Tuesday, November 30, 2010


NRG Solar, a subsidiary of NRG Energy, Inc. and SunPower Corp. has announced groundbreaking agreements to begin construction next year of the 250 megawatt California Valley Solar Ranch in San Luis Obispo County. The solar power plant is expected to create approximately 350 jobs during construction, will power about 100,000 homes and will be one of the largest photovoltaic solar power plants in the world, when complete. NRG Solar plans to invest up to $450 million of equity in the project over the next four years, subject to final total project cost and negotiation of the financing terms and conditions.

Under the agreement announced today, NRG will, subject to certain conditions, assume all ownership and financing responsibilities for the California Valley Solar Ranch. SunPower will continue to develop the project, and will design, build, operate and maintain the solar power plant. Construction is expected to start in the second half of 2011, with a portion of the project expected to begin operating by the end of 2011 and the balance coming on line in 2012 and 2013. When fully operational, the solar power plant will help California achieve its 33% renewable portfolio standard.

The project is currently seeking a loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy Loan Guarantee Program Office, which supports accelerated commercial use of innovative energy technologies to help sustain economic growth, yield environmental benefits, and produce a more stable and secure energy supply. The DOE Loan Guarantee Program Office has provided a draft term sheet for the California Valley Solar Ranch project, which is a significant milestone in the process leading to a conditional loan guarantee commitment.

"California Valley Solar Ranch will be an important component of our multi-technology portfolio of clean, zero-emission solar power facilities," said Tom Doyle, president of NRG Solar. "We are pursuing large-scale photovoltaic projects across the Southwest and working with like-minded companies that can ensure our projects will be exceptionally successful. SunPower has the proven technology and experience building solar power plants around the world to deliver a well-designed solar project that will be a major contributor to helping California meet its ambitious renewable portfolio standard by the end of the decade."

"This partnership with NRG Solar and the DOE represents a major milestone in delivering 250 megawatts of clean, renewable solar power to California's electricity customers," said Howard Wenger, president of the utility and power plants business group at SunPower. "For two years, SunPower has been working to develop this project responsibly, with respect for the environment and the community. We are delighted to have found in NRG a partner that shares our vision to build a solar power plant in San Luis Obispo County that enhances the local economy, protects local habitat and generates emission-free solar power for California. The DOE is playing a critical leadership role in supporting renewable energy that provides economic and environmental benefits, as well as a secure, stable energy supply in the U.S."

California Valley Solar Ranch has executed 25-year power purchase agreements with Pacific Gas & Electric for delivery of 250 megawatts. The power purchase agreements have been approved by the California Public Utilities Commission. The closing of the NRG and SunPower agreements announced today is subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions and the completion of development, including obtaining required permitting and regulatory approvals.

By the end of 2010, SunPower will have installed more than 1,500 megawatts of solar power systems worldwide, including 400 megawatts of ground-mounted power plants.

In Texas, NRG Energy Inc. has partnered with The Hertz Corporation to support development of a charging infrastructure and services for electric vehicles in Texas. As part of the agreement, Hertz will support NRG's plans to create and manage a network of NRG's eVgotm branded charging stations across five Texas cities (Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio) by supplying vehicles, research and expertise to promote the adoption of EVs and plug-in electric vehicles (PHEVs) in Texas and beyond.

"Our partnership with NRG illustrates how industry players can come together to encourage electric vehicle trial and adoption. This partnership will provide consumers and businesses with an economical and convenient option for using electrical vehicles," said Mark P. Frissora, Hertz Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "Hertz and NRG are committed to expanding the Texas model to other cities, supporting the creation of EV infrastructure platforms nationwide, a critical next step in further developing the EV infrastructure."

The agreement is part of Hertz's strategy to enter into partnerships that will help scale up electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid usage for the general public. As part of its partnership, Hertz and NRG will work to advance Hertz's Texas EV fleet and jointly develop the charging infrastructure through the eVgo network.

"Hertz, with its vast network of car rental and servicing facilities across Texas and the nation, has a critical role to play in giving EV owners the 'range confidence' and distance driving flexibility of conventional vehicles," said David Crane, President and CEO, NRG Energy. "As such, we are very pleased to work with Hertz as a launch partner in bringing the value of electric vehicles to Houston and soon, across Texas and the nation."

The first eVgo high-powered rapid charging stations are expected to be installed in February 2011. Through this important contribution to the network, Houston's EV drivers will always have a charging station within easy access along major thoroughfares within 25 miles or more of city center. The agreement also provides opportunities to expand the partnership to other markets as NRG finalizes its plans for future eVgo cities.

In addition to NRG, Hertz is forming strategic partnerships with manufacturers, charging station providers, municipalities, NGOs, corporations and other stakeholders. To date, the company has said it will supply EVs and PHEVs from a range of manufacturers including Nissan, GM, Toyota and Mitsubishi. In Europe, Hertz EVs have already been introduced in London and Zurich, with additional cities adding EVs this autumn.

