Vendor Neutral

Fortnightly Magazine - October 2012


Spent fuel at AEP’s Cook nuclear plant will move to a recently completed on-site dry-cask storage facility.

Ocean Power Technologies wholly-owned Oregon subsidiary, Reedsport OPT WavePark, won a project license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for its planned 1.5 MW, grid-connected wave power station off Reedsport, Oregon—the first such approval issued in the U.S.—and plans to deploy its first PowerBuoy later this year, about 2.5 miles off the coast. OPT won funding for this first system from DOE and from PNGC Power, an Oregon-based power co-op., and later will build the balance of the wave power station, consisting of up to nine additional PowerBuoys, plus any needed infrastructure for grid interconnection, subject to receipt of additional funding and regulatory approvals.

IKEA has officially energized the latest of its 31 solar projects completed to date in the U.S.—in this case, a 1-MW, 142,000-square-foot PV array, comprised of more than 4,300 panels, at its retail store in Bloomington, Minn. IKEA owns and operates each of its rooftop PV systems, yielding a total U.S. generation capacity of about 38 MW. SoCore Energy developed, designed, and installed the Bloomington project.

Constellation completed a 16.1 MW (DC), $50 million, grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) solar facility in Emmitsburg, Md. Constellation financed, owns and operates the project, which will provide power to the state’s university system and Department of General Services under a 20-year agreement. The ground-mounted solar power plant was constructed by First Solar, using some 220,000 thin-film PV panels situated on 100 acres leased from Mount St. Mary’s University. A separate, on-site 1.6 MW solar facility will serve the school directly.

The ElectricPower Research Institute (EPRI) entered an agreement with Latitude Solutions, a water remediation company, to evaluate the company’s electro precipitation technology for remediation and removal of trace elements from coal-fired power plant effluent streams.

IKEA’s Bloomington, Minn., rooftop photovoltaic array—its 31st U.S. solar project.

Southern Company, Georgia Power, and EPRI formed the Water Research Center (WRC) to provide a venue for developing and testing technologies to help reduce water consumption in electric power generation. The WRC, to be located at Georgia Power’s Plant Bowen in Cartersville, Ga., and operated by the Southern Research Institute, will be the first U.S. research facility of its kind, and as an initial project will evaluate a thermosyphon cooler developed by Johnson Controls that releases heat without evaporative water loss by using an air-cooled refrigerant that pre-cools water before it enters the cooling tower. Other technologies to be studied include cooling tower water chemistry and advanced cooling systems; process wastewater treatment; zero liquid discharge options; moisture recovery from power plant processes; solids landfill water management; carbon technology water issues; and water use modeling and monitoring for best management practices.

American Electric Power subsidiary Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) has started the initial loading campaign for moving used fuel assemblies at the 2,110-MW Cook nuclear plant from on-site spent fuel pool into the recently completed dry cask storage facility located about one-half mile from Lake Michigan and near the center of the 650-acre plant property. Plans are to load 14 casks, each with 32 used assemblies, finishing in early November. The casks are licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Cook needs additional temporary storage to continue plant operation past 2015. AEP says Cook produces the lowest fuel-cost electricity its generating fleet.

Alliant subsidiary Interstate Power and Light (IPL), along with co-owner MidAmerican Energy, started construction on a $345 million emissions reduction technology project at the 726-MW Ottumwa Generating Station, near Chillicothe, Iowa. The addition of a dry scrubber and baghouse systems is designed to reduce sulfur dioxide and mercury emissions by 90 percent to comply with state and federal requirements.

Suntech Power Holdings began selling a new 305-watt solar module for commercial and utility-scale solar projects in North and South America. Suntech says the Ve-Series module includes 72 multicrystalline cells producing 15.5-percent module efficiency, and is certified to withstand loads from extreme wind (3,800 Pascal) or snow (5,400 Pascal). Also, 1000V certification from Underwriters Laboratories means the modules can be safely connected in longer string series than allowed by the earlier 600V industry standard, allowing for larger-scale designs that should reduce balance of system costs such as inverters, wiring, and combiner boxes.

