Clean Power Plan Should Give Utility Industry a Boost

Earlier this week the EPA announced a legacy proposal that would reduce carbon pollution from power plants by 30 percent below 2005 numbers. While much of the response from organizations was positive, may associations believe the proposed Clean Power Plan regulation will harm rural areas, not help.

According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, the reduction in carbon will lead to higher energy prices; but not only would farmers face higher prices for electricity, but any energy-related input such as fertilizer. They also claim rural electric cooperatives that rely on old coal plants for cheap electricity would be hit especially hit hard.

Coal-Fired-Power-Plant“U.S. agriculture will pay more for energy and fertilizer under this plan, but the harm won’t stop there,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman said. “Effects will especially hit home in rural America.”

Yet according to Lux Research, the Clean Power Plan have noted that while the proposed regulation has spurred furious debate, what is missing from the conversation it the role of innovation. The firm said these rules can help spur innovation that will make it easier for the world to reduce its emissions.

The new EPA rules are unlikely to have a dramatic impact on global emissions on their own, said Lux Research, given that almost all future growth in carbon emissions will come from developing and underdeveloped countries – most notably China, which became the largest carbon emitter in 2007. Hence, much of the debate about the rules has centered on how likely they are to help induce China and other nations to agree to binding targets of their own.

“The political discussion about climate change misses a critical point; whatever their role in climate negotiations, these new rules will accelerate technology development and deployment, making it more practical and affordable for nations everywhere to reduce emissions,” said Aditya Ranade, Senior Analyst at Lux Research. “Their influence on innovation is where they will need to have the biggest impact for the world to achieve its CO2 reduction goals.”

Lux Research analysts predict that four major technology sectors will get a boost: Continue reading

ECOZ & CDP to Accelerate Renewable Energy

ECOHZ and CDP have signed a partnership to create an open source standard for ECOHZ’s GO² product, allowing other providers around the world to offer this new solution and participate in advancing renewable power generation. The product allows enterprises to track their renewable power consumption as well as develop new renewable generation. ECOHZ says with this system, companies will be able to send a clear signal to the market of what energy type is preferred. In addition, the companies using the technology will also be helping to finance the deployment of new renewable power.

ECOHZ is a provider in Europe of Guarantees of Origin (GO), the only way to document renewable energy from production to consumption. CDP is an international NGO that works with investors, companies, and governments to drive environmental disclosure and action to deliver sustainable economies.

“The EU Parliament’s recent vote in favour of a new law governing corporate reporting of non-financial information, and increased political pressure for everyone to respond to climate change, make enterprises look for certified solutions to stand out with their commitment to sustainability,” said Nigel Topping Executive Director of CDP. “GO and now GO2, are solutions that enable enterprises to take concrete steps to consume renewable energy, and even contribute to building new renewable sources. ECOHZ is the leader in this market and we are excited about the opportunities we see for our partnership.”

There has been a call for more transparency from companies on their non-financial performance and contribution to sustainable development. With climate change issues, governments, regulators and investors are all looking for concrete ways to measure performance. This solution delivers that means of measurement by building on the GO system and bundling renewable energy consumption with a contribution to new renewable energy production. GO² unleashes power plant projects previously blocked due to lack of financing. GO² is a new way to achieve energy neutrality through the creation of new renewable production accessible to corporations that want the lead the way to a cleaner energy future.

Tom Lindberg, Managing Director in ECOHZ AS, added, “We experience increasing interest from large enterprises for documented renewable energy. With GO2 we give increased choice to companies who want to be a leader in sustainability and actively communicate it to their stakeholders. By joining forces with CDP, a global organization accelerating action to achieve sustainable economies, we will drive increased awareness among leading corporates of the opportunities for purchasing documented renewable energy, and linking this directly to the building of additional renewable power capacity.”

Alstom’s Team Awarded DOE Offshore Wind Grant

Alstom is part of a team awarded a $47M grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for phase II of the Virginia Offshore Wind Technology Advancement Project (VOWTAP) led by Dominion Virginia Power. This next phase includes the completion of Front End Engineering Design (FEED), installation and testing of two Alstom Haliade 150-6MW (megawatt) offshore wind turbines approximately 24 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach.

Alstom Wind TurbineAlstom says the award strengthens the long-standing partnership with Dominion and advances their common goals to improve the competitiveness of offshore wind in the U.S. The team will explore innovative approaches to optimize turbine and balance of plant designs while addressing environmental conditions including hurricanes, transportation and installation strategies, and operations and maintenance (O&M) methodologies. The group, which includes the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), among others, is one of three teams selected to receive funding for phase two of the project.

