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News Archives 2005



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December 2005

Tenth National Green Power Marketing Conference

Green Power Marketing Conference Presentations, Award Winners Posted
About 300 people attended the recent Tenth National Green Power Marketing Conference on October 24-26 in Austin, Texas. The annual conference reviews the status of green power marketing in electricity markets and explores strategies to increase the development of renewable energy resources through customer choice. It is organized by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Center for Resource Solutions (CRS). The conference presentations have been posted on the DOE Green Power Network website.

Also at the conference, DOE, EPA, and CRS presented the Fifth Annual Green Power Leadership Awards, which recognize leading national green power purchasers and suppliers. Award winners and additional information are posted on EPA's Green Power Partnership website.

November 2005

Screenshot of International Applications's Geospatial Toolkits

NREL Updates Geospatial Toolkits
NREL's Environmental and International team recently updated its Geospatial Toolkits, increasing the availability of reliable, accurate, and easily accessible solar and wind energy resource data for nine countries. The Geospatial Toolkit was developed by a cross-organizational team at NREL, including experts in renewable resource assessment, geographic information systems (GIS), and energy analysis. It allows the user to visualize their resources in conjunction with demographic, infrastructure, and other relevant geographic information – and to ask simple queries such as "how many square kilometers of developable wind resource are within 10 km of a transmission line?"

Originally developed under the United Nations Environmental Programme's Solar and Wind Energy Resource Assessment (SWERA) project, the toolkit utilizes modeled renewable resource data, satellite data, data from global datasets, and data provided by agencies within each country. The toolkit is intended to be used for energy planning, to facilitate investments in solar and wind energy projects, and help accelerate the deployment of these technologies.

The toolkits are accessible on NREL's International Applications website.

November 2005

Screencapture of Green Power Network's Buying Green Power in My State.

NREL Debuts State Database on Buying Green Power
NREL's Strategic Energy Analysis Center (SEAC) recently developed a database that provides access to information on green power availability in all 50 states. This interactive database on the EERE Green Power Network outlines options available throughout the country and provides links to the organizations that are offering them. Results include utility green pricing programs, retail green power products offered in competitive electricity markets, and renewable energy certificate (REC) products sold separate from electricity.

For more information on green power availability in individual states, access the Buying Green Power page on the Green Power Network.

November 2005

Strategic Energy Analysis Center Publishes Green Power Reports
The Strategic Energy Analysis Center (SEAC) recently published new editions of two of its key green power reports, which were released in conjunction with the recent National Green Power Marketing Conference in Austin, Texas.

Green Power Marketing in the United States: A Status Report (Eighth Edition)

Bird, L. and B. Swezey, 2005. Green Power Marketing in the United States: A Status Report (Eighth Edition), NREL/TP-620-38994. Golden, CO: National Renewable Energy Laboratory, October.

(PDF 2.6 MB)

This report documents green power marketing activities and trends in the United States. The first section of the report provides an overview of green power markets, including product pricing, sales, and consumer response. Subsequent sections provide brief descriptions of utility green pricing programs; companies that actively market green power in competitive markets and those that market renewable energy certificates (RECs) nationally or regionally; and a select number of large, nonresidential green power purchasers.

Trends in Utility Green Pricing Programs (2004)

Bird, L. and E. Brown, 2005. Trends in Utility Green Pricing Programs (2004), NREL/TP-620-38800. Golden, CO: National Renewable Energy Laboratory, October.

(PDF 858 KB)

This report presents year-end 2004 data on utility green pricing programs, and examines trends in consumer response and program implementation over time. It presents information on customer participation, sales, program supplies, marketing costs and strategies, and other key program design and implementation practices. The data in this report can be used by utilities as benchmarks by which to gauge the success of their green power programs.

