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Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Joys of CNG

From the Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy:

Imagine fueling your car with gas created from your city’s waste water treatment facility. The western#Colorado town of Grand Junction is doing exactly just that by producing and converting biogas to compressed natural gas (CNG). The CNG can be shipped via a 5-mile underground pipe to a publicly available CNG refueling station (pictured below), that also fuels city vehicles. Learn more in the EERE Blog:

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Marine and Hydrokinetic Energy

From the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy:

This picture shows the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center in #Oregon launching an instrumented buoy to investigate one of America’s untapped potential sources of renewable #energy. Marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) energy devices harness energy from oceans and rivers. Some estimates point out that nearly one-third of the #US energy needs could be met through this clean energy resource, if fully developed. Today, our office announced funding to support and expand MHK technology testing. We’re funding projects to identify new methods to cut costs and to address the challenges that MHK devices must overcome to survive in harsh and unpredictable #ocean conditions. Learn more:

Monday, April 27, 2015

Johnson Controls enters into strategic alliance with Zhejiang Jianke Energy Conservation Technology Co., Ltd to create a greener Zhejiang province

Johnson Controls #News Release:

Johnson Controls enters into strategic alliance with Zhejiang Jianke Energy Conservation Technology Co., Ltd to create a greener Zhejiang province
Alliance will see both parties join forces to improve energy efficiency of buildings by up to 30 percent
SINGAPORE – (April 23, 2015) – Johnson Controls is forming a strategic alliance with Zhejiang Jianke Building Energy Conservation Technology Co., Ltd (Zhejiang Jianke) that will help the province of Zhejiang achieve its “green” goals and ensure the sustainable development of the province.
Under the agreement, Johnson Controls, a global multi industrial company, will leverage its wide range of products and technology and project management experience, along with Zhejiang Jianke’s local service and support capabilities, to help customers meet their targets for energy efficiency. The alliance will help customers achieve LEED green building certification and other related green building certifications. Zhejiang Jianke, a subsidiary of Zhejiang Academy of Building Research & Design Co., Ltd., specializes in building energy audit, diagnosis, monitoring and retrofit. The company also has a strong local network and rich experience in energy retrofit for buildings.
Construction is the second most energy-intensive sector in China. With green buildings accounting for less than 10 percent of existing structures, there is huge potential for energy efficiency projects. The 12th Five-Year Plan drafted by the Chinese government in 2011 emphasized the importance of energy saving and proposed a goal of a 16 percent reduction in energy consumption per unit of GDP until 2015. As one of the pilot provinces, Zhejiang actively champions energy saving and emission reduction initiatives. The partnership between Johnson Controls and Zhejiang Jianke supports these national and provincial-level initiatives by helping buildings in Zhejiang increase energy efficiency by up to 30 percent.
“Johnson Controls is an industry leader in building efficiency and we are delighted to work with them on a green building energy-saving management and optimization program,” said Yi Lin, general manager, Zhejiang Jianke Building Energy Conservation Technology Co., Ltd.”
Johnson Controls helped the Northstar Delta Office Tower in Changsha City, China, achieve two prestigious green building certifications and cut energy consumption by 28 percent. The certifications include LEED-CS, issued by the U.S. Green Building Council, and the Green Building Evaluation Label, a program managed by the Chinese government that evaluates projects to make sure they conform to standards set for green building.
Johnson Controls is committed to working with local partners across China to achieve sustainable development for the country. The company has more than 42 branch offices in China, with three offices in the Zhejiang province (Hangzhou, Ningbo and Jinhua). More than 3,000 buildings in China use Johnson Controls’ solutions and services, including HVAC, refrigeration technology, building automation and energy retrofit.
“China is Johnson Controls biggest growth market and this partnership highlights our commitment to creating a safe, comfortable and sustainable environment,” said Elvis Chan, vice president of business development, Johnson Controls Building Efficiency Asia.
Johnson Controls’ commitment to growth in China is evidenced by the construction of its second global headquarters located in Shanghai, which will open in 2017.


Sunday, April 26, 2015

Costa Rica powers nation sans fossil fuels, serving as example for the region | Miami Herald Miami Herald

In the heart of this western province where scalding water emerges from the earth and peaks of volcanoes kiss the hovering clouds, sunshine, wind and rain have been culled to create a source of power that has earned this nation a gold star in renewable energy.
For 100 consecutive days ending in mid-March, Costa Rica did not use any fossil fuels to generate electricity. Instead, it relied on primarily hydropower plants to light up households across the country, with added power generated from wind, geothermal and solar projects.

