Solar Industry Continues to Grow
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DECEMBER 2010 VOLUME 1, NO. 7 w w w. A l t e r n a t i v e E n e r g y N e w s O n l i n e . c o m
SOLAR SEE PAGE 6 ■
The SeaZephIR buoy will be deployed 18 miles off the New Jersey coast to the offshore wind farm site. Photo by Jake Kahn, Flat Iron Works
New Jersey Moves a Step Closer Toward Offshore Wind Energy BY DANIELLE D’ADAMO
New Jersey is home to more than 8 million people and soon enough, the Garden State may also be home to offshore wind farms. Currently, there are four developers with plans to build offshore wind farms off the New Jersey coastline, which could generate 1,100 MW of power. Garden State Offshore Energy (GSOE), a joint-venture between Public
Service Enterprise Group (PSEG), New Jersey’s largest energy company, and Deepwater Wind, a company focused on offshore wind development throughout the Northeast, recently announced plans to move forward with the installation of a state-of-the-art mobile wind resource assessment equipment SeaZephIR—a patented, floating platform with an integrated ZephIR LIDAR system
WIND POWER ■
BY DANIELLE D’ADAMO
A 302-kW single-axis tracker system recently came online at the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System (SAVAHCS) in Tucson, Ariz., making headlines as the first ground-mounted PV array for VA facilities nationwide. The $1.35 million solar tracker was built by REC Solar Inc., a provider of large-scale solar systems based in San Luis
Obispo, Calif., and is expected to increase overall production by changing its orientation to directly face the sun throughout the day. SAVAHCS also announced plans to build a 2.9-MW carport-mounted system, which will be known as the largest of its kind in the U.S. Both solar projects are being Continued on Page 9
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Duke Energy Completes Fourth Wyoming Wind Farm enXco Completes Linden Wind
powered by solar and wind energy. The 100-foot long buoy was constructed in Norway by renewable energy consultancy Natural Power, and arrived in the U.S. in early October. The move was approved by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, which was a key step in evaluating the GSOE wind site. Continued on Page 13
EMERGING TECH ■
Southern Arizona VA Health Care System Unveils Solar Projects
Butte College to Become the First Grid-Positive College in the U.S. PsomasFMG Constructs PV Project
METALCON 2010 Sets Standard for the Future BY DANIELLE D’ADAMO
As 2010 draws to a close, METALCON wrapped up another successful trade show and conference in Las Vegas, Nev., October 20-22. The event celebrated its 20th anniversary with 5,445 attendees ranging from designers, builders, developers, contractors, fabricators and suppliers from more than 50 countries. Sponsored by the
Metal Construction Association (MCA) and produced by PSMJ Resources Inc., METALCON is known as the only annual trade show and conference focused on metal construction products, technologies and solutions. And while the show holds its niche in the metal construction industry, METALCON has opened up to Continued on Page 9
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LA Builds New Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Advanced Fuel Cell Powered Bike
MONEY MATTERS ■
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Dominion Foundation Awards $500,000 in Higher Education Grants CanSIA to Spotlight Solar Opportunities
Alternative Energy in the New Political Climate
FROM THE PUBLISHER
First Amendment Showdown The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) are just about the last groups we’d
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expect to trample over the First Amendment rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution. Yet, that’s exactly what they’ve been
Lee M. Oser
doing in a dispute between this publishing company and those two organizations that’s been going on for over a year now. In short, we
Publisher and Editor-in-Chief
insist on exercising our First Amendment rights and our rights to do business in a free marketplace, and the two trade associations, along with Solar Energy Trade Shows (SETS), the entity created last year to manage Solar Power International and PV America for the two associations, insist on trying to prevent that.
Steve Cox firstname.lastname@example.org Senior Associate Publisher
The arrogance shown by these organizations has been beyond belief.
Director of Media
Here’s how it all started: We bought a license from the City of Anaheim last year that gave us the rights to distribute a trade show
daily on the grounds of Anaheim Convention Center. When SEPA employees running the Solar Power International show heard about
it, they insisted that we violate our promises to our advertisers and refrain from distributing our magazine outside the building. We
insisted on keeping our promises, and the show managers retaliated by denying us the right to exhibit in their show in 2010. When we appealed that decision, the new SETS Show Manager Brian Tully, who wasn’t involved in last year’s show, insisted that he’d only talk to us through legal counsel.
Danielle D’Adamo email@example.com Editor
So we all brought our lawyers into the discussion. When our lawyer insisted that denying us the right to exhibit amounted to a breach of public policy, Tully offered to sell us a booth after all, but only if we’d sign a promise not to distribute our magazines anywhere except from our booth and acknowledge that we’d broken show rules by doing that in the past. We were also required to waive our seniority points. We refused.
Carrie Bui Justyn Dillingham Associate Editors
We have expressed our objections to show managers and all the way up the line at SEIA, which insists that even though the association co-owns the show, SEIA has no power to intervene. Show
Valerie Wilson firstname.lastname@example.org Art Director
Manager Tully says he’ll never talk to us about anything, even off the record, unless his lawyer is present, which isn’t just arrogant; it’s silly. When we wouldn’t buckle under, the show managers retaliated again by sending an untruthful e-mail urging the show’s exhibitors not to do business with us. Being adults who are smart enough to decide for
Yasmine Brown email@example.com Graphic Designer Selene Pinuelas firstname.lastname@example.org Traffic Manager
themselves how they want to invest their money, they refused to be intimidated Laura Colony
by the lies.
The show managers’ insistence that they have the right to limit speech
everywhere at all times during the show is both offensive and deeply un-American. It comes to this: SEIA is wrong, Solar Power International is wrong, and until they recant, we’re not renewing our membership in the SEIA, my personal donation to the SEIA political action committee will not be repeated, and we’re not going to stop telling the truth about the matter.
Alternative Energy News is published by Oser Communications Group ©Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. BPA Worldwide membership applied for February 11, 2010.
And we will be in Dallas during Solar Power International 2011. We encourage you to do the same.
Lee M. Oser Publisher
Executive and editorial offices located at: 1877 N. Kolb Rd., Tucson, AZ 85715 T 520.721.1300, F 520.721.6300 www.oser.com European offices located at: Lungarno Benvenuto Cellini, 11 50125 Florence, Italy T 055.657.5629, F 055.657.5631
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Photos courtesy of Butte College
Photo courtesy of Net Zero Solar.
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SOLAR POWER “The new 15,000 panels will have slightly better technology and be more reliable than what we’ve seen in the past. We calculate in a degradation factor and over-estimate that in our financing costs. It’s one of the tricks in figuring it will cost you more than you think.” Michael Miller, Butte College Director of Facilities, Planning and Management
Butte College to Become the First Grid-Positive College in the U.S. BY DANIELLE D’ADAMO
Photo courtesy of Net Zero Solar.
