Archive for March, 2012

Southeastern Coastal Wind Conference Highlights Progress and Potential of Four Southeastern States

Posted on: March 28th, 2012 by shannon No Comments

Onshore wind development and manufacturing, as well as offshore wind planning, are happening on a broad scale in the United States though efforts in the Southern states are often overlooked.  Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia each have great stories to tell in terms of resource potential, supply chain and well-positioned markets, but when all four are considered together a much more compelling story emerges.

The shallow waters of the South Atlantic Bight and high wind speeds make the Southeast’s offshore wind resource the most cost-effective on the East Coast. The Southeast contains 63% of the East Coast shallow offshore wind resource and 45% of the total resource.  Onshore wind development is expanding in the region as well, as new technology allows for development in lower wind speed areas.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina and then Virginia represent the four states with the lowest estimated offshore wind construction costs on the East Coast.  In addition, an onshore wind manufacturing base exists despite very little onshore wind development in the region.  These manufacturing facilities can be expanded and their highly skilled workforce can be utilized to serve the offshore wind industry as well.  The region’s five world-class port facilities provide the infrastructure necessary to serve the needs of nearby offshore wind development as well as export components from local manufacturing facilities to neighboring states.

The Southeast’s excellent wind resources and  growing population are a natural fit that offers considerable opportunities to both wind developers and the citizens of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.  Over half of the population along the East Coast resides in the Southeast and, including Florida, it represents five of the six largest electricity markets of the eastern coastal states.  Looking into the future, the Southeast is well poised for further population and economic growth that will require new sources of electric generation.

The Southeastern US has the potential to be a long-term leader in East Coast wind energy supply chain and development. The region’s offshore wind resource is second to none, its electricity markets are some of largest and fastest growing on the East Coast, and the region boasts existing world-class supply chain infrastructure and highly-skilled, low-cost labor markets.  Each of these strengths and more were showcased at the Southeastern Coastal Wind Conference at the Charlotte Convention Center on March 8-9, 2012.



 Reposted from AWEA Wind Energy Weekly

Wilmington, NC to add new electric charging stations

Posted on: March 23rd, 2012 by shannon No Comments

WILMINGTON — City of Wilmington officials are continuing efforts to turn the Port City green.

Soon the first level of the Market Street parking deck will have a place to “fuel up” or grab a charge. Electric cars will have a charging station with two parking spaces dedicated for the vehicles.

“We do a have a commitment to sustainable growth and for sustainability you have to look at conserving energy and resources,” said City Councilman Kevin O’Grady.

At Tuesday night’s council meeting the board voted to support the Wilmington first charging stations and the two year pilot program with Progress Energy.

“It will allow Progress Energy to collect data on their usage. Hopefully it will demonstrate their profitability, so that in the future there can be private investment into creating electric charging stations throughout the city,” said O’Grady.

The cost of the new charging machines will come at no price to the city as they will be provided by Progress Energy. The only bill the city will see will be for the electricity which is expected to not exceed $10 a month.

The need for the space is speeding up. Data shows the number of electric cars in New Hanover will increase from 134 in 2012 to 795 in 2015.

“Save as much money as you can and help the environment, I think it is a great idea,” said Ashley Isbrecht of Wilmington.

The charging stations won’t be taking up the whole parking deck just yet, but dealerships said the cars are in high demand.

“There is a need for limited charging stations for vehicles but I don’t see it taking over your typical gas vehicle,” said Peter Strauss of Toyota of Wilmington.

City officials said it’s a way to stay ahead of the curve and encourage people to get plugged in.

“Keeps us on the cutting edge of technology. Just like we were with digital TV, with the white spaces development, and now electric cars,” said O’Grady.


Click here to watch the news broadcast story


Reposted from News 14 Carolina

N.C. Solar Center staff member presented at Capitol Hill’s Bioenergy Day

Posted on: March 21st, 2012 by shannon No Comments

Isaac Panzarella, Clean Power and Efficiency Manager at the North Carolina Solar Center, is presenting on the state of bioenergy in the United States today, highlighting research and technology deployment projects happening around the country in the emerging biofuels industry and expanding biomass heat and power market.  “There are many potential bioenergy opportunities that require further planning and infrastructure development, while there are also many current bioenergy practices applied in agriculture, industry and transportation today that offer financially viable clean and domestic energy solutions at high energy and economic efficiencies.”  In his role as Director of the US DOE Southeast Clean Energy Application Center (SE-CEAC), Mr. Panzarella provides knowledge and expertise to help companies and institutions whom are taking a leadership role by investing in highly efficient biomass combined heat and power systems.  The progress in this area has shown most important thing is to keep making progress in bioenergy, with the awareness that the pace of development will quicken with every proven advance in process or technology.

