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Monthly Archives: May 2017

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GRDA sells power from new Mitsubishi Hitachi natural gas unit

Category : Uncategorized

A new 495 MW combined cycle power plant equipped with a Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) M501J gas turbine at the Grand River Energy Center in Oklahoma has achieved a milestone by sustaining reliable power generation just 45 days after first fire.

Achieving reliable power generation output means the Grand River Dam Authority is now able to sell electricity to the grid.

“This is our 23rd J-Series gas turbine installed globally, and our first in the Americas. This is an important milestone for our company, and we’re proud to announce that the MHPS gas turbine at the Grand River Energy Center has responded flawlessly during the startup process and has significantly exceeded its performance guarantee,” said Paul Browning, MHPS Americas President and CEO. “GRDA is now able to sell power to the grid ahead of schedule. Successful and smooth commissioning is critical for MHPS, because our team is preparing to commission eleven more J-Series turbines in North America during the next 12-24 months.”

The gas turbine was delivered on time to the site, successfully achieved 1st Fire on March 14 in its first attempt and only two days later synchronized to the grid to first produce electricity for GRDA and MISO Power Pool customers. Since then, the facility successfully conducted steam blows well ahead of schedule and quickly resumed operation on time.

On April 27, (less than 45 days after 1st Fire), while operating in combined cycle, the test team successfully demonstrated sustained operations above GRDA’s “Sellable Power” milestone. The commissioning team achieved this contract milestone 35 days of ahead of the June 1 contract deadline.

Since then, the plant has completed its fine screen removal outage and is currently finishing tuning as it approaches final performance demonstrations scheduled for June 2017. Thus far the GRDA “J” machine exceeded all performance expectations.

The MHPS turbine installed at the Grand River Energy Center is the first J-Series to be built at the Savannah Machinery Works in Savannah, Georgia. It is paired in combined cycle with a steam turbine that was built at the MHPS Nagasaki Works in Japan. The unit also features a generator from Mitsubishi Electric Co. As part of the project, GRDA signed a 25-year long term service agreement with MHPS.

GRDA broke ground on Grand River Energy Center Unit 3 in January 2015. The environmentally friendly natural gas facility will replace an older, coal-fired facility on the same site. The new power plant is on schedule to be fully operational this summer.

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Samsung SDI builds electric vehicle battery plant in Hungary

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Samsung SDI hosted a completion ceremony for the electric vehicle battery plant scheduled to open in second quarter of 2018 in Hungary.

Samsung SDI celebrated the completion of construction of its EV battery plant in Goed, 30 kilometers north of Budapest, Hungary, on May 29. The ceremony was attended by about 150 officials, including Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Samsung SDI President Jun Young-hyun, Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto and Korean Ambassador to Hungary Yim Geun-hyeong.

Sitting on a 330,000 square-meter site in Goed, the plant is capable of producing batteries for 50,000 electric vehicles annually with operations expected to begin in the second quarter of next year. The company will be able to not only save logistics costs, but also improve customer service in Europe.

Samsung SDI’s former plasma display panel plant has been transformed into a plant equipped with Samsung SDI technology to produce high-power and high-efficiency EV batteries. Through construction of Hungary plant, Samsung SDI sets up a global electric vehicle batteries production tripod with plants in Ulsan, South Korea and Xian, China.

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Xcel Energy cuts carbon emissions 30 percent

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Xcel Energy cut carbon emissions 30 percent in 2016 while expanding its renewable energy portfolio.

The company released its corporate responsibility report highlighting results Xcel Energy achieved as it transitions to cleaner energy sources and provides other benefits to the communities it serves, including energy efficiency programs, economic development and energy assistance support.

“We know our success is tied to our communities’ success,” said Ben Fowke, chairman, president and CEO, Xcel Energy. “Growing and vibrant communities support our business, while clean and affordable energy powers our communities. As a responsible community partner, we are committed to delivering on our shared goals and continually raise the bar on our performance.”

In 2016, Xcel Energy reduced carbon emissions 30 percent since 2005, four years earlier than expected and now anticipates it will achieve at least a 45 percent reduction in carbon emissions system wide by 2021.

