Archive for December, 2012

Offshore Wind Energy Advancing in North Carolina

Posted on: December 13th, 2012 by shannon No Comments
Federal Agency Announces Call for Information and Nominations


RALEIGH, N.C. – The N.C. Solar Center is pleased that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has released the Call for Information and Nominations for potential offshore wind leasing areas offshore from North Carolina.  As a member of BOEM’s North Carolina Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force, the N.C. Solar Center has been involved in advancing these efforts over the last two years.

“The benefits to North Carolina from offshore wind development and the associated economic development from the industry’s supply chain are tremendous,” said Jen Banks, Wind Energy Project Coordinator at the N.C. Solar Center.

With 195 whole and 60 partial lease blocks, North Carolina has the largest Call Area released to date under the Department of the Interior’s Smart from the Start program.  BOEM also announced a Notice of Intent (NOI) for an Environmental Assessment covering these areas, which will provide valuable information for refining the areas to eventually be offered for commercial leasing.

Many coastal communities recognize the potential from such projects.  Vann Rogerson, President and CEO of North Carolina’s Northeast Commission, states “renewable energy developments are a great opportunity for the rural regions of the state – and we are very excited about the opportunities surrounding offshore wind.”

The public comment period for the Call and the NOI will be open for 45 days.  During this time, the Solar Center will host informational sessions on the basics of offshore wind preceding each BOEM public information meeting at the coast.  We will provide all details on these events once the dates are set.

Click here for the full BOEM press release.


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:  Twitter: @NCSolarCenter
Media Contact: Shannon Helm, N.C. Solar Center, 919.423.8340,

Contact: Jen Banks, N.C. Solar Center, 919.515.3799,

Contact: Vann Rogerson, N.C.’s Northeast Commission, 252-482-4333,

Annual Update on Combined Heat and Power in North Carolina for 2012

Posted on: December 12th, 2012 by shannon No Comments

North Carolina saw an active combined heat and power (CHP) market in 2012 with five projects totaling 13 megawatts (MW) of electric capacity installed in the state.   Of these projects, four are renewable biomass fueled CHP systems that are located on industrial sites and provide large amounts of process steam from recovered heat.  One example of a completed project is a biomass fueled CHP installation at a Pfizer plant in Sanford, which generates 250 kilowatts of power and 30,000 pounds per hour of steam, equivalent to approximately 8.8 megawatts of thermal energy.

The N.C. Solar Center’s Clean Power & Industrial Efficiency provided a range of technical and policy support to four of the new CHP projects during their development through its role as a University Energy Center and headquarters for the U.S. DOE Southeast Clean Energy Application Center (SE-CEAC).

Backpressure steam turbines such as this one at a NC industrial site supply onsite electric power from steam that's produced with renewable biomass

Backpressure steam turbines such as this one at a NC industrial site supply onsite electric power from steam that's produced with renewable biomass

Looking ahead to 2013 and beyond, there are at least eight CHP projects planned in North Carolina, representing 45 MW of capacity, with as much as 36 MW of that potentially fueled by renewable biomass.  This development trend is partly explained by the addition of CHP as an eligible technology for North Carolina’s 35 percent Renewable Energy Investment Tax Credit by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2011.  Another influence is activity by the state’s investor owned utilities to comply with North Carolina’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard by contracting for purchase of electricity and renewable energy credits (RECs) from renewable sources.

Two unique CHP projects currently under development in North Carolina will be powered by biomass and landfill gas systems; at Reventure Park and UNC Chapel Hill’s Carolina North Campus.

ReVenture Park’s 1.5 MW CHP project in Charlotte, NC received an air-quality permit from Mecklenburg County this Fall.  The CHP system is part of a plan to redevelop a 700-acre former EPA Superfund site into a clean energy fueled eco-industrial and business park.   ReVenture intends to use a technology called gasification, primarily fueled in this case by waste sawdust, that yields a clean burning organic gas as fuel for an engine generator.  ReVenture has contracted with Electricities, the state’s public power membership organization, to purchase the power output from the plant.  The recycled heat generated from the system will be used to dry other wood fuel, making it more viable for use in boilers converted to use biomass.   The CHP project will be the first of its kind in Mecklenburg County, and is expected to be complete in 2013.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is proposing to build a 1 MW CHP system into a central utility plant for its planned 250-acre research and mixed-used academic campus, Carolina North.  The CHP system will support the campus’s sustainability goals to use renewable energy energy and conserve water, as well as reducing air emissions that contribute to carbon footprint.  UNC-CH’s project will be fueled by methane gas from the Orange County landfill that is currently being flared, releasing heat to the atmosphere.  The landfill gas piping and CHP generator is expected to be complete in the coming year, according to Carolina North’s Annual Report on development, and will be ready to provide heat and power for the campus’s buildings as they are completed.

Growing awareness of the opportunity to invest in CHP systems for business, industry and government facilities is expected to lead to further project successes in the state.  As such, an industry group, the North Carolina CHP Initiative, has begun forming to represent CHP businesses and help potential end-users to connect with experts and find available resources.