Learn more about the status of bioenergy in the United States

Review the full agenda of Bioenergy day on Capital Hill

Green energy looks bright in Raleigh

Posted on: March 14th, 2012 by shannon No Comments

The City of Oaks is going green and we don’t mean for St. Patty’s Day.

Raleigh wants to be a leader in the green technology space.

“I think Raleigh stands for a little bit of innovation,” said Robert Hinson, renewable energy coordinator for the City of Raleigh. “We want to be on the cutting edge.”

The state’s first wind turbine facility opened on the campus of NC State.

Ming Yang Wind Power, a manufacturer in China, held an event to mark the opening of its new facility Tuesday.

“North Carolina is a proven natural ground for the research and development of offshore wind turbine technology since the state has the best offshore wind resources on the east coast,” said Chuanwei Zhang, CEO of Ming Yang.

NC Department of Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco was at the event. He said innovation is the key to the state’s future.

“We’re putting a stake in the ground and we need to put that stake in the ground for our future,” said Crisco.

The City of Raleigh is looking to the sun for green technology.

The latest project is a 2,000 panel solar array on the roof of the convention center.

“It’s basically enough power to generate over 100 homes with electricity,” said Hinson.

The construction crew should have all the panels installed by next month.

City leaders say the panels can generate energy for the next 25 years.

Steve Kalland works with the NC Solar Center to help people and companies starting green projects.

He believes Raleigh is in a great position to lead the state in clean technology.

“Energy is not going anywhere,” said Kalland. “We’re going to need more of it as the economy grows.”


Maggie Alexander, NBC-17 originally reporter this story

Ming Yang Wind Power Opens R&D Center on NCSU Centennial Campus

Posted on: March 13th, 2012 by shannon No Comments
Focusing on Offshore Wind Turbine Research and Development


March 13, 2012


RALEIGH, N.C.– China Ming Yang Wind Power Group Limited (NYSE:MY), a leading wind turbine manufacturer in China, opened its North American research and development center on the Centennial Campus of N.C. State University in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The new center will focus on state of the art research on offshore wind turbines to further enhance energy output and lower the cost of electricity.  This research will be demonstrated in Ming Yang’s newly developed wind turbine generator (WTG).  Dr. Shu Ching Quek, President of Ming Yang Wind Power USA Inc., will lead the center.

We welcome Ming Yang Wind Power to North Carolina.  As the first industrial large-scale wind turbine R&D facility in the state, we look forward to a successful partnership in harnessing North Carolina’s wind power potential,” said Gov. Bev Perdue.

This announcement is in line with the recently released report from the Scientific Panel on Offshore Energy that recommended engaging wind-energy companies to promote opportunities for offshore wind development and making the state an east coast hub for the industry.

“We are very excited to set up a new R&D center on NCSU Centennial Campus in Raleigh to focus on cutting-edge technology research for our new wind turbines,” said Chuanwei Zhang, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Ming Yang.  “The R&D center is Ming Yang’s first step into the United States.  North Carolina is a proven natural ground for a new wind turbine since the state has the best offshore wind resources on the east coast.  The concept of modular technology that is being developed will likely be applicable to the rest of Ming Yang’s product line, which will help to lower the cost of energy and increase reliability to make our wind turbines internationally competitive.  We hope that this will strengthen our ability to provide innovative and customizable wind power solutions to our customers in the United States and around the world”, said Ming.

“We chose Centennial Campus as the location of our new R&D center to leverage the multi-disciplinary talent pool and provide a conducive environment for more innovations in this field,” said Dr. Shu Ching Quek, President of Ming Yang USA. “Our focus is to reduce Cost of Energy (“COE”) for offshore WTG. This can be achieved through advanced manufacturing methods and increase of efficiency from turbine to farm level system optimization. Another goal for the R&D center, also a challenge to the wind power industry, is to improve WTG reliability. Increased reliability further lowers the COE by reducing Operations & Maintenance (“O&M”) cost.”

