Energy Department Announces New Investments to Accelerate Breakthroughs in Cost-Competitive Solar Energy

Posted on August 30th, 2012 by

This week, the Energy Department announced new investments totaling $10 million, for university-led projects to increase efficiencies of solar systems and lower costs for concentrating solar power technologies.

The projects are under the Department’s SunShot initiative, a collaborative national effort to make solar energy cost competitive with other forms of energy by the end of the decade.
These investments will bring together university teams from Berkeley, Colorado, Arizona and Stanford, as well as industry experts and national facilities’ engineers, to advance innovative research and accelerate technology transfer into the marketplace.
The efforts will establish research partnerships and new full programs at a Scientific User Facility.
California Better Buildings Challenge Partners Showcase Energy Savings Projects with U.S. Energy Department Officials

Under the Better Buildings Challenge, part of the Obama Administration’s comprehensive strategy to help companies to save money by reducing energy waste in commercial and industrial buildings, three companies have positioning as the leaders of the nation by investing in energy efficient projects.
Supervalu Albertson’s Carpinteria store, one of the most energy-efficient and environmentally friendly supermarkets in the country has reduced energy use per square foot by 30%. U.C. Irvine reduced energy use in its Natural Science II building by 51%, using “smart” energy controls for air conditioning, ventilation, and lighting. These efficiencies are projected to save $150,000 per year in this lab.

HEI’s renovation of the Marriott La Jolla hotel near San Diego includes a lighting upgrade, programmable thermostats in guest rooms, and upgraded HVAC controls. These upgrades will result in a 27% reduction in energy use in 2013 and will save the company an expected $200,000 annually.


El Paso becomes first large city in Texas to adopt 2012 Energy Codes…sort of..

In Texas, the City of El Paso is the first city on the state that has adopted the 2012 International Energy and Conservation Codes, for new residential and commercial construction and mayor renovations.
More energy efficient lighting and increased insulation are some of the regulations involved in the code, and according to a recent analysis by the Energy Systems Laboratory at Texas A & M, homes built to the 2012 standards would be some 8 to 18 percent more energy efficient.
Although the code is not obligatory yet, there are certain initiatives to encourage customers to use the 2012 codes, for instance, the state will give a 50% discount on the permit fee to the first 100 cases that follow the 2012 codes.


Pemex Finally Strikes Oil in Deep Waters

This week president Felipe Calderón of Mexico announced that Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex), Mexican state-owned petroleum company, found for the first time, oil in deep water in the Gulf of Mexico.
According to the New York Times article, Mexico is the third largest supplier of imported crude oil to the United States and the new find could be part of a much larger oilfield with the potential to produce from 4 to 10 billion barrels of crude oil.
Pemex has spent almost $4 billion on deep-water exploration and under a complicate political atmosphere in the country, with current laws that prevents Pemex from forming partnerships with foreign companies, Enrique Peña Nieto, Calderon’s successor for the presidency has said he will propose new laws to allow private companies to invest with Pemex.

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