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Oregon Institute of Technology Recognized for Increasing its Use of Geothermal and Solar Energy

April 24, 2014 in Environment, EV News, Geothermal, Greentech, Solar

America’s First Geothermally Heated University Campus Adds 3.5 Megawatts of Clean Electricity Generation

OIT Photo courtesy of Oregon Institute of Technology

Photo courtesy of Oregon Institute of Technology

WASHINGTON—The Department of Energy recognized the Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT) for boosting its use of clean energy at the first campus in America to be heated by geothermal energy, achieving a major milestone toward its goal of making all seven campuses in the university system carbon-neutral by 2020. Partially through Energy Department support, the Klamath Falls campus will utilize 1.5 megawatts (MW) of newly installed geothermal capacity combined with a 2 MW solar array, making OIT the first university in North America to generate most—if not all—electrical power from renewable sources.

“The Department’s investments at the Oregon Institute of Technology are another example of how partnerships with academia, industry and the private sector can help cut energy waste and pollution while reducing energy bills,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “OIT’s use of cutting-edge technology and its commitment to a clean energy future help diversify our energy supply while also bringing us closer to the Administration’s goal of doubling renewable energy for a second time by 2020.”

The school’s Geo-Heat Center has been tapping its geothermal resources to heat campus buildings for nearly fifty years. Beginning in 2008, the Energy Department helped fund further development of the geothermal resources beneath the campus and supported the purchase of an initial 280 kilowatt (kW) geothermal power system. By 2010, the small binary unit was producing power for the school’s facilities, and the groundwork was laid to utilize additional geothermal energy through an Energy Department investment of $3.5 million, with a matching cost-share by the university.

An additional $1 million investment through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act developed an innovative technology to generate electricity from low-temperature geothermal resources at an estimated 20% cost savings over conventional binary systems. Industry partner Johnson Controls, Inc., provided $4 million in cost-share to demonstrate this novel, nearly emission-free technology at Klamath Falls, leveraging the previously funded work on the OIT campus.

The Energy Department’s Geothermal Technologies Office funds more than 150 research, development, demonstration and analysis projects, representing over $500 million in total combined investment. Learn more about Low-Temperature and Coproduced Geothermal Resources, follow research and development progress with the 2013 Peer Review Report, or view program achievements in the 2013 Annual Report.

Powerplant Photo courtesy of Oregon Institute of Technology

Power Plant
Photo courtesy of Oregon Institute of Technology

This article is a repost (4-23-14), credit: DOE.

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Department of Energy Announces First Quadrennial Energy Review Public Meeting

March 31, 2014 in Climate Change, Environment, EV News, Oil, Politics

Secretary Moniz Photo courtesy of DOE

Secretary Moniz
Photo courtesy of DOE

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of Energy released information on the first six public meetings to collect stakeholder input into the Quadrennial Energy Review (QER). As the Secretariat for the QER Task Force, DOE will hold a series of meetings to discuss and receive comments on issues related to the development of a comprehensive strategy for the infrastructure needed to transport, transmit and deliver energy to consumers. Other federal agencies will also join these meetings.

“The QER, announced as part of the President’s Climate action Plan, will provide a roadmap to modernize our energy infrastructure in ways that will support the Nation’s economic competitiveness and energy security, and enable us to move toward a low-carbon future,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “Most of our energy infrastructure is owned by the private sector and states and regions have enormous responsibilities and equities in these vast energy networks. Participation and input from across the spectrum — federal agencies, state and local governments, industry, academia, civil society and other non-governmental groups — is critical to ensuring that the QER’s recommendations can be translated into concrete actions.”

The QER, officially launched by President Obama in January, is co-chaired by the White House Domestic Policy Council and Office of Science and Technology Policy, and includes representation from all relevant executive departments and agencies. DOE is playing a key role in development of the QER by providing policy analysis and modeling, and coordinating stakeholder engagement.

