BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDFSunEdison, Inc. has announced a new project that will install 159 kilowatts (kW) of solar PV micro-grids with battery storage in six remote Indian villages, which will bring electricity to, and thereby improve health and education for, 4,875 off-grid people. Working with the Government of India’s Rural Electrification Corporation and the Madhya Pradesh Urja Vikas Nigam state agency, SunEdison will build, operate and then transfer the facilities to a public entity after five years.
  • The first annual Bioproducts World Showcase & Conference will be held October 5-8, 2014 in Columbus, Ohio. The OBIC Bioproducts Innovation Center (OBIC) at The Ohio State University will host the Showcase to feature innovative, biobased products in a single event for key decision makers and procurement officials from commercial and government entities. Registration is open.
  • Bechtel has successfully delivered and installed all of the modules for the first liquefied natural gas production train at the GLNG facility on Curtis Island in Queensland. The successful installation marks a major milestone in the construction of the plant, which will consist of two production trains. Train 1 is made up of 82 modules that were built at a Bechtel-managed module yard facility in the Philippines and transported to Curtis Island over a 19-month period. Modules for Train 2 are being constructed at the same facility and shipped to the island. The final modules for the second train are scheduled to be delivered and installed later this year.
  • Independent Energy Solutions (IES) has finished the construction of a solar carport project with a 325 kilowatt peak capacity located at the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, Arizona. The project utilized HatiCon Solar alTite penetrating flat roof mounting system with a 15 degree tilt used in conjunction with Hyundai 250 watt solar modules. The alTite system’s long spans reduced penetrations to the carport structure. Preassembled components and no on-site fabrication allowed for faster installation under the hot Arizona sun. To further accelerate the installation time a comprehensive service package was provided by HatiCon Solar. Services were comprised of optimized, site specific engineering solutions and full logistical support.

UOP Renewable Jet Fuel Selected by Petrixo

Petrixo Oil & Gas will be using the Honeywell UOP Renewable Jet Fuel Process to produce renewable jet fuel and renewable diesel at a new refinery scheduled to be built in Fujairah United Arab Emirates. The technology will process around 500,000 metric tons per year of multiple renewable feedstocks into Honeywell Green Jet Fuel and Honeywell Green Diesel.

Honeywell Renewable Jet Fuel flightEarlier this year, Petrixo announced that it will invest $800 million to build the new refinery, which will have a design capacity of 1 million tons per year of biofuel products, and will be the first commercial-scale renewable jet fuel production facility outside of North America.

“Petrixo believes that new energy solutions are immensely important for scalable, environmental and renewable solutions,” said Dr. Eid Al Olayyan, chief executive officer of Petrixo Oil & Gas. “UOP’s green fuels technologies are proven refining solutions that produce high-quality products compatible with petroleum-based fuels.”

The UOP technology is designed to provide flexibility to adjust the feedstock mix depending on parameters such as cost and availability. The technology also enables the adoption of newer-generation feedstocks, such as oils derived from algae and halophytes, as scalable supply chains for these lipids develop.

“UOP’s renewable process technologies produce real fuels, rather than fuel additives such as biodiesel, that fit seamlessly into existing fuel supply chains,” explained Veronica May, vice president and general manager of UOP’s Renewable Energy and Chemicals business unit. “The renewable fuels produced by our technology also offer lower greenhouse gas emissions relative to traditional petroleum-based fuels.”

Blended up to 50 percent with petroleum-based jet fuel, Honeywell Green Jet Fuel requires no changes to aircraft technology, meets all critical specifications for flight, and can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 65 to 85 percent compared with petroleum-based fuels.

Globeleq Inaugurates Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm

Globeleq has inaugurated its latest wind energy project in South Africa. The 138 MW Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm is located between the towns of Jeffreys Bay and Humansdorp in Eastern Cape and has an estimated annual production of 460 GWh and will provide renewable electricity for nearly 100,000 average South African households.