utte College, located in Northern California, is no stranger to renewable energy practices. Last year, the college developed and implemented a 17-unit Sustainability Studies Certificate to enable students to partially meet their general education requirements by taking sustainability-related courses. “Sustainability” is even included in the college’s mission statement and is one of five initiatives in its strategic plan. Now, Butte College is aiming to be the only college in the nation that is grid-positive by producing more clean energy from on-site solar power than it uses. After receiving approval from its Board of Trustees, Butte College began its Phase III solar project, which will add 15,000 solar PV panels (2.7 MW) to the current 10,000 panels (1.85 MW) on campus. The new 15,000 panels will be placed on the campus’ rooftops and create covered parking areas and walkways, in addition to being mounted on the ground. When completed in spring 2011, the system will total 4.55 MW. The college expects to generate more than 6.381 million kWh per year, and provide enough clean energy to cover all of the school’s electricity needs and then some. “Utilizing renewable energy has been a primary goal of Butte College since 2003 with the full backing of our President and Superintendent,” said Michael Miller, Butte College Director of Facilities, Planning and Management. “Since our big goal is to flat-line our utility costs, we’ve actually decreased the cost by square foot over the years. With this Phase III solar project, we’ll be grid-positive and save $150 million over 30 years.” According to Miller, the college has always set high goals relating to sustainability. Butte College has its own water system, maintains its own sewage treatment facility and even operates the largest community college transportation system in California. In 2005,
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the college installed its first 5,700 solar panels on a four-acre field and in 2008, four additional solar arrays were added, bringing the total number of panels to more than 10,000. “We’re seeing good production from the existing solar arrays and they have been operating pretty close to what we thought they would,” said Miller. “The new 15,000 panels will have slightly better technology and be more reliable than what we’ve seen in the past. We calculate in a degradation factor and over-estimate that in our financing costs. It’s one of the tricks in figuring it will cost you more than you think.” After working with three different companies during Phases I and II, Butte College decided to work with local developers and installers for the Phase III solar arrays. California-based Chico Electric and DPR Construction formed a joint-venture (Chico Electric DPR Energy JV) for the solar project. As an alumnus of Butte College, Chico Electric Owner Norm Nielsen was involved with Phase II of the solar project and eager to help again. “We—my family and the company—have always been supporters of Butte College, and it was an honor to be asked to come back for the final Phase III installation,” he said. “No other college in the nation has achieved anything like this in relation to generation and being ‘off-the-grid,’ so it’s very exciting to see this solar project come to fruition.” The first portion of Phase III is currently underway and includes the construction of 1,639 solar panels that will create covered parking spaces at the Butte College Chico Center, and generate roughly 450 kW DC. When all of the college’s solar projects are combined, the college will have a yearly reduction of more than 6.9 million pounds of carbon dioxide, 27,000 pounds of sulfur dioxide and 20,000 pounds of nitrogen oxide. AEN
PsomasFMG Breaks Ground on a Turnkey Solar Solution for the Antelope Valley Union High School District P
somasFMG has started construction on a $52-million, 9.6-MW photovoltaic design-build project for the Antelope Valley Union High School District (AVUHSD). The project, the largest school solar power installation to date in California, is a public-private partnership between PsomasFMG, LLC and the AVUHSD. PsomasFMG is providing a turnkey solar solution for the school district, including arranging for private investor financing. The solar system is being constructed for the school district without any capital expenditure by the district. “The solar solution we are celebrating is a classic win-win public-private partnership that will help us cut our energy costs and provide shade in our parking lot, with no upfront costs,” said Jeffrey Foster, Deputy Superintendent for the district. “PsomasFMG has been a willing partner, clearly explaining the project, delivering their product and helping develop a green curriculum that will benefit our students. We look forward to flipping the switch and bringing our district into a greener future.” The power installation will promote the school district’s energy independence, substantially decrease its electrical costs, and over the next 20 years reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 250,000 tons. The solar project is engineered to produce clean, green energy for more than 80 percent of the school district’s electrical needs. Southern California Edison will supplement the school district’s remaining energy requirements at a reduced rate. PsomasFMG will provide long-term asset management for the project, which includes the sale of electricity at a fixed
rate through a power purchase agreement. During its first full year of energy independence, the AVUHSD has forecast an 18 percent reduction in electrical expenses. Over the next 20 years, the school district is projected to generate a savings of more than $40 million in energy costs. “The Antelope Valley Union High School District project is a custom-designed solar solution, and a good example of future projects that PsomasFMG will be installing for school districts, public agencies and commercial entities throughout Southern California and the Southwest,” said Paul Mikos, Executive Vice President of the company. “These kinds of projects are especially important to our schools: Not only do they promote energy independence and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, there is potential that the long-term savings in energy costs could be redirected to fund essential education programs and services.” Ten campuses within the AVUHSD are participating in the installation, which includes the construction of steel-frame canopies to support solar panels and provide shaded parking for approximately 4,000 faculty and student vehicles. The 9.6-MW power generation will use approximately 41,000 photovoltaic panels that will absorb sunlight and convert it to electricity. The aesthetically-designed solar structures will achieve the minimum visual impact while absorbing optimal amounts of sunlight. Cost-effective, state-of-the-art lighting will be mounted beneath the canopies, and less-efficient pole lighting will be removed. The updated lighting will enhance personal safety, while video cameras will improve campus security. The 10 solar systems are being installed
Antelope Valley school board member Donita Winn helps celebrate PsomasFMG’s 9.6-MW solar power project.
in three phases, utilizing construction crews that move between the campuses allowing for the greatest economies of scale. The final systems are scheduled to be commissioned in early 2011. The Palmdale School District (PSD) recently awarded a $30.8 million contract
to PsomasFMG for the construction of a 6.4-MW solar power installation at 19 sites. PsomasFMG is providing a turnkey solution for PSD, which includes financing for the design-build project and long-term asset management. Design and engineering are currently underway. AEN
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Held for PV System at California Public Safety Building C
ity government officials, county representatives, members of Borrego Solar Systems Inc., and community members gathered to celebrate the installation of the new 119-kW DC rated system on the hillside behind the city’s public safety building in Mill Valley, Calif. Mill Valley Mayor Stephanie MoultonPeters and City Manager Jim McCann addressed a group of 50 people. “The need for affordable and efficient energy alternatives represents a global issue and is more critical than ever,” said Mayor Moulton-Peters. Vice-Mayor Wachtel and Council members Lion and Marshall were also in attendance and assisted in cutting the ribbon. Jim McCann acknowledged several city staff members that helped make the project possible, including Police Captain Jim Wickham, Sustainability Director Carol Misseldine and Finance Director Eric Erickson. He also praised Public Works Director Wayne Bush and Associate Engineer 8
Dick Dudak for their work on the project. In attendance were representatives from other organizations that have supported the project, such as Supervisor Charles McGlashan, Dana Armanino and Tim Rosenfeld of the Marin Energy Management Team, and Mark Pressman of Wulff, Hansen & Co. Borrego Solar Senior Project Developer David Potovsky addressed the group as well. “It is estimated that the system will produce 153,000 kWh per year,” he said, “and will offset 80 to 85 percent of the PSB’s annual bill.” Borrego team members gave a tour of the system, which consists of solar panels mounted on arms embedded in concrete piers across the hillside. The system will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 6 million pounds over the life of the system, which is equivalent to 11 million vehicle miles or planting 14,000 mature trees. It will reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 1,800 lbs and reduce sulfur oxide by 2,000 lbs. AEN
Photo courtesy of Borrego Solar Systems Inc. Alternative Energy News
SOLAR POWER METALCON (Continued from Page 1)
green building initiatives and renewable energy options in its program. The return of Solar Bay, a section dedicated to solar technology and how it can best be integrated with metal construction, was so well-received that many presentations had standing room only, according to Keith Lipps, Vice President of Marketing & Sales for Metanna, located in South Bend, Ind. Lipps helped organize the Solar Bay area by arranging speakers and display units. “Metanna has been involved with METALCON for the past 18 years, and we’ve seen the Solar Bay exhibit grow significantly compared to last year,” he said. “Bottom line is that metal is the best material to put a rooftop solar system on, and more and more people are realizing its vast potential. Solar Bay truly took center stage of the whole show this year.” The Solar Bay area included daily education sessions covering product selection, system design, installation and funding for the growing PV industry. Seven solar topics were even included in the 33 conference sessions. METALCON’s Green Island was another popular area that highlighted products and companies focusing on metal’s role in the green building movement. Attendees learned how metal systems are considered ‘green’ and how they can qualify for points in LEED certification. This year’s show had a “Focus Forward” theme to help reassure those in the metal VA HEALTH CARE (Continued from Page 1)
paid for by $200 million in federal Recovery Act funds, and are part of a large-scale renewable energy goal set by the VA in response to the Energy Policy Act. The Act ordered federal agencies to purchase 7.5 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2013. The VA actually increased its own target to 15 percent—double the mandated amount—along with another aggressive goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2020. “We first started getting into solar as a result of the renewable energy pilot studies conducted by the VA at a national level a few years ago,” said David Alvarez, Engineering Manager for SAVAHCS. “We wanted to participate, so we submitted a solar package for our site. The focus at the time was centered on rooftop solar systems, but we were pushing for a ground-mounted system because it made the most sense economically.” The VA awarded the solar array contract to REC Solar in September 2009 and officially completed in August 2010. According to Burke Kascha-Hare, Director of Federal Business Development for REC Solar, projects like this normally take five to six months to be completely engineered, designed and installed, but there were many unique requirements from the VA that had to be met. For starters, the original proposal called for a fixed-axis ground-mount with an option for a tracker, and there were a number of revisions to the design. “The best way to put it is that customer satisfaction is top priority for REC Solar, and we took a bit longer time with this project because solar was a completely new undertaking for the VA,” he said. “We elected to take more time and get it exactly right. After looking at additional costs versus additional benefits to a single-axis tracker, it was Alternative Energy News
construction industry, who were hit especially hard by the economy. Show Director Claire Kilcoyne has been involved with METALCON since it began in 1991, and believed this year’s results to be an upward trend. “The number of visitors was about 200 more than the 2009 show in Tampa, Fla., but the buying power was higher than ever. The positive response from exhibitors was evident in the number of companies who signed up for 2011 … We’ve always had a great relationship with exhibitors and it shows in our consistently high rate of returning exhibitors,” she said in a prepared statement. Bill Coleman, Vice President of Sales for MBCI in Houston, Texas, was pleased with the outcome of the event. MBCI is one of 25 companies that have consistently exhibited at METALCON since its inception. “Our leads from this show surpassed last year’s and the level of interest was much higher than before,” he said. This year, METALCON welcomed 46 companies exhibiting for the first time, including Brian Nelson of Knight Wall Systems in Deer Park, Wash. “We had great traffic. There was a large diversity of people, including architects, contractors, engineers and manufacturers. We even had an architect drop off some drawings so we could bid on a job for him.” Looking ahead, show organizers confirmed 87 percent of the 2010 exhibitors are already booked for METALCON 2011, which will be held in Atlanta, Ga., at the Georgia World Congress Center. AEN obviously more economical to do that.” The new solar array will generate 651,715 kWh in the first year. REC Solar will also build the PV carport project, which is currently under construction and scheduled to be completed in spring 2011. The carport system, expected to cost $14 million, will cover seven separate parking areas and feed into the entire facility’s distribution to help offset power to the campus. “When taking on a project like this, you have to look at the strengths of your local market,” said Alvarez. “For Tucson, it’s solar. We found the best way to implement the PV technology into two systems that will really bring an added value not only to our renewable energy portfolio, but to our veterans.” The VA has awarded nearly $78 million in contracts to build solar PV systems at VA facilities nationwide, including the SAVAHCS site in Tucson. By fall 2011, the VA will have installed solar PV systems at hospitals, clinics and national cemeteries in a dozen different locations. AEN
Photo courtesy of SAVAHCS Medical Media Office
Duke Energy Completes
Fourth Wyoming Wind Farm Duke Energy始s 200-MW Top of the World Windpower Project Near Casper, Wyo.
