Aging Wind Farms Should Not Be Thrown to the Wind

As the wind energy industry continues to grow, there has been debate about whether wind turbines have a more limited shelf-life than other energy technologies, such as solar panels. With the United Kingdom’s (UK) target of generating 15 percent of the nation’s energy from renewable resources such as wind farms by 2020, aging wind turbines could be a concern. According to researchers at the wind farm in the UKImperial College Business School, today there are 4,246 wind turbines across 531 wind farms generating 7.5 percent of the country’s electricity.

According to a new study from Imperial researchers, who carried out a comprehensive nationwide analysis of the UK fleet of wind turbines, using local wind speed data from NASA, the turbines will last their full life of about 25 years before they need to be upgraded. A previous study used a statistical model to estimate that electricity output from wind turbines declines by a third after only ten years of operation.

In response to this study, some opponents of wind power have argued that aging turbine technology could need replacing en mass after as little as 10 years. This could make wind energy an unattractive option in economic terms.

However, the Imperial research team found that the UK’s earliest turbines, built in the 1990s, are still producing three-quarters of their original output after 19 years of operation, nearly twice the amount previously claimed, and will operate effectively up to 25 years. This is comparable to the performance of gas turbines used in power stations.

The study also found that more recent turbines are performing even better than the earliest models, suggesting they could have a longer lifespan. The team says this makes a strong business case for further investment in the wind farm industry. Continue reading

Honolulu Port Moves to Portable Hydrogen Fuel Cells

The Port of Honolulu is moving to portable hydrogen fuel cells by 2015. The move to the emerging technology comes on the heels of a 2013 study and analysis that confirmed the viability of hydrogen fuel cells to provide auxiliary power to docked or anchored ships. Hokulani-KaholoHydrogen researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have joined with several partners in the project, which will result in a portable, self-contained hydrogen fuel cell unit that can float on a barge, sit on a dock or be transported to wherever it’s needed to provide electrical power.

The next phase of the fuel cell demonstration project led by Sandia National Laboratories will feature a portable, self-contained hydrogen fuel cell unit currently in the design phase. Once completed, it will be deployed to the Port of Honolulu by Young Brothers, Ltd., one of the project partners and a primary shipper of goods throughout the Hawaiian Islands. The unit is undergoing detailed engineering and design through mid-2014. After fabrication, assembly and training for Young Brothers operators, the hydrogen fuel cell unit will be operational during a six-month deployment in early 2015.

“No one has ever built this kind of custom unit for this purpose,” said Sandia’s project manager, Joe Pratt. The unit, he said, will fit inside a 20-foot shipping container and will consist of four 30-kilowatt fuel cells, a hydrogen storage system and power conversion equipment.

Ports have been a major source of water and air pollution in the U.S. but remained relatively unregulated until recent years. As ports have begun to expand and their impact on the environment has become more apparent, port operators face a variety of regulations. Many ports have begun to enact sustainability goals or adopt green practices, and that’s where fuel cells can play a role.

The Hawaii project is jointly sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD).

GreenTECH Provides Youth with Green Education

greentech_smallMOUSE and Solar One have launched GreenTECH, a program that provides youth with an opportunity to positively impact the greening of their schools and communities. GreenTECH, funded by a three-year, $1.08 million grant from the National Science Foundation to Solar One, MOUSE, and the NYU Wallerstein Collaborative, is an initiative to boost youth interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) skills while introducing them to environmental sustainability and green technology.

MOUSE is about harnessing the spirit and talent of young people to affect change through technology, which for us starts with their learning environment,” said Marc Lesser, MOUSE Education Director. “Ultimately, we view GreenTECH as a way to empower youth to engage with and apply science and technology in ways that position them as activists to address real world problems.” MOUSE is a national nonprofit organization that empowers youth to learn, read and create with technology.