Hertz will be the first to provide a range of all-electric vehicles (EV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) and charging stations on a car rental and car-sharing basis at this scale.

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· GE to purchase 25,000 electric vehicles for its fleet and for fleet customers

· Wide-scale electric vehicle use expected to deliver up to $500 million in near-term business for GE
· Announces new electric vehicle customer experience centers in Michigan, Minnesota

GE announced two weeks ago that it will purchase 25,000 electric vehicles by 2015 for its own fleet and through its Capital Fleet Services business - the largest-ever single electric vehicle commitment.

GE will convert at least half of its 30,000 global fleet and will partner with fleet customers to deploy a total of 25,000 electric vehicles by 2015. GE will initially purchase 12,000 GM vehicles, beginning with the Chevrolet Volt in 2011, and will add other vehicles as manufacturers expand their electric vehicle portfolios. GE and its partners will use a mix of electric vehicle technologies to meet their respective needs. Chevrolet Volts will roll off production lines this month and other automakers are bringing electric vehicles to market. As this occurs, GE is in a strong position to help deploy the supporting infrastructure to help its 65,000 global fleet customers convert and manage their fleets.

GE owns one of the world’s largest fleets, operates a leading global fleet management business, and offers a portfolio of product solutions including charging stations, circuit protection equipment and transformers that touch every part of electric vehicle infrastructure development. This enables GE to lead wide-scale electric vehicle adoption and generate growth for its businesses.

“Electric vehicle technology is real and ready for deployment and we are embracing the transformation with partners like GM and our fleet customers,” said GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt. “By electrifying our own fleet, we will accelerate the adoption curve, drive scale, and move electric vehicles from anticipation to action.

“We make technology that touches every point of the electric vehicle infrastructure and are leading the transformation to a smarter electrical grid,” Immelt said. “This transformation will be good for our businesses and for our shareowners. Wide-scale adoption of electric vehicles will also drive clean energy innovation, strengthen energy security and deliver economic value.”

GE businesses including Capital Fleet Services, Energy and Licensing & Trading will benefit from an emerging electric vehicle market that could deliver up to $500 million in GE revenue over the next three years. This includes rapidly developing markets for GE’s charging station, the WattStation.

GM CEO Dan Akerson said, “GE’s commitment reflects confidence that electric vehicles are a real-world technology that can reduce both emissions and our dependence on oil. It is also a vote of confidence in the Chevrolet Volt, which we will begin delivering to retail customers by the end of this year. We are pleased that the Volt will play a major role in this program, which will spur innovation and benefit our companies, our customers, and society as a whole.”

FedEx Chairman, President and CEO, and Electrification Coalition member Fred Smith said, “With more than 16.3 million vehicles in operation in 2009, the nation’s fleet can drive initial ramp-up scale in the battery industry and OEM supply chains. By buying these vehicles, GE is helping ramp up production which will help lower the price of vehicles and their components and make electric vehicles more visible and acceptable to the public at large. This is good for GE, good for our economy, and good for our nation.”

GE also announced today two electric vehicle customer experience and learning centers to provide customers, employees and researchers first-hand access to electric vehicles and developing technologies. One will be located outside of Detroit, in Van Buren Township, Michigan, as part of GE’s Advanced Manufacturing and Software Technology Center. The other will be located at GE Capital’s Fleet Services business headquarters in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, with several other centers to be announced in 2011. The centers will monitor and evaluate vehicle performance and charging behaviors, driver experiences, service requirements, and operational efficiencies, while also affording the opportunity to experience a variety of manufacturers and models, and gain insights on electric vehicle deployment.

GE is launching this comprehensive electric vehicle program as part of its ecomagination business strategy to accelerate the development and deployment of clean energy technology though innovation and R&D investment. In support of the announcement today, an electric vehicle readiness toolkit has been launched on ecomagination.com to help municipalities, customers, and individuals prepare for wide-scale electric vehicle deployment.

Monday, November 29, 2010

China's Clean Energy Successes Represent a New "Sputnik Moment" for America

Washington, D.C. - In a speech at the National Press Club, U.S Energy Secretary Steven Chu said that the success of China and other countries in clean energy industries represents a new "Sputnik Moment" for the United States, and requires a similar mobilization of America's innovation machine so that we can compete in the global race for the jobs of the future. Secretary Chu outlined efforts underway at the Department to give America's entrepreneurs and manufacturers an edge through investments in clean energy innovation.