Read more here:

Costa Rica powers nation sans fossil fuels, serving as example for the region | Miami Herald Miami Herald

GE’s Energy Consulting Business Recognized on Earth Day with Multiple Awards for Its Renewable Integration Work

General Electric #News Release:

GE’s Energy Consulting Business Recognized on Earth Day with Multiple Awards for Its Renewable Integration Work


GE Recognized as an Industry Leader by the Utility Variable-Generation Integration Group for Work on Western Interconnect and Minnesota Grid Studies

SCHENECTADY, N.Y.—April 22, 2015—Today, GE’s Energy Consulting business (NYSE: GE) is being recognized with two 2015 Annual Achievement Awards from the Utility Variable-Generation Integration Group (UVIG) for its leadership in the segment of renewables integration in utility applications. GE is receiving the awards today at UVIG’s Spring Technical Workshop and Annual Meeting—which is being held April 21-23 in Minneapolis.

Nick Miller, Miaolei Shao and Slobodan Pajic from GE’s Energy Consulting business were recognized for their leadership in improving the understanding of power system dynamics for the Western Electricity Coordinating Council under high variable generation conditions. In addition, GE’s Dick Piwko, Doug Welsh and Rob D’Aquila were awarded for their leadership and expertise in the planning and execution of a renewable integration and transmission study in Minnesota.

“This year’s award winners have extended the science and understanding of integrating renewable generation into utility power systems and provided leadership in the advancement of the industry,” said UVIG President Steve Beuning. “Through the innovative work of these award winning leaders, we, as an industry, have a better understanding of variable generation and the effects and benefits it can have in a variety of utility operating environments and business models.”

GE served as the lead technical consultant for the MRIT study, which was performed by Minnesota’s utilities and transmission companies—including Great River Energy—in coordination with the Midcontinent Independent System Operator and was directed by the Minnesota Department of Commerce. The WWSIS-3 study was performed in conjunction with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Both studies looked at the impact of renewable integration and its effect on grid resiliency.

In the MRIT study, GE found that Minnesota’s power system can be successfully operated with renewable generation supplying up to 40 percent of the state’s electrical retail sales, assuming there are sufficient upgrades to its existing transmission system. It also determined that even with these higher levels of renewables integrated in the grid, the overall system could continue to operate essentially as it does under today’s normal conditions. These findings will help better prepare Minnesota for increased renewable generation integration to its grid and reduce the risk of negative impact on grid operations from the new renewable sources of power.

The WWSIS-3 study focused the dynamic performance of the Western Interconnection with high penetrations of renewable energy, examining a range of scenarios with instantaneous renewable energy penetrations of up to 53 percent. The study found that with good system planning, sound engineering practices and commercially available technologies, the Western Interconnect can withstand the crucial first minute after a disturbance, even with these high levels of wind and solar generation integrated on the grid—meeting transient stability and frequency response objectives.

“Renewable power generation and integration are topics that are coming up more and more in discussions with our customers and within the industry. It’s no longer a question of if renewable generation will be prevalent among utilities in the future, it is now when and how these alternative generation resources will be implemented and integrated,” said Rob D’Aquila, transmission studies manager, GE’s Energy Consulting business. “These recognitions from UVIG demonstrate how important it is within the industry to study utility grids and the effects that renewable penetrations may have on their resiliency. The results from these studies are very encouraging for utilities looking to increase their integration of renewable generation.”   

Earth Day is a time to think about what advances can be made in everyday activities and processes that can help reduce emissions, enhance sustainability and otherwise conserve valuable natural resources. From a decision as small as deciding to recycle a water bottle instead of tossing it in the trash, to large-scale decisions like integrating more renewable energy onto the grid, each can leave a lasting impact.

The studies and their results, which GE’s renewable integration experts are being recognized for, demonstrate the importance of continued research into renewable power generation and integration with the interconnected grid. The findings can help ensure the utility of the future is equipped to accommodate growing amounts of renewable power generation sources for years to come.

About GE’s Energy Consulting Business

For nearly a century, GE’s Energy Consulting experts have focused on solving the electric power industry’s most pressing challenges—driving the evolution of electric power systems with greater affordability, reliability and efficiency. Today, GE’s Energy Consulting team continues this tradition by providing innovative solutions across the entire spectrum of power generation, delivery and utilization. With its cross-company resources, GE’s Energy Consulting business is able to serve a diverse global client base with a strong local presence.

About GE

GE (NYSE: GE) imagines things others don’t, builds things others can’t and delivers outcomes that make the world work better. GE brings together the physical and digital worlds in ways no other company can. In its labs and factories and on the ground with customers, GE is inventing the next industrial era to move, power, build and cure the world.