uke Energy’s Top of the World Windpower Project near Casper, Wyo., is now online and producing clean, renewable electricity. The 200-MW wind farm, located in Converse County, supplies wind energy to PacifiCorp under the terms of a 20-year power purchase agreement. The 110 wind turbines that comprise the Top of the World project are capable of producing enough electricity to power approximately 60,000 homes. With Top of the World now producing electricity, Duke Energy has 935 MW of wind power in commercial operation. This figure will rise to nearly 1,000 MW later this year when the 51-MW Kit Carson Windpower Project in eastern Colorado comes online. In total, Duke Energy has committed more than $1 billion since 2007 to build its wind power business. “The remarkable growth of our commercial wind energy unit over the last three years illustrates our commitment to building a significant emissions-free power generation business,” said Keith Trent, Group Executive and President of Duke Energy’s Commercial Businesses. “Developing renewables projects under our low-risk business model will continue to be an important part of our company’s future.” Top of the World is Duke Energy’s fourth—and largest—wind farm in Wyoming. The company’s 99-MW Campbell Hill Windpower Project in Converse County came online in 2009. Duke Energy also owns and operates two wind farms near Cheyenne: the 29MW Happy Jack Windpower Project, which began commercial operation in 2008, and the 42-MW Silver Sage Windpower Project, which came online in 2009. One of the turbine blades atop Tower 90 at Top of the World was inspected by President Barack Obama during his visit to the Siemens manufacturing facility in Fort Madison, Iowa, on April 27, 2010. (Siemens supplied 44 wind turbines for Top of the World; General Electric supplied 66 turbines.) Duke Energy Generation Services (DEGS), part of Duke Energy’s Commercial Businesses, is a leader in developing innovative renewable energy solutions, including wind, solar and biopower projects. DEGS builds, owns and operates electric generation for large energy consumers, municipalities, utilities and industrial facilities. DEGS is also working to build commercial transmission capacity to help the United States meet its energy needs of the future. AEN
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“The remarkable growth of our commercial wind energy unit over the last three years illustrates our commitment to building a significant emissionsfree power generation business.” Keith Trent, Group Executive and President Duke Energy’s Commercial Businesses
Nordex Begins Production at Wind Turbine Manufacturing Plant O
Nordex wind turbine manufacturing plant in Arkansas.
ctober marked the official start of production at Nordex’s newly built wind turbine manufacturing plant in Jonesboro, Ark. The plant’s first production crew will go to work assembling a wind turbine nacelle, which houses the engine and other key components and sits high atop the turbine tower. “Two years ago, we announced our intention to make Nordex wind turbines in the U.S., for the U.S.,” said Ralf Sigrist, President and CEO of Nordex USA, Inc. “Today we’re putting our hands to the metal and doing it. We hope Congress will do the same,” he added, “by finally passing meaningful renewable energy legislation.” The first Jonesboro production crew, hired earlier this year, just completed a 10-week intensive training program at Nordex’s flagship plant in Rostock, Germany. Training will continue during the early phase of production, with the team’s German counterparts
now taking up residence in Jonesboro for several months to work alongside their new colleagues. “There’s no way to do this without international exchange,” said Joe Brenner, Vice President of Production for Nordex. “Wind energy has tremendous potential in the U.S., but it’s about more than just creating green jobs. We have to transfer expertise in order to build a wind industry workforce. Nordex is investing in such a workforce and bringing the needed skills to America.” Nordex broke ground on its manufacturing plant last September, completing construction in July of this year. The company has hired 150 employees in the U.S. to date, including 42 in Jonesboro, and has plans to employ up to 1,000 nationally over four to five years. About 80 percent of the workforce in Jonesboro are locals. Construction on a second facility for assembling rotor blades is also planned for the future. AEN
IBM Collaborates on New Wind Energy Technologies I
BM announced that energy system supplier Alstom and Ikerlan-IK4, an energy technology research and development organization, are using IBM software to develop wind turbine control systems that significantly improve the performance of sustainable power systems based on windgenerated energy. The new wind turbines leverage a sophisticated system of electronic sensors combined with software from IBM to gather input regarding wind direction, speed, temperature and other factors to optimize performance and increase efficiency. A central control system collects and analyzes
data from each turbine to remotely control “individual turbine subsystems, perform diagnostics and manage wind farm power generation. Alstom and Ikerlan-IK4 are using IBM software to help develop and automate the “system of systems” that controls the turbines and their interconnected communications systems. “Leveraging IBM software helps us apply an automated process to the design and development of Alstom Wind control systems,” said Alfonso Faubel, Vice President Alstom Wind. “This advantage definitely allows us to deliver tailored solutions that
are fully adapted to new emerging standards, markets and client needs.” Alstom and Ikerlan-IK4 are also using the Gears Software Product Line Lifecycle Framework™, from IBM business partner, BigLever Software™, to customize their designs to accommodate the varying climates and geographies where the wind turbines will operate. Alstom and IkerlanIK4 estimate that their use of IBM and Big Lever Software reduces development costs by as much as 25 percent and decreases development time by a factor of 10 for each product variation.
“The fact that the wind turbines can be customized to accommodate geographic differences and also adjust to ambient environmental changes adds a layer of complexity to an already complex software development process,” said Dr. Salvador Trujillo, Chief Product Line Engineer at Ikerlan-IK4. “By using IBM Rational Software for model-driven development combined with BigLever Gears for product line engineering, we can reuse software assets and manage these variations at a pace that allows us to keep up with market requirements.” AEN
World’s Largest Wind Project Receives DOE Conditional Commitment for a Loan Guarantee The Recovery Act-Supported Loan Will Create Jobs and Avoid More Than 1.2 Million Tons of Carbon Pollution Annually. U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced a conditional commitment to provide a partial guarantee for a $1.3 billion loan in support of the world’s largest wind farm to date. The loan will finance the Caithness Shepherds Flat wind project, an 845-MW wind-powered electrical generating facility located in eastern Oregon sponsored by Caithness Energy LLC and General Electric (GE) Energy Financial Services. “Thanks to the Recovery Act, we are creating the clean energy jobs of the future while positioning the U.S. as a world leader in the production of renewable energy,” said Secretary Chu. “This project is part of the Administration’s commitment to doubling our renewable energy generation by 2012 while putting Americans to work in communities across the country.” The Caithness Shepherds Flat wind project consists of 338 wind turbines supplied by GE. The project will use GE’s 2.5xl turbines, which are designed to provide high efficiency and increased reliability, maintainability and grid integration. The wind farm is the first in 12
North America to deploy these turbines, which have been used in Europe and Asia. Once completed, the project will sell 100 percent of the power generated to Southern California Edison through 20-year fixed price power purchase agreements. The wind facility will avoid 1,215,991 tons of carbon dioxide per year, equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions from 212,141 passenger vehicles. According to Caithness, the project will directly create 400 construction jobs, followed by 35 permanent jobs on site. The Caithness Shepherds Flat project is the largest project to date to receive an offer of a conditional commitment for a loan guarantee under the Financial Institution Partnership Program (FIPP), a Department of Energy program supported by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. In a FIPP financing, the Department of Energy guarantees up to 80 percent of a loan provided to
a renewable energy project by qualified financial institutions. The $1.3 billion loan is expected to be funded by a group of institutional investors and commercial banks led by Citi, as lender-applicant and joint lead arranger, and three other joint lead arrangers, the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd., RBS
Securities and WestLB Securities Inc. The Department of Energy, through the Loan Programs Office, has issued loan guarantees or offered conditional commitments for loan guarantees to support 15 clean energy projects, resulting in $15.9 billion in total loan guarantees. AEN
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enXco Announces Final Completion of the 50-MW Linden Wind Project e
nXco, an EDF Energies Nouvelles Company and Southern California Public Power Authority (SCPPA) announced final completion of the 50-MW Linden Wind Project. The project, developed by enXco and owned by SCPPA, will bring carbon-free electricity to the SCPPA generation portfolio on behalf of participating members Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) and the City of Glendale. “The completion of the Linden project illustrates our growing and productive relationship with SCPPA and its members,” commented Tristan Grimbert, President and CEO of enXco. “We are proud and pleased to partner with SCPPA to contribute to their increasing renewable generation base.”
