Monday, January 31, 2011

New partnership on renewable energy modeling and forecasting

The Department of Energy and the Department of Commerce announced a new agreement to further collaboration between the agencies on renewable energy modeling and weather forecasting, which will help enable the nation’s renewable energy resources to be used more effectively by business and entrepreneurs.

The Memorandum of Understanding signed by Acting Under Secretary of Energy Cathy Zoi and Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D ., will encourage the two agencies to work together to develop and disseminate weather and climate information needed for renewable energy technologies that are dependent on short-term weather and longer-term climate trends. Better information on weather patterns and improved modeling of the variability of the wind, sun, water, ocean currents and other sources of renewable energy will ultimately increase the country’s ability to efficiently and reliably integrate renewable energy into the electrical grid.

“This collaboration will bring together scientists and experts across the federal government to support our efforts to integrate renewable energy into our power system,” said Zoi. “By providing us with a deeper understanding of how weather impacts the generation of renewable energy, this partnership will help to more effectively deploy these important resources across America.” “Our ability to increase America’s supply of renewable energy is based in part on our ability to predict and harness precipitation, wind and cloud patterns,” said Lubchenco. “Observations, forecasts and climate information tailored to the needs of the renewable energy industry will promote growth of this vital sector.”

The partnership will help renewable energy system designers, operators, and electric power system administrators in improving the cost effectiveness and reliability of weather-dependent renewable energy technologies. The collaboration includes a working group from DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that will identify areas for continued focus and research and help lay out next steps for improving the efficiency of renewable resources and better integrating renewable energy sources onto the electrical grid.

The group will produce an Action Plan in the coming months that will address:

  • Improving renewable resource characterization models and methodologies for optimizing system reliability and performance
  • Advancing meteorological and oceanic forecasting technologies, models and methodologies
  • Defining national weather and oceanic monitoring systems needed to support renewable energy
  • Predicting climate effects on renewable energy resources
  • Coordinating both public and private sector contributions to addressing renewable resource needs.
Under the partnership, both agencies agree to provide the necessary resources to coordinate or carry out the designated tasks outlined in the Action Plan.

"make green a reality" visit

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Chevrolet Volt Rollout Speeds Up: Available Nationwide By End of 2011

Chevrolet is stepping up the national rollout of the Volt to match customer interest.

“We’re accelerating our launch plan to have Volts in all participating Chevrolet dealerships in every single state in the union by the end of this year,” said Rick Scheidt, U.S. vice president, Chevrolet Marketing. “This is the right thing to do for our customers and our dealers who are seeing increased traffic onto their showroom floors.”

Chevrolet Volts have been delivered to customers in the Washington D.C. area, as well as California, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Texas. Customer deliveries in Michigan begin this spring.

Customers nationwide will be able to order Volts with participating dealers beginning in the second quarter. Deliveries will begin in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii in the third quarter.

During the fourth quarter, Chevrolet expects to deliver Volts in all 50 states.

The decision to accelerate the national rollout was influenced by Chevrolet dealers like Criswell Chevrolet in Gaithersburg, Md., which has seen a surge of consumers interested in the Volt.

“The Volt is clearly bringing new customers to Chevrolet," said Harry E. Criswell III, president and owner of Criswell Chevrolet "We are seeing 10 to 15 customers a week who are seriously considering buying a Volt. Many of them own competitive brands and now have a Chevy on their shopping list because of the Volt."

Some of that consumer interest has been fueled by prestigious industry awards and recognitions for the Volt, including:

  • 2011 North American Car of the Year
  • Motor Trend 2011 Car of the Year
  • Green Car Journal 2011 Green Car of the Year
  • Car and Driver 10 Best for 2011
  • Ward’s AutoWorld 10 Best Engines for 2011
  • AUTOMOBILE Magazine 2011 Automobile of the Year
  • 2010 Breakthrough Technology, by Popular Mechanics
“Such recognition provides customers with credible, expert endorsement of new models, which is important for vehicles like the Volt that feature significant new technologies,” said Scheidt. “Based on the awards the Volt has received, and the number of consumers expressing interest in the technology, we believe the Volt is the right car at the right time.”

The Volt is an electric vehicle that offers a total driving range of up to 379 miles, based on EPA estimates. For the first 35 miles, the Volt can drive gas- and tailpipe-emissions-free using a full charge of electricity stored in its 16-kWh lithium-ion battery. When the Volt’s battery runs low, a gas-powered engine/generator seamlessly operates to extend the driving range another 344 miles on a full tank.

Ford is donating to Petersen Automotive Museum one of the two Focus Electric prototypes used on "The Jay Leno Show" during a celebrity driving segment called Green Car Challenge

Used throughout the 2010 season, the Electric Orange battery electric prototype was outfitted with Recaro racing seats, a full roll cage and a five-point racing harness for use on a racetrack designed specifically for the show

The all-new Focus Electric – Ford's first-ever all-electric passenger car – is a zero-emissions, gasoline-free vehicle that will be available in North America and Europe

You might remember seeing the bright orange Ford Focus Electric prototype running around a track and being driven by your favorite celebrities during the Green Car Challenge on "The Jay Leno Show" last year. Now, you will be able to see the same vehicle permanently plugged in at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.

Today, Ford officially handed the museum the keys to one of two Focus Electric prototypes used during the show's Green Car Challenge segment.

"This donation signifies Ford's transition from a prototype version of Focus Electric to the real production vehicle," said Matt VanDyke, Ford director of U.S. Marketing and Communications. "We still believe the Focus Electric prototype can continue to create awareness and excitement for electric vehicles like it did during the Green Car Challenge. The Petersen Automotive Museum is the perfect place for the car to do that."

Based on the European five-door production Focus ST, the racing prototype was specifically designed for "The Jay Leno Show" and used throughout the 2010 season. Tuned to perform on a racetrack, the Focus Electric was outfitted with Recaro racing seats, a full roll cage, five-point racing harness and an eye-catching Electric Orange paint scheme.

Actress Drew Barrymore was the first celebrity guest to accept the show's racing challenge. Other participants included Steve Carell, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sheryl Crow, Serena Williams, Rush Limbaugh and more. Dr. Phil McGraw ended up having the fastest lap of all the celebrities to drive the vehicle.

The Focus Electric will now be the featured vehicle in the museum's permanent Alternative Power exhibit. The display highlights vehicles that feature engineering solutions outside of the standard gasoline-fueled internal combustion engine. Some of the other alternative-fuel vehicles in the exhibit include an electric car built in 1897, a wood-burning truck and the 1974 Dutcher – a steam-powered car on loan to the Petersen from Jay Leno.

