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www.energydigital.com | August 2015


Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority WHAT’S WRONG WITH FRACKING?


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Global Innova tions

How California Plans To Drink The Pacific


“Water is the driving force of all nature” – Leonardo da Vinci T O D A Y ’ S T E C H N O L O G Y I S A force to be

reckoned with; like most industries, the energy sector is taking full advantage—and with good reason. Pittsburgh Water and Sewer, our feature company this month, is a great example of how organizations are implementing technology to help combat our global energy issues. Check out the article on page 40 to learn about the recently-formed Green Infrastructure Technical Advisory Committee (GITAC) and other innovative measures the company has employed as of late. In the United States, California is entering its fourth year of drought, and the affects are devastating: 41 percent of the state is facing “exceptional drought,” the most severe type, while reservoirs are dipping to as low as 9 percent capacity. In this month’s Green Tech feature, we explore desalination of the Pacific Ocean as a potential solution. We also take a look at the controversy behind fracking, which has become un-ignorable, and pose the following question to readers: Can we separate fracking fact from fracking fiction?

Enjoy the issue!

Jennifer White Director of Content, WDM Group jennifer.white@wdmgroup.com 3




GREEN TECH From Ocean To Table: Is California Going To Drink The Pacific?


14 4

What’s Wrong With Fracking?

August 2015



Global Innovations


South Taranaki District Council Brazil


Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority


P hiladelphia Gas Works


Midland Cogeneration Venture Australia

Ingenio Risaralda

Atlantic Energias Renovรกveis


70 90

Distribuidora de Electricidad DELSUR


Polaris Infrastructure

Company Profiles USA


30 Philadelphia Gas Works

70 Atlantic Energias Renovรกveis

40 Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority 52 Midland Cogeneration Venture

AUSTRALIA 60 South Taranaki District Council

AMERICA LATINA 82 Ingenio Risaralda 90 Distribuidora de Electricidad DELSUR 98 Polaris Infrastructure



From Ocea

Is California Going To

As Concern For California’s Drought Continues To I

an To Table

To Drink The Pacific?

Increase, Experts Consider Seawater Desalination


GREEN TECH IN JANUARY OF 2014, the governor of California in the United States declared a state of emergency: The Sierra snowpack, a key measurement of water shortage in the state, was at levels the region had not experienced since the 1950s; in fact, 2014 was the state’s third driest year in over 100 years. As California’s drought moves into its third year, the resulting complications are proving to be devastating. In an attempt to preserve resources, local water departments are rationing water and the government has implemented mandatory consumer reductions, but it’s not enough—and the Pacific Ocean may be the solution. Seawater desalination isn’t a novel idea: The Middle East began working to make the Mediterranean potable water some 60 years ago, and California briefly opened a plant in Santa Barbara County in the 1990s during the state’s last major drought. With 15 plant locations in consideration along California’s coast, the implementation of desalination is almost inevitable. In fact, officials are gearing up to open one of the world’s largest desalination plants in San Diego County for about USD$1 billion later 8

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this year. The result is expected to be water for 300,000 people in the area. Various technologies are used for seawater desalination: THERMAL TECHNOLOGY Thermal desalination uses energy to evaporate water and then condense it, thus removing salt in the process. 1. High-powered vacuums bring cold, deep sea water into the plant. 2. The seawater is sprayed into a temperature-controlled space repeatedly to vaporize and then condense it at repeatedly low temperature levels. MEMBRANE TECHNOLOGY In membrane desalination, the separation of water and salt occurs due to a phase change. 1. A hydrophobic membrane creates a barrier for the liquid phase and allows the vapor to pass through the membrane’s pores. 2. A temperature change occurs when high-pressured salt water is forced through tight rolls of thin, plastic membranes. 3. The salt separates from the water in a process called thermodynamics.

F R O M O C E A N T O TA B L E :

As California’s drought moves into its third year, the resulting complications are proving to be devastating

California’s Lake Shasta in 2014. The reservoir is receding at an average of 4.9 inches per day. (Photo Credit: David Greitzer / Shutterstock.com) REVERSE OSMOSIS Reverse osmosis is being fitted for the new desalination plant in San Diego County. A specialized type of membrane-based technology, plants are equipped with a semipermeable membrane that removes larger particles from the water that flows over them, and applied pressure works to overcome osmotic pressure driven by a chemical potential. 1. Water is piped into the building from the ocean goes through

a basic filtration process. This removes larger particles from the water including marine materials. 2. It then moves through plants racks that are filled with membranes. These racks stack next to each other. 3. Pressure is used to flush water over the membranes and, in the process, over and through the membranes. Molecules and ions are removed from water, including salt. 4. The fresh water is separated 9


Technology now allows for this once hard-toclean water to be alkaline-balanced enough to meet governmental requirements

Industrial water treatment equipment desalinates seawater through reverse osmosis 10

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F R O M O C E A N T O TA B L E :

and calcium added to it while the brine is sent back out to sea. Ultimately, any method can be effective, and each will work; however the most beneficial of all desalination methods are those capable of removing salt from water in the most energy efficient manner. EFFECTS OF DESALINATION Although the necessity to provide the state with fresh water is nonnegotiable, desalination is not without its risks, leaving many to contend that seawater desalination should be the outright last resort. 1. COST: These plants are very expensive to build and maintain One of the biggest factors holding water treatment companies and governments back from full utilization of desalination is cost. The decommissioned plant in Santa Barbara County is going back online in the next year for an estimated USD$55 million and will cost up to USD$4 million each year to maintain. Taxes and water bills are certain to increase, but so too will availability of fresh water.

2. ENERGY USE: They require a great deal of energy to function, which depletes natural fossil reserves Many environmental advocates warn that this process carries not only a financial cost but also an ecological one as well, and should be a last resort in providing the state with fresh water. The amount of energy required to run a desalination plant varies by type of tech used however in California, the largest concern is for increased use of fossil fuels, the state’s main source of energy. 3. ECOLOGICAL IMPACT: The process changes the ecosystem in virtually any marine environment surrounding the plants Removing salt water – or altering its concentration – has the potential to impact the ocean’s biodiversity. These plants require the use of very large, powerful and coastally-located pipes with vacuums that kill plankton, fish and microbial organizations, a key source of marine food. In addition, the salty overflow from these plants could devastate ecosystems at a rapid pace. 11

GREEN TECH TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENTS TO CURB CONCERNS There’s little doubt that cities at risk of severe droughts and limited fresh water supply will utilize these plants as a method to provide for human needs despite the financial, energy and ecological effects. There are an estimated 13,000 desalination plants across the globe, with about 300 such plants already available in the United States. These plants can produce a large amount of fresh water, and technology now allows for this once hard-to-clean water to be alkaline-balanced enough to

meet governmental requirements. Other advancements in methodology and technology throughout the years are helping to make desalination a more viable option. Thermal desalination in 1972 was the only method used at the time and cost as much as USD$9.00 per 1,000 gallons of water while in 2010, the use of reverse osmosis cost less than USD$3.00 per 1,000 gallons, according to Water Reuse Association. Older methods required the boiling of water to create this reaction, which was too expensive in terms of energy use; today, however, low-temperature thermal desalination

With 15 plant locations in consideration along California’s coast, the implementation of desalination is almost inevitable


August 2015

F R O M O C E A N T O TA B L E :

With no true break in California’s drought conditions coming anytime soon, seawater desalination may prove to be mandatory for the state’s continued fresh water consumption is more prevalent and offers several key benefits: In India’s National Institute of Ocean Technology, it was used to produce 100,000 liters per day at a cost of just over USD$1 million . In addition, with thermal desalination and basic membrane methods (without the most advanced membrane technology), the brine material must be mixed with seawater at a 5:1 ratio prior to being put back into the water to minimize the impact of high salt concentration in any one area. High concentrations of salt released along the coastlines can impact flora and fauna and impacts tolerance limits of all living materials within the region. However, with reverse osmosis, it’s possible to remove the salt particles and use them for other applications, reducing the amount of brine created. Plants like the Sorek in Israel, which is the largest membrane system in the world and produces potable water

for 1.5 million people, have found ways to manage expenses through this method as well. This plant utilizes 16-inch membranes in its newest innovative vertical array, which has helped to decrease overall cost. Likewise, a plant practicing reserve osmosis in Argentina uses higher-quality membrane capable of withstanding pressures of 7 to 8.5 atm and as a result, has improved efficiency 60 to 75 percent. ADOPTING DESALINATION There will be a continual need to refine and improve these methods to reduce the taxing impact on the environment and on local government costs; however, with no true break in California’s drought conditions coming anytime soon, seawater desalination may prove to be mandatory for the state’s continued fresh water consumption.



