Posts Tagged ‘US Department of Energy’

4 February

Farewell, Secretary Chu, Difficult Job Well Done !


Greetings, Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

(please click on red links below)

It is with both sadness and appreciation that many of us in the solar/renewable energy world are receiving the news of  Secretary (of US Department of Energy) Steven Chu’s decision to return to his life of  a scientist.

Please view the announcement video clip below:

Secretary Steven Chu returning to his life of a scientist rather than a second term as the Secretary of Department of Energy (DOE)

In my opinion, Secretary Steven Chu is the first Secretary of Department of Energy who is truly deserving of his title  after many decades of Secretaries who could have just as well  been called Secretary of Nuclear Energy.  We appreciate President Obama’s insight in naming a Nobel  scientist with guts and pragmatism during this critical juncture in both American and Human Energy history.  Without the past four years of Chu’s tenure, we could not have seen the long list of scientific and clean energy programs, ranging from  Wind and Solar Energy Initiatives, BioEnergy Research Centers, nuclear safety, appliance efficiency standards, etc.  He is the first Secretary of Energy who truly appreciated the rising temperature as a present and growing danger to our planet earth and actively addressed this issue by building a foundation for research, creativity, and with funding guarantees to a plethora of clean energy projects supporting manufacturing plants throughout the country.  Since the list of accomplishments during his tenure is extremely long, I will simply name few of his accomplishments and share with you a more complete list made available via U.S. Department of Energy site.

  1. ARPA-E became a reality, designed to support high-risk, high reward technology development;this program has earned the respect of industry and academia alike for its outstanding funding choices and its thoughtful and thorough program management. Fred Smith, the CEO of FedEx, thought ARPA-E was the best government funding program he has ever seen.  In the first few years, 11 of the companies funded with $40 million dollars have attracted more than $200 million in combined private investment.
  2. The SunShot Challenge called for reducing the full cost of utility scale solar energy to $1/watt, roughly equates to a levelized cost of electricity (LOCE) of 6 cents/kWh without additional subsidies created for the solar industry.  This is close to the projected EIA cost of natural gas and the anticipated LOCE on a new natural gas electricity generator a decade from now.
  3. The President announced an EV Everywhere Challenge, with the goal to achieve plug-in hybrids or EVs with a 100 mile range at the same cost of owning and operating a comparable sized internal combustion engine car with 40 miles/gallon for 5 years.
  4. The production of clean, renewable energy from wind and solar has doubled during Chu’s tenure.
  5. In addition to $25 billion annual budget, Congress entrusted DOE to make a $36 billion investment through the Recovery Act to help ensure that the clean energy jobs of tomorrow are created in USA.
  6. The DOE has made significant progress in encouraging collaboration between the basic science and applied science programs such that the Office of Science and the Applied Energy programs have collaborated from the beginning in the design of Funding Opportunity Announcements.  So called “Tech teams” that span Energy, Science, and APRA-E have started to meet regularly in areas such as solar energy, electricity transmission and distribution, computation, and biofuels.  Brainstorming sessions where young scientists are encouraged to share ideas and joust with Department veterans have begun.

At this point, I’d like to invite you to read/see the more complete list of accomplishments during his tenure, available at US Department of Energy site (<–please click).

Statement from SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch on the Notice of the Departure of Energy Secretary Steven Chu:“SEIA applauds Secretary Chu for his outstanding leadership of the Department of Energy and for his work to foster the growth of clean energy technologies to power America. Secretary Chu clearly believes in the power of science and innovation to drive change, which was evident in the way he led the Department. Under Dr. Chu’s leadership, the Department launched the SunShot Initiative, an effort to advance solar photovoltaic technology developments; promoted the clean energy loan guarantee program spurring $55 billion in economic investment; and advanced the prominence of solar energy as a critical energy source.