Jeffreys Bay Wind-Farm-SunsetBack in April, Globeleq marked the start of operations at two solar facilities, the 50 MW De Aar and 50 MW Droogfontein installations on the Northern Cape. All facilities are part of South Africa’s renewable energy program and according to the company, are among the very first large scale renewable power plants to be built in the country.

Mikael Karlsson, Globeleq’s CEO said, “The completion of these facilities is the result of a truly global partnership with the Government of South Africa and Eskom and the private sector of developers, investors, lenders, constructors, suppliers and the local community. It demonstrates significant support for independent private power producers in the region and indicates the sustainability of the renewable energy sector. As the leading African private power company, Globeleq is committed to pursue further investments in clean and reliable power for the region.”

Similar to other countries, South Africa has identified job creation and skills development through development of renewable energy. During the wind farm’s construction, Globeleq said more than 700 people worked on the site, of which 45 percent were drawn from the local community. A percentage of the project’s operational revenues will be reinvested into the local community through socio-economic and enterprise development programs creating the skills needed to support the growth of the renewable energy industry in South Africa.

“What an exciting time to be a part of this industry. In such a short period we have built an alternative source of energy which will provide ongoing benefits for the country and the industry alike,” said Mark Pickering, Managing Director of Globeleq South Africa.

Globeleq is the majority shareholder in a consortium group, consisting of Mainstream, Old Mutual, Thebe, Enzani, Usizo and the Amadla Omoya Trust. Globeleq through its wholly owned South African subsidiary, manages the operation and commercial aspects of the Jeffreys Bay, De Aar and Droogfontein facilities.

Cape Cod Biodiesel Company Gets State Grant

capecodbiofuelsA Massachusetts company is getting some help from the state to turn used cooking oil into biodiesel. This article from CapeNews.net says Cape Cod BioFuels is getting a $280,000 state grant to turn the waste into green fuel gold.

The grant from the state Department of Energy Resources is intended to help the business increase advanced biodiesel production through expanding and upgrading its 8,800-square-foot facility on Jan Sebastian Drive.

At present, co-owner Andrew R. Davison said, the company collects waste cooking oil from 700 restaurants on Cape Cod and in Plymouth County, bringing in 450,000 gallons a year.

Mr. Davison said Cape Cod BioFuels plans to double the number of restaurants from which it collects the waste oil.

And by matching the state grant with the business’s own funds, Cape Cod BioFuels plans to increase and improve the production capacity at its facility, converting the increased waste-oil volume from the restaurants into more recycled product to sell.

Cape Cod BioFuels officials say they won’t need to expand their plant to increase production, looking to hit 30,000 gallons per week.

Brazil Airline Plans to Use Renewable Jet Fuel

gol-airBrazil’s GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes airline has signed a memorandum of understanding with Amyris that could pave the way for GOL commercial flights to soon use Amyris renewable jet fuel.

Amyris-logo (1)Under the memorandum of understanding, GOL and Amyris will work together to establish a framework for bringing Amyris renewable jet fuel produced from Brazilian sugarcane to GOL’s commercial flights following regulatory approvals and validation by standard-setting bodies, including ASTM International and Brazil’s Oil, Gas and Biofuels Agency (ANP).

The partnership, under of auspices of the Brazilian Biofuels Platform, an industry and government-supported initiative to encourage the use of renewable fuels in aviation, was announced at Brazilian Aviation Day celebration, which included participation of Brazil’s Secretary of Civil Aviation, Minister Moreira Franco, and a number of industry stakeholders including Brazilian Airlines Association (ABEAR), Brazilian Biodiesel and Biojet Association (UBRABIO), GE, and Boeing among others.

American Ethanol Weekend Preview

American Ethanol 200 logo_resizedAmerican Ethanol is racing into Newton, Iowa for an exciting weekend at the Iowa Speedway. It’s an ethanol-powered packed event for American Ethanol. This weekend features the American Ethanol 200 presented by Enogen on Friday July 11th and the Indy Corn Indy 300 presented by DeKalb on Saturday, July 12th.