Using Solar One’s CleanTech science curriculum as a platform, MOUSE launched its own badge-based learning program, which includes three levels of hands-on activities for students and teams, and videos that profile engineers and designers involved in energy careers. MOUSE also developed the GreenTECH Lab, a web app that allows youth to visually-display carbon footprint data in their school and reduce its impact.

badge“MOUSE has done a really terrific job adapting our CleanTech program to help students better understand energy and renewables,” said Chris Collins, Executive Director, Solar One. “GreenTECH is so engaging and fun that I am confident it will inspire the next generation of green engineers, scientists and architects.”

To formally recognize the achievements and validate their experience in blending technology with environmental science and leading the greening projects in their school, participants in this program will earn a new MOUSE Squad GreenTECH Badge.

GreenTECH will help youth to learn how energy is created and the potential of renewable energy. It offers a range of projects, such as building an electric generator, performing an energy audit and creating solar-powered toys. These projects will create multiple opportunities for young people to gain expertise in technology, data collection and analysis, and sustainable solutions as they improve their STEM skills and prepare for higher education and careers in the growing green economy.

Hawaii: Using More Renewables and Less Oil

Hawaii is addressing its lack of fossil fuels by converting its energy to renewables. The state imports nearly all of its energy, including the petroleum that fuels more than 70 percent electricity generation. This effort is the subject of the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest Today in Energy report.

Another reason the state is attempting to diversify its electricity supply is since their electricity generation costs are tied closely to petroleum prices, residential electricity rates are three times the national average. The EIA explains that Hawaii’s islands are not connected by transmission lines, so each island must have enough generating capacity to meet local demand and provide emergency reserves.

Screen Shot 2014-02-20 at 7.10.42 PMIn the face of these challenges, Hawaii’s grid operators have turned to a combination of renewable sources (with lower costs than oil-fired generation), distributed generation, and energy efficiency programs that lower the overall demand for electricity in the state.

The petroleum share of electric generation has been declining, from a high of 81 percent  in 2002 to 72 percent in 2013 (through November), while at the same time, generation from renewable sources has climbed from a 4 percent share in 2002 to more than 12 percent in 2013. Generation from coal comes from a single 180-megawatt (MW) facility on Oahu and has been relatively steady at 13-15 percent of total generation each year.

EIA has finds that total utility-scale electric generation has declined from 2007 through 2012. This reduction is attributable to distributed generation and net metering policies that encourage electric generation from homes and businesses, mostly from solar photovoltaic installations, and increased energy efficiency measures.

Hawaii produces renewable electricity from biomass, geothermal, and hydroelectric but recent new wind and solar projects have resulted in large increases in renewable electricity production. In 2012, wind accounted for 36 percent of total utility-scale renewable generation in Hawaii with an increase to 42 percent in 2013 (through November). Utility-scale solar generation has increased more than fivefold from 2012 to 2013 but still accounts for less than 2 percent of utility-scale renewable generation in Hawaii. However, EIA reports utility-scale data understate total solar generation in Hawaii because totals do not include the much larger output from small-scale solar power installations.

Hawaii’s installed renewable nameplate capacity in 2013 was just over 600 MW, more than triple the amount that in 2005. Nearly 57 MW of additional renewable capacity is currently under construction and slated to enter service during 2014.

California Geothermal Potential Largely Untapped

geysers_unit_18The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) has released a new report to coincide with the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) development of a scoping plan for implementing their climate law AB 32. The report finds that California’s geothermal resources are remain largely untapped.

Geothermal power is “a viable, cost effective, and plentiful renewable energy option to meet California’s climate goals,” GEA told CARB. Utilizing the Golden State’s geothermal resources can help achieve “carbon reductions with the least total cost and highest power system reliability,” GEA reports.