"We are excited to add the Ford Focus Electric to our collection," said Buddy Pepp, Petersen Automotive Museum executive director. "It is a historically significant car on many levels. Not only is this prototype Ford Motor Company's first all-electric passenger car, but it also has a local Hollywood connection. Vehicles like this reflect our mission to explore and present the history of the automobile and its impact on American life and culture using Los Angeles as the prime example."

"make green a reality" visit

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

17th Annual Environmental Legislative Summit in Annapolis

It was a full house last night at the 17th Annual Environmental Legislative Summit in Annapolis. Invited speakers included Howard County Executive Ken Ulman as the keynote speaker. Mr. Ulman is one of the youngest county executives in the state and was recently elected president of the Maryland Association of Counties. Mr. Ulman has been called "the new Green Lantern” by the Baltimore Sun and others because of his ambitious, determined and environmentally friendly agenda.

Although the session started late and their speaking times cut short, mostly due to the amount of time it took to get the large number of attendees seated, all the speakers were well prepared and able to get their agendas on the record. Next year they will need a bigger room, for sure.

Mr. Ulman spoke of numerous environmental victories in Howard County such as making Worthington Elementary the first solar powered school in the state and plans to install a recharging bus loop in Columbia. This first-in-the-nation system will feature a system installed under the pavement that will recharge a bus just by being driven over it (cool stuff) The County is installing a Bay Wise backyard at the Robinson Nature Center that will serve as a living example and teaching tool showing how beautiful a Bay friendly backyard can be. The county also is implementing a requirement that all new commercial buildings maintain some level of LEED certification and has begun a curbside food waste pick up service that will serve as a pilot program for a further reduction of landfill waste by using the food waste as compost.

MDE Acting Secretary Dr. Robert Summers spoke about Maryland’s Watershed Implementation Plan, named the best in the Chesapeake watershed, which is now moving to Phase II and requires funding. It is estimated that meeting the implementation of 70% of these practices by 2017 could cost as much as $10 billion statewide. The bulk of these costs fall into three primary areas: First, the continued upgrading of wastewater treatment plants, conversion of conventional septic, and enhancement of wastewater infrastructure (approximately $5 billion); second, the repair or restoration of storm water-related damage throughout the state (approximately $ 4 billion); and third, the upgrade of coal-fired power plants to reduce airborne nutrient pollution (between $1.8 and $3 billion). Mr. Summers stressed the need for conservation and added that large quantities of pollutants are from out of state sources.

Environmental Matters Committee Chair Maggie McIntosh (D-43) humorously called herself the “septic lady” after she was introduced as the “bay lady.” She pointed out that the challenges for this term are enormous and added that our mass transit is grossly underfunded. Her committee reports that $537 million will be needed through 2012 to continue to make upgrades to the sewer treatment plants.“ So the flush tax may need to be doubled,” said Delegate McIntosh. She went on to say that counties are not keeping up and storm water runoff is causing raw sewage to be delivered downstream to places like Herring Run; fracking continues to be a big source of concern as companies continue to move towards drilling in Alleghany and Garrett Counties (stay tuned); DNR is proposing license revocation for those caught poaching oysters; and last but not least, new septic systems installed in the state should be of the best technology available at the time of permitting.

Malcom Woolf, Director of the Maryland Energy Administration, commented on the tangible results that already have been reached by the state’s commitment to renewable energy, such as the installation of 2400 new systems, the 150,000 households that have taken measures to reduce their electric consumption in one way or another and $60 million in energy savings that already have been reached. The state’s Electric Vehicle Initiative is going well with the MEA plan to install car chargers in many locations, a solar hot water bill is in the works and a Net Metering law that is being revised to make it easier for you to get credit for the electricity that you produce but do not use. He mentioned that there is sufficient the wind offshore to produce enough electricity to offset 95% of the Eeastern Sshore’s consumption, which is, as he put it, “making it where it is needed.”

Allison Prost of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation put it best: “It should not be a choice between jobs or the environment. Cleaning up the environment creates jobs.” Newly elected Anne Arundel County Councilman Chris Traumbauer, who also is the West/Rhode Riverkeeper, and Andy Galli of Clean Water Action mentioned that we are all polluters and that we must reverse the damages to which we have all contributed. The Clean Water Bill, they said, will be the largest amount of money ever spent on the problem and that having a dedicated revenue stream will ensure that the work gets done.

With all the challenges facing the legislature in this session, we can all hope that we have the right people in place to make the right decisions and to allocate money where it is needed, as in these essential programs.

"make green a reality"  visit

Friday, January 21, 2011

SunRun Report Exposes $1 Billion in Unnecessary Solar Costs

SunRun, the nation’s leading home solar company, today released an official report on how local governments can save $1 billion over the next five years and make solar affordable for 50 percent of American homes. The report, “The Impact of Local Permitting on the Cost of Solar Power,” reveals that inconsistent local solar permitting and inspection processes add an average of over $2,500 per home installation. A direct response to the Department of Energy’s (DOE) request for granular data on non-equipment solar costs, the report specifies how the DOE can take immediate action to solve local permitting problems and reduce unnecessary costs.

“Every city and town has its own set of regulations and requirements for solar installations. Our research identifies inconsistencies in local permitting as one of the most critical roadblocks to a sustainable, subsidy-free solar industry,” said SunRun CEO and Co-founder Edward Fenster. “To tackle this challenge head-on, the DOE can use existing guidelines it has already funded to standardize local permitting and deliver the equivalent of a new $1 billion solar subsidy over five years.”

In the report, solar installers nationwide say repeatedly that local permitting is the most stubborn cost they face, preventing them from making solar affordable for millions of Americans. By comparison, countries such as Germany have simpler processes that keep solar installation costs 40 percent lower than in the United States. Germany reports about one million new home solar power installations in the past two years alone, whereas the total number of homes ever to go solar in the United States has just broken 120,000. SunRun’s report recommends the DOE lead a new Residential Solar Permitting Initiative, starting with high-volume cities that impact more than 50 percent of the solar market. The recommendations include a contest with grant rewards for cities that make the most effective and comprehensive improvements.

“Local permitting red tape keeps solar off of millions of American homes and businesses and seriously jeopardizes our ability to be competitive with entrenched fossil fuels,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of SEIA. “Policymakers need to recognize that these additional costs put an undue burden on new, clean technologies like solar that are trying to create jobs in the U.S.”

"As a Solar America City, we recognized early on that a more efficient permitting process would improve the rate of solar deployment and contribute to market transformation of solar,” said Kristin Sullivan, program director of the Philadelphia Solar City Partnership Program. “We’ve instituted multiple improvements to help the solar industry without compromising safety or requiring additional city staff time, including reduced permitting fees and a streamlined process for projects under 10kW.”