Under the Obama Administration, the amount of solar powering homes, businesses, and military bases has grown by nearly 500 percent – from 1,100 megawatts in 2008 to more than 6,400 megawatts today. Solar installations and jobs have risen dramatically throughout the U.S, while costs have fallen. Today, the solar industry employs more than 119,000 Americans at 5,600 companies, mostly small businesses, across all 50 states – this is more than double the number of Americans working in solar in 2009. The U.S. now has enough installed solar capacity to power a million households, and 2013 is on track to be another year of record growth for our industry.

“We thank Secretary Chu for his passion for solar innovation, his public service, and his outstanding work to advance renewable energy across the United States.”

We applaud you for having led us on the right path to a cleaner, safer, and more sustainable future powered with greatly increased amounts of renewable energy. Job well done!

~have a bright and sunny day~

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Any of your comments/suggestions/questions are welcomed at

HTML adl

12 February

Thinking of Getting Into Solar Energy Industry?


Dear Readers,

(Please click on red links below)

If you are in favor of renewable,  clean, or solar energy, please sign this petition for FIT/CLEAN Program, accessible at Thank you very much.

Dear Friends & Readers,  one of you emailed me and asked this question, below:

Maybe you have some business ideas for my brother.  He knows the building and architecture business. Knows all materials and specifications for big buildings as well as little houses. He has been a salesman for building products, has been a specifications writer for big projects, overseen buildings for architects and builders,  hospitals, convention center, office buildings. He can’t find work here now. He needs to get into the new Solar energy business….

Dear C,

For your brother, since he has so much experience and connections in building industry, I would recommend setting up a business in “Energy Efficiency Auditing” and/or “Solar Installation”, helping home owners and businesses to find different ways to reduce the amount of energy used: be it in installing attic fans, changing light bulb to compact flourescent bulbs, using light color (white) for roof (where it is allowed), changing to tankless hot water heater, using solar hot water heater, using solar energy to heat pools, using solar lights/lamps in the yard, etc.  He may even be able to get government subsidies to start a company involved in energy efficiency or solar energy.  If he needs more information, I would suggest going to my and find the April 18, 2011, post on Incentive For Solar (2) for links and US Dept. of Energy SunShot Initiative (if he may be interested in researches) Contact people at DC  and DOE’s Solar America Communities program and April 24, 2011,  post on Incentive For Solar (4)-For Consumers for individual states’ listing of solar incentives.  You/he can get to this post by clicking the orange link at left or going to the Archives in the right margin of, click on April 2011, then click on 24 under April 2011. Read this post (April 24, 2011 post of listen to the video clip EERE Program Overview. Then click on the orange link to find out more information about where the subsidies for consumers (for different parts of the US) are because with better understanding of where the consumers’ subsidies will be coming from, your brother will be better equipped to appreciate where the potential clients’ needs will be.  Call and learn about what and how he may be able to get started in energy industry.  Once he is more clear about what exactly he wants to do, then he can start publicizing for his business via internet (I recommend WordPress to set up a web site), Facebook, twitter, and various social networking strategies.   It is important to be clear about what his goal is.  He needs to learn as much about energy industry as possible.  If he visits , it is free.  My Jan. 10, 2012 post at also mentioned an online institute, Solar Living Institute, that has various online courses and training programs if your brother is interested (this would cost something) . In addition to government subsidy, there is a private lending organization call Kiva (I have also written about this organization in Jan. 1, 24, 25, 2012 posts of ;Jan. 1, 2012 post ;Jan. 24, post; Jan. 25, 2012 post). Kiva will help legitimate green businesses to get started by lending/microfinancing.  So I would recommend that your brother try to learn as much as he possibly can about energy efficiency and solar energy before deciding on what direction will be most suitable for him.  Be sure to write out a business plan before approaching U.S. Department of Energy and Kiva for monetary help. There is no guarantee in life, but knowledge is power and better organization and planning ahead is always a good idea before starting on any project.   Perhaps he may not even need any outside assistance to get started.
Best to any of your future endeavors and please let me know if you should have any other questions.
I also welcome ( via ) any of you out there who would like to help C’s brother out with any additional comments, suggestions, or business ideas .  I am in the process of setting up an extension of that will allow more of you to participate in the forum format in the near future.
Be well,
~have a bright and sunny day~
written & posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker,

