and capacity for eight technologies: hydropower, bioenergy for power, onshore wind, offshore wind, solar photovoltaics (PV), concentrating solar power, geothermal, and ocean power. Hydropower is projected to have the largest increase in generation, followed by onshore wind, bioenergy, and solar PV.
This expansion is underpinned by the maturing of renewable energy technologies, in large part due to supportive policy and market frameworks. However, rapidly increasing electricity demand and energy security needs in recent years have been spurring deployment in many emerging markets. These new deployment opportunities are creating a virtuous cycle of improved global competition and cost reductions. See the IEA press release.


  special thanks to U.S. Department of Energy |

One Cool Change at Energy HQ

The Forrestal Building, which stands as the centerpiece of the Energy Department’s headquarters complex, has recently undergone a change that will save the U.S. taxpayers an estimated $600,000 every year.
“Through the installation of the new chiller plant, we’re saving money on our air conditioning bills with more efficient equipment while providing much more reliable air conditioning to our critical facilities”, said Peter O’Konski, director for the department’s Office of Administration. “That’s good for our environment, our customers, and our bottom line.”
The chiller plant was constructed through an Energy Savings Performance Contract, a public-private partnership that allowed the department to apply industry best practices and use private financing for the project. The financing costs are recovered from energy savings.
The partnership is also ushering in improvements like LED exterior lights, steam trap repairs and a variable air volume system that are expected to save $59.5 million in the long term. For the complete story, see the DOE Energy Blog.

Making Efficiency a More Efficient Business

By Roland Risser, program manager, Building Technologies Program
Even with the sweltering heat and relaxation that summer usually brings, the Energy Department’s Better Buildings Neighborhood Program is showing no sign of slowing down. This week, the program is hosting the Residential Energy Efficiency Solutions: From Innovation to Market Transformation conference, bringing together approximately 400 administrators and implementers of residential energy efficiency programs and associated stakeholders. Six new case studies, a business models guide and a video showcasing energy efficiency upgrade professionals are debuting at the conference. Each was designed to inspire communities across the country to save money, create new jobs, and foster business opportunities.
The six case studies—profiling successful workforce development and incentive initiatives in Maine, Michigan, Oregon, and Pennsylvania—are a great resource for any energy efficiency upgrade professional. Each addresses key topics such as participant recruitment, workforce training, and cost barriers that contractors and consumers face. For the complete story, see the DOE Energy Blog.

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)

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EU carbon labels

photo: CCRES Carbon label

EU wants carbon labels

A carbon footprint can be defined as the total set of greenhouse gas emissions caused by an organisation, event, product or person. But calculating the precise total carbon footprint of any of these is all but impossible due to the large amount of data required. 

In a bid to give consumers some way to measure the environmental impact of goods and services that they buy, the European Commission is is working towards developing a

“harmonised methodology for the calculation of the environmental footprint of products”.

Currently, 10 pilot studies are being trail-blazed in the fields of agriculture, retail, construction, chemicals, ICT, food, and manufacturing (footwear, television, paper).


photo: U.K. Launches First Carbon Label For Fashion

A European Commission review of carbon dioxide labelling methodologies for commercial products, due later this year, is likely to propose a grading system similar to the EU energy consumption labels for products, goods and service.

“This approach could simplify the way in which the information is delivered, without requiring a simplistic approach,” said Joe Hennon, spokesman for Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik.

“The new Product Environmental Performance (PEF) standard will only focus on the three most relevant categories and will probably use a grading system,” he told.

This would be “similar to the one used by the energy label, to which the consumers are familiar and have proven to like, based on agreed benchmarks,” Hennon added.

The EU’s energy labelling scheme ensures that most major appliances, light bulb packaging and cars have a label attached, grading their efficiency performance on a scale running from A to G.

A recent EU report found that these labels were “quite familiar to consumers” and easy to understand.

Darran Messem, managing director of certification at the UK Carbon Trust, which measures and provides carbon footprints for companies, was upbeat about expanding the scheme’s methodology.

“Grading systems, such as those used in the EU energy label and elsewhere are well-established and recognised by consumers,” he told.

It was important for certification and labelling schemes “to strike the right balance between providing information while ensuring clear and simple messages to consumers,” he said.

