Archive for Benjamin Maddox

Volkswagen Chattanooga Powers Up Largest Solar Park In Tennessee

VW solar plant

Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant powered up the largest single solar installation at an automotive manufacturing facility in the United States and the biggest solar installation in the state of Tennessee. At a dedication ceremony here, dignitaries today flipped a giant light switch to signal the official opening of the “Volkswagen Chattanooga Solar Park”, built on Volkswagen’s compound in Chattanooga.

The solar installation at Volkswagen Chattanooga confirms the awarding of the highly-coveted LEED Platinum certification to VW by the U.S Green Building Council in late 2011. At that time, the Building Council called the Chattanooga manufacturing facility “the world’s greenest auto plant” and noted it was the first automotive manufacturing plant in the world to receive the top LEED certification. Today, the Chattanooga plant remains the only auto plant worldwide to earn the LEED Platinum certification. 


The electricity produced from the solar park is expected to meet 12.5% of the energy needs of Volkswagen’s Chattanooga manufacturing plant during full production and 100% during non-production periods. The plant covers 1.9 million square feet and employs more than 3,000 people who manufacture the highly-acclaimed Volkswagen Passat sedan. For Volkswagen, the solar park in Chattanooga will rank as the automaker’s largest photovoltaic installation worldwide.


Silicon Ranch (www.siliconranch.com), which develops and operates solar energy solutions tailored to meet its customers’ needs, will own the solar park and sell the electricity to Volkswagen under a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). Phoenix Solar Inc. (www.phoenixsolar.com), the U.S. subsidiary of Phoenix Solar AG (www.phoenixsolar-group.com), provided engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services in building the solar park over the last six months. 


Frank Fischer, CEO and Chairman of Volkswagen Group of America, Chattanooga Operations LLC, said, “We are proud to power up the biggest solar park of any car manufacturer in North America today. The solar park,” he said, “is another proof point of Volkswagen’s worldwide commitment to environmental protection under its ‘Think Blue. Factory’ philosophy, a broadly focused initiative for all Volkswagen plants to achieve more efficient use of energy, materials and water and produce less waste and emissions.” Mr. Fischer added, “Powering up the solar park also validates the awarding of the LEED Platinum certificate to Volkswagen Chattanooga, which is still the only car factory in the world that has earned such an honor.”



Ford develops solar powered car for everyday use

Ford has developed a concept model that runs primarily on solar power, which could bring the world one step closer to having a vehicle for everyday driving that is not dependent on traditional energy sources.

The C-MAX Solar Energi Concept is a collaboration between Ford, SunPower Corp. and the Georgia Institute of Technology. The concept car is expected to be unveiled next week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Creating A Solar Energy Bank

solar-works-rooftop-panels-310x224What if households could deposit excess solar output in an “energy bank”, and use it to drawn down when needed or loan energy to others.

There is no doubt that rooftop solar systems are seen as a threat to incumbent utilities – be they they generators suffering from lower demand or network operators finding their business model under threat.

Most of the scenarios generated for the development of rooftop solar, such as that by the CSIRO Future Grid forum, suggest the development of in-home battery storage that could enable householders to shift their peaks, store energy for night-time or even, one day, go off grid.

But another proposal involves a different way of thinking about this – using storage, in this case compressed air, to create a sort of “solar bank” that would allow householders to deposit surplus electricity, and either draw down for their own use or lend it out to others.

The proposal comes from General Compression, a Boston-based company which is developing and trialling technology that allows excess output to be stored as compressed air in large caverns.

General Compression argues that its proposal avoids the pitfalls of rooftop solar created when too much strain in put on the network when the sun goes down, or from too much electricity being sent back to the grid.

But what if a single bulk energy storage facility could act like a bank for thousands of distributed solar system owners, suggests Peter Rood, the development manager from General Compression.

A network connected storage project would allow multiple customers to “deposit” energy into the bank during the day when they have excess generation and later “withdraw” that energy when the sun goes down.
Read more at http://cleantechnica.com/2013/12/18/creating-solar-energy-bank/#8XV1VeDRoeQXUWD2.99

WattJoule Licenses Exclusive Rights to Breakthrough Energy Storage Technology

WattJoule Corporation, a developer of next-generation flow battery energy storage systems, has entered into an exclusive, worldwide intellectual property licensing agreement with the University of Tennessee Research Foundation. This agreement allows the full commercialization of patent pending, breakthrough energy storage technology developed over the last three years and funded by the Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, under the program leadership of Dr. Imre Gyuk; the Office of Naval Research; and the National Science Foundation. The latter two funding sources have focused on various fundamental aspects of the technology. The DOE funding, in particular, has focused on more applied development which has led to significant performance improvements. “The aim of our research is to provide industry with proven, cost-effective new technology,” said Dr. Gyuk, “we are setting the stage for widespread deployment of Energy Storage.”

