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It is absolutely incredible to see what people can do when faced with the ever-increasing challenges in this industry. Whether you're looking to retire in the next few years or just joined the industry and are ready to hit the ground running, the RMEL Awards Program promotes leadership and success at all levels. Right now, you can nominate a colleague or be nominated for the Emerging Leader Award (deadline is March 4th), Distinguished Leadership Award (deadline is July 1st), Industry Leadership Award (deadline is July 1st) or Honorary Life Membership Award (deadline is July 1st
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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $18 million in funding for six new solar energy storage projects. The integrated photovoltaic (PV) and energy storage projects will utilize internet capable inverters and will work in conjunction with utility communication and control systems, smart buildings and smart appliances. The projects are either led by a utility or include a utility as a key partner, and the teams will conduct at least a one-year field demonstration of their technologies. The projects are also part of the DOE's Grid Modernization Initiative.
SCE Receives CPUC Approval for 'Charge Ready' Pilot Program
Southern California Edison has received the green light from state regulators to begin a pilot project to support installation of as many as 1,500 electric vehicle charging stations within its service territory. The California Public Utilities Commission's approval clears the way for SCE to begin implementing its $22 million "Charge Ready" program to get more electric vehicle charging stations installed in locations where people park their cars for extended periods of time. For example, at workplaces, campuses, recreational areas and apartment and condominium complexes.
Appalachian Power has announced its preferred route for the first phase of planned transmission improvements that will benefit electric reliability for its customers in the Town of Abingdon, Va. and surrounding Washington County. Announced in September 2015, the Abingdon and Washington County Improvements Project is an approximately $50 million project that is divided into two phases: the South Abingdon Extension and the Washington County Improvements.
Meeting the Paris Climate Agreement goal of limiting the increase in the global average temperature to well below two degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels will require increased use of renewable energy and reducing the CO2 intensity of fossil energy use. The intermittency of when the wind blows and when the sun shines is one of the biggest challenges impeding the widespread integration of renewable energy into electric grids, while the cost of capturing CO2 and storing it permanently underground is a big challenge for decarbonizing fossil energy.
Hurst Boiler is commissioning the first poultry litter-fueled boiler in the U.S. - the world's third such system - at a Clinton, North Carolina cogeneration facility. Commissioning is expected in mid-2016 at which time the system will support Prestage Farm's turkey operations. The 1600 HP is the first Hurst Boiler system in the country designed specifically to be fueled by poultry litter
A new report from the World Energy Council with lead authors from DNV GL forecasts strong growth in global adoption of electrical energy storage, citing dramatic reductions in the cost of electrical energy storage, yet finds that flaws in a common valuation methodology may be hindering growth. The report, E-Storage: Shifting from Cost to Value, by lead author Paul Gardner of DNV GL, reflects the work of 23 industry and academic experts from across the world who are in the World Energy Council Storage Knowledge Network, with significant contributions to cost analysis by PwC.
Enel Green Power last week began construction on its seventh Oklahoma wind project.
Drift Sand wind farm in Grady County will have a total installed capacity of 108 MW and be capable of generating more than 480 GWh of energy annually. The project is expected to cost about $180 million and be complete by the end of 2016. The renewable energy credits from Drift Sand will be sold under a bundled, long-term power purchase agreement.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) acted last week to improve the cyber security of the bulk electric system by approving revisions to seven critical infrastructure protection (CIP) Reliability Standards, including requirements for personnel and training, physical security of the bulk electric system's cyber systems and information protection.
DTE Electric has filed a request with the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) to continue a multi-year grid modernization of southeast Michigan's electric distribution infrastructure. Average residential customer bills are expected to remain at 2012 levels or lower. The request was filed Monday, February 1, 2015. The requested rate adjustment of $344 million will enable the company to make significant improvements to the electric system's aging infrastructure and equipment. This aging equipment causes more frequent and longer power outages.
Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] has entered into a 17-year power purchase agreement for solar-generated electricity produced by Duke Energy Renewables. The renewable power purchase, which is expected to produce 30 megawatts (approximately 72,000 megawatt hours per year) of solar energy for the U.S. national grid, will provide clean energy across all Lockheed Martin domestic business segments. The new solar facility, operated by Duke Energy Renewables in Conetoe, North Carolina, is currently the largest solar power generating facility east of the Mississippi River producing 80 megawatts of total energy.
Apex Clean Energy Holdings, LLC, a renewable energy company, has agreed to invest $100 million in the construction and development of a wind and solar hybrid power project in Fort Hood, Texas. The combined installed capacity of the project will be 65.8 MW. The investment per MW will be USD1.51 million. The project is expected to become operational in 2017. The project will feature 50.4 MW of wind energy from the Cotton Plains Wind energy facility in Floyd County, Texas and 15.4 MW solar at Fort Hood, Texas.
Dominion Resources will spend about $4.4 billion to buy Questar in a big reach to the West for the East Coast energy company. Dominion is a power producer in the mid-Atlantic region. Questar is in the Rockies and a principal source of gas supply to Western states. There was a rush of deals last year among electric utility companies who are bulking up with demand weak and energy prices plunging. The combined business would serve about 4.8 million electric and gas customer accounts in seven states and would operate more than 15,500 miles of natural gas transmission, gathering and storage pipelines.
Buoyed by federal funds, Austin Energy will soon begin working on one of the world's toughest energy problems - how to integrate the reliable electric grid with solar energy, which is only created when the sun shines. Austin Energy is a recipient of a $4.3 million award announced today from the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative. Beginning February 1, 2016, Austin Energy will pilot a platform to enable and promote integrated distributed energy resources that include solar, battery storage, and smart inverter technologies. The effort will last several years and will enable two projects in East Austin to be part of an important innovation project.
For more than 125 years, APS has understood that - as one of the only large corporations headquartered in the state - the company has a responsibility to not only provide reliable energy service to its 1.2 million customers, but to strengthen and empower the communities it serves. This belief is embedded in the culture of the company, and starts at the top. APS announced today that its 2015 community investment in Arizona totaled more than $10 million. This amount includes grants, sponsorships, and in-kind donations from APS and the APS Foundation to nonprofit organizations and educators throughout the state. In addition, APS employees donated more than 123,000 hours in volunteer time to Arizona nonprofits, an economic impact of $2.8 million.
Black Hills Corp. utility subsidiary Black Hills Utility Holdings, Inc. announced that on Jan. 15, 2016, it received approval from the Arkansas Public Service Commission to purchase SourceGas Holdings LLC. Black Hills and SourceGas filed the joint application on Aug. 10, 2015, with the Arkansas commission. "Today's announcement represents a significant milestone in our acquisition of SourceGas, and reaffirms our strategy that acquiring SourceGas will benefit both our shareholders and our customers," said Linn Evans, president and chief operating officer of Black Hills Corp. "As Arkansas is a new region for Black Hills, we look forward to serving and developing new relationships with these customers."
Feb. 1 marked Lincoln Electric System's 50th anniversary of powering Lincoln and surrounding communities. On Feb. 1, 1966, the not-for-profit electric utility was purchased by the city of Lincoln from Consumers Public Power District. "While much has changed over the 50 years LES has been providing service to our customer-owners, our principles have not," said Kevin Wailes, LES administrator & CEO. "We are still local people, serving local people with a commitment to high reliability, affordable rates, customer engagement and local control."
There will be nothing but net this Saturday at Sunrise Middle School. No, it's not a basketball game filled with the swish sound of a basketball going cleanly through the rim, but instead, robots will be front and center shooting for nothing but net. Beginning at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Kearney's Sunrise Middle School (4611 Ave. N), 32 teams of student robotic enthusiasts will compete in the Kearney VEX Robotics Competition, with the theme this year being "Nothing But Net." The competition is expected to run into the afternoon, with the finals tentatively scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. The event is co-sponsored by Kearney High School and the Nebraska Public Power District, and is open to the public with no admission fee.
