- Lloyd’s Register Energy has released a new Guidance Note that provides a step-by-step approach for industry on how to develop and operate new technologies in a safe, reliable and environmentally friendly way. John Yates with Lloyd’s Register says the new Technology Guidance Note represents a recommended practice with a goal-based approach to risk that can be applied to any technology, from unconventional LNG offloading arrangements through to subsea processing, and even new wind and wave technology.
- IKEA has announced plans to increase the solar array atop its Detroit-area store that opened eight years ago in Canton, MI. In September, IKEA began work on a 44,000-square-foot expansion to the store, atop which new panels will be installed beginning Spring 2015, with a completion by Summer. The 40,000-square-foot solar addition will consist of a 240.9-kW system built with 765 panels, and will produce 287,490 kWh more of electricity annually for the store.
- SunEdison, Inc. has announced they have executed power purchase agreements with 16 separate public housing authorities across Massachusetts, totaling 39.5 megawatts in peak capacity. Over the next 20 years, SunEdison’s solar systems will save these housing authorities an estimated $60 million in avoided electricity costs.
- 8minutenergy Renewables has announced that it has joined board of directors for the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy. 8minutenergy has over 1,100 megawatts (MW) in power purchase agreements (PPAs), has successfully built 260 MW and has 15,000 acres of land under contract.
A new Green-e certification program has been launched by the Center for Resource Solutions. The program is targeted to organizations that build clean energy projects or contract for renewable energy from these facilities. Apple, who received the 2014 Green Power Leadership Awards, is the first company to participate in Green-e Direct, which certifies the energy that the company generates from renewable resources and purchases directly including solar, wind and geothermal energy.
Green-e worked closely with Apple to develop the new certification option that offers independent, third-party oversight over the renewable electricity’s chain of custody beginning with generation and ending at retirement. Green-e Direct also offers participants assurance that the electricity will not be double-counted or double-claimed by regulations or other electricity users, and confirmation that the electricity meets the environmental quality requirements in the Green-e Energy National Standard.
“We developed this new Green-e certification option so that renewable energy leaders like Apple can have the assurances and recognition of Green-e certification for their direct renewable energy purchases and onsite generation,” said Jennifer Martin, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Resource Solutions. “We are excited to continue working with Apple as they set the example for companies looking to power their operations with 100% renewable energy.”
Green-e Direct is intended to encourage long-term commitments by organizations that want to reduce the environmental impact of their electricity use, while providing a way to help recognize and promote leading companies that invest in clean energy. Renewable electricity certified through Green-e is subject to an extensive third-party verification process that ensures the energy meets the highest standards for quality in North America, and is eligible for use in a wide range of environmental standards, including LEED, B Corp., and Cradle to Cradle.
Martin added, “Green-e Direct reduces some of the complexity and uncertainty for companies that contract directly for clean energy. They want a clear message to their stakeholders about the difference they are making, and we can guide them through the complicated tracking and claims process, while certifying their clean energy use.”
Green-e Direct is available through Green-e, a nonprofit certification program that certifies renewable energy that meets environmental and consumer protection standards developed in conjunction with leading environmental, energy, and policy organizations.
Navy and Marine Corps housing units in San Diego, California will be receiving rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems through a purchase power agreement between Lincoln Military Housing and SolarCity. The program will provide solar power to nearly 6,000 homes across 27 privatized neighborhoods, and with pending design and interconnection approvals could generate up to 20 megawatts (MW) of solar energy.
“Our Department of the Navy goal is to ensure that at least 50 percent of our shore-based energy comes via alternative sources,” said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. “By establishing these sources of renewable energy we ensure both energy independence and cost savings well into the future. This agreement is another step toward achieving our one gigawatt goal.”
Back in 2009 Congress mandated the Department of Defense (DOD) to use at least 25 percent of its electricity needs generated from renewable energy.
Jarl Bliss, president of Lincoln Military Housing said of the agreement, “For the last few years, we have worked closely with the Department of the Navy to find a renewable energy program which will greatly benefit our military families and support our Navy partner in reaching its renewable energy goals. Through this agreement with SolarCity, Lincoln projects savings of at least $60 million over the 20-year term that can be reinvested in project sustainment.”
San Diego Family Housing, LLC will purchase all the electricity produced by the systems at below the cost of brown power over the 20-year term of the agreement. SolarCity will be responsible for the design, installation, monitoring and maintenance of the PV systems.
SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive added, “Energy in the United States needs to become cleaner, more secure and more affordable, and few realize this more clearly than the leadership of the Department of the Navy. With this SolarStrong project, Lincoln Military Housing is contributing to the well-being of its residents, and to the nation.”