“After successful and highly collaborative completion of the initial Front End Engineering Design we are looking forward to implementing this innovative and challenging project with our strategic partner Dominion and the other world class members of the team,” said Andy Geissbuehler, head of Alstom’s North American Wind business. “We are getting closer to the DOE goal of providing clean, affordable offshore wind energy to homes and businesses throughout the East Coast.”

Alstom’s Haliade 150-6MW offshore wind turbine is engineered to achieve the goals and objectives outlined by VOWTAP. It’s 150-meter rotor contributes dramatically to reducing the cost of offshore wind power while the direct drive permanent magnet generator and the Alstom Pure Torque technology increase reliability, availability, and efficiency.

VOWTAP is one of several offshore wind R&D programs led by the DOE that Alstom is collaborating on. This month a team led by Alstom was awarded an additional $3.4M by the DOE for phase II of its program to develop, test and validate advanced control technologies and integrated sensors for offshore wind turbines.

EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook 2014 Laughable

According to the SUN DAY Campaign, the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) official launch of the complete Annual Energy Outlook – 2014 doesn’t pass the laugh test. In follow-up remarks to the preview report launched a few weeks ago, EIA’s projections for renewable electricity generation are way under the mark.

For example, the AEO2014 “Reference case,” EIA notes: “Renewable electricity generation in the United States is projected to grow by 69% from 2012 to 2040…, including an increase of EIA Annual Energy Outlook 2014more than 140% in generation from nonhydropower renewable energy sources. … Although nonhydropower renewable generation more than doubles between 2012 and 2040…, [renewable energy's] contribution to U.S. total electricity generation is still just 16%.”

Two other scenarios offered by EIA – the Low Economic Growth and the High Oil and Gas Resource cases – suggest even lower penetration rates by renewables, cites the SUN DAY Campaign. EIA also offers several other scenarios – including the No Sunset and CHG25 cases – in which “renewables account for 24% and 27%, respectively, of total electricity generation in 2040. … In fact, renewable penetration of electricity supply in both cases meets or surpasses 16% by 2020, which is the level attained in the Reference case by 2040.”

Significantly, says the SUN DAY Campaign, these latter projections are higher than those presented in the past by EIA. However, while more credible, these scenarios will also almost certainly prove to be unduly conservative. In fact, the association cites, based on the actual growth rates for renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) over the past decade, multiple other studies, and even analyses from EIA itself, it is likely that renewables will comprise a much larger share of the nation’s electrical generating supply by 2040 — perhaps two, three or more times higher than the Reference case level forecast by EIA.

In conclusion, SUN DAY Campaign says there are multiple grounds for challenging EIA forecasts.

DNV GL & Texas Tech Partner on Wind Energy Education

Student’s attending Texas Tech University now have more educational opportunities around wind energy. The University’s National Wind Institute and DNV GL are collaborating on a teaching project to expand the availability of wind power courses. Classes will be provided through both in-class and online channels enabling global access to cutting edge instruction and utilizing real-life case studies from the wind energy industry. This collaboration will strengthen future workforce development and allow students in remote locations to participate in a high-quality, certified education process.

Cielo Wind Power farm in Texas“The National Wind Institute strives to educate the next generation of wind energy professionals,” said John Schroeder, director of the National Wind Institute (NWI). “This partnership with DNV GL is another yet another step forward to advance wind energy research and education.”

The program adds depth to Texas Tech’s wind energy program by adding four classes containing up-to-the-minute wind industry case studies developed and led by DNV GL experts who can draw on the company’s 30-year history of involvement in all aspects of the wind industry.

By combining DNV GL’s industry expertise with Texas Tech’s academic excellence, students will have access to wind industry experts to provide current, real-world experiences to supplement the academic fundamentals while working to attain either a managerial or a technical focused Wind Power Certificate from Texas Tech. The program is open to qualified undergraduate and graduate students, and each course will contain cutting edge content from DNV GL, which is known for its high-quality workforce training and thought leadership in the renewable energy industry.

“Renewable energy professionals worldwide already rely on a variety of DNV GL’s existing training programs,” said Kevin Smith, director at DNV GL. “We are excited to participate with Texas Tech in training the wind industry’s future workforce and graduates with industry specific knowledge and case studies so they have increased familiarity with the latest business needs and challenges. We look forward to further collaboration with Texas Tech to educate the wide range of professionals required to meet national wind energy goals – both in the U.S. and other countries.”