HTML adl

~have a bright and sunny day~

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Any comments and suggestions are welcomed at

Please also get into the habit of checking at these sites below for more on solar energy topics:

HTML adl


26 September

Petition For Renewable Energy, Solar Decathlon Photo-Video-People’s Choice Award Contest of 2011, Editorial on Why and How We Should Power The World With Sun-Water-Wind Quickly


Dear Readers,

For a special treat, between September 23-October 2, 2011, will be hosting a 10 day-3 parts series:

I.  If you are in favor of renewable,  clean, or solar energy, please sign this petition for FIT/CLEAN Program, accessible at Thank you very much. We are at a critical juncture in human history when individual effort and participation in the transition into renewable energy age is desperately needed!  Your signature will be very meaningful in helping all earthlings!  For a summary of why we need to switch to power the earth with Wind-Water-Sunlight quickly, reasons are explained by Stanford Professor Mark Z. Jacobson at There are more than sixteen episodes of discussions on FIT (Feed-In-Tariff/CLEAN Program) available at Please feel free to read/listen to them (type in feed-in-tariff in the search box at right).  Keep in mind that signing this petition only means that you are in favor of renewable energy and FIT/CLEAN Program and does not obligate you to provide any financial support. We simply want our combined voice to be heard even if we are not spending millions of lobbying dollars. We want to demonstrate that our system of democracy will work for people in all socio-economic strata. So please join us in this earthly movement by signing this petition and participating in our common goal of moving toward the renewable and solar energy age. Earthlings from any corner of the globe may participate.

II. Awards For Solar Decathlon of 2011 (this is not the contest holding by the Department of Energy);there are  three parts (you may participate in one or more than one part(s)), details and procedures explained at :

Part 1. Photo Award Part 2. Video Award Part 3.  People’s Choice Award  for Solar Decathlon Team of 2011

Now, I’d like to invite you to take a look at  another clip of Solar Decathlon 2011 at West Potomac Park in Washington D.C.—>


III.Editorial on Why and How We Should Power Planet Earth With Sun-Water-Wind Quickly, below:

Why and How We Should Power Planet Earth With Sun-Water-Wind Quickly

(written and published by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker, at

It is an exciting time to be alive.  We earthlings may have many problems to deal with, but we are also equipped with many tools, terrific minds, and fantastic ways of communications.  My thirst for solutions for earth’s energy problem combined with my online teaching jobs permitted me to travel to various places from time to time to search for answer…to seek lessons learned and wisdom gathered…. Yes, I’ve attended many lectures by many scholars who have studied the energy issue.

Today, I want to share with you a talk by Mark Z. Jacobson, Director of the Atmosphere/Energy Program and Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University, available at, July 31, 2011 post. Professor Jacobson started the talk by explaining what the problem we earthlings are facing today and why is there such an urgency in needing to deal with it quickly:

  • temperatures are rising quickly
  • Arctic sea ice area is decreasing quickly
  • air pollution mortality is one of the leading causes of death worldwide and higher temperature contributes to deaths
  • higher population and growing energy demand will lead to worsening air pollution and climate problems over time

This part of the talk helped me to realize that black carbon (main component of the soot particles) is also a very important factor for causing global warming, in addition to CO2 emission.  Annual premature earthlings’ deaths due to particulates is about 2.5-3 million (in U.S. that is translated into 50,000-100,000 and in Europe, 300,000-350,000 annual premature deaths due to air pollution).