Endorsements for SunRun’s report underscore the industry’s sense of urgency when it comes to standardizing the permitting process. A coalition of 22 leading installers from across the country endorses this paper, as well as industry organizations such as The Sierra Club, SolarTech, and Vote Solar. The report is currently under review with the DOE and available at

"make green a reality" visit 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Solar Installation at Perdue to be One of East Coast’s Largest

Perdue, Washington Gas Energy Services and Standard Solar Partner to Develop Solar Power Project Spanning Two States

More than 11,000 solar panels will be installed at two Perdue facilities this summer, resulting in one of the largest commercially-owned solar power systems in the eastern United States.

Perdue has entered into a 15-year agreement with Washington Gas Energy Services, Inc. (WGES) to purchase electricity generated by the solar panels at guaranteed prices.

Typical ground mount Solar panels

By September 2011, Standard Solar Inc. of Rockville, Md. will install the ground-mounted solar panels, covering the equivalent of approximately 10 football fields, on Perdue property. Almost half will be at the Perdue corporate offices in Salisbury and will be visible to passers-by on westbound U.S. Route 50. The others will be at the company’s feed mill in Bridgeville, Del.

The systems, which will be owned and operated by WGES, will generate an average of 3,700 megawatt hours of electricity each year, or the amount of power used by 340 typical U.S. homes. At peak production, the panels will produce as much as 90 percent of the electrical demand for each facility.

“Stewardship is one of our company’s core values, so this is a perfect fit for the way we do business,” said Steve Schwalb, Perdue’s Vice President of Environmental Sustainability. “Using solar power means we’ll have a clean energy source that doesn’t pollute or create greenhouse gases, while lowering Perdue’s energy costs over the life of the project.”

Schwalb estimated the clean electricity from the solar panels will reduce Perdue’s carbon footprint by 3,000 tons per year, the equivalent of eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from 300,000 gallons of gasoline per year, or nearly 4.5 million gallons through the life of the contract.

The agreement is Perdue’s latest step in its commitment to being environmentally friendly. Last year, Perdue announced a renovation of its corporate office that is expected to earn a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Gold rating for environmental leadership from the U.S. Green Building Council. Three years ago, Perdue signed a first-in-the-industry Clean Waters Environmental Initiative with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help poultry growers adopt best pollution prevention practices. Ten years ago, Perdue built the nation’s first commercial poultry litter processing plant, the only process that is verifiably removing excess nutrients from the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

“By hosting this project, Perdue is also helping both Maryland and Delaware achieve their statewide solar energy goals,” said Harry Warren, president of WGES of Herndon, Va. “The Maryland and Delaware Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards Acts call for a growing contribution from solar energy each year through at least 2022, and Perdue’s project will contribute significantly to Maryland’s and Delaware’s total solar power production goals for 2012 and beyond.”

“We applaud Perdue for taking such a significant step toward energy independence and are pleased to be part of one of the largest solar installations on the East Coast,” said Scott Wiater, President of Standard Solar.

Visit Standard Solar at the Solar and Wind Expo in May and June, for details visit

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Constellation Energy to Develop 1.25 MW in Solar Installations for Anne Arundel County and Coppin State University

Typical rooftop installation
 Constellation Energy (NYSE: CEG) today announced the development of a 750-kilowatt on-site solar installation at Anne Arundel County’s Combined Support Services Complex in Millersville, Md., and the development of a 500 kilowatt on-site solar installation at Coppin State University in Baltimore. Both projects are funded, in part, by grants through the Maryland Energy Administration’s Project Sunburst initiative, which promotes the installation of large-scale solar photovoltaic energy systems on state buildings. Constellation Energy will finance as well as own and operate the on-site solar installations. In return, both organizations will purchase the electricity produced by the systems at a reduced cost from Constellation Energy over a 20-year period.

.“This is a great example of how collaborations between the state and local businesses can support clean, renewable energy generation and help keep electricity prices affordable,” said Ron Melchior, vice president of renewable energy for Constellation Energy's retail business. “By structuring solar projects as power purchase agreements, we can offer energy solutions that involve no upfront capital from customers and provide them with fixed power costs over the long term, which is critical as county governments and public universities work to control rising costs for taxpayers.”

The Combined Support Services Complex building houses Anne Arundel County’s facilities and maintenance, fire protection and school storage departments. The facility’s on-site solar power system will utilize approximately 3,060 roof-mounted crystalline photovoltaic solar panels and supply an estimated 900,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. The new solar installation is expected to offset 90 percent of the building’s annual electric consumption, saving the county an estimated $80,000 per year in utility costs.

“Fiscal discipline and environmental stewardship are not mutually exclusive goals," said Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold. "This project promotes clean energy and provides a savings to taxpayers."

Coppin State University’s on-site solar power system will supply electricity for its new Physical Education Complex, utilizing approximately 2,040 roof-mounted crystalline photovoltaic solar panels. The system is expected to supply more than 600,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually.

Rendition of Coppin State University's
Physical Education Complex
Coppin State University, one of 11 campuses comprising the University System of Maryland, is committed to sustainable energy production and conservation. “All of our facility improvements and new construction have a focus on sustainability and energy conservation,” said Maqbool Patel, director of facilities management at the Coppin campus. “This is part of a larger effort to contain costs and maximize resourcefulness of campus resources during this period of fiscal austerity.”

In total, the Anne Arundel and Coppin State solar installations are expected to generate roughly 1.5 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. Generating the same amount of electricity using non-renewable sources would result in the release of 1,077 metric tons of carbon dioxide, or the equivalent emissions from 206 passenger vehicles. Both on-site solar power systems are scheduled to begin producing electricity in spring 2011.

Constellation Energy currently owns and operates 60 megawatts of solar installations that have been completed or are under construction for customers in Maryland and throughout the U.S. Commercial customers, universities, school systems, hospitals and government agencies interested in on-site solar installations of 1 MW or larger can contact Constellation Energy at or 1-877-427-2005. To watch a brief video about Constellation Energy’s solar power systems, please visit:

UK and Cuba in renewable energy deal

Sign reads in Spanish:
 When a country such as Cuba with the lack of GDP that other countries posses, partly due the sanctions imposed on it goes gangbusters on renewable energy, it says one thing and one thing only as this poster on the side of a Cuban road puts it: "By saving more, we will have more." These are words we should all live by.

That is why HAVANA Energy was able to sign the UK’s first renewable energy partnership with Cuba, committing £250m to a joint venture with Cuban company Zerus to develop biomass power plants in the country.

Cuba has been busy converting
their energy infrastructure
to renewables.
The power plants are part of the Cuban government’s efforts to promote renewable energy production, and will be built 400 miles outside of Havana close to the area’s sugar mills.