"When it comes to innovation, Americans don't take a back seat to anyone - and we certainly won't start now," said Secretary Chu. "From wind power to nuclear reactors to high speed rail, China and other countries are moving aggressively to capture the lead. Given that challenge, and given the enormous economic opportunities in clean energy, it's time for America to do what we do best: innovate. As President Obama has said, we should not, cannot, and will not play for second place."

With 17 National Labs and world leading scientific and computing resources, the Department of Energy is on the front lines of America's effort to lead in clean energy innovation. Clean energy technologies developed and deployed in the United States will create American jobs that stay in America.

Secretary Chu detailed a number of promising research efforts now underway, including:

•Revolutionary Electric Vehicle Batteries -- 500 Miles on a Single Charge. With the help of Recovery Act funding, Arizona-based Fluidic Energy is working with Arizona State University to develop a new generation of "metal-air" batteries that can store many times more energy than standard lithium-ion batteries. Metal-air batteries contain high energy metals and literally breathe oxygen from the air, giving them the ability to store extreme amounts of energy. To date, the development of these batteries has been blocked by the limitations of using unstable water based solutions that break down and evaporate out of the battery as it breathes. Fluidic Energy's innovative approach involves ionic liquids - extremely stable salts in liquid form -- using no water at all. If successful, the effort could yield batteries that weigh less, cost less, and are capable of carrying a four passenger electric car 500 miles without recharging, at a cost competitive with internal combustion engines. Read the fact sheet on the project (pdf - 264 kb), which is part of DOE's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).

•Converting Sunlight Into Usable Fuel. Through a newly established Energy Innovation Hub led by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), an interdisciplinary team of scientists and engineers are working to create an integrated system modeled after photosynthesis that can convert sunlight, carbon dioxide and water into usable fuels such as gasoline. The goal is to create a system of artificial photosynthesis that is ten times more efficient than traditional photosynthesis in converting sunlight into fuel -- paving the way for a major expansion of America's biofuel industry and reducing our dependence on oil.

A New Sputnik Moment

Secretary Chu said that China's investments in clean energy technologies represent both a challenge and an opportunity for the United States. While China's experience with rapid, large scale deployment of technologies makes it an important global testing ground and creates opportunities for scientific partnerships between our two countries, it also means that America cannot afford to take our scientific leadership for granted. Secretary Chu stressed that our economic competitiveness depends on jump-starting the next round of American innovation in clean energy.

Specifically, Secretary Chu highlighted several crucial technologies where the United States must innovate or risk falling far behind, such as:

1.High Voltage Transmission. China has deployed the world's first Ultra High Voltage AC and DC lines - including one capable of delivering 6.4 gigawatts to Shanghai from a hydroelectric plant nearly 1300 miles away in southwestern China. These lines are more efficient and carry much more power over longer distances than those in the United States.

2.High Speed Rail. In the span of six years, China has gone from importing this technology to exporting it, with the world's fastest train and the world's largest high speed rail network, which will become larger than the rest of the world combined by the end of the decade. Some short distance plane routes have already been cancelled, and train travel from Beijing to Shanghai (roughly equivalent to New York to Chicago) has been cut from 11 hours to 4 hours.

3.Advanced Coal Technologies. China is rapidly deploying supercritical and ultra-supercritical coal combustion plants, which have fewer emissions and are more efficient than conventional coal plants because they burn coal at much higher temperatures and pressures. Last month, Secretary Chu toured an ultra-supercritical plant in Shanghai which claims to be 45 to 48 percent efficient. The most efficient U.S. plants are about 40 percent efficient. China is also moving quickly to design and deploy technologies for Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) plants as well as Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS).

4.Nuclear Power. China has more than 30 nuclear power plants under construction, more than any other country in the world, and is actively researching fourth generation nuclear power technologies.

5.Alternative Energy Vehicles. China has developed a draft plan to invest $17 billion in central government funds in fuel economy, hybrids, plug-in hybrids, electric and fuel cell vehicles, with the goal of producing 5 million new energy vehicles and 15 million fuel-efficient conventional vehicles by 2020.

6.Renewable Energy. China is installing wind power at a faster rate than any nation in the world, and manufactures 40 percent of the world's solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. It is home to three of the world's top ten wind turbine manufacturers and five of the top ten silicon based PV manufacturers in the world.

7.Supercomputing. Last month, the Tianhe-1A, developed by China's National University of Defense Technology, became the world's fastest supercomputer. While the United States - and the Department of Energy in particular - still has unrivalled expertise in the useful application of high performance computers to advance scientific research and develop technology, America must continue to improve the speed and capacity of our advanced supercomputers.

"make green a reality" please visit http://www.thesolarandwindexpo.com/

SolarBeam is 262%more efficient than flat panels!