WHAT’S WRONG WITH FRACKING? Despite being the catalyst for a 47 percent drop in natural gas prices in the U.S., the controversy behind fracking has become un-ignorable. Energy Digital addresses five main arguments fueling the negativity. Writ ten by: JENNIFER WHITE

WHEN THE CONCEPT of fracking was first introduced in the early 1900s, it seemed like a good idea. From an economic standpoint, the United States has enjoyed a 47 percent drop in natural gas prices; other countries have experienced cost reductions as well. Government officials were happy, business owners were happy and 14

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consumers were happy—and then voices were raised to contend it; to stop it. Claims were made that it caused flammable water, which contaminated the soil and drinking water, and a controversy was born. With both sides adamantly demanding that they are right, it begs the question: What’s wrong with fracking?

allowing it to flow to the well head. The drilling is typically done horizontally but sometimes vertically to reach the rock layer. While it is often used to create new pathways for natural gas, it may also be used to extend channels that already exist inside the rock. The earliest recorded well fracking was in 1947. Since that time, it has gained popularity and garnered a great deal of controversy. As with all controversies, both sides think that they are right—so we are going to address the arguments head-on, separating fact from fiction.

No, really: What’s wrong with it? Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a method used to recover oil and gas from shale rock. It involves drilling deep into the earth, then directing a high pressure mixture of 98.5 percent water, 1 percent sand and 0.5 percent chemical additives at the rock, thus fracturing it to release the gas and

Argument #1: Fracking will worsen climate change. Fracking produces methane and certain groups are concerned that it will escape through leaks in natural gas infrastructures. Methane has been linked to climate change because when it is emitted into the atmosphere it traps a tremendous amount of heat— in excess of 20 times more over a 100-year period than carbon dioxide. Environmental activists have latched onto this, using it in their arguments to ban fracking. To get the full story, though, you have to look at the whole picture. 15

UTILITIES A 2013 study conducted by the University of Texas at Austin reported on a series of extensive measurements that were taken at various points of the fracking process, including right at the well pad. These measurements were taken at 190 fracking sites located throughout the U.S., with access allowed by nine different energy companies that agreed had to participate. Results from the study showed that the equipment installed at most of the wells had successfully reduced methane emissions by 99 percent. When juxtaposed with methane emissions estimates (released by the EPA in April 2013) in the 2011 calendar year, the emissions during this study were 97 percent lower. Argument #2: Renewable energy is replacing fossil fuels and other sources of nonrenewable energy. The Energy Information Administration claims that combining solar and wind energy will only make up about 10 percent of the power generated just in the United States by 2040. When we look at how much stock Germany put into renewable energy—and how that 16

August 2015

Fracking is directly responsible for a 47 percent drop in the price of natura didn’t quite pan out—it seems apparent that fossil fuels are going to be hanging around a little longer. On the other hand, the EIA estimates the U.S. has 2,552 trillion cubic feet of potential natural gas resources. On top of that, fracking is directly responsible for a substantial 47 percent drop in the price of natural gas, compared to what the prices would have been had fracking not been so widely employed in 2013.

W H AT ’ S W R O N G W I T H F R A C K I N G ?

substantial al gas.

An anti-fracking protest in the UK (Editorial Credit: Randi Sokoloff / Shutterstock.com)

Argument #3: Fracking contaminates ground and surface water. There has long been concerns that fracking may cause chemicals that are potentially carcinogenic to escape, contaminating the ground water near the fracking site. This concern was brought to a frenzy when a Colorado man lit the water coming from his kitchen faucet on fire

in the 2010 documentary GasLand. While GasLand was nominated for an Academy Award, that particular scene was somewhat misrepresented. Whether unknowingly or intentionally, it was the flammable water that propelled many into the anti-fracking controversy. What viewers didn’t see was that Colorado officials conducted a full investigation and concluded that the nearby fracking wells were not to blame. The flammable 17


No matter what type of energy we use, there will always be someone protesting it: People have their own opinions, and issues like this tend to be very emotionally charged, which can result in the lines of truth becoming blurred. (Editorial Credit: J. Bicking / Shutterstock.com) material was coming from the man’s own water well which had been drilled into a pocket of methane, naturally occurring in the rock. That is not to say that incidents have not happened. In May 2013, Chesapeake Energy was fined USD$1 million by Pennsylvania officials who claimed that their fracking operations caused the contamination of water supplies for 16 Bradford County families. The contamination, however, 18

August 2015

was not the result of fracking itself, but from improperly cemented boreholes that allowed gas to seep out. Argument #4: Fracking uses a tremendous amount of water. With the California drought looming like a dark cloud over the U.S.—not to mention the numerous droughts in other parts of the world— the massive amount of water that is used in fracking is causing great concern.

W H AT ’ S W R O N G W I T H F R A C K I N G ?

According to the EPA, between 70 and 140 billion gallons of water were used for fracking in 2011. When isolated as a single statistic, this sounds rather daunting: That is a lot of water used that can’t be reused. However, when you compare it to how many gallons of water are used to water American lawns each year, the water used for fracking looks like a drop in the bucket. Argument #5: Fracking causes earthquakes. There has been a lot of talk lately that fracking causes earthquakes. This argument has escalated from claiming it causes small earthquakes (around magnitude 2) to claiming it causes Hollywood movie style cataclysmic earthquake events. The problem with this argument is that it does contain some truth. However, fracking won’t likely be the cause of “the big one.” According to the USGS, fracking can cause “extremely small earthquakes, but they are almost always too small to be a safety concern.” However, the salt water and fracking fluids that are returned to the earth’s surface after drilling is often disposed of by injecting it into very deep wells. When this material is injected into

the Earth’s subsurface, it “can cause earthquakes that are large enough to be felt and may cause damage.” It is interesting to note here, though, that hydro-power – the sustainable energy that is regarded as “ecofriendly” –has actually been the documented cause of earthquakes; in fact, the hydroelectric Koyna Dam in India caused a magnitude 6.3 earthquake that killed 180 people and left thousands homeless in 1967. Similarly, in 2008, the 7.9 magnitude earthquake that destroyed the Sichuan province in China is believed to have been caused by the hydroelectric Zipingpu Dam. Geothermal energy and carbon sequestration are also often cited as culprits. No matter what type of energy we use, there will always be someone protesting it: People have their own opinions, and issues like this tend to be very emotionally charged, which can result in the lines of truth becoming blurred. The bottom line here is that while fracking may not be perfect, it is not the villain that anti-fracking advocates portray it to be. Just like any other form of energy, there are benefits and there are potential harms. 19


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Consistent Growth Is Imperative To Global Success, And The Energy Industry Is Leading The Pack As the Earth’s resources deplete, innovators across the world are working to find ways to compensate for a changing environment: Some of their inventions can help families in need while others may reshape the global energy infrastructure yet all are important. Below is a rundown of the 10 promising global breakthroughs that stand-out among the rest. 20

August 2015


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POWERMOD Austin-based company FTL Solar devised a solution to transport large amounts of fuel safely and efficiently to help victims of natural disasters. The PowerMod solar tent avoids hazards of spills, combustion, and contamination from fuel transport accidents. Built from quality fabric and thin-film solar cells, the durable yet flexible 20x20’ panel doubles as a shelter and generator, producing roughly 5 kwh/ day. Tent assembly takes roughly 15 minutes and two people. Once set up, the PowerMod supplies clean, carbon-free energy to power lights, air conditioners, fans, portable electronics, and other crucial devices. While the PowerMod has yet to see widespread adoption, it’s certainly an idea worth building upon.



August 2015



The brainchild of Japanese designer Satoshi Yanagisawa, this spring-driven gadget known as “Cyclus” allows users to charge their portable electronics without leaving behind a carbon footprint. The device’s DC motor generates up to 30 minutes of light energy from a single twist of the bottom spring. The energy source is purely mechanical, derived from gear rotation. Yanagisawa states that the energy produced is equivalent to roughly 6.6 volts or 3 watts. The team behind Cyclus envisions their device will have a significant impact particularly on third world communities, many of which lack a sophisticated and reliable energy structure. Rather than have these countries spend resources to expand the infrastructure to reach these undeveloped areas, the Cyclus allows for quick, affordable adoption without carbon emissions. Since the Cyclus works as both a durable lighting source and a charging station, it may grow to become a vital tool in equal opportunity education for kids in low-income areas. 23

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The International Energy Agency reports that 1.3 billion people - 18 percent of the global population - live without electricity, with many depending on kerosene lamps for light. The crowdfunded GravityLight provides a safer, brighter alternative using LED technology and simple kinetics. The end of the device can support a 12 kg bag of sand, rocks, or other minerals. The force of the weight turns the GravityLight’s gears to power a DC generator. The total power output stands at just one deciwatt, enough to power an LED light up to five times brighter (measured in lumens) than a standard kerosene lamp. Once the light runs out, the weight can be lifted and dropped to produce more. With its recent market launch, the project has the potential to improve the lives of communities in undeveloped regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa. 24

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Millions of run on coa the initiativ Clean Coo Energy, an student Ja fans to cre from burn coal or wo inhalation


