Archive for May, 2013

N.C. Solar Center receives $6.2 Million grant for air quality solutions in North Carolina

Posted on: May 21st, 2013 by shannon No Comments

 

Energy Award Supports North Carolina Alternative Fuel Efforts

RALEIGH, N.C.– The North Carolina Department of Transportation is supporting efforts led by the N.C. Solar Center at N.C. State University to reduce transportation related emissions with a three-year $6,200,000 award for the Clean Fuel Advanced Technology (CFAT) project. The CFAT 2013-15 project is the third phase of an initiative that began in 2006 and was previously administered with $3,000,000 in state and federal funding.

The CFAT project focuses on improving air quality in the 24 North Carolina counties that are in non-attainment or maintenance status for national air quality standards. The project centers around three primary activities: education and outreach, emission reduction sub-awards and recognition of exemplary efforts among fleets and organizations that implement clean transportation-related policies and practices. Phase three of the project will include the following new components:

  • A public education campaign, using billboards and other related media such as radio, television and social media;
  • The establishment of a technical advisory committee to develop clean transportation training activities;
  • The creation of a state-wide green fleet program to enhance opportunities for continuing expansion of clean transportation policies and practices.

 

The grant awarded to the N.C. Solar Center is funded with federal dollars through the Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) program that is administered annually by NCDOT.  CMAQ funds support projects that improve air quality by reducing transportation-related emissions. The most recent federal transportation funding bill, MAP-21, places new emphasis on the use of CMAQ funds for electric and natural gas  infrastructure  along with diesel engine retrofits and other efforts that reduce fine particle pollution.

The majority of federal CMAQ funding supporting the CFAT project is budgeted for sub-award projects that will be allocated through an annual call for project process. Over $4,000,000 is budgeted for eligible CMAQ technologies, such as vehicle and refueling/recharging equipment for biodiesel and E85 (a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline), electric vehicles, natural gas and propane in public and private sector fleets. Diesel retrofits and idle reduction technologies are also eligible for funding support of up to 80% of project costs

The CFAT project intends to continue successful partnerships with Centralina and Triangle J Council of Governments (COGs) through the Centralina Clean Fuels and Triangle Clean Cities coalitions, as well as expand education and outreach efforts to the Piedmont Triad Regional Council and Upper Coastal Plain and Ker-Tarr COGs. “NCDOT’s funding will significantly expand education, outreach and deployment of alternative fuel and advanced vehicle technology to help reduce transportation-related emissions in effected counties ”, said Anne Tazewell, clean transportation manager at the N.C. Solar Center.

 

About the North Carolina Solar Center:

The North Carolina Solar Center, as part of the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University advances a sustainable energy economy by educating, demonstrating and providing support for clean energy technologies, practices, and policies. It serves as a resource for innovative, green energy technologies through technology demonstration, technical assistance, outreach and training. For more information visit: http://www.ncsc.ncsu.edu.  Twitter: @NCSolarCenter

 

Contact: Shannon Helm, N.C. Solar Center, 919-423-8340, shannon_helm@ncsu.edu

Case Study: Solar in small communities

Posted on: May 16th, 2013 by shannon No Comments

 

The Solar in Small Communities: River Falls, WI case study explores the City of River Falls’ efforts to stimulate a local solar market, with a focus on the River Falls Municipal Utility (RFMU) Solar Feed-in Tariff program.  Together, RFMU, the local government, and the citizens of River Falls have developed a suite of energy programs for the community over the past 12 years.  Their success and continued dedication serves as a strong example of how a small community can work with its municipal utility to accelerate the development of a solar industry.

This case study was created as part of the North Carolina Solar Center’s efforts under the SunShot Solar Outreach Partnership, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative. As a member of this partnership, the North Carolina Solar Center provides information and technical expertise to local governments interested in implementing solar programs and policies.

Click here to read the entire case study.

Case study: What is the value of solar?

Posted on: May 16th, 2013 by shannon No Comments

The What is the Value of Solar?: Austin, Texas case study examines the Value of Solar tariff offered to Austin Energy’s residential solar customers in place of net metering. The Value of Solar tariff is an effort to move beyond net metering and more accurately measure the tangible and intangible benefits that solar energy systems add to an electric grid. The case study explains the design, development and implementation of the Austin Energy VOS and examines how replicable the tariff could be for state and local governments looking to encourage solar energy development.

This case study was created as part of the North Carolina Solar Center’s efforts under the SunShot Solar Outreach Partnership, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative. As a member of this partnership, the North Carolina Solar Center provides information and technical expertise to local governments interested in implementing solar programs and policies.

Click here to read the entire case study.

Watauga County’s gas-to-energy landfill project wins EPA award

Posted on: May 1st, 2013 by shannon No Comments

 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recognized Watauga County’s Landfill Gas-To-Energy Project for excellence in innovation and for achieving environmental and economic benefits.

Watauga County’s 186-kilowatt pilot project generates electricity by burning methane-rich gas extracted from a small, once-closed landfill in Boone. It creatively employs two retrofitted automotive internal combustion engines, and, according to the EPA, this technology had previously been used only to destroy methane from coal mine gas. The project was among seven in the U.S. recognized at the EPA’s annual Landfill Methane Outreach Program Conference, held Jan. 29–31.

The county enlisted help from many local sources. Appalachian State University’s Energy Center assisted with project management support, including student and faculty research and waste heat utilization design. Blue Ridge Electric, one of North Carolina’s electric cooperatives, also provided technical assistance from the project’s earliest stages. “Our staff has provided many services, including helping the county develop a test plan, commissioning the unit and making sure everything is working properly,” said Mike High, director of engineering services at the co-op. In particular, Blue Ridge Electric’s engineering manager Ralph Seamon spent much time serving in a technical advisor capacity, from the project’s start-up to seeing it successfully operational, High added.

The county began the endeavor as a voluntary effort in 2005?—?now the internationally acclaimed project hosts visitors from as far away as Brazil and Eastern Europe. It sells its electricity to Duke Energy and green power credits to NC GreenPower. Over its life, the project is expected to provide the county an annual profit of up to $72,000 and reduce landfill electricity costs by up to 80 percent.

 

By Carolina Country Magazine