Life-cycle assessment

Carbon labelling is a means of providing a complete and independent ‘life cycle assessment’ (LCA) – or carbon footprint – of all the CO2 that has been emitted during the manufacture, use and disposal of a product.

Ideally, it should allow consumers to rest assured that the carbon-labelled product they have bought will do what it says on the tin.

But consumer and environmental groups have criticised current carbon labelling practices for being misleading, confusing, and open to manipulation by corporate interests.

“An LCA is like a black box,” Jürgen Resch of the German environmental organisation Deutsche Umwelthilfe, said in October 2010. “If you enter false and invalid data and misleading assumptions into the calculations, you end up with the wrong results.”

“This is what happened with the LCA’s recently published by the plastics and beverage can industry,” he added, referring to assessments the industry had carried out into its PET one-way bottles and cans.

“Built-in flexibility”

Hennon accepted that because current carbon labelling was based on standards which had a “built-in flexibility” – in the best case scenario – and that they had consequently “often been used by practitioners to steer the results of the analysis in the direction desired”.

But he said that the EU’s review of methodologies was intended to “minimise such flexibility, providing a clearer and more structured framework to carry out the studies, leading to much more comparable results and also reducing uncertainties and imprecisions.”

One recent report by one European consumer watchdog found that the level of complexity in carbon labelling methodology would befuddle even the experts tasked with devising it.

That paper, by the group ANEC, called for the EU’s more straightforward colour or letter-coded energy labelling system to be developed further.

Hennon said the new methodology would be moving in exactly this direction, despite green criticisms that this as an impossible task.

“There is a balance to be struck,” he said, “as too much or too confusing information does not help but may, on the contrary, reduce the willingness of consumers to make better informed choices.”


photo: US Carbon Labeling Efforts

EU study

In hindsight, a recent EU study of its option for communicating environmental product information in the 2008 review of the Sustainable Consumption and Production Industrial Policy Action may be seen to have foreshadowed many of the EU’s proposals.

Among other things, it found that:

    Too many environmental indicators confuse consumers and so no more than three indicators should be communicated.
    The information should come from a trusted, and ideally third-party source, and not the manufacturer.
    General terms for indicators and simpler rating systems and units of measurement are better than technical descriptions.
    Information should be provided at the point of purchase for maximum impact on behaviour.
    Lettered assessments are easier for consumers to understand, although coloured ones are difficult for manufacturers to integrate into their packaging designs.

“The Carbon Trust supports the principle of comparability across products because this enables consumers to make informed choices.” Messem said.

special thanks to 
Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik.
Posted in RENEWABLE ENERGY | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Support your joint health, flexibility, and mobility*
Support a healthy immune response*
Support your central nervous system*
Support your cardiovascular system*
Support your brain and eye health due to its unique ability to cross blood-brain and blood-retina barriers*



CCRES Algae Astaxanthin
Astaxanthin’s ability to scavenge free radicals in your body* is up to…

    550 times more powerful than vitamin E
    65 times more powerful than vitamin C
    54 times more powerful than beta-carotene
    5 times more powerful than lutein

It does this by quenching a molecule called singlet oxygen – a harmful reactive oxygen species formed through normal biological processes occurring in your body.* Singlet oxygen possesses a high amount of excess energy that must be released to keep it from damaging other cells.
Astaxanthin absorbs this energy and dissipates it as heat, thereby returning the singlet oxygen to a grounded state.*

There’s another way, too, that astaxanthin helps to protect cells, organs and tissues against oxidative damage from free radicals.*

CCRES Algae Astaxanthin
It traps free radicals at both ends of the molecule.*…

View original post 118 more words

Posted in RENEWABLE ENERGY | 1 Comment

News and Events by CCRES July 06, 2012

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources

News and Events July 06, 2012

Energy Department Announces $102 Million for Small Business Research

The Energy Department announced on June 27 that it will award new funding to 104 small businesses nationwide. The grants, totaling more than $102 million, will support businesses in 26 states, helping companies to develop promising technologies with a strong potential for commercialization and job creation.
Funded through the Energy Department’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, the selections are for Phase II work. In Phase II, companies will build on the conceptual work undertaken in Phase I and pursue the next steps in bringing the technologies to market. The Phase II awards are up to $1 million for work over two years. The awards support developing technologies in areas ranging from large wind turbine towers to more energy-efficient data centers. For example, the Xunlight 26 Solar company of Toledo, Ohio, will work on transparent, flexible cadmium telluride modules for photovoltaics. See the DOE press release, the list of awards, and the SBIR and STTR website.