In brief, the status report, Report on the State of Geothermal Energy in California, shows that:

  • Geothermal power generated 4.4% of total system power in California in 2012, but could have generated substantially more.
  • Geothermal power produces some of the lowest life-cycle emissions when compared to almost every other energy technology and even some renewables.
  • Depending on the resource characteristics and plant design, geothermal power plants can be engineered to provide firm and/or flexible power.
  • Even with high upfront capital costs, geothermal power is a competitive renewable energy source.
  • About half of California’s identified geothermal resources are still untapped, and significant resources may remain undiscovered.
  • Geothermal power is key to achieving an expanded renewable power portfolio at the lowest total cost.
  • New technology will reduce geothermal power risks and can expand the supply curve to make more resources commercially available.
  • The Salton Sea Known Geothermal Resource Area (SSKGRA) is considered by many to be the best opportunity for growth in California in the near term.
  • Distributed generation geothermal power and heating projects have potential in a number of areas, but are not eligible for the type of support provided other distributed generation projects.
  • Challenges to growth of utility scale plants include weak demand, inadequate transmission, permitting delays, and a lack of coordinated policies.

CASE Calls US ITC SolarWorld Decision Damaging

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has ruled that its investigation into anti-dumping and countervailing duties for solar cell products from China and Taiwan will move forward. The announcement was made public following a preliminary phase vote in Washington, DC.

The anti-dumping and countervailing duty on solar cells issue stems from a compliant initiated by Frank Asbeck and his company SolarWorld back in 2013. This was the second complaint brought against Taiwan and China by SolarWorld accusing solar manufacturing CASE logocompanies of anti-dumping practices with the first complaint focused on solar cells produced in China that Asbeck argued was negatively affecting PV cell competition of U.S. manufacturers. The second complaint centered on the alleged practices of companies getting around the duties attached to PV cells produced in China by circumventing the system through the production of PV cells in Taiwan.

In response to the ruling, Jigar Shah, president of the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy (CASE), said, “With the ITC’s preliminary ruling in favor of SolarWorld’s petition to impose tariffs on imported solar products, it is now official: a German company is one step closer to manipulating U.S. trade procedure in order to prop up its own failing business and inflict harm on a job-creating industry. By raising the cost of solar for American homeowners, SolarWorld is poised to inflict critical damage on an industry which last year added more than 20,000 solar installation, sales, and distribution jobs to the U.S. economy.”

“These hard-working Americans now look to President Obama to broker a common sense solution which will avoid damage to the economy and allow the deployment of clean renewable energy to continue into the 21st Century,” continued Shah.

He concluded, “Just this past week, the U.S. Trade Representative publicly condemned the protectionist solar policies of India because, in his words, protectionist policies would ‘actually impede India’s deployment of solar energy by raising its cost.’ CASE implores the U.S. government to adopt the same perspective before a burgeoning U.S. industry is harmed for the benefit of one German company.”

Crescent Solar Energy Project Commissioned

SolarReserve has confirmed that the 110 megawatt (MW) Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project located near Tonopah, Nevada, has entered the plant commissioning phase. According to the company, Crescent Dunes is the first utility-scale facility in the world to feature advanced molten salt power tower energy storage capabilities. The Crescent Dunes Project is more than five times the capacity output of pilot projects that have previously tested this technology.

Due to the result of the advanced energy storage technology, the 110 MW project will generate more than 500,000 megawatt-hours per year, enough to power 75,000 homes during peak electricity periods. This annual output, says the company, is more than twice that of other technologies per MW of capacity, such as photovoltaics (PV) or direct steam solar thermal. The storage technology also eliminates the need for any backup fossil fuels, such as natural gas, which are needed with other technologies to keep the system going during times of no or low solar resource. Nevada’s largest electric utility, NV Energy, will purchase 100 percent of the electricity generated, under a 25-year power purchase agreemenSOLARRESERVE CRESCENT DUNESt. Full commercial operation is scheduled for later in 2014.

Commissioning is the initial stage of bringing the project into operations and includes system-by-system verification and startup, as well as equipment calibration and testing. Commissioning activities underway at Crescent Dunes include energization of the utility interconnection system and other electrical systems, as well as the first stages of testing and calibration of the heliostat field. This heliostat field is comprised of more than 10,000 “billboard-sized” mirrors that track the sun and total more than 1 million square meters of glass.