October 2005

Logo of Green Power Network

NREL Releases Estimates of New Renewable Energy Capacity
NREL's Strategic Energy Analysis Center (SEAC) recently released estimates of renewable energy capacity that is being supported through green power markets in the United States. As of the end of 2004, more than 2,200 megawatts (MW) of new renewables capacity was being used to supply green power customers, with another 455 MW either under construction or formally announced.

In assembling the data, SEAC's green power analysis team focused on new renewable resources used to serve green power customers. New renewable resources are defined as projects or portions of projects built specifically to serve green power customers or recently constructed projects that are used to supply green power customers and meet the regional Green-e standards for new renewables.

The analysis also segments the capacity data by the type of market in which the green power is being sold, i.e., through utility green pricing programs, in competitive green power markets, or to wholesale or retail customers in the form of renewable energy certificates (RECs). For more information on how the analysis was conducted, as well as a table outlining specific technology capacity, access the Green Power Network.

October 2005

Photo collage of 3 hybrid electric vehicles, the earth, and a calculator.

NREL Helps Develop Tool for Evaluating Hybrid Vehicles
A new software tool that compares the costs and emissions of hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) to conventional vehicles is now available for government and business fleet managers interested in reducing fuel costs and protecting air quality.

The tool, called the Hybrid Electric Vehicle Fleet Cost and Benefits Calculator Tool, was developed by the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the Center for a New American Dream, and the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE). DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's Clean Cities activity also helped fund the tool.

The HEV Cost Calculator Tool allows fleets to evaluate the full costs and benefits of a hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) in comparison to a conventional vehicle. Fleets also may use the tool to determine the cost and benefits of a fleet of HEVs versus a fleet of conventional vehicles. The tool assesses both capital and operating costs, over the lifetime of use, as well as greenhouse gases and other air emissions. Outputs are provided per vehicle, per year, and per mile. The tool can be accessed from the EERE website.

September 2005

EERE's Office of Planning, Budget, and Analysis Debuts New website
The Office of Planning, Budget, and Analysis (PBA) recently restructured its EERE website, providing users with easier access to its analysis information, as well as the planning and budget resources used to develop the data. The site is organized based on PBA's "key activities," but also shows how the office is organized to support those functions.

The restructuring ensures that PBA information (planning documents, budget information, analysis models/tools, etc.) is appropriately represented and accessible not only to EERE staff, but also to key decision-makers, academia, industry, and the general public — and that's where you come in.

As primary users of this information, we'd like your input on the site and what other content you would find useful in your analysis work.

July 2005

Logo of the Strategic Energy Analysis Center

NREL Presents Papers/Posters on Wind Deployment Systems (WinDS) Model
Analysts with the Strategic Energy Analysis Center (SEAC) and the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) group recently produced two papers highlighting efforts on the Lab's Wind Deployment Systems (WinDS) model and its related tool, the Hydrogen Deployment Systems (HyDS) model.

These papers and corresponding posters were presented at the American Wind Energy Association's (AWEA) WindPower 2005 conference held in Denver. We will keep you posted on progress related to these two models.

Reduced Form of Detailed Modeling of Wind Transmission and Intermittency for Use in Other Models (PDF 728 KB)
The Wind Deployment Systems (WinDS) model is a multiregional, multitime-period, Geographic Information System (GIS) and linear programming model of capacity expansion in the electric sector of the United States. WinDS is designed to address the market issues related to the penetration of wind power into the electric sector. This paper presents reduced-form outputs from WinDS that can be implemented in other models with less-detailed wind power modeling capabilities.
Corresponding poster (PDF 616 KB)

Modeling the Market Potential of Hydrogen from Wind and Competing Sources (PDF 677 KB)
Developed from the Wind Deployment Systems (WinDS) model, the Hydrogen Deployment Systems (HyDS) model is a computer model of U.S. market expansion of hydrogen production from wind and other sources over the next 50 years. HyDS is expanded to include the production of hydrogen from three competing technologies—wind, steam methane reforming (SMR), and distributed electrolysis powered by electricity from the grid—along with storage and transportation of hydrogen. The three competing sources supply hydrogen up to the total transportation demand for fuel, but only if they can do so at the market clearing price or less. This paper presents initial results from this new model.
Corresponding poster (PDF 465 KB)