An unlikely blend of military technology a that led to the development of the Stirling development of the most efficient solar d The proof? A pair of 100-square-meter s extensive tests beneath the unforgiving r Pioneered by Swedish company Ripas said to convert roughly 1/3 of the sun’s e making it nearly twice as efficient as stan years of impressive results from these gr to enter the commercial space. Experime Power showed an electricity generation r per dish, or enough to power two dozen power derived from coal would release o dioxide. These benchmarks make the ne for many European nations seeking to m However, Ripasso’s biggest challenge drop in price annually, and the large sola amounts of electricity under constant su funding, CEO Gunnar Larsson is confide



f people die each year from inhaling carbon monoxide produced by stoves that oal or wood. The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves and its associates support ve for cleaner stoves to both save lives and reduce household fuel expenditures. okstove models include the Zoom Jet by Ecozoom, the ACE 1 by African Clean nd the K2 Cookstove, developed by University of California, Berkeley, toxicology acqueline Nguyen and her partner. The K2 stove uses hyper-efficient turbo eate force convection, and is especially designed to eliminate toxins that occur ning trash and plastic. The stoves use up to 50 percent less heat than standard ood stoves and can even charge devices such as smartphones. Smoke n claims more lives than AIDS, and these stoves are helping address the issue.


and a 19th-century theory g engine may result in the dish the world has ever seen. solar dishes that are undergoing rays of the Kalahari desert. sso, the system in question is energy into usable electricity, ndard solar panels. After four rueling tests, Ripasso is ready ents conducted by UK-based IT rate of roughly 80 mWh per year homes. Equivalent electrical over 80 metric tonnes of carbon ew solar dishes a candidate move away from fossil fuels. is cost. Traditional photovoltaics ar dishes can only produce large unny conditions. With private ent that the solar dish can succeed.



TOP 10

SOCCKET Sitting at the corner of playtime and power production is the SOCCKET kinetic energy ball, developed by Uncharted Play. Every toss, roll, or bounce of the ball powers an internal 3-LED lamp to provide bright, efficient lighting. The SOCCKET is aimed at thirdworld markets, helping children come together and their families gain access to reliable lighting. Uncharted Play states that for every SOCCKET purchased, it will provide one child with a play-powered LED product.

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An astounding 750 million people are still unable to access clean drinking water, and those living in undeveloped countries who do have access must carry heavy buckets over their heads while walking significant lengths in unfavorable weather conditions. Research shows that this movement carries great risk of injury, as well as expends lots of energy, making the hunger problem even worse in areas where food is scarce. In an effort to conserve human energy and reduce the risk of injury, innovators developed a water transportation drum called The Q Drum, which is a large cylindrical water canister that rolls while being pulled by a rope. The drum holds up to 50 liters of clean drinking water and requires much less effort and time to transport than heavy buckets.


SONNENSPEICHER While renewable energy now makes up roughly 25 percent of Germany’s infrastructure, local inventor Wolfram Walter doesn’t seem to be satisfied. Traditional solar panels only provide power during the day, and complex generators are out of reach for most German homeowners. Walter’s solution? A portable box the size of a college dorm fridge. When wired to a solar panel system, the box functions as a miniature power plant all year long. Named the Sonnenspeicher, meaning “Sun Storage,” the device addresses two major roadblocks on the path to a green energy-based infrastructure: intermittence and storage. It does this by harnessing the most efficient batteries on the market – lithium-iron-phosphate – and maximizing their potential with specialized software and electronics. Walter’s idea isn’t new, but it’s refined enough to have won him an award for Renewable Product of the Year. The award, which was given to him in 2013, was based on the first Sonnenspeicher model that he built in his basement. While the Sonnenspeicher hasn’t reached the stage for national adoption, many homes and small businesses can now benefit from cleaner energy and significant cost savings. More importantly, the Sun Storage and the other innovations listed above serve as inspirations and stepping stones on the path to clean energy worldwide.

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Tesla Motors has found a way to apply the convenience of storage and portability to renewable energy. The Tesla Powerwall Battery lets people capture energy from green sources such as sunlight, wind and water, take it with them – and use it – whenever desired. The battery comes in residential 7 or 10 kWh sizes and in a corporate 100 kWh size dubbed the “Powerpack.” Companies can store mid-afternoon solar energy and use its power for the next day’s operations. Families can cut down significantly on their utility bills and enjoy nearly limitless clean energy. While the Powerwall isn’t the first gadget of its kind, it may be one of the most affordable, with a current price of US$3,500. 28

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ENERGY KITE Many countries have adopted wind turbine technology, but California-based green energy company Makani has a better idea. Purchased by Google in 2013 and backed by the ARPA-E office of the U.S. Department of Energy, the company aims to bring wind energy to the forefront of the market. Their ambition sails on the wings of the Energy Kite, a lightweight wind turbine designed to produce more energy using just a fraction of the materials. Makani states that the Energy Kite operates from the same aerodynamic concepts as a standard turbine, but swaps tons of heavy steel for light yet durable electronics, software, and other state-of-the-art materials. The total material conservation is estimated to be 90 percent. After launching into the air, the Energy Kite flies in large circles to harness power from turbulent winds. The rotors attached to the kite’s wings then power electricity generation. A durable, conductive tether, then transmits the energy to the storage grid. The kite’s built-in computer analyzes and adjusts the path based on multiple variables to fly in the optimum trajectories. Overall, the Energy Kite can capitalize on stronger winds, operate in smaller areas, and outdo conventional turbines in both cost and benefit.

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Philadelphia Gas Works PGW CEO Craig White discusses new initiatives, infrastructure upgrades, and all that lies in store for Philadelphia’s gas utility Written by: Sasha Orman Produced by: Tom Venturo



Corporate Headquarters


ince 1836, Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW) has been supplying residents and businesses throughout the City of Philadelphia with natural gas as a utility. But the service has not remained stagnant over those two centuries. The energy industry is evolving, and PGW is evolving with it to find new and exciting ways to serve its city.


August 2015

Embarking on new initiatives Within the past year, Philadelphia Gas Works has been seeking out new business opportunities—and finding several. One important prospect that the company has been working hard on is the expansion of its liquefied natural gas (LNG) assets. “We have a very large LNG footprint—over 4 billion cubic feet of storage, in addition to a liquefaction plant and a vaporization plant,” says



Craig White, CEO at PGW. “So we have the ability to liquefy and store a substantial amount of LNG, and then we can do a variety of things with that. We can vaporize it and put it into our distribution system, or distribute the liquid via our truck offloading racks. That’s a business that we hope to expand, and that’s got us very excited.” PGW is also looking at increasing involvement with compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles. The company already has one third party fueling station up and running in Philadelphia, and is hoping to expand this through an aggressive

rate structure favorable to facilitating business. ”We believe that fleet use of natural gas for fleet vehicles is something that’s going to expand, as it has in other areas of the country,” says White. “We think it’s going to be here eventually, so that’s another area that we’re aggressively addressing.” A third initiative that PGW has been pursuing intently as a strong opportunity in the future is combined heat and power (CHP). Installation of CHP systems has already grown substantially this year compared to the year before—White estimates w w w. p g w o r k s . c o m




around 30 active projects at the moment. “So it’s pretty exciting,” he says. “Combined heat and power is a nice addition for PGW.” Improving existing infrastructure Older cities throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions of the United States share a rich and expansive history. But they also share aging infrastructure in need of upkeep and renovation. In the City of Philadelphia, PGW is undertaking a major initiative to ramp up the rehabilitation of its own infrastructure, ensuring that it is able to provide better and more reliable service for years to come. “We are accelerating our program, as have other utilities in Mid Atlantic and Northeast regions—areas of the country that have a


PGW employees deliver new backpacks and school supplies to homeless youth at The Salvation Army Red Shield Family Residence in Philadelphia. Supplies were donated by PGW employees as part of an annual internal campaign to support children and education in Philadelphia.


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PHILADELPHIA GAS WORKS preponderance of cast-iron bare steel and unprotected steel,” says White, explaining PGW’s most recent undertaking, which consists of excavating and removing existing outdated pipe to be replaced with modern updates. “Newer systems are primarily plastic and welded steel, and we’re moving in that direction with our replacement program. We’re on pace to double our replacement of the aging infrastructure within a year.” To accomplish this goal, PGW has increased its total yearly expenditure from $40 million up to $75 million— in other words, of the $100 million budget that PGW is allotted each year, 75 percent is currently being reserved toward replacing aging infrastructure. But according to White, as a matter of enhanced reliability and safety, it’s funding well spent.


risk,” White explains. “When we talk about safety, we’re not only talking about safety as it pertains to our customers: we’re certainly also talking about safety as it pertains to our employees. We have extensive training programs, and much of what we do here at PGW is just to stress that safety is the most important aspect of what we do every day. I want my employees to go home safe to their families each and every day.”