The strategic partnership will decentralise Cuba’s grid, and improve power generation in area’s of the country where supply can be weak.

This picture is offered only
because it is currently winter
 in the North East.

Havana Energy chairman Brian Wilson is a former UK energy minister, who said that he had been involved in boosting economic links between the UK and Cuba for more than a decade. “Cuba has an excellent record both in providing electricity for its people and promoting environmental sustainability,” he said in a statement. “This project will support both objectives.”

The companies expect the capital investment for the pilot plant, which will be the first stage of the project, to return an investment within five years.

"make green a reality" visit Cuba and

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Azure Dynamics Receives Record 600 Unit Balance(TM) Hybrid Truck Order Via Its First Multi-year Contract With Purolator

Purolator places record order for 600 BalanceTM Hybrid Electric units to be delivered over the next three years at 200 units per year. Purolator will operate the world's largest fleet of Azure's BalanceTM Hybrid Electric vehicles with 955 units, including the 2011-2013 deliveries Azure Dynamics Corporation is the world's #1 provider of hybrid electric powertrain solutions in the medium duty commercial hybrid truck market where it controls approximately 60% market

Azure Dynamics Corporation , a world leader in the development and production of hybrid electric and electric components and powertrain systems for commercial vehicles, today announced that it has received a record 600 unit order from Purolator. The order is the single largest order of hybrid electric technology for Azure Dynamics. 200 units will be delivered in 2011 with an additional 200 units scheduled in both 2012 and 2013, subject to annual authorizations by Purolator.

"Purolator continues to be our largest volume customer and consistently demonstrates a strong commitment to the environment by adding cleaner, greener Azure vehicles to its fleet," said Scott Harrison, Chief Executive Officer of Azure. "As a result of our long and mutually beneficial relationship with Purolator, our BalanceTM Hybrid Electric volume has consistently increased allowing us to reduce internal costs, refine our processes and implement product upgrades. Meanwhile, Purolator's proactive fleet managers have been able to substantially reduce tailpipe emissions, operating costs and improve overall efficiency of their fleet. This relationship is a manifestation of what will ultimately drive hybrid electric and electric powertrain market share increases."

"Purolator is proud to invest in the environmental welfare of Canada," said Serge Viola, Director, Fleet and Ground Line Haul for Purolator. "Still, environmental stewardship requires a balance with customer satisfaction objectives that require predictable, on-time deliveries. We have extensive experience with the Azure product and continued confidence that the vehicles can perform well and meet the requirements of our hard working fleet."

The initial allotment of 200 units will be built and delivered primarily in the third and fourth quarters of 2011 and will be delivered to Purolator facilities across Canada. All units will include the BalanceTM Hybrid Electric second generation architecture characterized by the Johnson Controls-Saft lithium ion battery plus many other upgrades designed to improve efficiency, reliability and durability. As a result, the BalanceTM Hybrid Electric can improve fuel economy by up to 40%, while reducing carbon emissions by up to 30% in city conditions. The drive train also offers a significant reduction in maintenance costs versus conventionally equipped competitors.

"Considering Purolator's extensive real-world experience operating our BalanceTM Hybrid Electric product in its fleet, this order is an especially rewarding product validation," said Harrison. "This order is also our first multi-year order in the hybrid electric truck market and helps us to build a predictable product backlog."

Purolator operates a fleet of 3,500 vehicles and is consistently rated as one of Canada's most admired corporate cultures. In 2005, Purolator was the first express transportation company in Canada to introduce hybrid electric vehicles. Among the many Purolator locations receiving new hybrid electric vehicles, 43 have been added to the Halifax and Dartmouth fleet, making Purolator's City of Halifax fleet 100 per cent hybrid electric. An additional 60 BalanceTM Hybrid Electric vans have been added in Guelph, while 19 have been added in Niagara, and finally, 79 in the Greater Toronto Area.

The Azure BalanceTM Hybrid Electric vehicles ordered by Purolator are integrated on a Ford E450 chassis with a Ford 5.4L gasoline engine. The hybrid electric drive train features unique attributes such as engine-off at idle and below 20 miles per hour, while electronically supporting key ancillary functions like power steering and braking, is ideally suited for commercial activity in urban environments.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

DCED Releases Land Use and Growth Report to Aid State, Local Planning

The Department of Community and Economic Development today issued a report that shows how Pennsylvania will look, demographically, in the next 10 years, and how it has changed in the past five years.

The 2010 State Land Use and Growth Management Report, prepared by DCED's Governor's Center for Local Government Services and PB Americas Inc., was presented during the State Planning Board meeting in Harrisburg.

"This report takes an in-depth look at statewide and regional growth and development patterns," Governor's Center for Local Government Services Executive Director Fred Reddig said. "It will be a vital tool in assessing trends and barriers related to land use, population and development and will be a tremendous resource in mapping out future growth opportunities for Pennsylvania."

Reddig said the report is intended to promote a policy approach to land use and growth management. The hope is that the recommendations detailed within the report will be used as guidelines and best practices.

The report is statutorily authorized to be updated every five years and is available at The 2010 report builds on the inaugural 2005 report and includes an evaluation of the primary land use issues, significant historic and projected trends, and statewide and regional development patterns.

Major findings in the report include:

  • Between 2000 and 2010, Pennsylvania's population grew three times slower than the national average.
  • Between 1990 and 2007, population increased by 4.6 percent, yet the state experienced a 10.9 percent increase in the number of housing units and double the amount of developed land during that same time frame.
  • Due to the recession, residential building permits in 2008 and 2009 reached 50-year lows.
  • Pennsylvania ranked 47th in the nation for natural population increase (the addition of births and subtraction of deaths) between 2000 and 2009. Pennsylvania's population increased by 323,696, and 55 percent of those new residents arrived from other countries.
  • Today, one out of every five Pennsylvanians is over age 60. By 2020, this age group will make up one-quarter of the population.
  • In 2008, 44.5 percent of the state's municipalities were operating with a deficit. Compounding this is a backlog of infrastructure repair needs. Annual unmet transportation needs are estimated to total $2.3 billion, rising to $5 billion by 2020. Water and wastewater systems have combined capital needs of $36.5 billion in the next 20 years.
According to the report, changing demographics suggest there is an emerging market for development that is green (energy and environmentally conscious) and walkable (compact, affordable, mixed-use, and favoring pedestrians) to reduce unnecessary sprawl and consume less land and infrastructure.

The report also recommends providing financial and technical assistance to help local governments address the impacts of Marcellus Shale and the natural gas industry; initiating a state effort to integrate natural resource and farmland protection programs; and strengthening infrastructure financing programs.

