Former Pres. Bill Clinton and other dignitaries help Duke, Cisco and Charlotte, N.C., launch commercial efficiency initiative; AEP signs 20-year MOU to buy solar output from New Harvest plant; Wartsila expands gas-fired generator in Turkey; U.S. DOE awards geothermal RD&D grants; GE acquires Dresser for $3 billion, and also acquires Calnetix industrial cogen technology; SunEdison sells 70 MW Rovigo PV plant; Ford Motor Co. and Oncor coordinate to install electric vehicle infrastructure; ABB and GM investigate uses for EV batteries after their transportation usefulness is depleted; plus contracts and announcements from EnerNoc, Echelon, Sensus, HP, 3TIER and more.
Duke Energy, Cisco and Charlotte Center City Partners announced the creation of “Envision: Charlotte,” first-of-its-kind public-private collaboration to make commercial buildings in Charlotte’s urban core more energy efficient. The initiative was announced by former President Bill Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York. President Clinton was joined by Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers, Cisco CEO John Chambers, Charlotte Center City Partners CEO Michael Smith and Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx. A primary focus of Envision: Charlotte is to reduce energy in commercial buildings. The initiative will seek to partner with the owners of 60 commercial buildings and deploy a combination of digital smart grid and building automation technologies, as well as energy tracking tools, to provide building owners and office workers with near real-time information about the buildings’ collective energy use. It also will suggest specific actions office workers can take to reduce energy consumption.
Turman Group, a major lumber firm in Virginia, will use EnerNOC’s CarbonSMART application to manage greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. CarbonSMART will be deployed throughout Turman’s 10-location network, providing the company with a thorough inventory of its GHG emissions, as well as insight into common practices for additional energy efficiency.
Wärtsilä was awarded an engineering and equipment contract for extension of the Aksa Samsun power plant in Samsun, Turkey. The plant will be extended to incorporate the latest addition to Wärtsilä’s gas engine portfolio, the Wärtsilä 18V50SG engine. The engine has an electrical output of 18,321 kW, making it the largest gas-powered generating set in the world. This will be the first installation of the Wärtsilä 18V50SG unit, which features the high power-plant efficiency rating exceeding 50 percent in combined-cycle mode.
Ohio Governor Ted Strickland announced agreements to create Turning Point Solar, a 49.9-MW solar array to be built on strip-mined land adjacent to The Wilds nature conservancy. American Electric Power (AEP) CEO Michael G. Morris signed a memorandum of understanding with project developers New Harvest Ventures and Agile Energy to enter into a 20-year purchase agreement for the facility’s power.
Pending approval of state and local government incentives, two Spanish solar power component manufacturers, Prius Energy S.L. and Isofoton, have agreed to open new manufacturing facilities in Ohio to help build the 239,400 panel solar array. If operating today, Turning Point would be the largest photovoltaic solar array in the United States. Prius and Isofoton have agreed to locate their North American operations in Ohio, creating more than 300 permanent manufacturing jobs.
U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced $20 million to finance research, development and demonstration of cutting-edge geothermal technologies at seven projects. The projects will demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of non-conventional geothermal energy technologies in three areas: low temperature fluids, geothermal fluids recovered from oil and gas wells, and highly pressurized geothermal fluids. The following projects were selected for awards: Low Temperature Geothermal Fluids: 1) Energent Corp., Dixie Valley, Nev. ($1.2 million). Energent will demonstrate the innovative features of a geothermal power plant using a scale-resistant heat exchanger design to allow increased use of low temperature resources; 2) GreenFire Energy, Springerville, Ariz. ($2 million). GreenFire Energy will provide field evaluations of a low temperature carbon dioxide-based geothermal electric power plant; 3) Modoc Contracting Co., Canby, Modoc County, Calif. ($2 million). Modoc proposes to create a complete cascaded use of a geothermal resource—from low temperature power generation through several direct-use applications, including a direct heating system, greenhouse operation and fish farm—that will demonstrate energy-efficient use of geothermal fluids; 4) Oski Energy, Susanville, Lassen County, Calif. ($2 million). Oski Energy will test a power cycle technology that uses a mixture of ammonia and water as the working fluid. Geothermal Fluids Produced from Oil and Gas Wells: 1) ElectraTherm, Florida Canyon Mine, Nev. ($982,000). ElectraTherm seeks to demonstrate the financial and technical viability of producing electricity from heat coproduced in geothermal brine. Highly Pressurized or Geopressured Fluid: 1) Louisiana Geothermal, Cameron Parish, La. ($500,000). Louisiana Geothermal seeks to demonstrate that electricity can be produced economically from geopressured resources by validating the significant geopressured geothermal resource base in southern Louisiana and the northern Gulf of Mexico basin; and 2) NRG Energy, Princeton, N.J. ($500,000). NRG will evaluate and characterize a target geothermal reservoir for development of a power plant.
Power-One in October opened its new manufacturing facility in Phoenix, Ariz. The Power-One Phoenix facility will produce its photovoltaic and wind inverters, including single phase (2-6 kW) and three-phase string inverters, and NEMA 3R 250-kW, 300-kW and 400-kW central inverters. In the future, for wind applications, the product range will include 2.5-MW inverters. The facility will support more than 350 new jobs in Arizona and throughout the United States. The new manufacturing plant will reach an annual inverter production capacity of 1 GW by mid-2011.
3TIER launched on-demand online access to its Reference Wind Time-Series, a new product that increases the accuracy of wind energy production estimates for any location worldwide. 3TIER says performing measure-correlate-predict (MCP) with the product reduces the level of uncertainty in annual production estimates.
Shanghai-based JA Solar Holdings, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of high-performance solar cells and solar power products, signed agreements with BP Solar to provide a total of more than 185 MW of mono-crystalline and multi-crystalline solar cells in 2010 and through 2011.