Improving consumer satisfaction In addition to its daily focus on the well being of its employees, PGW also understands the importance of maintaining a strong relationship with its user base in both the residential and commercial spheres. “One thing we believe is very important: people have to feel they’re getting value for this service,” Improving employee safety says White. “When they feel they’re That matter of safety is vital to Philadelphia Gas Works. “That’s what getting good value, they’re more we’re here to do: we’re here to provide inclined to pay their bill and expand safe and reliable service,” says White. the use of natural gas, especially in This is a driving force in the company’s a commercial environment. So we see customer satisfaction as a very current emphasis on infrastructure integral part of the success of the building and replacement. “Replacing infrastructure reduces business as we move forward.” w w w. p g w o r k s . c o m



PGW has recently been able to boast stronger JD Power consumer satisfaction scores than ever before, and it attributes much of 38

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this to a strong focus on customer satisfaction initiatives, including a revamping of its website and a commitment to taking advantage of


social media to connect with customers directly. “It’s a good way to stay in touch with your customers and inform them,” says White. “We’re using these social media outlets to inform our customers of what we’re doing and when we’re doing it, along with some of the other just basic blocking and tackling—when we’re on their block, what we’re doing, when we’ll be starting a project and when we finish a project. We’re trying to communicate at a very granular level with our customers to improve customer satisfaction and improve the experience when you’re working with a utility.”

Company Information INDUSTRY


Correspondence Department, PO Box 3500, Philadelphia, PA, USA, 19122 FOUNDED

Looking forward Moving into the future, Philadelphia Gas Works expects to immerse itself even further in the new initiatives that the company is pursuing today. “I fully expect that we will have made some decisions around LNG and be moving forward with some aspect of that project,” says White. “I see the CHP business continuing to grow with engineers, architects, building operators, all gaining experience with combined heat and power—and with CFOs recognizing the value of greater efficiency in energy systems, which will definitely hit their bottom line in a positive way. We’re going to accomplish a lot of cast iron main replacements, we’re going to expand our markets, and we’re going to expand LNG. So I’m extremely excited that within this next year: you’re going to see significant changes starting to occur at PGW.”



$800-900 million PRODUCTS/ SERVICES


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Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority

The Success Story of the Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority With new management, PWSA has evolved into one of the most efficient water utilities in the country. Written by: Ian Hanner

Produced by: Tom Venturo



Micro Plant


he Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority (PWSA), founded in 1984, was born to manage a $200 million capital improvement program intended to overhaul the city’s aging water treatment and distribution infrastructure. Not only was some the equipment getting run down, but more strict water quality requirements mandated by both the state and federal governments necessitated an intelligent restructuring of a system that, at 42

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the time, supplied water to tens of thousands. Today, that system, upgraded several times over, supplies fresh water to more than 86,000 people throughout the city of Pittsburgh. But PWSA’s story isn’t over yet—the organization is striving to improve every day with a range of changes that will move the city of Pittsburgh into a greener future while improving the operational efficiency at PWSA itself.


The Operational Efficiencies There was a time when PWSA lagged behind in the race to enter the 21st century. Problems like long call wait times and poorly optimized finances plagued the department which had for so long served as a beacon to the rest of the nation. That changed in 2012 when the PWSA Board of Directors authorized an agreement with Veolia Water North America— since renamed Veolia Environment— that would allow the private entity to take a degree of control at PWSA while trimming fat from the budget and improving the department. Along

with the agreement, Veolia instated interim Executive Director Jim Good, a Veolia employee, to right the ship. “I gave the hallelujah amen sermon,” Good told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 2013. “I told them that we were there to work with the employees as their partners. I provided assurances that there wouldn’t be any layoffs and that together we could achieve anything.” Good’s task was a large one: how do you go about systematically changing an organization in business since the 1980s? The simplest answer was to cut unnecessary expenses and w w w. p g h 2 o . c o m



Employees: 50 Established: 1986 Industry: Property and Casualty Insurance Carrier Services: HARIE provides P&C insurance for governmental authorities in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania Management: Jerry Wallick, VP of Underwriting Linda Williams, VP of Administration Tom Gaughan, VP of Claims

P I T T S B U R G H WAT E R & S E W E R A U T H O R I T Y consolidate redundant departments, such as the two divisions handling water and sewage. Previously, the water and sewage departments existed in almost wholly separate areas of the organization, having different directors, supervisors and even facilities. “If you can fix a pipe, you can fix a pipe, whether it’s water or sewage,” Good said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a water main or a sewer main, so we merged everyone together.” That simple idea has a large impact for PWSA. Another is the separation of PWSA property and employees into above-ground and underground assets. “This also will improve the repair process and shorten the repair times,” Good said. “We’ll know faster if we need a water truck driver or we need a water pipeman, for example.” Good is also trying to do away with regular laborers, instead opting

for job placement opportunities in higher areas of the department and providing a clearer path up the career ladder. “It gives them a pay bump and it gives us more flexibility because now they have the ability and the endorsements to do more,” he said. “So it benefits both ends.” The Greener Future These days it’s difficult to discuss the environment or climate without some sort of call to action. But regardless of the stance one takes on climate change, it simply makes good sense for a water authority that relies on finite resources to do whatever it can to conserve and protect. That line of thought led to PWSA’s introduction of a series of green charrettes— forums with the foremost experts in green water and sewage technology discussing major issues means of making

“If you can fix a pipe, you can fix a pipe, whether it’s water or sewage” – Jim Good, Executive Director w w w. p g h 2 o . c o m


Pittsburgh Chemicals


improvements. “We invited industry experts from not only across the region, but some international experts as well, to get everyone’s heads together and figure out, ‘What are our wet weather issues?’ ‘What is green infrastructure?’ ‘How can we work together to change municipal court codes and to install green infrastructure while encouraging green infrastructure on private property whenever feasible?’” Good said. The meetings were a huge hit. Representatives from the Department of Transportation, Public Works, the Department of Health and a range of local advocacy groups, architects, engineers and builders were given a chance for their voices to be heard. The key takeaway from these meetings? That they needed

to happen more often. So immense was the benefit of open communication that had previously been lacking that PWSA moved to form the Green Infrastructure Technical Advisory Committee (GITAC). The GITAC is made up of officials who have been present since the first charrette. Meeting once per month, this board highlights key areas that PWSA can make improvements in the realm of clean tech. “They work specifically on how PWSA can do more with green infrastructure. We don’t have control over private property, but we certainly can include best practices and recommendations in our developers manual,” Good said “There are all sorts of hurdles to green infrastructure that are not unique to Pittsburgh.” So in a nutshell, GITAC’s main task

“Pittsburgh is uniquely poised for large-scale, innovative changes in the next few years. I love this city and it is an honor and privilege to have the opportunity to continue working at the PWSA” – Jim Good, Executive Director w w w. p g h 2 o . c o m



Pittsburgh Pumps 3: Inspection of interior


August 2015


is to learn from examples from around the world so that PWSA can come to the forefront as a green infrastructure innovator, rather than having to play catch up.

Company Information INDUSTRY

Better Service for Pittsburgh While some questioned the wisdom in allowing a private organization control over a public entity, the efforts of Good and Veolia have been a runaway success. In fact, so successful was Good at managing the Authority that in May of this year, he was hired as the permanent executive director of PWSA. “We are happy to have Jim’s continued experience and leadership as a permanent part of the Authority,” Chairman Alex Thomson said in a news release. “He has played an important role in the changes at PWSA over the last three years.” While Good’s vision and business acumen proved indispensable in the turnaround at PWSA, he emphasized that it was very much a team effort, with everyone at PWSA wanting what was best for not only the Authority, but Pittsburgh— a city with a chance to once again serve as a beacon for not only the country, but the world. “Pittsburgh is uniquely poised for large-scale, innovative changes in the next few years,” he said. “I love this city and it is an honor and privilege to have the opportunity to continue working at the PWSA.”


1200 Penn Avenue Pittsburgh, PA, USA, 15222 FOUNDED




Water & Sewage

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Midland Cogeneration Venture (MCV) Repurposing for success Growth, improvements, and the power of redundancies at Michigan’s Midland Cogeneration Venture Written by: Sasha Orman Produced by: Jason Wright


M I D L A N D C O G E N E R AT I O N V E N T U R E ( M C V )


n the early 1970s, developers broke ground on a proposed two-unit nuclear plant in Midland, MI. Ultimately the project was abandoned in the 1980s as nuclear power fell out of favor—but rather than demolish the still-unused site, a decision was made to repurpose the plant and make use of its untapped potential and many on-hand assets. Since 1990 that plant has operated as the Midland Cogeneration Venture (MCV), the largest cogeneration plant in the United States, a vital source of energy for the Midwest United States and Manitoba, Canada.