As any good engineer/scholar would approach a problem, Professor Jacobson did not just  alarm us with problems but also evaluated possible solutions both with and without cost considerations.  From reviewing and ranking major proposed energy-related solutions to global warming, air pollution mortality, and energy security, his talk also considered various impacts of the proposed solutions such as water supply, land use, resource availability, reliability, wildlife, and  risk of cancer and nuclear proliferation.  Some data I was not aware of in the past was presented, such as the dramatic increase of organic gases (formaldehyde, 200% and  acetaldehyde, 4500%) and increased ozone generated from using ethanol.  In the final analysis, with consideration of materials, transmission infrastructure, costs, and politics, Professor Jacobson concludes that the best way to power the world is with Wind, Water, and Solar (WWS) technologies.

By 2030, the cost of using fossil fuel (13.5c/kWh) will be higher than using WWS (8-13 c/kWh) technologies.  Using WWS technologies will also eliminate 2.5-3 million air pollution premature deaths/year and global warming and provides energy stability. Furthermore, converting to WWS and electricity/H2 will reduce global power demand by 30%.  The greatest concern regarding use of WWS is its variability;this is also addressed by Jacobson’s study by: ( 1.) interconnecting geographically-dispersed WWS;(2.) bundling WWS and using hydro to fill in gaps;(3.) demand-response (provide incentive to discourage use during peak/high demand period);(4.) oversizing peak capacity and producing hydrogen with excess for industry, vehicles;(5.)on-site storage;(6.)better forecasting.

The study concludes that the best way to power planet earth in the future is with Wind, Water, and Solar (WWS) technologies.  It is feasible both technically and economically.  Its potential barriers are up-front costs, transmission needs, lobbying, and politics.

Relevant papers can be found at

Dear Readers, this is exactly why I have written the series on effective Feed-In-Tariff, in Sun Is The Future, available at trying to urge all of our local and federal governments (not just the Floridians or residents of USA, but residents of planet earth) to give all of us the  incentive to participate  in our move toward the Renewable WWS age.  We, as individual home or business owners, may not be spending multiple millions of dollars for lobbying, but we are just as concerned with the future of energy use and welfare of our planet earth as any large utility companies.  We earthlings are all connected. The particulate matters from China or India or radiation material from Fukushima will impact all of us earthlings.  So, as  individual earthlings, let’s start by calling attention and action for our immediate communities.  I, here in Florida, will try my very best in asking my community and local government to consider effective Feed-In-Tariff (discussions, articles, and video clips available by going to the search box at upper right hand corner of and type in “feed in tariff”). Effective Feed-In-Tariff, now rebranded as CLEAN program, may be utilized by individual home owners, small businesses, organizations such as schools, Y’s, hospitals, libraries, local McDonald’s, WalMart, police stations, and large power/utility companies/plant (refer to the piece I wrote on July 13, 2011, Answer For The Future Is In Hybrid Marriage-Solar And Fossil Fuel at alike.

We need incentive for individual home owners, small businesses, organizations such as schools, Y’s, hospitals, etc. with rooftops and surface areas, that would provide us with sufficient economic incentive to move into the renewable age.  Here is an example (in the video of July 27 post at, with data provided by World Future Council) of another country, Germany, with far less sunshine and insolation than we have here in Florida,  but with the help of Feed-In-Tariff (key features listed below):

  • Gives RE (renewable energy) priority access to the grid
  • Obliges grid operators to purchase electricity from RES
  • Sets the price for RE electricity for fixed periods
  • Sets no limit to amount of RE feeding into the grid

Fundamentally, with an effective Feed-In-Tariff incentive program, any one who produces excess renewable energy may be able to sell the power he/she generates back to the power/utility company.