A.P. Systems, an Italian supplier of information and communication technology to utilities and public administrations, is using the Sierra Wireless AirPrime WMP100 Intelligent Embedded Module and Open AT Operating System to provide wireless connectivity to its M3-S multi-metering system. Sierra Wireless says the M3-S can manage data from different types of devices—metering gas, electricity, water, heat and street lighting—in a single infrastructure using cellular, low power RF ZigBee or power line carrier connections. The AirPrime WMP100 module combines embedded processor capability and wireless connectivity.
Cleveland Utilities, an electric, water and wastewater utility located in Cleveland, Tenn., chose Elster’s EnergyAxis smart grid solution to deliver electric services to its customer base, as part of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s smart grid plan. The system will form a network of 29,000 electric meters at residential and commercial and industrial locations. Over the next three years, Elster REX2 and A3 Alpha electricity meters will be deployed to provide Cleveland Utilities with advanced metering infrastructure.
HP announced that CEZ Group, an electricity generation, distribution and trade conglomerate based in the Czech Republic, has signed a $20.6 million, two-year application services agreement to implement an advanced meter management (AMM) pilot program. Under the agreement, HP will lead a consortium of companies to deploy more than 40,000 smart meters. The AMM pilot program also allows CEZ Group to collect and manage data from meters supplied by four vendors, in preparation for deployment of the full-scale AMM project. HP Utility Center software will supervise the distribution network for event and alarm management.
GE acquired substantially all the assets of Calnetix Power Solutions (CPS), a Florida-based company that develops innovative technology for small-scale, waste heat-to-power projects. The technology captures waste heat from industrial processes to generate electricity, increasing efficiency and reducing the carbon footprint of various types of engines, biomass boilers and gas turbines. The acquired business will be integrated into GE’s Jenbacher gas engine business, based in Jenbach, Austria.
GE signed a contract to acquire Dresser, a global energy infrastructure technology and service provider. The $3 billion deal adds to GE’s portfolio Dresser’s technologies for gas engines, control and relief valves, measurement, regulation and control solutions for gas and fuel distribution.
SunEdison, a subsidiary of MEMC Electronic Materials, announced the sale to First Reserve of a 70 MW photovoltaic power plant located in Northeast Italy, near the town of Rovigo. When completed in the fourth quarter of 2010, the Rovigo plant is expected to be the largest operating solar power plant in Europe. SunEdison and Banco Santander jointly developed and co-owned the Rovigo plant. First Reserve acquired Rovigo plant through the previously announced joint venture between First Reserve Energy and SunEdison. SunEdison is a minority investor. The total price for the sale is expected to be approximately €276 million. After the sale, SunEdison will manage the ongoing operations and maintenance of the Rovigo plant.
Puget Sound Energy President Kimberly Harris told a gathering of elected officials, transportation planners and auto-industry representatives that the utility is prepared to support the integration of plug-in electric vehicles (EV) into Western Washington’s transportation system. During a one-day regional workshop in late September at PSE’s Bellevue headquarters, Harris said PSE intends to actively help manufacturers, municipalities and electric-vehicle purchasers enhance their deployment of plug-in automobiles as the vehicles start entering the Puget Sound marketplace this fall. The “Get Plug-In Ready—Now!” workshop was coordinated by Puget Sound New Energy Solutions, a partnership of Central Puget Sound municipalities, utilities, housing and transit authorities.
Viridity Energy received a $900,000 grant for a pilot project with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), the nation’s sixth largest public transit organization. Viridity will deploy its software to allow SEPTA to run a pilot project to install regenerative braking systems on trains at the City of Philadelphia’s busiest subway line. Electricity captured by the systems would be stored, with excess energy offered for sale at a premium to PJM grid operators. Viridity says the system is intended to reduce SEPTA’s operating costs and carbon footprint and also help stabilize the grid.
Ford and Oncor are coordinating efforts to help prepare North Texas for the operation of EVs. Ford and Oncor will work together to develop consumer outreach and education programs on EVs, as well as share information on charging needs and requirements to ensure the electrical grid can support demand. Cooperation between Ford and Oncor also involves working with the state and local governments on the most efficient ways to bring EVs to North Texas.
Oncor says it has installed more than 1 million of its planned 3.4 million smart meters, capable of providing information to help customers charge EVs when rates are lowest. Oncor added that it will build about 850 miles of new transmission lines from Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ) in West Texas to the rest of the state by 2013, enabling EVs to be powered from renewable energy sources.
ABB and General Motors have signed a non-exclusive MOU to cooperate on a research and development project that will investigate uses for EV batteries once their useful life in the vehicle is over. The project will examine the potential of reusing spent lithium-ion battery packs from GM’s electric car, the Chevy Volt, as a means of providing cost-effective energy storage capacity. According to GM, the Volt’s battery still will have significant capacity to store electrical energy, even after its automotive life is over.
Echelon Corp.’s board appointed Ron Sege as president and CEO and the company’s board. He most recently served as president and COO of 3Com from 2008 through its acquisition by HP.
Orion Energy Systems named Michael Potts its president and COO. Potts served most recently as Orion’s executive v.p., building on a more than 20-year career in energy management.
Sensus selected David Elve as v.p. of industry solutions. Elve will lead the regulatory and standards environment and support the company’s global smart-grid initiatives. Elve brings 20 years of utility and IT experience with leading international companies, including Enspiria Solutions, Landis+Gyr and Atos Origin. Most recently, Elve was v.p. with Enspiria, recently acquired by Black & Veatch.
ARCADIS, the international design, consulting, engineering and management services company, hired Debbie J. Vreeland as v.p. serving ARCADIS’ energy market sector, based in Billings, Mont.