Friday, April 24, 2015

EETD 30th Anniversary

Add-on Hybrid Module for Tractor-trailers

From the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy:

This student team from Carnegie Mellon University who formed startup Hyliion have developed an add-on hybrid module for tractor-trailers which can reduce fuel consumption by 30%. If fully implemented, their invention could help commercial trucks hauling goods use less #fuel, which could lead to savings for#consumers. We recently recognized these innovators with the Energy Department Clean Tech Prize at theRice Business Plan Competition in #Houston. Hyliion took home a total of $162,000 in prizes and punched their ticket to our fourth annual National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition this #summer in Washington, D.C. Learn about this student start-up and the national competition:

GE Energy Financial Services Invests in Green Power Investment Corp’s Solar Project in Futtsu City, Japan

GE #News Release:

GE Energy Financial Services Invests in Green Power Investment Corp’s Solar Project in Futtsu City, Japan

FUTTSU CITY, Japan -- GE Unit (NYSE:GE), GE Energy Financial Services has formed a new partnership with Tokyo-based renewable energy project developer, Green Power Investment Corp. (“GPI”), to invest in a 42-megawatt (DC) photovoltaic solar power project in Futtsu City, Japan. GE Energy Financial Services will invest alongside GPI in the project. In addition to the investment from GPI and GE Energy Financial Services, financing from a syndicate of four banks, led by The Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd. will be utilized for the project. Additional financial details are not disclosed.

Located in Japan’s prefecture of Chiba, the Futtsu solar plant is currently under construction and is expected to reach commercial operations in January 2016. It will sell its power via a 20-year power purchase agreement with Japan’s largest utility, Tokyo Electric Power Company Inc., under the Japanese feed-in tariff regime. Once complete, the project will generate approximately ¥50 million in annual local tax revenues for Futtsu City and Chiba Prefecture.

The project’s photovoltaic solar panels are being supplied by Kyocera Solar Corporation, a Japanese subsidiary of Kyoto-based Kyocera Corporation. GPI is managing construction and operations, and Kyocera Communication Systems Co. will provide ongoing operations and maintenance services.

GE Energy Financial Services has made equity and debt investment commitments of $1.9 billion in nearly two gigawatts of solar power projects worldwide, and plans to continue to invest over $1 billion annually in renewable energy projects. Futtsu City is the business unit’s third solar investment in Japan this year and its sixth since it began investing in the country’s renewable energy market in 2014. This year, the GE unit invested in Pacifico Energy’s 96.2-megwatt PV solar project in Hosoe and also invested an incremental 7.5 percent equity interest in Japan’s largest solar project, which is under construction in Setouchi City.

Sushil Verma, a managing director and head of Asia Pacific at GE Energy Financial Services said, “The Futtsu project supports our renewable energy and international growth objectives through the formation of a new relationship with GPI and expansion of our network to additional partners in the country.”

Toshio Hori, President of GPI added, “We are very pleased to see this project, our first post-Fukushima project and one of the largest in the Kanto area, come to fruition. We look forward to further contributing to Japan’s energy independence with continued expansion of our organization and execution on our pipeline of wind and solar projects in Japan.”

Note to Editors:

View a photo of the 42-MW solar PV plant under construction in Futtsu City, Japan.

About Green Power Investment Corporation (“GPI”)

GPI is a developer, owner and operator of renewable energy assets in Japan. The President of GPI, Toshio Hori, was one of the earliest pioneers in renewable energy, having built some of the first large scale wind power projects in Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom. GPI is headquartered in Tokyo and has a team of professionals covering all areas of expertise necessary to operate and manage a full-scale renewable energy business. GPI’s recent partnership with Pattern Energy Group LP has further strengthened GPI’s capabilities in development, financing, operations and equipment procurement by providing access to the capital, expertise and buying power of a major player in the field of international renewable energy.

About GE Energy Financial Services

GE Energy Financial Services—GE’s energy investing business—works as a builder, not just a banker, to help meet the world’s power and fuel needs. We offer more than money—expertise—for essential, long-lived and capital-intensive power, oil and gas infrastructure—GE’s core business. Drawing on GE’s energy technical know-how, financial strength and risk management, we see value where others don’t and take on our customers’ toughest challenges with flexible equity and debt transaction structures. Based in Stamford, Connecticut, GE Energy Financial Services holds approximately $18 billion in assets. More Follow GE Energy Financial Services on Twitter: @GEEnergyFinServ

About GE

GE (NYSE: GE) works on things that matter. The best people and the best technologies taking on the toughest challenges. Finding solutions in energy, health and home, transportation and finance. Building, powering, moving and curing the world. Not just imagining. Doing. GE works. For more information, visit the company's website at

Sit Down With Sabin: Merrian Fuller: Efficiency for sale. Who's buying?