Feed-In-Tariffs have been so successful in Germany and many other countries because of the long term planning security it provides by having 12-20 year contracts ( this is crucial to investors);it gives technology-specific incentives (this is crucial for driving new technologies into the market);it adapts to technological development (this fosters innovation). Germany was able to create more than a quarter million jobs in renewable energy sector in less than five years, economic impact of new industry development with total turnover from renewable energy sources of approximately 25 billion Euros in 2007, and saved about 150 tons of CO2 emissions…all due to the help of Feed-In-Tariff. Most importantly, Feed-In-Tariff have made Germany the world leader in solar power. Another important lesson to take away from the presentation of World Future Council video clip of July 27 post in is the fact that majority (more than 80% in Germany & or 90% in Florida) of the market share is from residential rather than the utility scaled facility (about 10%). That means, we, the individuals, will have far more combined impact on the industry and would benefit from the industry of renewable energy via Feed-In-Tariff. Please do view these discussions and video clips on Feed-In-Tariff, accessible at, beginning from May through July of 2011, at

If you’d get to my May 8th post on Incentive For Solar (8)-Feed-In-Tariff (FIT), at, there is a very informative discussion by a panel of scientists and policy makers and even our very own Floridian Ed Regan, you would  also see in my August 11 post that:

the first form of feed-in-tariff was actually implemented in US in 1978, under President Jimmy Carter’s administration, telling Americans that the energy crisis was a “clear and present danger to our nation” and drew out a plan to address it.

The problem with the federal mandated feed-in-tariff rate from 1978 is that: the federal government had given individual states the authority to set its own FIT rate as long as it meets the minimal level of avoided cost. So, we ended up getting a lot of states  simply setting its FIT rate at the  avoided cost (for FL, this avoided cost is much lower than the cost of producing solar energy, therefore, there is no incentive for any one trying to produce extra energy). It simply would not be economically feasible. You can also find this discussion in my June 8th post and video with Craig Lewis of Clean Coalition, at I have another issue with this avoided cost FIT rate: that is,  it is set at a fixed rate without the consideration of what time in the day when the energy is produced. The value of energy  changes throughout the day because energy is in greater demand during the day time and when sun is up (esp. in FL when it is on a hot summer day, when AC is in huge demand).  The current fixed avoided cost FIT rate ends up favoring the wind energy producers and very unfavorable for the solar energy producers (solar energy is produced when demand is highest and therefore during the time when the energy is/should be more valuable.)  But this can all be modified/monitored with current technologies and smart meters.  So, what we need from the state government is an effective Feed-In-Tariff rate that would provide incentive (economically feasible) for every/any one who wants to participate in production of renewable energy (solar, water, wind, etc.) to do so feasibly.  Some of you may argue to wait until the cost of producing renewable (esp. solar in FL) energy to be much lower and continue the status quo for now. But I (and many others) feel that we cannot afford to wait any longer because it takes time to educate, implement, and assist the general public to make the transition into a new world of renewable energy.  If we want a smooth transition, without too much societal disruption, nor increased unemployment or dramatic lowering of standard of living, the most effective strategy is by implementing effective Feed-In-Tariff/CLEAN Program (as indicated in World Future Council ASAP.  We have seen how effectively implemented Feed-In-Tariff had already benefited our neighbor Gainesville, FL community (and at least 65 other nations and territories):

We would simply like to ask our state legislators to consider re-examining the issue of Feed-In-Tariff and come up with a plan for an effective Feed-In-Tariff/CLEAN Program that may be inclusive of all,  the small users, medium users, and large users (even utility companies).  For we are all in this together.  I am sure that the power/utility companies are well aware of the fact that it is much better to serve a community of economic prosperity, because 10% of a smaller number is still larger than 100% of zero, (such would be the case if/when the power company has to cater to the needs of a lot of unemployed users.)

I hope you, the readers, in addition to talking to your friends, family, neighbors, and your legislators about effective Feed-In-Tariff, I urge you to sign the petition page available at and tell as many people about this web site and petition drive as possible.  To encourage you all to think positively about our renewable/solar energy future, I have also written and posted various topics at for your perusal. Simply type these topics in the search box at upper right hand corner of and see/hear….about….


Incentive For Solar

Solar Impulse Solar Plane

Cars Of The Future

Solar High Speed Trains

Solar Shingles

Solar Hot Water Heater

What Is Solar Cell


Why Solar

Peak Oil

Solar Decathlon


Please feel free to email me at if you have any suggestions, questions or comments.  Any of your input will be welcomed.