This year race fans can learn about the benefits of ethanol in many ways. For example, Syngenta will be holding a media briefing to make a major announcement regarding their support for the ethanol industry, provide an update on a new cellulosic ethanol technology and discuss efforts to improve market penetration for American ethanol. Quad County Corn Processors became the first ethanol plant in Iowa to produce commercial scale cellulosic ethanol last week and the first to produce cellulosic ethanol using the Enogen corn trait. Syngenta will be working with Quad County to license the ACE technology to other ethanol plants.

In addition, FFA students living near the speedway will be stationed around the track to discuss the benefits of E15, the same fuel the NASCAR drivers will be racing with, as well as higher blends of ethanol such as E85. They will also be collecting donations to help support flex fuel infrastructure and all funds will be matched by Syngenta. The funds will be used to help retailers install equipment to offer consumers more choice at the pump.

IowaCornIndy300_712E067B4EBE7On Saturday, the ethanol fun continued at the Iowa Corn Indy 300 presented by DeKalb. This is the 8th running of the Iowa Corn Indy sponsored event. In past years the race has been 250 laps but for the first time this year, drivers will compete to be the first to the finish line after 300 laps. This year, Indy Car will be filling up with 85% ethanol – the same fuel Iowans can find at nearly 200 stations.

Both races begin at 7:30 pm and DomesticFuel.com will be bringing readers weekend ethanol race event coverage. You can also follow the events via Twitter @DomesticFuel and @jmschroeder and on DF’s Facebook page. We’ll see you for some #EthanolFun!

Dominion Virginia Power Dedicates ODU Solar Project

Norfolk, Virginia-based Old Dominion University (ODU) is the recipient of the first solar roof installation in the Hampton Roads area. Dominion Virginia Power dedicated the solar project located on ODU’s Student Recreation Center. Last May, Dominion selected the university to be one of the first participants in the company’s Solar Partnership Program under which Dominion builds and operates solar facilities on leased rooftops.

“ODU is a good fit for this program as it continues to pave the way for alternative energy research at the university level in the Commonwealth,” said Ken Barker, vice president of Customer Solutions at Dominion. “This project will undoubtedly provide both community and educational benefits. Our new program allows us to integrate solar power into our diverse mix of resources to ensure reliable electricity. Solar energy will be a source of generation moving forward, and we hope to add 20 to 30 new solar installations over the next several years.”

odu-rooftop-aerial-photo1More than 600 solar panels were installed as part of the solar energy system. These panels will generate about 125 kilowatts of electricity during daylight hours, which is enough to supply the energy needs for an equivalent of 31 homes.

John R. Broderick, president of Old Dominion University said of the solar project, “With Dominion’s generous support over the years, our university’s development of solar technology and groundbreaking photovoltaic energy research has been recognized nationally. Thanks to more than $3 million in research grants from a variety of sources, including Dominion Virginia Power, Dr. Sylvain Marsillac and his team have been able to further this research by testing solar energy concepts on the rooftops of Kaufman Hall, the Student Recreation Center and more.”

The Solar Partnership Program was approved by the Virginia State Corporation Commission in November 2012. PowerSecure, a North Carolina-based company with offices in Virginia, was chosen as the engineering, procurement and construction company to complete the project. Under the program, Dominion will construct and operate up to 30 megawatts of company-owned solar facilities on leased rooftops or on the grounds of commercial businesses and public properties throughout the company’s Virginia service area. When fully implemented, the program will generate enough electricity for up to 7,500 homes.

