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News Archives 2007

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December 2007

Experts Discuss Carbon Policy Design and the Implications for EE and RE at NREL Energy Analysis Forum
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) held its fifth Energy Analysis Forum in Golden, Colorado, on November 27-28, attracting a diverse group of analysts interested in carbon policy design and its implications.

Participants at this two-day event, sponsored by NREL's Strategic Energy Analysis Center (SEAC), discussed critical analysis needs in the carbon-regulation arena and how they related to energy efficiency and renewable energy. These discussions helped participants identify what analysis, models, and analytic capabilities were necessary to better inform effective decision making in this sector.

The forum sessions were a combination of presentations and group discussions, covering topics related to carbon policy — highlights included regulations and their implications, electric-sector technologies, and transportation and fuel production issues. On the second day, smaller working groups discussed carbon regulations and policies — and identified analytic needs. The final session included a full group discussion on new analytic insights, as well as recommendations for next steps.

December 2007

TAP Webcast: Sustainability Plan for L.A. School District
The Technical Assistance Project (TAP) for State and Local Officials will sponsor a Webcast on December 10, highlighting a TAP project with the Los Angeles Unified School District. The presentation, which will be 2-3:30 p.m. (EST), is titled "A Strategic Plan for Sustainable Energy Management and Environmental Stewardship for the Los Angeles United School District."

The Webcast can be accessed via a desktop computer and phone. Although the Webcast is free of charge to attendees, participants must RSVP to obtain an Internet address (URL) and password to connect to the video, and a toll-free phone number to connect to the audio portion of the Webcast.

Contact Misty Conrad via e-mail or by phone at 303-384-7467 for information.

Presenters include:

  • Ken Davis, energy manager for the Los Angeles Unified School District
  • Arun G. Jhaveri, certified sustainable development professional and the principal at Arun Jhaveri and Associates
  • Deb Beattie, senior project leader at NREL; and Andy Walker, senior engineer at NREL.

More information about the presenters, links to background materials and reports, and access to the speaker presentations (available Dec. 10) can be found on the TAP Section of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Weatherization and Intergovernmental Program website.

Upcoming TAP Webcasts
TAP Webcasts are tentatively scheduled bimonthly:
February 13 - NELHA-Hawaii Creates the Green Energy Zone
April 16 - Development of the Texas Renewable Portfolio Standard

About TAP
The Technical Assistance Project (TAP) for State and Local Officials provides state and local officials with quick, short-term access to experts at DOE national laboratories for assistance with their renewable energy and energy efficiency policies and programs. For details and information on how to apply, see the TAP Section of the DOE Weatherization and Intergovernmental Program website.

December 2007

Analysts Meet With Stakeholders
Doug Arent, director of SEAC, was part of a panel discussion on "New Generation Technologies: What is Feasible and at What Cost?" during a one-day conference titled "Colorado's New Energy Economy: The Path Forward." NREL's Chuck Kutscher was keynote speaker for the event, which was sponsored jointly by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, the Governor's Energy Office, and the Office of Consumer Counsel partnering with Energy Outreach in Denver, Colorado.

Nancy Carlisle and Otto Van Geet of SEAC received the "2007 Presidential Award for Leadership in Federal Energy Management" in Washington, D.C., on November 2. They were recognized for their work in developing and implementing the Laboratories for the 21st Century program.

A delegation of senior officials from India's Ministry of Power and from selected state governments and utilities visited NREL on November 2. Sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the visit focused on utility best practices, establishing utility-to-utility partnerships, reduction of electrical system losses, and determining methods to electrify rural portions of India using distributed renewable energy resources. The delegation toured the NREL campus and discussions focused on the opportunities to meet rural electrification objectives in India using renewable and hybrid power systems.

On November 5-6, NREL hosted a workshop on Solar Resource Forecasting Needs and Methodologies. The workshop identified specific solar forecast product requirements from the concentrating solar power (CSP) industry and utilities, reviewed current solar forecasting methodologies, and identified key R&D gaps that can be addressed in NREL's CSP Program plans. Participants included representatives from Arizona Public Service (APS), Abengoa, Acciona, California Independent System Operators, NREL's CSP program, and NREL's solar resource assessment team. NREL will continue working with the private sector and initiate solar resource forecasting R&D activities to support the commercial sector as they develop their solar resource forecasting methodologies.

NREL hosted three officials of an Israeli Delegation from the Ministry of National Infrastructures on November 5. The group received an overview of NREL's program and a tour of the solar and biofuels facilities; staff also presented information on buildings, technology transfer, and international programs. The Israeli delegation identified four areas as priorities for collaboration including CSP and concentrating PV, electric vehicle technologies, smart grids, and energy towers.

SEAC staff members Chandra Shah and Alicen Kandt spoke at the USDA Forest Service 2007 Sustainable Operations Summit on November 13-16 in Denver, Colorado. The summit, which included 200 people from the USFS and other federal agencies, officially launched the Forest Service National Sustainable Operations Effort.

Singapore's Economic Development Board (EDB) officials visited NREL on November 29, describing Singapore's plans to build a clean energy industry cluster and a solar energy research institute. Singapore is moving forward in establishing a solar energy research institute that will have funding of $35 million and employ 100 staff. EDB invited NREL to send experts to visit this research facility in early 2008, when it becomes fully operational and further explore opportunities for solar R&D collaboration. They are also interested in joint work on renewable energy market development throughout Asia.