“Start of commissioning of the Crescent Dunes solar power plant marks a critical milestone for the project as well as the solar industry. We are now able to build utility-scale power plants, fueled only by the sun, which operate on-demand, day and night, just like traditional fossil fuel or nuclear power plants,” said SolarReserve’s CEO Kevin Smith. “SolarReserve’s industry-leading solar thermal energy storage technology solves the intermittency issue that limits the use of other renewable energy projects and thus enables firm, reliable delivery of electricity whether or not the sun is shining or the wind is blowing.”

SolarReserve’s energy storage technology at the Crescent Dunes plant is their techology showcase. They say it is a realistic solar energy solution that operates day and night like coal, natural gas, oil, diesel and nuclear plants, but without the harmful emissions or hazardous wastes associated those traditional plants. Additionally, Crescent Dunes includes the capability to dry cool the steam cycle, an environmentally friendly low water use feature that will saves millions of gallons of water each year. Once operational, the 110 MW Crescent Dunes plant will be the world’s largest solar thermal plant with fully integrated energy storage.

U.S. Utlility-Scale Solar 60% to Goal

The U.S. solar industry is more than 60 percent of the way to achieving cost-competitive utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) electricity – only three years into the Department’s decade-long SunShot Initiative, reports the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). To help continue this progress, the DOE announced $25 million in new funding to strengthen U.S. solar manufacturing for photovoltaic and concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies and to maintain a strong domestic solar industry – supporting the Department’s broader Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative.

Falling Price of US Utility Solar CostsThe U.S. is playing a growing role as a global leader in solar as demonstrated in a new industry report which recently found that U.S. utility-scale solar set a record with 2.3 gigawatts installed in 2013.  As a direct result of increased solar generation, over the last three years, the cost of a solar energy system has dropped by more than 50 percent, helping to give more and more American families and businesses access to affordable, clean energy.

“In just the last few years, the U.S. has seen remarkable increases in clean and renewable energy – doubling the amount of energy that we produce from solar and wind and supporting a strong, competitive solar supply chain that employs American workers in every state,” said Energy Secretary Moniz. “To continue this growth and position the U.S. as a global leader in clean energy innovation, the Energy Department is helping to advance new technologies that further reduce costs, improve performance and support new jobs and businesses across the country.”

In 2011, DOE launched its SunShot Initiative to make solar energy cost-competitive with traditional energy sources by the end of the decade. As a result of the program, today, the utility-scale PV industry is more than 60 percent of the way to achieving SunShot’s target of $0.06 per kilowatt-hour. In the United States, the average price for a utility-scale PV project has dropped from about $0.21 per kilowatt-hour in 2010 to $0.11 per kilowatt-hour at the end of 2013. According to the Energy Information Administration, the average U.S. electricity price is about $0.12 per kilowatt-hour.

Reductions in the cost of electricity are based on estimates of the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE). The LCOE is a measure of the national average of electricity cost based on certain assumptions regarding financing costs and generation availability projected over the life of a generating asset. The LCOE model provides a benchmark for measuring relative changes in electricity costs.

Rep. Loebsack Introduces Infrastructure Re-FUEL Act

Congressman Dave Loebsack (D-IA) has introduced the Renewable Fuel Utilization, Expansion, and Leadership (Re-FUEL) Act. The goal of the legislation is to create a competitive grant program to assist fuel retailers with investments in renewable and alternative fuel/energy sources. The program would be administered through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and will help create new and retrofit existing infrastructure, including pumps for biofuels and hydrogen, tanks, piping and electric vehicle chargers. Loebsack points out that the legislation is already paid for and does not add to the deficit.

made in the usaI believe in making things in America and there is no reason our fuel sources shouldn’t be made here as well,” said Rep. Loebsack. “It’s also important that consumers are able to choose where their fuel source comes from when they go to fill up. Too often, infrastructure constraints are cited as the reason for not giving consumers the choices they deserve. This holds back the development of our renewable and alternative energy sources that create jobs in Iowa and across the country.”