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDFAccording to a new market report published by Transparency Market Research “Biofuels Market: Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast 2013 – 2019,” biofuels production was 24,326.7 million gallons in 2012 and is expected to reach 50,921.4 million gallons by 2019, growing at a CAGR of 9.6% from 2013 to 2019.
  • Lightway Solar and its wholly-owned subsidiary Baoding Guangdong New Energy Company Limited, have announced that the company has signed a fifteen-year 70 million yuan (US $11.2 million) loan agreement with China Development Bank (CDB) Hebei Branch. The loan will be used for the first phase – a 9.645MW facility – of a distributed photovoltaic (PV) power station project in Baigou, Hebei province. This facility is being developed and built by Lightway Solar, and has been formally connected to the grid since July 1, 2014. When all phases of the project are completed, the facility will deliver 20MW. The project is based on a model where the power generated will be primarily consumed by local users and any unused electricity will be available for sale to other entities connected to the grid. The completed facility will be capable of delivering power to 3 million recipients connected to the grid.
  • Sonnenbatterie, Europe’s smart energy storage solution, has announced it is now open for business in North America with five new channel distribution partners throughout the United States. The Sonnenbatterie product range spans from 4.5 kWh residential units to commercial 20 kWh storage blocks, which can be connected to build units up to 200kWh in capacity. All Sonnenbatteries include integrated smart meter functionality with mobile energy monitoring and management.
  • Energy Upgrade California wants to know how Californians plan to save energy and water this summer and will reward those who make a pledge to help California Stay Golden with the chance to win prizes that can help save water and energy. The Stay Golden California sweepstakes is the latest effort to promote energy and water savings across the golden state. Californians can enter the sweepstakes by submitting their pledge describing how they will save water and energy during this hot and dry summer. Weekly prizes include solar backpacks, energy efficient Bluetooth speakers made from renewable materials, an energy efficient kit including an energy hub and smart plug, and a programmable thermostat. Complete rules and eligibility for the sweepstakes are available here.

Intersolar North America Awards Champion of Change

The first ever Champion of Change award was bestowed upon Michael Peevey, president of the California Public Utilities Commission during Intersolar North America taking place this week. The award was given in conjunction with the California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA) for Peevey’s outstanding commitment to supporting renewable energy at the national and international levels.

“For three yeTuesday, July 8ars, the Intersolar AWARD program has singled out landmark projects in North America that represent major technological, economical and environmental achievements,” said Markus Elsässer, CEO of Solar Promotion International, an organizer of Intersolar North America. “This year’s winners demonstrated how well designed systems that utilize the latest technologies to deliver cost-effective solar energy could benefit a variety of customer requirements. These projects, from off-grid applications to mid-sized systems to utility-scale installations, highlight solar energy’s versatility and show that the industry is well on its way toward maturation.”

The Intersolar AWARD winners for solar projects in North America were judged on pioneering character, uniqueness, economic benefits, benefits for the environment and society, degree of technical innovation and proof of innovation. An independent committee of industry experts chose three award winners:

  • First Solar won the award for its Agua Caliente Solar Project, a 290 MW project that is currently the largest fully operational PV power plant and covers 2,400 acres in Yuma County, Ariz. First Solar developed, engineered, constructed and operates the system, which was designed to minimize land disturbances and to maximize stability, reliability and cost-effectiveness. This project revolutionizes how solar integrates with the power grid.
  • Solaire Generation Inc. won the award with the Whole Foods Market Solar Carport. The 325-kilowatt installation is New York’s largest solar carport, and, in addition to generating enough energy to meet 20 percent of the store’s demand, the eye-catching project showcases how solar power can be integrated with other green initiatives such as rainwater harvesting and brownfield re-development. The carport has a capacity to recover 30,000 gallons of rainwater and is educating shoppers with its unique design of both the practical and aesthetic potential of solar.
  • Princeton Power System won the award with its distinctive Alcatraz Island Microgrid System. Created as a response to failures of conventional energy sources, Alcatraz is a pioneer in energy independence. Princeton Power Systems cooperated with the U.S. National Park Service and created a system that provides more than 80 percent of the island’s electricity needs for the one million visitors that come every year. The 400kW system creatively utilizes prison spaces, such as old generator rooms and rooftops, and integrates cutting-edge technologies without compromising the historic quality of the site and making the system invisible to the outside viewer.