July 2005

Lab Sponsors Stakeholder Workshop on Energy/Water Issues
Reliable and secure energy — as well as freshwater supplies — are vital to the prosperity of our nation, and are a growing challenge in the American West. NREL hosted a stakeholder workshop to explore the energy/water nexus with a focus on energy's impact in water development and quality, and water use and quality in energy production and delivery. The event was organized with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Western Area Power Administration, and Colorado Water Resource Research Institute. Participants identified issues that are critical to ensuring that our energy supply supports water availability and quality; reduces water use in the supply of energy; and advances energy and water sustainability for Colorado, the Rocky Mountains, and the Great Plains.

We will keep you posted on further outcomes from this initial meeting. For more background information, presentations, and a meeting summary, access the Energy-Water Nexus page on the Energy Analysis website.

July 2005

Modeling Workshop Discusses GIS and Regionalization
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is sponsoring workshops to review the state of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and regionalization in the National Energy Modeling System (NEMS) and other EERE models, as well as identify best practices and gaps, and provide guidance for program planning. These sessions focus on developing the capability of modeling resources for EERE technologies on a regional basis, as well as the benefits/costs, uses, and other aspects of these technologies.

The agendas and presentations from past workshops are available on the GIS page of the website. Please watch this site for further updates.

June 2005

NREL Publishes New HOMER® Study
NREL recently published a study that used the HOMER® micropower optimization model to explore the threshold load size at which it is more cost-effective to include a diesel than to increase the size of the battery bank or PV array. By performing multiple sensitivity analyses, the economic crossover point between these two system types was determined over a range of system sizes, solar resources, fuel prices, and reliability requirements. Depending on these factors, the crossover varied from 3-13 kWh day. The study, titled "Using HOMER® Software, NREL's Micropower Optimization Model, to Explore the Role of Gen-Sets in Small Solar Power Systems, Case Study: Sri Lanka," is available in NREL's Publications database (PDF 586 KB). The HOMER® model evaluates power systems for remote, stand-alone, and distributed generation (DG) applications.

May 2005

New Power Technologies Energy Data Book Available On-Line
The Strategic Energy Analysis Center (SEAC) has posted the third edition of its Power Technologies Energy Data Book (PTEDB) to the Energy Analysis website. This data book compiles — in one central document — a comprehensive set of data about power technologies, acquired from diverse sources. The PTEDB includes complete technology profiles, as well as charts on electricity restructuring, power technology forecasts, electricity supply, electricity capability, electricity generation, electricity demand, prices, economic indicators, environmental indicators, and conversion factors.

For the third edition of the PTEDB, the SEAC redesigned the website, improving the navigation and adding downloadable Excel files. The website also provides access to the two previous editions of the data book, energy-conversion calculators, and links to the Transportation Energy Data Book and Buildings Energy Data Book.

In 2002, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) developed the first version of this data book for the Office of Power Technologies of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The need for policymakers and analysts to be well informed about power technologies suggested the need for a publication that includes a diverse, yet focused, set of data about these technologies. This edition updates the same type of information that is featured in previous years.

Readers are encouraged to suggest improvements to the PTEDB through the feedback form on the website.

Logo of the Green Power Network

May 2005

NREL Highlights Leading Utility Green Power Programs
The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has released its annual ranking of leading utility green power programs. Under these voluntary programs, consumers can choose to help support additional electricity production from renewable resources such as solar and wind. Nearly 600 utilities in 34 states now offer these programs.

Using information provided by utilities, NREL's Strategic Energy Analysis Center (SEAC) develops "Top 10" rankings of utility programs in the following categories: total sales of renewable energy to program participants, total number of customer participants, customer participation rate, and the lowest price premium charged for a green pricing service using new renewable resources.