The Linden Wind Farm, consisting of 25 REpower MM92 turbines in Klickitat County, Wash., commenced construction in November 2009 after receiving SCPPA board approval in August 2009. “We look forward to the reliable delivery from the Linden project to support our Renewable Energy portfolio objectives,” said Bill D. Carnahan, Executive Director of SCPPA. LADWP will provide project management for the SCPPA participants. The utility will receive 90 percent (45 MW) of power produced by the wind farm, representing about 0.5 percent of the utility’s renewable portfolio goal of 20 percent by 2010. The project will utilize existing transmission to deliver the clean wind power to the Los Angeles area. AEN
Photo credit: Photographer Tom Bensel/enXco
Obama Administration Hosts Great Lakes Offshore Wind Workshop in Chicago with Great Lakes Wind Collaborative
OFFSHORE WIND (Continued from Page 1)
And while the U.S. has no current offshore wind operations, GSOE is determined to put New Jersey on the map and help the state reach its goal of 20 percent renewable energy by 2030. “Only one lease has been granted for offshore wind to date by the federal government,” said Scott Jennings, President of PSEG. “No one will invest past a certain point until they know that they have exclusive rights to a site. The current process for permitting an offshore wind plant is roughly equal to the length of time to permit a nuclear plant. The federal government has expressed a willingness to shorten the process, but still has not moved forward.” Alternative Energy News
he White House Council on Environmental Quality and the U.S. Department of Energy hosted a workshop with the Great Lakes Wind Collaborative in Chicago, focused on the siting of offshore wind power in the Great Lakes. The two-day workshop brought together wind developers, federal and state regulators, environmental advocates, and other regional stakeholders to discuss methods for ensuring greater clarity, certainty and coordination of federal and state decision-making for offshore wind development in the Great Lakes. “President Obama has made an unprecedented commitment to renewable energy development in the U.S. Increasing our wind power generation is a critical component to building greater energy independence and creating jobs here at home,” said Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. “We must improve and increase the lines of communication to bring wind development in the Great
Lakes closer to fruition.” “The country’s vast offshore wind resources have the potential to dramatically reduce America’s dependence on fossil fuels, make us more economically competitive, and support new manufacturing jobs in the U.S.,” said U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “By working collaboratively with private industry and our state and federal partners, we can help to accelerate and support the development of wind energy in the Great Lakes.” More than 100 people participated in the workshop, including representatives from federal agencies, state governments, energy companies, state public service commissions, wind developers and manufacturers, nonprofit organizations and other industry experts. The workshop offered participants an opportunity to: • learn more about the role of various federal agencies in the siting of offshore wind power in the Great Lakes.
• clarify the process by which developers, states and other stakeholders can engage federal and state regulators in offshore wind development in the Great Lakes. The workshop concluded with these stakeholders charting a path forward to develop a collaborative process to achieve greater clarity and certainty during federal decision making with regard to offshore wind development in the Great Lakes. “As a result of this workshop, we now have a clear understanding of the barriers and opportunities for wind development in the Great Lakes. We now have a path for moving forward that brings clarity and certainty to the process and that will benefit states, developers and the public,” said Terry Yonker, co-Chair of the Great Lakes Wind Collaborative. The Great Lakes Wind Collaborative is a multi-sector coalition of wind energy stakeholders working to facilitate the sustainable development of wind power in the bi-national Great Lakes region. AEN
In August, Gov. Chris Christie signed the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act allowing at least 1,100 MW of generation from qualified offshore wind projects. The Act authorizes the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to draft and implement regulations that will govern the process through which offshore wind proposals will be considered. GSOE received a $3 million rebate for wind, avian and ocean studies—a result of a past state process to award grant money. While the state gave three developers the opportunity to receive up to $4 million in study grants, GSOE won New Jersey’s 2008 solicitation for preferred offshore developer. “The announcement on securing the wind
resource equipment was a very important step in the overall program,” said Jennings. “We’ve already invested so many resources in developing this technology and look forward to getting it out at the end of year.” GSOE’s original proposal called for a 350MW wind farm with 96 wind turbines situated 18 miles off the coast of Cape May and Atlantic counties. At that distance, it would be barely visible from the shore. According to Jennings, the turbines would be outside of ‘the tourist’s eye’ where wind resources are much stronger. “The symmetry of the ocean and the sand at the bottom will extend out gradually, making it a good distance in terms of putting in the towers and having minimal impact on avian life.”
The final proposal to the state could be sized to minimize overall cost and maximize benefits to New Jersey. In addition, the number of turbines could change based on best available technology at the time when a decision on turbine type is decided, Jennings said. For now, GSOE is moving forward with the next steps needed to deploy its wind assessment equipment this year and begin testing meteorological conditions at its proposed offshore site. Not only will the SeaZephIR assess wind resources and monitor water conditions, it will be supplemented with additional resources to survey avian and marine life. GSOE expects to have the buoy in place off the coast of New Jersey by the end of the year. AEN 13
SiGNa Chemistry’s new ultra-high performance range extender can reach up to 60 miles without pedaling.
Power System Produces Clean, Safe and Portable Hydrogen Power and Zero Air Pollution. The race to create a hydrogen-based portable power platform sped forward when SiGNa Chemistry Inc. demonstrated its new ultra-high-performance range extender at the Interbike International Trade Expo. This groundbreaking power platform produces hydrogen gas instantaneously and then converts the hydrogen to electricity using a low-cost fuel cell. The extender creates up to 200 W of continuous power; excess energy is stored in a lithium battery for use in more energy-intensive acceleration and hill climbing conditions. Best of all, the power system is safe and clean—the hydrogen is
produced at low pressure and the only emission is water vapor. For the rider, the extender triples the range of their e-bike with minimal additional weight. Existing e-bikes have a range of up to 20 miles without pedaling; SiGNa’s system reaches up to 60 miles without pedaling for each carried fuel cartridge. The fuel cartridges are also hot swappable, lightweight (1.5 pounds) and inexpensive, making this a realistic solution for any e-bike owner. “The extender uses inherently-safe reactive metal powders to produce electric power. By integrating SiGNa’s hydrogen-generation technology with an e-bike, we have demonstrated an unprecedented power solution with no greenhouse gas emissions,” said Michael
SiGNa Unveils Most Advanced Fuel Cell Powered Electric Bicycle
Lefenfeld, President and CEO of SiGNa Chemistry Inc. SiGNa’s range extender was demonstrated on a Pedego electric bicycle, but it is directly compatible with most electric bicycle models. Sodium silicide makes this portable power system possible. Sodium silicide is a safe, airstable reactive metal powder that instantly creates hydrogen gas when it comes into contact with water. Any type of water can be used including potable water, polluted water, sea water or even urine. Once the fuel cartridge is depleted, the rider is left with an environmentally-safe byproduct (sodium silicate) that is fully contained in a disposable or reusable cartridge. SiGNa has adapted its award-winning powders for use in many industrial
applications, including pharmaceuticals and oil refining. Since sodium silicide is safe, inexpensive and easily transportable, the portable power market is a natural fit. Said Lefenfeld, “SiGNa’s portable-power system overcomes two key challenges with using hydrogen for transportation applications—adequate hydrogen storage and safe transport. SiGNa has begun by developing a system that provides power to e-bikes; we envision this platform will become a primary or back-up power source for many transportation applications.” SiGNa’s portable power platform can be utilized in any standalone application that require from 1 W to 1 kW of power, including generators, lawn mowers, golf carts and consumer electronics. AEN
Los Angeles Builds Out New Electric Vehicle Charging Stations at Key Transit Locations The California Energy Commission Makes Plug-in Electric Vehicles Within Reach of LA Metro Riders with Largest Transit Agency Roll-out. The California Energy Commission recently announced EV Connect, a leading provider of electric vehicle infrastructure solutions (EVISs) and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) will be conducting a pilot program to assess the integration of PEVs into the transportation network and consumer behavior and ridership patterns. “This project will bring the city of Los Angeles closer to achieving its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 35 percent below 1990 levels by 2030,” said Energy Commissioner Anthony Eggert. “The Energy Commission is proud to be a part of this first-of-its-kind PEV infrastructure roll-out with EV Connect and Metro.” 14
This pilot project aims to understand the viability of a PEV-transit network and establish best practices that optimize the consumer experience while reducing the carbon footprint of Los Angeles. The transportation sector alone accounts for 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the state of California, six percent higher than the national average. Completion of this project and its potential as a major transit component will further reduce priority air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions in the City and County of Los Angeles. “We are looking forward to the success of this pilot effort, which will encourage drivers of plug-in electric vehicles to use Metro while charging their vehicles at our transit stations,” said Metro Board Chair and Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe. “At Metro we demonstrate best practices in sustainability with more than 2,500 clean air buses along with a commitment in building
Commuters in Los Angeles will likely use clean natural gas buses while they charge their electric vehicles at these new transportation hubs.