Assets for growth While the Midland site may have been built to originally house nuclear power generation, today it stands as an impressive example of the potential of clean energy through steam and natural gas, housing multiple turbines that help MCV reliably provide up to 1,633 MW of power to the grid for the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) and adjacent industrial customers. “We have 12 gas turbines, 54

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two steam turbines, one back pressure steam turbine and six package boilers,” says Brian Vokal, Vice President of Operations for Maintenance and Engineering at MCV. “All of this allows us to continuously meet our contract obligations and we are very proactive in scheduled outages—we’ve had over 99 percent availability to our contracts since 2008.” A key part of that availability comes from the multiple redundancies built into the site, including its two 400+ megawattproducing steam turbines that together are an invaluable asset for MCV operations. “The way the plant is configured, we can only operate one or the other at a time—this is the only plant in the world with a spare 400 MW turbine built into the design of the plant,” Vokal explains. “Whenever we take an outage on one of our steam turbines, we operate the spare. So for the past 25 years, our contract availability to our customers has been over 99 percent, which is world class, and it’s because we take advantage of all the assets we acquired from the abandoned nuclear project.”


MCV employee Walt Smith reparing a valve actuator w w w. m i d c o g e n . c o m


M I D L A N D C O G E N E R AT I O N V E N T U R E ( M C V ) Another one of these key assets is the 880-acre cooling pond, built into the nuclear plant design and now repurposed for the site’s new cogeneration function to provide a closed loop cooling system. “We don’t draw any water from a river or a lake, as we have our own cooling pond,” says Vokal, noting that this feature helps MCV attain full compliance with EPA Clean Water Act 316(b) rules. “It’s just utilizing our existing assets,” he adds. “Because we’re

so redundant with multiple pieces of equipment, we can take outages on individual pieces with little to no effect on our availability to our customers. That’s a key strength that we have.” Safety as a priority Another key strength for MCV is its emphasis on safety, a critical priority for any power facility. Safety at MCV is overseen through quarterly meetings and maintained through coordination meetings every single


day. These daily meetings, attended by engineering, maintenance and operations managers along with key supervisors, serve to address potential safety issues as they come and before they grow into major hurdles. “It has really improved the communication of our staff in successfully completing their daily tasks,” says Vokal. “From both a safety and performance standpoint, that’s one of the key things that we’ve done to enhance our communication—just by simply sitting down and huddling for 15 minutes each day.” The results of this prioritizing speak for themselves: MCV is able to boast a sterling safety record, coming up on four years with no OSHA recordables and no lost time injuries. It’s a point of pride for MCV and for its staff. A valuable company culture MCV prides itself on building a strong and supported company culture, made stronger by its employees—many of the 123 employees currently on staff have been with the company for over

two decades. “We definitely benefit from the fact that 20 percent of our workforce has been with us for more than 15 to 20 years,” says Vokal. “With such a significant number of veteran employees, the expertise here is unmatched.” Nevertheless, people management is a difficult endeavor across the board in the energy sector today: with the average age of staff approaching retirement age, turnover is frequent and the need to find skilled and interested young workers is critical. “We’re starting to see that attrition with our aging workforce beginning to retire and move on to other things, so we’ve really in the past couple years had to be proactive in our recruiting strategies,” says Kelly Moldovan, Director of Human Resources and Corporate Support at MCV. To counter this issue, MCV has looked to the power of partnerships. “We had to reevaluate where to find these new hires coming in, which has created positive relationships with local universities, technological schools, military recruiters,” says Moldovan. By building the right w w w. m i d c o g e n . c o m


M I D L A N D C O G E N E R AT I O N V E N T U R E ( M C V )

Package boiler deareator tank

partnerships to find skilled workers, the hope is that these new recruits will eventually become a part of MCV’s long-term corporate culture. “The longevity of our employees here, and the culture at MCV because of that longevity, is something we’re extremely proud of.”

implemented a back-pressure steam turbine to extract energy from let-down steam, upgraded the primary steam turbine, upgraded the turbines and compressors on our gas turbines, and when we purchased six package boilers, we were able to run the plant with zero gas turbines, which was important Expanding on advantages in the when the gas prices were high in future relation to market electric prices. “Continuous improvement has We implemented evaporative been a big part of our operation cooling on our gas turbines in 2009, since 1990,” says Vokal. “We’ve and we continue to look at other 58

August 2015


applications to reduce our auxiliary loads.” That continuous improvement imperative has never stopped, and what’s in store for MCV in the future is continuing to build on its current site—improving reliability and take even further advantage of the benefits that its location offers. “We still have a lot of advantages, right here at the Midland site, of assets that aren’t fully utilized,” says Vokal. “Thermally we only use about 20-35 percent of capability of our cooling pond; we have significant access to natural gas, with a large gas transmission line into the site. We’re also located near a considerable electric transmission substation two miles away. With those assets available to us, we’re looking to expand.” In addition to utilizing advantages already at hand, MCV also has plans to add 600-700 megawatts of power at its Midland site through the addition of a new steam turbine and up to two gas turbines. With this, MCV will have the option to provide further energy to Michigan on a merchant or industrial power purchase agreement basis. As it continues to grow and improve, the focus remains on continuing to provide great uninterrupted service to the customers who rely on MCV power each day. “We are very nimble to the market, and because of our flexibility, efficiency and economies of scale, we are looking to expand our capacity,” says Vokal. “We can build onto our plant and continue to offer a high level of reliability to our customers.”

Company Information INDUSTRY


100 E Progress Place Midland, MI, USA, 48640 FOUNDED





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South Taranaki District Council

Improving Water for South Tarana Through technology and treatment plants, New Zealand’s South Taranaki District Council invests in improving water supplies for community and commerce Written by: Sasha Orman Produced by: Bryan Giles




Kapuni Reservoirs


porting the motto “alive with opportunity,” South Taranaki District Council is committed to improving the lives of its residents on an array of counts. Over the course of nearly seven years and counting, the South Taranaki District Council has spent approximately $67 million making upgrades to improve facilities and the water quality that its residents and businesses rely on every day. “For a relatively small population of 26,500, spread across the District in small communities, that’s been quite a significant undertaking and a significant expense which has 62

August 2015

been supported and driven by the council,” says Brent Manning, Group Manager of Engineering Services for the District Council. He adds that, while the population is small, the work has been vital in reaching the goals that the district council set out to achieve: upgrading these plants to ensure full compliance with New Zealand’s Drinking Water Standards. As it stands, these standards required full compliance from many water treatment plants in South Taranaki’s jurisdiction by 1 July of this year. As Manning states: “That is now the case.”


Membrane filters at Kapuni Water Treatment Plant

Boosting communities and commerce South Taranaki District Council’s water treatment upgrades have been extensive and varied. In 2010 the agency commissioned a brand new membrane microfiltration water treatment plant for the town of Hawera. This $22 million project, known as the Kapuni Water Treatment Plant, provides highly treated potable water to 10,500 Hawera consumers, as well as significant businesses for the region. The success of this plant spurred on additional microfiltration plants in Opunake and Rahotu. Over the past year, a major project has been the rural scheme known as Waimate West Water Treatment Plant. Waimate West is a rural water supply that services two towns in the area, along with more than 800 dairy farms throughout some

Brent Manning, Group Manager of Engineering Services

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Inframax Construction Ltd is a company that seeks opportunities to diversify. We offer proven infrastructural services in several broad areas, being: • • • • • •

Hawera Depot 101 Camberwell Road PO Box 336, Hawera

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Roading construction Quarrying Earthworks Vegetation control Water, drainage and sewerage Road maintenance

Email: wayne.snellgrove@inframax.co.nz

“We have enjoyed a 13 year relationship with Nexus and have put many of our staff through their leadership programmes. These provide a superb set of skills and techniques that have raised the performance of our individuals and our organisation.”

- CRAIG STEVENSON, CHIEF EXECUTIVE SOUTH TARANAKI DISTRICT COUNCIL Contact Nexus to discover how our leadership development programmes can benefit your organisation:

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S O U T H TA R A N A K I D I S T R I C T C O U N C I L of the most productive dairy land in New Zealand. Farmers depend on a strong water supply for use in the dairy milking shed, and South Taranaki District Council has invested nearly $12 million into meeting this need. This includes $10 million on a brand new water treatment facility designed by Beca Consultants and built by Spartan Construction Ltd, as well as $1 million on a project with Whitaker Civil Engineering to connect an adjoining rural supply to this new upgraded system as part of the Pope Water Supply Scheme. This project involves a system to pump treated water back uphill towards Mt. Taranaki. In addition to this water treatment plant and pump system, South Taranaki District Council has added vital renovations like upgraded pipes and pressure reducing stations to curb unnecessary water loss and increase the life expectancy of pipe systems in the future. The council has also integrated other innovations, too. “We have included a micro turbine so we can generate some electricity, which helps meet our needs at the plant,” says Manning. “Also, in the future we could export that into the local supply grid as well.”

