Archive for August, 2013

A North Carolina Template Solar Ordinance Being Developed by NC Stakeholders

Posted on: August 27th, 2013 by shannon No Comments

 

In July, 2008 the North Carolina Wind Working Group, a coalition of state government, non-profit and wind industry organizations, published a model wind ordinance for NC to provide guidance for communities planning for potential wind energy development.  Seven years later a similar group is working on a model (or template) ordinance for solar.  Solar systems are nothing new in the state, but the size and number of systems being installed recently is something quite new. Today in communities across North Carolina there are small and large solar energy systems being installed every month, or even every day. Some cities and counties across the state have solar specific ordinances defining how and where solar systems may be developed and permitted in the jurisdiction, but many other locations do not,  which can make it unclear how, and even if, a solar system may be installed in that jurisdiction. A template ordinance provides a consensus starting point for any city or county in the state looking to establish or update a solar ordinance. Having a model ordinance reduces the burden on the local staff to research and draft new ordinance language, and encourages a degree of consistency across the state.

The NC Solar Center and the NC Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) partnered this spring to help develop this important template ordinance and have made good progress through the summer.  So far, regional forums have been held in Raleigh, Greensboro and Asheville to inform people know about the process and collect input on what stakeholders would like to have included in the template. There are two additional forums planned, in Lumberton on Sept. 24, and in Charlotte on Oct. 18. Each of these events will be a way for interested parties to learn about solar development in North Carolina, and provide input on the current draft of the template.

A very broad range of stakeholders are active in two working groups (solar industry and everyone else) who have been drafting the ordinance this summer. Their members include solar developers/installers, city and county planners and zoning administrators, state agencies, environmental organizations, military, city/county organizations, forestry organizations, agriculture organizations, and others. Each working group has met twice, each time editing the latest version of the ordinance. This process has produced a current draft generally agreeable to both groups.

We are now moving to the next phase of drafting, which will occur in three focus groups each made up of members of the two working groups.  These smaller groups will dive deeper into the details of three core components of the ordinance; aesthetic related topics, abandonment/decommissioning, and permitting. Following the initial meetings of the focus groups, the two existing working groups will combine to form the N.C. Template Solar Ordinance Working Group. Using all the input collected, this group will finalize the drafting of the template ordinance this fall.

The final template ordinance will be completed in October and available at the NCSEA Making Energy Work conference November 5-6 at the Raleigh Convention Center.  This document will represent the consensus of a broad range of stakeholders with interest in solar development and its impacts in North Carolina, and thus be a very valuable starting point for local solar ordinances from Murphy to Manteo.

Contact Tommy Cleveland, Renewable Energy Project Coordinator at Tommy_Cleveland@ncsu.edu or 919-515-9432   or Miriam Makhyoun, Manager of Market Intelligence, NC Sustainable Energy Association at Miriam@energync.org or (919)-832-7601 x114 for more information.

Call for Nominations: 2013 Mobile CARE Awards

Posted on: August 13th, 2013 by shannon No Comments


         7th Annual awards will recognize leaders in reducing transportation related emissions

 

 

WHAT:

Nominations are requested for the 7th Annual Mobile Clean Air Renewable Energy (CARE) Awards. Mobile CARE awards recognize initiative and leadership efforts at improving North Carolina’s air quality through alternative fuel, advanced transportation technologies and fuel economy practices.

 

WHEN:

Nomination Period August 12th- September 13th, 2012

Award announcements on October 14th at the North Carolina Solar Center’s 25th Anniversary reception in Raleigh, N.C.

 

WHERE:

Guidelines and application available online.

 

WHO:

The N.C. Solar Center at N.C. State University, with support from the N.C. Department of Transportation, is organizing the 7th Annual Mobile CARE awards as part of the Clean Fuel Advanced Technology Project. Applicants are sought in four categories: Individual, Fleet, Technology/Fuel Provider, and Policy/Organization Innovation. Applicants are encouraged to nominate themselves or a colleague for efforts involved with transportation efficiency and/or expanding the use of alternative transportation fuels such as biodiesel, ethanol, electricity, natural gas, and propane through direct use, business development, policies and organizational enhancement.

