ENERGY EFFICIENCY: THE HIDDEN, COST-SAVING, WIN-WIN STRATEGY IN HOUSE-PASSED ENERGY/CLIMATE BILL

Hidden in the voluminous American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (H.R. 2454) are cost-effective energy efficiency provisions that are the “golden keys” to addressing the nation’s most pressing economic and environmental concerns, the Alliance to Save Energy said today. The energy efficiency provisions are expected to save billions of dollars and create hundreds of thousands of jobs, greatly reducing any economic costs from other parts of the bill. According to the EPA, the energy efficiency provisions will save consumers 7 percent on their energy bills in 2020.

Exxon's Electric Car

Despite Exxon Mobil Corp.'s well-publicized stance in support of fossil fuels, the oil giant said on Tuesday that it is sponsoring a program to bring a zero-emission electric vehicle to Baltimore. The car, called the Maya 300, is a partnership between the oil company and electric-vehicle maker Electrovaya. Exxon is providing parts for the Electrovaya's lithium-ion battery. The Maya 300 is slated to be available for sale in 2011, but visitors to the Maryland Science Center can test drive it for free, beginning on Tuesday, on a track inside the building. Full story here.

Tesla Wins $465M in DOE Loans

It's official: Tesla Motors has won approval for $465 million in low-interest direct loans from the Department of Energy under the delayed Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program. Tesla, which now sells a $109,000 electric sports car, has just been awarded what the DOE calls "conditional loan commitments" to set up manufacturing in California. This represents a huge step for the startup on its at-times bumpy road to producing the long-planned electric sedan, the Model S, and accelerating its nascent battery pack supply business.

Smart Payment System for Energy

This new device will let utilities offer consumers the latest smart energy technology using the proven TaleXus smart pay-as-you-go (PAYG) platform. EnergyPOINT.net™ will allow consumers using a smart key PAYG meter the convenience of purchasing energy credit and managing payments online. Consumers will top up their smart key by inserting it into a specially designed unit that plugs into a computer's USB port. They will be able to add credit to their meter by accessing a custom webpage, via their utility's website, and will purchase energy using a debit card.

Clean Energy Jobs Grow Faster

The number of American "clean energy" jobs grew 9.1% between 1998 and 2007, more than twice the growth rate of employment in the economy as a whole, according to a new study that claims to be the first "hard count" of the sector. The Pew Charitable Trusts found about 68,200 companies with 770,000 jobs in the clean energy sector in 2007 - roughly half a percent of today's US workforce. The study calls it "a strong start for a new economy still very much in its infancy". By comparison, fossil fuels industries, including coal, utilities, oil and gas, had about 1.27 million workers in 2007.

$25 million battery lab

General Motors took a big step toward its reinvention as the "New G.M." today when it opened what it calls the largest automotive battery laboratory in the United States, a move the struggling company believes will hasten the development of electric vehicles. GM invested $25 million in the 33,000-square-foot Global Battery Systems Lab to develop and test the drive-trains underpinning the Chevrolet Volt and other hybrid, battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The automaker believes the facility, at its sprawling Warren Technical Center campus outside Detroit, Michigan, will help make it a market leader in battery and EV technology.

Floating Wind Turbines

The world's first full-scale floating wind turbine is being towed 10 kilometers southwest of Karmřy, Norway, where it will be anchored to the seabed using a three-point mooring system to start offshore trials. To be outfitted with a 65-meter-tall 2.3-megawatt turbine, the Hywind structure, a ballasted steel jacket called a 'spar buoy', will stretch 100 meters below the sea surface.

China to Invest $14.6 Billion in Wind Power by 2010

The country's wind power capacity will rise to 30,000 megawatts from 12,000 megawatts, Shi Lishan, deputy director of renewable energy at the National Energy Administration, said in Rudong city in the eastern province of Jiangsu today. China's wind power capacity was the fourth-largest in the world last year, according to Shi. Investment in alternative energy may exceed 2 trillion yuan by 2020, the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planner, said in 2007. Wind power is "vital" as it is the cheapest form of renewable energy, Shi said. About 80 percent of the country's power is produced from coal.