SOLARTRON Energy Systems Inc ., Amherst, Nova Scotia, Canada has developed the SolarBeam Concentrator which can provide more solar heat (about 44,340 BTU per hour) than conventional hot water and process heat systems at an affordable price. The payback period (after rebates) is only six years, compared with 20+ years for conventional flat panel or 15 years for evacuated tube technology. The SolarBeam Concentrator system is simply the most efficient solar hot water system available. Since it concentrates energy on a focal point using a parabolic mirror, the SolarBeam is 262% more efficient that hot water panels and 98% more efficient than evacuated tube technology. In addition, the SolarBeam concentrator is equipped with a computer-controlled dual-axis tracking system that maximizes solar concentration equivalent to 350 suns, which means more efficiency throughout the day

SolarTron Energy Systems Inc. is leading a movement to make solar heating technologies more energy-and cost-efficient by developing concentrated solar power (CSP) technology that utilizes a reflective parabolic mirror to collect solar energy onto a focal point to produce a high amount of heat. Our engineers designed the SolarBeam as a durable, rugged, and most importantly, affordable commercial unit,” says Edward Herniak, founder and CEO.

The SolarBeam uses patent-pending technology to provide 13kW of heat per hour throughout the entireday. “1 SolarBeam can heat 400 gallons from 62 F to 140 F in 5 hours” says Herniak. With the SolarBeam you can make a major impact to reduce green house gas emissions and lessen your dependency on fossil fuels, whether in the form of electricity, natural gas, or oil. Multiple stand-alone systems can generate thousands of kW or BTU required for even the most demanding applications.

In addition, the SolarBeam produces more power during the course of the day compared to other systems because of its patent-pending celestial tracking system. The SolarBeam is able to follow the sun throughout the course of the day, with 100% accuracy.

In applications where the solar hot water system will be installed on a flat roof, a different mounting application is used. The mounting of SolarBeam on the roof is a perfect option for apartment buildings, hotels, offices, grocery stores and retail stores.

The solar hot water system is designed to take advantage of the parabolic curve performance of a reflector which is the most efficient means of collecting solar energy. By utilizing the parabolic curve, the SolarBeam hot water system focuses the sun’s intensity onto the focal point, where the absorber is located. The solar absorber is made of solid aluminum block to maximize the thermal transfer to the poly-glycol fluid. Incredibly, the absorber is very small (10” x 10”) but has the ability to provide 13kW per hour (44,000 BTU).

In summer 2011, SolarTron plans to deliver a photovoltaic module to produce 4 kW/hour of electricity from a single system, using the latest concentrated photovoltaic technology. This module is 10 inches x10 inches and can be added to existing solar hot water systems.

"make green a reality" visit http://www.thesolarandwindexpo.com/

Thursday, November 25, 2010

New Figures Show PA Exceeds Its Goals for Solar; Among National Leaders in Solar Projects, Energy Capacity

DEP Secretary Credits Investments, Policies Leading to Expansion and Jobs in Promising Industry

HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 23, 2010 Pennsylvania is now one of the leading states in the nation for clean solar energy, Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger said today while highlighting new data from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

NREL's latest open photovoltaic survey ranks Pennsylvania third nationally in the number of solar projects operating today and fourth in installed capacity. According to NREL, the state now has 2,434 projects—behind only California and New Jersey—that account for 38.5 megawatts of generating capacity, or enough to power about 5,800 homes.

Hanger noted that because the survey relies on voluntarily submitted information, the state is actually doing much better than NREL's data shows. In reality, there are more than 3,000 projects online statewide that total 40-plus megawatts of capacity.

Regardless, Hanger said, the report shows that Pennsylvania has met its goal of becoming a top-five state for solar – and has done so ahead of schedule.

"When Governor Rendell took office, he said Pennsylvania was going to be a leader in the green economy," said Hanger. "NREL's latest survey shows we've done that and we've done it sooner than many thought was possible. We thought we'd be a top-five state for solar by 2011, but we've done it faster because of the pro-solar-growth, pro-solar-jobs policies and investments we've made.

"In 2004, we passed a portfolio standards law that attracted some of the world's leading renewable energy companies to our state. It also provided the assurance small businesses and entrepreneurs needed to get into the solar business or start their own companies. We also made smart, critical investments in the industry so more projects could get off the drawing board and become a reality. We now have hundreds of companies here doing work in the solar field and thousands of workers meeting the need for this clean form of energy."

The secretary said Pennsylvania now has about 600 solar businesses and another 130 megawatts worth of projects in the pipeline that should be completed by the end of 2011. According to the National Solar Jobs Census, Pennsylvania has 6,700 people working in solar jobs—second to California among all states.

He said Pennsylvania's growth was made possible because of large-scale projects across the state, as well as a growing number of homeowners and small businesses that are choosing to use solar to meet their energy needs.

