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Energy Newsbriefs Blog

This current awareness service is prepared by the WSU Energy Program Library with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy State Energy Program. This information is provided for energy professionals and interested members of the public to highlight recent energy-related news, articles, and reports that discuss energy efficiency, energy conservation, and renewable sources of energy in engineering and policy circles.


Unlikely Bedfellows: Unlocking Wind Microgrids with Fossil Fuels

North American Clean Energy, Sep./Oct. 2015, by Marc Hoffman.

"With advancements in the renewable microgrid platform, there’s good news on the horizon: two unlikely bedfellows—wind and fossil fuels—can make beautiful music together after all."

New Horizons for Energy Efficiency: Major Opportunities to Reach Higher Electricity Savings by 2030

American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), Sep. 2015, by Dan York, and others.

"Higher equipment standards and more stringent building codes are squeezing the amount of savings that energy efficiency programs can harvest. No single measure will yield a dominant share of energy savings for utility program portfolios, as have lighting programs in the past. This report examines the next large opportunities for energy efficiency savings. It analyzes 18 measures—including reduction of plug loads, conservation voltage reduction, and smart manufacturing—that could collectively save 22% of total projected electricity use in the year 2030."

Compare and Save With Web-Based Energy Efficiency Tool [Utilities]

Public Power, Sep./Oct. 2015, by Alex Hofmann.

"...The American Public Power Association and Large Public Power Council have partnered to create a web-based tool that allows utilities to compare themselves to their peers. The tool takes data from the Energy Information Administration Form 861 and outputs it in a digestible, comparable format. Users can filter, sort, compare, benchmark and analyze the data much more easily than if they were to download the spreadsheet file of EIA data and try to reach conclusions on their own — the tool does the work. It generates customizable peer comparison charts by geography, ownership type, size, year-over-year, and other options. The charts address a range of energy efficiency indicators such as energy savings, potential demand reduction, and spending."

Supermarkets: A Bellwether of Industry Changes

Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration News, Sep. 7, 2015, by Ron Rajecki.

"Supermarkets and their needs will always be one of the front-and-center elements of the HVACR industry. These high-profile businesses operate long hours, use large amounts of energy, and have tens of thousands of dollars in perishable product that needs refrigeration 24/7. Trends in supermarkets can often provide insights into changes to come for the rest of the commercial refrigeration world, and — as is the case industry-wide — refrigerants are on the minds of many in the supermarket sector."

Energy Storage Fast Facts

enerG, Jul./Aug. 2015.

"Devices that can store energy for use at a later time have developed
rapidly to meet the rising requirements for energy. The U.S. is on the cusp of a breakout year for energy storage. The U.S. energy storage market is forecast to grow 250 percent in 2015, according to the inaugural U.S. Energy Storage Monitor report from GTM Research and the Energy Storage Association (ESA)."

Microgrids: Self-Sufficient Energy Islands

Public Power, Sep./Oct. 2015, by Ethan Howland.

"Microgrids, small energy systems that can run independently of the main grid, can turn communities into self-sufficient energy islands. The technology may have been made popular by a devastating storm, but public power utilities have been creating electricity islands since before it was cool. Microgrids are positioned to grow quickly, with public power utilities leading the way, thanks to their unique position in their communities."

Understanding Vacuum Pump Lubricants

Blower & Vacuum Best Practices, Sep. 2015, by David Mitchell.

"“What is the best type of oil to use in my vacuum pump?” is a common question for sure, and one that may often yield confusing and conflicting answers. The rule of thumb is that it is always best to follow OEM recommendations, but why do they recommend the lubricants that they do? For the purpose of this article, we will focus on some of the general industrial vacuum pump applications and their lubricant choices."

Direct-Fired Technology: From Makeup Air to Space Heating

ASHRAE Journal, Sep. 2015, by Thomas Boeckermann, and others.

"Direct-fired heating technology is a safe, energy-efficient, and cost-effective means to provide heating for a wide range of applications. The two main uses—makeup air and space heating—have different applications and require different approaches to deliver the most efficient design. This article summarizes the basic operating principles, safety, energy performance, psychrometric behavior, and recommendations for the use of direct-fired heating units."

Can Energy-Intensive Manufacturers be Winners Under the Clean Power Plan?

American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), Sep. 14, 2015, by Meegan Kelly.

"There is a concern that any new environmental regulation can hurt the bottom lines of energy-intensive manufacturers. In the case of the EPA Clean Power Plan, states that comply with the rule by investing in energy efficiency will find the opposite is likely to be true: their businesses will be more productive and their economies will grow."

What to Expect from an Effective Compressed Air Audit

Compressed Air Best Practices, Sep. 2015, by Don van Ormer.

"Compressed air has moved to higher visibility in the energy conservation field, and the buzzwords abound: “the fourth utility” — “your most expensive utility” — “eight times more expensive than electricity” — “a quarter-inch leak costs $9,000 in wasted energy.” This greater awareness has also produced compressed air auditors that are springing up like summer dandelions. With audits available from many sources, it is important to understand what plant operations, engineers and maintenance managers should expect from a complete audit — or more aptly — a complete air system review."
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