News and Events May 24, 2012
The Department of Energy on May 16 announced energy efficiency standards for residential clothes washers and dishwashers that are expected to save consumers $20 billion in energy and water costs. The clothes washers standard will save households approximately $350 apiece over the lifetime of the appliances. And home dishwashers will use approximately 15% less energy and more than 20% less water, directly providing consumers with savings on monthly bills.
Today, clothes washers and dishwashers account for approximately 3% of residential energy use and more than 20% of indoor water use in U.S. homes. The new standards for clothes washers will reduce the energy consumption of front-loading clothes washers by 15% and reduce water consumption by 35%, while the standards will reduce energy consumption by top-loading washers by 33% and reduce water consumption by 19%. The new standards—developed in partnership with companies such as Whirlpool, General Electric, and LG Electronics, industry advocates, national environmental organizations, consumer groups, and other stakeholders—build on previous minimum energy efficiency requirements for clothes washers and dishwashers. They go into effect starting in 2015 and 2013, respectively. The announcement is the most recent in a series of efficiency standards made by the Obama Administration that have covered nearly 40 different products, and will together save consumers nearly $350 billion on their energy bills through 2030. See the DOE press release and the Building Technologies Program website.
The Energy Department on May 18 announced that $500,000 is available this year to test the technical readiness of technologies that can harness energy from waves to supply renewable power to highly-populated coastal regions. The funding will support one project to deploy and test a wave energy conversion device for one year at the Department of Navy’s Wave Energy Test Site off of the Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe Bay, Oahu. This funding will demonstrate and accelerate wave power technologies that could further develop the country’s significant ocean energy resources.
These efforts complement an ongoing collaboration with the Navy, underscoring how increased cooperation between the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and the Energy Department can further the nation’s objectives toward renewable energy development. Through the funding opportunity, the Energy Department will provide technical support to test and evaluate the best wave energy options to provide power to DOD facilities. The Energy Department estimates that there are over 1,170 terawatt hours per year of electric generation available from wave energy off U.S. coasts, although not all of this resource potential can realistically be developed. The Navy has supported wave energy conversion research with the expectation that this technology can be used to assist DOD in reaching its agency goal of producing or procuring 25% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025.
The Energy Department expects to select a proposed wave energy device that is substantially complete and ready for testing and data collection without significant modification. The testing will include a comprehensive performance assessment—as well as a review of all pre- and post-deployment activities, operations and maintenance activities, and related analysis—to advance understanding of these innovative technologies and identify areas of performance improvement that will benefit this emerging industry as a whole. See the Progress Alert and the funding opportunity announcement.
The winners of the indoor lighting category of the fourth-annual Next Generation Luminaires Design Competition were announced recently at the LIGHTFAIR International conference in Las Vegas. The competition, sponsored by the Energy Department, the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America, and the International Association of Lighting Designers, was launched in 2008 to promote excellence in the design of energy-efficient light-emitting diode (LED) commercial lighting fixtures, or “luminaires.” Solid-state lighting, which includes both LED and organic light emitting diode technologies, has the potential to save $30 billion a year in energy costs by 2030.
A panel of eight judges, including experts from the architectural lighting design community, evaluated the next generation luminaires entries based on lighting quality, appearance, serviceability, efficacy, value, dimming, and lifetime. The Best in Class winners came from three different manufacturers and covered three different lighting types. Intense Lighting was awarded Best in Class for its MBW2 LED Track accent lighting fixture; Albeo Technologies Inc. won Best in Class for its H-Series LED high-bay fixture; and Lithonia Lighting earned Best in Class for its ST Series LED utility/general purpose fixture. Design competitions are a key part of DOE’s national strategy to accelerate technology advancements from laboratory to marketplace and boost the adoption of energy efficient lighting products. See the DOE Progress Alert, the Building Technologies Program Solid-State Lighting Web page, and the Next Generation Luminaires website.
The U.S. Department of the Interior and its Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced on May 14 a finding of “no competitive interest” for the proposed Mid-Atlantic offshore wind energy transmission line. The decision clears the way for the project to move forward with the environmental review necessary to grant the company, Atlantic Grid Holdings, LLC, a right-of-way for the proposal to build a “backbone” transmission line that would enable up to 7,000 megawatts of wind turbine capacity to be delivered to the grid.
The proposed project is a high-voltage, direct-current subsea transmission system that would collect power generated by wind turbine facilities off the Atlantic coasts of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia. The first such offshore infrastructure proposed in the United States, the system’s parallel, redundant circuits would total about 790 miles in length. The proposed transmission line would be constructed in phases to connect offshore wind power to the grid based on the company’s estimates of when offshore wind generation facilities will be in place. A right-of-way grant occupies a corridor 200 feet wide, centered on the cable with additional widths at the hubs. The right-of-way grant corridor is anticipated to extend about 790 miles. Full construction of all phases of the multi-stage project would take about 10 years.
Before proceeding with the review of this project, BOEM had to determine whether there were other developers interested in constructing transmission facilities in the same area. Last December, BOEM put out a request for competitive interest in order to gather that information. BOEM also solicited public comment on site conditions and multiple uses within the right-of-way grant area that would be relevant to the proposed project or its impacts. See the Interior press release.
Back in April, we launched Apps for Energy—challenging developers to build mobile and web applications that bring Green Button electricity data to life. You answered our call—sending in innovative, creative and fun apps that help consumers make informed decisions about their energy usage data in ways that save energy and money.
Now that Apps for Energy submissions are in, we want your input. Starting May 17, you can vote for your favorite Apps for Energy submissions as part of our public voting contest. To participate, visit our challenge page at appsforenergy.challenge.gov. There, you can browse our submission gallery and view photos, videos and detailed descriptions for more than 50 web and mobile applications. Your vote will help determine the Grand Prize and Second Place winners for the Apps for Energy Popular Choice Awards. You can vote only once—but for as many submissions as you’d like until the close of public voting on May 31. For the complete story, see the Energy Blog.