all new transit facilities to LEED standards. This project is another example of how Metro is protecting the environment.” EV infrastructure will be integrated at strategic points at the end of the system, such as Canoga and Sierra Madre, as well as at heavy traffic locations at Union Station and Universal City. One objective of the study is to understand if the integration of EV charging solutions into Metro’s system will
enhance the transit experience for patrons and attract others to consider charge and ride in their daily commutes. “This is the first study of its kind to analyze the integration of EV solutions into a transit network,” said Jordan Ramer, CEO of EV Connect. “The data procured from this study will establish industry benchmarks on charge and ride commuters, which will help shape the future of multi-modal transportation.” AEN Alternative Energy News
EMERGING teCHNOLOGIES Pelican Bay Inaugurates New Solar Electric Tram System From Eco Trans Alliance and Cruise Car Inc. P elican Bay Foundation Inc. inaugurated the conversion of their resident transportation tram system to solar/electric vehicles from Eco Trans Alliance of Sarasota, Fla. The Pelican Bay transportation system provides residents and visitors to Pelican Bay, one of Florida’s premier beachfront communities, with more than 800,000 rides annually, and an average tram logs 25,000 miles a year throughout the Foundation’s 43 acres of parks, recreation areas, beachfront facilities and boardwalks. The new solar/ electric tram system features an Eco Trans Alliance 460-watt on-board Solar Charging System on each new tram, which will annually produce more than 400 kWh of electricity per tram directly from the sun. The Pelican Bay Foundation continues to demonstrate leadership in preserving the natural environment of the community by converting to the solar/electric trams. Each solar/electric tram reduces Pelican Bay’s carbon footprint by more than 500 pounds of
carbon dioxide annually and replacing the entire fleet with approximately 40 trams will result in a net carbon abatement of more than 22,000 pounds of carbon dioxide annually. “We look forward to effectively using the sun to power our transportation system and continue our ongoing initiative to reduce impact on, and preserve the tranquility and beauty of, Pelican Bay,” said Pelican Bay Foundation Chairman Bill Carpenter. “Eco Trans Alliance provided a comprehensive solution and migration plan and made a clear and compelling rationale for our conversion to solar.” “We applaud Pelican Bay Foundation for its demonstrated leadership in sustainability practices. Pelican Bay has always been ahead of the curve with its approach to environmental affairs so there is no surprise that they would utilize the sun’s natural energy to power their tram system. We are pleased to have had our solar charging systems evaluated and chosen for this important implementation,” said Greg Hyde, Special
Trans Alliance Solar/Electric Tram at Pelican Bay
Projects Manager for Eco Trans Alliance. Travis Fealy, Pelican Bay Foundation’s Transportation Director, sourced the solar solution to reduce energy costs and expand the Foundation’s ongoing conservation efforts. “It’s a natural win-win for us,” stated Fealy. “First, given our latitude, Naples is an excellent location for any solar implementation. Second, Eco Trans Alliance offers a unique and mobile solar
solution for powering our tram system that not only reduces grid electric charging expense, but also extends tram battery life. The roof-mounted solar panels generate more than 400 kWh of power per tram per year, which is going to add up to significant power savings for us. In addition, we will reduce our total carbon footprint for transportation by more than 11 tons of carbon dioxide annually.” AEN
Mars Chocolate North America Receives LEED Gold Certification More Than 30 Green Building Strategies Integrated into Renovations to Existing Facility.
Mars Chocolate Headquarters in Hackettstown, N.J.
Lobby in Mars Chocolate Headquarters
Mars Chocolate North America announced that its corporate headquarters facility located in Hackettstown, N.J., is the first private sector Commercial Interiors project in New Jersey to receive LEED Gold Certification—an internationally accepted benchmark for designing, constructing and operating green buildings—from the U.S. Green Building Council. The office is also the first existing Mars site globally to achieve this designation. LEED Gold certification is the culmination of months of work to incorporate more than 30 green building strategies into the renovation of the 100,000-square-foot office facility. Enhancements include the installation of water-conserving fixtures that reduce water usage by more than 30 percent; a reduction in energy use by 15 percent through the use of a newly upgraded Building Energy Management System, variable frequency drives and energy-efficient lighting and controls; an upgraded roof utilizing a highly reflective roofing material that reduces heat gain to the building; the utilization of more than 20 percent recycled content in materials, from carpet to ceiling tiles; and the installation of bike racks and preferred parking for carpools/vanpools. “The achievement of LEED Gold certification at the Mars Chocolate North America headquarters is a tremendous achievement and a testament to Mars’ commitment to the environment and to the
communities in which we conduct business,” said Todd Lachman, President of Mars Chocolate North America. “This accomplishment joins a host of others that comprise our larger sustainability strategy focused on sourcing, operations and our brands.” LEED certification of the Hackettstown corporate headquarters follows closely on the heels of the site’s November 2009 opening of the largest ground-based solar facility installed in New Jersey. The solar garden is comprised of more than 28,000 ground-mounted solar panels on 18 acres adjacent to Mars Chocolate North America’s headquarters, where more than 1,200 associates work and M&M’S ® Brand Chocolate Candies are manufactured. The solar garden provides 2 MW of power during peak hours, which is equivalent to approximately 20 percent of the plant’s peak energy consumption. It reduces carbon dioxide emissions by more than 1,000 metric tons, equivalent to removing 190 vehicles from the road each year. Mars Chocolate North America’s commitment to sustainability extends beyond its New Jersey headquarters. The company’s Waco, Texas, manufacturing plant was recognized by the federal Environmental Protection Agency for its use of methane gas from the local landfill to replace 60 percent of the site’s natural gas usage. Several of the company’s manufacturing facilities also recycle 95 percent of their waste, significantly reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill. AEN Alternative Energy News
Honeywell’s Envergent Technologies Selected by High North BioResources for Renewable Energy Project Envergent Technologies Providing Detailed Engineering to Build World’s Largest Fast Pyrolysis Plant for Biomass to Renewable Energy Generation. Envergent Technologies LLC, a Honeywell company, announced it has been selected by High North BioResources Ltd. Partnership to perform detailed engineering for a project to convert wood residuals to renewable heat and electricity. The High North facility, to be built in Alberta, Canada, will be the world’s largest fast pyrolysis plant for renewable heat and power generation, and is projected to process 400 bone-dry metric tons of sawmill residuals per day to produce more than 20 million gallons of pyrolysis oil annually. The pyrolysis oil, a light, clean-burning liquid produced by Envergent Technologies’ RTP® Rapid Thermal Processing technology, will be used to generate renewable electricity and heat for a co-located sawmill owned by Tolko Industries Ltd. The High North plant will also have the capability of producing a renewable resin ingredient that can be used in the manufacture of wood panel products. “This project demonstrates how use of RTP technology can turn biomass, such as wood residuals into a renewable source of energy while reducing a facility’s overall carbon footprint,” said Mark Reno, Managing Director for Honeywell’s Envergent Technologies joint venture. “We are proud to support High North to create the world’s largest fast pyrolysis plant for renewable heat and power generation.” Envergent Technologies will perform a site assessment and identify strategies for
integration with the Tolko sawmill, as well as provide equipment scoping, detailed engineering, a constructability analysis and a plant construction schedule for the RTP unit in support of High North’s plan for the facility. RTP technology works by rapidly heating biomass, such as wood chips or straw at ambient pressure to generate high yields of pyrolysis oil. The oil can be burned in industrial burners and furnaces for heat or to power electric generators.
Envergent Technologies is a joint venture of Honeywell’s UOP and Ensyn Corp. It combines nearly 100 years of refining and process technology development from UOP and more than 25 years of pyrolysis technology experience from Ensyn Corp. RTP is currently in use in seven commercial biomass processing plants in the U.S. and Canada. In addition to the use of pyrolysis oil for renewable power and heat, Envergent Technologies is also focused on development and commercialization of technology to
upgrade pyrolysis oil into green transportation fuels, and plans to have the technology available for license by 2012. A demonstration unit of this upgrading technology is currently in engineering design in Kapolei, Hawaii under a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. High North BioResources Ltd. Partnership was created by Tolko Industries Ltd. and Ensyn Technologies Inc. to build the world’s largest commercial fast pyrolysis plant in Alberta, Canada. AEN
An exsiting Honeywell FTP processing unit located in Renfrew, Ontario.
Autodesk Helps General Biodiesel Cost-Effectively Expand Operations Clean Tech Company Saves More Than $500,000 on Process Plant Improvements. General Biodiesel, a clean tech company focused on converting used cooking oil into low-carbon biofuel, used Digital Prototyping and piping and instrumentation diagramming (P&ID) software from Autodesk Inc., to expand and make process improvements to its main production facility. The company estimates that it saved more than $500,000 on the plant upgrade project. As part of its plant improvements, General Biodiesel used Autodesk Inventor and AutoCAD P&ID software to design a sophisticated pre-treatment system that enables higher yields from converting used cooking oil into fuel. This pre-treatment Alternative Energy News
system helps produce exceptionally clean-burning fuel and is one of the lowest carbon diesel alternatives available on the market, offering 85 percent less carbon dioxide emissions than conventional petroleum diesel. The Autodesk Clean Tech Partner Program—which provides software for emerging clean tech companies in North America and Europe—enabled General Biodiesel to combine Digital Prototyping technology with AutoCAD-based P&ID design to efficiently implement this state-of-the-art biodiesel production process within its plant. Autodesk partner IMAGINiT helped to provide the training to ensure successful deployment of the products.