Energy Department Awards $14 Million for Energy Efficiency in 22 States

The Energy Department announced on June 27 that its State Energy Program has awarded $14 million to state-led energy efficiency projects in 22 states. The funds will allow the government agencies to conduct energy efficiency upgrades to public facilities and develop local policies and programs to help reduce energy waste and save taxpayer money. These investments are part of the Energy Department’s strategy to create jobs, boost domestic manufacturing in energy-saving technologies, and help Americans save money.
The state-led projects will conduct whole-building energy efficiency upgrades across hundreds of public buildings, saving millions of dollars for state and local governments and creating new local jobs for energy auditors, architects, engineers and construction workers. The states include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. The projects fall under two broad categories, including advancing energy efficiency in public buildings and deploying fee-based self-funded public facilities energy retrofit programs. In addtion, two states will be taking energy efficiency policy action to encourage cost-effective energy efficiency investments and establish or increase statewide energy savings goals by 2015. See the DOE press release and the complete list of projectsPDF.

Obama Administration Announces Investments in Biofuels

Photo of a series of buildings.

The Energy Department is boosting support for biofuels. This type of pilot biorefinery makes cellulosic ethanol from corn cobs.
Credit: POET
The Energy Department, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the U.S. Navy on July 2 announced $30 million in federal funding to match private investments in commercial-scale advanced drop-in biofuels. Drop-in biofuels are fuels that can serve as direct replacements or supplements to existing gasoline, diesel, and jet fuels, without any changes to existing fuel distribution networks or engines—and have the potential to significantly reduce U.S. reliance on oil imports. DOE is also offering a total of $32 million in new investments for earlier-stage research that will continue to drive technological breakthroughs and additional cost reductions in the industry.
In his Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future released in March 2011, President Obama set a goal of reducing oil imports by one-third by 2025, increasing energy efficiency, and speeding development of biofuels and other alternatives. As part of that effort, the blueprint directed the DOE, the Navy, and the USDA to collaborate to support commercialization of drop-in biofuel substitutes for diesel and jet fuel, which lead to the current Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). This FOA has a two-phased approach, with government and industry sharing in the cost. In Phase 1, applicants will submit a design package and comprehensive business plan for a commercial-scale biorefinery, identify and secure project sites, and take additional required steps spelled out in the announcement. Awardees selected to continue into Phase 2 will submit additional information for the construction or retrofit of a biorefinery. Applications are due by August 13, 2012. See the funding opportunity announcement, and the Blueprint for a Secure Energy FuturePDF.
In addition, DOE offered new investments in earlier-stage biofuels research that complement the commercial-scale efforts announced by the Navy and USDA. These early-stage, pre-commercial investments are the latest steps in the Obama Administration’s efforts to advance biofuels technologies to continue to lower costs, improve performance, and identify new effective, non-food feedstocks and processing technologies.
The funding announced by DOE includes $20 million to support innovative pilot-scale and demonstration-scale biorefineries that could produce renewable biofuels that meet military specifications for jet fuel and shipboard diesel using a variety of non-food biomass feedstocks, waste-based materials, and algae. These projects may support new plant construction, retrofits on existing U.S. biorefineries, or operations at plants ready to begin production at the pilot- or pre-commercial scale. This investment will also help federal and local governments, private developers, and industry collect accurate data on the cost of producing fuels made from biomass and waste feedstocks. See the full funding solicitation. Applications are due August 13, 2012.
Also, DOE announced $12 million to support up to eight projects focused on researching ways to develop biobased transportation fuels and products using synthetic biological processing. Synthetic biological processing offers an innovative technique to enable efficient, cost-saving conversion of non-food biomass to biofuels. These projects will develop novel biological systems that can enhance the breakdown of raw biomass feedstocks and assist in converting feedstocks into transportation fuels.
The projects—which will be led by small businesses, universities, national laboratories, and industry—will seek to overcome technical and scientific barriers to cost-competitive advanced biofuels and bioproducts. Applications are due July 10, 2012. See the full funding opportunity announcement, and the DOE press release.