“This technology allows us to practice high-power, high-efficiency operation that enables low-cost energy storage across a number of chemistries,” said Greg Cipriano, VP Business Development and Founder of WattJoule. “The heart of our new redox flow battery is a greatly improved electrochemical cell, where we can produce 10 times more power, for the same volume, over commercial flow battery systems. This high-power operation significantly reduces the amount of expensive material needed and this dramatically reduces cost. It also enables greater dynamic power range, which opens up a large spectrum of applications for one product platform that no other company can provide.”

About WattJouleWattJoule is developing a next generation electricity energy storage system that uses a safe water-based liquid. The company has patent-pending breakthroughs that solve the historical problems that have prevented the full commercialization of flow battery technology. WattJoule’s product platform will enable a wide range of customer benefits including a reduction in electricity costs and enabling the widespread deployment of wind and solar generation, microgrids, advanced smart grid capabilities and grid reliability improvements. More information is available at www.wattjoule.com.
About University of Tennessee Research Foundation UTRF is the not-for-profit organization responsible for commercializing and licensing technology discovered by faculty across the University of Tennessee System. For more information or to view technologies available for licensing, visit utrf.tennessee.edu.

PHG Energy and General Electric Provide Renewable Power to West Tennessee City

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Dec 18, 2013 (BUSINESS WIRE) — The first commercial collaboration between PHG Energy (PHGE) of Nashville and GE Power & Water business of the General Electric Company GE is officially online and creating electricity from waste materials at a new Covington, Tenn., facility.

GE’s Clean Cycle* generator, based on the Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) technology, produces power by utilizing heat delivered through PHGE’s downdraft gasification system and waste-mixing process. The two companies successfully proved the coupling of the technologies in an extensive research and development project that resulted in the first collaboration. Now the system is deployed and functions using the city’s wood waste and sewer sludge. Previously both waste streams had been transported and dumped into landfills at considerable cost to the city.

NAACP: New Report Examines State Energy Policies

The NAACP has released a new report that assesses energy policy in all 50 states from a civil rights lens. Titled “Just Energy Policies: Reducing Pollution and Creating Jobs,” the report provides analysis of each state’s energy sector policies based on both the environmental and economic impacts.

“Our report is a call to action for our community and our leaders,” stated NAACP Interim President and CEO Lorraine C. Miller. “This is both a monumental moment and an opportunity for civic engagement. The decision made about energy by public utility boards and local officials have a direct impact on our community. We must know who the decision makers are and spur them into action with our votes.”

The report assesses states on five different criteria: Renewable portfolio standards, Energy Efficiency Resource Standards, Net Metering Standards, Local Hire Provisions, and Minority Business Enterprise provisions. Additionally, the report lays out the potential for each state to become a leader in clean energy.

“The ‘Just Energy Policies’ report lays out a vision, supported by practical data, of the path to transitioning from energy production processes that are harmful to our communities, to energy efficiency and clean energy policy landscape that reduces pollution and creates new jobs,” stated Jacqueline Patterson, NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Director. “Given double digit unemployment and staggeringly stark wealth differentials for African Americans, the report explicitly details mechanisms for ensuring economic gain for our communities and businesses.”

Based on the analysis of the data, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York rank as the states with the best energy policies, while Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee are ranked at the bottom.

“While Alabama does a good job assisting families with their utility bills and winterizing homes, our state must put more money into research and create renewable energy in our state and stop depending on coal to produce our electricity,” stated Bernard Simelton, President of the Alabama NAACP. “The coal that we use to produce electricity causes pollution in our communities, river and streams and a vast majority of those facilities are located in or close to African American and poor communities. These plants causes health issues such as lung disease and the Governor has not extended Medicaid to those individuals that would have insurance coverage that live in these areas. Therefore, many will die early from exposure to pollution if we do not change now.”