"make green a reality" visit

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Dayton Power and Light Company Takes Delivery of an AMP Electric GM Equinox SUV

AMP Holding Inc. a company engaged in the emission-free electrification of OEM vehicles, announced it has delivered an AMP Electric GM Equinox SUV Research Vehicle to Dayton Power & Light (DP&L), parent company DPL Inc. DP&L established a team in 2009 to prepare the utility for the entrance of electric cars in its service area, and the AMP Equinox research vehicle is part of that effort.

"DP&L is taking a leadership role in meeting the needs of owners of electric vehicles," said Jim Taylor, AMP CEO. "The SUV market is very popular in America today. We are proud to have our AMP Electric Equinox SUV as part of DP&L's study."

According to DP&L, the cost of electricity as fuel for a typical electric car is 2.8 cents per mile, compared to 11 cents per mile for a gasoline-powered car, based on 25 miles per gallon at $2.75 per gallon. The yearly cost of electricity for a DP&L customer to operate an all-electric vehicle would be approximately $336, assuming it is driven 12,000 miles annually.

"Our goal is to meet the needs of our customers who are interested in purchasing an electric car," said Bryce Nickel, operations vice president with DP&L. "We want to ensure that their electrical service from DP&L will support their charging needs."

The AMP Equinox is a zero emissions electric vehicle, which can be charged from household 110v or 220v outlets. The vehicle features a lithium battery system, powered by two rear mounted Remy traction motors, will travel approximately 100 miles per charge, has a top speed electronically limited at 90 mph, and will go from 0 to 60 in under 8 seconds.

To learn more, visit the AMP website at
"make green a reality" visit

New Rebates Available to Homeowners Who Upgrade Geothermal Heating and Cooling Systems

Homeowners who currently use a geothermal heat pump to heat and cool their home are now eligible for a rebate up to $2,000 when they choose to replace their existing equipment with a new unit from WaterFurnace International, Inc. (TSX: WFI), a leading manufacturer of residential, commercial, industrial and institutional geothermal heat pumps. The rebate is valid on select systems purchased between January 3 and March 31, 2011.

The Geothermal Upgrade Event from WaterFurnace offers:

$2,000 to homeowners who upgrade WaterFurnace equipment that is between 1 and 10 years old.
$1,000 to homeowners who upgrade WaterFurnace equipment that is more than 10 years old.
$1,000 to homeowners who upgrade a brand of geothermal equipment other than WaterFurnace.

These rebates are in addition to the federal tax credits available for the installation of geothermal systems. "Under the provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, homeowners who install a geothermal system before Dec. 31, 2016, can take advantage of a tax credit equal to 30 percent of the installation costs," said WaterFurnace Director of Marketing Tim Litton. "The tax credit, coupled with this new rebate program, makes now the perfect time to upgrade to a new geothermal heating and cooling system from WaterFurnace."

A geothermal heat pump taps into the abundant free solar heat energy stored in the earth through a series of underground pipes (an earth loop) to heat your home during the winter and cool it during the summer. The energy source is free and renewable, and in many cases the monthly savings an energy-efficient geothermal system offers will surpass any payments associated with the installation of the new system. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) considers them to be one of the most efficient heating and cooling systems available.

Additionally, the average system lifespan exceeds 24 years -- compared to 15 years for an ordinary system. Learn more about how geothermal heating and cooling works by watching the video here:

Eligible WaterFurnace products under the Geothermal Upgrade Event include Envision™, Synergy3D or Envision Series Split (and Air Handler). WaterFurnace Envision products set the industry standard for efficiency, reliability and quiet operation, using an ozone-safe refrigerant to meet the most stringent requirements of the EPA. The Synergy3D is the geothermal equivalent of a boiler, furnace and air conditioner -- all in a single, environmentally friendly and quiet unit.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Electric Cars Stir Interest But Face Obstacles, this study says

Many automobile industry executives believe that sales of traditional vehicles will peak before 2020 and are looking to electric-only vehicles (EVs) as one of the next hot products, but they will first have to address stringent consumer requirements about EV performance, recharging, and convenience, according to a new IBM (NYSE: IBM) survey of consumer attitudes and a recent study of auto industry executives.

Taken together, the two studies uncover significant differences between the automobile industry executives IBM spoke to and consumers on the factors motivating consumers to purchase electric vehicles, with auto execs placing greater emphasis than consumers on government incentives and oil prices. The executives were also skeptical of consumers' willingness to pay a premium for green vehicles.

The insights, from IBM's Institute for Business Value (IBV), are derived from a new survey of 1,716 U.S. drivers(i) and interviews with 123 auto industry executives.(ii) The study indicates that, even in these early days, there is a potentially large market for EVs. Nineteen percent of drivers surveyed said that they were either "very likely" or "likely" to consider purchasing an electric-only vehicle when shopping for a new car. This is notable, given that 42 percent of drivers know only "a little" about EVs or have "only heard of them," suggesting that automakers could increase the pool of potential buyers with sustained educational campaigns.

Thirty percent of drivers surveyed said that they would consider switching to an EV that got 100 miles or less per charge. Current EVs get about 50 to 100 miles per charge.

And 40 percent of drivers said they would pay up to 20 percent more for an electric-only vehicle compared with a similarly-featured gas-, diesel, or hybrid-powered vehicle, with 27 percent saying they would pay 10 percent more and 13 percent saying they would pay 20 percent more.

To drive the price of electric vehicles into this more affordable zone, the IBV research indicates that automakers should initially focus on sales to both consumers and commercial fleets, building scale and creating economic efficiencies in production. Automakers may also need to develop new business models for electric vehicles to overcome the higher initial price.

Home charging: a sticking point

Nevertheless, price of the home charging installation often required to support an EV could pose an obstacle to EV adoption. Only 13 percent of drivers said they would consider spending more than $1,000 to retrofit their residence to support recharging of an electric vehicle. According to industry estimates, retrofitting to a 240 volt outlet accessible to vehicles averages between $1,000 and $2,000.

In addition, two-thirds of consumers expect a price discount on their electricity for charging at home overnight. This expectation could place increasing focus on utilities for time-based pricing to encourage home charging, or more public charging will be required if an electricity discount is not available.

Home charging is considered important to the success of EVs. Of the drivers surveyed, 83 percent said they park their primary vehicle in the driveway or garage of their private residence, as opposed to in a parking lot, on the street, in a shared garage or some other location.

"Even under optimal circumstances, fully recharging an electric-only vehicle takes hours," said Kal Gyimesi, IBV automotive lead and co-author of the IBV study. "So, it is crucially important that we build an infrastructure that can charge vehicles where their owners park them for extended periods of time – whether that is at home or at work, school, or the store."

Where to put those charging stations?