Last month, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare began installing a three-megawatt system on its northeast regional distribution center in York County that, when finished, will represent the largest rooftop system in North America. In August, Crayola LLC powered up an $11.5 million, 15-acre solar farm that will produce 30 percent of the energy needed to power the company's operations in eastern Pennsylvania. The crayon maker has already announced plans to double the size of the solar system within in the next two years.

Hanger also pointed to the success of Pennsylvania's PA Sunshine Rebate Program, which has enabled more Pennsylvania homeowners and small businesses to lower their energy bills with the help of the sun's power. The $100 million PA Sunshine Program has provided more than $94 million in rebates to fund more than 4,855 solar electric and hot water projects that are either completed or under construction.

"Pennsylvanians are eagerly moving toward solar because they recognize the environmental benefits in the form of cleaner air and water, and the fact that it's a smart move for their pocketbooks, too," said Hanger. "A homeowner or business that installs a solar system today is locking in a fixed price—currently between 12- to 20-cents per kilowatt-hour—for the energy that system will create over the next 25 years. If you pay a utility for your electricity, I'll bet you won't pay in 2035 what you're paying today.

"Solar also makes greater sense because of how sharply the technology has dropped in price recently. The median installed costs for small business and residential PV projects here dropped from about $9 per watt in 2008 to as low as $6 per watt in August; the lowest-cost projects are as much as $1 per watt less than this most recent figure. Large solar projects of one megawatt or more now cost under $4.50 per watt. That's a competitive price and explains why solar is so attractive for so many."

The secretary also noted that solar power emits zero air pollution, which cuts soot, smog, mercury and heat-trapping pollution that can sicken and kill Pennsylvanians. In addition, solar power helps to keep the power grid reliable by providing more power on the hottest days of the year when very high demand can cause brownouts and blackouts.

To view the NREL rankings online, visit openpv.nrel.gov/rankings. For more information on clean energy in Pennsylvania, visit http://www.depweb.state.pa.us/.

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Salazar Announces Streamlined Permitting Process for Atlantic Coast

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar today announced a major new initiative to accelerate wind development and siting along the Atlantic Coast.

Speaking at a press conference at the Fort McHenry National Monument in Baltimore, MD, Salazar dubbed the initiative “Smart from the Start.” The new, streamlined permitting process for offshore wind development would be “unburdened by needless red tape,” Salazar said.

Salazar was joined at the conference by Interior Department Deputy Secretary David Hayes, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement Director Michael Bromwich, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, Delaware Senators Thomas Carper and Christopher Coons, and Jim Lanard, president of the Offshore Wind Development Coalition.

The new initiative comes as a response to drawn-out process currently required to obtain the required offshore wind development permits. For the Cape Wind project in Massachusetts that process took over nine years.

As part of the “Smart from the Start” initiative, BOEMRE will work with states along the Atlantic Coast to preemptively identify areas for wind development. This process is set to being within the next 60 days, although some states, such as Massachusetts, have already gone through this process.

Lanard, who represented the offshore wind industry at the event, praised the new policy.

“Offshore wind developers and their supply chain partners need regulatory certainty as they consider when and where to invest in projects and manufacturing facilities,” Lanard said. “The steps Secretary Salazar has taken today reinforce the Obama Administration’s commitment to offshore renewable wind energy and show the industry the path to permitting and constructing these long-awaited projects, each costing more than a billion dollars to build.”

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MORNING ROUNDUP: New York Holds First Offshore Wind Task Force Meeting

Federal offshore wind planning officials met last week with New York state, local and tribal officials in the first step toward commercial leasing of the federal waters off that state, BrighterEnergy.org reported.

Similar task forces are in place in Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey and Virginia.

“BOEMRE created this task force to facilitate the efficient and effective review of proposed renewable energy projects on the OCS offshore New York,” said Bureau of Ocean Management, Regulation and Enforcement Director Michael Bromwich. “We will continue to work together to initiate the commercial leasing process that will enable New York to meet its renewable energy development goals and expand our nation’s energy resource portfolio.”

MA Officials Hope Cape Wind Will Draw Other Offshore Wind Business

Massachusetts state officials are that the groundbreaking Cape Wind project will help attract other wind energy companies to the Bay State, the Associated Press reported.

Ian Bowles, the state’s secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, also pointed to the almost-complete blade testing facility in Charlestown, MA.

“We’ve been aggressive in looking to grow the wind energy cluster in Massachusetts,” Bowles said, citing the attraction of Cape Wind. “Add to that a testing facility that has the largest capacity in the world for testing the largest blades in the world and you are going to see a lot of large wind blades coming into Boston.”

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2012 Energy Codes Will Achieve Greater than a 30 Percent Increase in Efficiency

The International Code Council (ICC) Final Action Hearings concluded on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010 in Charlotte NC with major endorsements for energy code changes that will achieve greater efficiency and conservation in both residential and commercial construction than at any time since the inception of energy codes in 1975.