“By expanding our AWARD program to honor individuals alongside technologies and key projects, we are highlighting the people and the ideas that drive the industry,” added Klaus Seilnacht, CEO of FMMI International GmbH, an organizer of Intersolar North America. “The solar industry needs advocates like Michael Peevey. We are excited to continue to recognize the people who have helped make North America one of the largest solar markets in the world.”

Optimus’ Bolt-On Biodiesel Solution Gets EPA Approval

optimusHardware and software that bolt onto diesel truck engines and allow pure biodiesel to run through the system has gained some key approvals from the U.S. government. Optimus Technologies is the first to receive the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) approval for an advanced biofuel conversion solution for existing medium‐ and heavy‐duty trucks. This company news release says that while the system can be used with a wide variety of fuels, this also marks the first time anyone has been able to be compliant with 100 percent biofuels, creating opportunities for ethanol refiners as well.

The solution is based on a combination of Optimus’ Vector bi‐fuel (diesel or biofuel) conversion system ‐‐ hardware and software that bolts‐on to existing diesel engines ‐‐ and certified, pure biofuel. Fuels tested were derived from a variety of bio‐sources including non‐food grade corn oil, recycled cooking oil, and pure biodiesel (B100). While Optimus may be first to the U.S. market, such solutions have been available in Europe for more than a decade.

“We’re very excited that the EPA has approved our technology,” said CEO Colin Huwyler, “Our solution represents a tangible opportunity for fleets to shrink their operating costs while improving the environment. And, our solution does not require multi‐million dollar start‐up costs like CNG does.” Fleet operators have been surprised to find that CNG solutions require capital‐intensive modifications to fueling stations and maintenance facilities, extending payback periods well beyond 5 years. Optimus’ solution can leverage current facilities with only minor modifications, offering paybacks as little as one year.

The news release goes on to point out that a network of biofuel suppliers are supplying the fuel at the standard Optimus needs.

“We are very glad that Optimus has secured EPA approval,” stated Rory Gaunt, CEO of Lifecycle Renewables, a leading renewable fuel provider based outside of Boston, MA. “We have been a strong supporter of Optimus’ efforts. Now, we will be able to expand our market reach and grow into servicing commercial and government fleets with our high quality, renewable fuels.”

Emissions testing shows that Optimus has a significant overall reduction in tailpipe emissions in comparison to diesel, with particulate matter reduced by about 40 percent.

Renewable Diesel Helps Green Music Festival

flowfestneste1A European music festival will keep it green this year with some help from renewable diesel. This news release from Neste Oil says the company’s 100 percent NEXBTL renewable diesel will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from this year’s Flow Festival held August 8-10 in Helsinki, Finland by 90 percent.

“NEXBTL renewable diesel fits in very well with Flow’s aim of reducing its emissions, as it can result in up to 90% lower levels of greenhouse gas emissions than conventional fossil diesel,” says Kaisa Hietala, Neste Oil’s Executive Vice President, Renewable Products. “We are very pleased that our product can help events like Flow offer an exciting program of music and other material, while at the same time helping reducing their impact on the environment.

“This is yet another example of the broad range of opportunities that our NEXBTL products have to offer for cutting emissions on the road, in the air, and at events.”

“We are very satisfied that we will be able to generate all the electricity needed at this year’s Flow Festival using renewable energy sources,” says Flow’s Production Manager Emilia Mikkola, who is also responsible for the event’s environmental profile. “Through our partnership with Neste Oil, we will be able to use NEXBTL renewable diesel in our generators for the first time instead of fossil fuel.”

Neste Oil’s NEXBTL diesel can be produced from just about any vegetable oil or waste fat.