- SunEdison, Inc. and its yieldco platform, TerraForm Power, Inc. have signed a definitive agreement to acquire First Wind for $2.4 billion. Equally owned by D.E. Shaw & Co. and Madison Dearborn Partners, First Wind is a leading independent wind and solar development and asset management company in the U.S. Marathon Capital served as an advisor to the Board of Managers of First Wind Holdings, LLC.
- Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. announced the achievement of commercial operation of the 24 MW Phase I St. Damase Wind Project in Quebec under the terms of the power purchase agreement with Hydro Quebec. St. Damase I consists of 10 Enercon E-92, 2.35 MW wind turbine generators. St. Damase I is expected to produce an average of 76.9 GW-hrs of electricity per year.
- The Ross Solar Group has reached an agreement with Gengras Motor Cars Inc. to install the two largest single SunPower rooftop solar installations to date in East Hartford, Conn. The systems will be located at the dealership group’s Volvo and Chevrolet facilities on Connecticut Blvd. Comprised of 1,124 high-efficiency SunPower Panels, the two systems are expected to generate in excess of 450,000 kilowatt hours of clean energy per year.
- Edeniq, Inc. has announced a Joint Development Agreement with Global Bio-chem Technology Group Limited. Following a letter of intent forged in July, the companies further cement their cooperation on developing the lowest cost process for converting corn stover to cellulosic sugars for use in the production of bio-based chemical products. Edeniq and Global Bio-chem plan to integrate their technologies in a commercial demonstration plant at Global Bio-chem’s facility in the Jilin Province of China.
Cerritos College located in Norwalk, California has announced a new training program to certify military veterans and other applicants to meet the growing need for electrical field service technicians (EFSTs). These are the workers who help to maintain solar power and electric vehicle infrastructure.
The program is the result of a partnership among Cerritos College’s Technology Division, the Advanced Transportation & Renewable Energy (ATRE) sector, a California Community Colleges workforce program, and True South Renewables, Inc. The five-month college certification program will teach students how to maintain and repair solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and equipment needing general maintenance. Cerritos College and ATRE worked closely with True South Renewables to develop the extensive curriculum for this unique program.
“This is an important initiative to provide military personnel who were electricians in the service with training to receive certification in a high-paying, growing civilian field,” said Rue Phillips, CEO of True South Renewables based in Huntington Beach, Calif. “In addition, these graduates are needed. Few outside the solar power industry are aware of the volume of operations and maintenance work required to ensure the optimum performance of large solar fields and photovoltaic systems on commercial and residential rooftops.”
Classes start Jan. 12, 2015 at the Cerritos College campus and applications are now being accepted. Applicants must be experienced electricians with accumulated service knowledge and skills in the electronics/electrician and IT sectors. Qualified U.S. veterans are being prioritized for entry and will be able to secure financial support upon acceptance.
“We are proud to offer this program to the community, enabling qualified veterans, the unemployed and under-employed to receive training that fills a critical shortage of technicians in the trillion-dollar solar and EV markets,” added Jannet Malig, ATRE regional director based at Cerritos College. “Graduates of the program will be introduced to industry leaders with the expectation that we will achieve 99% job placement for graduating students.”
Lloyd Register Energy has launched a new Wind Turbine Certification IEC 61400 service. The goal of the certification is to help overcome many of the technical, financial and environmental risks associated with turbine design and manufacturing. It will also ensure that the wind turbine is designed, documented and manufactured to comply with design specifications, specific standards and other technical requirements.
Ross Wigg, VP Renewables at Lloyd’s Register Energy said, “Success in the wind energy industry requires multi-disciplinary competences to understand the wind resource; choose appropriate technology; and design, install, and operate robust projects. With the certification landscape changing, we have launched this new certification service to address a growing need in the market for independent provision of type certification for onshore and offshore wind turbines.”
The Lloyd’s Register Type Certification process is carried out in accordance with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) — IEC 61400-22 — which is an internationally recognized and a mandatory requirement in some regions. It sets out the key requirements for assessment of wind turbine design, manufacturing and testing.
“We feel that clients in Europe, America and Asia could benefit from a fresh, more intuitive, approach while retaining the technical excellence already associated with Lloyd’s Register Energy as an acknowledged independent global certification and classification company,” added Wigg.
The company also has launched a pre-certification ‘SMART Audit’ module specifically designed to plan for innovation challenges in future technology advances. Its experts conduct a full audit of a client’s early stage design, management systems and resource so they can make adjustments where necessary. A pre-certification audit is then put in place to plan for likely technical or innovation challenges which can be worked through in advance and minimizing delays further down the line.