Administration Makes Major Advances in Energy Efficiency Access

The Obama Administration announced on June 26 that 36 new members have joined the Better Buildings Challenge. These new commitments, from four states—Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, and North Carolina—local governments, and school districts, total nearly 300 million square feet in job-creating building energy upgrades, which is equivalent to more than 130 Empire State Buildings. In addition, new public tax guidance issued at the same time by the U.S. Department of the Treasury will make it easier for state and local governments to access more than $2 billion in existing low-cost financing to fund energy efficiency and renewable energy projects through qualified energy conservation bonds. These bonds (QECBs) provide state and local governments with access to low-cost financing to fund energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.
The challenge is part of the Better Buildings Initiative launched in February 2011 to support job creation by catalyzing private sector investment in commercial and industrial building energy upgrades. The initiative is spearheaded by former President Clinton and the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness with the goal of making U.S. buildings 20% more efficient over the next decade, which will help reduce U.S. energy costs by nearly $40 billion. Last year, commercial buildings consumed roughly 20% of all the energy used by the U.S. economy. See the Energy Department press release and the Better Buildings Challenge website.

Interior Reports Two Major Wind Energy Initiatives Finish Review

The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) announced on July 2 that two major wind energy initiatives have completed important environmental reviews in three states—Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Wyoming—clearing the way for public comment and final review.
DOI announced the release of final environmental impact statements for a proposed wind power complex in Wyoming that would generate up to 3,000 megawatts of power, making it the largest wind farm facility in the United States and one of the largest in the world. The proposed Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Farm would include up to 1,000 turbines and generate enough power for as many as 1 million homes. The project would be built on public, private, and state land in Carbon County, Wyoming. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is reviewing the proposed wind project, as well as a proposed amendment to the Rawlins Resource Management Plan to accommodate the facility.
Also, DOI announced the publication of an environmental assessment for commercial wind leases and site assessment activities on the Outer Continental Shelf offshore of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. This step positions DOI to offer the area as one of the nation’s first offshore competitive lease sales before the end of the year. The environmental assessment for the Rhode Island/Massachusetts Wind Energy Area will be used by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to inform future leasing decisions as part of the Obama Administration’s “Smart from the Start” offshore wind energy initiative. The Wind Energy Area comprises approximately 164,750 acres within the area of mutual interest identified by the two states. BOEM leadership will host public information sessions on July 16 and 17 to further engage stakeholders and consider public comments on the environmental assessment. See the DOI press release.


  special thanks to U.S. Department of Energy |

A Material Change: Bringing Lithium Production Back to America

Between 1980 and 2009, the global demand for lithium has tripled. This metal is a key material in a number of growing industries, including advanced vehicle batteries and consumer electronics. But more specifically, lithium-ion batteries are a vital component in electric vehicles and other rechargeable batteries for consumer electronics and are used to produce the plug-in electric vehicles on the market today. These batteries also have a major impact on energy storage infrastructure and are helping integrate renewable energy sources into the electricity grid.
After leading the world in lithium production in the early 1990s, America now imports the majority of its lithium materials and compounds from South America.
The Energy Department is hoping to bring lithium production leadership back to the United States with a $28.4 million federal investment in the communities of Silver Peak, Nevada, and Kings Mountain, North Carolina. Read the complete story in the Energy Blog.

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)


U.S. Support for the Sustainable Energy for All Global Action Agenda

U.S. Support for the Sustainable Energy for All Global Action Agenda


  special thanks to U.S. Department of Energy |

The UN Secretary General’s Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative represents an important opportunity for the international community to address issues critical to the future of sustainable development, energy access, and economic growth. Expanding the use of efficient and clean energy technologies is a priority of the Obama Administration, domestically and internationally, and increasing energy access is a central challenge facing the world.
The United States supports the principles of the Global Action Agenda developed by the SE4ALL High Level Group through existing and planned activities across a broad range of U.S. Government agencies. As reported elsewhere in official documents, the U.S. is providing substantial grant, loan and loan guarantee resources, from both Congressionally-appropriated funds and under loan and loan guarantee authorities, of about $2 billion in FY11 for clean energy. The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress on activities in FY12 that will build on and sustain this USG priority. These funds are helping to create a sound policy, regulatory and institutional framework for project investment and financing from private and international sources as well as directly leveraging investment. Support for innovation and energy technology partnerships is also an important focus. In building viable and sustainable energy markets, U.S. support helps create opportunities for American exports in renewable energy, power generation and energy efficiency technologies.
Below are specific examples of on-going and planned U.S. Government support for the SE4All Global Action Agenda:

1. Technical Assistance for Improving the Enabling Environment

Sustainable Clean Energy Development: Within this overall U.S. effort, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the State Department are promoting sustainable, low emissions development through a range of clean energy activities that have national, regional, and global components. One major activity involves cooperation with up to 20 countries in developing and implementing low emissions development strategies (LEDS) that emphasize energy efficiency and renewable energy. Other activities include supporting regional energy efficiency and power grid interconnection and market development efforts; promoting regulatory and business policies that create conditions for renewable and clean energy investment; and promoting global efforts to advance new, efficient energy technologies.

2. Participation in Clean Energy Technology Partnerships

Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM): The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), supported by funding from the Department of State, serves as the Secretariat for the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM), a high-level global forum to promote policies and programs that advance clean energy technology, to share lessons learned and best practices, and to encourage the transition to a global clean energy economy. Participating governments account for 80 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and 90 percent of global clean energy investment. The CEM’s 12 initiatives build on Technology Action Plans that were released by the Major Economies Forum Global Partnership in December 2009, which laid out best practice blueprints for action in key technology areas. Three of these initiatives are components of the SE4ALL Action Agenda. The Super-efficient Appliance and Equipment Deployment (SEAD) initiative creates a common technical foundation to allow governments to more easily adopt cost-effective appliance efficiency policies and programs. The Clean Energy Solutions Center serves as a first-stop clearinghouse of online clean energy resources, including policy best practices, data, and analysis tools, and shares these resources with a global forum of energy experts, policy makers, and other stakeholders. The Solutions Center offers online training, “live” ask-an-expert assistance to help countries tailor solutions to their needs and foster international collaboration on policy innovations. Global LEAP is a voluntary forum that brings together donor governments and development partners to share knowledge and best practices under a set of commonly held principles that encourage self-sustaining commercial markets for energy access solutions, with a particular focus on energy-efficient off-grid lighting. Funding commitments for these three initiatives in FY 10 and 11 total over $16 million.
Powering Agriculture: An Energy Grand Challenge for Development: The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), in partnership with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), Duke Energy, the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), has launched a new program to develop and scale appropriate, clean energy solutions for farmers and agri-businesses in the developing world. The program will focus on technology and business model innovation and commercialization of solutions.
Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves: The United States is a founding member of this Alliance, an innovative initiative led by the United Nations Foundation and with over 400 public and private partners, including 34 countries, to save lives, improve livelihoods, empower women, and combat climate change by creating a thriving global market for clean and efficient household cooking solutions. Roughly half of the U.S. contribution supports applied research on topics such as health benefits, technology development, stove testing, and adoption. The other half targets debt financing or insurance to support the manufacture, sale, and purchase of cookstoves. The Alliance’s ‘100 by 20’ goal calls for 100 million homes to adopt clean and efficient stoves and fuels by 2020.

3. Financing and Mobilization of Private Capital

OPIC: The U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation offers a number of products to help investors finance projects in the developing world, including debt financing, risk insurance, and new coverage for power purchase agreements. OPIC lending for renewable energy reached $1.1 billion in FY11. The OPIC commitments normally leverage at least twice as much in private investments.
MCC: The Millennium Challenge Corporation enters into Compacts with a limited number of countries that provide grant assistance to support their reform efforts in key sectors. Electrification and clean energy is a focus in several of the current and planned Compacts.
TDA: The U.S. Trade and Development Agency supports project feasibility and related technical assessment work that support exports by U.S. companies. TDA helps to ensure project soundness and often addresses key regulatory constraints developing a project financing package.
USAID/DCA: USAID has a unique loan guarantee program called the Development Credit Authority that provides partial credit guarantees on a project or portfolio basis with local banks, municipal authorities, or private companies. DCA guarantees support USAID’s development priorities across all sectors including energy, and some specific mechanisms/windows for clean energy have been established. In 2011, DCA completed 37 transactions in 21 countries, which will result in $197 million in private capital for local loans. The leveraging impact of these guarantees on local lending was 16 to 1 in FY11.
Treasury: The U.S. Department of Treasury is the lead USG agency in the provision of clean energy finance to multilateral climate and clean energy funds including the Clean Technology Fund and the Program for Scaling Up Renewable Energy in Low Income Countries. The U.S. contribution to these funds in FY11 was approximately $195 million for clean energy activities. In addition, approximately $23.4 million of the Treasury FY2011 GEF contribution went toward clean energy activities.