 

WHY:

Over 6.5 million North Carolinians are at risk due to the health effect of poor air quality.  North Carolina’s reliance on imported transportation fuel contributes to air quality problems. The 2013 Mobile CARE awards will recognize exemplary efforts to reduce transportation related emissions and support fuel diversity options that benefit North Carolina.

 

CONTACT:

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

Anne Tazewell, N.C. Solar Center, 919-513-7831, anne_tazewell@ncsu.edu

 

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 about the N.C. Solar Center visit: http://www.ncsc.ncsu.edu. Twitter: @NCSolarCenter.

N.C. Solar Center and N.C. Energy Office Participate in BOEM Offshore Wind Visual Simulation Meetings

Posted on: August 7th, 2013 by shannon No Comments

 

Raleigh, N.C. – Citizens will be able to find out what the development of offshore wind energy might look like from the North Carolina coast at two federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management meetings next week.  The results of a visualization study, conducted to accurately show how wind turbines could be viewed from the shore during various weather conditions and times of day, will be on display.  In addition to being able to view the simulations, the public will also be able to offer comments.

 

The sessions will be held on:

 

Monday, Aug. 12 (5 p.m. – 8 p.m.)

Wingate by Wyndham Southport

1511 North Howe St.

Southport, N.C. 28461

 

Wednesday, Aug. 14 (5 p.m. – 8 p.m.)

South Brunswick Islands Center

9400 Ocean Highway 17 W

Carolina Shores, N.C. 28467

 

 

The N.C. Solar Center and the N.C. Energy Office will represent the state at these meetings and be available to answer questions regarding the process for identifying areas for offshore wind development in the state.  The planning process is designed to identify areas for commercial offshore wind development with the least environment and use conflicts, while also protecting sensitive habitats and resources.  In addition, the process seeks to minimize space use conflicts with activities such as military operations, shipping and fishing.

In December 2012, BOEM announced potential wind leasing areas offshore from North Carolina:  one area six miles off Kitty Hawk near the Virginia border and two other areas located seven and 13 miles off Southern Wilmington near the South Carolina border (see map here).  The areas were identified over the last few years through the work of the BOEM N. C. Task Force, comprised of federal, state and local officials along with community and business leaders from the state’s coastal counties and towns.  The areas continue to be refined based on responses received during the comment period as well as results of ongoing BOEM working groups and outreach meetings.

“North Carolina is the second state to identify potential offshore wind leasing areas in the Southeast – a region poised to play a significant role in the U.S. offshore wind industry, with over 60 percent of the east coast’s shallow water resource,” said Brian O’Hara, President of the Southeastern Coastal Wind Coalition.

The visual simulation study covers 18 sites along the coast with hypothetical views of a 200 turbine offshore wind project at 10, 15 and 20 nautical miles.  A critical piece of this study is the meteorological report, which found that daytime visibility to 10 nautical miles occurs at least 50 percent of the day on 127 days per year, including only 25 days during the summer.

“It is important to reference the site specific data from the meteorological report when viewing the visualizations and assessing the visual impact of potential projects,” said Jen Banks, Wind Energy Project Coordinator at the Solar Center.

 

About the NC 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 about the N.C. Solar Center visit: http://www.ncsc.ncsu.edu. Twitter: @NCSolarCenter

 

About the Southeastern Coastal Wind Coalition

The Southeastern Coastal Wind Coalition works to advance the coastal and offshore wind industry in the Southeast. We focus on supply chain growth, economic development, job growth, and wind energy development in the region with solutions that are beneficial to industry, beneficial to utilities, and result in net economic benefits to citizens and ratepayers.  For more information about the Southeastern Coastal Wind Coalition visit http://www.secoastalwind.org.