The first of these stakeholder and public engagement meetings is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Friday, April 11, 2014, at the U.S. Capital Visitor’s Center in the Congressional Auditorium. The meeting will focus on infrastructure resilience and vulnerabilities, including cyber and physical threats, climate, and interdependencies.

The Nation’s current infrastructure is increasingly challenged by transformations in energy supply, markets, and patterns of end use; issues of ageing and capacity; impacts of climate change; and cyber and physical threats. The QER will serve as a roadmap to help address these challenges.

Details for the next five QER stakeholder public meetings are still being finalized, but will include a meetings on infrastructures constraints in New England, to be held in Hartford, CT; infrastructure constraints related to Bakken, to be held in North Dakota; electricity transmission storage and distribution in the west, to be held in Portland, Ore.; petroleum product transmission and distribution, including carbon dioxide and enhanced oil recovery, to be held in Louisiana; and rail, barge, and truck transportation, to be held in Chicago.

The Federal Register Notice, which contains additional information about the meeting and other ways to submit public comment, can be found HERE.

This article is a repost, credit: DOE.

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Energy Department Releases Updated eGallon Prices as Electric Vehicle Sales Double, Source: DOE

July 19, 2013 in Electric Vehicles, EV News

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz  Photo courtesy of DOE

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz
Photo courtesy of DOE

WASHINGTON — U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz today highlighted the continued growth of electric vehicle sales – doubling in the first 6 months of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012 – as the Energy Department released its most recent pricing data showing the low cost of fueling on electricity.  The eGallon, a quick and simple way for consumers to compare the costs of fueling electric vehicles vs. driving on gasoline, rose slightly to $1.18 from $1.14 in the latest monthly numbers, but remains far below the $3.49 cost of a gallon of gasoline.

“More and more Americans are taking advantage of the low and stable price of electricity as a transportation fuel, and that’s very good news for our economy as well as the environment,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.  “As the market continues to grow, electric vehicles will play a key role in our effort to reduce air pollution and slow the effects of climate change.”

Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Figures

Plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) sales tripled from about 17,000 in 2011 to about 52,000 in 2012.  During the first six months of 2013, Americans bought over 40,000 plug-in electric vehicles (PEV), more than twice as many sold during the same period in 2012.

The latest numbers also show how the early years of the PEV market have seen much faster growth than the early years of the hybrid vehicle market.  Thirty months after the first hybrid was introduced, monthly sales figures were under 3,000.

By comparison, PEVs – which were first introduced in December 2010 – report nearly 9,000 cars sold in the last month. At the same time, thanks to technology improvements and growing domestic manufacturing capacity, the cost of a battery has come down by nearly 50 percent in the last four years, and is expected to drop to $10,000 by 2015.

The Energy Department’s Argonne National Laboratory provides regular updates on monthly sales reported by automakers.  Because Tesla Motors has not yet reported its second quarter sales figures, the site uses independent market estimates from the Hybrid Market Dashboard as a placeholder until the final sales numbers come in from the company.


Last month, the Energy Department launched the eGallon to let consumers compare the cost of fueling with electricity vs. gasoline.  Since electricity prices vary from state to state, the page allows consumers to get information specific to their own state.  For example, an eGallon is $1.53 in California (compared to $3.98 for gasoline) and $1.13 in Texas (compared to $3.33 for gasoline).  eGallon prices are available for all 50 states and the District of Columbia on

This article is a repost, credit: US Department of Energy,

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Energy Department Invests to Save Small Buildings Money by Saving Energy, Source: DOE

July 17, 2013 in Environment, EV News, Greentech

WASHINGTON — Building on President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, which calls for steady, responsible steps to reduce carbon pollution and reduce energy bills for U.S. businesses, the Energy Department today announced an award of $10 million for six projects to help small commercial buildings save money by saving energy.