DR & Conservation

Suntech says its new utility-scale solar module, the Ve-Series, is certified to withstand extreme winds and snowfalls.

Ameresco completed building an energy savings performance project with Ohio’s Cloverleaf School District. The $1.2 million project, which included energy efficient infrastructure upgrades at four facilities, is expected to help the district save over $102,000 in energy, both electric and natural gas usage, and operational costs annually for the duration of a 15-year contract.

Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and Cowlitz County Public Power Utility District are collaborating with Weyerhaeuser, and Nippon Paper Industries at the North Pacific Paper (NORPAC) paper mill facility on the largest industrial energy efficiency project in BPA history. The chip pre-treatment project, funded jointly by BPA ($21 million) and Cowlitz ($3.9 million), will introduce new industrial processes that aim to reduce electricity and chemicals used in the paper milling process. The money contributed by both BPA and Cowlitz comes from their respective conservation funds, which provide financial incentives to their customers for the development and installation of electrical energy savings projects. NORPAC will fund the remaining $35 million of the $60 million project.

Gas Infrastructure

DTE Energy, Enbridge, and Spectra Energy executed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to jointly develop the NEXUS gas transmission system, a project that will move Ohio Utica shale gas to markets in the Midwest and Ontario, Canada. The proposed project includes about 250 miles of large-diameter pipe, for a 1 Bcf per day capacity. The line will follow existing utility corridors to interconnect in Michigan, where DTE and Enbridge’s existing Vector pipeline system continues to the Ontario market. Upon completing the project, Spectra Energy is expected to become a 20-percent owner in Vector pipeline. The project would interconnect with Michigan Consolidated Gas, Consumers Energy and, through the Vector Pipeline, the Enbridge Tecumseh Gas Storage facility and the Union Gas Dawn Hub, both in Ontario. An open season for the project is planned for fourth quarter 2012, with startup expected as early as November 2015, depending on final market demand and commitments.

Dominion Transmission, the natural gas pipeline subsidiary of Dominion Resources, placed its Appalachian Gateway Project into service on time and within budget. The project, an expansion of gathering facilities that includes 110 miles of new line plus four new compressor stations, will allow some 484,000 dekatherms per day of natural gas produced in West Virginia and southwest Pennsylvania to reach storage fields and pipelines in Pennsylvania.

The C.P Crane coal-fired generating plant, one of three Maryland power plants that Exelon will sell to Raven Power Holdings.

Sempra U.S. Gas & Power won authority from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to place a second underground natural gas storage cavern into service at its Mississippi Hub Storage facility located in Simpson County, Miss. The additional 7.5 Bcf cavern expands the facility’s total working gas storage capacity to 15 Bcf. Mississippi Hub Storage offers operational interconnections to three major interstate gas pipelines: SONAT, Transco, and Southeast Supply Header (SESH). The facility has injection capability of 450 million cubic feet per day (MMcfd) and a withdrawal capability of 1,200 MMcfd.


Exelon agreed to sell its three Maryland coal-fired power plants to Raven PowerHoldings, fulfilling its commitment to divest the plants as part of its merger with Constellation. The three plants, known collectively as Maryland Clean Coal, include: Brandon Shores, Pasadena, Md. (1,273 MW); C.P. Crane, Middle River, Md. (399 MW); and H.A. Wagner, Pasadena, Md. (976 MW). Raven Power will pay approximately $400 million for the plants and related assets, subject to several closing adjustments. Exelon says it will record a pre-tax loss of about $275 million in the third quarter to reflect the difference between the estimated sale price and the carrying value of the plants.

Mitsui invested $15 million in the U.S.-based Viridity Energy, effective upon approval by the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and entered a cooperative agreement to work with Viridity to deploy the company’s VPower platform along Asia’s Pacific Rim. In exchange, Mitsui will obtain an equity position and actively participate as a member of the Viridity board of directors. With this investment, Mitsui plans to further internationalize its business model which includes smart grid IT, renewable energy development and management, and CO2 emissions mitigation strategies.

