News in Energy Technology

EIA Projects Massive Growth for Renewables

EIA Projects Massive Growth for Renewables

The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA’s) International Energy Outlook 2013 (IEO2013) released today projects that renewable energy and nuclear power will each increase 2.5% per year through 2040, but fossil fuels will continue to supply almost 80% of world energy use by 2040.According to the new IEO2013, energy consumption around the world is set to grow by 56% between 2010 and 2040, mostly in developing countries. World energy consumption will rise from 524 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) in 2010 to 630 quadrillion Btu in 2020 and to 820 quadrillion Btu in 2040, the EIA forecasts. Energy use in countries outside the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) will grow 90% while in OECD countries, growth will spurt a moderate 17%.World net electricity generation is, meanwhile, forecast to increase by 93% in the IEO2013 Reference case, from 20.2 trillion kWh in 2010 to 39.0 trillion kWh in 2040. Total net electricity generation in non-OECD countries increases by an average of 3.1% per year in the Reference case, led by non-OECD Asia (including China and India), where annual increases average 3.6% from 2010 to 2040. In contrast, total net generation in the OECD nations grows by an average of 1.1% per year from 2010 to 2040. The IEO2013 Reference case projects increases for world consumption of marketed energy from all fuel sources through 2040. World coal consumption is forecast to rise about 1.3% per year through 2040, reflecting significant increases in China, India, and other non-OECD countries. However, the outlook notes that due to environmentally driven policies, “coal’s share of world energy consumption stops growing in the next decade and gradually declines after 2025″—particularly in the power sector.For example, the coal-fired share of world electricity generation declines from 40% in 2010 to 36% in 2040, while the renewables share increases from 21% to 25%, the natural gas share from 22% to 24%, and the nuclear share from 13% to 14%.The report highlights that natural gas will be the fastest growing fossil fuel over the next three decades as global natural gas consumption increases by 1.7% per year, from 113 trillion cubic feet in 2010 to 185 trillion cubic feet in 2040.“Natural gas continues to be the fuel of choice for the electric power and industrial sectors in many of the world’s regions, in part because of its lower carbon intensity compared with coal and oil, which makes it an...

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Local efforts contribute to Charlotte’s growth as energy hub

Local efforts contribute to Charlotte’s growth as energy hub

A couple of stories in the Charlotte Business Journal this week show how money is working its way into the region to encourage organic growth in the energy industry here. Relocations such as Areva’s headquarters and big multinational expansions such as Siemens’ gas turbine operations deservedly make big news. But everyone involved in the industry knows the region needs to see growth in existing businesses and the birth of new businesses here to make a national energy hub click in the Carolinas. Falfurrias Capital Partners, the investment firm founded by former Bank of America CEO High McColl Jr., and a new spinoff from small alternative-energy company Calor Energy are working in different ways to get capital flowing into various parts of the industry that will ultimately foster growth here. Manufacturing initiative Falfurrias’ decision to buy Instrument Transformer Equipment Corp. of Monroe as an initial investment in founding its new North American T&D Group is an important step. The deal will infuse capital for modernization and expansion into the ITEC. And Falfurrias’ handpicked CEO for the T&D Group, former Siemens executive David Pacyna, will be looking for complementary acquisition targets among power transmission and distribution equipment manufacturers to form the basis of a company that Falfurrias can grow and sell at a profit five or six years down the road. Falfurrias partner Ed McMahan Jr. already did that once in the energy space, using essentially the same model to build UC Synergetic, which specializes in engineering and consulting services for the transmission and distribution business. Falfurrias sold the company and its 14 offices nationwide to Pike Electric last year. The headquarters remains in Charlotte and is part of the growing energy cluster here. New focus Over at Calor, Rich Deming has turned over all but 5% of the half share he owned in the company to partner Lisa Lee Morgan to buy a recently established line of business that forms the core of a renewable-energy financing company he has started. The new company is called Shift Equity. Deming plans to develop a number of financial instruments for clean energy projects. Deming purchased that Carbon Advantage Program he designed last year for Calor to be the basis of his new company. The program developed a way to tap into the commercial and industrial market for renewable-energy credits, allowing small projects that had been unable to find utility buyers for the credits...

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Nation’s Second Offshore Wind Energy Lease Sale