This collaboration is slated to last three years and planned to start July 2014 once details are finalized.

Oklahoma Institutes “Sun” Tariff

The Oklahoma legislature has passed a bill that institutes a tax on the sun and wind (distributed generation). Beginning November 1, 2014, residents who use solar or wind energy and want to connect their renewable energy to the grid, must begin paying a “solar surcharge” to utilities for the privilege. The bill was signed into law on April 21 (notably one day before Earth Day and during Earth Week) by Governor Mary Fallin. Existing solar arrays and wind turbines and any projected commissioned by October 31, 2014 will be grandfathered in at existing connection charges.home-solar-panel-install-dallas-north-carolina-solar-energy-usa

The bill was passed with virtually no opposition and was supported by the state’s major electric utilities who said they need the surcharge to recover some of the infrastructure costs to send excess electricity safely from distributed generation back to the grid, especially for those customers who don’t have the money to do this safely. The bill drew opposition from solar and wind advocates as well as environmentalists.

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission is now tasked with establishing a separate customer class and monthly surcharge, or tariff for distributed generation customers. The new tariffs would start by the end of 2015.

So in other words, complements of the “sun tax” customers now have to pay extra to generate their own electricity from renewable resources – the exact opposite of what adding solar or wind to your home is supposed to do. In keeping with the theme of the sun and wind, this is not a bright idea but rather a blustery idea.

Clean Energy Bill Hits House of Reps

Clean Energy Victory Bonds WillSeveral groups have been promoting clean energy victory bonds, a throwback from World War II. This week the concept gained support as the House of Representatives as the Clean Energy Victory Bonds Act of 2014. The Treasury bonds starting as low as $25 will allow Americans to invest in the country’s clean energy future.

The bill was introduced by U.S. Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Cali.) and Doris Matsui (D-Cali.) and includes 14 co-sponsors and is endorsed by Green America and the American Sustainable Business Council, which together represent half a million consumers, companies, organizations, and investors.

Todd Larsen, corporate responsibility division director for Green America, said, “This bond is modeled after the successful WW II Victory Bond which millions of Americans purchased. The Clean Energy Victory Bond will provide individual and institutional investors with the opportunity to invest in clean energy sectors such as solar, wind, second generation biofuels, electric vehicles, and residential and commercial energy efficiency programs. There are currently few investment opportunities for the average investor interested in supporting the shift to a clean energy economy so this bond fills a need for both investors and industry.”

Clean Energy Victory Bonds logoAccording to Green America and the American Sustainable Business Council, Clean Energy Victory Bonds will create the following major benefits:

  • Leverage $50 billion investment to provide up to $150 billion in public and private financing to fund the production of innovative energy technologies, at a time when the U.S. is falling behind other countries in clean energy manufacture and installation.
  • Help create at least one million competitively-paying jobs in the U.S.
  • Support America’s clean energy sector, helping to ensure that the U.S. remains a world leader in this increasingly crucial and competitive industry.
  • Reduce U.S. dependence on foreign sources of energy, enhance national security, and limit price increases and fluctuations.
  • Provide a secure, competitive, government-backed investment vehicle for average Americans and investment institutions alike seeking a safe place for their money.
  • Offer flexible redemption options at interest rates superior to most bank accounts.
  • Help all Americans to invest in the future of their country and benefit from their investments.
  • Promote a cleaner environment through the financing of clean energy technologies.
  • Protect the health and safety of Americans by reducing local air and water pollution throughout the country.

“From a business perspective, the Clean Energy Victory Bond makes great sense,” said Richard Eidlin, co-founder & policy director, American Sustainable Business Council. “The clean energy industry has not had the steady flow of financial support that investors and business need to plan effectively, resulting in investors often deciding to place their investments overseas rather than in the U.S.”

Tax incentives for renewable energy come and go, often without predictability, leaving investors and industry scrambling. The Clean Energy Victory Bond would extend vital tax credits for a decade, giving emerging industries the support they need to develop and become increasing competitive.

SheerWind Commissions Pilot Project in Dubai

SheerWind Inc., had commissioned a pilot project at Dubai Aluminium PJSC (DUBAL). The 250kW INVELOX wind power generation pilot project will help sustainably offset the company’s carbon emissions.

SheerWind-INVELOX-Demo3“We are very pleased to be the pioneer in this innovative pilot project in the GCC, especially as the project will contribute measurably to environmental conservation,” said DUBAL’s Tayeb Al Awadhi. “As a responsible corporate citizen, we are committed to sustainable principles. Moreover, the project is closely aligned with our corporate emphasis on continuous improvement through innovation.”