To be eligible for the grant, projects must be capable of dispensing fuel or energy currently not widely available. Projects can be new infrastructure projects or retrofits to existing infrastructure and can include infrastructure such as biofuel and hydrogen pumps, tanks, piping, and electric vehicle chargers. A minimum of 30 percent non-federal match is required and the maximum grant per year per entity is $100,000. In addition, the grant program covers infrastructure for renewable or alternative energy, which includes renewable energy, energy for charging electric vehicles, and hydrogen and fuel cells.

“I commend Congressman Loebsack for introducing legislation that supports America’s consumers, rural communities and growing biofuels industry,” said Tom Buis CEO of Growth Energy. “By supporting renewable fuel infrastructure, this legislation will help push our nation toward energy independence and give consumers some much needed choice and savings at the pump. This legislation also emphasizes the importance of investing in and revitalizing rural America.”

The Re-FUEL Act does not add to the federal deficit. The program would be paid for by setting aside 1 percent of offshore oil royalties each fiscal year. This amounted to about $54.34 million in fiscal year 2013 and $52.16 million in fiscal year 2012. In addition, no other required disbursements from natural resources accounts such as those for state sharing, reclamation fund, or Land and Water Conservation Fund will be affected.

“The pace at which the renewable fuel advantages will be available to American drivers is greatly sped up by the fact that the proposed grants can be used for infrastructure like new blender pumps as well as retrofitting existing pumps, pipes, tanks and chargers,” said Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association. “Placing a priority on rural America is a welcomed approach. The small communities of rural America are amongst the most challenging locations for economic development. Rep. Loebsack recognizes that ethanol production has created and supports over 386,000 jobs with very real potential to expand on that success.”

Albion Community Power Invests in Wind

Albion Community Power (ACP) has invested £1.5m in partnership with Welsh developer Infinite Renewables to fund the development of a 500kw single wind turbine in Blaencilgoed, in South Wales. The wind turbine, which is the first investment made by ACP, will supply electricity to a local quarry. It is expected to begin producing power in September 2014 and is estimated to generate over 1,700,000 kWh of electricity per year.

albion community power windACP says it aims to be a major producer of community scale renewable energy by raising up to £100 million in due course to power some 35,000 homes, targeting sites where power can be sold to the community at a discount of up to 50 percent. The ACP team will invest in a range of renewable energy projects using proven technologies including brownfield wind, solar, hydroelectricity, biogas and biomass.

Volker Beckers, Chairman of ACP said, “The energy industry is changing, and smaller scale schemes will be playing an increasingly important role. We are excited by our first investment and are looking forward to backing other new projects in the coming months.”

ACP’s projects will qualify for government subsidies such as Feed in tariffs (FiTs). As FiTs are RPI-linked, the company says investors stand to benefit from protection against inflation. To date, Albion has made 10 investments that are currently achieving an investment return of 11%.

“We have an existing partnership with Albion Ventures, having built a number of turbines together starting with a single mast, 500kW Wind Turbine on a brownfield site near Ebbw Vale in Wales,” said Will David, Infinite Renewables. “We are excited to be partnering ACP on this new project, which plays to our collective strengths. We look forward to developing many more sites with ACP going forward.”

50,000 Wind Advocates Call for PTC Extension

The Production Tax Credit (PT) that provides tax incentives for the wind energy industry expired on December 31, 2013. Although there has been talk of tax reform, that would include a new formula for clean energy tax incentives, more than 50,000 citizens are urging Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) to making a renewing the PTC one of his biggest priorities. Sen. Wyden will be taking over as new chair of the Senate Finance Committee.

wind energy in U.SThe petition was started by Iowa State Senator and Climate Parents member Rob Hogg and is set to be delivered to Sen. Wyden’s offices in Washington, D.C. and Oregon this week.

Last month, Sen. Wyden stated he was “not going to sit idly by while plans for renewable energy development are sacrificed on the altar of inaction.”