November 2007

NREL Energy Analysis Forum Focuses on Carbon Policy Design and the Implications for EE and RE
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is sponsoring its fifth Energy Analysis Forum, "Analytic Insights into Carbon Policy Design and the Implications for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy," which will be held in Golden, Colorado, on November 27-28.

The deadlines are near for both registration and making hotel reservations.

Participants at this two-day event, sponsored by NREL's Strategic Energy Analysis Center (SEAC), will discuss critical analysis needs in the carbon-regulation arena and how they relate to energy efficiency (EE) and renewable energy (RE). These discussions will help participants identify what analysis, models, and analytic capabilities are necessary to better inform effective decision making in this sector.

The forum sessions will be a combination of presentations and group discussions, covering topics related to carbon policy — highlights include regulations and their implications, electric-sector technologies, and transportation and fuel production issues. On the second day, smaller working groups will discuss carbon regulations and policies — and identify analytic needs. The final session includes a full group discussion on new analytic insights, as well as recommendations for next steps.

For those who are interested, NREL also will provide a tour of some of the laboratory's research facilities following the sessions on the second day.

November 2007

Screen capture of Solar Advisor Model (SAM) website

Solar Advisor Model (SAM) Expanded
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratory have developed a software tool for simulation of performance, costing, and financing of both photovoltaic systems and concentrating solar power systems. The Solar Advisor Model (SAM), supported by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), can evaluate several types of financing (from residential to utility-scale) and a variety of technology-specific cost models. Solar technologies represented include concentrating solar power (CSP) parabolic trough systems, and photovoltaic (PV) flat-plate and concentrating technologies. The SAM Development Team recently released a new version of SAM (Version 1.3). This release adds additional weather data file support, including many international locations. For more information regarding the capabilities of the SAM software and download information, access the SAM website.

Note: The following three publications were all presented at the National Renewable Energy Marketing Conference on Oct. 21-24 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. For more about the event, visit the Green Power Network.

November 2007

Cover of Trends in Utility Green Pricing Programs (2006) report

Cover of Interaction of Compliance and Voluntary Renewable Energy Markets report

Cover of A Preliminary Examination of the Supply and Demand Balance for Renewable Electricity report

Utility Green Pricing Programs
Analysts Lori Bird and Marshall Kaiser recently published the report "Trends in Utility Green Pricing Programs (2006)" (PDF 786 KB). In the early 1990s, only a handful of utilities offered their customers a choice of purchasing electricity generated from renewable energy sources. Today, more than 750 utilities—or about 25% of all utilities nationally—provide their customers a "green power" option. This report presents year-end 2006 data on utility green pricing programs, and examines trends in consumer response and program implementation over time. The data in this report, which were obtained via a questionnaire distributed to utility green pricing program managers, can be used by utilities to benchmark the success of their green power programs.

November 2007

Interaction of Renewable Energy Markets
Lori Bird and Elizabeth Lokey recently published the report "Interaction of Compliance and Voluntary Renewable Energy Markets" (PDF 1.1 MB). This paper examines key market interaction issues between compliance and voluntary renewable energy markets that have emerged to help support the development of renewable energy resources. It addresses each market's history, purpose, size, scope, and benefits. Several issues that arise with respect to the interplay of the markets are also discussed, such as double counting, supply and demand impacts, and whether consumers will maintain interest in making voluntary purchases if renewable portfolio standard (RPS) policies are in place.

November 2007

Supply and Demand Balance for Renewable Electricity
Analysts Blair Swezey, Jørn Aabakken, and Lori Bird recently published the report "A Preliminary Examination of the Supply and Demand Balance for Renewable Electricity" (PDF 521 KB). In recent years, the demand for renewable electricity has accelerated as a consequence of state and federal policies and the growth of voluntary green power purchase markets, along with the generally improving economics of renewable energy development. This paper reports on a preliminary examination of the supply and demand balance for renewable electricity in the United States, with a focus on renewable energy projects that meet the generally accepted definition of "new" for voluntary market purposes. After estimating current supply and demand, the analysis presents projections of the supply and demand balance out to 2010 and describes a number of key market uncertainties.

November 2007

Analysts Meet With Stakeholders
The Tribal Energy Program conducted a "Tribal Energy Business Development and Financing Workshop," October 8-11 in Denver. Participants covered a wide range of topics including strategic planning, business structures, case studies, environmental compliance, legal structures, and federal funding opportunities.

On October 16-17, NREL analysts spoke at the Investors' Summit on Climate Change Opportunities in New York City, New York. The summit discussed new investment opportunities and risk strategies related to climate-related business trends, and identified and evaluated the impact of climate risk.

On October 18, NREL hosted a high-level visit from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). The four-member delegation included the vice president of the CAS in Beijing, deputy director general for International Cooperation from the CAS in Beijing, director of the Shanghai CAS, and director of the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, CAS.

On October 19, NREL hosted Swedish visitors from the consul based in Michigan. The group discussed mutual interests in biomass gasification in applications for liquid syntheses. Topics included biorefinery R&D, characterization and performance testing of biomass-derived liquid fuels for transport platforms, and advanced and hybrid-vehicle applications with biofuels.

October 2007

Last Call for Renewable Energy Marketing Conference Registration
The National Renewable Energy Marketing Conference is still accepting registrations for this October event. Now in its twelfth year, the conference is the preeminent national meeting for the U.S. renewable energy marketing industry. Join power marketers, project developers, electric utilities, Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, energy consultants, nonprofit organizations, and others on October 21-24, 2007, in historic Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to learn about and discuss key renewable energy market trends and issues. The conference will also feature presentation of the Seventh Annual Green Power Leadership Awards. For more information, please visit the Conference website.