N.C. Solar Center’s Clean Power Team Supports DOE Southeast Industrial EE & CHP Dialogue

Posted on: December 12th, 2012 by shannon No Comments


The Southeast Clean Energy Application Center, a project of the N.C. Solar Center’s Clean Power & Industrial Efficiency Program, is supporting a Southeast Regional Dialogue Meeting on Industrial Energy Efficiency & Combined Heat and Power being hosted in Little Rock, Arkansas on January 24th, 2013, by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office, in conjunction with the State and Local Energy Efficiency Action Network (SEE Action Network).  The meeting is part of a series of regional dialogues gathering industry, utility, public utility commission representatives, state energy officials and other stakeholders to discuss policy strategies to accelerate investments in these strategies to increase competitiveness of industry.   Representatives from the North Carolina organizations, including the North Carolina Utilities Commission and Duke Energy, will participate alongside regulatory and utility representatives from throughout the Southeast region.

Two other workshops are being held that support the state energy policy oriented objectives of the August 30, 2012 Executive Order on Accelerating Investment in Industrial Energy Efficiency , including one in Baltimore, MD on March 13, 2013 and in the Western United States in May, 2013.  The Executive Order sets a goal of 40 gigawatts of new, cost-effective industrial CHP in the U.S. by 2020.   It directs several federal agencies, including DOE, with convening stakeholders to develop and encourage the use of best practice State policies and investment models that address the multiple barriers to investment in industrial energy efficiency and CHP through a series of public workshops.  Discussions will cover developing and implementing state best practice policies and investment models that address the multiple barriers to greater investment in industrial energy efficiency and combined heat and power (CHP).

Click here for an agenda and more information on this meeting.

CHP is essential to Eastman Chemical’s Kingsport, Tennessee operations; Photo Courtesy of Eastman Chemical Company

CHP is essential to Eastman Chemical’s Kingsport, Tennessee operations; Photo Courtesy of Eastman Chemical Company

The N.C. Solar Center hosts the U.S. DOE Southeast Clean Energy Application Center (SE-CEAC) as part of its Renewable Energy, Clean Power and Industrial Efficiency program.  The SE-CEAC promotes market development for CHP throughout the Southeast region as a clean distributed energy resource. As part of this the SE-CEAC supports policy analysis and barrier removal, as well as education and outreach resources. Together the N.C. Solar Center and SE-CEAC combine efforts to work with legislators, regulatory commissions, state and local government officials, and their staffs to educate them on effective CHP policies and existing barriers that need addressed.

Aim of N.C. Solar Center’s Clean Transportation Program Reinforced by National Strategy for Energy Security Report

Posted on: December 12th, 2012 by shannon No Comments

Education, outreach and deployment of alternative fuel and advanced vehicle technologies were highlighted in a report released December 3rd in Washington D.C. by the Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC). Anne Tazewell, Clean Transportation Program Manager, attended the press conference and panel discussion that included the CEOs of Fed Ex and Waste Management, as well as retired U.S. admirals and generals who are especially sensitive to national security issues related to U.S. over reliance on petroleum in the transportation sector.

The morning event was also attended by two U.S. Senators: Lemar Alexander (R,TN) and Roy Blount (R, MO) who spoke about legislation they have recently introduced to establish fuel neutral deployment communities in small to medium size cities. Given the focus of the N.C. Solar Center’s Clean Transportation program and North Carolina’s three Clean Cities Coalitions  on reducing barriers to more widespread adoption of alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs), North Carolina is in an excellent position to fulfill the 2013 report’s deployment communities’ recommendation. In the end, “if consumers do not believe that it will be cost effective and easy to own and operate an AFV, they are unlikely to buy one.  Using local communities as a “petri dish” to learn what works and doesn’t work will go a long way to insuring nationwide success.”

The Council is bullish on increasing electricity and natural gas in transportation, as well as R & D for advanced biofuels and battery technology. Waste Management (WM) CEO, David Steiner spoke about how they are turning landfill gas into energy. WM has developed technology that is not only using landfill gas to power buildings, but also its transportation fleet.  Steiner stated, “We don’t just need R & D, we need deployment [funding] to see if this works to scale.”

Accounting for 37 percent of energy demand in 2011, the report notes that petroleum has a larger share of energy demand than any other fuel. The 126-page document states that “U.S. spending on petroleum fuels, which topped $890 billion in 2011, currently accounts for approximately three quarters of total spending on energy.”  Moreover, “this year’s deficit in oil trade is expected to once again surpass $300 billion with global oil prices near record levels amid instability in the Middle East and North Africa.”  What this means is that U.S. consumers continue to subsidize the incomes of other countries, many of whom don’t like the United States.

In summary the bipartisan group highlighted a comprehensive approach to transportation energy security.  While expanding U.S. production is needed, Admiral Dennis Blair, Former Director of National Intelligence and Commander in Chief U.S. Pacific Command, called for high standards and rigid enforcement to insure that natural gas and oil drilling is done in the most responsible manner possible. The Council also calls out transportation fuel diversity through a multi-prong approach as critical to our nation’s future.