- Hanwha SolarOne Co. Ltd. has announced it has completed the delivery of 20 MW of Hanwha SolarOne’s high quality E-star HSL72 modules to Haike Engineering Holding Co., Ltd. Deliveries were made throughout November to a ground-mounted project in Dunhuang, Gansu Province, China.
- Eternal Sun B.V. announced that it has closed a €2 Million ($2.5 Million) Series A financing from Belgian investment firm Vermec N.V. The Delft based high-tech company that is specialized in solar simulation technology will use the investment to expand international sales and service operations.
- Maryland-based Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) and partners Marubeni and Toyota Tsusho have broken ground on the $775 million, 725 megawatt CPV St. Charles Energy Center in Waldorf, Charles County, Maryland. Located 25 miles southeast of Washington, DC, the CPV St. Charles Energy Center is a state-of-the-art 725 MW combined-cycle natural gas-fired electric power generating facility. The project will be constructed by SNC Lavalin Constructors Inc. and operated by EthosEnergy Power Plant Services, LLC.
- ReneSola Ltd. has announced the expansion of its North American operations into Canada. The company has opened a new office and warehouse facilities in Mississauga, Ontario.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Tom Vilsack has announced the availability of $6.5 million in grants to 220 producers throughout the country to support their efforts to produce advanced biofuels. There is also an additional $4 million in grants dedicated to advanced the bioeconomy.
“Producing advanced biofuel is a major component of the drive to take control of America’s energy future by developing domestic, renewable energy sources,” said Vilsack. “These resources represent the Obama Administration’s commitment to support an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy that seeks to build a robust bio-based economy. Investments in biofuels will also help create jobs and further diversify the economy in our rural communities.”
The funding is being provided through USDA’s Advanced Biofuel Payment Program, which was established in the 2008 Farm Bill. Under this program, payments are made to eligible producers based on the amount of advanced biofuel produced from renewable biomass, other than corn kernel starch. Examples of eligible feedstocks include but are not limited to: crop residue; animal, food and yard waste; vegetable oil; and animal fat.
In other news, USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced the award of fiscal year 2014 grants through three other programs supporting bioenergy initiatives.
- The National Biodiesel Board and Regents of the University of Idaho received $768,000 and $192,000 respectively, through the Biodiesel Fuel Education Program. The program was established to stimulate biodiesel consumption and the development of a biodiesel infrastructure.
- South Dakota State University (SDSU) received $2.3 million through the Sun Grant Program. This program encourages bioenergy and biomass research collaboration between government agencies, land-grant colleges and universities, and the private sector.
- Through the Critical Agricultural Materials program, Iowa State University of Science and Technology received $1 million for the development of new paint, coating, and adhesive products that are derived from acrylated glycerol, which is a co-product of the biodiesel industry.
- Continuing its strategy of creating and delivering exceptional wind analysis and development tools, AWS Truepower, LLC, an international leader in renewable energy consulting and information services, has purchased the Windographer software from Mistaya Engineering, Inc. Windographer is a market-leading software for analyzing, visualizing, and validating wind resource data from meteorological towers and remote sensing systems. These data are fundamental to accurately estimating the amount of energy that will be produced by wind projects.
- POWER magazine has announced its list of Top Renewable Plants for 2014: Agua Caliente Solar Project, Yuma County, Arizona; Ashta Hydropower Plant, Shkoder, Albania; Hometown BioEnergy, Le Sueur, Minnesota; London Array Offshore Wind Farm, Outer Thames Estuary, UK; and Solana Generating Station, Maricopa County, Arizona.
- Local dignitaries and more than one hundred attendees attended the Ribbon Cutting and Grand Opening of Corridor Clean Fuels’ new CNG fueling station, located at the Hobo Pantry Chevron at 735 Ross Clark Circle in Dothan, AL. The new station includes (2) 250 hp compressor packages and two internal card reading CNG dispensers, each with light-duty and heavy-duty nozzles.
- Alstom, together with GDF SUEZ, has been chosen by the Prime Minister to supply equipment for a tidal energy pilot farm at Raz Blanchard, west of the Cotentin peninsula (Manche), following the findings of a study conducted by the ADEME. This choice was made as part of the “Programme des Investissements d’Avenir,” for which the French Government initiated a Call for Expressions of Interest (CEI) back in September 2013. Four Oceade 18 – 1.4MW tidal turbines, as well as an Alstom electrical subsea hub will be installed at this high-potential tidal site. The 5.6 MW sea-based project is slated to begin in 2017 and is expected to operate for a period of 20 years.