October 2007

Screen capture of Renewable Resource Data Center website

Renewable Resource Data Center
NREL recently restructured its Renewable Resource Data Center (RReDC), providing easier access to an extensive collection of renewable energy resource data, maps, and tools. Biomass, geothermal, solar, and wind resource data for locations throughout the United States can be found through the RReDC. This website shows which renewable energy technologies are better suited for particular areas of the country, helping users with renewable energy planning and siting projects. RReDC provides detailed resource information through tools, reports, maps, and data collections. Additional resource data can be found on the NREL Dynamic Maps, GIS Data, and Analysis Tools website.

October 2007

Analysts Meet With Stakeholders
SEAC analyst Maggie Mann spoke at the Governors' Ethanol Coalition (GEC) Fall Meeting about a renewable fuels standard in the context of cap-and-trade policies. The GEC will work with NREL to study this issue in FY08.

On September 12, NREL hosted a delegation of Chinese government officials and researchers led by Dr. Cao Jianlin, vice minister of the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST). Amy Chiang, director of DOE/EERE's Office of Technology Advancement and Outreach provided an official welcome on behalf of DOE. Members of the technical staff provided descriptions and facility tours of NREL's work in PV, vehicles, biofuels, and wind power.

Doug Arent, SEAC director, spoke on the status of renewable energy technologies at the Joint Western Commissions' Renewable Energy Workshop on September 14 in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

September 2007

Cover of Energy, Economic, and Environmental Benefits of the Solar America Initiative report

Analysis of the Solar America Initiative
Analyst Robert Margolis was the technical monitor for the report "Energy, Economic, and Environmental Benefits of the Solar America Initiative," (PDF 700 KB) produced by ECONorthwest. The President's Solar America Initiative (SAI) was launched in January 2006 as part of the administration's Advanced Energy Initiative. The SAI is being led by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Program (SETP), with NREL providing analytical and technical support. The SAI has a goal of installing 5-10 GW of photovoltaic (PV) systems in the United States by 2015 and 70-100 GW of PV systems in the United States by 2030. To make PV cost-competitive with other energy resources, this requires that the installed cost of PV fall from approximately $8/Wdc in 2005 to $3.3/Wdc in 2015 and $2.5/Wdc in 2030. This report presents estimates of the potential energy, economic, and environmental benefits that could result should the SAI PV installation goals be achieved.

September 2007

Cover of Making the Economic Case for Small-Scale Distributed Wind — A Screening for Distributed Generation Wind Opportunities report

Distributed Generation Wind Opportunities
SEAC staff members Alicen Kandt, Elizabeth Brown, and Jeffrey Dominick recently published "Making the Economic Case for Small-Scale Distributed Wind — A Screening for Distributed Generation Wind Opportunities" (PDF 416 KB) for the WindPower 2007 conference. This study was an offshoot of a previous assessment, which examined the potential for large-scale (greater than 50 MW) wind development on occupied federal agency lands. The study did not find significant commercial wind development opportunities, primarily because of poor wind resource on available and appropriately sized land areas, or land use or aesthetic concerns. The study did identify a promising —but less common — distributed generation (DG) development option. This follow-up study documents efforts to identify economic DG wind projects at a select group of occupied federal sites by an NREL/Global Energy Concepts team. The benefits and barriers of DG are discussed, and the screening methodology and results are included. The report concludes with generalizations about the screening method and recommendations for improvement and other potential applications for this methodology.

September 2007

Analysts Meet With Stakeholders
SEAC staff member Andy Walker discussed zero-energy (100% renewables) life-cycle cost optimization during the Southwest Renewable Energy Conference, July 31-August 2, in Boulder, Colorado. The conference, which was sponsored by Northern Arizona University, provides a forum for the exchange of ideas and information about renewable energy.

Also in early August, SEAC staff members David Kline, Shannon Cowlin, and Kelli Anderson hosted a delegation from the Chinese photovoltaics (PV) industry, including representatives from the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Gansu provincial government, and research organizations. The group discussed their plans for large grid-connected PV projects in Western China and heard from NREL staff regarding U.S. experience with grid-tied PV.

Several SEAC staff members presented at and led sessions during federal agency meetings at the GovEnergy conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, the week of August 6. GovEnergy is sponsored by the U.S. departments of Energy, Defense, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs, the U.S. General Services Administration, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The goal of the conference was to provide federal agency energy managers with information on the latest energy-saving strategies and products, opportunities to network with colleagues, and training.

Sheila Hayter, of SEAC, developed a presentation on the status of NREL's work in feasibility analysis of 16 Veterans Administration (VA) sites for photovoltaic and solar hot water systems. Alicen Kandt, also of SEAC, gave the presentation on August 9 during a VA energy meeting, following the GovEnergy Conference in New Orleans. She also led a team performing energy audits on three New Orleans schools in support of NREL's Buildings Program.

SEAC's Doug Arent served as a panelist at the University of Colorado's "The Global Energy Crisis: Climate Change, Mitigation and Adaptation" event on August 30 in Boulder, Colorado. He discussed the status and opportunities of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.

August 2007

Analysis Seminars at EERE
The Planning, Analysis, and Evaluation (PAE) group at the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) presents weekly seminars every Thursday from 9:30-10:30 a.m. ET. These seminars bring together analysts from all the laboratories in the DOE system, as well as other groups working in energy analysis, to discuss their current projects and results. To find out more about these topics, access the Events page on the Planning, Budget, and Analysis (PBA) website.