Perhaps a reflection of America's consumer culture, 62 percent of drivers surveyed said they most often parked in a mall or store parking lot when not at home or work. That's substantially higher than any other location – "on the street" was number two at 17 percent.

"When deciding where to put charging stations, retail hubs like malls and shopping centers are good locations," Gyimesi said. "It's easy to envision charging stations in these commercial locations coupled with an advertising and promotion-based business model for local stores – which will help make the economics more feasible."

Partnering with large employers in target regions to create charging infrastructure in the workplace also makes sense, Gyimesi added.

Consumers were asked what would motivate them to switch from using a vehicle that currently runs on gasoline, diesel or hybrid to an electric-only vehicle. The same question was posed to automobile industry executives, who were asked to rate the importance consumers place on each choice. A chart summarizing responses follows:
                                                                      Consumers Auto execs
Innovative pricing models or lower price overall     71%    81%
Extended reach or range of the vehicles                 64%    63%
Convenience of usage or services                          63%    60%
Availability of charging infrastructure                      62%    65%
Significantly higher oil prices                                  51%    76%
Green image or sustainability concerns                  48%     33%
Government incentives or regulations                     41%    73%
Traffic congestion                                                 26%     11%

The answers illustrate that the automobile industry executives IBM interviewed for this study place far greater weight than consumers on government incentives/regulations (73 percent to 41 percent) and significantly higher oil prices (76 percent to 51 percent). The executives also place less emphasis than consumers on green image/sustainability concerns (33 percent to 48 percent).

According to the IBV study, when asked executives how automakers could develop mobility solutions, 83 percent said that the best direction would be to shift their product portfolio from conventional vehicles to electrified vehicles (EVs). About half said they expect the annual sales of conventional vehicles to have begun to decline by 2020.

Urban/Suburban/Rural Divide?

Responses for the driver survey were similar across urban, suburban and rural areas -- with some notable exceptions. For example, rural respondents were the most likely (59 percent) to say they would pay nothing more for an electric-only vehicle compared with a similarly-featured gas-, diesel, or hybrid-powered vehicle.

(i) To better understand consumer perceptions of electric vehicles, the IBM Institute for Business Value created a survey of general consumers whose primary mode of transportation is an automobile. The survey of a nationally representative sample of 1,716 American drivers (802 Urban, 469 Suburban and 445 Rural) has a margin of error for the base sample of +/- 2.4% at the 95 percent confidence level and was fielded by Opinion Research Corporation (ORC) on December 9 - 13, 2010.

(ii) Advancing Mobility: The new frontier of smarter transportation, IBM Institute for Business Value, November 2010

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Round-up of largest renewables projects of 2010

A recently published round-up of the biggest renewable energy projects completed during the year shows that, despite the global recession, the renewable energy sector remained buoyant during 2010. The list of record-breaking projects was put together by the editors of Renewable Energy World.

Offshore wind

2010 was the year in which offshore wind came of age. The UK’s Crown Estate led the way, announcing the winners of its Round 3 tender process in January 2010, which will see an additional 32 GW of clean electricity feeding into the UK grid from offshore wind farms in the North Sea, on top of the 8 GW planned from previous rounds.

This initiative is by far and the way the largest of its kind currently under way in the world and has also meant that some of the largest offshore wind projects to be completed in 2010 were located around the UK; the biggest being the $1.2 billion Thanet offshore wind farm near the coast of Kent. This 300-MW array officially started sending power to the grid in the last quarter of the year and is currently the largest offshore wind farm in the world.

Despite its impressive size, Thanet will be dwarfed by subsequent wind farms that are in the pipeline as part of Round 3, including Dogger Bank at 9 GW, Norfolk Bank (7.2 GW), and Irish Sea (4.2 GW).

Returning to the largest projects of 2010, Thanet was followed by Rødsand II, a 207-MW extension of an existing wind farm in Denmark installed by E.ON in 2010, and the 180-MW Robin Rigg wind farm, again constructed by E.ON in April. This is Scotland's first offshore wind farm. Onshore wind Turning to wind farms on land, the US was the place to be in 2010, with the Roscoe wind farm – the largest onshore wind farm in the world – being commissioned in November. This 781.5-MW wind farm was closely followed by the Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center at 735.5 MW. The largest wind farm under construction is also in the US and consists of the 800-MW Alta Wind Energy Center, while the largest proposed project is the massive 10-GW Gansu wind farm in China; a country which will undoubtedly boast some of the largest wind projects in 2011.


Renewable Energy World turned to the editors of to look at the biggest projects in the hydroelectric sector, finding that the largest project that began operation in 2010 also holds the record as Southeast Asia's largest hydroelectric power station. The first of six turbines at Vietnam’s 2.4-GW Son La station was connected to the national power grid in late December, and it is forecast that the two-billion-dollar plant will be fully operational in 2012, three years ahead of a target set by the National Assembly.

South East Asia is also home to the second largest project that went online in 2010. The Nam Theun 2 hydroelectric power project in Laos was completed in December at a cost of $1.45 billion and has a capacity of 1,070-MW. The project is co-owned by Electricite de France, the Lao government, the Electricity Generating Public Co. of Thailand and Italian-Thai Development.

Major hydro power projects were also completed in Brazil (the 855-MW Foz do Chapeco hydropower plant) and Ethiopia (the 460-MW Beles plant), while the largest hydroelectric project in North America (the Toba Montrose project) went online in British Columbia (Canada) after three years of construction and at a cost of $663 million.

Solar photovoltaic

Europe was very much at the forefront of major solar photovoltaic (PV) projects throughout last year, with all but the largest of the top eight projects being constructed in Italy, Germany and Spain. Nonetheless, prompted by a succulent feed-in tariff, the largest solar PV array to be completed in 2010 was located in Ontario (Canada), after solar developers chose to expand the Sarnia PV plant to a 97-MW capacity.

Developed by SunRay Renewable and acquired by SunPower in February 2010, the Montalto di Castro in Italy followed closely behind the Sarnia plant, with a capacity of 84.2 MW. Third slot was held by Q-cells International’s 80.7-MW Solarpark Finsterwalde I,II,III in Germany.


Renewable Energy World found that while the US continues to lead in overall geothermal development, the top three biggest geothermal projects completed during 2010 were all located outside the country.

The biggest plant in 2010 was built at Rotokawa in New Zealand. Coming in at 132-MW, Mighty River Power’s Nga Awa Purua plant is the largest single-turbine project ever developed.

Italy again figured as host of one of the flagship renewable projects of the year, when the second-largest geothermal plant to be constructed in 2010 was competed at the Larderello field, which has been under exploitation for 80 years. Enel Green Power’s Nuova Radicondoli 2 and Chiusdino 1 wells, both 20-MW, came online this year.

