Energy Newsbriefs

Articles for January 06, 2014

ENERGY NEWSBRIEFS is a weekly current awareness service provided by the WSU Extension Energy Program Library and written by Angela Santamaria, WSU Energy Library Manager, to assist users in tracking developments in the energy field. To view past issues choose an issue from the right hand column.

We are excited to announce that we are moving Energy Newsbriefs to a blog format. This issue will be the last Energy Newsbriefs in this weekly newsletter format. The blog will be a continuation of Energy Newsbriefs, but will be provided in a new format and prepared by a new editor. Rather than publishing once a week, the blog will be updated regularly as relevant news comes to our attention.

We hope you will bookmark the blog and check it frequently for energy-related news. You will find the blog at

Please be aware that although every URL is checked for accuracy prior to the publication of Energy Newsbriefs, URLs are, for various reasons, subject to change. Further, servers sometimes fail to connect to working URLs.


The following articles were published in the November 2013 issue of BioCycle:

  1. Community Composting In New York City” is an interview, by Nora Goldstein, Editor, BioCycle, with Debbie Sheintoch, Program Manager of the NYC Compost Project at the Bureau of Waste Prevention, Reuse, and Recycling (BWPPR) at the city’s Department of Sanitation, and Robert Lange, Director of BWPPR. This is the story of how 200 neighborhoods in the city’s five boroughs have developed their own community composting sites for their collected organic waste. The article includes the sidebar “Curbside Collection Pilots.”
  2. Solid Waste District Pilots Dry Fermentation Digester” was written by Abbie Beane. A small digester in California is featured. Dry fermentation AD (anaerobic digestion) produces power that is, in turn, purchased by a water treatment plant that is next door. The article includes the sidebar “Food Waste Diversion.”
  3. Tree Service Expands Mulch And Compost Markets” was authored by Nora Goldstein, Editor, BioCycle. It describes the development of a tree trimming and land clearing company into a landscape products company.


The following three articles were published in the November+December issue of GreenSource:

  1. Make It Right Turns an Abandoned School into Affordable LEED Platinum Housing” is a case study of the project in New Orleans executed by the Make It Right foundation. This foundation strives to help renew the hurricane-damaged city’s residential sector.
  2. New Palo Alto Homes to Come Electric Vehicle Charger Ready” is a brief news story about the California city’s ordinance that requires the installation of chargers in new single-family homes.
  3. The Ripple Effect: Philadelphia's Historic Naval Shipyard Is Reborn as a Corporate Campus,” a two-Web-page article, was written by Liz Spikol. The purpose of the redesign and re-use of the country’s first naval shipyard is job creation for the city. However, this in-progress corporate campus is, also, incorporating energy efficiencies of all kinds in its retrofits and new construction to further sustainability.


HVAC and BAS Approach Peak Efficiency,” by David Engle, appeared in the November/December 2013 issue of Business Energy: This is a review of the HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems and BAS (building automation systems) as they have become extremely efficient. There are, it is explained, more opportunities for efficiencies than might appear and they are described. These opportunities include building high pressure control, superheat control, continuous commissioning, and much more.


The following three articles were published in the December 2013 issue of Power:

  1. "A Plan for Optimizing Technologies to Support Variable Renewable Generation in China" is a six-Web-page article jointly written by Zeng Ming, Li Shulei, and Xue Song – all of North China Electric Power University, Beijing. Massive wind and solar projects in China, both installed and planned, have catapulted the need for grid integration to the forefront of renewables discussions. Variable-generation (VG) requires new transmission on a grand scale as the wind and solar opportunities are, largely, distant from population centers. Other VG issues are also under consideration.
  2. "Photovoltaics Overshadow Concentrated Solar Power," by Sonal Patel, Associate Editor of Power, is a three-Web-page article that addresses the fairly recent phenomena of solar photovoltaic (PV) surpassing concentrated solar power (CSP) in sales, and, generally, in interest. PV and CSP are compared and contrasted in this article. PV is a newer technology than CSP, but PV’s larger share of the market will only increase dramatically as projects underway are completed. CSP is a more costly investment, has attracted much less in research funding than PV, and has enormous land and water requirements. On the other hand, CSP can store energy for as much as 16 hours, can be used in combination with other kinds of energy (including solar and fossil fuels), and is very useful in a number of industrial processes, which are listed. The article includes an informative sidebar, “The Evolution of CSP.”
  3. A Wind Energy Plan That Fits America’s Resources” is a four-page article by Drew Devitt, Founder of American Offshore Engineering. It states the major difficulty that wind generation faces in the U.S. – deep waters are very close to both east and west coasts. Offshore wind can be developed, but not in the shallow waters that thinly edge the coasts. The large expanses of Europe’s shallow coastal waters allow for different approaches which cannot be used in this country. The author describes several technologies, in depth, that would work well in deep waters.


"Fall and Winter Energy-Saving Tips" is a Web page from the U.S. Department of Energy. The site is now offering many tips for energy savings for the cooler months.


The following two articles were both authored by Michael Puttré, Editor, Solar Industry; they were published in the December 2013 issue of that journal:

  1. New Processes in PV Manufacturing Open Doors to Higher Efficiency” states that once PV prices dropped, China’s PV manufacturers gained the lion’s share of global PV orders. These manufacturers are providing PV at current efficiency levels, so-called “good-enough” PV. While PV has reached a point where added efficiencies in manufacturing are considered by many to be too expensive to research and develop, there is some noteworthy activity in this area which this article reviews. SoLayTec (The Netherlands), AVACO (South Korea), Midsummer (Sweden), and EV Group (Austria) are among those manufacturers experimenting with efficient technologies in their plants.
  2. PV Factories Bound for New Markets” explains that the new markets, which include commercial and residential, are in South America, Africa, and the Middle East. They are being supplied largely by Chinese PV manufacturers [already winners of global PV orders – see the article summary immediately above], which have developed some partnerships with companies nearer the demand. Local companies are expected to contribute on a larger scale in the future, especially in those cases (described in the article) where shipping costs matter.

Past issues of Energy Newsbriefs are available here. Generally, subscription information for the journals cited above can be found at the home page of their web sites. © 2013 Washington State University Extension Energy Program. This publication contains material written and produced for public distribution.