Office of the Spokesperson

Washington, DC

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)


Renewable Energy Croatia 2012


Renewable energy resources, like wind and solar, are abundant, homegrown, and emissions-free and have the potential to help lead the nation toward energy independence.
Unfortunately, today’s infrastructure is unable to maximize the benefits of significantly more renewable resources. Wind and solar resources are connected to the grid as “one-off” solutions that are generally not integrated with other generation nor optimized as a reliable first-tier energy source.

Additionally, when renewable resources are producing electricity, the possibility of congestion on transmission lines can create a barrier to their full utilization. The variability of renewable sources can also cause challenges. And when renewables are offline—when the wind doesn’t blow or it’s a cloudy day— other power generation will be needed to fill in the gaps.

Without infrastructure expansion and changes to the way the power system is operated, it will be difficult for the Croatia to produce more than 20% of its electricity (the target percentage for many EU states) from variable renewable energy resources, such as wind and solar.

The Variability of Renewable Power

Wind and solar power are inherently variable, meaning sometimes the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine. Then what? Fortunately, smart grid technologies can help manage the unpredictability of wind and solar to help alleviate reliability and stability issues caused by power fluctuations. This will become increasingly important as more wind and solar power is connected to the grid.

Automated demand response technologies will act as a lever that utilities can pull to help lower demand in the event there is a gap in renewable power generation—for instance, if the wind stops blowing. To address such contingencies, a utility may incent consumers to opt into programs that allow certain devices (i.e., water heaters) to be temporarily switched off during peak times.
In the future, storage technologies could also help utilities manage the short-term imbalances in the supply and demand of energy, sometimes caused by the fluctuations of a lot of renewable energy. Batteries will store energy during times of excess wind energy production and discharge that energy via smart grid automation technologies when energy demand exceeds supply.

Grid Congestion
In some parts of the country, overburdened power lines make it difficult to move electricity from wind farms into the grid for consumption. There have been cases when wind farms are forced to shut down—even when the wind is blowing—because there is no capacity available in the lines for the electricity they create.

Without adequate transmission to transport power from “renewable” rich areas (like Dalmacija region) to densely populated areas, it is only cost effective to use renewable sources in certain areas of the country—at least for now.

While building new infrastructure would certainly help, smart grid technologies can also help utilities alleviate grid congestion and maximize the potential of our current infrastructure. Smart grid technologies can help provide real-time readings of the power line, enabling utilities to maximize flow through those lines and help alleviate congestion.

As smart grid technologies become more widespread, the electrical grid will be made more efficient, helping reduce issues of congestion. Sensors and controls will help intelligently reroute power to other lines when necessary, accommodating energy from renewable sources, so that power can be transported greater distances, exactly where it’s needed.

Distributed Generation
Traditionally, electricity has flowed one way, from a power station to a customer. However, as more energy is generated by alternative sources, power will be entering the network from multiple locations, including the distribution network (i.e., distributed generation). These sources are often cleaner or more efficient; for example, combined heat and power plants (CHP) are more than 75% efficient, compared to traditional generation, which is only 49% efficient on average.1

Unfortunately, the current grid was not designed with multi-directional power flow in mind. Two-way power flow, sophisticated controls, and grid automation technologies can help bring wind, solar and other alternative energy solutions safely into the distribution grid and move it where it’s needed, when it’s needed.

In some regions, individuals can contribute to energy production on the distribution grid by generating electricity at their home—for example, solar on rooftops. Where available, enhanced net-metering incents consumers to sell power back to the grid during peak pricing hours—so, consumers make money, and utilities are able to better manage peak demand. Whole neighborhoods could become solar or wind generation plants, introducing excess power back into the grid to meet demand.


Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)