Wind energy developer Wind Capital Group selected RMT Inc. to design and construct its 150-MW Osage County wind energy facility in Oklahoma. RMT will provide engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) of civil and electrical infrastructure for 94 GE 1.6-MW wind turbines at the site. The civil and electrical infrastructure includes roads, crane paths and pads, turbine foundations, and full site restoration. The electrical infrastructure includes a 34.5-kV underground collector system, a 34.5/138-kV power substation, and a 138-kV project transmission line. RMT is also responsible for tower erection, in-tower wiring, mechanical turbine completion, and testing and inspections to deliver a fully functional wind-powered electrical generation facility. Construction of the Osage County wind farm is expected to begin early this fall, with project completion scheduled for June 2012.
Lincoln Renewable Energy (LRE) began construction on its 10-MW New Jersey Oak solar project. Located in Fairfield Township in Cumberland County, it will comprise 55,000 solar panels constructed on a 100-acre site connected to Atlantic City Electric’s distribution system. According to LRE, the project when completed will be the largest non-utility-owned solar project east of the Mississippi, and one of the largest solar facilities in the country. In a related announcement, contractors Quanta Renewable Energy Services and Ryan Co. selected Satcon Technology to deliver 10 of its 1-MW Prism Platform systems configured with Equinox inverters for the New Jersey Oak project. Prism Platform includes step-up transformers, disconnect switches, and power conversion electronics, and uses Satcon’s Equinox PV inverters.
Siemens Energy secured an order for an offshore wind power plant in Germany. For the project Meerwind Süd and Meerwind Ost the company will deliver 80 wind turbines with a capacity of 3.6 MW and a rotor diameter of 120 meters each, for a total capacity of 288 MW. The customer is Bremerhaven, Germany-based WindMW, which is owned by funds managed by Blackstone and Windland Energieerzeugungs. WindMW is responsible for planning, building and operating the Meerwind Süd/Ost project. According to Siemens, this is the first time a private equity company has invested in a Siemens offshore wind plant. The facility is expected to be commissioned in 2013. Siemens said this is its sixth order for an offshore wind power plant in German waters.
Siemens Energy, Mortenson Construction, and MidAmerican Energy completed the expansion of MidAmerican’s wind project near Pomeroy, Iowa. Thirteen Siemens wind turbines were erected at the site, creating an additional 29.9 MW of generation capacity. The units are the first of 258 wind turbines Siemens is providing and Mortenson is erecting at three MidAmerican wind projects in Iowa this year. Siemens is supplying the turbines, as well as providing operation, maintenance and warranty service for the project. Mortenson, based in Minneapolis, was selected through a separate competitive tender process by MidAmerican to construct the wind projects and to install access roads, underground electrical collection systems and internal tower wiring.
SunEdison, the solar energy subsidiary of MEMC Electronic Materials and GE Capital, announced the next step in the GE Capital Real Estate environmental sustainability initiative by activating the first two of 15 solar rooftop systems using the Ontario feed-in tariff (FIT), totaling 2.3 MW of capacity. SunEdison is building and operating all 15 photovoltaic (PV) solar energy systems and GE Capital Real Estate is hosting the installations on its commercial buildings in the Greater Toronto Area.
In a related announcement, SunEdison developed an industrial rooftop PV project in collaboration with Purolator. Under the terms of the agreement, SunEdison will deploy, operate and maintain approximately 1.14 MW of PV systems on five building rooftops, with future opportunities for another 1.2 MW distributed over an additional six buildings. The projects will be hosted at Purolator-owned facilities, and the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) will purchase the energy produced under the terms of Ontario’s FIT program. The Purolator projects will be located throughout Ontario, in Etobicoke, Ottawa, Hamilton and Pickering.
SunPeak Solar selected Suntech Power Holdings to supply 28.7 MW (DC) of solar panels for a 23 MW (AC) solar power plant in Niland, Calif. SunPeak subsidiary Imperial Valley Solar I will oversee the project’s construction, including installation of about 100,000 units of Suntech’s 285/290W Vd-Series modules. Suntech said the modules will be manufactured using SuperPoly silicon processing technology that improves module performance by up to 10 percent, and the 72-cell Vd-Series module comes with a 25-year power output warranty.
Austin-based Solar Community and Houston-based Reliant Energy teamed up to offer a new financing option for solar electric power systems. The Reliant solar leasing program provides turnkey solar energy systems with free monitoring and a 20-year power production guarantee. Each system is custom designed for each customer’s location, budget and electrical consumption. The solar lease program offers “sell-back plans,” which credit customers’ bills for power produced in excess of their consumption. The financing and lease contracts will come from Reliant Energy while Solar Community will design and install the solar energy systems.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff informed South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G) that the commission completed the final safety evaluation report (FSER) for SCE&G’s two planned new nuclear units at V.C. Summer Station in Jenkinsville, S.C. The NRC concluded that no safety aspects would preclude issuing the combined construction and operating licenses (COL) for the proposed reactors. Previously, the NRC staff issued the FSER for the Westinghouse AP1000 reactor design that SCE&G selected for the new units. Issuance of SCE&G’s COL is dependent upon completion of subsequent rulemaking processes and a hearing. The schedule continues to support NRC approval of the COL within the company’s previously announced timeframe of late 2011 or early 2012.
