Tag Archives: U.S. Department of Energy

National Survey of Attitudes of Wind Power Project Neighbors & Companion Webinar Series

Survey Background and Motivation
The installed wind power capacity in the United States through the end of 2016 was capable of supplying approximately 6.2% of the nation’s electricity demand from about 60,000 utility-scale turbines (Wiser & Bolinger, 2017). Through 2015, almost 1.4 million homes were within 5 miles (8 kilometers) of a U.S. utility-scale wind power project, and each year in the preceding 10 years, turbines placed in large projects (projects with more than 60 turbines) were closer to homes at a rate of approximately 150 feet (46 meters) per year on average.

Experts predict continued reductions in the cost of wind energy (Wiser et al., 2017) and additional wind project deployment in the years ahead (Mai et al. 2017). Achieving this continued deployment will require coordination and cooperation with the communities and community members in which the wind power projects will be located, including local authorities, citizens, landowners, businesses, and non-governmental organizations. These individuals and organizations often look to other communities with wind power projects to understand the potential costs and benefits of moving forward with such a project.

In 2015, the U.S. Department of Energy funded Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) began to lead a 4-year project collecting data from a broad-based and representative sample of individuals living near U.S. wind power projects. The aim was to widen the understanding of how U.S. communities are reacting to the deployment of wind turbines, and to provide insights to those communities considering wind projects.
Download Summary of Results (PDF)

Webinar Series
A Berkeley Lab 4-part webinar series, Understanding Wind Project Neighbors Through a National Survey of Attitudes, began January 30th. Three more webinars will be held on the following dates at 12 p.m. Central Time.

  • January 30th, 2018
    Overall Analysis of Attitudes of 1,700 Wind Power Project Neighbors 
    A recording of the webinar, presentation and project results are available here.
  • February 13, 2018
    Wind Power Project Planning Process Fairness and Attitudes
    This webinar has been completed. A recording of the webinar, presentation and project results are available here.
  • February 27, 2018
  • Predicting Audibility Of and Annoyance To Wind Power Project Sounds Using Modeled Sound Register Here.
  • March 13, 2018
    Comparing Strongly Annoyed Individuals with Symptoms near U.S. Turbines to Those in Surveyed European Communities Register Here.

More information about the webinar series is available here.

Updated Energy Saver Guide Covers New Technologies

Now updated in 2017, the Department of Energy’s Energy Saver Guide offers tips for saving money and energy at home and on the road.

You can obtain the Energy Saver Guide in English and Spanish in the following ways:

US Energy Dept. Sees Microgrids, Renewables In Puerto Rico Future

By Tina Casey, CleanTechnica


The Energy Department’s new point person for power restoration in Puerto Rico is
Bruce J. Walker. He won confirmation as the Energy Department’s Assistant Secretary of the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE for short) just last month, shortly after Hurricane Maria tore through the island. Walker has a long (long, long) list of credits on the side of grid reliability and modernization. That experience is on display in an article under Walker’s byline that appeared on the Energy Department’s website last week, under the title “How the Energy Department is Helping to Restore Power in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.”

According to Walker, the Energy Department has already identified 200 locations for microgrids at hospitals, water treatment plants, and other critical facilities in Puerto Rico. That adds up to 11 megawatts, and that’s just the beginning. Four hundred more locations in Puerto Rico are also being scouted for microgrid potential. Read more here.

Top Photo: Crews from the Energy Department’s Western Area Power Authority work on a transmission line in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. Credit: Western Area Power Administration.

Tina Casey is a freelance writer specializing in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. She is a regular contributor to CleanTechnica and TriplePundit. She is also currently Deputy Director of Public Information for the County of Union, New Jersey. Many of Tina’s articles have been reposted on ReutersScientific American, and other mainstream media sites. 

New Lab Report: How to Cut the Cost of Wind Energy in Half

Department of Energy’s Wind Energy Technologies Office

Click image to watch a brief video about DOE’s Atmosphere to Electrons initiative.

New energy science and technological breakthroughs could cut the cost of wind energy in half by 2030—making it fully competitive with the fuel cost of natural gas.

This new finding is outlined in a report by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) that examines the future of wind power plants—backed by the supercomputing power of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) national laboratories.

It’s part of DOE’s Atmosphere to Electrons initiative, which focuses on maximizing efficiencies at the plant level (i.e. how wind turbines interact with one another and the atmosphere) rather than treating each wind turbine as an individual unit. The next step is for DOE to apply high-performance computing to this grand challenge of better understanding the complex physics that control electricity generation by wind plants. Continue reading here.

Additional Department of Energy Reports
Wind Energy Continues Rapid Growth in 2016
During American Wind Week, August 6–12, the Energy Department released three wind market reports demonstrating continued growth in wind energy nationwide. The reports cover the following market sectors: land-based utility-scaleoffshore, and distributed wind. America’s wind industry added more than 8,200 megawatts (MW) of utility-scale wind capacity last year, representing 27% of all energy capacity additions in 2016. 14 states now get more than 10% of their electricity from wind.

The ConnectDER – Solar innovation that saves time & money

Click image to watch a brief video about the ConnectDER.

