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Department of Energy to Allocate $8 Billion for Green Initiatives

green-energyAs part of the Climate Action Plan recently announced by President Obama, the Department of Energy (DOE) has announced an additional allocation of $8 billion through its loan program for projects that work toward reducing greenhouse emissions – most notably to curb atmospheric carbon dioxide and methane – mainly produced through the use of fossil fuels.

As of now, the DOE has invested over $34 billion in over 30 energy projects; ranging from developing new forms of green technology, improving on wind turbines and solar panels, and backing companies like electric vehicle maker Tesla – until they paid the DOE’s loan back in May. Much like President Obama noted during his recent speech at Georgetown University, Energy Secretary Ernest J. Moniz reiterated the sentiment for addressing a wide range of energy initiatives for the DOE to consider, including the improved efficiency measures of non-renewable energies like coal and nuclear power.

“America needs an all-of-the-above approach to develop homegrown energy and steady, responsible steps to cut carbon pollution, so we can protect our kids’ health and begin to slow the effects of climate change,” says Moniz. He continues, “These investments will play a critical role in accelerating the introduction of low-carbon fossil fuel technologies into the marketplace and reduce greenhouse gas pollution. Fossil fuels currently provide more than 80 percent of our energy, and adopting technologies to use them cleanly and more efficiently is critical to our all-of-the-above approach.”

In a statement regarding the $8 billion allocation, the DOE released a brief statement about which types of projects it’s targeting, “These technologies could include any fossil technology that is new or significantly improved; as compared to commercial technologies in service in the US… applicants must show that their proposed project avoids, reduces, or sequesters air pollutants or greenhouse gas emissions.”

As Knovel noted last week, the DOE is targeting several major factors when considering which projects to fund –

1) Resource Development – Extractions contribute nearly 5 percent of all US greenhouse gas emissions. The latest developments have come through the natural gas industry, as the equipment and technology has resulted in fewer wells that are being drilled more effectively.

2) Carbon Capture/Low-Carbon Power Systems – These two are closely-related: More efficient power systems will greatly benefit in minimizing carbon emissions, meaning less carbon will need to be captured. Overall, over 50 percent of emissions are created through fossil-based energy systems, making this a glaring need to address though DOE-funded initiatives.

3) Efficiency Improvements – The US wastes more energy than any country in the world, with an average of 58 percent being unused. Wasted heat energy is a common culprit of residential, industrial, and commercial properties alike. Something as simple as installing energy-efficient lighting or installing variable frequency drives in a factory can greatly help the effort, but the necessity to develop efficiency measures cannot, and has not gone unnoticed through the DOE.

Despite failed funding from the Department of Energy for start-ups like Solyndra and Fisker Automotive, the DOE states their loan program has boasted a sterling 97% success rate among the sum of their combined investments. However, Fisker’s demise may hurt that percentage a bit as it declared bankruptcy months after the 97% success rate claim was made, but that’s still an astonishing figure compared to start-ups in the private sector.

Kris can be found on Twitter and Google+.

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  • http://www.SidelSystems.com Sid Abma

    Can someone guide me to the person(s) at the DOE that are working this new program.
    Item- 3) Waste Energy
    The EIA states that last year America consumed approx. 17.5 Trillion cu.ft. of natural gas at commercial buildings at industry and the power plants.
    How many chimneys are poking out of the roofs of all these buildings and facilities? How much HOT exhaust was blown into our atmosphere out of all these chimneys? At what temperatures? How much CO2 is in all this exhaust?
    Could this affect global warming?

    • http://www.Exqheat.com John Cockerill

      You bet. The energy suppliers do not want conservation as it will reduce earnings. The boiler companies do not want energy conservation as the boilers will last forever. The government does not want energy conservation as they lose the taxes on the first two. In 2015 all fuels will triple as the natural gas liquification enters the world market. This will make positive our foreign balance of payments account, and the taxes on the sale of the gas liquid will pay off our deficit. There is little room for conservation in this agenda. Global warming?? Well that is still in la la land.

  • Jessica Kennedy

    Hi Sid,
    Thank you for your thoughtful response.
    The answer is yes, that the natural gas the US consumes every year does emit exhaust containing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. This could affect climate change. The reason for using natural gas is that the pollutants it does emit are far fewer than coal or oil. You can find more on that information here: http://www.naturalgas.org/environment/naturalgas.asp
    The efficiency improvements being implemented should cut down on wasteful emissions, and have a positive effect on the US’ pollution record.
    DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz is ultimately responsible for this undertaking.

  • http://www.TheTechnologyConsortium.com Ron Hoffman

    Good article, BUT…
    We have newly released technology that safely makes a standard HVAC compressor into variable speed. Our technology makes this possible without replacing ANY existing HVAC components. Duke Energy testing proved a 30% kWh reduction on a domestic (Trane) installation. This equipment has been in constant operation since 2011 with improved performance but no problems.
    Can you imagine how much energy we can save in all of the existing HVAC systems? Why is there no media blitz about this great new opportunity?

    • Scott Shugarts

      Thanks for reading and taking part, Ron.

      Variable Speed HVACs have been around for decades, and like most home equipment, undergo constant efficiency improvement with new generations and models. As such, there is not much purchase for news corporations to cover old news. Like individual solar generation, electric/hybrid cars, and a host of other new energy efficient products available, a final cost/benefit analysis on variable speed HVACs is, at best, situation specific.

      As far as the specific company/model you mentioned, I found at least a dozen different producers advertised on the internet. Like an investment in any home equipment, consumers should diligently research both producers and installers for the best value.

      • http://www.TheTechnologyConsortium.com Ron Hoffman

        Granted VFDs have been around for years, (I used to specify them in the 80’s), and they have also been used in HVAC applications for the last decade or so, but only on (HVAC) fans, cooling towers, dampeners, pumps, etc.
        There are not any VFDs that you can put onto a standard (Existing) air conditioning scroll compressor without burning it up. You can change your compressor to a new variable speed version (Copeland), or you can buy a new variable speed HVAC system (Trane, Carrier, and others); but, you cannot retrofit your existing scroll compressor to variable speed. Until now.
        If I am wrong, please correct…
        BTW, this is industrial/commercial use where the savings give you a < 2-year ROI.
        (Sorry if this post sounds harsh, but many others have drawn the same conclusion.)