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Energy Newsbriefs Blog

This current awareness service is prepared by the WSU Energy Program Library with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy State Energy Program. This information is provided for energy professionals and interested members of the public to highlight recent energy-related news, articles, and reports that discuss energy efficiency, energy conservation, and renewable sources of energy in engineering and policy circles.

 


Understanding Renewable Energy Feed-in-Tariffs

North American Clean Energy, Jul/Aug 2014, by Justin R. Boose & Samantha Leavitt. (Scroll to page 8.)
http://www.nacleanenergy.com/magazine/julaug_2014/index.html

"One promising approach to encouraging the production of renewable energy has been the implementation of feed-in-tariff (FIT) programs. A FIT is a mechanism whereby utilities make purchases from a generator--typically at fixed prices and under long-term contracts. Such programs help create a stable market for renewable energy investment by providing certainty regarding the terms and conditions for interconnection and the sale of power."

Pass the Mustard: Why Carinata is Taking Root as Biofuel

North American Clean Energy, Jul/Aug 2014, by Don Konantz.
http://www.nacleanenergy.com/articles/18236/pass-the-mustard-why-carinata-is-taking-root-as-biofuel

"This new kid on the biofuel block taking root is the carinata seed. Carinata is a leafy plant, originating in Ethiopia. Also referred to as Ethiopian mustard and Abyssinian mustard, it produces oil seeds that can be (and have been) used as a biofuel, which mimic the attributes of its petroleum-derived counterpart. The oil seeds also work in ground and air transportation engines, and without engine modifications or blending. To date, carinata has demonstrated agronomic success across 60 commercial sites and farms in the Canadian and the US prairies."

Germany, Italy, EU, China, and France Top Global Energy Efficiency Rankings

American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) Press Release, July 17, 2014, by Ailis Aaron Wolf.
http://www.aceee.org/press/2014/07/germany-italy-eu-china-and-france-to

"Now in its second edition, the ACEEE report, The International Energy Efficiency Scorecard,  (http://aceee.org/portal/national-policy/international-scorecard) finds that, while some countries are still significantly outperforming others, there are substantial opportunities for improved energy efficiency in all economies analyzed, including the U.S., which ranked 13th out of 16 nations – behind countries such as China, Canada, and India."

Improving the Smart Grid: By Using ACCC Conductor

North American Clean Energy, Jul/Aug 2014, by D.C. Bryant.
http://www.nacleanenergy.com/articles/18221/improving-the-smart-grid-by-using-accc-conductor

"In the attempt to modernize transmission infrastructure, it’s important to re-consider the capacity, efficiency, and reliability of the conductors used in the Smart Grid. It’s worth recalling past experiences, and the lessons that underscore the significance of conductor sag, along with the limitations of computers and telemetry devices during peak demand periods, N-1 conditions, and other emergency conditions.

How Sweet It Is: New Tool for Characterizing Plant Sugar Transporters Developed at Joint BioEnergy Institute

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory News Release, July 28, 2014, by Lynn Yarris.
http://newscenter.lbl.gov/2014/07/28/new-tool-for-characterizing-plant-sugar-transporters-developed-at-joint-bioenergy-institute/

"A powerful new tool that can help advance the genetic engineering of “fuel” crops for clean, green and renewable bioenergy, has been developed by researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), a multi-institutional partnership led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). The JBEI researchers have developed an assay that enables scientists to identify and characterize the function of nucleotide sugar transporters, critical components in the biosynthesis of plant cell walls."

No Excuses for Not Using Energy Star

Building Operating Management, July 2014, by Angela Maas.
http://www.facilitiesnet.com/energyefficiency/article/Misconceptions-About-Energy-Star-Can-Prevent-Facility-Managers-From-Seeing-Its-Benefits--15125

"What facility manager doesn't know about Energy Star? The program is now in its 20th year, and more than 20,000 facilities carry Energy Star certification. But as well known as Energy Star may be, more than a few facility managers have misconceptions about the program, which may be preventing them from taking advantage of resources that will help them to use less energy and produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions."

Reducing Costs of Residential Solar PV: Through Module & Hardware Innovations

North American Clean Energy, Jul/Aug 2014, by Tom Hood & Sicco W.T. Westra.
http://www.nacleanenergy.com/articles/18223/reducing-costs-of-residential-solar-pv-through-module-hardware-innovations

"To make life easier for solar system owners, several companies are working to lower BoS [Balance-of-System] costs and simplify racking designs and installation efficiencies. For instance, cost-competitive, roof-mounting brackets are one option now available to installers that can accommodate different types of rail supports for solar modules. Support rails with built-in wire clips are another example of a simplified BoS design, which lowers the cost of hardware and installation by five to ten percent."

How Solar Energy Trackers Stack Up: Evaluating Utility-Scale Success

North American Clean Energy, Jul/Aug 2014, by Jay Johnson.
http://www.exosun.net/images/download/press-articles/NACE_201407.pdf

"In terms of photovoltaic's (PVs), solar trackers--motorized structures that shift the position of modules--can significantly increase the production of utility-scale plants by optimizing the angle of incidence between a module and incoming solar rays."

Water Utilities Are Starting to Take Their Own Conservation Advice

Governing, Aug. 2014, by Elizabeth Daigneau.
http://www.governing.com/topics/transportation-infrastructure/gov-water-utilities-conservation.html

"Wastewater treatment plants are often the biggest consumers of electricity in their area. Gresham, Ore., and Washington, D.C., are making moves to change that."

Green Building Report: The Real Costs Of Major Energy Upgrades

Building Operating Management, July 2014, by Stefan Domby.
http://www.facilitiesnet.com/energyefficiency/article/Budget-For-Energy-Upgrades-Requires-Fully-Understanding-Real-Costs--15128

"Both in the private and public sectors, building owners and facility managers are focusing on managing energy costs more than ever before. But as we all know, you have to spend money to save money. It's important for facility managers to develop a plan to ensure that they do not run out of money before completion of the project and that the project budget is justified."

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The Energy Newsbriefs Blog is a continuation of the weekly Energy Newsbriefs. Please bookmark this site and return frequently. Although we will not be accepting comments from within the Blog, we would be happy to hear from you by email at library@energy.wsu.edu

Archives of the weekly Energy Newsbriefs, from Oct. 2012 – Jan. 6, 2014, may be found on the WSU Energy Library web page.