Smart Windows: Behind the Scenes @ Berkeley Lab

Replacing the whole barrel of oil with plants and microbes

Smart Grid Contract Awarded

From the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Headquarters:

USACE's Sacramento District awarded a $5.1 million contract April 17 for the design and construction of a smart grid control system for renewable energy systems at Tooele Army Depot in Tooele County, Utah. News release:

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

NREL: News Feature - The (Scientific) Flight of the Falcon

A trained falcon named Houdini darts and soars next to a wind power plant in the shadow of the Colorado Rockies, gathering radar data that could someday save the lives of his avian brethren.

Peregrine gyrfalcon Houdini is the VIP guest of the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and he performs his strategic flights at the National Wind Technology Center (NWTC), 12 miles north of NREL's main campus.

NREL: News Feature - The (Scientific) Flight of the Falcon

Sunset Reservoir

From the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy:

#Solar panels harness the sun’s renewable power to supply #energy that leaves a very small footprint on our #environment. In honor of #EarthDay, we celebrate that solar is helping all of us breathe easy. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, solar energy helped to offset more than 20 million metric tons of carbon emissions in 2014. That’s the same as taking 4 million cars off #US roads. See how our #SunShot Initiative is successfully working to lower the price of solar energy: The 24,000 solar panels in this photo, courtesy of Recurrent Energy, make up the Sunset Reservoir project in #SanFrancisco.

JGI Science @ the Lesher: "The Future of Fuel"

Sec. Chu Online Town Hall Excerpt

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Smart Federal Partnerships Build Our Biofuel Future

From the #USDA:

Here at USDA, we believe collaboration is the key to helping us address our nation’s most pressing needs, like energy. Building on partnerships in both the public and private sphere, we are leveraging resources to achieve and impact far greater than USDA could ever achieve alone. During this year’s Agricultural Outlook Forum, one breakout session concerned the importance of the bioeconomy in the areas of national security, growth potential, job creation, reduced dependence on oil, and environmental benefits. The session also stressed the need for partnerships to contribute to a growing the bioeconomy as it moved to center stage during the 21st century.  One of the speakers at the session was Jonathan Male, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), U.S. Department of Energy.
Jonathan Male, Director, Bioenergy Technologies Office
I was honored to speak at the Agricultural Outlook Forum this spring, hosted by our friends at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This year’s theme was “Smart Agriculture in the 21st Century.” The smart solution when it comes to establishing a bioeconomy—renewable, biomass resources as a solid part of our nation’s energy mix—is working together. We at the Energy Department’s Bioenergy Technologies Office are a key contributor to the work of federal agencies focused on biofuel commercialization. With the size of the challenge, we need all agencies to work more closely together. We also rely on our collaboration with the Energy Department’s national laboratories, private industry, and universities.
At USDA, 10 agencies share our goal of overcoming barriers to the use of biomass for bioenergy and bioproducts, including USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and Forest Service. Here are some notable examples of our collaborative work:
  • For the Defense Production Act, USDA, along with the Department of the Navy, shares with us in funding the construction of three significant biorefineries that produce millions of gallons of biofuel when at full capacity. We selected these biorefineries jointly to produce biofuels for military use from non-food feedstocks, and they will soon begin construction.
  • Under Farm to Fly 2.0, USDA’s bioenergy and biomass programs are working with us on research and development for feedstocks–such as wood residue and algae–that show promise for renewable jet fuel. This fuel will be developed sustainably and have the capacity for use in existing jet engines. Jet fuel accounts for the largest portion of energy use in the federal government, and fuel costs are thelargest expense for the airline industry. Imagine what a difference renewable fuel could make!
  • We’ve joined with USDA and land grant universities for the Sun Grant Regional Feedstock Partnership and other feedstock projects. USDA’s Agricultural Research Service provides data baselines for soil carbon impacts and corn yields associated with corn stover (non-edible corn husks, stalks, and leaves). They provide guidance on proper removal of corn stover from the field—enough to produce high volumes of biofuel, but not so much that it could damage soil health or crop growth. We also work with USDA on yield work for other energy crops such as grasses, sorghum, and energy cane.
These are just a few of many activities on which we collaborate with USDA. Our other efforts include plant feedstock genomics projects, woody biomass utilization projects, the Global Bioenergy Partnership, biorefinery loan financing, and Biomass Research and Development Board activities. We will be working with USDA on the next update of the Billion-Ton Study next year, and we look forward to having USDA reviewers at our 2015 Project Peer Review in just a few weeks.
It takes many hands to build a bioeconomy. We at the Bioenergy Technologies Office are happy to team with USDA and our many other partners across federal agencies, academia, and private industry to develop cost-competitive biofuels and bioproducts that are good for our economy, the environment, and U.S. competitive advantage in the global marketplace for years to come.