3-D Imagery and Streamlined Process Design Accelerates Upgrade General Biodiesel’s designers used AutoCAD P&ID software to plan the facility upgrade, helping to enable faster and more detailed piping and instrumentation diagrams with more complete visualization of the project layout. The company also used AutoCAD P&ID to generate the bill of materials, making for more accurate reports and saving money through greater efficiency. Autodesk Inventor software helped the company produce compelling 3-D digital prototypes of the plant and equipment to quickly visualize and explore the viability of proposed changes. “Autodesk software was extremely helpful in streamlining and organizing our processes,”
said Cameron Hewes, President and Chief Financial Officer at General Biodiesel. “Using Autodesk Inventor and AutoCAD P&ID helped us design and make real-time incremental process changes that improved efficiency and throughput for our plant. By creating process flow diagrams, bill of materials and piping and instrumentation diagrams with Autodesk software, we significantly reduced our costs while improving our collaboration and efficiency.” “Clean tech companies are seeking every opportunity to free up time and money that can be devoted to the company’s core mission,” said Robert “Buzz” Kross, Senior Vice President, Autodesk Manufacturing Industry Group. “General Biodiesel is a prime example of how advantageous Digital Prototyping can be to drive efficient operations.” AEN 17
Solar Industry Continues to Grow Jonathan Port
President and CEO of PermaCity Solar
Executive Director of The Solar Foundation
AEN: Please tell our readers a little bit about yourself and how you became involved in the alternative energy industry. JP: I have an extensive background in sustainable energy, solar design and sustainable real estate development. I got into the renewable energy business deliberately. I saw that solar was becoming economically viable and I wanted to get on board as early as possible. Before I founded PermaCity Solar, I was President of 3Phases Energy Service, a renewable energy project developer and marketer company, which provides renewable energy solutions for corporations, institutions and utilities. I eventually helped grow 3Phases Energy Service into a multi-million dollar green energy supplier. Prior to that, I was Vice President of Development for Daystar Development where I was responsible for new construction of entertainment retail centers. I was also a member of the renowned economics consulting staff of Economics Research Associates, where I consulted on more than 70 projects, including California High Speed Rail and City of Pasadena downtown redevelopment. AEN: What can you tell us about your company and its commitment to solar energy? JP: PermaCity opened in 2003 and has since grown into a leading solar engineering procurement contractor in the U.S. with more than 30 MW of solar experience. The company was actually created based on my graduate thesis on the triggers of sustainability development. In those early days, there was a big problem with solar and the way it was engineered for rooftops. PV systems were very cumbersome and had a lot of extra weight, making it more expensive for the developer and customer in the end. So we had an opportunity to develop a different solar technology that was free-standing and actually worked with customer constraints. We were able to build the first free-standing PV system and designed a special bracket for the solar modules without rails. It may seem like a no-brainer today, but back then no one had really thought of it. We now have a patent on that particular racking system, which took more 18
than four years to issue. In 2006, we engineered and built the first Costco in Lancaster, Calif., with our innovative racking system. That was a big undertaking for PermaCity Solar because Costco is such a big customer. After its completion, Costco was very pleased but encouraged us to grow into a bigger company to accommodate their needs. We formed a partnership with Mangan Inc., a company specializing in engineering and automation, and since 2006, we’ve been able to make our own brackets and balance systems. PermaCity Solar now operates at a huge capacity with more than 230 professionals. AEN: Are there any new projects your company is currently working on? JP: Looking ahead to 2011, we will be finalizing patents on some exciting new racking systems. I can’t give all the details away just yet, but these systems look at solar engineering in a new, refreshing way. We recently completed a 432.5-kW solar power array for the Cathay Bank Corporate Center in El Monte, Calif. There were no major technological innovations, but the actual design of the structure is remarkable. The system has integrated lighting and doesn’t look like a typical industrial-grade parking garage. As you drive underneath it, the structure almost has a Grecian design—it looks like it’s magically suspended above your head. AEN: What are the biggest challenges facing the solar industry today? JP: Right now, we are still reeling from a weak economy, a confused financial system and so many people in need of employment. But it actually created a lot of interest in the solar market. I see the solar industry taking us to a sustainable society, assuming that the damage we’ve done can actually recover. The world is being restructured in how we use and produce energy, and it’s a very exciting time for solar. We have a corporate culture of execution and innovation, and see solar reaching deeper and deeper into the urban environment—it’s not just the manufacturing world anymore. AEN: Where do you see the solar industry headed in the next five to 10 years? JP: In the coming years I expect to see a surge in solar energy storage and transfer in vehicles. The electric car is huge right now and we’re not far from integrating solar into vehicles. When that happens, it will start to reduce some very expensive and very toxic forms of energy production. AEN
AEN: Please tell our readers why you became involved in the alternative energy industry. AL: As a lifelong environmentalist, I have always had a profound respect for technologies and policies that lessen our impact on the Earth. I graduated from the University of Minnesota and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where I earned the Center for Economic Development fellowship. My passion to preserve nature drove me to become a founding member of a nonprofit focused on rainforest conservation in Central America. It also drove me to work overseas on development projects centered on reforestation, pollution controls and creating a sustainable local economy. A few years ago, I was hired to lead the city of Milwaukee’s solar program, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar America Cities initiative. As the lead on this exciting, multi-year project, I was tasked with creating a comprehensive solar program from the ground up, convening a team of industry and community stakeholders and leveraging their financial support and technical expertise. My team and I were successful in creating a sustainable solar infrastructure that has since received broad support from elected officials and the business community. Some of the most interesting initiatives that I had a hand in creating were the Milwaukee Metro Solar Hot Water Business Council, Milwaukee’s PACE legislation, and a public school solar learning competition. In August of 2010, I was recruited to lead The Solar Foundation in Washington, D.C. AEN: What can you tell us about The Solar Foundation? AL: The Solar Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, non-lobbying organization founded in 1977 (formerly called the Solar Energy Research and Education Foundation) that strives to increase the widespread adoption of solar energy through research, education and market transformation. We are a national solar-focused nonprofit and our research and education efforts are on the front-line, driving the solar market and helping people recognize the value of solar as a clean energy source that promotes energy security, creates jobs and builds local economic development. AEN: Are there any new projects you are
currently working on? AL: Rapid increase of solar generation throughout the country has warranted a credible study that examines the size and scope of the solar workforce that, until now, has been lacking. On Oct. 13, 2010, we released the National Solar Jobs Census 2010 report which, for the first time, examined the size and scope of the solar industry and its potential for growth. We were pleasantly surprised by what the Census found: There are nearly 100,000 solar workers in America today (double what we originally thought) and the solar industry is creating jobs at an astounding 26 percent job growth rate. We are also engaged in education and outreach. As part of a five-year partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy, The Solar Foundation offers technical expertise to local governments interested in creating solar programs and policies. I am particularly enthusiastic about this partnership because I have witnessed firsthand how local governments can become huge drivers in moving the solar market by attracting companies, establishing the right policies, creating energy reduction goals, leading by example, streamlining the permitting process, engaging utilities, and creating jobs. AEN: What are the biggest challenges facing the solar industry today? AL: Although the solar industry is beginning to mature, I think it still faces two major challenges: lack of consumer awareness about solar and a dearth of financing to reduce upfront installation costs. There is almost unanimous public support for solar. If we can increase awareness about the value of solar, and what it takes to ‘go solar,’ we can achieve the kind of industry scale that positively impacts air quality and puts more people back to work. Our research at The Solar Foundation is data driven and fact-based, providing consumers and policy-makers with information to help them establish objective and formative knowledge about solar, leading to better, more empowered decisions. AEN: Where do you see the solar industry headed in the next five to 10 years? AL: Up and up. Capacity is expected to double this year and solar jobs are expected to increase by 26 percent by next year. In five to 10 years from now, I think solar could be the largest source of new energy coming online, cutting the need for coal plants and powering our vehicles and buildings. It’s hard to imagine a less reliable form of energy and people are finally starting to recognize this. AEN Alternative Energy News
Legal Incentive to Encourage the Adoption of EVs BY JACK JACOBS