 

Media Contacts:

Tracey B. Moriarty, BOEM, 703-787-1571, tracey.moriarty@boem.gov

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

Brian O’Hara, Southeastern Coastal Wind Coalition, 252-506-9463, briano@secoastalwind.org

Seth Effron, N.C.  Energy Office, 919-733-1922, seffron@nccommerce.com

Funding available for projects reducing transportation-related emissions

Posted on: August 5th, 2013 by shannon No Comments
Up to $1,000,000 available to award

 

Raleigh, N.C. – The N.C. Solar Center announces a call for projects for up to $1,000,000 to award to governments, business, and/or non-profit fleets and fuel providers for transportation technology-related emission reduction projects.  Up to $2000,00 per project is available.  The Clean Fuel Advanced Technology (CFAT) Project is a $6.2 million initiative of the N.C. Solar Center funded in part by federal dollars from the N.C. Department of Transportation (DOT).  In addition to providing assistance for emission reduction projects, the CFAT project focuses on activities that include a public education media campaign and developing clean transportation technology and policy training opportunities.

Technology project proposals for this round of funding must be submitted to the N.C. Solar Center by September 10, 2013.

This is the third round of DOT funding available through the CFAT project. From 2006-2012 nearly $2.2 million was distributed for 47 projects  to a variety of entities including a national park, local governments, school systems, service station owners, fuel distributors, and a company providing electrified parking spaces at a truck stop to reduce idling in long haul trucks. The CFAT project, funded by federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality funds, operates in 24 counties that do not meet National Ambient Air Quality Standards. More than half of North Carolinians live in counties that have unhealthy air, and transportation related emissions are a primary contributor to the state’s air quality problem. Project managers anticipate a wide range of applications including alternative fuel vehicle conversions and up fits for operation on cleaner-burning propane or natural gas, alternative fuel refueling and electric recharging infrastructure, on-board idle reduction and telematics technology for fuel savings and emission reduction, and emission control retrofits for school buses and other heavy duty diesel vehicles.

Funding assistance is allocated in the form of a reimbursement, which can cover up to 80% of the project cost. In order to be eligible, a project must reduce transportation related emissions within eligible NC counties. For education and outreach regarding alternative fuel and fuel conservation technologies and policies, the N.C. Solar Center has partnered with Triangle J, Centralina, Upper Coastal Plain and Kerr-Tar Councils of Governments, and the Piedmont Triad Regional Council.

Guidelines and applications available here.

 

If you have questions related to the grant, please join us on a conference call, Tuesday, August 27th at 1:00pm.  Please contact Chris Werner for more information.

 

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

Contact: Anne Tazewell, N.C. Solar Center, 919-513-7831, anne_tazewell@ncsu.edu

Commercial PACE: Program Development and Implementation webinar August 14

Posted on: August 2nd, 2013 by shannon No Comments

 

ICLEI- Local Governments for Sustainability, in collaboration with The Solar Foundation, will present a free webinar on “Commercial PACE: Program development and implementation” as part of the U.S Department of Energy SunShot Solar Outreach Partnership.

This webinar will inform participants of the important aspects of Commercial PACE programs that make them viable financing tools for state and local governments looking to support investment in energy efficiency and resource efficiency in office, multi-family, retail spaces, warehouses, and other commercial properties. Speakers from Lean County, Florida, and Washington, DC, will discuss what logistical and political obstacles they faced, how best to work with local contractors, and what benefits can be derived from pursuing a Commercial PACE Program.

Speakers include:

Kristin Dozier, County Commissioner, Leon County, FL

Maggie Theriot, Director, Office of Resource Stewardship, Leon County, FL

Dave Good, Program Manager, District Department of Environment, DC

Julia Burrows, President, Greenwise Joint Venture, Sacramento, CA

Registration info: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/184624678

Harmonizing Interconnection and Permitting Processes case study available

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

 

The “Harmonizing Interconnection and Permitting Processes: Vermont Public Service Board” Case Study provides an overview of the State of Vermont’s harmonized permitting, inspection and interconnection (PII) review process for all residential-scale PV systems under 10kW. The harmonized PII process is designed to reduce soft costs associated with permitting, inspection and interconnection by 1) limiting the time involved in permitting systems under 10kW to a maximum of 10 business days after filing, 2) allowing for self-certification to Public Service Board interconnection rules, and 3) requiring utilities to review interconnection requests within the above-mentioned 10-day period. This streamlined process has helped residential-scale solar developers reduce costs associated with permitting by up to $1,500 per system under 10kW and allowed the Public Service Board to more carefully scrutinize larger-scale systems that are more likely to have an impact on Vermont’s electric grid.

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.