Nation’s Second Offshore Wind Energy Lease Sale

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As part of President Obama’s comprehensive plan to move our economy toward domestic clean energy sources and begin to slow the effects of climate change, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Tommy P. Beaudreau today announced that BOEM will hold its second competitive lease sale for renewable energy on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). The auction, scheduled to take place on Sept. 4, will offer nearly 112,800 acres offshore Virginia for commercial wind energy leasing. In June, Secretary Jewell and Director Beaudreau announced the nation’s first wind energy lease sale for an area offshore Rhode Island and Massachusetts, which will be held on July 31. “The competitive lease sale offshore Virginia will mark an important transition from planning to action when it comes to capturing the enormous clean energy potential offered by Atlantic wind,” said Jewell. “Responsible commercial wind energy development has the potential to create jobs, increase our energy security, and strengthen our nation’s competitiveness.” Under the terms of the Final Sale Notice, the wind energy area offshore Virginia will be auctioned as a single lease. The area is located 23.5 nautical miles from the Virginia Beach coastline and has the potential to support more than 2,000 megawatts of wind generation – enough electricity to power approximately 700,000 homes. As part of President Obama’s comprehensive climate action plan, he challenged Interior to re-double efforts on the renewable energy program by approving an additional 10,000 megawatts of renewable energy production on public lands and waters by 2020. The area, composed of 19 full OCS blocks and 13 sub-blocks, was selected after intensive work with the Commonwealth and stakeholders to avoid existing uses of the OCS offshore Virginia, including sensitive ecological habitat and shoals along the coast north of the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, military training areas, marine vessel traffic, a dredge disposal site, and areas of concern specified by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Goddard Space Flight Center’s Wallops Flight Facility. For a map of the Virginia wind energy area, click here. In February, 2011 in Norfolk, Va., former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and former Secretary of Energy Steven Chu unveiled a coordinated strategic plan to accelerate the development of offshore wind resources. As part of the ‘Smart from the Start’ program for expediting commercial-scale wind energy on the federal OCS, Interior has...

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Game Changer: The Great Northeast Blackout of 2003

Game Changer: The Great Northeast Blackout of 2003

It was rush hour in Manhattan on a hot August day in 2003 when the lights went out. Elevators stopped and hundreds of thousands of people were trapped inside the subways. But New Yorkers were not alone in their frustration. The electric grid had failed massively, beginning in northern Ohio, then radiating outward to the north and east. Fifty million people throughout Ohio, Michigan Ontario, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont were without power. It proved to be the largest power outage in American history. It resulted in at least 11 deaths and an estimated $6 billion economic loss in the United States and more than $2 billion in Canada. In some parts of the United States, power was not restored for four days. The Aug. 14, 2003 blackout proved to be a game-changing event for the power industry. The voluntary reliability standards, which had held sway for nearly 40 years following the 1965 Northeast blackout, were upended by congressional action. It ushered in a new era of mandatory, enforceable reliability standards, and a new culture focused on reliability excellence and accountability. The culture is underpinned by a hybrid system of bottom-up, industry-led standards development, coupled with government-led, top-down regulation and compliance monitoring. After 10 years, the result is significant improvements in reliability performance. After the Disaster: New Legislation The day after the blackout, President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Jean Chretien created a joint U.S.-Canadian task force that was charged with determining the causes of the outage and finding ways to reduce the possibility of future blackouts. Within three months, the panel issued a detailed report that sorted out the sequence of events and missteps, and laid out a sweeping series of 46 recommendations. First on the list was a recommendation to Congress to add reliability provisions to two pending energy bills —H.R. 6 and S. 2095. The specific recommendation was the establishment of mandatory and enforceable reliability standards, with penalties for non-compliance. This led to Section 215 of the Federal Power Act, under the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The act authorized the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to create an Electric Reliability Organization, or ERO, to shoulder the responsibility of establishing and enforcing the standards. The existing North American Electric Reliability Council (subsequently re-named North American Electric Reliability Corp.) was the logical choice for ERO. NERC had been established in 1968 as a voluntary organization,...

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Life After Oil and Gas

Life After Oil and Gas

WE will need fossil fuels like oil and gas for the foreseeable future. So there’s really little choice (sigh). We have to press ahead with fracking for natural gas. We must approve the Keystone XL pipeline to get Canadian oil. How Much Electricity Comes From Renewable Sources This mantra, repeated on TV ads and in political debates, is punctuated with a tinge of inevitability and regret. But, increasingly, scientific research and the experience of other countries should prompt us to ask: To what extent will we really “need” fossil fuel in the years to come? To what extent is it a choice? As renewable energy gets cheaper and machines and buildings become more energy efficient, a number of countries that two decades ago ran on a fuel mix much like America’s are successfully dialing down their fossil fuel habits. Thirteen countries got more than 30 percent of their electricity from renewable energy in 2011, according to the Paris-based International Energy Agency, and many are aiming still higher. Could we? Should we? A National Research Council report released last week concluded that the United States could halve by 2030 the oil used in cars and trucks compared with 2005 levels by improving the efficiency of gasoline-powered vehicles and by relying more on cars that use alternative power sources, like electric batteries and biofuels. Just days earlier a team of Stanford engineers published a proposal showing how New York State — not windy like the Great Plains, nor sunny like Arizona — could easily produce the power it needs from wind, solar and water power by 2030. In fact there was so much potential power, the researchers found, that renewable power could also fuel our cars. “It’s absolutely not true that we need natural gas, coal or oil — we think it’s a myth,” said Mark Z. Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering and the main author of the study, published in the journal Energy Policy. “You could power America with renewables from a technical and economic standpoint. The biggest obstacles are social and political — what you need is the will to do it.” Other countries have made far more concerted efforts to reduce fossil fuel use than the United States and have some impressive numbers to show for it. Of the countries that rely most heavily on renewable electricity, some, like Norway, rely on that old renewable,...

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