PNM is investing in Corrales by improving the system currently bringing electricity to area homes and businesses. The improvements, totaling approximately $300,000, will ensure Corrales has reliable electric service during both normal usage and peak times such as cold winter days when furnaces need to kick on and hot summer months when air conditioners are running. "Corrales residents and businesses are growing in their need for electricity, yet this area is supplied through one main source that is becoming overloaded. PNM is investing into this system to ensure our equipment meets our customers' needs for electricity," said Aubrey Johnson, Vice President, PNM New Mexico Operations.
In a study issued today by J.D. Power, Salt River Project ranks highest in customer satisfaction for business electric service among large electricity providers in the West Region for the third consecutive year - the sixth time in the last seven years SRP has been ranked highest in the study. SRP's overall customer satisfaction index was 747 out of a possible 1,000 points in the 2016 Electric Utility Business Customer Satisfaction Study. SRP's performance improved by six index points. SRP scored highest in the West in four of the six customer satisfaction factors: Power Quality and Reliability, Billing and Payment, Corporate Citizenship and Communications.
Westar Energy was granted a Section 333 Exemption from the Federal Aviation Administration. The exemption grants the company authority to conduct commercial operations via unmanned aircraft systems (UAS - also referred to as drones) in approved airspace. Westar plans to use UAS to capture still images, video and other data to be used for inspection of utility infrastructure. This allows employees to conduct inspections without being in proximity to high-voltage equipment or to the hazards of working heights. It will also facilitate the safe inspection of hard-to-access or environmentally sensitive areas without the use of bucket trucks, helicopter or other utility vehicles.
Xcel Energy on Jan. 28 said that it has potential incremental capital investment opportunities that could increase the base capital forecast by $2.5 billion over the 2016-2020 timeframe, resulting in a total capital forecast of $17.7 billion for that timeframe. The capital expenditure programs of Xcel are subject to continuing review and modification, the company said. Actual utility capital expenditures may vary from the estimates due to changes in electric and natural gas projected load growth, regulatory decisions, legislative initiatives, reserve margin requirements, the availability of purchased power, alternative plans for meeting long-term energy needs, compliance with environmental requirements, renewable portfolio standards and merger, acquisition and divestiture opportunities, the company said.
Although compressed natural gas represents a cleaner and more efficient fuel for vehicles, its volatile nature requires a reinforced, heavy tank that stores the gas at high pressure and therefore limits vehicle design. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh's Swanson School of Engineering are utilizing metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) to develop a new type of storage system that would adsorb the gas like a sponge and allow for more energy-efficient storage and use.
The research, "Mechanisms of Heat Transfer in Porous Crystals Containing Adsorbed Gases: Applications to Metal-Organic Frameworks," was published this week in the journal Physical Review Letters by Christopher E. Wilmer, assistant professor of chemical and petroleum engineering, and postdoctoral fellow Hasan Babaei. Traditional CNG tanks are empty structures that require the gas to be stored at high pressure, which affects design and the weight of the vehicle. Dr. Wilmer and his lab are instead focused on porous crystal/gas systems, specifically MOFs, which possess structures with extremely high surface areas.
An international team of researchers has taken a step toward achieving controlled nuclear fusion--a process that powers the Sun and other stars, and has the potential to supply the world with limitless, clean energy. The team, led by scientists and engineers at the University of California, San Diego and General Atomics, developed a new technique to "see" where energy is delivered during a process called fast ignition, which is an approach to initiate nuclear fusion reactions using a high-intensity laser. Visualizing the energy flow enabled researchers to test different ways to improve energy delivery to the fuel target in their experiments. The researchers published their findings online in the Jan. 11 issue of the journal Nature Physics.