Finally, Africa was home to the third biggest project fully completed in 2010. Sited in Kenya, the 35-MW expansion of the Olkaria II power plant brought the entire project to a total capacity of 105 MW, making it the largest geothermal plant in Africa.


The US and Brazil were the most favorable locations for new ethanol plants last year, with most of the sector’s top eight projects being started up in these two countries. The developer ADM was responsible for the two largest plants, located in Iowa and Nebraska (US). Each has a maximum output of 300 million gallons per annum and uses corn as a feed stock.

Brazil is home to the sixth, seventh and eighth largest plants, the first two in Goiás and with capacities of 98 and 95 million gallons per annum each, and the latter sited in Mato Grosso, also with a capacity of 95 million gallons per year. All three plants operate using sugarcane.

In the renewable diesel segment, Dynmic Fuels in Geismar, Louisiana (US) headed the field, when its synthetic diesel plant was commissioned. The plant produces 75 million gallons of renewable fuels per year from non-food grade animal fats produced or procured by Tyson Foods.

Nestlé Oil opened the largest renewable diesel plant in the world in 2010. Located in Singapore, the plant produces 240 million gallons per annum of NExBTL renewable diesel from a mix of palm oil, rapeseed oil, and waste fat from the food industry.

While the list compiled by Renewable Energy World is certainly not definitive, leaving out for example the solar thermal electric sector that saw a number of major new plants go live during 2010 including Acciona’s Palma del Rio facility in Cordoba (Spain), it does go some way to reflecting how much progress the clean energy sector is making as we move forward into the next decade.

For additional information: Renewable Energy World

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Wounded Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is a renewable energy champion

I hope all of you were able to join the president in a moment of silence to offer respect and condolences for those that were injured and/or died at the shooting in Arizona this past weekend.

We in the renewable energy industry may not realize how important Congresswoman Giffords is to our industry. I offer you this article as reported on Renewable Energy Magazine:

During her two terms Giffords was an important proponent of the eight-year extension of the solar investment tax credit and the one-year extension of the Treasury Grant Program. She also sponsored the Solar Technology Roadmap Act in 2009, which committed over $2 billion to new research partnerships and demonstration projects for solar energy technologies, and a key role in securing a $1.45 billion loan guarantee from the US government for a 280 MW photovoltaic facility in her home state.

Giffords, who is married to space shuttle astronaut Mark Kelly, often compared the push to develop domestic sources of renewable energy to the American space program, and yet she also sought to demystify solar power and make it part of her constituents’ every day life.

Among her initiatives toward this end, were Solar Power 101, which the Congresswomen launched in 2007, and sought to teach Arizonans about solar power and the opportunities inherent in developing the renewables sector, and the Solar Schools Act, which provided funding to help public schools install solar panels.

She also maintains a solar energy page on her official web site which offers constituents the opportunity to sign up for her solar energy newsletter.

In the wake of the shooting, Rhone Resch, President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association said, “In her short time in Congress, Gabby has realized a number of accomplishments covering a wide range of issues.

“For our industry, she has constantly positioned herself as one of the go-to champions for solar in the House of Representatives. In two terms, Congresswoman Giffords was a key supporter in the House as SEIA pushed for the 8-year extension of the solar investment tax credit and the recent one-year extension of the Treasury Grant Program,” he said.

In addition, Giffords introduced the Solar Technology Roadmap Act, which would dedicate over $2 billion to new research partnerships and demonstration projects for solar energy technologies.

She has also sought to lead by example, having installed a 2 kW photovoltaic system on her Tucson home last year.

To see the rest of the story visit

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Governor Rendell Opens 2011 Pennsylvania Farm Show

I normally do not find farm shows as being relevant to the Renewable Energy Industry, but listening to Governor Edward G. Rendell as he kicked off the 2011 Pennsylvania Farm Show and welcoming visitors to celebrate the time-honored tradition and its thousands of exhibitors and volunteers, I was pleased to hear him speak passionately about renewable energy. Read on.

"In the past eight years, we have accomplished a great deal to ensure this vital sector of our economy remains vibrant and is well-positioned for growth in the future," Governor Rendell said. "I applaud the work done to make this industry what it is today, and with continued support, I'm confident agriculture will continue to play an important role in keeping Pennsylvania growing."

The Governor was joined by Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding, who introduced the new "Parade of Agriculture" that highlighted each of the show's departments. Representatives from Penn State Cooperative Extension, youth participants, and exhibitors displayed livestock and dairy animals, commodities and entries from the Family Living Department during the ceremony.

Governor Rendell also highlighted some of the many accomplishments of agriculture during his eight years in office, including:

•Investing nearly $150 million in 655 projects through PAgrows, an initiative launched in 2005 to ensure Pennsylvania's agriculture industry has the financial resources it needs to grow. The state investments have been matched by about $340 million in private funding.

•Preserving nearly 196,000 acres of prime farmland on 2,000 farms bringing the total to 4,096 farms and 444,647 acres preserved in the program's 22-year history, ensuring that the land will remain viable to feed America and the world for generations to come.

•Launching the PA Preferred program which brands products made in Pennsylvania so shoppers can easily choose goods that will keep money and jobs in their communities. To date, the program is helping 2,000 companies and 3,000 member locations prominently highlight Pennsylvania goods.

•Bringing balance between long-standing farm operations and expanding residential communities. The Agriculture, Communities and Rural Environmental Act, or ACRE, has successfully resolved more than 60 local issues to allow farmers to keep operating.

•Injecting new life into Pennsylvania's once-struggling equine industry by introducing new gaming opportunities to the state's horse racing tracks which has added nearly 17,000 jobs and has generated $800 million for the Race Horse Development Fund.

•Enacting one of the state's most uncompromising dog laws to improve living conditions for man's best friend.

•Establishing the Centers for Farm Transitions, which has helped producers complete nearly 250 succession plans that will keep more than 87,000 acres in farming. The Centers for Dairy and Beef Excellence also play a critical role in helping producers run their farms more efficiently and increase profit margins.

•Leading the way in the production of renewable energy with Pennsylvania farmers growing crops being transformed into homegrown fuels like ethanol and biodiesel. The state is now producing 150 million gallons of these fuels each year.

The 95th Pennsylvania Farm Show runs through Jan. 15 and features 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and 300 commercial exhibitors. For more information or a complete schedule, visit

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Saturday, January 8, 2011

General Motors, US DOE collaborate on lithium-ion batteries

Argonne National Laboratory
Exiting News from the world of Energy Storage, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

General Motors (GM) and the US Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have signed a licensing agreement to use Argonne's patented composite cathode material to develop advanced lithium-ion batteries that last longer between charges and can charge at higher voltages.

