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Category Archives: Energy efficiency

UTSA and Microsoft establish sustainable energy research and development pact

Read the full story from the University of Texas San Antonio.

The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and Microsoft Corp. (Microsoft) announced today a three-year agreement to research and develop sustainable technologies to make data centers more energy efficient and economically viable.

In addition to the research agreement, Microsoft made a $1 million gift to UTSA to support the university’s research and technology programs.

 

April: Energy

Read the full post from Yale Sustainability. Although the target audience is students at Yale University, there are suggestions here that are more universally applicable.

 

Department of Energy Issues Draft Renewable Energy and Efficient Energy Projects Solicitation to Foster Clean Energy Innovation

In support of the Administration’s all-of-the-above energy strategy, the Department of Energy issued a draft loan guarantee solicitation today for innovative renewable energy and energy efficiency projects located in the U.S. that avoid, reduce, or sequester greenhouse gases. When finalized, the solicitation is expected to make as much as $4 billion in loan guarantees available to help commercialize technologies that may be unable to obtain full commercial financing. This draft solicitation represents another step in the Department’s commitment to help overcome the financial barriers to the deployment of innovative, clean energy technologies.

“Through our existing renewable energy loan guarantees, the Department’s Loan Programs Office helped launch the U.S. utility-scale solar industry and other clean energy technologies that are now contributing to our clean energy portfolio,” said Secretary Ernest Moniz. “We want to replicate that success by focusing on technologies that are on the edge of commercial-scale deployment today.”

The Renewable Energy and Efficient Energy Projects Loan Guarantee solicitation is intended to support technologies that are catalytic, replicable, and market ready. Within the draft solicitation, the Department has included a sample list illustrative of potential technologies for consideration. While any project that meets the eligibility requirements is eligible to apply, the Department has identified five key technology areas of interest: advanced grid integration and storage; drop-in biofuels; waste-to-energy; enhancement of existing facilities; and efficiency improvements.

The Department welcomes public comment on a range of issues and will consider public feedback in defining the scope of the final solicitation. In addition to initiating a 30-day public comment period, a schedule of public meetings will be posted on the Department’s website. The draft solicitation can be found online at http://lpo.energy.gov.

Once the solicitation is finalized, the Department’s Loan Programs Office (LPO) will be accepting applications in three areas, which also include the $8 billion Advanced Fossil Energy Projects Solicitation that was released in December 2013 and the $16 billion Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program.

Currently, the LPO supports a diverse portfolio of more than $30 billion in loans, loan guarantees, and commitments, supporting more than 30 projects nationwide. The projects that LPO has supported include one of the world’s largest wind farms; several of the world’s largest solar generation and thermal energy storage systems; and more than a dozen new or retooled auto manufacturing plants across the country.

 

RMI: How applying Deep Retrofit Value makes for Better Buildings

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Buildings consume more energy than any other sector — 42 percent of the nation’s primary energy and 72 percent of its electricity. And at current trend and performance levels, fossil fuel use in commercial buildings will increase, not decrease, by 2050, when 65 percent of today’s commercial square footage is predicted to be still standing.

This is why in 2011 President Obama announced the Better Buildings Initiative and launched the Better Buildings Challenge to push CEOs, university presidents, state and local government leaders, building owners and others to commit their organizations to reduce their annual energy use by 20 percent over 10 years while showcasing the best energy-saving strategies and their results.

Better Buildings has scored major wins in its first two years: More than 170 organizations are in the Better Buildings Challenge, committing more than 3 billion square feet of building floor space. With clear success garnering broad support for energy savings in the near term, the Better Buildings Initiative has driven the commercial and industrial sectors onto the path of mitigating climate change and reducing fossil fuel dependence.

But to reach the finish line, commercial buildings must become closer to being 40 percent more energy efficient by 2050. Achieving these deeper levels of savings more broadly will require a scaling up of investment in energy efficiency. RMI’s new practice guide on how to calculate and present value from deep energy retrofits can help drive that investment.

 

A new DOE proposal would cement a big leap in lighting efficiency, but Congress is preventing even bigger savings

Read the full post from ACEEE.

New energy-saving standards for certain types of incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs proposed by the Department of Energy (DOE) last Friday mark another important step in improving lighting efficiency in the United States. DOE’s proposal further advances strong standards completed in 2009. Together, the 2009 standards and the proposed increases announced last week dramatically improve reflector lamp and fluorescent tube lamp efficiency by 70% and 23% respectively. Unfortunately, a congressional budget rider prevents DOE from saving even more.

Friday’s proposal covers incandescent reflector lamps, the cone-shaped light bulbs used in track lighting and recessed light fixtures, and fluorescent tube lamps, which are ubiquitous in office buildings. The sheer number of these light bulbs in use means that even modest efficiency improvements will yield large national energy savings. DOE estimates that in 2012 manufacturers shipped about 80 million reflector lamps covered by standards. And based on DOE data, almost 20% of all commercial-sector electricity use goes to power fluorescent tube lamps.

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2014 in Energy efficiency, Lighting

 

A funny thing happened on the way to Finance Forum: the WHEEL deal

Read the full post from ACEEE.

The moment we have been waiting for has arrived! The Warehouse for Energy Efficiency Loans (WHEEL), a financing platform that will open the market for energy efficiency investment to institutional investors, is open for business. WHEEL acts as a virtual financial warehouse for relatively small individual loans, holding them until there are enough loans to attract attention from large investment houses. These transactions will potentially grow the market and make it easier for homeowners to find lower-cost loans for energy efficiency improvements.

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2014 in Energy efficiency, Funding

 

Studies: Efficiency still the cheapest energy resource

Read the full story in Midwest Energy News.

Energy efficiency remains far cheaper – especially in the Midwest – than investing in additional generation.

That’s the case even in states where a long history of energy-efficiency has pushed up the cost of squeezing out additional savings.

Those are among the findings of two recently-published studies, one by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBL), the other by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2014 in Energy efficiency, Publications

 

NAACP leaders say energy policy is civil rights issue

Read the full story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

NAACP leaders Thursday called for policies promoting renewable energy and efficiency programs, saying the issue is more than an environmental one.

Local and national NAACP representatives as well as staff from the Sierra Club were promoting a report from the civil rights group’s national office that backs development of renewable energy projects.

 

Energy Efficiency Progress by America’s Utilities: An Update

Read the full post from NRDC.

Some people are surprised to learn that our electric and natural gas utilities spend billions of dollars a year to help customers need and use less energy. But helping people get more work out of less electricity and natural gas has long been a winning strategy for many of America’s hometown utilities – and a report released this week shows that their energy efficiency budgets reached an all-time high of $7 billion last year.

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2014 in Energy efficiency, Publications

 

Energy Efficiency & Demand Response Keep Power Flowing in Extreme Weather

Read the full post at NRDC.

Something extraordinary occurred this winter that kept the lights on and people warm during record-breaking cold. Energy efficiency and demand response emerged to save the day, preventing potentially life-threatening power shortages across much of the Midwest and Northeast.

The subzero weather strained more than just our patience; it put a serious pinch on the energy grid. As demand surged, utilities scrambled to use energy efficiency – customers doing more with less energy – and demand response – conserving in response to specific power grid or economic signals – to keep power flowing.

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2014 in Energy efficiency

 
 
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