Exelon sold its stake in five California power plants—70 MW total, acquired via merger with Constellation—to Tokyo-based IHI. The five plants include: Chinese Station (biomass), Rio Bravo Fresno (biomass), Rio Bravo Jasmin (coal), Rio Bravo Poso (coal), and Rio Bravo Rocklin (biomass). All of the plants have power purchase agreements with investor-owned utilities. Terms weren’t disclosed.

EVs & Storage

Exelon sold its stake in five Constellation power plants in California, including the Chinese Station biomass facility.

Duke Energy will partner with Toyota and EnergySystems Network (ESN), the non-profit industry initiative that leads Project Plug-IN, to test and validate the effectiveness of communication standards developed by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) to provide a simple and affordable smart grid communication protocol to link customer-owned electric vehicles and the charging stations they use. The pilot project will track five Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid vehicles driven by Duke Energy customers living in the Indianapolis area. Customers will drive the cars regularly during the pilot period, which is expected to begin in early 2013 and last for at least 12 months. Toyota will provide a UL-certified home charging station and a home gateway communication system to be installed in each customer’s home, allowing the vehicle and the smart grid equipment to communicate with each other to evaluate billing and power supply control. Duke will simulate price structures and demand response events to understand the impact to the customer’s bill and understand how such programs can serve grid reliability as plug-in vehicles become more prominent.


DTE Energy completed installing in its Southeastern Michigan service area some 800,000 metering endpoints with equipment supplied by Itron, including smart electric meters and gas modules. In total, DTE Energy’s advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) project includes more than 3 million electric and gas meters.

City of Fort Collins Utilities selected Excergy to provide program management and technical consulting to prepare the city for the next generation of smart grid technologies. Over the next year, the utility department is expected to deploy AMI and begin customer engagement with web portal and demand response technologies.

Guam Power Authority (GPA) selected the Landis+Gyr Gridstream RF advanced metering solution for its smart grid project. GPA plans to deploy more than 52,000 advanced meters and Gridstream network components over the next two years, providing a backbone for possible home area network applications in the future. GPA also is exploring consumer services, such as pre-pay, that use the advanced metering network.


American Electric Power (AEP) awarded a $60 million contract to ABB to replace a 30-year-old HVDC back-to-back converter station in Texas that serves as part of the Oklaunion HVDC transmission link—an asynchronous interconnection between the Texas (ERCOT) and Oklahoma (SPP) power grids. The project scope includes engineering, supply, installation and commissioning.

Southern California Edison (SCE) selected Quanta ServicesPARElectrical Contractors to install transmission infrastructure for SCE’s Eldorado-Ivanpah transmission project. The contract scope includes replacing part of an existing 115-kV electric transmission line with 35 miles of double-circuit, 220-kV line. The facility will connect a new SCE substation to the Eldorado substation, near Boulder City, Nev., to deliver up to 1,400 MW of renewable power from near the Southern California-Nevada border. Construction has begun, with completion estimated by July 2013.

SCE also selected PAR to build its Red Bluff Substation Project near the town of Desert Center in eastern Riverside County, Calif. The project includes two parallel transmission line segments to connect the new Red Bluff Substation to the existing Devers-Palo Verde 500-kV transmission line and to the new Devers-Colorado River 500-kV transmission line, which PAR is currently installing.

Smart Grid

The Association of Energy Services Professionals (AESP) has launched a database for AESP members to monitor filing proposals, orders, and rulemakings from state public utility commissions (PUC) in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, related to renewable portfolio standards, energy efficiency (including building codes), demand response, and the smart grid. Database users will be able to generate customized reports and charts based on their search criteria, enter hearings into their calendars, and download spreadsheets. Rulemaking proposals are updated weekly until finalized.


Opower appointed Alex Kinnier as new senior v.p. of devices and real-time services. Kinnier was a partner at venture capital firms New Enterprise Associates and Khosla Ventures, and previously was a product management executive at Google.

Terex Utilities appointed Don Anderson as v.p. and general manager, and also named Jim Lohan as v.p. of sales and marketing. Lohan previously held positions at Honeywell and General Electric.

Power Analytics named Michael J. Nark president and CEO. Nark formerly was president and CEO of Prenova, a privately-held energy management services provider. He succeeds Mark A. Ascolese, PA’s CEO since 2008, who became executive chairman of the board.