The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) implemented a three-year agreement with Japan’s Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry (CRIEPI) to jointly research nuclear power plant issues related to materials science, plant component performance and radiation safety. The collaborative work will facilitate the sharing of research and experimental results, data and scientific information that will expand the knowledge base of critical plant infrastructure and radiation safety in and around nuclear power plants. Its results are expected to provide the technical foundation to enhance the safe and efficient operation of nuclear plants worldwide. Some of the joint research projects planned for the EPRI-CRIEPI initiative include:
The use of three-dimensional tools at the atomic level to improve understanding of the effects of neutron damage on reactor materials; development of new materials that are more resistant to radiation damage, leading to greater plant reliability; evaluation of reactor vessel behavior under abnormal and highly unusual circumstances, such as those experienced at Fukushima Daiichi; and, an assessment of the impact of low-dose radiation on public health and nuclear plant personnel.
FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Co. (FENOC) broke ground for a new emergency operations facility in Lindsey, Ohio, for the Davis-Besse nuclear power station. The new 12,000 square-foot facility will allow for improved coordination between the plant and state and local emergency management agencies during the unlikely event of an emergency at the plant. Personnel will use state-of-the-art equipment to monitor environmental conditions and communicate with state and local emergency representatives. The facility also will be used during quarterly training drills and bi-annual emergency exercises evaluated by NRC and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Construction of the new building is expected to be completed in February 2012.
Siemens Energy received two orders from Thailand for the engineering, procurement and construction of combined cycle power plants. Siemens is to build Chana Block 2 in the province of Songkhla and Wang Noi Block 4 in the vicinity of Bangkok, together with Japanese partner Marubeni. The plants were ordered by the state-owned utility Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT). The two power plants, each with an installed capacity of approximately 800 MW, are scheduled to come on line in the summer of 2014. The total investment volume amounts to about $1 billion, with more than half for the Siemens scope of supply. Two associated long-term maintenance contracts for Siemens are expected to be signed at a later date.
SunPower Corp. plans to own and operate a solar panel manufacturing facility in Mexicali, Mexico, to provide modules for the North American market. SunPower will lease an existing building, which has up to 320,000 square feet of capacity, to manufacture its E18, E19 and E20 series solar panels for residential, commercial and power plant projects, and will also produce its SunPower T5 Solar Roof Tile system.
MEMC Electronic Materials, Inc. and its solar energy subsidiary, SunEdison, completed the acquisition of privately held solar project developer Fotowatio Renewable Ventures. At closing, MEMC paid $112 million, plus repayment of approximately $19 million in intercompany loans and capital contributions. An additional $103.6 million depends on Fotowatio achieving certain performance targets.
The Department of Energy finalized a partial guarantee for an $852 million loan to support the development of the 250-MW Genesis Solar Project, a parabolic trough concentrating solar power (CSP) facility being developed by NextEra Energy on land managed by the Bureau of Land Management in Riverside County, Calif. Power from the project will be sold to Pacific Gas and Electric. The lender-applicant, Credit Suisse AG, submitted the application under the financial institution partnership program, under which DOE guarantees up to 80 percent of the eligible loan costs. In a related announcement, NextEra closed on construction and term financing consisting of $702 million in project bonds, a $150 million project term loan and an $83 million project letter of credit. Credit Suisse underwrote the project bonds and term loan. Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria provided the letter of credit.
IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) announced the first trade of the California carbon allowance forward contract. In addition to being the first trade of this cleared contract on ICE, it’s the first exchange-cleared trade based on California’s new cap-and-trade program. The transaction was for 100 contracts, representing 100,000 California carbon allowances, at a price of $17.00 per allowance. NRG Power Marketing and Shell Energy North America agreed to the terms to make this first trade.
Itron appointed LeRoy D. Nosbaum as president, CEO and member of Itron’s board of directors. He was CEO from 2000 to 2009, and chairman from 2002 to 2009. He succeeds Malcolm Unsworth who retired as Itron’s president, CEO and board member.
Xtreme Power, developer and manufacturer of utility-scale energy storage and digital power management systems, appointed Alan J. Gotcher, Ph.D. as chief technology officer. From 2004 to 2008, Gotcher served as president, CEO and director for energy storage and power product company Altair Nanotechnologies.
Viridity Energy named Frank D. Reinhart, Jr. v.p. of national account sales, and Adje Mensah director of product management. Previously, Reinhart led North American strategic sales at Direct Energy. Mensah co-founded Petra Solar, where he was senior manager of technology management.
