Archive for February, 2012

Combined Heat and Power Plant at Fort Bragg Wins 2012 EPA CHP Award

Posted on: February 8th, 2012 by shannon No Comments

Fort Bragg was honored with a US EPA Energy Star CHP Award on Tuesday, February 8th for its 5 megawatt combined heat and power (CHP) plant.  This award, presented at the International District Energy Association’s 25th annual Campus Energy Conference, recognizes the high energy and environmental performance of this CHP project.  The facility, which began operation in 2004, provides the US Army’s 82nd Airborne Division with an efficient and reliable source of power, heating and cooling.  The heart of the system is a natural gas fueled combustion turbine generator with heat recovery boiler, that together operate twice as efficiently as a central utility plant, saving the base an estimated $1 million per year in energy costs.

The use of combined heat and power systems is an important means to increase the efficiency of electricity production, in which the heat is normally exhausted as waste.    CHP plants like Fort Bragg’s generate electricity onsite and capture the resulting heat, which in this case is used to produce steam or chilled water in an absorption chiller.  The steam and chilled water is distributed to the base through a district energy system, an underground piping network that connects multiple buildings to a central plant.  A total of 67 buildings are served by the Fort Bragg system, to the benefit of more than 10,000 soldiers, family members and base employees.

The use of CHP at Fort Bragg also has a significant impact on the base’s emissions, avoiding an estimated 12,300 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year, equivalent to the annual carbon emissions of 4,036 cars.

The Department of Defense and the US Army have developed strategic plans for increased energy security and independence, which Fort Bragg installation energy management professionals are implementing through the use of a combination of technologies that include onsite CHP, energy efficiency and renewable energy resources.  Ultimately, using more CHP as a constantly available resource in conjunction with available renewable energy resources, the base may generate as much power as it uses, with capability to operate as a secure and independent power island, called a microgrid.

The North Carolina Solar Center, housed at North Carolina State University, operates US Department of Energy Southeast Clean Energy Application Center (CEAC) as a key part of its mission to advance the use of clean power and renewable energy technologies such as CHP.  The US Department of Energy Southeast Clean Energy Application Center (CEAC) assists private and public sector entities to identify and develop the opportunities that exist for energy and cost savings through the application of combined heat and power, district energy and waste heat recovery technologies.   Organizations that use CHP and district energy in North Carolina include the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State University, which is currently building an 11 megawatt CHP plant that will serve its campus.

Biogen Idec Installs Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in RTP

Posted on: February 3rd, 2012 by shannon No Comments

Move underscores commitment to environmental sustainability in the region

(Research Triangle Park, N.C. – February 2, 2012) – On February 7, at 10:00 AM, Biogen Idec will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony for ten new electric vehicle charging stations at its campus in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. Machelle Sanders, Vice President, Manufacturing and General Manager and Kathy Boyer of Triangle J Council of Governments will speak at the event.

Biogen Idec purchased the charging stations with support from the Carolina Blue Skies Initiative, a project led by Triangle J Council of Governments (TJCOG), with $12 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The charging stations at the Biogen Idec campus will supplement the company’s goal of reducing its environmental impact by encouraging employees to adopt an environmentally-friendly form of transportation. The charging stations will allow employees to completely charge their cars while at work. The ability to charge an electric car at work has been recognized as a critical factor in an individual’s decision to purchase an electric vehicle and is expected to encourage early adopters. Employees are able to charge their cars at no cost to them as a company-provided benefit..

“Biogen Idec is proud to be on the leading edge of encouraging adoption of environmentally-friendly forms of transportation for our employees. By providing these charging stations at no cost to employees, we’re pleased to be part of the larger effort to build out the necessary infrastructure for electric vehicles,” said Hector Rodriguez, Director of Environment, Health, Safety and Sustainability for Biogen Idec.

The benefits of using electric vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles are:

  • Electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) are less expensive to operate than a conventional vehicle. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, EVs usually cost $.02 to $0.04 per mile to fuel, compared to conventional vehicles, which cost $0.10 to $0.15 to operate. HEVs also cost significantly less (about $0.05 to $0.07 per mile) to operate.
  • Both hybrid and electric vehicles reduce U.S. reliance on imported petroleum.According to the Energy Information Agency, the U.S. imports more than 60% of its petroleum, two-thirds of which is used in the transportation sector. Light-duty vehicles (typical passenger vehicles) consume 76% of the energy used by the on-road transportation sector.
  • According to the U.S. Department of Energy, an HEV will generally see a 30-50% increase in fuel economy, a significant increase versus a standard gasoline vehicle.
  • Electric vehicles have zero tailpipe emissions and potentially zero lifecycle emissions if renewable energy such as biomass, wind or solar is used for electricity generation. (U.S. DOE)

The Carolina Blue Skies initiative will expand alternative fuel infrastructure in North and South Carolina and improve air quality. Currently, 24 counties in North Carolina are in non attainment or maintenance for National Ambient Air Quality Standards. The initiative will benefit both states by lowering harmful emissions while creating local jobs.

For Immediate Release
Kathy Boyer

Triangle J Council of Governments

SunEnergy1 dedicates solar project in Plymouth, N.C.

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

SunEnergy1’s Kenny Habul dedicated the first phase of his company’s 20-megawatt solar farm in Plymouth this week, saying he will be doing additional projects in northeastern North Carolina.

Habul spoke to a crowd of about 50 at the site Monday.

He said building in the region allows his company to have a significant local impact — making a more important contribution to the tax base than would be possible in more developed communities.

“We also filled the hotels here, we bought a lot of diesel here, we hired local businesses,” he said.

And there are advantages for SunEnergy1 as well. Building the project in the northeast part of the state, which is served by Virginia-based Dominion Power, allows his company to take advantage of selling power to the PJM Interconnect system. PJM serves the mid-Atlantic states and as far west as Ohio, and it allows SunEnergy1 to sell electricity directly to users. North Carolina requires small power producers such as Habul’s company to sell power to utilities for resale, which Habul says severely restricts solar development.

State and local politicians, community leaders and business people from the Charlotte region involved in the project, as well as potential solar investors, were among the attendees at the dedication Monday morning and were part of a larger crowd at the Vernon G. James Research and Extension Center in Plymouth that afternoon. A slideshow of the day’s events can be viewed at right.


Charlotte Business Journal by John Downey, Senior Staff Writer

Date: Wednesday, February 1, 2012, 11:39am EST

Offshore wind forum in Morehead City, Feb 7th

Posted on: February 1st, 2012 by shannon No Comments

The NC Sierra Club, Carteret Crossroads, NC Interfaith Power and Light, & Carteret Community College are holding an offshore wind forum on February 7th at Carteret Community College from 7-9pm.

Jen Banks, Wind Project Coordinator, at the N.C. Solar Center will be speaking along with representatives from ABB, The NC Ports Authority, NC Offshore Wind Coalition and others.

Click here for more information!