Largest Solar Array in Southeast

Orange County Convention Center's new one-megawatt photovoltaic (PV) system, the largest rooftop solar installation in the Southeast. Solar panels will span the length of five and a half football fields, generating 1,300 megawatt-hours of electricity per year - greatly reducing the center's carbon footprint and electricity costs. The unveiling will kick off the Green Cities Florida Conference, a two-day event providing fresh, innovative and useful information to businesses, communities and governments interested in embarking on the road to sustainability or improving their current efforts.

EUROPE'S LARGEST ONSHORE WINDFARM COMING ONLINE

Scotland's Whitelee windfarm has a capacity of 322MW, enough to power 180,000 homes, or a city the size of Glasgow. The opening celebration was enhanced by the news of the Scottish Government's approval for an extension, which will raise the windfarm's power capacity to 452MW and create 300 much-needed green jobs in construction. Whitelee takes the current level of wind operating up to 3.5GW. A further 9.2GW is either under construction or about to start construction, but 8.6GW, of which 7.1GW is onshore, is still awaiting planning permission. In England and Wales the majority of this is onshore at Local Government level, where planning decisions can take up to two years to be made, and the approval rate is only 40%.

Semiconductors Save Money and Energy --- Big Time

Semiconductor technologies, present in many modern day devices and systems, are so essential to advances in energy efficiency gains that the United States economy could expand by more than 70 percent through 2030 and still use 11 percent less electricity than it did in 2008, according to a new study by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). The report estimates the cumulative net electricity bill savings enabled by semiconductors might exceed $1.2 trillion through 2030. With smart investments productivity gains could reduce electricity use to only 3,364 billion kWh by 2030. The resulting savings of 1,242 billion kWh means that the economy may actually consume 11 percent less electricity in 2030 than it did in 2008. Original Metering.com article.

Gravel Stores Energy for the Grid

A group of English engineers have built an advanced heat pump and connected it to an energy storage system using two silos full of plain old gravel that they say is as cheap as pumped hydro, as location-agnostic as a battery - and is super efficient. Using the heat pump as the key, the team built an energy storage system that compresses argon gas to produce a temperature differential and deposits heat and cold into two separate large silos of gravel. Energy is stored in the gravel and when the process is reversed, it can be released.

PG&E Brightsource deal breaks solar contract record

The contracts secure 1,310 megawatts of solar thermal power from seven projects, the first of which - a 110MW installation in Ivanpah, California - is slated to be online by 2012. Construction is set to begin in "about six months, following approval from the California Energy Commission and the Bureau of Land Management," says BrightSource chief executive John Woolard in an interview published on PG&E's Web site.

GE to Invest $100M+ in New York Battery Plant

General Electric has announced that it plans to build a new battery factory in upstate New York with an "initial investment" of $100 million and additional funds requested under the stimulus package. First up for the New York plant, if all of the financing comes through: batteries for hybrid freight trains. It's looking at providing energy storage devices for other applications including utilities, telecoms and load leveling for the smart grid. At full capacity, the new plant is designed to produce 10 million battery cells, or about 900 MW-hours of energy storage per year.

Clayton i-House - $93,300

"This innovative 'green' home, featuring solar panels and numerous other energy-saving products, is truly a home of the future," Warren Buffett wrote his shareholders. "Estimated costs for electricity and heating total only about $1 per day when the home is sited in an area like Omaha." The "i-house's" metal v-shaped roof - inspired by a gas-station awning - combines design with function. The roof provides a rain water catchment system for recycling, supports flush-mounted solar panels and vaults interior ceilings at each end to 10 1/2 feet for an added feeling of openness. The Energy Star-rated design features heavy insulation, six-inch thick exterior walls, cement board and corrugated metal siding, energy efficient appliances, a tankless water heater, dual-flush toilets and lots of "low-e" glazed windows.

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