Report Shows Oil Companies Block Renewable Fuels

gasoline_pumpThe biggest names in the oil industry get failing grades when it comes to offering alternative transportation fuels like ethanol, according to a new report card released today by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).

A new “Consumer Choice Report Card” grades the nation’s largest retail gasoline chains based on whether they are providing consumers with alternatives to regular gasoline that cost less, reduce pollution and are higher octane for better engine performance.

RFANewlogoAccording to RFA, the “Big Five” oil companies all scored at the bottom of the list — with fewer than one percent of stations offering American made, renewable alternatives like E85 or E15 — while a number of major independent retail chains received “A+” grades, with more than 25 percent of their stations offering E85 or E15. Those five companies are Exxon, BP, ConocoPhillips, Chevron and Shell. At the head of the class are independent chains such as Break Time, Meijer, Thorntons, Kum & Go, and Kwik Trip – all of which earned a grade of A+ for their support of renewable fuels. Among oil company affiliated brands, only Speedway/SuperAmerica and Cenex received high marks (“A-“ and “B,” respectively.)

The Consumer Choice Report Card is part of a new report from the RFA titled “Protecting the Monopoly: How Big Oil Covertly Blocks the Sale of Renewable Fuels” which exposes how the five largest oil companies, along with a number of leading refiners, are “engaging in strong arm tactics and covert practices to prevent and discourage the sale of renewable fuels, especially at stations carrying their brand name.” The report finds that oil company distribution contracts “routinely include provisions that make it difficult, needlessly expensive, or simply impossible for a retailer to offer consumers choices like E15 or E85.”

RFA president and CEO Bob Dinneen and RFA Senior Vice President Geoff Cooper held a media call to discuss the report and scorecard. “Cynically, oil companies frequently cite a shortage of fueling infrastructure as a reason why the EPA should lower the requirements of the Renewable Fuel Standard. Yet, as demonstrated in this analysis, the oil industry itself has deliberately created this shortage by making it as difficult and burdensome as possible for retail gas stations to offer greater volumes of renewable fuels,” said Dinneen. “We have to enforce the Renewable Fuel Standard.”

Cooper explains some of the tactics used by the big oil companies to prevent or discourage sales of renewable fuels. “Most of these contracts require supplier exclusivity meaning the retailer can only sell fuels made by supplier,” said Cooper. “So if the supplier doesn’t make E15 or E85 available at the terminal, the distributor can’t distribute it to the retailer.” Cooper says many agreements actually actively discourage retailers from promoting the availability of E85 and some have been fined for doing so.

Listen to or download the call here: RFA report on how oil companies block renewable fuels

Battery Bat Houses for Hydroelectric Projects

Bat Houses from scrap volt battery casesEagle Scout Matthew Netherland has developed a creative way to help bats who live near hydroelectric projects. Using discarded scrap Volt battery covers donated by GM, Netherland built 22 bat houses for Consumers Energy to install in their energy properties.

“This project connects a lot of environmental dots,” said Rich Castle, Consumers Energy’s natural resource manager for hydro generation. “Hydro dams generate clean electricity, and cars that run on electricity are a cleaner form of transportation. The battery covers from the electric-powered vehicles are being kept out of landfills, and by being utilized as bat homes they allow biodiversity to thrive along the river habitats that produce renewable energy.”

About 100 or more bats can live in each bat box, which includes five chambers. Netherland, a friend and two adult mentors helped build the bat boxes in about two months that will be installed by Consumers Energy.

“I’m thankful that GM had the perfect shell for the bat box plans, and that Consumers Energy has great locations to place the boxes,” said Netherland from Boy Scout Troop 185 from Clarkston, Michigan. “Both companies have been great to work with, very encouraging and generous.”

Emily McDonald, environmental engineer for GM who coordinated with Netherland on his project, added, “I’m so impressed by Matthew’s energy and dedication to this project. We’ve worked with renowned bat experts on our bat house design and are grateful that we can partner with others who share our passion for conservation and will help us make a lasting impact. The Volt covers are made with durable material and will result in wildlife nesting opportunities for a long time.”