According to Sheerwind, its INVELOX technology offers high-performance, cost-efficient wind energy. When compared to average wind turbine technology:

  • Produces 600% more electrical energy (kWh)
  • Operates at wind speeds as low as 1 mile per hour
  • Reduces installation capital cost to less that $750 per KW
  • 90% less land use than traditional wind power generation utilities
  • Increases energy production capacity to record high of 72%
  • No harm to humans, animals, or flying creatures

Steve Hill, COO of SheerWind, added, “This installation is very exciting for SheerWind. We see this as the beginning of a great partnership with a company that is committed to reducing its carbon footprint and finding ways to make a difference globally. This partnership will assist in SheerWind’s mission to provide affordable, clean, electrical energy to anyone—anywhere.”

LA Rooftop Solar Program Shining Bright

According to a report from J.R. DeShazo, director of UCLA’s Luskin Center for Innovation, Los Angeles’ new rooftop solar energy program is delivering on its goal of cost-effective, clean power to thousands of electricity customers. The report also finds that the program should be expanded. Under the feed-in-tariff (FiT) program, electric power generated by solar rooftop installations on office and retail buildings, warehouses and apartment complexes is soldclean solar LA first project to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) for use by its residential and business customers.

After numerous interviews with primary stakeholders, including solar developers and participating property owners, the UCLA researchers evaluated the initial two phases of the program, representing about 40 megawatts (MW) of solar power. These two allocations received a total of 256 program applications. Based on the rollout, the research team concluded that the “FiT 100″ is on track to deliver 100 MW of carbon-free energy by 2015 – enough to power more than 21,000 homes annually.

The report also finds the program is on track to deliver on the jobs, economic and sustainability goals outlined when city officials approved the program in 2012. And the cost of power – averaging 15 cents per kilowatt-hour – is lower than any other similar FiT program in North America.

“The Los Angeles Business Council has been one of the strongest advocates for a viable feed-in-tariff program to produce 100 megawatts of solar electricity,” said L.A. City Council member Mitchell Englander. “Together the City of Los Angeles and the LABC have made great strides towards our efforts to reduce the City’s dependency on coal, moving away from centralized generation toward a more distributed model while creating thousands of local jobs in the process. Although the first and second tranches were successful, this study highlights an opportunity to make the process more user-friendly and cost-efficient in the future.”

In addition to clear environmental benefits, the installation of the first 40 megawatts is on course to generate 862 jobs, and the full 100 MW program is expected to create more than 2,000 jobs – 1,370 direct jobs plus 785 more indirectly related to the program, according to the UCLA study. The FiT 100 is also expected to deliver approximately $300 million in direct investment in the City of Los Angeles by solar companies and other businesses involved in the program. Once the full FiT 100 program is in place, the UCLA research team estimates that as many as 2.7 million tons of greenhouse gases will be displaced from the environment every year. Continue reading

Green Charge Networks Help Save Green

Green Charge Networks can help retail chain customers and city municipalities save some green. The company, which specializes in intelligent energy storage, has signed agreements for 1 MW of energy storage with several organizations that are looking to reduce their electricity bills via smart grid technologies.

GreenStationFor example, it is common in California and New York City for business to pay 40 percent or more for their monthly electric bill in “demand charges” based on their electricity use during peak times. To reduce these costs, Green Charge Network uses its GreenStation technology. It works by collecting utility and weather data to predict peak use and store energy accordingly.

7-Eleven stores have been using GCN’s GreenStation successfully for the past two years. One 7-Eleven GreenStation in New York endured Hurricane Sandy and then went on to save the business 56 percent on their electricity bills during the 2013 summer heat wave. Green Charge Networks is adding to its list of customers including 7-Eleven, Walgreens, office buildings, community colleges, and municipalities, adding up to 1 MW as listed on the DOE’s Global Energy Storage Database.

“It is a big accomplishment to our company to help businesses and local governments use power more efficiently,” said Vic Shao, CEO at Green Charge Networks. “1 MW marks a very significant milestone for Green Charge Networks as we continue to diversify our customer base and increase our penetration in the rapidly growing intelligent energy storage market. Energy efficiency initiatives can only take us so far. The era of power efficiency using advanced software is the next frontier in energy savings.”