During his career, Dr. Quek has developed 22 patents related to wind turbine blades and clean energy technologies.  Prior to joining Ming Yang, Dr. Quek was a research associate professor for wind turbine design at Tufts University and previously headed multi-million dollar rotor development programs at General Electric.

Dr. Quek added, “We are very thankful for the warm welcome and logistical support we’ve received from N.C. State University, the N.C. Solar Center, and the N.C. Department of Commerce. We look forward to a great partnership in the years ahead.”



About China Ming Yang Wind Power Group Limited

China Ming Yang Wind Power Group Limited (NYSE: MY) is a leading and fast-growing wind turbine manufacturer in China, focusing on designing, manufacturing, selling and servicing megawatt-class wind turbines. Ming Yang produces advanced, highly adaptable wind turbines with high energy output and low energy production costs and provides customers with comprehensive post-sales services. Ming Yang cooperates with aerodyn Energiesysteme, one of the world’s leading wind turbine design firms based in Germany, to develop wind turbines and share intellectual property rights. For further information, please visit the Company’s website: .


About the North Carolina Solar Center

Created in 1988, the North Carolina Solar Center, at N.C. State University, advances a sustainable energy economy by educating, demonstrating and providing support for clean energy technologies, practices, and policies. The N.C. Solar Center serves as a resource for innovative, clean energy technologies through demonstration, technical assistance, outreach and training. It also administers the Database of Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE), a resource providing financial incentives and policies. For more information about the N.C. Solar Center, visit:





Calvin Lau, China Ming Yang Wind Power Group Limited, + 86-760-2813-8898,


Pamela Leung, +852-2530-0228,


Shannon Helm, N.C. Solar Center, 919-423-8340,


Betsy McCorkle, N.C. Solar Center, 919-515-4382 ,


State of Solar Photovoltaics in North Carolina

Posted on: March 9th, 2012 by shannon No Comments

Curious about how the solar industry is growing in North Carolina?    Since 2007, NC has started appearing on the map for solar.  In 2008, NC was number 10 in installed capacity during that year, and in 2009, NC was number 10 in installed PV capacity.  At the end of 2010, NC was number 11 for cumulative installed capacity across the United States.  As of September 2011, NC ranked 8th for cumulative installed PV capacity.

Because of this increase in PV installations, North Carolina has increased the number of those employed in the solar industry, which is great news for our local economy.

This growth has largely been due to the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and solar carve out for solar. North Carolina is the first state in the Southeast to have the RPS standard.

To learn more about solar in North Carolina, our own Amy Heinemann, Sr. Policy Analyst, created a presentation that provides an overview of how policy, partners, and industry have made solar work in North Carolina.


Download: State of Solar Photovoltaics in North Carolina


Research Triangle: The New Silicon Valley of the Smart Grid?

Posted on: March 9th, 2012 by shannon No Comments

We explore the 60-plus smart grid players and cutting-edge test labs and pilot projects of North Carolina’s Research Triangle.


What’s the “Silicon Valley” of smart grid?

Many would argue that would be Silicon Valley. But North Carolina’s Research Triangle might just might deserve the title.

After all, the Triangle includes nearly 60 companies doing smart grid work in the region, 20 of which are headquartered there, according to a report from Duke University (PDF). Raleigh, the city at the heart of the Triangle, has five smart grid companies headquartered there, more than any other U.S. city except San Francisco with six. (That’s one reason we chose to hold our Networked Grid 2012 conference there this April.)

And while the research didn’t get specific on jobs, the report set a conservative estimate of 3,000 in smart grid for the complex of companies, universities and government-funded projects in the Triangle’s 13-county area. That about matches the San Francisco Bay Area’s estimated 3,030 jobs in power management, energy efficiency and grid technology firms, according to a 2011 report from the Silicon Valley Leadership Forum.

While the Silicon Valley report’s headline smart grid employment figure was 12,560 jobs, 7,450 of those were in “distributed generation,” which included many of the region’s big solar power players, and another 1,850 were in batteries and energy storage. For the sake of argument, however, let’s say Silicon Valley and the Triangle are tied on smart grid jobs. What about smart grid companies?

