Archive for April, 2012

North Carolina State University is getting Charged Up!

Posted on: April 11th, 2012 by shannon No Comments
Ribbon-cutting and reception for additional electric vehicle charging stations on campus

 

WHO:    The N.C. Solar Center and N.C. State University are hosting two consecutive ribbon cuttings to celebrate four new electric vehicle charging stations.

 

WHAT:   Attendees will hear from an array of speakers associated with both the charging stations at the McKimmon Center and also at the E. Carroll Joyner Visitor Center during the ribbon-cutting ceremonies.

 

WHEN:    Thursday, April 19, 2012

10:00 am – McKimmon Center parking lot (1201 Gorman St, Raleigh), across from the NCSU Solar House (speakers: Mike Waters with Progress Energy, Steve Kalland with N.C. Solar Center, and Chris Brown with NCSU Research Development invited).

The two Level 2 Eaton charging stations and installation were provided by Progress Energy as part of a grant the company received from the Department of Energy. A diverse group of University representatives worked with Progress Energy to select an appropriate campus location for the stations, which went active in February 2012.

10:30 am – E. Carroll Joyner Visitor Center (1210 Varsity Dr, Raleigh), around the corner from the McKimmon Center (speakers: Anne Tazewell with the N.C. Solar Center, Dr. V. William DeLuca with NCSU).

The Clipper Creek combination Level I / Level II charging stations were made possible by the N.C. Solar Center’s Clean Fuels Advanced Technologies (a grant program funded by the NC Department of Transportation), along with the NCSU College of Education Department of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education, and the Joyner Visitor Center.  The same program funded the conversion of a seven passenger minivan from conventional/gas to all-electric to be used for campus visitations.  The EVSE and converted van are part of continuing educational outreach activities for K-12.

 

WHERE:  Jane S. McKimmon Center/NCSU Solar House and NCSU’s Joyner Visitor Center. This event is running in conjunction with the State Energy Office’s annual Sustainable Energy Conference, being held at the McKimmon Center on N.C. State’s campus on April 19-20, so allow extra time for parking.

 

WHY:    Successful entry of electric vehicles into the US market represents a tremendous step forward in breaking the monopoly on petroleum in the transportation sector. As EV sales in North Carolina grow, there is great value in projecting an “EV-friendly” image to residents, consumers, business-owners, and related industry representatives. Public charging stations at places like North Carolina State University not only represent a very real resource to faculty, staff, students, and campus visitors, they also signify the NCSU commitment to creating a sustainable future.

SPEAKERS:

  • Mike Waters, Progress Energy
  • Steve Kalland, N.C. Solar Center
  • Chris Brown, NCSU Research Development
  • Anne Tazewell, N.C. Solar Center
  • Dr. V. William DeLuca, NCSU College of Education

 

MEDIA INVITED TO ATTEND

 
About the North Carolina Solar Center

Created in 1988, the North Carolina Solar Center, as part of the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University (NCSU), works closely with state and local government and the renewable energy industry. It manages and maintains the NCSU Solar House and serves as a resource for innovative, green energy technologies through research and demonstration, technical assistance, education, outreach and training. It also administers the Database of Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE), a resource providing financial incentives and policies. For more information about the N.C. Solar Center visit: http://www.ncsc.ncsu.edu.  Twitter: @NCSolarCenter

 

About the E. Carroll Joyner Visitor Center

The E. Carroll Joyner Visitor Center is part of the division of Enrollment Management and Services at North Carolina State University.  The visitor center serves as a gateway to the University serving more than 25,000 guests annually focusing on prospective undergraduate students and their families.  Campus visits including admissions information sessions and campus tours are offered daily, and special events for prospective students and admitted students are offered throughout the academic year. Additionally, the visitor center supports University initiatives such as collaborating with the College of Education in providing educational outreach on electric vehicles and efficient forms of transportation for K-12.

 

 Contact:  Shannon Helm, N.C. Solar Center, 919-423-8320, shannon_helm@ncsu.edu

               

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Majority of North Carolinians want greater access to clean energy sources

Posted on: April 10th, 2012 by shannon No Comments

 

Poll respondents seek more energy options amid rising fuel prices and stagnant incomes

 

RALEIGH, NC, For North Carolinians the cost of gas, electricity, food and other expenses has risen faster than their paychecks. Last year, North Carolina’s income grew only 3.3 percent per capita statewide, according to a recent report by the US Bureau of Economic Analysis ? a division of the US Department of Commerce. North Carolina’s income growth ranked 47th out of 50 states. Only residents in Maine and Alaska experienced slower income growth.