Steven Chu
The cathode material licensed to GM is to be part of a diverse suite of lithium-ion battery inventions and patents developed at Argonne with DOE funding.

GM anticipates that use of the cathode material will yield advanced batteries that are high-performing, long-lasting and safe when compared to the existing technology.

US Energy secretary Steven Chu said that this agreement gives GM the ability to use cutting-edge battery technology throughout its supply chain.

GM's Mickey Bly
 GM executive director Micky Bly said that engineers and researchers at GM are working on next-generation battery systems that will reduce cost while providing improved performance, expanding the practicality and affordability of electric vehicles in the future.

According to the Chicago Tribune and reported by Ted Gregory:

It's nothing more than a piece of a battery that powers electric cars, but the technology developed at Argonne National Laboratory may be a turning point on the road to more efficient electric cars, experts say.

The reason: The material may enable them to travel twice as far as they do now before recharging by boosting the voltage of batteries, lightening their weight and extending their lives.
GM Volt
 It's a patented composite cathode material Argonne scientists have been refining since inventing it in 2001. About a year ago, General Motors and LG Chem Ltd., a Korean battery-maker with a subsidiary in Michigan, approached Argonne and started negotiating licensing agreements that were announced last week at a teleconference.

"""This is the beginning of what would be a transformation of our transportation system,""" Argonne director Eric Isaacs said. """And that's huge. … The dawn of a new era."""

The reason for the enthusiasm is what Argonne calls the """unique combination of lithium- and manganese-rich mixed-metal oxides""" in the cathode, which is where current flows.

Compared with materials in widespread use in batteries now, the new composite material is less expensive and can be contained in the smallest, lightest package.

By allowing batteries to be charged at higher voltages, it can increase energy storage — called energy density — by as much as 100 percent over conventional cathode material, Isaacs and others said.

Read the rest or the story here.

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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Governor O’Malley Appoints Leading Educator, Solar Innovator to Board of Maryland Clean Energy Center

Gov. Martin O’Malley
Gov. Martin O’Malley has appointed a prominent academic researcher and a solar industry finance expert to fill two vacancies on the Board of Directors of the Maryland Clean Energy Center.

Eric Wachsman, PhD, Director of the University of Maryland’s Energy Research Center, will serve through June 2015.
George Ashton, co-Founder and Chief Financial Officer of Sol Systems, Inc., a national leader in aggregating solar renewable energy credits, is fulfilling a term that runs through September 2012.

Eric Wachsman, PhD

Wachsman and Ashton join existing members of the Center’s Board of Directors who oversee its mission of helping consumers, supporting businesses and advising lawmakers in Maryland as the state scales up its clean energy industries and energy efficiency initiatives. Other Board members include Jeremy Butz, Carol Collins, Ken Connolly, Jeff Eckel – who serves as the current Board Chairman – and Malcolm Woolf, Director of the Maryland Energy Administration.

“I am so proud to announce the appointment of two very talented individuals to the Board of the Maryland Clean Energy Center,” said Governor O’Malley. “As Maryland continues to emerge as a national leader in clean energy, their leadership will help us move toward a better and more sustainable future for our children. I’d like to thank them for their willingness to step up and serve the people of our State as we work to find innovative ways to reach our clean energy goals in the toughest of times.”

I. Katherine Magruder
“We are privileged to have two such high-caliber and forceful clean energy advocates join us as we move into our second year of operation,” said I. Katherine Magruder, Executive Director of the Maryland Clean Energy Center. “They will help facilitate the adoption and generation of clean energy along with the new jobs, consumer savings and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions that come with it.”

George Ashton
In addition to his leadership of UM Energy Research Center, Wachsman holds the William L. Crentz Centennial Chair in Energy Research at the University of Maryland, College Park. Previously, Wachsman was Director of the Florida Institute for Sustainable Energy and a professor of materials science and engineer at the University of Florida in Gainesville. He has authored dozens of research papers since beginning his career as an engineer for chip-maker Intel. He earned his PhD and Masters of Science from Stanford University. Wachsman is filling out the remainder of the Board term served by Dan Goodman.

Ashton has been instrumental in growing Sol Systems into one of the country’s leading aggregators of solar renewable energy credits, or SRECs. Solar system owners earn 1 SREC for every 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity their systems generate each year. Before Sol Systems, Ashton was a Senior Account Executive at Fannie Mae, a government-sponsored enterprise chartered by Congress chartered to provide liquidity and stability to the U.S. housing and mortgage markets. Ashton earned his MBA from the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University Maryland in College Park.

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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Funding will create jobs through the construction and completion of advanced commercial facility in Florida

Today INEOS Bio and its joint venture partner, New Planet Energy, announced they have received a conditional commitment for a $75 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) 9003 Biorefinery Assistance Program. Funds will be used for the construction of the world's first INEOS BioEnergy Center to be situated near Vero Beach, Florida. The BioEnergy Center will produce eight million gallons (24,000 tonnes) of advanced biofuel per year together with six megawatts (gross) of renewable power from biomass including yard, vegetative and wood wastes and municipal solid waste. Financing from the USDA program is provided to advance the next generation bioenergy technologies into the commercial sector.

"We are encouraged by the continued confidence and commitment the U.S. Government has shown in assisting with the commercial development of this new bioenergy technology," said Peter Williams, CEO of INEOS Bio and Chairman of INEOS New Planet BioEnergy. "These programs are providing the funds needed to enable the U.S. to achieve a leading position in the bioenergy sector through projects such as ours. As well as directly assisting construction of the INEOS New Planet BioEnergy commercial plant, the loan guarantee also represents an important step along the road to replication of this exciting new technology through INEOS Bio's licensing program."

The USDA 9003 program provides guaranteed loans for the development and construction of commercial-scale biorefineries or for the retrofitting of existing facilities using eligible technology for the development of advanced biofuels.

Site preparation and construction are underway at the BioEnergy Center, which has created 55 new jobs to date. The BioEnergy Center, slated to begin production in 2012, is anticipated to provide 175 jobs during construction and 50 full-time jobs once the facility is completed.

The heart of the INEOS Bio technology is a patented anaerobic fermentation step, through which naturally occurring bacteria convert gases derived directly from biomass into ethanol. Unlike other technologies that rely on one primary source of feedstock, the INEOS Bio process can produce ethanol and renewable energy from numerous feedstocks, including construction waste, municipal solid waste and forestry and agricultural waste, while breaking the link between food crops and ethanol production. This flexibility allows facilities, like the Florida BioEnergy Center, to be built anywhere in the world, wherever there is biomass waste, providing jobs and locally sourced renewable energy for urban and rural communities

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