Written and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker,


18 April

Incentive For Solar (2)


If you are in favor of renewable/CLEAN energy, please sign the petition page showing support for FIT/CLEAN Program at Thank you.

Yes, yes, yes, I will share some more details of the SunShot Initiative that was mentioned in the previous post of April 15, 2011, before going into details of any other incentive programs.  Here are some program highlights of current financial opportunities,  divided into four main groups,  under the umbrella of Solar Energy Technologies Program: photovoltaics; concentrating solar power; systems integration; and marketing transformation.  These DOE funding opportunities encourage collaborative partnerships among industry, universities, national laboratories, federal, state, and local governments’ and non-government agencies and advocacy groups through an open and competitive solicitation process.  To explore these financial opportunity solicitations, please refer to links below:

These current financial opportunities (below) had just been made available this month under the umbrella of Solar Energy Technologies Program

  1. Transformational PV Science and Technology: Next Generation
  2. Extreme Balance of System Hardware Cost Reductions:
  3. Foundational Program to Advance Cell Efficiency:
  4. Solar Energy Grid Integration Systems-Advanced Concepts:

For various DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Program Highlights, please refer to links below:

Here is a special note for my Midwestern friends (a special wave to Rose, who emailed me multiple times regarding concern for availability of amount of sunlight in IL), if Boston, New York City, Ann Arbor, and Minneapolis-Saint Paul can all be one of the Solar America Cities, I am certain that Chicago and many other Midwestern cities can also be part of the Solar America Cities.  Here, you will see the 25 Solar America Cities partnerships

The 25 Solar America Cities partnerships represent the foundation of DOE’s Solar America Communities program

that represent the foundation of DOE’s Solar America Communities program.  Local governments and citizens across the country are taking action to make solar energy a more viable option for their communities.  These forward cities and counties are using innovative approaches to remove market barriers to solar and encourage adoption of solar energy technologies at the local level.  In 2007 and 2008, the U.S. Department of Energy designated 25 major U.S. cities as Solar America Cities and provided financial and technical assistance to help the cities develop comprehensive approaches to increasing solar energy use.  Sixteen of these designees also received additional Recovery Act funding in 2009 for special projects that tackle specific barriers to urban solar energy use.  Here you can also see a chart showing various activities that the 25 Solar America Cities have undertaken to advance solar energy and build sustainable local solar markets.  Communities throughout US can use this chart to identify cities working on similar issues to leverage their experience and lessons learned.  More details regarding these communities and their activities can be found at this site

It is time for all of us, throughout US, to cooperate and help one another in sharing our experiences in our journey toward the sun.  Department of Energy has already provided us with the basic ground work and budget to start in our transition toward solar energy.   We look forward to continued support and additional financial opportunities that will be forthcoming.  But in the meantime, citizens of US, take a close look at these activities and programs and see how you may take part in this exciting transitioning period.  You may be an entrepreneur with business ideas, a university faculty or researcher, a college student, a home maker trying to find more efficient way to provide household energy sources, you may all take part in these programs, benefiting financially while participating in this global movement toward the sun. So, let’s be optimistic!  Let’s head toward the sun with confident and giant leaps.  If you have any other questions regarding  the SunShot/Dollar-a-Watt Initiative, please refer to contact below:

SunShot Initiative Contacts

Contact information for the SunShot/Dollar-a-Watt Initiative is provided below.

U.S. Department of Energy
SunShot Initiative and Solar Energy Technologies Program
Ramamoorthy Ramesh
Program Manager
1000 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC, 20585
Phone: 202-287-1473

Rachel Tronstein
Clean Energy Advisor
1000 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC, 20585
Phone: 202-586-6832

Posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker,


Copyright © 2011-2018 · Susan Sun Nunamaker All Rights Reserved ·