A public opinion poll of registered voters found that more than 50 percent of people said their electricity rates are too high. Fallon Research conducted the statewide survey of 703 respondents for the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA). Of the 55.1 percent of respondents who said electricity rates are too high, 27.3 percent cited power companies raising their profits and 24.7 percent cited inflation and the economy for the high costs.

Overwhelmingly, 85.4 percent of those surveyed said they wanted more options for buying electricity from other companies besides their current utility, like Duke Energy or Progress Energy, and 86.9 percent strongly supported legislation that would allow other energy companies to sell power directly to a customer, which is referred to as third-party sales of electricity. Third-party sales of electricity is allowed in at least 21 states across the U.S.; however, is apparently disallowed by state law or restricted by legal barriers in NC, GA, KY and FL, according to the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE). Giving customers more options among energy companies and the type of power they purchase would lead to lower prices.

“For the second consecutive year, North Carolinians in all regions of our state have expressed overwhelming support for the increased use of clean energy sources like wind power, energy efficiency and solar energy,” said Ivan Urlaub, Executive Director of the NC Sustainable Energy Association. “These results confirm that, if given sufficient options under the law, North Carolina’s hard-working citizens and businesses want to play a greater role in making electricity more resilient, affordable, prosperous and secure for all of North Carolina. As electricity rates have increased over the past five years, these results confirm what we are seeing everywhere, that utility bill-payers are spending their own money to use energy more efficiently and to generate their own power, so they can get control of their energy bills.”

The poll was conducted March 26-29, 2012, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.69 percentage points. North Carolina residents were surveyed via landline and cellular phone numbers on their support or opposition to a number of energy-related questions. Fallon Research is a polling and communications firm that has previously worked with numerous groups in North Carolina, including the NC Realtors Association, Regional Transit Authority and NC Home Builders Association, in addition to political candidates and independent expenditure groups across the nation.

The following are just some of the questions that were asked of survey takers. For more results or a breakdown by media market, contact Amneris Solano, Communications & Government Affairs Specialist at amneris@energync.org or (919) 832-7601, ext. 117. To view all poll questions, visit energync.org.

• 81.4 percent agreed elected officials in North Carolina should seek more renewable energy sources to provide consumers and businesses with electricity
• 75.6 percent said over the past two years consumers and businesses have been paying more for electricity
• 68.3 percent said they continue to strongly support the Renewable Energy & Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS) law, which will result in our utilities increasing their use of renewable energy and customers’ energy savings to 12.5 percent by 2021.
• 85.4 percent agree there should be more options for providing and purchasing electricity from others to ensure that rates are competitive and that energy providers are responsive to the needs the of their customers and the general public
• 6.9 percent support new legislation that would allow other energy companies besides, Duke Energy and Progress Energy, to sell power and electricity services directly to consumers and businesses in North Carolina to create more market competition

The poll also included questions regarding respondents’ support or opposition to different energy resources to meet the growing needs for energy and electricity to residences and businesses in North Carolina.

Click here to view the press release

Click here to view the survey results

9th Annual Sustainable Energy Conference – 4/19-4/20 – Register now!

Posted on: April 9th, 2012 by shannon No Comments

The North Carolina Energy Office’s Ninth Annual Sustainable Energy Conference is just around the corner (April 19 & 20 at the McKimmon Center in Raleigh) and you don’t want to miss it.  Keynote speakers this year include: John Hanger the former head of the Pennsylvania Department of Environment; Nick Hamon, head of sustainability for Bayer CropScience; Rob Gramlick, head of public policy for the American Wind Energy Association and Dan Peaco of LaCapra Associates, who will give an update on where our state stands in meeting its renewable energy portfolio standard and what steps can be taken to do more.

Panel sessions will provide insights on financing renewable and sustainable energy enterprises; the achievements of energy-related federal Recovery Act programs in the state and the effective implementation of alternative and renewable energy resources and projects.  If you’ve been procrastinating about signing up, no problem.  If you sign up online, – http://www.sustainable-energy-conference.org/earlyreg_form.html – you can still qualify for the special low rate for government and non-profit groups.  Registration includes full access all sessions and exhibits for the two-day conference and continental breakfast and full lunch both days.  There will also be a special exhibit of electric vehicles and a bonus session on Thursday evening hosted by the Center for Entrepreneurial Development.