August 2007

Analysis of ENERGY STAR
SEAC analysts Gail Mosey, Patricia Plympton, and Leila Dagher recently published "Home Performance with ENERGY STAR: Utility Bill Analysis on Homes Participating in Austin Energy's Program" (PDF 481 KB) Home Performance with ENERGY STAR (HPwES) is a jointly managed program of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This program focuses on improving energy efficiency in existing homes via a whole-house approach to assessing and improving a home's energy performance, and helping to protect the environment. As a local sponsor for HPwES, Austin Energy's HPwES program offers a complete home energy analysis and a list of recommendations for efficiency improvements, along with cost estimates. To determine the benefits of this program, NREL collaborated with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to conduct a statistical analysis using energy consumption data of HPwES homes provided by Austin Energy. This report provides preliminary estimates of average savings per home from the HPwES Loan Program for the period 1998 through 2006.

August 2007

Home Energy Efficiency Technologies
Patricia Plympton and Leila Dagher of SEAC recently published "Industry Stakeholder Recommendations for DOE's RD&D for Increasing Energy Efficiency in Existing Homes" (PDF 1.1 MB). DOE directed NREL to solicit and obtain feedback from building practitioners on the direction of future DOE research and development in the area of improving energy use in existing residential buildings. The Building Technologies Program (BTP) within DOE specifically sought feedback from stakeholders on which technologies and best practices the program should pursue. Industry stakeholders included home remodelers and builders, home energy raters, HVAC contractors, home performance contractors, insulation installers, manufacturers, building scientists, and other interested stakeholders. This analysis report plots the feedback by end-use category, showing the areas where the industry participants see a need for increased existing homes R&D.

August 2007

Resource Assessment for Afghanistan and Pakistan
In partnership with NREL's geographic information systems (GIS) group and the technology centers, SEAC staff recently produced two CDs — NREL Resource Maps and Toolkits for Afghanistan and Pakistan — featuring extensive analysis data specific to those countries. The products were developed by NREL for the U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID) South Asia Regional Initiative for Energy Cooperation (SARI/E). The resource assessment section of NREL's International website contains high-resolution wind and solar resource maps and data products, with individual sections for Pakistan and Afghanistan. The data were output in GIS format and incorporated into a Geospatial Toolkit (GsT). The GsT allows the user to examine the resource data in a geospatial context along with other key information relevant to renewable energy development, such as transportation networks, transmission corridors, existing power facilities, load centers, terrain conditions, and land use.

August 2007

Photo of David Hurlbut

 David Hurlbut

Analysts in the News
David Hurlbut, senior analyst with NREL's Strategic Energy Analysis Center, was recently appointed to Colorado Governor Bill Ritter's Renewable Resource Generation Development Area Task Force. The panel will produce maps detailing the opportunities for renewable energy development in Colorado. Hurlbut will be working closely with NREL's geographic information systems group to produce the resource information. The maps and supporting materials are scheduled to be delivered to the Governor's Office and the General Assembly by Dec. 31.

August 2007

Analysts Meet With Stakeholders
Roger Taylor presented an overview of renewable energy resource and technology options to the Radioactive and Hazardous Materials Legislative Committee of New Mexico on July 12 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This committee is looking into the broad range of renewable energy options for the state, conducting two days of hearings covering everything from climate change to energy efficiency. Taylor covered the five main RE resources in New Mexico (solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, and hydroelectric) and discussed the reliability and readiness of renewables for New Mexico.

NREL and DOE's Weatherization and Intergovernmental Program (WIP) hosted a State Biofuels Workshop on July 16-17, attracting more than 70 participants from DOE, the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Defense, and U.S. Department of Agriculture, alongside 50 representatives from state energy offices, agriculture and transportation departments, and economic development offices. Workshop attendees, which represented 30 states, shared experiences in state biofuels policy and identified areas for federal-state and interstate cooperation in meeting the president's alternative fuels goals.

Doug Arent, of SEAC, participated in the Rothesay Energy Dialogue's "Alternative Energy Discussion" on July 17-18 in Rothesay, New Brunswick, Canada. Arent provided an overview of the range of renewable energy technologies, which included an assessment of technology status and the realistic options for reducing reliance on greenhouse gas-emitting energy sources. The audience, including senior ministers from Canada, discussed issues to help inform their energy policy debate.

The Nicholas Institute hosted a two-day symposium titled "Economic Modeling of Federal Climate Proposals: Advancing Model Transparency and Technology Policy Development," in Washington, D.C., on July 18-19. Doug Arent and other top experts addressed three goals: providing a transparent view of currents models and their analysis of legislation; identifying strengths, weakness, and needed improvements in each model; and identifying targets for complementary technologies policies. The event was geared toward content providers as well as a policy audience.

Andy Walker, in support of NREL's photovoltaics program, conducted site assessments of all U.S. House, Senate, and Library of Congress buildings in Washington, D.C, on July 23-27. This is the first step in evaluating large rooftop photovoltaic systems on the buildings. The site assessment team includes experts from NREL, Sandia National Laboratories, and the Florida Solar Energy Center.

SEAC staff Sheila Hayter and Otto Van Geet visited the Massachusetts Military Reserve on Cape Cod in late July to conduct an initial analysis of the potential for powering groundwater remediation systems for the Army Environmental Command.