Public Service Company of Oklahoma selected Cooper Power Systems to deploy an integrated volt-VAR control system for PSO’s gridSMART demonstration project in Owasso, Okla. The system will be installed in three substations and on 11 distribution feeders. The Yukon IVVC application will monitor and control 40 distribution capacitor banks and 24 voltage regulators, and will be integrated into the distribution dispatch center (DDC) to allow remote supervision and control.
KEMA selected Green Energy Corp’s GreenBus software platform for operation in the KEMA smart grid interop lab. GreenBus automates processes, captures real-time grid operational data and allows power companies’ applications to securely share data. KEMA created the lab as a test facility to offer independent verification of device interoperability. It also validates compliance of low-voltage automation devices, meters, and consumer products with evolving smart grid standards.
Telvent was selected by Progress Energy Florida (PEF) to engineer, design and implement Telvent’s OASyS SCADA solution to help the utility better serve its more than 1.6 million electric customers. Telvent is expected to implement its SCADA system, OASyS DNA, allowing PEF to receive real-time information from the field and support faster operational decisions, increasing distribution efficiency.
Survalent Technology commissioned a new SCADA system for Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative. The system includes several of Survalent’s applications, including: command sequencing, power factor control, load curtailment, voltage control, and control panel applications. In addition, Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative will be installing 15 of Survalent’s Scout station controllers, which combine the functions of a traditional RTU with the functions of a data concentrator and terminal server.
Airbiquity, provider of connected vehicle services, and Coulomb Technologies, an online network of independently-owned electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, created a joint partnership to integrate the ChargePoint network’s driver services into Airbiquity’s green vehicle service portfolio. The partnership is expected to make ChargePoint services available to Airbiquity EV customers, including station location, real-time availability and reservations, via desktop and mobile web portals, smart phone apps and in-vehicle systems.
Leviton, a leading global manufacturer of electrical devices, unveiled its commercial electric vehicle charging stations in central New Jersey at the IEEE operations center in Piscataway. The Leviton Evr-Green level-2 commercial charging station, donated by Graybar, provides free recharging while at work for IEEE employees who own EVs. Power is delivered through a single output that provides 7.2 kW (208/240 volts at 30 amps) level-2 charging, via a standard SAE J1772 connector and 18-foot cable. Running through the ChargePoint network, Leviton’s Evr-Green stations prevent unauthorized access by requiring employees to use a ChargePass Card or call ChargePoint’s toll-free customer service number located on the charging station’s screen.
Idaho Falls Power deployed the Elster EnergyAxis smart grid solution as a key component of its advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) project. The deployment is part of the Department of Energy’s $178 million Pacific Northwest smart grid demonstration project. Elster’s EnergyAxis system will automate smart meter data collection for the municipal utility’s electric customers, enabling faster demand response, improved load control, and voltage conservation.
Sensus partnered with meter data management system (MDMS) provider Ecologic Analytics to provide a communications system for electricity customers using the Sensus FlexNet AMI system. The Sensus FlexNet and Ecologic MDMS solution is based on the IEC 61968 part 9 interface, the interoperability standard to provide a common interface model gateway for meter reading and control data to be exchanged between the Sensus head-end system and the Ecologic MDMS application.
WPPI Energy contracted Siemens Energy to implement the eMeter EnergyIP MDMS for its 51 member utility cooperatives in Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa. Siemens will configure, deliver and support the project implementation, which began in June. The MDMS is expected to allow WPPI Energy personnel to use meter data to perform load forecasting and analysis, provide peak load management, develop new pricing programs and enable new demand response programs. The implementation will be hosted at the WPPI Energy facilities in Sun Prairie, Wisc., and will be shared and customized to support its member cooperatives.
Deep East Texas Electric Cooperative (DETEC) selected Tantalus to provide AMI functionality for 40,000 meters on its system. The new infrastructure will replace an aging, one-way automated meter reading system. The Tantalus system is expected to be fully operational within the next three years. The deployment will incorporate remote disconnection and allow for remote voltage monitoring, and introduces the capability to monitor outages, shave peaks through load management, and accommodate a wide-range of future rate possibilities.
Pepco Energy Services implemented the final phase of its $77 million energy savings performance contract for Prince George’s County Public Schools, which was first awarded in 2007. This fourth phase is expected to produce $34.9 million in energy infrastructure improvements for 103 school facilities, generating approximately $3.4 million in energy savings per year. The project includes lighting upgrades, building automation controls systems and integrated energy management solutions. The overall project, including the fourth phase, is expected to increase the school system’s energy savings to approximately $6.4 million each year, as well as reduce total energy and water usage by approximately 20 percent and 30 percent each year, respectively.
Ameren Illinois contracted Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) to provide energy efficiency programs. SAIC will work with Ameren Illinois to maximize the delivery of and participation in cost-effective energy programs, helping ensure customer satisfaction through support, technical services, and external communications. SAIC said it will foster market transformations for Ameren Illinois, where possible, through efficiency programs that aim to achieve persistent savings, modify customer behavior, and advance new and emerging technologies for the utility.