Don’t delay, this offer will expire at the close of business on Tuesday April 10.  Registration online at:

http://www.sustainable-energy-conference.org/earlyreg_form.html

New Bern solar project harnesses the sun’s energy from warehouse rooftop

Posted on: April 5th, 2012 by shannon No Comments

 

ESA Renewables completes 1.26-megawatt solar power plant, Eastern North Carolina’s largest

 

New Bern, N.C. (April 5, 2012) – Eastern North Carolina’s largest solar photovoltaic (PV) array is online and generating electricity from atop a massive rooftop in New Bern. The 1.26-megawatt (MW) solar PV array was built and will be operated by ESA Renewables, LLC, and Progress Energy Carolinas will purchase the electricity it generates to serve the utility’s customers.

This solar PV project is part of the utility’s plan to meet the requirements of North Carolina’s renewable portfolio standard. Progress Energy has more than 240 MWs of renewable energy under contract in North Carolina to help meet the requirements of this law, including solar, biofuels, landfill methane and other technologies.

“We remain committed to responsibly pursuing renewable energy resources, and we are pleased that our portfolio of solar projects continues to expand,” said Lloyd Yates, president and chief executive officer of Progress Energy Carolinas. “Projects such as this, coupled with our aggressive energy-efficiency programs and advanced generation facilities, will provide the clean, reliable, affordable power our customers rely on us to provide. We are proud to partner with ESA on this innovative project.”

The New Bern solar array will generate about 1.5 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per year, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by more than 1,000 tons annually. This is equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions from about 200 vehicles.  The expected annual energy output equals the annual energy usage of about 100 typical households.

“ESA is excited to have one of Progress Energy Carolinas’ largest installations in the east under our belt,” says ESA President Jeffrey Burkett. “We are ready to see what 2012 will hold for ESA and we will continue to bring solar to the communities of North Carolina and all around the United States.”

Using Poly-crystalline Canadian Solar modules, the array will cover approximately 177,160 square feet of the roof area, becoming one of Progress Energy Carolinas largest installations in the east to date, including ground mounted systems. ESA will operate and maintain the system for the duration of the contract with Progress Energy Carolinas. Included in the operation and maintenance contract is ESA’s own proprietary monitoring system, which was developed in house. The monitoring system is an effective, preventative, and corrective maintenance system that helps monitor the plant with real time data and alerts.

About ESA Renewables, LLC
ESA Renewables has positioned itself as a leader in the industry providing turnkey solar PV systems globally. ESA owns and operates a diverse portfolio of more than 500 solar PV power generating facilities located in the United States, Puerto Rico, Spain and Italy. ESA’s scope of services includes financing, engineering, construction, testing and operation and maintenance. With headquarters in Castellon Spain, ESA has additional offices in Florida, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, Chile and Italy. For more information about ESA Renewables, LLC, please visit http://www.esarenewables.com or call 407-268-6455.

About Progress Energy
Progress Energy (NYSE: PGN), headquartered in Raleigh, N.C., is a Fortune 500 energy company with 23,000 megawatts of generation capacity and approximately $9 billion in annual revenues. Progress Energy includes two major electric utilities that serve about 3.1 million customers in the Carolinas and Florida. The company has earned the Edison Electric Institute’s Edison Award, the industry’s highest honor, in recognition of its operational excellence, and was the first utility to receive the prestigious J.D. Power and Associates Founder’s Award for customer service. The company is pursuing a balanced strategy for a secure energy future, which includes aggressive energy-efficiency programs, investments in renewable energy technologies and a state-of-the-art electricity system. Progress Energy celebrated a century of service in 2008. Visit the company’s website at www.progress-energy.com.

Alternative Energy System Providing Power at N.C. State Marine Aquaculture Research Center

Posted on: April 5th, 2012 by shannon No Comments

SMYRNA, N.C. – The “green” light was given this week when a newly constructed, alternative energy system passed its final electrical inspection at N.C. State University’s Marine Aquaculture Research Center (MARC) in Smyrna, N.C..  A demonstration hybrid photovoltaic (solar)-wind system will power pumps, as well as heat and cool water for application to the state’s growing aquaculture industry. In 2011, N.C. State University’s Center for Marine Sciences and Technology (CMAST) was awarded $253,501 in funding for the project, part of a $4.6 million Green Business Fund Award granted through the N.C. Department of Commerce, as well as an additional $37, 000 from private donors.