The emission reductions result from a number of steps the company is taking to transform how it produces and delivers energy, including adding low-cost wind and solar energy and encouraging energy efficiency. The company is also retiring aging coal units and repowering some facilities with cleaner natural gas.

In 2016, renewable energy made up 25 percent of Xcel Energy’s electricity supply. By 2021 more than 40 percent of its electricity is expected to come from renewables as the company pursues the nation’s largest multi-state investment in wind energy with new wind farms planned in seven states.

Other key results Xcel Energy delivered in 2016 include:

·      Reducing air emissions, such as nitrogen oxide, by about 70 percent and cutting water consumption by 35 percent at its plants.

·      Offering a comprehensive portfolio of more than 150 energy-saving programs that combined, help customers annually save about a terawatt-hour of electricity—enough to power more than 142,000 homes.

·      Spending $2.4 billion with local businesses—70 percent of its spending on goods and services. Approximately 96 percent of employee hiring is also local within the states that the company serves, and more than 14 percent of newly hired employees in 2016 were military veterans.

·      Contributing $63.4 million in 2016 to local communities. This includes $47.8 million in energy assistance that helped customers in need with their energy bills and $3.9 million in grants through the Xcel Energy Foundation to 350 nonprofits for STEM education, economic sustainability, environmental stewardship, and arts and culture.

·      Helping to keep the public safe, by increasing awareness for contractors and others to call 811 before they dig, which has reduced our damage incident-rate for underground pipes and wires for every 1,000 locate calls by 28 percent since 2008.

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Younicos, Austin Energy, Doosan Team up on solar energy storage project

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Younicos announced Monday it will deliver a megawatt-scale battery storage system to Austin Energy in Texas.

The project is part of a U.S. Department of Energy-funded initiative known as the Sustainable and Holistic Integration of Energy Storage and Solar Photovoltaic (SHINES) project. Younicos will collaborate with the project’s prime contractor, Doosan GridTech, to install the 1.75 MW / 3.2 MWh system using the company’s Y.Cube systems.

“We’re keeping Austin weird – and energized,” said Stephen L. Prince, CEO of Younicos. “The SHINES project is the perfect showcase for an alternative, distributed energy system with resources like energy storage providing resiliency and security. Our Y.Cube is ideal for this application – offering the best in battery storage, intelligent control, system performance and safety in a compact form factor. We’re very pleased to partner with Austin Energy and Doosan GridTech on this innovative project.”

Younicos’s Y.Q software platform will manage the system, communicating with the Doosan GridTech Intelligent Controller using the Modular Energy Storage Architecture (MESA) open standard. The seven Y.Cubes and Y.Converters represent the company’s largest Y.Cube deployment in the U.S. to date.

Daejin Choi, CEO of Doosan GridTech commented, “We are pleased to be working with Younicos on this breakthrough project. The MESA open standard provides the software architecture that allows us each to bring our innovation to Austin Energy without a lot of custom engineering to fit the pieces together. Austin preserves choice in their system moving forward and we each get to focus on our core competencies.”

The Y.Cube systems will provide storage capabilities as part of a Distributed Energy Resource Management System (DERMS) that will maintain grid reliability while also enabling energy loads to be delivered at the lowest possible cost with high penetration levels of distributed PV generation. The platform, called DG-DERO, also provided by Doosan GridTech, will use multiple advanced control methodologies that will be demonstrated and evaluated using a fleet of diverse DER assets deployed at various locations among Austin Energy’s customers.

The battery system will be located in a neighborhood in East Austin, coexisting near both residential and commercial buildings. The Y.Cube, which has been optimized for use in commercial and industrial battery storage applications, is a plug-and-play system that also contains multiple thermal management subsystems for maximum safety.

“Integrating energy storage with solar is becoming essential as we achieve our utility’s goal of 55 percent renewable energy by 2025,” says Karl Popham, Austin SHINES Principal Investigator and Manager of Emerging Technologies at Austin Energy. “The Austin SHINES program is more than a technical pilot; it is phase one of a larger rollout to maximize the value of distributed energy resources for our customers and the utility. Ultimately, it’s about clean energy being even more affordable and reliable.”

