ASERTTI News

ASERTTI News

Register for the 2012 ASERTTI Fall Meeting in Seattle

The ASERTTI Fall Meeting will be held October 10-12 in Seattle, WA.  Hosted by Washington State University’s Energy Program and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the meeting is shaping up to be an outstanding event, including presentations from leading energy researchers, networking opportunities, and off-site activities.  Event highlights include focused discussion sessions on: smart grid, energy storage, bioenergy, high performance buildings, waste heat recovery, and advanced manufacturing. Experts from Boeing, the California Energy Commission, Ingersoll Rand, NEEA, EPRI, the WSU Energy Program, and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, among others, will share the latest trends in research and technology at the Fall Meeting.

California Energy Commission Awards More than $580,000 for Clean Transportation Projects

The California Energy Commission unanimously approved funding of $582,000 for the development of two compressed natural gas fueling facilities and for buy-downs of alternative-fuel vehicles.  The awards are made through the Energy Commission's Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, created by Assembly Bill 118. The program provides approximately $100 million annually to encourage the development and use of new technologies and alternative and renewable fuels, with the goal of reducing dependence on foreign oil, improving the environment and fulfilling the state's pioneering climate change policies. It is funded through a small surcharge on vehicle and boating registration and smog check fees.  The Energy Commission's AB118 investments on behalf of the public are safeguarded by adhering to payouts on a reimbursement basis, and by requiring match funding that leverages other private and public funding, attracting additional investment in clean-energy technology.

EPRI, IAEA to Collaborate on Nuclear Research

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) announced a three-year collaboration with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to promote public benefit research into nuclear power plant development, operation, decommissioning, and waste disposal. The collaboration also will enable technical engagement on issues regarding nuclear plant development in countries initiating commercial nuclear power programs.  Among the technical areas of engagement are:

  • Post-Fukushima risk and safety evaluation
  • Nuclear power plant aging and materials degradation
  • Digital instrumentation and controls technology
  • Nuclear waste characterization and disposal technologies
  • Advanced nuclear fuel technologies
  • Capacity building for new owners and expanding countries

Key collaboration mechanisms will include the sharing of information on commercial nuclear energy, organization of joint workshops and training seminars, and publication of joint reports and guidelines.

NYSERDA Announces $1.1 Million Equipment Rebate Program to Help Small Municipal Governments Reduce Energy Use

NYSERDA recently announced the “Buy Green, Save Green Rebates for New York State Local Governments” program, which is making $1.1 million available to encourage small municipal governments to replace inefficient appliances and equipment with energy-efficient models. The program begins Sept. 25, 2012.
 
The rebates will pay 75 percent of the purchase price of eligible products, which include ENERGY STAR® refrigerators, dehumidifiers, commercial dishwashers, room air conditioners, imaging equipment (including copiers and fax machines; digital duplicators; printers, scanners and all-in-one devices; and mailing machines), as well as compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and light emitting diode light bulbs (LEDs) in quantities of 10 or more. Advanced power strips in quantities of two or more will also be eligible for the rebate. Since there is no ENERGY STAR designation for power strips, a list of eligible power strips is posted on www.nysappliancerebates.com.
 
The $1.1 million includes funding from a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) award received by New York State to stimulate energy efficiency in small municipalities and a DOE State Energy Program (SEP) award, which provides financial and technical assistance to states through formula and competitive grants.

Sandia National Laboratory and OurEnergyPolicy.org Report: The Goals of Energy Policy

Last year, ASERTTI members participated in a survey distributed by Sandia National Laboratories and OurEnergyPolicy.org regarding the relative importance of three commonly understood goals of energy policy: Economics, Energy Supply Security, and the Environment.  Based on the results of the survey, Sandia National Laboratories and OurEnergyPolicy.org released the report, The Goals of Energy Policy: Professional Perspectives on Energy Security, Economics, and the Environment
 
Among the key findings in The Goals of Energy Policy:

  • On average, respondents allocated 36.9 points to energy supply security, 32.3 points to economics and job creation and 30.7 points to environment and climate.
  • Single-issue advocates were rare, with just 3.1% of respondents allocating all of their effort toward one goal.
  • Single-issue adversaries were also few, with less than 15% of respondents completely devaluing any one goal.
  • Male respondents tended to emphasize Energy Supply Security more heavily with increasing age and to de-emphasize the environment with age.
  • Female respondents prioritized the Environment most highly, regardless of age.
  • Energy Supply Security rated highest among respondents from Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas; Environment and Climate was given the highest priority in the Pacific and New England regions; and compared with other regions, Economics and Job Creation was a higher priority in the Midwest.
  • Fifty eight percent of respondents indicated that Economics, Energy Supply Security, and the Environment are the goals of energy policy, i.e. what energy policy should be geared toward accomplishing. Forty two percent offered another, self-selected goal; but even among this population the interest in balanced, simultaneous pursuit of policy goals was expressed.  

NATIONAL NEWS

DOE Launches SunShot Prize Competition to Install Solar Energy Systems at a Fraction of Today's Price

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the start of a new competition to make it faster, easier, and cheaper to install rooftop solar energy systems. As part of the SunShot Initiative, the SunShot Prize makes a total of $10 million in cash awards available to the first three teams that repeatedly demonstrate that non-hardware costs, or price to plug in, can be as low as $1 per watt (W) for small-scale photovoltaic (PV) systems on American homes and businesses. This ambitious target represents a decrease in the "soft costs" of solar energy systems—including permitting, licensing, connecting to the grid and other non-hardware costs—by more than 65%. By breaking a significant price barrier that was considered unachievable only a decade ago, the winning teams will demonstrate that solar energy is an affordable solution for American families and businesses.  Visit the SunShot Prize website for complete registration and competition details.

Lithium Boom Spurs Production from California Brine: Commodities
Bloomberg News

According to a report in Bloomberg News, lithium demand, seen doubling in the next eight years on sales of batteries used in electric vehicles, is spurring a U.S. company to build a factory to extract the metal from brine in California.  Simbol Materials LLC’s proposed Imperial Valley plant near the Mexican border would slash the time and cost needed to extract lithium from salty water, Chief Executive Officer Luka Erceg said in an interview. According to the article, the closely held, Pleasanton, California-based company may boost output from an initial 8,000 tons a year to as much as 64,000 tons by the end of the decade, Erceg said, equal to 21 percent of projected global demand.  Simbol is among prospective lithium producers that are trying to break into a market dominated by four companies including Princeton, New Jersey-based Rockwood Holdings Inc.  The price of the lightest metal, used to make long-lasting batteries for laptops, power tools and now electric vehicles, jumped 35 percent in 18 months, according to Jonathan Lee, an analyst at Byron Capital Markets in Toronto.

Ski Lifts Help Open $25 Billion Market for Storing Power
Bloomberg News

According to a report in Bloomberg News, technology developers are shuttling between caves and mountaintops to build a market for utilities set to attract $25 billion in annual investment within a decade.  To store surplus electricity from power plants, they’re trying to squeeze air into salt mines and run empty trains up hills, testing how to harness the energy released when the air bursts out and the cars roll back down. Trials are under way at companies from Germany’s Siemens AG and RWE AG to General Electric Co. and a startup backed by billionaire Bill Gates, which is experimenting with the momentum of ski lifts. 
 
The $260 billion renewables industry needs storage so power companies can absorb surges from solar and wind farms from Texas to Mongolia. The devices will be key for plans by Germany to shift Europe’s biggest electricity market from atomic energy, said Gil Forer, Ernst & Young LLP’s clean-tech head in New York.  The consulting firm said annual investment in storage is currently about $2.6 billion, based on data from Pike Research. That’s set to grow to $9.2 billion in 2015 and then to $25 billion by 2021. Logan said Fairfield, Connecticut-based GE expects energy storage to generate $500 million to $1 billion in annual revenue by 2020.  Brad Roberts, executive director of the Electricity Storage Association in Washington, said the business in the U.S. alone may grow to $5 billion within five years.

EVENTS

2012 ASERTTI Fall Meeting
October 10-12, 2012 - Seattle, WA
 
Crops for Cars: Biofuel Breakthroughs for the Transportation Sector
ASERTTI Emerging Technology Webinar Series
Monday, November 19, 2012 – 1:00 – 2:00 PM EST