Alstom has opened its first offshore wind turbine production plants in Saint-Nazaire, France. On hand for an inauguration event was French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, Alstom Chairman and Managing Director Patrick Kron and Alstom Renewable Power Chairman Jérôme Pécresse. The new facilities will manufacture nacelles and generators for the Haliade 150-6MW turbines while the towers and blades will be made in the Alstom plants in Cherbourg. The plants will produce, on average, 100 machines per day and will be fully operational in early 2015. Delivery is expected to begin during the first quarter and includes 5 turbines intended for the Block Island wind farm in the U.S.
The plants in Saint-Nazaire will also be assembling the 238 offshore turbines that are planned to equip the three facilities installed by EDF, the exclusive partner of Alstom on the French market, in Saint-Nazaire, Courseulles-sur-Mer and Fécamp starting in 2017.
“The inauguration of the Saint-Nazaire facility represents a milestone in Alstom’s story and in the country’s own industrial history,” said Kron. “These new plants are France’s first offshore wind turbine production factories. Thanks to them, we shall now be in a position to serve the French market as well as to meet a growing international demand.”
The Haliade 150-6MW wind turbine is designed for a marine setting. Thanks to a rotor exceeding 150 metres in diameter, the turbine’s yield is 15% higher than that of other same-generation wind turbines according to Alstom. With 6 MW of power.
Pécresse added, “Through the construction of those new plants, Alstom is upholding its determination to be one of the leaders in a French industrial sector of excellence devoted to renewable energy, and to ensure the sustainability of a Renewable Ocean Energy industry intended to claim an early position in a global market, by involving all our partners.”
Walmart is expanding its commitment to solar energy with its announcement that it will install up to 400 new solar projects at stores across the country over the next four years. The company has set goals to produce or procure seven billion kWh of renewable energy by the end of 2020. to roll-out the projects, Walmart named to preferred solar companies including SolarCity and SunEdison.
“We are pleased to announce this expansion on the heels of the Solar Energy Industries Association’s commercial solar report, which recognizes Walmart as having the most installed solar capacity in the U.S.,” said Pam Kohn, executive vice president at Walmart and president of Walmart Realty.
To date, Walmart has installed nearly 260 solar projects in the U.S. The company’s commercial solar deployment is now 105 MW, more than double the capacity of the next largest business and they say the projects have saved more than $5 million in energy expenses.
“This is the beginning of the next wave in renewable energy for Walmart, an effort we announced in May when we welcomed President Obama to our Mountain View California store,” said Kim Saylors-Laster, vice president of energy at Walmart. “These projects bring us closer to fulfilling our commitment to double the number of on-site solar energy projects in U.S. stores, Sam’s Clubs and distribution centers—thereby reducing our energy expenses and generating clean energy in local communities.”
The installations will vary in size, commensurate with the respective store or facility. It is expected that smaller systems will provide 10 to 20 percent of the facility’s electricity requirements and larger systems will provide 20 to 30 percent of the power needed by the facility.
- Dr. Gavin Conibeer, an internationally-known professor at the School of Photovoltaics and Renewable Energy Engineering at the University of New South Wales, has joined the science advisory board of Natcore Technology Inc. Dr. Conibeer has a worldwide reputation in photovoltaics. He has lectured at Stanford University and the University of Tokyo and has been a partner in the European Union‑funded LIMA project, an international consortium focused on minimizing the costs of manufacturing while maximizing efficiency of the photovoltaic devices by using novel concepts.
- The global cumulative installed capacity of solar photovoltaic (PV) modules will increase substantially from 135.66 Gigawatts (GW) in 2013 to 413.98 GW by 2020, according to research and consulting firm ASD Reports. The company’s latest report states that emerging economies in Asia-Pacific, South and Central America and the Middle East and Africa are expected to be the major markets in the future, due to an increasing focus on renewable energy proliferation to fuel economic growth.
- Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) released a report, “Bridges to New Solar Business Models: Opportunities to Increase and Capture the Value of Distributed Solar Photovoltaics,” investigating the opportunities for utilities and solar companies to work together to unlock the full value of distributed solar for customers and the grid. Solar photovoltaics (PV) are growing rapidly in the U.S.—by the end of 2013, over 12 GW of PV were in operation, an 80 percent increase since the end of 2010, with grid-connected customer-sited installations totaling more than 50 percent of nationwide installed capacity.