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Trump adviser says coal 'doesn't really make that much sense'

Category : Uncategorized

WASHINGTON (AP) — The president’s chief economic adviser is casting doubt on the future of U.S. coal, saying it “doesn’t really make that much sense anymore as a feedstock,” directly contradicting President Donald Trump‘s repeated promises to revive the struggling coal industry.

Briefing reporters Thursday night on Air Force One, Gary Cohn singled out natural gas as “such a cleaner fuel.” By exporting more natural gas and investing in wind and solar energy, the U.S. “can be a manufacturing powerhouse and still be environmentally friendly,” Cohn said.

Cohn’s comments were at odds with his boss, who campaigned as coal’s champion and decried what he and other Republicans called a “war on coal” by former President Barack Obama.

As president, Trump has unraveled a number of Obama-era energy restrictions, including a landmark plan to restrict climate-changing emissions from coal-fired power plants. Trump also has reversed an Obama plan to prevent coal mining debris from being dumped into nearby streams and lifted a moratorium on coal-mining leases on federal lands.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., a longtime coal advocate, said he was taken aback by Cohn’s remarks, which sounded more in line with the Obama administration than Trump.

“I completely disagree with his statement,” Manchin said, adding that he plans to meet with Cohn “to explain the role that coal has and will continue to play in making this country great.”

Melinda Pierce, legislative director for the Sierra Club, the nation’s largest environmental group, said Cohn’s comments were accurate.

“Coal is increasingly not competitive as the market, the international community and public opinion reject this dirty fossil fuel that makes our families sick, pollutes our air and water and threatens our climate,” Pierce said.

“The Trump administration’s policies are completely at odds with these facts and need to catch up to reality instead of putting polluter profits ahead of the health of our communities,” she said.

That’s unlikely to happen.

Throughout the presidential campaign, Trump railed against the Obama administration policies as he campaigned in economically depressed swaths of states like West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Trump won all three states and swept eight of the top nine coal-producing states.

The New York billionaire has frequently celebrated his popularity in coal country.

At a ceremony in March, Trump was flanked on stage by more than a dozen coal miners as he signed an executive order that eliminated a host of Obama-era restrictions on fossil fuels, breaking with leaders across the globe who have embraced cleaner energy sources.

“That is what this is all about: bringing back our jobs, bringing back our dreams and making America wealthy again,” Trump said.

The miners “told me about the efforts to shut down their mines, their communities and their very way of life. I made them this promise: We will put our miners back to work,” Trump said. “My administration is putting an end to the war on coal.”

Trump’s promise runs counter to market forces, including U.S. utilities that have converted coal-fired power plants to cheaper, cleaner-burning natural gas. Democrats, environmental groups and scientists said Trump’ executive order ignores the realities of climate change.

While Republicans have blamed Obama-era environmental regulations for the loss of coal jobs, federal data shows that U.S. mines have been shedding jobs for decades amid increasing automation and steep competition from natural gas.

Another factor is the plummeting cost of solar panels and wind turbines, which now can produce emissions-free electricity cheaper than burning coal.

According to an Energy Department analysis released in January, coal mining now accounts for fewer than 75,000 U.S. jobs. By contrast, renewable energy — including wind, solar and biofuels — accounts for more than 650,000 U.S. jobs.

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Exelon: Three Mile Island to close in 2019 without bailout

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The owner of Three Mile Island, site of the United States’ worst commercial nuclear power accident, said Monday that it will shut down the plant in 2019 without a financial rescue from Pennsylvania.

Exelon Corp.’s announcement comes after what it called more than five years of losses on the single-unit power plant and its recent failure in a capacity auction to sell Three Mile Island’s power into the regional grid.

In the meantime, the Chicago-based energy company wants Pennsylvania to give nuclear power the kind of preferential treatment that are given to renewable energies, such as wind and solar.

Exelon and other nuclear power plant owners have made the pitch to states that zero-carbon nuclear plants are better suited than natural gas or coal to fight climate change.

So-called nuclear bailouts have thus far won approval in Illinois and New York, but the potential for higher utility bills in Pennsylvania is drawing pushback from rival energy companies, manufacturers and consumer advocates.