It is no secret that America’s aging grid needs to be reborn. Yet with the billions, if not trillions, of dollars it would take to accomplish this and ongoing fights on who should pay for the updates (utilities/consumers or state and federal governments) smart grid technologies can help immediately reduce electricity demand on the overstressed grid.

Experts also say that they are also a good tool in both climate change adaptation and mitigation. Green Charge Networks points out that GreenStation is designed to withstand storms as fierce as Hurricane Sandy or temperatures as extreme as the recent polar vortex. In addition, Green Charge Networks says if smart grid technologies like GreenStation were implemented nationally they could save the energy equivalent of 4,000 coal plants per year.

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.

Clean Energy for Resilient Communities

“Resilient communities need resilient power. Without dependable power, a community can be brought to its knees, and the most vulnerable will suffer the most,” was written in a new report, Clean Energy for Resilient Communities. Based on the success of Baltimore, the report is a blueprint for how a city could become more “power resilient” and details how cities use clean energy to create a more reliable electric system – especially during severe weather events.

To way to achieve this, finds the report commission by the Clean Energy Group (CEG), is to rely on proven distributed energy technologies like solar with energy storage to protect consumers during power outages.

Clean Energy for Resilient Communities“We have entered a new “normal” after Hurricane Sandy, where severe weather events are more frequent, leading to more power outages and increased risk to people and businesses,” said Lewis Milford, President of CEG and co-author of the report. “Last week over a million people in the U.S. lost power during damaging ice storms. Today, due to a record ice storm developing in the Southeastern U.S., hundreds of thousands of people have already lost power, with those numbers expected to rise. We need new strategies like distributed solar with energy storage to protect communities against the harmful effects of power outages. Relying only on the utilities to do the job is no longer safe or dependable.”

CEG said the report is the first in-depth review of national policies and finance strategies to use solar and energy storage to provide more power protection in an urban setting. The report finds that critical public facilities like hospitals, fire stations, gas stations, community shelters and schools should use more resilient power technologies to protect people during power outages. The report also recommends new business models and highlights the emergence of companies that now sell solar with battery storage services to customers– to address the overlooked problem of stand-alone PV systems not working during power outages.

The report recommends:

  • Deploy solar with storage at critical community and government facilities that serve low-income, disabled and elderly communities during emergencies.
  • Promote targeted public funds to increase the use of clean energy in those communities.
  • Use existing bond financing tools to finance solar projects in public and community facilities like schools, community centers and senior housing.
  • Address the existing legal obligations of government agencies under the Americans with Disabilities Act to provide electricity so the elderly and the disabled can fully access emergency services during power outages.

Deepwater Wind Selects Alstom Technology

Alstom has announced a contract to supply 5 Haliade 150-6 megawatt (MW) offshore wind turbines for Deepwater Wind’s 30-MW Block Island pilot Wind Farm located off the coast of Rhode Island. The project will be one of the first offshore wind farms in the U.S. and will be the first to feature Alstom’s Haliade 150-6 MW –the largest turbine installed in offshore waters today. The five turbines will produce approximately 125,000 MWh of electricity a year, enough to power over 17,000 homes.

The company will manufacture the Haliade 150-6 MW direct drive wind turbines and provide 15 years of operation and maintenance support for the Block Island Wind Farm owned and ALSTOM HALIADEoperated by Deepwater Wind. The company says its Haliade 150-6 MW wind turbine features Alstom’s Pure Torque design for optimum efficiency and reliability and its 150-meter diameter rotor provides an energy yield that is 15% better than existing offshore turbines.

“Our contract with Deepwater Wind further demonstrates our commitment to the expanding U.S. wind market,” said Andy Geissbuelher, Head of Alstom’s North American Wind Business. “Drawing on the experience and knowledge gained from our collaboration with Dominion Virginia Power, we are driving the technology innovation needed to make offshore generation a strategic part of the energy mix.”

The Block Island project is aligned with The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s “Smart from the Start” offshore wind program, which aims to accelerate the development of clean, renewable offshore wind along the eastern seaboard of the U.S. The project could lead to a larger utility-scale offshore wind farm of more than 1 gigawatt supported by a regional transmission system linking Long Island, New York and South-eastern New England.

In late 2013, Alstom successfully installed its 6MW Haliade, which at the time was world’s largest offshore wind turbine, off the coast of Belgium. Alstom is part of a consortium led by EDF Energies Nouvelles that was awarded three projects in the first tender launched by the French government to install offshore wind turbines generating 3 GWs of wind power off the coast of France. The successful bid included a total of 240 Haliade 150-6 MW turbines.

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.”