In December, Nissan will finally release the new Leaf, a zero-emission, all-electric vehicle (EV). This historic event is right up there with asphalt being laid down for the first time beneath the Champs-Elysees in 1824, and the ‘57 Chevy sprouting fins. The Leaf has the potential to decrease the U.S. dependence on oil, increase energy security and save its owners thousands of dollars each year in gasoline costs. But if we don’t build an infrastructure to support EVs, then 50 years from now, Michael Moore’s grandchildren will probably make a sequel to “Who Killed the Electric Car.” Even though the Leaf has a range of more than 100 miles and research shows that 72 percent of consumers drive fewer than 50 miles a day, all EVs still need to be recharged at some point. So having a charging station at home, the workplace, public parking lots and shopping centers, would certainly increase adoption of EVs, decrease “range-anxiety,” and reduce the overall stresses of adopting this exciting new technology. Progressive lawmakers around the country have begun to acknowledge the infrastructure challenges and enacting innovative incentive programs to encourage individuals and business owners to install EV charging stations everywhere. The Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property Credit is a federal program that allows for an income tax deduction of up to half the cost of EV recharging equipment. Similarly, New York, Georgia, Oregon and Colorado, have all implemented similar tax incentives ranging from 10 to 50 percent of the cost of installing EV charging stations. Businesses in Oklahoma can receive a tax credit for up to 75 percent of the cost of installing alternative fueling infrastructure, and city mayors in San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland, Calif., have enacted policies that include expediting the permit and installation processes for charging outlets and providing incentives for employers and other organizations who install charging infrastructure at the workplace and other parking facilities. Companies that reimburse employees for transportation expenses may be inclined to install an EV charging station even without these new programs, because electricity is always going to be cheaper than gasoline. Non-monetary incentives, such as boosting employee morale, corporate sustainable responsibility and obtaining LEED certification, are also pushing businesses to install charging stations. The age of the EV is finally upon us. With the enactment of innovative policies, smart legislation and strong consumer demand we will hopefully witness the widespread adoption of EVs throughout the U.S. and around the world. Jack Jacobs is the Founder and Managing Partner of Cleantech Law Partners, a boutique law firm that represents renewable energy project developers and cleantech companies. A special thanks to Rachel McClure for her help in preparing this article. Jacobs can be reached at email@example.com. AEN
Leading Advanced Biofuel Groups Meet at the White House to Discuss Future of Biofuel Industry
eaders of the advanced biofuel industry personally delivered an important message to the Obama Administration at a White House meeting that included representatives of the Advanced Biofuels Association (ABFA), the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) and Algal Biomass Organization (ABO). The leaders’ message emphasized the vital role the advanced biofuel industry plays in achieving America’s energy security while strengthening the nation’s economy by creating premium new jobs. In October, the groups representing more than 100 advanced biofuels, renewable chemicals and bio-based product member companies, delivered a letter to President Obama, thanking him for his “commitment to developing secure, sustainable, domestic alternatives to imported petroleum.” The joint letter also offered to assist the President as his administration develops and implements an “aggressive, comprehensive national advanced biofuels policy—one that maximizes innovation and drives commercialization of technologies that hold the greatest promise to reduce our dependence
on petroleum, create high quality opportunities for American workers, and deliver a sustainable, low-carbon future for transportation and manufacturing in the U.S.” ABFA President Michael McAdams commented, “We are committed to be an active partner as the President and Congress transform our nation’s energy policy through long-term and sustainable solutions that include advanced biofuels. Our industry must continue to demonstrate our value to leaders in Washington and find a way to deliver more certainty in public policy frameworks that will quicken the pace and enhance the ability to finance the building of commercial advanced biofuels facilities and ultimately create more energy diversity, environmental sustainability and greater economic prosperity for America and countries around the world.” Brent Erickson, Executive Vice President of BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section, stated, “The U.S. needs to rapidly develop and produce large volumes of advanced biofuels to reduce reliance on foreign oil. Right now, there are more than
65 planned and operating projects in more than 30 states seeking ways to rapidly scale up production of advanced biofuels and biobased products. Already the industry has begun creating jobs and investment opportunities for industry, rural growers, and research institutions. We look forward to working with the White House and Congress to implement a comprehensive national policy that will drive commercial development of the most promising advanced biofuels and biobased products.” ABO Executive Director Mary Rosenthal stated, “We continue to reach new and impressive milestones in the development of advanced biofuels from algal biomass, as evidenced by last week’s successful test by the U.S. Navy of a Riverine Command Boat powered by algae-based fuel. With increased certainty and parity in public policy will come the needed public and private sector investments to help the advanced biofuels industry create jobs in every corner of the U.S., fostering greater energy independence and national security. Algae is a feedstock that can do this.” AEN
HUD Awards Nearly $100 Million in New Grants to Promote Smarter and Sustainable Planning F
or the first time ever, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is awarding nearly $100 million in new grants to support more livable and sustainable communities across the country. HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan announced that 45 regional areas will receive funding through a new initiative intended to build economic competitiveness by connecting housing with good jobs, quality schools and transportation. HUD’s new Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program will support state, local and tribal governments, as well as metropolitan planning organizations, in the development and execution of regional plans that integrate affordable housing with neighboring retail and business development. Many of the grants will leverage existing infrastructure and all reward local collaboration and innovation. “Regions that embrace sustainable communities will have a built-in competitive edge in attracting jobs and private investment,” said Donovan. “Planning our communities smarter means parents will spend less time driving and more time with their children; more families will live in safe, stable communities near good schools and jobs; and more businesses will have access to the capital and talent they need to grow and prosper. In awarding these grants we were committed to using insight and innovation from our stakeholders and
Alternative Energy News
local partners to develop a ‘bottom-up’ approach to changing federal policy as opposed to ‘top-down.’ Rather than sticking to the old Washington playbook of dictating how communities can invest their grants, HUD’s application process encouraged creative, locally focused thinking.” These grants are part of the Obama Administration’s Partnership for Sustainable Communities, which brings HUD, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency together to ensure that the agencies’ policies, programs and funding consider affordable housing, transportation and environmental protection together. This inter-agency collaboration gets better results for communities and uses taxpayer money more efficiently. Coordinating federal investments in infrastructure, facilities and services meets multiple economic, environmental and community objectives with each dollar spent. The partnership is helping communities across the country to create more housing choices, make transportation more efficient and reliable, reinforce existing investments, and support vibrant and healthy neighborhoods that attract businesses. At a time when every dollar the federal government invests in jump-starting the economy is critical, the President’s plan ensures that all these agencies are coordinating efforts and targeting resources with precision. Reflecting
this new collaboration, these grants were judged by a multidisciplinary review team, drawn from eight federal agencies and from partners in philanthropy. HUD’s inaugural grants under this program will support metropolitan and multi-jurisdictional planning efforts that incorporate housing, land use, economic development, transportation and infrastructure. This holistic planning approach will benefit diverse areas across the U.S. including $25.6 million split evenly between regions with populations less than 500,000 and rural places (fewer than 200,000 people). HUD is reserving $2 million to help all of these areas build the needed capacity to execute their plans. The grants are awarded through one of two categories. One category of grants will assist regional planning for sustainable development where such plans do not currently exist. A second category of funding will support the implementation of existing sustainability plans. Shelley Poticha, the Director of HUD’s new Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities said, “The response to this program is huge. We were inundated with applications from every state and two territories—from central cities to rural areas and tribal governments. This program was designed by people from local government and incorporated local input at every stage.” AEN 19
Dominion Foundation Awards $500,000 in Higher Education Grants Projects Focus on Work Force Knowledge, Skills and Energy Conservation. The Dominion Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Dominion Resources, has awarded $500,000 in grants to colleges and community colleges in Virginia. “This new program was created specifically for higher education,” said William C. Hall Jr., a Vice President of Dominion and President of The Dominion Foundation. “We see the importance in funding and cultivating the innovative studies that are happening at our colleges and universities and their potential for the future.” Grants ranging from $10,000 to $40,000 will support programs in business, skilled craft, engineering, environmental and technical studies, and for student-led conservation programs.