This historic moment would not have been possible without the creation and submittal of dozens of rational, achievable code changes covering the gamut of energy efficiency and conservation. Changes came from: regional and national energy efficiency advocates and standards organizations; the construction industry; the Department of Energy; from code enforcement associations and from other individuals. All saw ways in which current requirements should be improved.

State and local governmental representatives rose to the challenges of these proposals and endorsed all important changes. Their decisions succeeded in raising building energy efficiency by more than 30 percent across the nation from energy code requirements in place in 2006, both in residential and commercial construction.

The Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership, as a member of the Energy Efficient Codes Coalition, contributed to the technical discussions in preparations of the proposed changes and helped make the case in the northeast for the importance of member state and local governments to attend these hearings and support these changes.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Maryland Clean Energy Center director to be recognized at National Press Club

Gaithersburg, Maryland, November 15.--The Maryland-Asia Environmental Partnership (MD-AEP) nominated Kathy Magruder, Executive Director of the Maryland Clean Energy Center (MCEC) with the organization’s 2010 “Partner of the Year Award” to be presented at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. on December 2 at MD-AEP’s annual banquet.

Magruder was tapped to head MCEC just over a year ago after having been involved with sustainable economic development in the state of Maryland for over twenty years. As Executive Director of MCEC
she has worked with the MCEC Board of Directors and the MCEC Advisory Board, comprised of over 52 companies, to lead an effort to service the needs of Maryland’s energy stakeholders in the “new energy” economy.

“When I first envisioned the idea of creating a clean energy economy in Maryland, I knew we needed a strong dynamic leader to make that vision come true against all odds,” said John Spears, President of Sustainable Design Group and Founder of the Maryland Clean Energy Center. “I knew Kathy was theright person for the job and she has proven to be all I could have hoped for,” he said. During her first year, Magruder has established a network of over 400 energy companies and provided renewable energy advocacy in Annapolis, educational workshops around the state, a consumer energy audit program and business development opportunities for companies.

“I saw Kathy’s great potential when she was the economic development director in Queen Anne’s County and brought her to work with me at Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED),” said Aris Melissaratos, former Secretary of DBED. “She did phenomenal job at DBED,” he said. Magruder chaired a multi-agency task force to develop an action agenda to position Maryland to take advantage of new energy production and generation technologies as a job creation and sustainability strategy. “Kathy was always prepared. She did her research and never gave up on the task. She’s a force,” said Melissaratos.

Magruder is being recognized by the MD-AEP for her leadership in mobilizing energy stakeholders through the MD-AEP Energy & Environmental Leadership Series. MCEC joined the MD-AEP and launched a three-part outreach series this past year. The forums on smart grid, energy efficiency and renewable energy provided a platform for Maryland’s leading energy companies to engage energy stakeholders about energy policies and technologies here in the region and export and investment opportunities in Asia. “Kathy sees the whole field and openly engages all stakeholders to make a difference,” said Peter Gourlay, President of MD-AEP. “She has demonstrated the willingness to engage others without thinking about turf issues, she just cares about helping companies succeed. She is the epitome of a true leader and why we are recognizing her with this award.”

“Kathy has really been a driving force, a champion and leader for renewable energy companies in the State,” said Connie Lausten, Vice President of Regulatory and Legislative Affairs, New Generation Biofuels and MCEC Advisory Board member. “Her efforts have really helped this industry to grow throughout Maryland,” she said.

“Kathy is a great visionary with the unique ability to also get the job done,” said John Congedo, President of AC- Wind and a member of the MCEC Advisory Board. “There are plenty of people with great vision, but Kathy has shown that unique ability to act on it,” he said.

Magruder will be honored on December 2 in front of over 150 public-private leaders from business, government, academia and the Asian Embassy community for MD-AEP’s 2nd Annual Energy and Environmental Leadership Series Banquet on Thursday December 2 from 6-9p.m. at the National Press Club in Washington. The evening gala will celebrate the richness of energy and environmental resources and talent assembled by MD-AEP this past year including companies with expertise in the energy, water and food network like Constellation Energy, I.M. Systems Group, AREVA, Sun Edison, FilterSure, Bluewing Environmental Solutions, Spiralcat, Skanska USA Building, and JIFSAN.

U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski has been invited to open the evening gala and Malaysia's Ambassador Dato' Sri Jamaludin Jarjis to keynote the event. Other awardees include Dr. Rita Colwell, Distinguished University Professor both at the University of Maryland at College Park and the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and Winner of the 2010 Stockholm Water Prize and Paige Bethke, Director of Talbot County Economic Development.

For information call George Lopez @ 410-439-1577 or George@thesolarandwindexpo.com
"make green a reality" visit http://www.thesolarandwindexpo.com/

Friday, November 12, 2010


Plugin America founder to give keynote address at the 2nd annual Solar and Wind Expo.

