Where the New Economy is Growing Fastest, An Update

(28/02/2013) free RSS news feed from Solar News Portal

In Hughesville, MD, the Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative recently completed a new 5.5MW solar farm. The $20 million project is composed of 23,176 American-made panels, and has the capacity to generate enough electricity to power 600 homes. The company plans to use 10% of the energy produced to power two of its centers. At peak construction, the solar array employed 55 construction workers.

1366 Technologies, a producer of silicon wafers for the solar energy industry, recently inaugurated a new facility in Bedford, MA. Over the next 12 to 18 months, the 42,000 sq. ft. factory is expected to hire approximately 100 new full-time employees. Besides the $4 million grant the company received a few years ago from the Advanced Research Projects Agency, it also raised $47 million in equity financing through venture capital firms.

In California, the City of Sacramento and the Ygrene Energy Fund announced the launch of Clean Energy Sacramento, a new public-private partnership focused on providing funds for energy efficiency, renewable energy and water conservation retrofits in both residential and commercial properties. According to an independent research conducted by ECONorthwest, every $100 million invested in the program is expected to generate 1,500 jobs, $250M in economic activity and $25M in tax revenue. Currently, there are $22M of prequalified projects and more 150 trained local contractors ready to work.

NextEra Energy only just announced the completion of its 120MW Tuscola – Bay Wind Farm. Located in Gilford, MI and Blumfield, MI, the 75 turbine project came online ahead of schedule and is set to produce enough electricity to power 50,000 homes. With a total cost of $250 million, the new wind farm created 250 construction jobs as well as 12-15 full-time positions.

Company Spotlight: Whirlpool Corporation

Whirlpool Corporation, headquartered in Benton Harbor, Michigan, prioritizes the development and production of energy-efficient appliances that save consumers energy and money, while minimizing waste and pollution. Maintaining much of its manufacturing capacity in the U.S., Whirlpool, which boasts a 68,000 person workforce globally, employs 3,100 at its Clyde, Ohio facility, the largest washing machine factory in the world. Operated by Whirlpool since 1952, the 2.4 million square foot factory has turned out 155 million washers in 60 years of operation. And most have been energy efficient: appliance efficiency has been core to Whirlpool’s products since the 1970s, when the company began emphasizing technological improvement to achieve greater resource productivities in the face of heightened energy and water constraints. Thanks to the company’s ingenuity and federal and state appliance standards, today’s clothes washers, dishwashers, and refrigerators use more than 75% less energy than the machines did in 1972. Their appliances save water too: their clothes washers use 73% less, and their dishwashers 64% less, on a gallons per cycle basis.

Clean Energy News

Siemens Energy Wind Turbine Plant Recalls Workers via Cedar Rapids Television Company, February 2, 2013 A Siemens Energy factory in southeast Iowa has rehired 13 workers, and is looking for 73 more, in response to renewed demand for wind turbine blades. In the face of the expiring federal Production Tax Credit, and the resulting market uncertainty, the factory was forced to lay off 400 workers in September. But the tax credit, extended in January, combined with demand from new projects in Brazil and Chile, has helped to strengthen the wind energy market, and workers are needed to fill the new orders. The factory expects to continue its hiring in response to market conditions.

Los Angeles Completing Biggest Retrofit Ever: Converting All Streetlights to LED via Sustainable Business, January 30, 2013 Los Angeles is in the midst of finishing the largest city lighting retrofit project ever: replacing its 210,000 high-pressure sodium streetlights with energy-efficient LEDs. Using 63 percent less energy, the new lights, 140,000 of which will have already been installed by June, are already saving the city $5.3 million each year. Coupled with smart controls, the new lights might use as much as 80 percent less energy. Given that 40 percent of the city’s energy expenses go to lighting streets, this savings represents a significant savings in the city’s budget, eventually amounting to over $7.5 million shaved off of the $16 million the city spent in 2008. In Oregon, 47 cities are implementing similar retrofit projects, and cities in California, Washington, Texas, and Maryland are also reaping savings that comes with more efficient lighting, many of which were facilitated through Recovery Act funds. Beyond energy savings, the LEDs reduce maintenance costs, and improve visibility—reducing crime—in residential areas.

Lost Savings From Obama's Delay on Energy Savings Standards: $3.7 Billion via ACEEE, January 31, 2013 Delayed implementation of energy-saving standards not only wastes energy, but it has already cost businesses and consumers $3.7 billion, according to analysis from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP). The eight overdue standards continue to waste money, at a rate $300 million more per month as delays drag on. Beyond financial loss, the extra energy used emits the carbon dioxide equivalent to needlessly burning 19,000 rail cars of coal each month. The reason for the delay lies primarily in the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), within the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB). OIRA, which ensures that benefits outweigh costs of standards, has been reviewing some rules for more than a year; the delays are resulting in a cascade effect, slowing down implementation of other standards at the Department of Energy. Those standards that have already been completed, between 2009 and 2011, will save businesses and consumers $77 billion.

New Report Explains Benefits of Military Biofuels via American Security Project, January 29, 2013 U.S. national security can be improved by developing advanced biofuels, which reduces our dependence on oil, according to a white paper titled “Advanced Biofuels and National Security.” The report was released Jan. 28 at the Washington Clean Technology Alliance’s conference by Andrew Holland of the American Security Project. The paper explains that rapid advancements in advanced biofuel technology, combined with the expanding economies of scale that come from government and private sector investments, point to long-term growth in the advanced biofuel industry.

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