Grant recipients include: • Thomas Nelson Community College, Hampton, received $10,000 to help students explore wind turbine technology and design. • Virginia Highlands Community College in Abingdon was awarded $30,000 to support a student-run solar energy coffee shop where students will learn about energy conservation and alternative energies, as well as how to run a business. • Virginia State University in Petersburg received $40,000 for students to perform energy audits for elderly homeowners with the goal of saving 30 percent on heating and cooling costs. • Virginia Union University in Richmond will use $40,000 to implement Six Sigma business management tools to
define problems, collect and analyze data, and submit solutions. Dominion, its charitable foundation and its employees this year will donate millions of dollars and more than 125,000 volunteer hours in programs that help improve the quality of life for people in the states in which Dominion operates. The Dominion Foundation’s focus areas include preservation of natural resources, work force development and education, diversity initiatives, neighborhood and community development, and basic needs for food and shelter. Dominion is one of the nation’s largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of approximately 27,600 MW of generation. Dominion operates the nation’s largest natural gas storage system and serves retail energy customers in 12 states. AEN
Canada Trade Show Will Spotlight Solar Opportunities BY LORRIE BAUMANN
Ontario, Canada is outpacing 49 of the 50 U.S. states in solar installations, as measured either by number of installations or megawatts generated, according to Elizabeth McDonald, President of CanSIA, the Canadian trade association for solar industries. On the North American continent, only California has more solar capacity. That figure defies the common perception that Canada’s cold winter means sunless skies, but in fact, Ontario’s winter is cold but frequently sunny. “We have excellent solar resources—better than Germany or Japan and some states of the U.S.,” McDonald said. Even the cold weather is beneficial, since PV panels operate more efficiently at
lower temperatures. “It’s a big misconception that because it’s cold, there’s no solar,” she said. “Some of our most beautiful days are in the wintertime.” Ontario is helping its solar industry make good use of that resource through its Green Energy and Green Economy Act, which provides a robust feed-in tariff program. The FIT ranges from 44.3 cents(C)/kWh for large-scale groundmount installations to 80.2 cents(C)/kWh for residential rooftop installations under 10 kW. The FIT applies for the next 20 years. Overall, Canada already produces 70 percent of its energy through hydropower. By adding to the nation’s electrical
generation capacity through bio energy, solar, wind power and water power, Canada hopes to create 25,000 to 45,000 jobs in Canada by 2025. Since it’s already an economic leader among the Canadian provinces, the majority of those jobs are expected to be created in Ontario, where provincial authorities are offering incentives to alternative energy-related enterprises based in Canada and elsewhere, including the U.S.—as long as the operations will provide job opportunities for people who live in Ontario. Learn more about this by visiting Solar Canada 2010, CanSIA’s annual conference and trade show, which will be held December 6 and 7 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre or visit www.cansia.ca. AEN
KGRA Energy Corporation Receives Grant from the State of Pennsylvania The $750,000 Grant Will Support a Waste-Heat-to-Power Project Connected to a Natural Gas Gathering Station in Bradford County. KGRA Energy Corporation has received a $750,000 grant from the State of Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection towards the construction of a waste heat-to-power project. The co-generation facility will be located in Bradford County, Pa., and will harvest the heat from reciprocating engines at a natural gas compression station currently under construction by a major U.S. natural gas company. It will produce approximately 1.26 MW of clean, renewable electricity 20
from a generator linked to an organic Rankine cycle power system. The grant, administered by the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority, is designed to drive the advanced and renewable energy technology marketplace, and further the implementation of energy efficient technologies. Funding for the grant was provided by three sources including: the state Growing Greener II funds, the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, and Duquesne Light Settlement Fund. “We are honored to be among this select group of renewable energy companies recognized by the state of Pennsylvania as having projects that will advance its goals of innovation, job creation and clean
energy production,” stated Jason Gold, KGRA’s Chief Executive Officer. “This project, which will harness exhaust heat from reciprocating engines is one of the first of its kind and will open the door to many more megawatts of clean renewable power in the Marcellus Shale area.” With an up-time ratio of 95 percent, KGRA’s facility is estimated to produce 10 million kWh of emission-free electricity per year—displacing the equivalent of more than 16 million lbs. of carbon dioxide and producing enough electricity for more than 900 residences—all from the wasted exhaust heat from gas-powered engines. AEN
Siemens Wins $38.5 Million GSA Task Order Award for Building EnergyEfficiency Projects Across the Southwest Siemens Government Services Inc. (SGS), an integrator of Siemens’ products, services and solutions to the federal government, announced that it recently received a $38.5 million task order award from the General Services Administration (GSA) to implement energy efficiency improvements to 39 federal government facilities across the Greater Southwest Region (Region 7). The Department of Energy (DOE) Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) will be managed and delivered from SGS through Siemens Industry Inc.’s Building Technologies Division. “Siemens is proud to work with the federal government to apply its energy conservation expertise to help federal buildings achieve overall energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals,” said Dave Mangano, Senior Vice President, Field Operations, Siemens Building Technologies Division. “As the largest single user of energy in the U.S., the federal government is leading by example and is committed to improving the energy efficiency of America’s publicly-owned building stock, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing the nation’s energy security. With more than 110 branch locations and some 9,000 employees here in the U.S., the Building Technologies Division and SGS are uniquely positioned to help federal agencies meet these challenges head on.” During the 26-month implementation period, Siemens will deliver renewable energy and building automation systems including solar photovoltaic generating technologies and sophisticated heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), advanced irrigation and lighting control systems. Water-conserving plumbing and energy-efficient lighting fixtures, heating and cooling system upgrades and building envelope improvements, such as thermal pane windows and insulation, will also be installed during the construction phase. When the construction phase is complete, the project’s comprehensive list of improvements are expected to yield the equivalent of $1.7 million in guaranteed energy savings in the program’s first year—an amount projected to increase to an aggregate $2.6 million annually under the savings performance targets set by the individual performance contracts in Region 7. AEN
Alternative Energy News
New Solution for Shearing
Metal Roofing Clips and Accessories
Titanium Zinc Alloy
The StoneCutter Shear from Swenson Shear is the new solution for shearing popular stone-coated steel roofing products. Shearing is simple, reducing the dangers and power demands of hot sawing methods while eliminating the need for taxing hand snips. This shear is a welcomed addition to an already proven line of non-powered tools.
Dallas Metal Products Inc. is a full metal roofing supplier. We carry all the products to meet your roofing needs from metal panels, radius panels and trim to roofing clips, rivets and screws. Please see our product catalog for a complete listing of products.
RHEINZINK® is a titanium zinc copper alloy developed for the building industry that complies with the strictest environmental standards and is 100 percent recyclable. Environmentally-friendly, long lasting and maintenance-free are qualities that make RHEINZINK the ideal material. With many detail variations possible, RHEINZINK complements both traditional and modern architecture.
PPG Industries’ Duranar ® VARI-Cool™ coatings blend IR-reflective pigments that keep buildings cool with color-shifting pigments that give them new dimensions of color, depth and texture. PPG also has more than 300 ULTRA-Cool ® colors registered with the Cool Roof Ratings Council to provide architects with a colorful array of sustainable building solutions.
RHEINZINK America Inc. (tel) 781-729-0812 www.rheinzink.com
PPG Industries, Inc. (tel) 888-PPG-IDEA www.ppgideascapes.com
SynFelt Underlayment is Stronger, Lighter and Faster
New Clamp Mounting Rail System for Solar Panel Installations
DC-Powered Tracking Actuators for Solar Tracking Systems
Coverlite corrugated MR 9" and MR 12" polycarbonate panels are environmentally-friendly for the metal roofing industry. UV protection prevents the sheets from yellowing, which means the light transmission will remain high during its lifespan. During the installation process, scrap pieces can be brought to local recycling centers instead of being thrown into the dumpster since they are 100 percent recyclable.
Alpha ProTech’s REX™ is a woven synthetic underlayment engineered to be 20 times stronger than felt. It won’t rip when walked on or buckle when wet. SynFelt is also incredibly lightweight; a 250-foot roll (10 squares) weighs 28 lbs. SynFelt also features a pre-printed nailing pattern and a light gray color that stays cooler.
AmeriLux International (tel) 888-602-4441 www.ameriluxinternational.com
Alpha ProTech (tel) 800-749-1363 www.alphaprotech.com
DPW Solar, a wholly owned subsidiary of Preformed Line Products Company announces its newest addition to the Power Rail™ family: the P6 Top-Clamp Mounting System and the RAD™ Fastener. The new lightweight rail is designed to reduce installation time and overall costs for parallel-to-roof or tilted module mounting applications on standing seam or corrugated metal roofs. The mounting system features single tool assembly, four-foot span capability at 130 mph and an integral wiring channel for a professional finish. The new revolutionary RAD (Random Access “D” shaped) Fastener features fast twist-in placement anywhere along the P6 rail.
With high dynamic and static load capabilities, DC-powered tracking actuators provide the strength for many different types of tracker designs, including single axis ground-mounted designs, pole-mounted two axis designs and even CPV (concentrated PV). DC-powered actuators can also provide positioning feedback, while newer solutions, like the LINAK LA36 Solar Tracker Actuator, offer direct Modbus compatibility. LINAK products can make a positive difference in the solar market, which is why the company has made solar tracking a main focus area. LINAK customers can take advantage of their experienced support staff and global presence.
DPW Solar (tel) 800-260-3792 www.dpwsolar.com
LINAK U.S. Inc. (tel) 502-253-5595 www.linak.com
Dallas Metal Products Inc. (tel) 888-443-6875 www.dallasmetalproducts.com
Swenson Shear (tel) 877-588-8748 www.swensonshear.com
Eco-Friendly Roofing Panels
Are you launching a new product? Alternative Energy News
Let us know about it! E-mail AENeditor@oser.com with “AEN: New Product” in the subject line for a list of what to include and deadlines.
Alternative Energy News
INDUSTRY calendar • 2010-11 WHEN
PV Power Plants 2010 USA
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Solar Canada 2010
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
4th International Conference on Integration of Renewable and Distributed Energy Resources
Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
AWEA Small and Community Wind Conference
Portland, Oregon, USA
ACORE Phase II of Renewable Energy in America National Policy Forum
Washington, D.C., USA
World Energy Engineering Congress
Washington, D.C., USA
Orlando, Florida, USA
SEIA Sitting Workshop
San Diego, California, USA
World Future Energy Summit 2011
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Wind Power Romania
Synergistic SuperGrid for Transmitting Energy Overseas 2011
London, United Kingdom
Inverter and PV System Technology
Smart Energy Summit: Engaging the Consumer
Austin, Texas, USA
Solar Power Generation USA
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
5th Annual Central and Eastern European Power
Prague, Czech Republic
January 31-February 2
4th Annual EUEC-Energy and Environment Conference
Phoenix, Arizona, USA
Offshore Wind Power
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Offshore Wind Farms: Construction & Installation 2011
International Conference on Energy Systems and Technologies
International Conference on Product Development and Renewable Energy Resources 2011
Solar Power Australia 2011
Melbourne, VIC, Australia
San Francisco, California, USA
Alternative Energy News