Chelsea Sexton, electric vehicle’s top advocate, star of the very popular “Who killed the Electric Car” documentary film, has confirmed that she will be the Keynote speaker at the 2nd annual Solar and Wind Expo at the Timonium Fairgrounds in Maryland this coming May 14, 2011. She will relate her knowledge and personal experience to convey to Expo attendees how the future of electric vehicles is shaping.

Chelsea Sexton is a veteran clean transportation and energy advocate; her work on General Motors’ EV1 program was featured in the Sony Pictures Classics film, “Who Killed the Electric Car?” She went on to serve as Director of the Automotive X PRIZE, Senior Advisor to VantagePoint Venture Partners’ Cleantech practice, and co-founder of Plug In America, the largest consumer-oriented electric drive advocacy group. Most recently, she founded the Lightning Rod Foundation, an advisory and educational organization. Additionally, Chelsea is a Consulting Producer on Chris Paine’s next film, “Revenge of the Electric Car”.

The Solar and Wind Expo received accolades this past May when it featured another of Plugin Americas’ alumni, Paul Scott, along with Bob Dixson, the well known Mayor of Greensburg, Kansas. The Solar and Wind Expo continues to take a proactive approach at bringing top quality clean energy advocates to the east coast region.

To find out more visit http://www.thesolarandwindexpo.com/ and "make green a reality"

Monday, November 8, 2010

Governor Rendell Welcomes European Home Energy Efficiency Leader, 300-Plus New Jobs to Philadelphia Navy Yard

Harrisburg – Governor Edward G. Rendell today welcomed one of Europe’s biggest home energy efficiency companies to its new home at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, saying the company expects to hire nearly 320 workers over the next three years as it expands on South Broad Street.

The Governor said the arrival of Mark Group, based in Leicester, United Kingdom, marks the latest positive development at the Navy Yard as it continues establishing itself as one of the nation’s leading hubs for innovation in the clean energy and energy efficiency fields.

“Helping consumers reduce their energy use is one of the best things we can do to help people and employers save money while improving our environment,” said Governor Rendell. “After all, the cheapest and cleanest energy is that which we don’t use. We’ve made great strides in the past eight years to help energy users do that, but the work being done here at the energy innovation hub and by Mark Group will take those efforts to an entirely new level.

“Mark Group’s decision to locate its U.S. headquarters here and become one of the first companies tied to the Department of Energy’s energy innovation hub is an excellent partnership. Each complements the other and each offers a host of great opportunities for the other,” the Governor said.

Since its founding in 1974, Mark Group has improved the energy efficiency of more than 2 million homes and the company says it installs more than 6,000 measures every week that help consumers save. The company’s debut in Philadelphia follows its recent opening of an Australian headquarters.

The company picked the Navy Yard with the help of the Department of Community and Economic Development’s international trade office, the Governor’s Action Team, as well as the City of Philadelphia, Select Greater Philadelphia, TeamPA Foundation, and the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp.

“The creation of alternative energy sources is key to America’s economic future, and Greater Philadelphia is the nation’s hub of energy efficiency research and development,” said Mark Group U.S. CEO Jeff Bartos. “We are excited to launch our business from Philadelphia and to deliver energy efficiency upgrades to homes

throughout the nation, and we thank the Rendell administration for the state’s investment in our company.”

The Governor’s Action Team offered Mark Group a $3.28 million funding offer that includes a $2 million Pennsylvania Industrial Development loan, a $500,000 opportunity grant, a $638,000 job creation tax credit, and $143,550 from WEDnet, which is a workforce web portal that is devoted to advancing the training and education needs of workers and employers in Pennsylvania.

Since 2003, the Governor’s Action Team, or GAT, has successfully completed 56 projects in Philadelphia County. The projects account for commitments of 7,342 new and 20,125 retained jobs. The commonwealth has offered more than $192 million in funding to these projects, which will leverage nearly $1.2 billion in additional investment.

Statewide since 2003, GAT has successfully completed 1,188 projects, representing commitments for 130,000 new jobs and 300,000 retained jobs. The commonwealth has offered more than $2.2 billion in funding to these projects, which will leverage more than $16 billion in additional investment.

For more information on the Governor’s Action Team and Pennsylvania’s economic development opportunities, visit http://www.newpa.com/.

City General Services On-Target to Surpass Baltimore’s Empower Goal of 15% Reduction in Energy Use by 2015

Department of General Services (DGS) Director Theodore Atwood today announced that since 2006 Baltimore City has reduced overall energy use by 6.5% and is already on-target to meet and exceed the state’s Empower goals and those of the City’s Sustainability Plan. These goals call for a 15% reduction in energy use by 2015. In announcing the accomplishment, Director Atwood noted, “A part of this agency’s mission is to make Baltimore more sustainable and one of the ways we accomplish that is through energy conservation and efficiency. Because of this, we are on-target to meet and exceed the 15% energy use reduction by year 2015.” “The City will have a 20% reduction in energy use by 2015” the Director stated, which surpasses the goal.