July 2007

Cover of Modeling the National Potential for Offshore Wind report

The Potential for Offshore Wind
Analysts Walter Short and Patrick Sullivan recently published "Modeling the National Potential for Offshore Wind" (PDF 3.2 MB) for the WindPower 2007 Conference in Los Angeles. There is a national interest in the potential of offshore wind power due to the growing concern about climate change and the corresponding need for renewable energy. Offshore wind power is attractive due to the large and high-quality resource off the U.S. coasts as well as that offshore wind farms can be sited relatively close to load centers – more than half the population of the United States lives within 50 miles of an ocean or Great Lake – lowering transmission losses and expense. Additionally, wind farms off the coast of Europe have successfully demonstrated the technology. Offshore wind farms, however, have high up-front costs and are not seen as economical in the near term. There is interest, therefore, in examining under what economic, social, and technological conditions offshore wind becomes viable. This paper contributes to this examination, using the Wind Deployment System (WinDS) model.

July 2007

Strategic Energy Management Plans
NREL's Strategic Energy Analysis Center (SEAC) produces energy management plans for federal agencies, helping them integrate their mission and requirements for energy, the environment, and sustainability. Examples include reports for the General Services Administration (PDF 1.7 MB) and the Department of Commerce. These guidance documents provide federal agencies with information on how to reduce energy consumption through sound conservation practices and the greater use of advanced energy systems. For more information on how NREL can help with an energy management plan, contact Deb Beattie.

July 2007

Analysts Meet With Stakeholders
A U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)-sponsored event was held June 24 and 25, titled "Renewable Energy Symposium: Roll-Out of Wind and Solar Resource Maps for Afghanistan and Pakistan." Almost 200 representatives of government, industry, and the media attended this event in Islamabad, Pakistan. NREL's David Renné presented the methodology and tools developed under the USAID South Asia Regional Initiative for Energy and described the renewable resource potential for the region. With the power sector in Pakistan growing by over 8% per year, these renewable resource tools have the potential to stimulate much-needed renewable energy development in the region.

Doug Arent discussed energy challenges related to international security issues at the Joint Forces Command Innovations and Experimentation Planning Workshop in Suffolk, Virginia, on June 27. One hundred attendees from across the Defense Department attended and used the information to help inform their operational planning scenarios for the next two decades.

NREL hosted a workshop for the Energy Collaborative Analysis Initiative (ECAI) on June 27 and 28 in Washington, D.C. Sixty analysts attended from the Department of Energy (DOE); California Energy Commission (CEC); New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA); Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC); Energy Information Administration (EIA); and many other national labs, universities, and institutions. Sessions focused on improving impact evaluation models and tools, incorporating risk and uncertainty in models, and helped inform further collaborative activities across the organizations. See the ECAI website for more about the collaborative.

Doug Arent was invited to speak about NREL's latest programs during the Washington Energy Briefing on June 28 in Washington, D.C. The event featured top congressional, government, and business leaders, providing the latest information on new and just-passed congressional energy legislation and new federal government energy programs.

Andy Walker presented a paper "Design and Analysis of a Large Solar Industrial Heat Plant for Frito Lay" in Modesto, California, at the 2007 Energy Sustainability conference in Long Beach, California. This work was funded by the Frito Lay Corporation.

Roger Taylor was interviewed by an affiliate of the University of New Mexico Public Broadcasting regarding renewable energy opportunities in New Mexico. Primary topics of interest were solar and wind opportunities for the state. Later in July, he will provide testimony to the New Mexico Radioactive and Hazardous Materials Interim Legislative Committee on renewable energy opportunities in Santa Fe.

June 2007

TAP Webcast: Trends in U.S. Wind Power
NREL's Strategic Energy Analysis Center (SEAC) and DOE's Technical Assistance Project (TAP) will present a webcast on "Trends in U.S. Wind Power Installation, Cost, and Performance" from 1-2 p.m. ET on June 19.

In this presentation, staff from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) will summarize key findings from the U.S. DOE's "Annual Report on U.S. Wind Power Installation, Cost, and Performance Trends: 2006." (PDF 2.4 MB) The wind power industry is in the midst of substantial growth and, with the market evolving at such a rapid pace, it has become increasingly difficult to keep up with trends in the marketplace. The report summarized in this presentation is the first in what is envisioned to be an ongoing annual series, providing a detailed overview of developments and trends. Detailed data on actual wind power price, cost, and performance trends will be provided.

The webcast also will provide information on how state and local officials can receive assistance with renewable energy and energy efficiency policies and programs through TAP. For more information on TAP, access the Weatherization and Intergovernmental Program website.

Interested participants should contact Misty Conrad by e-mail or at 303-384-7467 for log-in information.

June 2007

Cover of Costs and Emissions Associated with Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle Charging in the Xcel Energy Colorado Service Territory report

PHEVs and Utilities in Colorado
Analysts Paul Denholm, Tony Markel, and Keith Parks recently published "Costs and Emissions Associated with Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle Charging in the Xcel Energy Colorado Service Territory," (PDF 551 KB). The combination of high oil costs, concerns about oil security and availability, and air quality issues related to vehicle emissions are driving interest in "plug-in" hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). PHEVs are similar to conventional hybrid electric vehicles, but feature a larger battery and plug-in charger that allows electricity from the grid to replace a portion of the petroleum-fueled drive energy. The use of PHEVs would represent a significant potential shift in the use of electricity and the operation of electric power systems. Electrification of the transportation sector could increase generation capacity and transmission and distribution (T&D) requirements, especially if vehicles are charged during periods of high demand. This study is designed to evaluate several of these PHEV-charging impacts on utility system operations within the Xcel Energy Colorado service territory.

