The Energy Department on April 15 announced up to $10 million in funding to advance the production of advanced biofuels, substitutes for petroleum-based feedstocks, and
bioproducts made from renewable, non-food-based biomass, such as agricultural residues and woody biomass. This supports the Department’s efforts to make drop-in biofuels more accessible and affordable, as well as meet the cost target equivalent of $3.00 per
gallon of gasoline by 2022.
The Energy Department encourages industry to invest in the production of cost-competitive, advanced biofuels and bioproducts from renewable, abundant biomass. Advancing
and commercializing cost-competitive biofuels will help the Department work toward its goal of reducing current petroleum consumption in the United States by approximately 30%, and, in turn, enhance U.S. national security and reduce carbon emissions. See the
Energy Department news release.
The Energy Department on April 11 announced $4 million to engage America’s research universities in the effort to accelerate the development of the emerging marine and
hydrokinetic (MHK) energy industry in the United States. This funding will support high-impact research projects designed to enable the capture of renewable wave and tidal energy, while supporting the growth of a globally competitive MHK workforce.
The Energy Department seeks a consortium of universities to optimize operations, reduce maintenance costs, and improve the components and performance of MHK systems over
three years. The selected universities will also pursue a range of related water power research projects to develop and evaluate distributed applications, measure and model wave and tidal resources, and enhance environmental monitoring techniques and instruments.
The consortium’s research and development activities will be implemented in collaboration with the Energy Department on a year-to-year basis to advance America’s water power industry. See the
Energy Department news release.
Energy-efficiency targets implemented in half of U.S. states in 2012 saved enough electricity to power 2 million homes for a year, according to a new report released April
9 by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). The report,
Energy Efficiency Resource Standards: A New Progress Report on State Experience also finds that most states met or exceeded their targets and that these targets are making substantial contributions
to national energy savings.
Texas was the first state to set efficiency targets, also called an energy efficiency resource standard (EERS), in 1999. Since then, half of the states in the country
have followed suit, setting long-term targets designed to spur electricity and natural gas savings. Prompted by EERS policies, utilities in these states have invested in energy efficiency programs ranging from appliance rebates to whole-building retrofits.
In Arkansas, utilities worked with customers to replace water heaters, weatherize homes, and find energy savings for poultry producers. In Wisconsin, "Focus on Energy" programs have helped residents and businesses achieve more than $730 million in savings
by replacing refrigerators, offering incentives for energy-efficient heating, and conducting free energy assessments for small businesses. See the
ACEEE press release and the
complete ACEEE report.
A new report released April 13 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows that global emissions of greenhouse gases have risen to unprecedented levels
despite a growing number of policies to reduce climate change. Emissions grew more quickly between 2000 and 2010 than in each of the three previous decades.
According to the Working Group III contribution to the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report, it would be possible, using a wide array of technological measures and changes in
behavior, to limit the increase in global mean temperature to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. However, only major institutional and technological change will give a better than even chance that global warming will not exceed this threshold.
Scenarios outlined in the report show that to have a likely chance of limiting the increase in global mean temperature to two degrees Celsius, mid-century global greenhouse gas emissions should be lowered by 40% to 70% compared with 2010, and to near-zero
by the end of this century
The report, entitled
Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change, is the third of three Working Group reports, which, along with a Synthesis Report due in October 2014, constitute the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report
on climate change. For the report, about 1,200 scenarios from scientific literature have been analyzed. These scenarios were generated by 31 modelling teams around the world to explore the economic, technological, and institutional prerequisites and implications
of mitigation pathways with different degrees of ambition. Cutting emissions from electricity production to near zero is a common feature of ambitious mitigation scenarios, but using energy more efficiently is also important. See the
IPCC news release , access the the
full report, and the
Energy Department statement.
The U.S. Army announced on April 14 plans to start development of a nearly 20-megawatt solar array that will provide about 25% of the annual electricity requirement of
Fort Huachuca, south of Tucson, Arizona. The project will be the largest solar array in the Department of Defense on a military installation.
Tucson Electric Power will fund, own, maintain, and operate the more than 75,000 modules. Commercial operations are expected to begin in late 2014. The U.S. Army's Energy
Initiatives Task Force is working to deploy one gigawatt of renewable energy by 2025. The task force is currently pursuing projects in Alabama, California, Hawaii, Maryland, and New York. See the
Army news release.