The City has been working aggressively to reduce its use of electricity in city-owned buildings and from the base year of 2006 to now, have reduced energy use by 6.55% - which is nearly half of the required 15% reduction. The City is on course to reach a 12.9% reduction by January 2012; and by 2020, it will reduce energy consumption by over 30%.

The DGS Energy Division tracks and monitors the City’s use of utilities. This monitoring shows that the City’s use of electricity has gone down from 412 million kilowatt hours per year (kwhr/yr) in 2006 to 385 million kwhr/year now in 2010. This savings comes from energy conservation measures implemented throughout City government which include energy performance contracts and initiatives in City facilities, the use of renewable energy generated in-house at the methane gas-to-energy power plant at the DPW Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant, through cooperative utility buying through the Baltimore Regional Cooperative Purchasing Committee (BRCPC) and through use of BGE’s rebates and incentives such as the capacity reduction program.

A grant-funded project is currently under-way in 82 city buildings and libraries, which will install water conservation retrofits along with other energy efficiency improvements. Last month, the agency announced a project to begin in early November that will produce over a 20% annual reduction in energy usage in facilities and stations of the City’s Fire Department. Other upcoming energy saving projects that will help the City meet and exceed Baltimore’s Empower goals are the installation of solar panels at the Convention Center in Baltimore and new LED lights for the neighborhoods and parking garages.

Empower Maryland is a state initiative to reduce power consumption in Maryland by 15% by 2015.

To learn more about Empower Maryland or DGS energy saving initiatives, visit us on the web at Baltimorecity.gov.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Baltimore vet cuts energy bills with solar

On a ‘green’ mission last spring, a 62 year-old retiree living on a modest income in Baltimore found himself at the Solar and Wind Expo at the Timonium Fairgrounds in Maryland.

A disabled veteran, Paul Bennett was there searching for alternatives to deal with his increasing energy costs. His 125 year-old historic row home with three floors and 40 windows isn’t exactly cheap to heat and cool.

“It more than doubled over the last 15 years,” he says. “I realized I needed to be as energy efficient as possible.”
Baltimore resident Paul Bennett installed 14 solar panels
such as these on his historic row home with the help of a
state solar grant and federal tax credit through the Recovery Act.

Bennett and dozens of residents roamed the fairgrounds to learn as much as they could about installation costs and, more importantly, how much it would save them on their utility bills. The first-of-its kind event hosted scores of energy companies and the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) offering up information on incentives for renewable technologies.

There Bennett found out about the MEA residential Solar Energy Grant Program and a renewable energy federal tax credit through the Recovery Act.

Three months later—and after his reverse mortgage was approved—Bennett had 14, 175-watt solar panels installed atop his Mount Royal neighborhood home.

Solar saves green

The $2,860 solar grant from the MEA and a $1,500 federal tax credit helped Bennett pay for the installation, which took place in late July. The solar energy system cost him about $21,000 out of pocket. Already the retiree has saved almost $100 off both his August and his September electric bills.

“It was worth it,” he says. “It’s like I am doing something good for something larger than me, and I am reaping the benefits.”

The payback for his system, Bennett says, will be about 10 years. This is because he plans sell back some of the energy produced by the solar panels to the utility company via renewable energy credits, which could end up being about $1,000 in his pocket a year.

Recovering solar

Bennett is one of about 820 people or families in Maryland who have received a solar grant through the MEA’s renewable energy grant program—which includes solar, geothermal and wind— since fiscal year 2008, when its budget went from $600,000 to $2 million.

A year later, with support from the Recovery Act, that number jumped to $7 million.

“In terms of the residential side of things, it’s helped tremendously,” says Joe Cohen, a MEA clean energy research assistant who oversees the solar grant program. “We’ve gotten more applications because of the Recovery Act—and kilowatts installed.”

Residents can get up a $10,000 grant to install solar panels, but the average grant is about $4,000, Cohen says.

About $4 million of Recovery Act funds have been used so far for solar and about 3.7 MW of clean, solar energy have been placed on the grid, saving 4,440 MWh annually in the state.

“It s certainly helping the state meet it energy goals,” says Cohen, citing Maryland’s objective to have 20 percent renewable energy by 2022.

“And it’s keeping the resident solar sector healthy…We have seen quite few solar companies start up because of this program,” he adds.

Originally posted here http://www.energyempowers.gov/post/solar-energy-maryland.aspx
 "Make green a reality"
visit http://www.thesolarandwindexpo.com/