June 2007

Analysts Meet With Stakeholders
Lori Bird presented a luncheon keynote address at the Environmental Markets Association Conference on May 8 in Boston, which highlighted the findings of a recent NREL report, "Implications of Carbon Regulation for Green Power Markets" (PDF 982 KB)

Phil Voss served as an instructor for the DOE Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) Introduction to Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPC) Workshop in San Diego, California, on May 15-16. There were about 25 attendees from multiple federal agencies.

NREL and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) cosponsored the "Alternative Transportation Fuels, Session VII - Infrastructure" series on May 17 in Washington, D.C. The series surveys the transportation choices that will confront the U.S. consumer in the decades ahead. SEAC Director Doug Arent was chair for the meeting, which was attended by about 100 people.

Otto VanGeet, Jeff Dominick, and Michael Deru (all of NREL) participated in an Air Force Facility Energy Strategic Planning session held in mid-May at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida. Strategic plans and work plans were developed in several key areas (new buildings, existing buildings, renewables, and energy purchasing). At the conclusion of the meeting, the preliminary plans were presented to and approved by Air Force Headquarters, and they will be fine-tuned and implemented during the next six years as part of a larger program addressing overall Air Force energy use.

Fourteen Afghan engineers, representing government, academia, nongovernment organizations, and universities in Afghanistan participated in a workshop in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India on May 20-27. The workshop, which focused on successful renewable energy applications in South Asia, included a presentation by NREL on the lab's newly developed solar and wind maps and geospatial toolkit for Afghanistan. The workshop, funded by USAID, also provided further training on the HOMER® model, NREL's hybrid power optimization software.

Robi Robichaud met with Navy and Air Force officials in Guam on May 20 to conduct siting analysis for installing towers and, eventually, wind turbines at military sites on the island. They also looked at PV applications for the Navy. This work is a continuation of efforts for a recent Air Force study.

Roger Taylor, Larry Flowers, and Doug Arent hosted the Sustainable Water Resources Roundtable (SWRR) on May 22-23 at the National Wind Technology Center (NWTC). SWRR is one of four natural resource roundtables supporting the efforts of the White House Council on Environmental Quality to develop a comprehensive set of national environmental indicators.

NREL hosted an "Industry Forum on Biofuels Development in Brazil, China, and India" on May 24- 25 in Washington, D.C. A collaboration with DOE, the forum is designed to solicit input from U.S. biofuel companies on market opportunities and barriers in these three countries. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for EERE John Mizroch and NREL Director Dan Arvizu participated in the event, along with representatives from other U.S. government agencies and key industrial groups.

Doug Arent presented at the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA) Security Analysts' Conference in Colorado Springs on May 25. INGAA hosts this conference annually as part of its effort to build relationships between the financial analyst community and senior pipeline executives. Arent's presentation covered the changing energy landscape and advanced technologies.

John Sheehan was part of an expert panel for ethanol technology at the Simmons and Company Alternative Fuels Workshop in Sonoma, California, on May 30-June 2. Simmons and Company provides a complete line of investment banking services to its energy clients.

May 2007

Cover of Implications of Carbon Regulation for Green Power Markets

Green Power Markets and Carbon Regulation
NREL analysts, along with Ed Holt and Associates Inc., recently published "Implications of Carbon Regulation for Green Power Markets" (PDF 983 KB). While the implementation of policies to control or reduce carbon emissions is likely to provide market benefit to renewable energy sources by increasing the cost of production from carbon-emitting energy sources, the impact on voluntary renewable energy purchase ("green power") markets is not as clear. Because voluntary purchases are often premised on the ability to make environmental claims, the green power market could be negatively impacted if carbon policies are not properly structured. In this report, the authors review carbon regulation programs under development in the Northeast and California, as well as the experience in the European Union, where carbon is already regulated, and discuss the potential implications of these programs for the types of environmental claims currently made by commercial and institutional green power purchasers. The authors also explore the potential interaction between voluntary renewable energy purchase markets and voluntary carbon markets, such as the Chicago Climate Exchange. The report ends with policy options for regulators and other decision makers to consider in designing carbon policies that will enable carbon markets and voluntary renewable energy markets to work together.

May 2007

Cover of The Technical Potential of Solar Water Heating to Reduce Fossil Fuel Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the United States

Reducing Fossil Fuel Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions with Solar Water Heating
NREL also published "The Technical Potential of Solar Water Heating to Reduce Fossil Fuel Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the United States" (PDF 571 KB). Use of solar water heating (SWH) in the United States grew significantly in the late 1970s and early 1980s, as a result of increasing energy prices and generous tax credits. Since 1985, however, expiration of federal tax credits and decreased energy prices have virtually eliminated the U.S. market for SWH. More recently, increases in energy prices, concerns regarding emissions of greenhouse gases, and improvements in SWH systems have created new interest in the potential of this technology. SWH, which uses the sun to heat water directly or via a heat-transfer fluid in a collector, may be particularly important in its ability to reduce natural gas use. This report provides an overview of the technical potential of solar water heating to reduce fossil fuel consumption and associated greenhouse gas emissions in U.S. residential and commercial buildings.