The hybrid system consists of a 10 kW Wind Turbine that stands about 90 feet tall and a 10 kW Solar Array, using 40 separate solar panels each generating approximately 240 watts. Computerized data logging systems will record the amount of electricity generation from wind versus solar. Projected energy generation is 21,500 kilowatt hours of the 100,000 kWh annual demand, which will be used to offset the nearly $2,300 per year in electricity costs at the Carteret County facility.

CMAST Director David Eggleston commented, “The objective of this project is to determine the degree to which solar, wind or a solar-wind hybrid power system can produce electricity and reduce costs associated with marine aquaculture operations. When combined with emerging technology on treating aquaculture waste effluent, the results from this study will enhance net profits and environmental sustainability of aquaculture operations in coastal environments, which is important to the development of a globally competitive U.S. aquaculture industry. This project will also serve as a case study for other businesses in the region interested in generating a portion of their electricity from renewable energy sources.”

The N.C. State MARC facility was constructed in 2010 to study saltwater aquaculture, which currently lags behind freshwater aquaculture in terms of research and technology transfer. One technology project being tested at MARC is a unique, flowing seawater system, which takes in water from a nearby creek, cleans it for laboratory use and treats it again before being returned to the creek without causing any adverse impact on the environment. The additional alternative energy technology geared for such facilities adds an extra opportunity for aquaculture farm success.

Construction of the 90-foot turbine tower required a variance from the Carteret County Board of Commissioners, as the structure is taller than the 75-foot maximum allowed for wind turbines in the county. Now functioning, the turbine at full speed produces very little sound and disruption to the area. CMAST, in collaboration with the N.C. Solar Center, contracted Hart Power Solutions from Kill Devil Hills, N.C. to construct the system, which was completed within two weeks and used materials and equipment made in the United States.

 

Contact:             Dr. David Eggleston, Director

919-515-7840, 252-222-6301, eggleston@ncsu.edu

Raleigh drivers get personal pit stop from legendary NASCAR fueler ‘Gasman Choc’

Posted on: April 4th, 2012 by shannon No Comments
Drivers can fill up with E85 at $2.85/gallon

 

WHO:       Danny “Chocolate” Myers, legendary NASCAR gasman, and Curator, Richard Childress Racing Museum;  Chris Bender, Director, Government and Public Affairs, Novozymes;  Marcy Bauer, Engineering Extension Specialist, North Carolina Solar Center;  Kokila Amin, Owner, KarGO Express Mart

WHAT:   Legendary NASCAR gasman and host of Tradin’ Paint, popular racing show on Sirius-XM NASCAR 90 “Chocolate” Myers will pump patrons’ E85 ( 85% ethanol, 15% gasoline) fuel, sign autographs and help raise awareness about flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs) and renewable fuels for E(arth)-85 Day.  The station will offer E85 at $2.85/gallon and have several new FFVs on display including the public unveiling of the new Novozymes ‘Zymobile’ – a colorfully-wrapped Dodge Charger promoting advanced biofuels made using the Franklinton, North Carolina company’s enzyme technology. FFVs are capable of operating on E85, gasoline or any blend in between.

The first two patrons to fill up after 11:00 a.m. will be awarded a pair of tickets to the NASCAR Charlotte race over Memorial Day Weekend, courtesy of Novozymes.

WHEN:     Friday, April 20, 2012;   11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

WHERE:  KarGO Express Mart, 1210 New Bern Ave, Raleigh

WHY:       April 16-22 is Earth Week, with April 22 celebrated as Earth Day.  As gas prices continue to climb higher into the peak driving season, consumers need to know they have a choice today at the pump.  American-made biofuels have between 60-90% less CO2 emissions than gasoline, generally help reduce the price of a gallon of gasoline, and flex-fuel vehicles are available today at no extra cost to take advantage of using this fuel.

Auto manufacturers are offering over 60 FFVs makes and models in 2012 and have pledged to increase production annually.  According to RL Polk in 2011 there were over 236,000 FFVs in North Carolina. There are only 18 service stations in the state that offer the high blend of renewable fuel. The KarGO Express Mart is the only E85 station in Raleigh.