These small commercial buildings are less than 50,000 square feet in size and include schools, churches, strip malls, restaurants and grocery stores. The six projects are aimed at developing user-friendly tools and resources that can be easily deployed at any small building. The Energy Department’s $10 million investment across these six projects will be matched by at least $14 million in private sector funding.

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz Photo courtesy of DOE

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz
Photo courtesy of DOE

“Energy efficiency represents a huge opportunity to help the businesses across the country save money by saving energy,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “As the President made clear in his climate action plan, energy efficiency is one of the clearest and most cost-effective opportunities to save businesses’ and communities’ money while curbing harmful emissions.”

In the United States, the commercial building sector — of which more than 90 percent are small buildings — consumes about 20 percent of all U.S. energy. According to studies by the Department’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, small buildings have tremendous potential to save energy and improve their bottom lines.  For example, small fast food restaurants have the potential to cut energy use by up to 45 percent, and a 10 percent reduction in energy costs can improve grocery stores’ profit margin by 16 percent.

Still, small building owners and operators often lack the capital and resources available to large commercial building owners and operators. Hassle-free tools and practices that require little time, technical expertise and financial investment offer the best opportunity for small buildings to save money on their utility bills. The projects announced today are focused on addressing these challenges and include:

BlocPower ($1.9 million DOE investment) – Based in New York, BlocPower will develop a crowd-sourcing website to help market, finance and install energy efficiency retrofits for 1,500 small buildings including churches, schools, small businesses, and non-profits in low-income communities across the country. As part of an initial pilot program, the project will target small building retrofits in Boston, Massachusetts; Cleveland, Ohio; Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina; and Baltimore, Maryland. BlocPower will also partner with companies in these areas to train local residents in small building retrofits.

EcoCity Partners ($322,978 DOE investment) – Headquartered in St. Petersburg, Florida, EcoCity Partners will lead a project to design and offer pre-packaged technology retrofit options by building type and size, business type, and climate zone to help small commercial building owners identify the best approach. The project will also help evaluate commercial property assessed clean energy (PACE) financing for small buildings and aims to conduct audits and retrofits at 50 buildings under a pilot program.

Ecology Action of Santa Cruz, Inc. ($2 million DOE investment) – Based in Santa Cruz, California, Ecology Action will leverage its existing network of contractors to use low-cost, high-impact tools to analyze and implement deep energy retrofits and financing options that are appropriate to small buildings. These efforts are expected to reach about 900 small buildings and support retrofits in at least 300 small buildings in northern California.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory ($2 million DOE investment) –  Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is partnering with Architecture 2030 to develop a 2030 District program for small commercial office and retail buildings, including a technical toolkit that provides guidance and resources for building owners and operators. The guidance will also include financial modeling and best practices on service agreements and partnerships that can lower transaction costs for small commercial projects. At its initial stage the project will impact 25 to 40 buildings across the current fleet of 2030 Districts, including Seattle, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Los Angeles. By 2015, the project expects to support five to 10 new 2030 Districts nationwide.

National Trust for Historic Preservation ($2 million DOE investment) – The National Trust for Historic Preservation will partner with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to provide low-cost energy efficiency services to small businesses in California, Wisconsin, New York, and Washington State, leveraging the Trust’s National Main Street Center – a network of communities focused on preservation-based economic revitalization. The project will also analyze Green Button data from over 10,000 buildings in these states to unearth new opportunities for energy savings.

Southface Energy Institute ($1.9 million DOE investment) – Southface Energy Institute will help develop simple, affordable energy efficiency evaluation and upgrade tools that meet or exceed the Architecture 2030 Challenge targets, including a 50 percent energy improvement in new construction and a 20 percent energy improvement from upgrades to existing buildings.

The institute will also partner with Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Georgia Tech to develop training materials to help local contractors to conduct energy audits for about 240 small buildings in the Atlanta, Georgia metro area.

See more information on the Energy Department’s broader efforts to help commercial buildings across the United States save money by saving energy, make our businesses more competitive and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

This article is a repost, credit: US Department of Energy,