May 2007

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GPRA Benefits Analysis Report
The Office of Planning, Budget, and Analysis (PBA) has released its FY 2008 benefits analysis report, "Projected Benefits of Federal Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Programs – FY 2008 Budget Request." This report summarizes the results of the benefits analysis, which was led by NREL, of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) programs, as described in the FY 2008 budget request and developed under the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) of 1993. EERE estimates benefits for its overall portfolio and for each of its nine Research, Development, Demonstration, and Deployment (RD3) programs. Benefits for the FY 2008 budget request are estimated for the midterm (2008-2030) and long term (2030-2050). EERE annually assesses the contribution of its work to DOE's goals of providing affordable, clean, and reliable energy. Two energy market models are used in this assessment—one that looks in detail at the midterm (through 2030) and one that looks more generally at trends in the long term (through 2050).

May 2007

Analysts Meet With Stakeholders
Doug Arent attended the Utah Energy Summit on April 16-17 in downtown Salt Lake City. The Utah Energy Summit examines how cutting-edge, next-generation technologies reshape America's energy policy and our future. The summit focused throughout the event on how to reconcile the need to increase energy supply while limiting environmental impacts, including those related to climate change.

Blair Swezey presented on "Trends in Utility Green Pricing Programs" at the Electric Utility Consultants Inc. (EUCI) Marketing Green Power Conference in Chicago on April 19-20.

Peter Lilienthal attended the Alaska Rural Energy Conference the week of April 22, where he presented on the economics of distributed generation, hosted an "Expert Table" on Community Energy Planning, and performed all-day training on the HOMER® micropower optimization model for wind-diesel applications.

Doug Arent attended the 2nd Annual Renewable Energy Finance and Investment Summit at Pointe South Mountain Resort, Phoenix, Arizona, on April 23-25. The FRA's Summit explored innovative, new financing methods stimulating high growth in renewable fuel and renewable power projects.

NREL hosted a high-level Chinese delegation on April 25 from the National Development and Reform Commission. The delegation was accompanied by Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Kathy Fredriksen from DOE's Office of Policy and International Affairs. The delegation members received briefings on NREL's biofuels and other research programs, and discussions were held on ongoing and potential future NREL collaboration with China.

Nancy Carlisle, along with Geoffrey Bell from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, were co-instructors for the Labs for the 21st Century introductory course on April 25. Approximately 60 architects and engineers (25% from foreign countries) attended a four-day seminar series focused on laboratories and sponsored by the Eagleson Institute of Sanford, Maine. The attendees design labs for both federal and private clients.

Walter Short attended the Energy Show in Ireland where he presented on NREL analyses on the impact of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles on the grid and wind. On April 27, he presented on the same subject at the offices of Sustainable Energy Ireland.

April 2007

Top Ten logo

NREL Releases "Top 10" Utility Green Power Program Rankings
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has released its annual ranking of leading utility green power programs. Using information provided by utilities, NREL 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. For more information, see the Top Ten Utility Green Power Programs item on the Green Power Network.

April 2007

Cover of Updated U.S. Geothermal Supply Characterization

Geothermal Analysis Publications Released
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), along with Black Mountain Technology, recently published "Updated U.S. Geothermal Supply Characterization" (PDF 877 KB). This paper, presented at the 32nd Workshop on Geothermal Reservoir Engineering at Stanford University, documents the approach taken to characterize and represent an updated assessment of U.S. geothermal supply for use in forecasting the penetration of geothermal electrical generation in the National Energy Modeling System (NEMS). This work is motivated by several factors: The supply characterization used as the basis of several recent U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) forecasts of geothermal capacity is outdated; additional geothermal resource assessments have been published; and a new costing tool that incorporates current technology, engineering practices, and associated costs has been released.

Cover of Preliminary Technical Risk Analysis for the Geothermal Technologies Program

NREL analysts, along with Princeton Energy Resources International (PERI), also published "Preliminary Technical Risk Analysis for the Geothermal Technologies Program" (PDF 1.4 MB). This report explains the goals, methods, and results of a probabilistic analysis of technical risk for a portfolio of R&D projects in the DOE Geothermal Technologies Program. The main challenge in the analysis lies in translating R&D results to a quantitative reflection of technical risk for a key Program metric: levelized cost of energy (LCOE). This requires both computational development (i.e., creating a spreadsheet-based analysis tool) and a synthesis of judgments by a panel of researchers and experts of the expected results of the Program's R&D.

April 2007

Resource Assessment Sent to Congress
NREL and the Office of Planning, Budget, and Analysis (PBA) recently released the "Report to Congress on Renewable Energy Resource Assessment Information for the United States". This report was a requirement of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT), which directs DOE to prepare a report to Congress presenting a detailed inventory of U.S. renewable resource assessment information. The report includes data on solar, wind, biomass, ocean (including tidal, wave, current, and thermal), geothermal, and hydropower energy resource technologies. Resource assessment products include reports, maps, in-situ measurement data, remotely sensed data, and modeled data that characterize the physical potential for renewable energy generation. This report also reviews the status of available resource assessment products, along with related data and tools that integrate resource information with other factors influencing renewable energy development and considers how well these products meet user needs.