The report which is posted on the Council’s website  is an important guide to harnessing American resources and innovation.

Establishing a Wind Powered Economic Zone

Posted on: December 11th, 2012 by shannon No Comments
North Myrtle Beach Reaches for Offshore Wind

On November 19, the City of North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina officially became a “wind-powered economic zone” by proclamation of a City Council resolution.  This resolution represents true leadership in the realm of clean energy and a genuine effort to better the community through economic development, community pride, and environmental protection.

By becoming a wind powered economic zone, North Myrtle Beach hopes to be able to provide the equivalent of 100% of its power usage from a nearby offshore wind farm in the not-too-distant future.  A couple implications herein deserve recognition.

Firstly, by inviting the development of a nearby offshore wind farm, the city is opening the door to local economic development and job creation since a nearby wind farm would need a local workforce to install, operate, and maintain the wind farm.  Secondly, by powering the city with renewable energy, businesses that have adopted renewable energy goals — such as South Carolina industry leaders like Boeing and BMW — can locate operations within the city and meet their energy goals automatically.  Businesses located within this wind powered economic zone can also market themselves as wind powered, which gives them an edge with environmentally conscious consumers and with businesses with green procurement standards. In fact, North Myrtle Beach has annexed a considerable swath of land ready to welcome businesses and developers. Furthermore, the stretch of Intracoastal Waterway between the Little River inlet and the city would be perfect for housing the fleet of operations and maintenance vessels that will regularly visit the wind farm.

Who says wind energy and tourism don't mix? Here is one of the three city-owned wind turbines operating in North Myrtle Beach.

Who says wind energy and tourism don't mix? Here is one of the three city-owned wind turbines operating in North Myrtle Beach.

The resolution also declared the formation of a stock company to invest in a transmission cable that will help bring the power onshore from an offshore wind farm. The North Strand Coastal Wind Team, the big player in helping the City advance toward wind energy, will be the main player in getting the stock company up and running.  The stock company will serve as a mechanism to fund the installation of the transmission line and also to help city residents profit from the operation of the wind farm. The stock company will seek investment from financial institutions, the City of North Myrtle Beach, and North Myrtle Beach residents.  Once investment is secured, the transmission cable could be laid while the City undertakes its next storm water drainage project so that extra installation expenses are kept to a minimum.

Pre-planning the installation of this cable shows great forward thinking.  It will serve as a big incentive for a wind farm developer to locate the wind farm off the coast from North Myrtle Beach and create local jobs.  Having all the pieces in place for the cable installation will eliminate one more complication for wind farm developers so that they can bring the farm online and start generating wind energy and revenue faster.  Also, since the transmission line will be community-owned, the citizens of North Myrtle Beach will have a vested interest in seeing the wind farm brought online.  In this way, the community has buy-in for a future wind farm through the jobs created as well as compensation for the wind farm’s operation.  When you add in the fact that North and South Carolina have some of the best offshore wind resources in the country, its a no-brainer that this area will become very attractive for future offshore wind development.

We applaud the City of North Myrtle Beach and look forward to what will come next for the community.

The North Strand Coastal Wind Team should also be recognized for the great amount of work they have put into advancing the opportunity of wind energy in North Myrtle Beach.  The passage of this resolution was an important step following four years of work from the Wind Team.  The Wind Team is a grassroots coalition of organizations, businesses, and individuals in and around North Myrtle Beach implementing education and advocacy efforts to promote wind energy development.  The team has representation from Clemson University, Coastal Carolina University, Grand Strand SCORE, Jim Caudle Reef Foundation, Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation, North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce, North Myrtle Beach Sea Turtle Patrol, Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College. Santee Cooper, Savannah River National Laboratory, South Carolina Energy Office, South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium, and the City of North Myrtle Beach.

Over the past four years, the Wind Team has taken great strides in getting the North Strand area ready for wind energy, which is poised as one of the biggest and best business opportunities available for the coastal Southeast.  The Wind Team has worked hand-in-hand with researchers, local governments, and community members to ensure that wind energy development is done responsibly and economically.  Among their accomplishments over the past four years, the Wind Team has done a fantastic job of coalition building and encouraging community support of offshore wind, assisted with and hosted meteorological studies to determine local wind resources, passed a municipal ordinance allowing for small wind turbine installations, supported and overseen the installation of three city-owned wind turbines, which serve as a demonstration and education opportunity for residents to grow accustomed to the turbines and grow to love them before bigger ones go out to sea, and just last week helped pass the municipal resolution declaring the City of North Myrtle Beach to be a “Wind Powered Economic Zone.”

It is with pride that we announce that Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is joining the North Strand Coastal Wind Team and look forward to helping advance this great effort to harness some of the greatest, clean energy resources in the country.

Here is a diagram from the North Strand Coastal Wind Team showing how various businesses in the North Myrtle Beach area would flow together to install and maintain a wind farm of approximately 334 megawatts.

Here is a diagram from the North Strand Coastal Wind Team showing how various businesses in the North Myrtle Beach area would flow together to install and maintain a wind farm of approximately 334 megawatts.


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