Silicon Valley is home to some of the industry’s best-known startups (including Silver Spring Networks, TrillianteMeter and Grid Net), along with giants such as CiscoOracleEchelon,Intel and others that have a direct interest in smart grid.

But the Triangle can come back with its own list of hometown smart grid heroes like smart meter giants Elster and Sensus, which employ a combined 1,000 people in the region, along with companies like ABB, GE, Siemens, Cisco, Honeywell, Johnson Controls, and AT&T and Verizon with smart grid operations in the region.

Those are all companies that build lots and lots of hardened gear for utilities and power customers, which means they’re likely to provide good manufacturing jobs for the region that hosts them. Siemens made a $350 million commitment to nearby Charlotte, N.C. when it announced it would open a plant for its newest gas turbine built to more efficiently match the ups and downs of solar and wind power to help balance the grid.

But the companies also investing heavily in IT, both internally and via billions of dollars in acquisitions over the past several years. Itron is doubling its software development workforce in Raleigh to 400 employees. Swiss grid giant ABB has its North American headquarters near Raleigh, and this week launched its $10 million Smart Grid Center of Excellence testing lab in the city, built to put grid gear through simulated extreme weather events to see how they’ll respond.

As for government support, North Carolina brought in more than $600 million in Department of Energy smart grid stimulus grants, putting that money to work in local projects of many descriptions. Many involve Duke Energy, headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., and Progress Energy, headquartered in Raleigh. Both are big spenders on smart grid projects, from smart meters and grid sensors to complex distribution automation and management systems, such as Duke’s virtual power plant project in Charlotte.

On the smart buildings front, Cisco and Duke Energy are teaming up on the Envision Charlotte project to cut energy use at public and private buildings throughout the city. And let’s not forget, Duke’s bid to acquire Progress could create the country’s largest utility, headquartered in North Carolina, enhancing the region’s appeal to would-be smart grid suitors.

Silicon Valley will continue to claim victories in some of the cutting-edge, ARPA-E-type research going on in smart grid, of course. Local startups in inverters and power electronics (EnphaseTigo Energy), high-efficiency power conversion materials and technology (Transphorm), and digital power management technology (Varentec) have capabilities that could lead to profound changes in the way grids operate.

In the Triangle, Raleigh’s FREEDM Systems Center is working on taking these types of new technologies to real-world testing and integration. Founded in 2008 with an $18.5 million National Science Foundation grant, the North Carolina State University-based center is doing R&D on such technologies as fast EV charging, solid-state transformers, energy storage and digital power grid controls.

Given that FREEDM stands for “Future Renewable Electric Energy Delivery and Management,” integrating renewable energy into the grid is an obvious focus of research at the center. Eventually, the organization wants to get a 1-megawatt “green energy hub” system up and running at its headquarters, both to prove the core technology and test out how third-party solar, wind, fuel cell, battery storage, and plug-in vehicle technologies works with it.


Written by  JEFF ST. JOHN: MARCH 8, 2012, GreenTech Media


President announces new initiatives to support advanced vehicles

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

The President is announcing a new $1 billion National Community Deployment Challenge to catalyze up to 10 to 15 model communities to invest in the necessary infrastructure, remove the regulatory barriers, and create the local incentives to support deployment of advanced vehicles at critical mass.  This proposal embraces a strategy similar to that outlined by Senators Merkley and Alexander in their Promoting Electric Vehicles legislation.  This proposal, however, would be ‘fuel neutral’, allowing communities to determine if electrification, natural gas, or other alternative fuels would be the best fit.  Deployment Communities would serve as real-world laboratories, leveraging limited federal resources to develop different models to deploy advanced vehicles at scale.  The program would also support the development of up to 5 regional Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) corridors where alternative fuel trucks can transport goods without using a drop of oil.

To read more about President Obama’s plan for advanced vehicles, read  “Fact Sheet: All of the above approach to American Energy”, issued by the White House on March 7th.

R. James Woolsey on Energy – March 15, 1-2:20p NCSU Centennial campus

Posted on: March 6th, 2012 by shannon No Comments

The Triangle Institute for Security Studies and North Carolina State University Energy and Security Initiative is delighted to invite you to a public lecture by R. James Woolsey, “Energy in the 21st Century: Could Muir, Patton, and Gandhi Agree on a Program?” The talk will be on the Centennial Campus of North Carolina State University in the Golden Leaf BTEC (Thursday 15 March, 1 pm – 2:20 pm).