April 2007

Analysts Meet With Stakeholders
NREL's Energy Forecasting and Modeling group hosted a one-day meeting on March 21 kicking off a project to expand the Stochastic Energy Deployment System (SEDS) model to incorporate energy end-use sectors, energy supply sources, and additional energy conversion sectors. SEDS, a capacity expansion forecasting model of the U.S. energy market, developed initially for the electricity sector, represents the impacts of major market drivers and explicitly incorporates uncertainty. Once complete, the model will be used to examine the implications of possible energy futures and to assist DOE in assessing the impact of its research and development investments in energy technologies. Analysts from the following organizations attended the meeting and will contribute their expertise to the project: DOE/EERE/PBA, Argonne National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, National Energy Technology Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

In mid-March, NREL analyst Ron Benioff testified before the Colorado Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Energy Committee on the subject of renewable energy development on state lands.

Also in March, NREL's Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) hosted 25 energy managers, base commanders, and electrical and civil engineers from Schriever Air Force Base (AFB), Buckley AFB, Peterson AFB, Air Space Command, and Cheyenne Mountain Air Station, educating them on wind and photovoltaic (PV) technologies. The group visited the National Wind Technology Center (NWTC) where they learned more about resource assessment, turbine technology, and project financing. The managers and facilities representatives hope to invest in on-site wind and solar projects.

March 2007

NREL Publishes Analysis Reports
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently published "Regions in Energy Market Models" (PDF 1.3 MB). This report explores the different options for spatial resolution of an energy market model — and the advantages and disadvantages of models with fine spatial resolution. It examines different options for capturing spatial variations, considers the tradeoffs between them, and presents a few examples from one particular model that has been run at different levels of spatial resolution.

NREL analysts also published "Understanding and Informing the Policy Environment: State-Level Renewable Fuels Standards" (PDF 612 KB). Renewable fuels standard (RFS) policies are becoming a popular public policy mechanism for developing the market for renewable fuels in the transportation sector. During the past decade, U.S. states and several countries began implementing these more market-based (less command and control) policies to support increased biofuels production and use. This paper presents an overview of current and proposed U.S. state-level policies, as well as selected electric sector policies and international fuel standard policies. Understanding and building on the experiences from these previous policies can improve the policy mechanism and further develop a market for renewable fuels to meet the goals of improved economy, environment, and fuel self-sufficiency.

The Lab also published "Experience Scaling-Up Manufacturing of Emerging Photovoltaic Technologies" (PDF 726 KB). This report examines two important generic photovoltaic technologies at particularly revealing stages of development, i.e., the stages between R&D and stable commercial production and profitable sales. Based on two historical cases, it attempts to shed light on the difference between: 1) costs and schedules validated by actual manufacturing and market experience, and 2) estimated costs and schedules that rely on technology forecasts and engineering estimates. The experience reported here can be instructive to those managing comparable efforts, and to their investors. It can also be instructive to R&D managers responsible for positioning such new technologies for commercial success.

March 2007

Analysts Meet With Stakeholders
Analyst Doug Arent co-hosted the 6th Session on Future Fuels with the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Feb. 20 in Washington, D.C. Representatives from General Motors, Toyota, the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), and Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) participated in the briefing on the status of transportation technologies, which was attended by 75 representatives from business, government, and the media.

The NREL Tribal Energy Program presented an overview of renewable energy opportunities for Alaska villages to the Alaska Village Initiative annual rural business conference, and the Alaska Forum on the Environment, both held in Anchorage in mid-February.

February 2007

Groups Launch Energy Collaborative Analysis Initiative
A multiorganizational group has initiated a collaborative effort with federal and state officials and research organizations to identify opportunities to enhance collaboration on energy analysis — an effort that would ultimately inform policy making. Through the development of a shared strategy for addressing high-priority energy issues, the Energy Collaborative Analysis Initiative (ECAI) aims to inform decision-makers, improve analysis assumptions and methodologies, and increase interagency collaboration. These analysis collaborations may ultimately expand to include participants in other sectors as well (private sector, nongovernmental organizations, etc.).

For more information on the priority energy topics, background on the collaborators, and outcomes from the inaugural workshop, visit the ECAI website.

January 2007

Cover of Photovoltaic Incentive Design Handbook
Cover of Burbank Transportation Management Organization: Impact Analysis

NREL Publishes Analysis Reports
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently published the "Photovoltaic Incentive Design Handbook" (PDF 1.0 MB). This handbook is designed for agencies and utilities that offer or intend to offer incentive programs for customer-owned PV systems. Its purpose is to help select, design, and implement incentive programs that best meet programmatic goals. The handbook begins with a discussion of the various available incentive structures and then provides qualitative and quantitative tools necessary to design the most appropriate incentive structure. It concludes with program administration considerations.

NREL also recently published "Burbank Transportation Management Organization: Impact Analysis" (PDF 472 KB). The Burbank Transportation Management Organization (BTMO) — a private, membership-based, nonprofit organization in California, dedicated to traffic reduction and air quality improvement — contracted with NREL to analyze its member programs and their benefits and effects. This report uses trip data collected by the BTMO, and defines and implements a methodology for quantifying non-traffic benefits such as gasoline savings, productivity, and pollution reduction.

January 2007

Analysts Meet With Stakeholders
As part of an NREL initiative, Doug Arent is meeting this month with a group of world-renowned scientists and energy experts to discuss what type of energy (and perhaps, more broadly, general economic) infrastructure will be sustainable in 100 years. Hosted by the Santa Fe Institute, the meetings aim to answer a few fundamental questions: Given long-lived infrastructure and competing drivers for change in the energy sector, how might our energy (food or other goods) economy evolve during the next 100 years? And what scale(s) will emerge as truly sustainable solutions? This core team will define the vision and possible pathways for continued research — we'll continue to update you through this newsletter.