Mangawhero Gravity Intake

Kapuni Intake

Improving necessities with technology South Taranaki District Council has not been hesitant to enlist the benefits of modern technology into its water treatment facility upgrades. This technology manifests in a variety of ways, including increased automation at most w w w. s o u t h t a r a n a k i . c o m


Mount Taranaki

S O U T H TA R A N A K I D I S T R I C T C O U N C I L of its water treatment plants. “With the exception of Kapuni, which is our operational base, all of our other plants are unmanned,” says Manning. Staff members visit these plants on a regular—if not daily—basis, but essentially the plants are set up to run effectively unmanned 24 hours and for up to 4 days, monitored and controlled for the most part through supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems that allow staff to monitor multiple plants and respond quickly to problems that may arise. “Our staff can respond after hours on-line from home even in the middle of the night. If there’s a shut down or a loss of power or an exceeding of normal flow rate, and particularly in an event where we might breach the drinking water standards, we can go into automatic shutdown mode or an operator can intervene so that we maintain compliance with the drinking water standards,” says Manning. South Taranaki District Council is also focusing on other technological innovations including a plan to install electronic loggers with a propriety

program to dispatch automatic SMS texts if farm water use exceeds a preset point—a sign that there could be a leak that must be addressed as soon as possible. This could be assessed by the users through an open source see application for mobile phones. There is also a shared service arrangement with South Taranaki’s neighbouring council New Plymouth District Council for electrical and instrument design and tech support. Enhancing technology with training Infrastructure improvements and new technology lead to a demand for operators and staff members who are considerably more techsavvy than the job called for in the past. South Taranaki District Council understands this, and places a heavy emphasis on training to ensure that its employees are prepared for any situation. “We’ve got a great staff here, all in various stages of training toward either a National Certificate or a National Diploma in water treatment,” says Manning, noting

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Kapuni Reservoirs under construction

that—of the six staff members on site—three are diploma qualified, two are almost there having already achieved their certificates, and another is in early training toward certificate level. “I personally regard training as a significant enabler toward greater capacity within our organization with achieving higher and better levels of performance, which also goes a long way toward encouraging personal development among our staff. We see it as a priority—we don’t have to have everyone qualified to diploma level, 68

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but ultimately we’re committed to training our staff to the highest level possible in a structured manner.” South Taranaki rely on an external agency, Nexus Partners Ltd, to both develop and tailor an internal programme to train staff in less technical areas known as “Building Blocks.” This programme included identification and development of selected Council staff as facilitators for the Building Blocks, to essentially “train the trainers.” Thanks to the Nexus-provided training and coaching, South Taranaki District


Council has now developed to a point where its own staff deliver more than 90% of the training. According to Manning, the more that staff members understand about what could go wrong, the better place they’ll be in to deal with issues if they arise. This idea proved itself in June with the occurrence of heavy rainfall and flooding in nearby hill country that washed away roads and significantly affected communities living in river valleys near the coast. South Taranaki District Council staff mobilised over that weekend to contain water supplies, take calls, and aid communities in need. “We also rely heavily on our partnered contractors, such as Inframax Construction and Veolia Water New Zealand, who deliver such services as road and water networks maintenance. These companies have been extra busy since the event above, and work closely with our staff to ensure continuity of service and to respond and repair when things go wrong. We couldn’t meet all of our service levels without them,” says Manning. “We had previously rehearsed having such an event and setting up an operation centre here for emergency, so it was rolled into action without any particular issues—so everyone knew what to do with a minimum of fuss and no panic,” says Manning. “That’s an example of why training is important: ultimately people feel prepared and are able to respond when things go wrong.”

Company Information INDUSTRY


105-111 Albion St Hawera, North Island, New Zealand, 4610 EMPLOYEES

169 FTE (42 within Engineering) BUDGET

$60 Million SERVICES

District Council /Local Government

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Atlantic Energias Renovรกveis:


Through development, implementation and ope of renewable energy projects, the company is o the youngest players of the sector Written by: Flรกvia Brancato | Produced by: Danilo Stefanelli


eration one of




elatively new in the market, Atlantic Energias Renovåveis is a holding that operates in the development, implementation and operation of renewable energy, focused on wind power plants and small hydro. While feasibility studies took place in various regions of Brazil to identify the best location to install wind power plants, the company, founded in 2010, was able to become even more completive and participate in Brazilian government energy auctions thanks to the know-how of its partners. Three companies compose the shareholding structure: the British Actis with 60 percent, the Brazilian Pattac with 24 percent and the Spanish Servinoga S.L with 16 percent. Keeping up with emerging technologies, both wind power and hydroelectric, Atlantic’s high technical and operational capacity put a major spotlight on the company. Always operating with the latest technology equipment, the numbers do not lie. The growth, which has been more than 10 times the generation

Eurus II Wind Farm in Rio Grande do Norte


August 2015

Rondinha Small Hydropower Plant

capacity, is solid proof of it. “The big leap happened between 2013 and 2015, and through auctions, we secured projects that totaled 600MW. In a year and a half we grew from 60MW to almost 650MW,” proudly said the Director President of Atlantic Energias Renováveis, José Roberto de Moraes. Wind power plants Atlantic’s operations are concentrated in the state of Rio Grande do Norte—with wind power plants Eurus II and Renascença, both having 30MW power and operating since 2014; and Morrinhos Complex, schedule to start its activities in the second semester of 2015 with an 180MW capacity. The Santa Vitória wind power plant is located in Rio Grande Sul state and will have a 207MW potency. It should kick off its operations

“In a year and a half we grew from 60MW to almost 650MW” – Director-President of Atlantic Energias Renováveis, José Roberto de Moraes

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Eurus II Wind Farm in Rio Grande do Norte


within the next two to three years. The small hydros are located in Santa Catarina state. Together, PCH Rondinha, operating since July 2014, and the PCHs Panel and Campo Belo, have a production capacity of 30MW. However, according to Moraes, “The challenges converge to financial and implementation/operation aspects.” In order to maintain a solid structure and keep growing, the company relies on important partners. “When it comes to financing, we have advisory services and partnerships with the top Brazilian banks. In regards to implementation/operation, we have contracts with big national and international suppliers,” he added.

Rondinha Small Hydropower Plant

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Alliance with society and sustainability Atlantic’s enterprises also bring benefits to local communities through programs that improve the infrastructure and educates about its projects’ implementation. “Atlantic is one of the companies that assists in the maintenance of the Educational Center João Paulo II, in Piraquara, Paraná state, which offers educational supplement to 300 needy children between the ages of 3 and 9,” Moraes exemplified. Fulfilling its social and environmental responsibilities, the company implemented a few actions that should be highlighted: To the Sound of Wind - The goal of this social communication plan is the dialogue with inhabitants of neighbor areas to the wind power plants. The plan foresees to enlighten the population about the enterprise and its social and environment impacts involved in the project. w w w. a t l a n t i c e n e r g i a s . c o m . b r



PCH Rondinha’s power house

Ecoar - Operating in the social, cultural environmental areas as well as popular entrepreneurship, the “Socio-environmental Responsibility Ecoar Project” is part of the strategy of Morrinhos’ wind power plant implementation, in the city of Campo Formoso, Bahia state. The idea is to increase the potential od positive factors innate to the community that reside in areas influenced by the wind power complex. BNDES - The National Bank for Economic and Social Development, through the Integrated Social Project, organizes action to raise and direct funds to effectively improve the infrastructure of the regions where the 78

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projects are implemented. The entrepreneurs commit themselves to make available resources and BNDES organizes the money distribution based on need. The goal is to contribute to the improvement of socio-economic indicators of these cities and the lifestyle of the population. Above all, the Atlantic meets all environmental requirements of the agencies for licensing and its investments in clean energy matrices save natural

“When it comes to financing we have advisory services and partnerships with the top Brazilian banks. In regards to implementation/ operation, we have contracts with big national and international suppliers” – Director-President of Atlantic Energias Renováveis, José Roberto de Moraes

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Renascença V Wind Farm in Paraz

resources and lead development regions of Brazil, including the Human Development Index (HDI) are reduced. Growth with investment Focusing on technology, the company is implementing an operations center through which all wind farms and small hydro power plants will be monitored from a distance. “The amount invested is around USD 940, 000,” said Moraes. Overall, the last three years the Atlantic has invested over USD186 million and, according to the Moraes, “We can forecast investments for 2015 at approximately USD 368 million.” “The company has wind and hydro projects in the states of Piauí, Bahia, Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina states,” he summarized. 80

August 2015


Company Information INDUSTRY

Electric Energy HEADQUARTERS

Curitiba/PR - Brazil E S TA B L I S H E D



zinho - RN

Each year the Atlantic becomes more competitive in the renewable energy market. The business plan of the company has programmed investments through 2018, totaling USD 521,000. Besides Morrinhos and Santa Vitória do Palmar wind farm complexes, the Clay Lagoon Complex, located in Piauí state, also enters the expansion plan, where operations are planned to begin in late 2018. “With this, to consolidate the wind energy segment with the implementation and operation of 650MW by the end of 2018 is our goal,” concluded the director-president.