Cali Can Broaden Hydrogen Fueling Network

Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have published a study that found a number of existing gas stations in California can safely store and dispense hydrogen. This, the researchers suggest, a broader network of hydrogen fueling stations may be within reach.

The report examined 70 commercial gasoline stations throughout California and sought to determine which, if any, could integrate hydrogen fuel, based on the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) hydrogen technologies code published in 2011. The report found that 14 of the 70 gas stations considered in the study could readily accept hydrogen fuel and that 17 more possibly could accept hydrogen with property expansions. Sandia Daniel DedrickUnder previous NFPA code requirements from 2005, none of the existing gasoline stations could readily accept hydrogen. The current code, known as NFPA 2, provides fundamental safeguards for the generation, installation, storage, piping, use and handling of hydrogen in compressed gas or cryogenic (low temperature) liquid form.

Sandia Hydrogen Program Manager Daniel Dedrick said the development of meaningful, science-based fire codes and determinations such as those found in the report will help accelerate the deployment of hydrogen systems. “This work shows that we can reduce uncertainty and avoid overly conservative restrictions to commercial hydrogen fuel installations by focusing on scientific, risk-informed approaches. It turns out that the number of fueling stations able to carry hydrogen can be quantified.” Dedrick added, “We now know that we can build more hydrogen fueling stations if we examine the safety issues within a sound, technical framework that focuses on the real behaviors of hydrogen.”

Sandia’s hydrogen safety, codes and standards program is a diverse portfolio of activities funded by the Department of Energy’s Fuel Cell Technologies Office to provide the technical basis for developing and revising safety codes and standards for hydrogen infrastructure, including the NFPA 2 code. This work is aligned with Hydrogen Fueling Infrastructure Research and Station Technology (H2FIRST), a new project established by the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

Maine Utilities Partner to Improve Grid

Emera Maine and Central Maine Power (CMP) have agreed to jointly develop electric transmission projects in Maine. The goal of all projects is to improve links between southern New England and northern Maine, where more than 2,100 megawatts of wind power development have been proposed. The agreement between the utilities comes in response to a call by the six New England governors for investments in the region’s energy infrastructure to diversify the energy portfolio and gain access to new renewable energy resources.

As the state’s two largest utilities, the companies serve more than 95 percent of Maine’s homes and businesses. The utilities have significant expertise with transmission projects, including the MEPCO transmission line that extends from central Maine to New Brunswick, Canada.

Transmission Project in MaineCentral Maine Power is the state’s largest utility serving 605,000 homes and businesses in the southern third of the state. The company is nearing completion of the Maine Power Reliability Program, a $1.4 billion investment in new transmission lines and substations to reinforce its 345,000 volt bulk power grid.

“Our Maine Power Reliability Program is the largest construction project ever in Maine, and one of New England’s largest transmission projects,” said Sara Burns, president and CEO of Central Maine Power. “It’s a vast and complex undertaking, but four years into construction, the project is on time and on budget.”

Emera Maine serves approximately 154,000 homes and businesses in eastern and northern Maine. Significant transmission projects completed by Emera Maine include the 43-mile, 115,000 volt Downeast Reliability Project, and the 85-mile, 345,000 volt Northeast Reliability Interconnect in 2007.

“Electric transmission can be a significant challenge to new low/no emitting generation sources seeking to enter our New England market”, said Gerard Chasse, president and COO of Emera Maine. “That’s a challenge that our companies have been working together on for some time, particularly in Northern Maine. With this MOU we are renewing and expanding these efforts to identify and develop creative and cost effective transmission solutions to benefit the State and the region.”

The partners have outlined two initial phases of work. Phase One will analyze the feasibility of each project, including technical feasibility, public policy, regulatory considerations, and outreach to other potential parties to the project. Phase Two will include all development activities from design, engineering, siting, through construction bidding.