Ranked by sales of green power, the green power program of Austin (Texas) Energy is first in the nation, followed by Portland General Electric, PacifiCorp, Sacramento (Calif.) Municipal Utility District, and Xcel Energy. Ranked by customer participation rates, the top utilities are Lenox (Iowa) Municipal Utilities, City of Palo Alto (Calif.) Utilities, Montezuma (Iowa) Municipal Light & Power, and (tie) Holy Cross Energy (Colo.), Moorhead (Minn.) Public Service, and Sacramento Municipal Utility District. See the Green Power Network for additional rankings.

April 2005

Benefits Analysis Report On-line
The FY2006 Benefits Analysis report was posted to the EERE website on March 31. This analysis report, produced by EERE's Office of Planning, Budget, and Analysis (PBA), documents the benefits projected to result from EERE's 11 major technology programs (as presented in the President's FY2006 Budget in February). "Projected Benefits of Federal Efficiency and Renewable Energy Programs" describes analysis undertaken by EERE to better understand the extent to which the technologies and market improvements funded by its fiscal year (FY) 2006 Budget Request will make energy more affordable, cleaner, and more reliable. The benefits framework, which was developed by the National Research Council (NRC), focuses on three main categories of energy-linked benefits: economic, environmental, and security. This Benefits Analysis Report is required by the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA).

Strategic Energy Analysis Center

March 2005

New Energy Analysis Publication Available Online
The Strategic Energy Analysis Center (SEAC) recently published the following report:

"R&D Advancement, Technology Diffusion, and Impact on Evaluation of Public R&D" (PDF 761 KB)
This NREL report examines National Research Council (NRC) rules used to estimate the net economic benefits from technologies supported by the Department of Energy (DOE). It evaluates the efficacy of the NRC rules compared to published literature on acceleration of technology introduction into markets, technology diffusion, and infrastructure change. It also offers considerations for revisions of the rules that call for the use of technology and sector-specific data, advanced forecasting techniques, and sensitivity analysis to test the robustness of the methodology.

February 2005

New Energy Analysis Publication Available Online
The Strategic Energy Analysis Center (SEAC) recently published the following report:

"Emerging Markets for Renewable Energy Certificates:
Opportunities and Challenges"
(PDF 1.5 MB)
This analysis report describes and analyzes the emerging market for renewable energy certificates (RECs). It provides an examination of RECs markets including scope and prices, describes how the products are marketed, and identifies the key challenges facing the growth and success of these markets.

January 2005

Logo of Biomass.

DOE Biomass Program Releases Multiyear Analysis Plan
The Biomass Program recently released its multiyear analysis plan (FY04-FY08), defining analysis work performed for the Office of the Biomass Program and EERE. The plan also focuses on the multiyear analysis efforts needed in each of the program areas to achieve DOE's goals and the integration necessary to ensure a complete biomass utilization analysis. This plan is key to the program's goals, outlining the analysis that will support its efforts to establish biomass as a significant source of sustainable fuels, heat, power, chemicals, and materials. For a copy of the report, access the publications database. (PDF 2.1 MB)

January 2005

New Version of Energy Evaluation Software Released
Version 2.13 of HOMER® — NREL's free software for evaluating power systems for remote, stand-alone, and distributed generation (DG) applications — was released in December. The HOMER® model allows industry, utility, academic, and government users to identify optimal system configurations for grid-connected and off-grid generator applications. Its power source options include photovoltaics (PV), wind, hydro, diesel fuel, biomass, microturbines, fuel cells, and the grid itself. The major upgrade improves the software so that it can handle additional hydrogen configurations and complex electricity rate structures. In addition, the software can now credit PV and other renewables for pollutant emission reductions, and it can simulate pollutant emissions of competing technologies. The user interface also has been simplified. For example, solar resource files can be retrieved automatically via the Internet. Since the software was first developed in 1993, more than 5,800 people from 165 countries have downloaded the HOMER® model.