The EERE Blog includes updates to current Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) projects, interviews with energy experts, and success stories about EERE’s technology offices and national laboratories. Subscribe to the blog email list.
Today, Earth Day celebrates its 46th birthday. The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s mission is directly connected to the goals of Earth Day, supporting scientific research to find smarter ways to generate, conserve, and consume energy through renewable power sources, sustainable transportation, and energy-efficient homes, businesses and industries. Let's take a look at what our offices have done (and are doing now) to celebrate Earth Day every day.
A Department of Energy Zero Energy Ready Home is a high performance home so energy efficient that a renewable energy system can offset all or most of its annual energy consumption. Zero energy ready homeowners from across the U.S. discuss what they love about their homes.
Our latest summit, the American Energy & Manufacturing Competitiveness (AEMC) Northeast Regional Summit: Innovating for a Clean Energy Future, will be held on May 12 at the City College of New York. The AEMC partnership – established in 2012 – is a joint effort between the Department of Energy and the Council on Competitiveness. Registration is now open to take part in this fourth annual event.
As the solar energy industry expands, banks and investors increasingly require higher quality data and tools to quantify the risks associated with solar projects and integrating more solar assets into their portfolios. Without data standards, transactions for solar projects take longer than necessary and can require higher than normal interest rates. Solar projects can even be valued below their true worth due to the perceived risks around system performance and future profitability.
NovoMoto, a student-led startup from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, took home $50,000 after winning the Energy Department's Cleantech University Prize regional competition at the annual Clean Energy Trust Challenge in Chicago. NovoMoto's MicroPlant technology aims to provide renewable, sustainable electricity to communities in sub-Saharan Africa.
The immense challenges that New Orleans faced in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina were intensified by electric grid failures. More than 20 days after Hurricane Katrina struck, a quarter of the city's residents still didn't have power. In order to avoid massive disruptions like that in the future, the city reached out to the Energy Department to find a more resilient grid solution to power a more resilient New Orleans.
Benjamin Franklin once expressed that there are only two things you can count on in life: death and taxes. Transportation analysts might add a third item to that list – fluctuating gas prices. Our interactive timeline illustrates when and why oil prices have fluctuated over the last 40 years, and explains how the Energy Department has worked to minimize our country’s vulnerability to these price swings.
Energy and water are strongly interdependent in the U.S. economy. Electricity generation requires water, and water treatment and distribution require energy. The Energy Department has studied this water-energy nexus and it has funded state initiatives promoting both water and energy conservation.
Advances in synthetic biology—which involves engineering biological systems for new uses—can offer innovative solutions to improve advanced biofuel production. This, in turn, can speed up the development and commercialization of biofuels, making them attractive and affordable to industrial manufacturers.
Deep in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge in Washington and Oregon, an extensive data collection effort is underway. It’s all part of the Wind Forecasting Improvement Project in Complex Terrain’s (WFIP 2) effort to improve wind forecasts. From October 2015 through mid-2017, scientists will collect and analyze meteorological data in order to improve wind forecasts in regions of complex terrain, such as mountains, valleys, and river gorges. Our aim is to generate better forecasts that will help make wind power more reliable, efficient, and easier to integrate into the power grid.
Ocean wave energy is a developing next-generation technology. Wave energy converters are important for renewable energy development because the wave energy resource in the United States is substantial, and co-located with a large percentage of the population.
The Energy Department is helping California address severe drought conditions by supporting their Appliance Efficiency Program which lowers flow rates for faucets and showerheads as well as helps the state maintain a nearly constant level of electricity consumption per capita.
A new Energy Department brochure compares the energy efficiency, greenhouse gas emissions and ranges of the three proposed natural gas passenger vehicle configurations using analysis by Argonne National Laboratory.
A new interactive project map gives the public a birds-eye view of more than 200 active projects in EERE's SunShot Initiative. Working to make solar energy cost competitive, SunShot is showing where the projects are, what they're setting out to discover, and more.
How does EERE support research? We fund projects--and one way of doing so is through "project finance." This method helps minimize corporate risk, which promotes investment in diverse research and development efforts.
Eighty 4th through 8th grade students and educators were special guests at the White House to kick off the administration’s “Week at the National Labs” event from Feb. 29-March 5. Among special invitees were three women from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), who led hands-on activities and mentored the youth during the “Day at the Lab” event. The EERE team wowed the students with technology displays and showcased the Energy Department’s growing pipeline of women in STEM.
About 10% of the energy used in U.S. buildings—approximately 4 quads per year—compensates for energy lost through windows. To address this inefficiency, architects, engineers, and home-builders are advocating the use of high-performance windows, which are composed of insulated glass units (IGUs). IGUs lessen unwanted heat gain by combining insulating frames and multiple panes, thin film coatings, and special gas fills between the panes, while selecting for other properties, such as transmittance of visible light and solar heat gain.
When it comes to equality in employment for women, EERE's Geothermal Technologies Office is leading the way, literally. Guided by Dr. Susan Hamm as acting director, the program has equal representation of women in the office's science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) positions. EERE celebrates the Women of Geothermal in Women's History Month.
Deputy Secretary of Energy Liz Sherwood-Randall visited Hill Air Force Base in Utah recently to celebrate with 18 graduates of EERE's Solar Ready Vets program. This program helps transition military veterans into civilian careers in the solar industry, with promising results to date.
New research is helping the emerging tidal energy industry learn from their counterparts in the wind industry. By considering the effects of atmospheric turbulence when developing turbine designs, the wind industry has lowered the cost of energy to record lows and deployed turbines broadly across much of the nation.
A team at DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory is exploring the capability of wind energy to stabilize the nation's electrical grid when conventional power plants shut down. A 1.5 megawatt wind turbine, connected to a cutting edge grid simulator, is being tested at the National Wind Technology Center.
Celebrating Women's History Month, we recognize Ebony Vauss, of EERE's Solar Energy Technologies Office, who brings exceptional oversight to one of our most productive programs. She has channeled a lifelong interest in science with a deep education in policy to achieve great distinction in her career, and is a firm believer in finding ways to engage young women in the sciences.
Effective insulation can result in big savings in heating and cooling costs, especially in arctic climates such as Alaska. The Energy Department's Weatherization Assistance Program is helping cold-weather families reduce their utility bills while improving the health of their homes.