You may find out more details about this event and reserve a seat by logging onto the following: WOOLSEY AT NCSU.
Inquiries about the NCSU event should be addressed to Carolyn Pumphrey (

R. James Woolsey is Chairman of Woolsey Partners LLC and a Venture Partner with Lux Capital Management.Over the course of a dozen years, Woolsey held presidential appointments in two Republican and two Democratic administrations, including one stint as undersecretary of the Navy and another as director of the Central Intelligence Agency under President Clinton, from 1993 to 1995. In recent years, Mr. Woolsey has become an influential voice in the energy debate. He is known for articulating the national security arguments for reducing dependence on fossil fuels and moving towards distributed generation. He has argued his views in important publications such as The Wall Street Journal and played key roles within the Energy Future Coalition and the National Commission on Energy Policy. These are nonpartisan groups of experts in business, labor, the environment, and national security that are pressing for a more forward-looking energy strategy.

Lightning-smart lab shows grid of the future

Posted on: March 6th, 2012 by shannon No Comments

Walk into this Smart Grid laboratory, and you’ll enter into an indoor forest of sturdy utility poles, all mounted with the standard gray equipment you might see on power lines running through your neighborhood.

The half-size poles offer a squirrel’s-eye view of the vaunted Smart Grid, as the gear might look to a person lifted by a bucket truck. You can hear birds twittering and crickets chirping as thunder rumbles in the distance – special effects to set the mood.

As violent storms mark the arrival of spring in much of the country, ABB, the Swiss energy conglomerate, on Monday showcased advanced, smart-grid technologies that officials said will allow for speedier power restoration for storm victims.

ABB’s $10 million Smart Grid Center of Excellence at N.C. State University’s Centennial Campus is wired with real electricity for testing equipment and for product demonstrations to potential customers.

“It’s an impressive facility, with all that equipment,” said James McLawhorn, chief of the electric division of the Public Staff, the state’s consumer protection agency. “This is a pretty sophisticated setup.”

ABB, which makes transformers and substations for the electric power industry, is one several dozen companies in the area working on some aspect of the Smart Grid, which is sometimes described as an energy Internet. An apt comparison might be the quantum leap technologically from a dial-up rotary phone to the iPhone.

Helping fuel the Smart Grid activity in North Carolina are universities, high-tech companies and more than $600 million in federal stimulus funds for Smart Grid research, more than any other state in the country.

The futuristic power grid in ABB’s lab is so new that fewer than a half-dozen utilities worldwide have implemented it, though many more have bought pieces of this system as add-ons to their aging mechanical power grid.

Utilities generally will not replace costly equipment until gear depreciates, so it could take a generation before the hardware and software in ABB’s lab is standard in this country, said Brad Luyster, vice president of ABB’s Smart Grid Distribution Automation.

The two basic benefits of the Smart Grid for power companies, and their customers, will be increased reliability and improved efficiency. The grid in some cases will be able to pinpoint outages for work crews; in others, it could automatically trigger “self-healing” responses to keep the juice flowing around toppled tree trunks.

At the street level, customers will someday enjoy such benefits as programming their thermostats remotely from a computer or iPad to reduce waste when they’re not home, or when they just don’t want to get out of bed to turn down the air conditioner.

ABB has 1,600 employees in the state, including 375 in Raleigh, 275 in Cary and about 100 just north of Charlotte where the company plans to open a high-voltage transmission cable manufacturing facility.

As public officials and guests toured the facility, technicians sitting at computer terminals remotely opened and closed circuit breakers mounted on the poles, emitting loud popping sounds. The lab also includes a 40,000-watt lightning simulator that flashes to the thunder simulator.

The nine utility poles, within 23 feet of each other, represent about 23 miles of power lines in a real-life scenario.

On ABB’s monitor, which shows a digital ganglion of lines and feeders, the section represented by the lab would amount to a dot on the screen. Operators can digitally reroute electricity using a keypad while pinpointing the grid sections where electricity has been disrupted. “You’ll start seeing this in the next five to 10 years,” Luyster said.

Written by John Muraswski, The Raleigh News & Observer