The ConnectDER enables rapid connection of grid-ready distributed energy resources (DERs), especially solar photovoltaic systems, by creating a connection point to a collar that installs between a residential electric meter and a meter socket.  It drives a number of benefits for the installation process:

  • Reduces costs by removing some balance of system components and premises wiring upgrades
  • Minimizes logistics headaches & site inspection time
  • Eliminates one of the primary areas of inspection failures, the load-side wiring

It comes in two versions: the Simple ConnectDER, which provides the basic connection, and the Smart ConnectDER, which adds metering and management functions for the local utility.

Department of Energy Information About The ConnectDER
Typically, after sunlight gathered by solar panels is turned into electricity by an inverter, it must be connected to a home’s electrical service panel. This can be difficult because panels are often located in hard-to-reach areas of a home, like basements or attics. For those who live in older homes, electrical service panels may not be built to handle the amount of energy being produced by solar panels and upgrading may be expensive.

The ConnectDER device makes it faster and easier to install a solar array by removing the need to upgrade electrical service panels or run wiring through a home’s interior, meaning solar technicians don’t need to enter your home. The ConnectDER is mounted between a home’s electric meter and meter socket, which is located outside. Cables from the inverter are connected directly to the device instead of being routed through a home. The meter can also handle more voltage than an electrical service panel, easily bearing the burden of routing power into the home.

By removing the need to replace the electrical service panel and run wiring through a house, the ConnectDER device saves consumers in installation costs. It also saves time, shortening what can be a lengthy process.

Watch a brief video about the ConnectDER.

Website: www.connectder.com
Questions? The website provides a contact form, or send an email to: info@connectder.com 

Deloitte says millennials are driving solar expansion

By Frank Andorka, PV Magazine 

Almost 60% of consumers said they would switch electricity providers if they could gain access to renewable-energy sources . . . And the report says the solar revolution is being driven in large part by the much-maligned “millenials.” Almost two-thirds (64%) told Deloitte they are either “extremely” or “very” interested in installing solar panels – a 611% increase over last year. More than half of them are “extremely” or “very” interested in participating in a community solar installation . . . Businesses want to get in on the action, too. According to Deloitte, 60% of businesses want to have some form of on-site generation, nearly double the percentage from last year. Read more here.

Image: Creative Commons

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

National Business Groups Send U.S. Dept. of Energy Analyses Showing Diverse Energy Sources Protect Electric Reliability

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today four national business groups representing the range of advanced and renewable energy companies in the United States submitted materials to U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry to inform the energy market study he called for last month. The four groups developed separate analyses, based on existing sources and industry experience, showing that changing energy sources – more use of natural gas, renewable energy, and energy management sources in addition to resources like coal and nuclear power – far from threatening electric system reliability, increase it in important ways while saving consumers money . . . The four industry organizations submitted separate documents to inform the DOE in its study of the electric power system and reliability:

Read the entire news release here.

Solar jobs: State of the states

In this op-ed, U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Director Dr. Charlie Gay dives into the latest job numbers for the U.S. solar industry. Cross-posted by PV Magazine from the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy Blog

With a variety of different careers to choose from in the solar industry, it should come as no surprise that there are now more than 260,000 people working in it. That number also represents nearly 1,000 new jobs added every week of 2016, marking a 25% increase in a single year. To calibrate this dramatic growth, The Solar Foundation (TSF) recently released data showing where the most jobs are located and which parts of the value chain are seeing the most job growth. There are a number interesting pieces to discover. Continue reading.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Department of Energy awards UNL nearly $1.5 million to set up and operate a regional Industrial Assessment Center

On December 14, 2016, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy announced nearly $35 million for 28 higher education institutions from 25 states across the country to set up and operate regional Industrial Assessment Centers (IACS). The centers will provide site-specific recommendations to small manufacturers with opportunities to improve productivity, secure information, reduce waste and save energy while providing training for undergraduate and graduate engineering students in manufacturing processes, energy assessment procedures, and energy management systems. Read more here.

Photo credit: U.S. Department of Energy

To apply for an assessment, contact UNL’s IAC Program Director:
Dr. Robert Williams
Phone: (402) 472-4755
Email: rwilliams2@unl.edu

Energy Department Launches Zero Energy Schools Accelerator

SIX SCHOOL DISTRICTS & TWO STATES ARE AMONG FIRST AIMING TO MAKE ZERO ENERGY SCHOOLS MAINSTREAM

discovery-elementary

As a part of the Obama Administration’s effort to cut energy waste in America’s buildings, today the Energy Department launched the Better Buildings Zero Energy Schools Accelerator. Six school districts, two states and several national organizations are working collaboratively to develop zero energy design that is cost-competitive to conventional construction in the education sector and in local communities across the nation.  A Zero Energy Building is an energy-efficient building, where on a source energy basis, the actual delivered energy is less than or equal to the onsite renewable exported energy.

In conjunction with the launch, Energy Department officials joined other key stakeholders today to tour Discovery Elementary School, a Zero Energy school located near the nation’s capital in Arlington, Virginia, which officially opened its doors in September 2015. Discovery’s engineering team expects to offset its energy usage with renewable energy and to potentially save about $75,000 within its first year of operation. Discovery Elementary is one of 40 emerging Zero Energy ready schools in the U.S., and was built with advanced next generation energy efficiency and renewable power features, including solar rooftop and geothermal heating and cooling systems. 

Click here for additional details, including a list of the first participating school districts.

Photo: Discovery Elementary, a zero energy school in Arlington, Virginia