Capitalizing on clean energy climate potential in NC

North Carolina ranks 4th in the nation for installed solar capacity, ahead of even Nevada and Hawaii, according to a Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) report.  National and regional experts in clean energy recently discussed how to continue North Carolina's momentum in wind and solar development.

NERA predicts severe economic impacts from EPA Clean Power Plan

Most concerning to organizations like the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), who was one of several groups to commission the report, NERA says the proposal could force the closure of over 45,000 MW of coal-based electricity, which is more than New England's entire electricity supply.

First of a kind biorefinery features cogeneration component

Once operating at full commercial-scale, the biorefinery will produce up to 25 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol per year -- enough to avoid 132,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually and the equivalent of removing 28,000 vehicles from the road.

Green building rule promotes energy, water management

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a final rule establishing criteria for federal agencies that choose to employ green building rating systems. The rule, identified as RIN 1904 -- AC13, covers new construction and major renovations of federal buildings, including certain residential construction, of $2.5 million or more beginning on October 14, 2015.

Xcel completes largest pipeline project in 20 years

Xcel Energy has begun operation of the Cherokee Natural Gas Pipeline -- a 34-mile natural gas pipeline that will provide a new, cleaner fuel source for its Cherokee Generating Station in north Denver under Colorado's historic Clean Air Clean Jobs Act. The utility spent more than three years and $110 million designing, planning, constructing and testing the natural gas pipeline, which will eventually provide fuel for a new, state-of-the-art, 569 MW natural gas facility set to go into service in spring 2015.

Smart cities changing the energy industry

Today, cities are increasingly demanding to move to cleaner and more efficient energy resources to meet the needs of an urban population that will expand by 2.4 billion people during the next 35 years, and the spread of smart city technologies and policies, developed in response to the rapid growth and change happening in cities around the world, is helping to drive sweeping and fundamental changes in the energy landscape, according to Navigant Research.

PA legislature passes ALEC-backed bill

Pennyslvania's statewide public interest group, PennFuture, is accusing the Pennsylvania legislature of passing two bills that will harm the water and air quality in the state. Both HB1565, the Subdivision Flooding Bill, and HB 2354, the Stall on Carbon Bill, cater to powerful special interests, PennFuture claims.

First national carbon emission cap-and-trade program vulnerable to market meltdowns

No other state or country in the world has attempted to regulate the sale of gasoline and diesel under a cap-and-trade program, but on January 1, 2015, California will, for the first time, include transportation fuels -- gasoline, diesel and propane -- in the nation's first carbon emission cap-and-trading scheme. As California readies to launch this major expansion of its three-year-old cap-and-trade program administered by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) is calling the program flawed. 

U.S. India collaboration to feed energy and sustainable development

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced an "enhanced strategic partnership" between the United States and India during India Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the 5th U.S.-India Energy Partnership Summit at Madison Square Garden, organized by the Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and Yale University. The partnership marks a major milestone in the collaboration between the two countries in energy and sustainable development.

Utilities play critical role in energy careers

"We provide a critical service to our customers and rely on a highly skilled and tech-savvy workforce to do so. The demands for talent will be even greater in the future as our industry transforms and, as a result, we are devoting a great deal of effort to identifying and developing the next generation of workers," said Anne Pramaggiore, President and CEO, ComEd. "To attract and empower the future energy trailblazers and innovators, we support a number of initiatives that promote education in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and career opportunities in the energy industry."

SMUD saving customer 80 percent on commercial energy bill

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) research and development, along with experts from SMUD's Savings by Design program are helping environmental services and information technology company Synectics to realize 80 percent savings on their energy bills. Synectics and SMUD are collaborating on a new approach to more efficiently manage climate control in the office -- a warehouse Synectics is repurposing for use as office space. 

Yahoo embraces community model of renewable energy development

Yahoo has entered into a long-term power purchase agreement of at least 10 years with OwnEnergy, a national developer of mid-sized wind farms. Under the terms of the agreement, Yahoo will purchase approximately half the output from the 50 MW Alexander wind farm in western Kansas, which will be used to offset much of its energy usage in the Great Plains region. The project is located south of Alexander, Kansas and will tie into the Southwest Power Pool Midwest Energy Transmission System.

Utilities, EVs communicate in the cloud

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), utilities, regional transmission organizations, and auto manufacturers are demonstrating an advanced software platform for integrating plug-in electric vehicles (PEV) with smart grid technologies for two-way communication that would allow PEVs with varying technologies to work with power grids. The system will enable the utilities to send a message directly to the vehicle, asking it to stop charging temporarily as a way of helping a grid that is becoming overloaded.

Complaints from TX electric consumers up in 2014

"The uptick in complaints this year is worth monitoring, as they appear to reflect continued frustrations in the market," said Jay Doegey, TCAP board president. "However, complaints reached historic post-deregulation lows during the previous fiscal year, and the 2014 numbers also remain well below the post-deregulation average. So that's the good news."

Demo plant first to produce zero emissions

Exelon Generation is taking part in a first-of-a-kind demonstration power plant that will validate a new natural gas power system that produces zero atmospheric emissions, including carbon dioxide (CO2) developed by NET Power, LLC.  The 50 MWt demonstration plant will validate the world's first natural gas power generation system that produces no air emissions and includes full CO2 capture without requiring expensive, efficiency-reducing carbon capture equipment.

APPA research supports plea to FERC to dump mandatory capacity markets

Just 2.4 percent, at the most, of generation capacity constructed in 2013 was developed solely for sale into organized electricity markets, according to a report released by the American Public Power Association (APPA).  In 2013, almost all new generation capacity was supported by long-term power purchase agreements or ownership, and only 6 percent of all capacity constructed that year was built within the footprints of one of the regional transmission organizations (RTO) with mandatory capacity markets, the report, "Power Plants Are Not Built on Spec: 2014 Update," says.  

Dominion fuel cell park a pathway for energy security and ingenuity

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy recently showcased how affordable fuel cell solutions support energy policy, the environment, and economic development at local, state and federal levels. Case in point: The 15 MW Dominion Bridgeport fuel cell park in Bridgeport, Connecticut, which demonstrates how fuel cell power generation enhances the resiliency of the electric grid with low carbon power production and exemplifies urban renewal being cited within a city.

China becoming major player in gas generation

China's gas power generation capacity is expected to rise from 43.8 GW in 2013 to 85.5 GW by 2020, according to research and consulting firm GlobalData. Driven by China's need to adopt cleaner fuels for power generation and reduce its reliance on coal -- which accounts for 62 percent of the country's total installed capacity -- GlobalData predicts the country will see a boost in gas turbine installations.

NIPSCO proposal leverages FIT success

Investor owned utility Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) has filed a proposal to expand its voluntary feed-in tariff (FIT) program, FIT 2.0. The proposed renewable energy purchasing program enables NIPSCO to procure 16 MW of electricity from small-scale, renewable electricity projects within its service territory. The program's predecessor, FIT 1.0, created 30 MW of market capacity for local renewables.

EPCs could be changing how they do renewable energy business

With U.S. renewable energy capacity expected to double by 2021, engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) services firms will need to adapt to the economic realities of a changing industry, as they are faced with a scarcity of large utility-scale projects and shrinking profit margins, according to research conducted by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) for CohnReznick.