Supporters of the PTC point to the lobbying efforts of industry figures, such as the Koch brothers, as the explanation behind its initial expiration. According to a Huffington Post article, the Koch brothers have “enlisted their extensive network of think tanks, advocacy groups, and friends on Capitol Hill to spearhead a campaign to pull the plug on the PTC.”

According to Sen. Hogg, there is growing momentum across the country for an extension of the wind tax credit. An example of this momentum is unanimous approval of a resolution calling on Congress to extend the PTC by a bipartisan coalition of Iowa state senators. “We must support wind power and renewable energy,” said Hogg. “Our children and our grandchildren are counting on Congress to act.”

Hogg explains that despite oppositional efforts, the PTC still enables wind energy to compete with highly subsidized fossil fuel industries, attracts investors for new wind projects, fosters innovation and employs tens of thousands of Americans in the clean energy economy. “Wind power currently provides 25% of Iowa’s electricity generation and has increased nationally by 30% per year over the past five years. The wind power tax credit made this possible,” said Hogg.

Climate Parents Director and Co-Founder Lisa Hoyos said that the decision on whether to extend the wind PTC is a crucial test for Congress that will our children will grow up in. “We have the technology to shift to 100% clean energy. What we’re lacking is the political commitment from Congress to support the investments in renewable energy that will protect our kids’ from the climate impacts already harming communities. Senator Wyden’s leadership on this issue is critical right now.”

“When it comes down to it, Congress has a choice. Are they with the Koch brothers, or with our kids?” said Hoyos. “People across the country have joined this call to action, because we know future generations need us to rapidly deploy kid-safe, climate-safe energy, and stop investing in the dirty energy fueling climate change.”

DOE Awards $3M for Geothermal Development

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 12.28.17 PMThe U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced $3 million to spur geothermal energy development using play fairway analysis. This technique identifies prospective geothermal resources in areas with no obvious surface expression by mapping the most favorable intersections of heat, permeability, and fluid. The technique is commonly used in oil and gas exploration but has of yet, has not been widely used in the geothermal industry. By improving success rates for exploration drilling, this data-mapping tool could help attract investment in geothermal energy projects and significantly lower the costs of geothermal energy.

The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that 30 gigawatts of undiscovered hydrothermal energy potential exist untapped beneath the Earth’s surface – nearly 10 times the current installed capacity of geothermal energy in the United States. One of the keys to tapping this clean resource is reducing the cost and risk of locating it. Play fairway analysis projects could unlock significant geothermal energy resources and accelerate industry-wide adoption of this tool, by quantifying and reducing the risk of exploratory drilling,

The DOE will support one-year collaborative research and development projects, especially in new, unexplored areas, that adapt play fairway analysis to geothermal exploration. These projects selected will focus on using existing geologic and geophysical data to develop maps that identify areas with a higher probability of containing a geothermal resource. The research also seeks to develop a methodology for exploration of geothermal resources in a particular region, or play.

Advancing Solar Energy in Saudi Arabia

An agreement to jointly fund a feasibility study for the establishment of a vertically integrated solar PV (photovoltaic) manufacturing complex at Wa’ad Al Shammal in Saudi Arabia has been signed. SunEdison, the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of the Government of Saudi Arabia and the Saudi Arabian Investment Company hope to move forward with a project to produce polysilicon through modules. The feasbility study is the next step in the process following a preliminary study between the National Industrial Clusters Development Program (NICDP) and SunEdison in 2013.

“We anticipate substantial growth of solar PV within the Kingdom and the region. This project will support that growth, and the growth aspirations of SunEdison and our Saudi solar in saudi arabia photo credit Martin Prochnikpartners,” said Ahmad Chatila, CEO of SunEdison. “The combination of SunEdison technology, and the Kingdom’s world-class manufacturing and energy sector expertise will enable us to capitalize on substantial growth in the Kingdom and the region, and maximize the value of solar PV projects supported by this venture.”