NASCAR has been using E15 (a blend of 15% ethanol and gasoline) in their racing series since 2011.  Drivers and team management alike have found the fuel to be an overall benefit to their cars’ performance.

On April 2, the Environmental Protection Agency approved the first applications from gas stations for registration of fuel made with a blend of 15-percent ethanol, or E15.  To enable widespread adoption of E15, the Obama administration has set a goal to help fueling station owners install 10,000 blender pumps over the next five years.

 

Learn more!

Ethanol Overview

E85 Flex Fuel Vehicle List

Retail locations for ethanol

 

 

Apple plans nation’s biggest private fuel cell energy project at N.C. data center

Posted on: April 2nd, 2012 by shannon No Comments

North Carolina will be home to the nation’s largest private fuel cell energy project, a nonpolluting, silent power plant that will generate electricity from hydrogen.

Apple (yes, that Apple) filed its plans with the N.C. Utilities Commission on Thursday to build the 4.8-megawatt project in Maiden, about 40 miles northwest of Charlotte. That’s where Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple has built a data center to support the company’s iCloud online data storage system and its SIRI voice-recognition software.

The fuel cell project, the nation’s largest such project not built by an electric utility company, will be developed this year. It will be located on the same data complex that will host a planned 20-megawatt solar farm – the biggest ever proposed in this state.

 But it’s the fuel cell project that’s generating buzz, eclipsing anything ever dreamed of in California, the nation’s epicenter for fuel cell projects.

“That’s a huge vote of confidence in fuel cells,” said James Warner, policy director of the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association in Washington.

Fuel cells generate electricity through an electro-chemical process and are compared to batteries that give out power as long as they have a source of hydrogen.

They are exorbitantly expensive and in the past have been used only in experimental realms, such as NASA moon launches. But in the past decade the price has been coming down, and commercial projects have been proliferating in California, a state that offers an incentive program to cover roughly half the cost of the cells, said Shane Stephens, manager of research development at the National Fuel Cell Research Center at the University of California in Irvine.

The feds offer a 30 percent tax credit, but no incentive is available for fuel cells in North Carolina, making Apple’s project all the more intriguing. Apple is also developing miniature fuel cells to power laptop computers.

According to a recent report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, fuel cells are among the world’s most expensive forms of electricity, costing $6.7 million per megawatt, which would put Apple’s project in the $30 million range.

North Carolina’s fuel cell exposure is limited to tiny demonstration projects that are one-forty-eight-hundredth the size of Apple’s fuel cells. Microcell Corp. is the Raleigh company behind the demos here.

According to information on the company’s website, the fuel cell facility could be in operation toward the end of the year. Beyond that information, Apple officials would not comment on the project. Nor would Bloom Energy, the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company that will build it. The fuel cell modules, called Bloom Boxes, are used also by Walmart, Google, Staples, eBay, Cox Enterprises, FedEx, Bank of America, Coca-Cola, AT&T and Adobe, according to Bloom’s web site.

Clean energy for Duke

Charlotte-based Duke Energy, which is likely to buy the electricity output from Apple, referred all questions to Apple.

Apple does stand to receive bonus payments from Duke Energy if it puts clean energy on Duke’s grid, offsetting electricity from conventional power plants. The amount Apple would receive for selling renewable energy certificates to Duke would be privately negotiated. Duke is required under a 2007 state law to buy electricity generated from renewable resources to meet the state’s green energy targets.

Word of Apple’s project first dribbled out in February in Apple’s corporate sustainability report. But North Carolina regulatory filings provide new details.

The facility will consist of 24 fuel cell modules. It will extract hydrogen from natural gas supplied by Piedmont Natural Gas. But it’s not clear how much gas will be required.

To qualify as a renewable facility, Apple or Bloom will arrange to produce landfill methane gas or some other biogas to offset its natural gas use. The biogas supplier has not been named, but that information will have to be disclosed to win approval from the N.C. Utilities Commission.

Apple currently has a 500,000-square-foot data center on the 11.5-acre site. Construction recently began on a second building on the campus, but whether it will be another data center or a building related to the fuel cell investment is unclear. When the company announced the Maiden project in 2009, it said it would build two data centers and invest $1 billion in the project.
Written by John Murawski, Raleigh News & Observer