Development, renewable energy implementation and operation, wind power plant focus and PHCs MANAGEMENT

Director-president: José Roberto de Moraes Chairman of the board of directors: Sérgio Brandão Administrative and financial director: Thiago Corrêa Marder Director of Operations: Miguel Diaz

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Risaralda transforms and maximizes the potential of sugarcane for renewable energy and to provide products that meet expectations with sustainable development.

Written by: Mateo Rafael Tablado, Associate Editor Produced by: Taybele Piven, Operations Director at WDM Group – Latin America


August 2015

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I Headquarters of Ingenio Risaralda in Colombia

Sugar-different presentations

ngenio Risaralda is a young Colombian sugar mill founded in 1973. The company’s basis were created in association with various entities, including civil and private organizations, as well as support from the government. In 1978, Risaralda started assembling machinery for milling, with operations that produced an average of 800 tons per day. In the 1990s and after facing great challenges, a productive expansion enabled the growth and modernization of Ingenio Risaralda. Following these development steps, Risaralda inaugurated a new sugar refinery in 2000, which now serves local customers and multinational clients. In 2006, the mill began working a Biodistillery, participating in the oil and gas market in Colombia, and always following all renewable laws governing this mixture of ethanol.

Ingenio Risaralda has produced an average of 100,000 liters of alcohol a day and for the last 10 years. It has increased its commitment to quality and competition. And thanks to the expansion of business lines through value added foods, the company has improved its processes and working conditions for their employees. Added Value: Diversification The competition in domestic and global markets with other Colombian sugar mills, were the main factors for Ingenio Risaralda’s evolution, from being a processor and provider of raw sugar 84

August 2015


cane, to become the first refinery to develop other business units.

Key People

The company markets value-added products and today offers five varieties of sugar: brown, white, special white, refined and pulverized sugar. Ingenio Risaralda has an electricity generating station capable of producing 13.5 megawatts at a frequency of 60 Hertz, capable of autosupply their operations and provide surplus to the national electricity system in Colombia. In addition, the company will open its new cogeneration power plant with a capacity of 33 MW. This is coupled with the aforementioned operation to produce ethanol for fuel by using

Cesar Augusto Arango Isaza General Manager at Ingenio Risaralda Arango is an Industrial Engineering that graduated in 1973 from the Technical University of Pereira, the capital of the department of Risaralda (Colombia). He started working at Ingenio Risaralda in February 1999, and has been part of this family for more than 15 years, during which the company has experienced diversification in its product line and value creation. Arango has received individual awards such as the Order Gonzalo Vallejo by the Departmental Assembly of Risaralda, among others.

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Sugar cane processed in Ingenio Risaralda

all waste from the sugar mill. The compost is distributed through Kompostar trademarks and Nutrihumic. Compliance with Global Standards Sugar Mill

Bio-distillery at Ingenio Risaralda


August 2015

In addition to various quality labels, Ingenio Risaralda has international certifications such as: - BASC: which ensures safe in international trade, - Certification Management System under the Food Safety Standard - International Food Safety System Certification 22000: which ensures that the sugar they produce is safe. - ISO / IEC 17025-2005 Laboratory Bio-distillery: which certifies the technical competence and reliability of the data issued


Workers and contractors

by the laboratory for Ethyl Alcohol, enabling compliance with the requirements for marketing this type of renewable fuel. Ingenio Risaralda has also received local awards by the Chamber of Commerce, Department of Pereira and local government agencies. Business and Community Partners Ingenio Risaralda has increased its quality standards, which are being followed by their main suppliers: cane farmers. In partnership with organizations such as Cenicaña and FUNDEAGRO (the Foundation to improve the productivity of sugar cane). Additionally, they have released programs that promote environmental, economic and social developments.

“Ingenio Risaralda has increased its quality standards, which are being followed by their main suppliers: cane farmers”

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INGENIO RISARALDA S.A. Other allies are CIAMSA (International Marketing of Sugar and Honey,) and SERCODEX, the customs agency that has managed quality in Colombian products before they are shipped abroad, primarily to Peru, Chile, USA, Europe, Russia, among others. Vanguard Storage


One of the latest innovations in Ingenio Risaralda is their storage system or “drive-in,” which allows them to transfer merchandise placed in structures, in which the forklift moves easily. For example, bringing products to market

Somos la compañía número 1 en suministro de materiales mecánicos para el sector industrial e hidrocarburos de nuestro país, con una trayectoria de más de 40 años. Estamos comprometidos con nuestros clientes en brindar valor agregado en el desarrollo de proyectos con calidad y eficiencia, teniendo como base el mejoramiento continuo de nuestros procesos y la permanente capacitación de los colaboradores que conforman nuestro equipo de trabajo.



share, whose shelf life is closer than other within the same facility. The system itself can store 3,500 tons of sugar, or 38 tons racks, distributed in thirteen rows and seven vertical levels.

Company Information NAME

Ingenio Risaralda S.A.

In addition, all logistics of Ingenio Risaralda are maintained and tracked via satellite. Contemplating until 2024 In Its Strategic Management Plan 2015-2024, Ingenio Risaralda seeks to become a world-class sugar mill, with a perfect use of sugarcane and near-zero waste thanks to its use in bio-fuel, and always following high standards of social and environmental responsibility.


Food – Renewable energy and Agribusiness HEADQUARTERS

Risaralda, Colombia FOUNDED



USD $225 million WEBSITE


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On the way to becoming the leader in geothermal energy production in America

Written by: Rebecca Castrejon, Editor Produced by : Jassen Pintado, Director of Projects for WDM Group – LATAM


August 2015

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olaris Infrastructure is a renewable energy company whose business is the acquisition, exploration and development of geothermal energy projects. The company is working to meet the growing demand for green energy in America and around the world. Founded in 2008 as Ram Power, it has continued the management of geothermal projects under a highly experienced team.

Geothermal project Orita in California

Under a new corporate platform based in Reno, Nevada in the United States, Polaris Infrastructure has a high interest in exploring geothermal projects in the United States, Nicaragua, Canada and other countries. The mission of the company is to become a leader in the global development of renewable energy and a global provider of clean and reliable geothermal energy.

Leaders in green technology

Restructuring Energy With a vision to offer long-term profits and added value statistics to shareholders, Ram Power changed its name to Polaris Infrastructure Inc. (OTCPK: RAMPD). The company’s main operation is located in Nicaragua, where they are continually expanding their geothermal plants. The company was founded in 2008 as Ram Power Inc., but after a radical restructuration and operative transformation towards 92

August 2015


internationalization, financial hedging and equity, the management team decided to change the name to Polaris Infrastructure. Current Operations

Key People Antonio JosĂŠ Duarte Country manager

Polaris main operation is the energy station San Jacinto-Tizate, located northeast of Nicaragua, near the city of Leon. Founded in 2002, this plant has a 72 MW capacity as of today, and is recognized as one of the best geothermal properties in Nicaragua. However, the project has an estimated total capacity of 277 MW, forcing Polaris to continue exploration efforts to increase demand. The construction of San Jacinto-Tizate was carried out in three stages. In June 2005 the company began operating with a small plant in

Industrial Engineer and a graduate of American University (Universidad Americana) in 2003, with further studies in financial management. Duarte has been part of Polaris since May 2013, holding the position of general manager since February 2014, and as projects manager since this past May.

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Committed to energy efficiency

A look inside Polaris geothermal

San Jacinto, which had an output of 10 MW, using two turbines of 5 MW each. In 2010, the construction of Phase I began with a capacity of 36 MW using Fuji Electric turbines. Two years later, the company started Phase II, generating an additional 36 MW. Phase I reached commercial operation in January 2012 and Phase II was completed in December of the same year.


Polaris is currently working on Phase III, which predicts a total increase of 10 MW using a binary unit with geothermal fluids, these being separated by geothermal steam to power the existing plant, and not requiring any production wells or additional injections, therefore, costs are not expected to increase.


August 2015


Muffler and separator unit

Another project is Casita, also located in Nicaragua, which completion of a geothermal power plant will produce 140 MW. Additionally, the company has various concessions and small developments still in exploration. Renewable Energy, Technology and Leadership Following an investment trend in renewable and clean energy sources, globe investors have deposited their confidence in Nicaragua to promote green energy innovations. Polaris Infrastructure annually saves the country about US $90 million in oil imports, which Nicaragua has

“To develop energy resources we must be competitive in the Nicaraguan and Central American market, competitive in the selling price of energy, and by being beneficial to the environment we can help consumers in Nicaragua and potentially the rest of the region�

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not imported to generate power, on the contrary, this has been complemented with the use of wind farms, hydropower and biomass plants. With the growing popularity of geothermal energy as an alternative to fossil fuels, Polaris Infrastructure has invested a large capital in research and development. Intending to use EGS systems, although not yet commercially viable, these are designed to remove heat from areas with low permeability and porosity, to substantially improve extraction methodologies. Additionally, Polaris plans to introduce these enhanced geothermal systems, which consist in production and injection wells drilled at more than 10,000 feet, deep enough to reach permeability and porosity.

