EREN NETWORK NEWS -- March 13, 2002
A weekly newsletter from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE)
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Network (EREN).

*News and Events
           Renewable Energy Tax Credit Extended Through 2003
           Southern California Seeks 120 Megawatts of Renewable Power
           Solar Power Systems Installed in Arizona, California
           New Solar Panels Boost Power to Hubble Space Telescope
           Nissan to Develop Fuel-Cell Vehicles with UTC Fuel Cells
           Study: Most New Car Buyers Would Consider Buying Hybrids
           DOE Awards $31.2 Million for Home Weatherization

*Energy Facts and Tips
           Study Links Particulates to Lung Cancer, Heart Disease

*About this Newsletter

Renewable Energy Tax Credit Extended Through 2003

Congress last week approved the Job Creation and Worker
Assistance Act -- commonly known as the economic
stimulus bill -- and in the process provided a two-year
extension of the production tax credit (PTC). The PTC
provides renewable power producers with a tax break of
1.5 cents per kilowatt-hour (in 1992 dollars, adjusted for
inflation) and applies to electricity produced from wind
power, poultry waste, and biomass power produced from
dedicated energy crops. The credit now applies retroactively
to installations placed in service since the beginning of this
year, and extends through the end of 2003. The PTC is
crucial for wind energy development in the United States,
and its extension was hailed by the American Wind Energy
Association (AWEA). See the AWEA press release at:

President Bush signed the bill into law on Saturday. See the
White House press release at:

Wind energy is currently the world's fastest-growing energy
source, with an average growth rate of 30 percent per year
for the past five years, according to AWEA. In early April, the
organization will be teaming with the European Wind Energy
Association and the Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturers'
Association to host the 2002 Global Windpower Conference
in Paris. See the AWEA press release at:

Southern California Seeks 120 Megawatts of Renewable Power

The Southern California Public Power Authority (SCPPA)
announced in late February that it is requesting proposals for
70 to 120 megawatts of electrical power from renewable
energy sources. The SCPPA represents 12 municipal
utilities and one irrigation district in Southern California. The
organization intends to finance and own any new renewable
power facilities and sell the power to its member utilities. The
deadline for proposals, originally set at March 18th, was
extended last week to April 4th. See the press release and
request for proposals on the SCPPA Web site at:

Solar Power Systems Installed in Arizona, California

Several large solar electric systems have gone online in
recent weeks in Arizona and California. In Arizona, Tucson
Electric Power Company (TEP) expanded its solar power
installation near Springerville to 1.4 megawatts. The utility
commissioned the expanded system last week and plans to
further expand the solar power system to 2.4 megawatts in
2002. See the TEP press release at:

TEP started installing the Springerville system last year. As
of October 2001, the system had a capacity of 619 kilowatts.
See the October 3, 2001, edition of EREN Network News at:

In California, two new solar electric systems are more
notable for their location and use than for their size. In
Berkeley, a Whole Foods Market installed a 33-kilowatt solar
electric system on its roof. The system was commissioned
last week. The organic supermarket also installed a new
advanced direct-current fluorescent lighting system, allowing
the photovoltaic panels to power the lighting system with
minimal energy losses. Most power systems lose some
energy by converting the direct-current power to alternating
current. See the Whole Foods Market press release at:

Across the bay, the San Francisco International Airport has
installed a 20-kilowatt solar power system as part of the roof
of one of its support buildings. The system's thin-film solar
cells were laminated to metal roofing materials, so they
actually form part of the building's roof. Such building-
integrated photovoltaic systems improve the economics of
solar power installations by allowing them to serve a dual
purpose, as both part of the building and part of the
building's power supply. See the press release from Energy
Conversion Devices, Inc. at:

Meanwhile, an announcement last week from AstroPower,
Inc. seems to confirm northern California as a viable place to
install solar power systems. Two solar power systems
installed by the company in Hopland and Berkeley exceeded
expectations for power production in 2001. The two systems
produced a total of 320,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity --
about 10 percent more than expected. See the AstroPower
press release at:

New Solar Panels Boost Power to Hubble Space Telescope

The Space Shuttle Columbia landed at Kennedy Space
Center early yesterday morning, completing the fourth
mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope. Shuttle
astronauts conducted five space walks during the mission.
Among other tasks, the astronauts replaced Hubble's solar
arrays with new, high-efficiency solar arrays that will provide
20 percent more power for the telescope. The solar arrays
are the third set for the aging telescope. See the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Web site at:

The new solar arrays, manufactured by Lockheed Martin
Corporation, use high-efficiency gallium arsenide solar
panels to produce more electricity with 45 percent less
surface area. That smaller surface area will lessen Hubble's
atmospheric drag, allowing it to stay in orbit longer. The
arrays are hinged in the middle and were folded to fit in the
Shuttle bay. See the Lockheed Martin press release at:

See also the NASA fact sheet on the solar arrays, available
in Adobe PDF format only, at:

Nissan to Develop Fuel-Cell Vehicles with UTC Fuel Cells

UTC Fuel Cells, a unit of United Technologies Corporation,
announced in late February that it had signed agreements
with Nissan Motor Company Ltd. to develop fuel cells and
fuel cell components for vehicles. Renault, Nissan's alliance
partner, is also participating in the agreement. Prior to this
announcement, Nissan and Renault were among the few
major automakers that had not announced plans to develop
a fuel cell vehicle. UTC Fuel Cells has already developed a
5-kilowatt fuel cell system for BMW, and is also developing
fuel cells for buses. See the UTC Fuel Cells press release at:

While Nissan and Renault are moving toward fuel cells,
Ballard Power Systems, a major fuel cell company, is getting
involved in combustion engines. Ballard announced in
February that it had signed an agreement with Ford Power
Products, a Ford Motor Company subsidiary, to develop
combustion engines for the generator market. The
generators would be used in many of the applications that
may eventually be served by fuel cells. See the Ballard press
release at:

Although fuel-cell-powered cars may be many years from
commercial production, Toyota Motor Sales just started
selling its all-electric RAV4-EV to retail customers in
California. The battery-powered sport utility vehicle can
travel up to 100 miles without recharging, drawing on a
50-kilowatt motor to reach a top speed of 78 miles per hour.
The first buyer? Actor Ed Begley, Jr., a long-time enthusiast
of electric and alternative-fueled vehicles. See the March 4th
press release on the Toyota Web site at:

Study: Most New Car Buyers Would Consider Buying Hybrids

A survey of more than 5,200 recent U.S. car buyers found
that 60 percent would give strong consideration to buying a
hybrid electric vehicle. The survey, released by J.D. Power
and Associates last week, found that most of these car
buyers wanted a hybrid electric version of the vehicle class
that they bought, the majority of which were minivans and
sport utility vehicles. But nearly all selected a midsize hybrid
electric car as their second choice, suggesting a strong
market for midsize vehicles as well. And although the study
found an 80 percent awareness of hybrid vehicles among
new car buyers, it also found that many had misconceptions
or lacked information about the vehicles and their features.
See the J.D. Power press release at:

One U.S. company claims to have a new approach to hybrid
electric vehicles. The Paice Corporation announced in late
February that it has developed a high-voltage hybrid electric
drive called a Hyperdrive. The system uses high-voltage
semiconductors for its control systems, a feature that the
company claims will lower the electrical system's weight and
cost. Paice designed a 600-volt system for European
commercial vehicles and used software models to
demonstrate improved performance while lowering fuel
consumption by 20 to 27 percent.. See the Paice press
release at:

DOE Awards $31.2 Million for Home Weatherization

DOE awarded a total of $31.2 million in weatherization
assistance funds to New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York,
and Virginia last week. The funds will be used to improve the
energy efficiency of low-income homes in each of the states.
DOE awarded more than $1.5 million to New Hampshire,
more than $5 million to New Jersey, more than $20.4 million
to New York, and more than $4 million to Virginia. See the
DOE press releases at:
<http://www.energy.gov/HQPress/releases02/marpr/pr02036.htm>, and

Study Links Particulates to Lung Cancer, Heart Disease

Long-term exposure to tiny particles of soot and dust in air
pollution significantly increases the risk of dying from lung
cancer and heart disease, according to a study released last
week. Researchers at the New York University (NYU)
School of Medicine and at Brigham Young University led the
study, which analyzed data from about 500,000 U.S. adults
who were followed from 1982 to 1998 as part of a cancer
study. By linking the data to air pollution levels, the
researchers were able to show that the number of lung
cancer deaths increases by 8 percent for every 10 micrograms
of fine particulate matter per cubic meter of air, and the
number of deaths from heart disease increases 6 percent.
For comparison, the annual average of fine particulates in
the air in Los Angeles is 27 micrograms per cubic meter.
See the NYU School of Medicine press release at:

The results of the study were published in last week's
Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). See
the JAMA Web site at:

Fine particulates are produced a number of ways, but coal
and diesel fuel combustion are major sources. A quick
overview is available on the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency Web site at:

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The Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Network (EREN)
home page is located at <http://www.eren.doe.gov/>.

If you have questions or comments about this
newsletter, please contact the editor, Kevin Eber, at

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