- Sunnova Energy Corp. has secured an additional $250 million in committed funding. Sunnova will use these funds to continue its rapid growth and to provide reliable, low-cost solar energy to more customers across the U.S. This funding round was led by business development companies sponsored by Franklin Square Capital Partners, which are sub-advised by GSO Capital Partners LP, and also includes Triangle Peak Partners, LP. Barclays acted as sole placement agent to Sunnova on the transaction.
A recent national poll commissioned by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) finds that the majority of Republicans, Democrats and Independents want more American-produced wind power; they also back an extension of the Production Tax Credit (PTC). The poll found 73 percent of registered voters support continuing the PTC, including 63 percent of registered Republicans, 74 percent of Independents, and over 71 percent overall in all regions of the country.
This poll supports similar results from a national survey conducted by USA Today, Standford University and Resources for the Future in December 2013 when the PTC was originally set to expire (it was extended one year). The renewable energy PTC and Investment Tax Credit have a history of bipartisan support, as they did last April when five Republicans joined Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee in an 18-6 vote to include them in this year’s tax extenders bill, the EXPIRE Act.
“These poll results couldn’t be clearer. American voters support wind power and support continuing the incentive for investment in wind power,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of the AWEA. “It’s time for Congress to do what the majority of Americans want – and that means extending the Production Tax Credit so we can keep scaling up this critically important American energy source.”
The latest poll also found 79 percent of registered voters, including 69 percent of Republicans, agree with the statement “incentives for investment in wind energy help American workers make more of our own energy right here in America.” The data finds that in nearly all regions, the PTC is essential if new wind installations and cost reductions are to continue and benefit more consumers. According to AWEA, failures to continue the PTC by Congress in the past has caused an up to 92 percent drop in new wind power installations over the previous year, causing the loss of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in private investment to the U.S. economy.
Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) has launched a new web page dedicated to highlighting the U.S. military’s support and deployment of clean energy and energy efficiency projects. The organization says that investments made on military installations have broad reaching effects on saving tax payers money, improving their operational readiness and creating private-sector jobs.
The website includes an interactive map showing details of clean energy projects at approximately 40 military installations nationwide; in-depth written profiles and videos of what the military’s clean energy investments look like on the base level; and resources like links to major reports and links to all the main service branch installation offices.
Iraq War veteran, former Army officer, and energy leadership consultant Jon Gensler said of the new site, “Congress should take a page from the military and move clean energy forward by extending clean energy and energy efficiency tax incentives. It doesn’t matter if you wear a green uniform or a blue uniform or if you live in a red state or blue state – clean energy works for all Americans because it works for our fighting forces. Clean energy makes our military more effective, saves taxpayer money, and brings jobs to the towns and cities that are home to our military installations.”
For the first time the U.S. Census Bureau is now publishing economic census statistics for wind, geothermal, biomass and solar electric power generation. Between 2007 and 2012 revenues rose 49 percent from $6.6 billion to $9.8 billion. The electric power generation industry saw an overall decline of 1.2 percent in revenues from $121.0 billion to $119.5 billion between 2007 and 2012. The overall decline was driven by the fossil fuel electric power generation industry, which saw revenues decrease from $85.4 billion to $79.7 billion, or 6.7 percent, during the same five-year period.
In the 2007 Economic Census, wind, geothermal, biomass, and solar electric power generation were included in the broad “other electric power generation” industry but were not given separate designations. Beginning in the 2012 Economic Census, these industries had been broken out with the “other electric power generation” industry limited to only tidal electric power generation and other electric power generation facilities not elsewhere classified. Among the newly delineated industries (wind, geothermal, biomass, solar and other electric power generation), the number of establishments more than doubled in five years, from 312 in 2007 to 697 in 2012.
“As industries evolve, so does the Census Bureau to continue to collect relevant data that informs America’s business decisions,” said Census Bureau Director John H. Thompson. “Industries that use renewable energy resources are still relatively small, but they are rapidly growing.”
Specifically revenues for the wind electric power generation industry totaled $5.0 billion in 2012, the highest revenues among the industries using renewable energy resources. Hydroelectric power generation followed with revenues of $2.4 billion. Geothermal electric power generation had revenues of just under $1 billion ($995.4 million), followed by biomass electric power generation, with $934.6 million in revenues, solar electric power generation, with $472.4 million, and other electric power generation, with $59.0 million.
Together, these industries were a relatively small portion of the electric power generation industry, collectively accounting for just 8.2 percent ($9.8 billion) of total industry revenues in 2012. Fossil fuel and nuclear electric power generation are still the major revenue sources of the electric power generation industry, comprising 66.7 percent ($79.7 billion) and 25.1 percent ($29.9 billion), respectively, of total revenues.