If developed, the complex would utilize both SunEdison’s proprietary high pressure silane fluidized bed reactor (HP-FBR) polysilicon, and continuous Czochralski (CCz) crystal ingot technology and equipment, as well as include solar wafer, cell and module manufacturing, employ attractive debt financing for the approximately $6.4B project, and would begin production in 2017, ramping to 3 GW (gigawatts) annually.

A significant percentage of polysilicon and ingot production would support the 3 GW planned module output. Should the project go forward, the Ministry of Petroleum and Minerals said it will provide the required quantities of natural gas, and the Saudi Electrical Company (SEC) committed to providing the needed power requirements for the project.

“This project will be capable of building a complete industrial eco-system that is sustainable and able to compete on a global level by utilizing pioneering technology developed by SunEdison to produce high purity polysilicon, and high-efficiency, low-cost mono-crystalline ingots, in addition to benefiting from economies of scale given the size and vertically integrated nature of the complex,” said Eng. Azzam Shalabi, President of NICDP.

Chatila added, “We will bring our downstream solar PV development expertise to the region, and will partner with the Kingdom to build a large and dynamic solar energy industry. This agreement represents our ongoing strategy to accelerate our growth, maximize the value of our PV projects, and strengthen our balance sheet to enable both. We are very proud to take this next step with our Saudi partners as the Kingdom becomes a world leader in solar energy.”

Iowa Wind Energy Conference Around the Corner

The 7th Annual Iowa Wind Power Conference is just around the corner taking place at the FFA Enrichment Center on the Campus of Des Moines Area Community College in Ankeny, Iowa, March 11-12, 2014. Sponsored by the Iowa Wind Energy Association (IWEA), there is a strong line-up of speakers, informative sessions, exhibitors and new research displays.

IWEA logoThe general sessions planned feature nationally recognized leaders in the wind energy industry, elected leaders, policy development specialists and utility leaders in the wind energy industry. A special feature of this year’s conference will be the first ever Education/Job Fair on March 11, 2014 which will provide wind energy companies an opportunity to meet with wind energy training programs and job seekers. There will also be an opportunity for K-12 students and educators to learn more about job opportunities in wind energy.

There will be 30 exhibitors showcasing their products and services during the conference including dozens of university wind energy research project displays will be available during the conference. These project displays will be judged by a panel of experts and cash awards will be given to the top projects in several categories.

Registration is now open.

Smithfield’s Renewable Energy Commitment Tangible

Smithfield Foods commitment to renewable energy is showing tangible results according to the company. During the past several years, the company has been monitoring scientific advancements that have removed barriers to efficiently and sustainably create renewable energy from agricultural waste, in particular the use of anaerobic digestion processes that covert decomposing organic matter, such as hog manure, into renewable energy.

“The bottom line is that our company’s commitment to creating renewable energy is about to produce some very tangible and beneficial results,” said C. Larry Pope, president and chief executive officer of Smithfield Foods.

cute pigsPope noted that two Smithfield Foods strategic partnerships at Murphy-Brown LLC facilities in northern Missouri and Milford, Utah, involving anaerobic digestion technology are seeing results and the projects will soon deliver electricity to neighboring communities.

“Our Missouri and Utah projects are a classic win-win. We will considerably reduce the greenhouse effects on the Earth’s atmosphere by recycling agricultural waste, help to protect our natural resources and provide a more environmentally friendly energy source,” Pope said.

In northern Missouri, Murphy-Brown of Missouri, LLC (MBM) and Roeslein Alternative Energy, LLC, have announced joint plans to develop a $100 million renewable biogas project. Biogas produces energy when organic matter decomposes without oxygen present. The biogas will be harvested from MGM finishing farms in northern Missouri and construction is set to begin this spring.

In addition, the company’s project Milford, Utah, is ramping up. Murphy-Brown’s
Circle 4 Farms will be producing electricity via two methane digesters. In this project, manure will be converted to energy and as a result, the manure, or solid waste, will no longer be stored in lagoons.

Pope added, “Our manure-to-energy projects are just another step in our sustainability
journey.”