Company Information NAME

Polaris Infrastructure Inc. INDUSTRY


Reno, Nevada, United States FOUNDED



In an important recent report entitled “The Future of Geothermal Energy”, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology estimates that EGS could provide up to 100 GW of new geothermal capacity.


USD $90 million WEBSITE


This article will continue in September…

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MORE POWER for El Salvador

Consumer and commercial power supply, diversified by renewable sources. 98

August 2015

Written by: Rebecca Castrejon, Editor Produced by: Jassen Pintado, Director of Projects for WDM Group - LATAM Interviewee: Roberto Gonzalez, General Manager of Distribuidora de DELSUR wElectricidad w w. e e g s a.com




ore than 360 thousand Salvadorans in the departments of La Libertad, San Salvador, La Paz, San Vicente and Cuscatlan, have witnessed the qualitative and progressive commitment of Distribuidora de Electricidad DELSUR in the national electricity market.

Technical and operational management

Its quality is described through international certifications gained in the last 20 years and by offering industry standards and regulatory ethics in the electricity sector. This has also increased the job security of workers in the plant and profit growth for all shareholders.


DELSUR has been recognized during the last two consecutive years by the Regional Energy Integration Commission (CIER) due to the company’s results obtained at the Regional Customer Satisfaction Survey, obtaining Silver (2011) and Bronze (2012) awards. DELSUR is the only energy company from El Salvador that has managed to stand out from 40 companies operating in 14 countries in Latin America


August 2015

Being one of the best electric power distribution companies in Latin America, they have earned their position as leaders after elevating the economic value in El Salvador. DELSUR’s national endeavor was recognized by one of the largest conglomerates in the region, Group EPM (Empresas Públicas de Medellin), as a subsidiary of the group, DELSUR would pursue a joint plan in benefit of the region’s environment. As part of its industrial diversification, the company has incorporated ELEKTRICA, a line which provides a range of solutions to businesses in El Salvador, such as: design and installation of substations, corrective and preventive maintenance, thermography, energy audits and


other services that ensure quality and costeffective operations. The second line HOGAR, is a business unit that provides technology and home appliances, bringing modern equipment to every household in El Salvador. Some of these products are mobile phones, video and audio stations, furniture, computer systems, etc., in partnership with global brands such as Toshiba, Epson, LG, BlackBerry, Nokia, Sony, Dell, Panasonic, Huawei and more. Today, DELSUR continues to develop important projects to optimize its distribution network, reaching new homes with investment in renewable sources. According to figures from 2014, the company ended with a net profit of US $11 million and $13.4 million in capital expenditures.

Headquarters in Santa Tecla

Key People

Roberto Gonzalez General Manager for Distribuidora de Electricidad DELSUR Mechanical and electrical engineer, who graduated from ITESM. He began his managerial experience as supervisor of planning and operations in the Hydroelectric Executive Commission of Rio Lempa. By the end of 1998, he held the post of General Manager of the Transactions Unit of electricity in El Salvador. In July 2001 he continued his career in AES transmitters as Supervisor of Developments, years later he served as Commercial Manager of Cenergica Nejapa Power until October 2007. He currently serves as General Manager of Distribuidora de Electricidad DELSUR, a leadership he has maintained for seven years, using his experience of 30 years in the sector.

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Commitment to occupational safety

In an interview with Roberto Gonzalez, General Manager of Distribuidora de Electricidad, he mentioned some of the company’s most innovative projects, growth, projections and inclusion of renewable programs, as well as synergies with other allied companies of Group EPM, in an effort to optimize logistics through a joint purchase of electricity, specially between all sister companies in Central America. Central warehouse

“This depends on how the regional market evolves and if the rules permit the flow of energy through these countries to have joint energy sources,” said Gonzalez. 102

August 2015


Programas de inclusión

Another important participation comes from their suppliers and local producers, from who DELSUR buys materials such as Cerrajes, concrete poles and electrical conductors. “We have lots of local representatives with whom there is a good proximity, allowing us to increase our knowledge of what suppliers have internationally,” said the general manager. Today’s Technology

“Our staff is very motivated to carry out developments, and to participate in social projects, developing quality to the operation” – Roberto Gonzalez, General Manager of Distribuidora de Electricidad DELSUR

Distribuidora de Electricidad DELSUR has made it a priority to invest in the latest technology as part w w w . d e l s u r. c o m . s v



of its commitment to ensure electrical continuity. In 2014, the company invested seven million dollars in infrastructure, divided into: • 14 percent to the replacement of assets. • 30 percent to increasing the distribution capacity. • 56 percent to the replacement of equipment. The substation San Marcos is another one of these industrial innovations and a project that will benefit around 12,000 homes in San Salvador. DELSUR is also investing US $400,000, in the construction of two new access points in substation ETESAL, enhancing commercial power supply for civil works and electromechanical projects.

New substation in Cuscatlán

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CEO of DELSUR with non-electrical substation maintenance employees

DELSUR now uses SAP to streamline the administrative area and digitize processes. Additionally, they have integrated handheld devices for recording information on the field, which means mobilizing attention to prevent network failures. One example is the incorporation of Advanced Control Systems to contain power outages, and the inclusion of other systems such as SCADA, OMS and DMS from their technology supplier. Substation San Marcos

“We want to update all management systems, these being commercial, administrative, distribution and operations. On this last one we are trying to incorporate geo-positioning to optimize all objectives,� said Gonzalez. 106

August 2015


DELSUR is constantly updating all electrical infrastructure

Energy Efficiency El Salvador has been highlighted as one of the countries with the largest energy projects in the region. The company follows national initiatives, such as El Salvador ahorra energía, and incorporates JICA best practices (Japan International Cooperation Agency). “As a distributor we are very concerned in promoting the use of renewable energy in El Salvador. We support all state-related plans to make a significant change in the energy matrix of the country,” said the general manager.

“Our vision is to modernize our main management systems” – Roberto González, General Manager of Distribuidora de Electricidad DELSUR

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With an estimated capital of US $200 million, DELSUR will integrate solar-photovoltaic and wind power supply to its operations, starting next October 2016. “With the ultimate goal of changing the energy matrix, in 2013 we led a process which was awarded a thermal generation plant based on liquefied natural gas. We hope to begin operations in 2019, adding another supply that will be friendlier to the environment, “ said Gonzalez.

Diversifying the energy matrix

Internally, its sustainable efforts include recycling and advertising environmental awareness through conscious programs such as the “Great Race for the Environment”, held in collaboration with Fundacion Salvanatura.

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Human Management The nearly 300 employees in DELSUR go through a training process to strengthening their capabilities, optimizing their occupational health during operations. In recognition of the formative responsibility of the company, the multinational company 3M, awarded them with the recognition 3M for its efforts in occupational safety.

Colombian technicians training DELSUR counterparts in line maintenance procedures

“Our staff is very motivated to carry out developments, they participate in social projects and give purpose to our operation,� said the general manager.

Technological advances at DELSUR

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DISTRIBUIDORA DE ELECTRICIDAD DELSUR Social Responsibility DELSUR social initiatives include the integration of women as electrical operators, and driving progress in El Salvador through local alliances. Such is the case of working with municipalities and organizations like FISDL, to introduce electricity in rural areas. Substation Monserrat

As for education, DELSUR has sponsored computer science and English classes for six schools in the city. They also seek to improve the quality of life of their employees by providing free healthcare.

Electrical Measurement Equipment To measure a globalized world

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LED and Induction Lighting Residential Meters Transformers Meter Mounting Precincts




Company Information

Five-year Projections Coping with the Salvadoran economy, DELSUR is designing long-term plans, which include the consolidation of energy within the Department of San Salvador, this being a metropolitan area of great importance and rapid commercial and residential growth.


Distribuidora de Electricidad del Sur, S.A de C.V o DELSUR, S.A de C.V INDUSTRY

“We expect at least one new medium-voltage substation to be installed for distribution, but its location depends on the growth of the industry, and we want to develop it in an area of greater demand,” added Gonzalez. In the technological context, they are studying connectivity and applications via Smart Grid, a modern electrical network that will optimize all energy supply in DELSUR.


Santa Tecla, La Libertad, El Salvador FOUNDED

January 1996 EMPLOYEES

“We are calling equipment suppliers that relate to the distribution of Smart Grid to present us their latest developments,” said the general manager.


USD $343.5 million

They are studying software innovation with the inclusion of a digital communication system, in order to migrate the entire business and improve the logistic link with suppliers from the network.



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Profile for Energy Digital

Energy Digital - August 2015  

Energy Digital - August 2015  

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