“The NAACP views clean energy as a civil rights and social justice issue. In Tennessee, we have to step away from spending billions of dollars on imported energy resources and embrace the renewable energy resource opportunities in our own backyard,” stated Gloria Sweet-Love, President of the Tennessee NAACP. “Tennessee has no renewable portfolio, no energy efficient resource standards, no net metering standard and no state or local hiring goals. “

But Tennessee is on the cusp of change,” continued Sweet-Love. ” We already have a minority business enterprise certification provision, and just last year the state opened its largest solar plant. We must admit that African Americans are underrepresented in the energy sector workplace, having only 1.1 percent of energy jobs. Our new report identifies clean energy potential state-by-state. I am concerned that an African American child is three times more likely to be admitted to the hospital and twice more likely to die of asthma attacks than a white American child.

Igloo-shaped building attracts attention

WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather

Made possible through a grant from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), the building is solar-powered and made of a material called Colfibrex. It’s water resistant, mold resistant, and very energy-efficient. It’s design makes for a great tornado shelter, too.

The building is open to the public and for all ages. Inside you’ll find materials and video kiosks with information about conservation, sustainable living, recycling “Dos and Don’ts”, and more. Stop in on your next recycling trip, or to arrange a tour ahead of time contact the Athens Public Works Department.

Franklin will add second solar panel array

Franklin will lease unused land to a Nashville-based company for the future installation of a new solar panel array.

Energy Source Partners is proposing to spend $2.6 million to build a new solar array on a 3-acre sludge field site near Mack Hatcher Parkway. That array is expected to generate 1 megawatt of electricity, which would be sold to the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Over the course of the proposed 20-year contract, the 1 megawatt panels would generate $165,000 for Franklin by the 10th year of the program and about $800,000 from years 10 to 20.

Last year, Franklin leased part of an empty sludge field near its sewer plant off Claude Yates Drive to Nashville-based Energy Source Partners, which paid about $1 million to install 940 solar panels on the land. Those panels, which generate about 200 kilowatts, capture sun rays and convert them to electricity, which is then resold.

To Those Influencing Environmental Policy But Opposed to Nuclear Power

Four climate scientists, three of whom have published in peer-reviewed literature on energy issues (a sampler from Wigley, Hansen and Caldeira), are pressing the case for environmental groups to embrace the need for a new generation of nuclear power plants in a letter they distributed overnight to a variety of organizations and journalists.Here’s the text of the letter, by Kenneth Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution, Kerry Emanuel at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, James E. Hansen of Columbia University and Tom Wigley of the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the University of Adelaide*:

“To those influencing environmental policy but opposed to nuclear power:

As climate and energy scientists concerned with global climate change, we are writing to urge you to advocate the development and deployment of safer nuclear energy systems. We appreciate your organization’s concern about global warming, and your advocacy of renewable energy. But continued opposition to nuclear power threatens humanity’s ability to avoid dangerous climate change.

At the same time, the need to sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions is becoming ever clearer. We can only increase energy supply while simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas emissions if new power plants turn away from using the atmosphere as a waste dump.Renewables like wind and solar and biomass will certainly play roles in a future energy economy, but those energy sources cannot scale up fast enough to deliver cheap and reliable power at the scale the global economy requires. While it may be theoretically possible to stabilize the climate without nuclear power, in the real world there is no credible path to climate stabilization that does not include a substantial role for nuclear power.

Quantitative analyses show that the risks associated with the expanded use of nuclear energy are orders of magnitude smaller than the risks associated with fossil fuels. No energy system is without downsides. We ask only that energy system decisions be based on facts, and not on emotions and biases that do not apply to 21st century nuclear technology.

We ask you and your organization to demonstrate its real concern about risks from climate damage by calling for the development and deployment of advanced nuclear energy.
Sincerely,
Dr. Ken Caldeira, Senior Scientist, Department of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution
Dr. Kerry Emanuel, Atmospheric Scientist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Dr. James Hansen, Climate Scientist, Columbia University Earth Institute
Dr. Tom Wigley, Climate Scientist, University of East Anglia and the National Center for Atmospheric Research”

Source for article.

KKR and Google to Invest in Six U.S. Solar Power Plants

KKR & Co. and Google Inc. have struck a pact to invest about $400 million in six solar-power plants being built by Recurrent Energy LLC in California and Arizona. Development of the plants has been under way for years and they are expected to go online and begin producing power in January, the people said.

The plants—five in southern California and one in Arizona—are designed to produce about 106 megawatts of electricity combined, or enough to power about 17,000 U.S. homes, they said. San Francisco-based Recurrent, which will continue as their operator, has struck long-term power supply agreements with three buyers for the electricity they’re expected to churn, the people said.