“Like New York and Illinois before it, the commonwealth has an opportunity to take a leadership role by implementing a policy solution to preserve its nuclear energy facilities and the clean, reliable energy and good-paying jobs they provide,” Exelon’s president and CEO, Chris Crane, said in a statement.

Nuclear power plants have been hammered by the natural gas boom that has slashed electricity prices in competitive markets.

Three Mile Island isn’t alone: FirstEnergy Corp. has said it could decide next year to sell or close its three nuclear plants — Davis-Besse and Perry in Ohio and Beaver Valley in Pennsylvania. PSEG of New Jersey owns all or parts of four nuclear plants, but it has said it won’t operate ones that are long-term money losers.

In March 1979, equipment failure and operator errors led to a partial core meltdown of one of Three Mile Island’s two reactors.

The damaged reactor has been mothballed since, but the other reactor is still in use. Exelon said that its operating costs for just one unit at the plant are high, further damaging Three Mile Island’s financial viability.

Perhaps nuclear power’s biggest nemesis is the cheap natural gas flooding the market from the Northeast’s Marcellus Shale reservoir, the nation’s most prolific gas field. Meanwhile, electricity consumption hit a wall after the recession, while states have emphasized renewable energies and efficiency.

With the rapid growth of natural gas power in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, closing Three Mile Island would have little or no impact on electricity bills, analysts say. But it may be replaced by carbon-emitting power sources such as coal or natural gas.

Christina Simeone, of the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy at the University of Pennsylvania, said the mid-Atlantic grid operator, PJM, and the U.S. Department of Energy have taken first steps toward policies or recommendations that could help nuclear power plants.

“I definitely think they are responding to some profound changes in the market as a result of very low prices for natural gas and hyper-competitive natural gas resources,” Simeone said.

Pennsylvania is the nation’s No. 2 nuclear power state after Illinois.

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Consumers Energy, SunPower collaborate on Michigan home solar energy

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In a state expected to grow its solar power installations by more than 500 percent this year, Consumers Energy and SunPower are collaborating to offer a full-service home solar solution to 100 Michiganders from 32 counties across Michigan.

As part of the Solar Distributed Generation (DG) Pilot Program, SunPower will provide participating homeowners interested in solar with a no-cost site assessment, customized system design, quality installation, warranty and financing options.

“At Consumers Energy, we’re rolling out new programs for Michigan residents as we all do our part for the environment,” said Dennis Dobbs, Consumers Energy’s vice president of enterprise project management, engineering and services. “We are pleased to respond to the growing interest we see from Michigan residents in generating their own solar energy.”

Each SunPower solar energy system will be designed and sized to best meet each consumer’s needs. Any excess solar energy generated by the system but not used onsite will result in a credit on the homeowner’s monthly energy bill under the state’s net metering program.

Homeowners may choose to own their system through a cash purchase or loan, allowing eligible customers to take advantage of federal and state incentives.

Among SunPower’s home solar offerings available through the pilot is the SunPower Equinox platform, the nation’s first residential solar solution that has been designed and engineered by one company to work seamlessly together, delivering unbeatable power, long-term performance and curb appeal. With the Equinox system, only the solar panels and a smart energy management device are visible, reflecting the company’s minimalist architectural approach at the system level. And because SunPower panels are more efficient, fewer are required to generate the same amount of energy as a system with conventional solar.

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FPL closing another coal-fired power plant

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Florida Power & Light Co. filed a petition with the Florida Public Service Commission for approval to shut down the St. Johns River Power Park at the end of this year.

SJRPP is a coal-fired power plant jointly owned by FPL and JEA, the municipally-owned electric provider for the City of Jacksonville.

The nearly 1,300 MW plant has served customers of the two utilities well for many years, but the company says it is no longer economical to operate. The power plant‘s retirement is expected to save FPL customers $183 million as well as prevent more than 5.6 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

In 1981, the PSC approved a request by FPL and JEA to build SJRPP to provide affordable power generated by a source other than oil — the fuel for the majority of FPL’s plants at that time.

FPL owns 20 percent of the facility, with an additional long-term agreement between the two utilities that has resulted in the partners sharing the power output and operating expenses equally.

Located in Jacksonville, SJRPP is currently one of the highest-cost generating facilities to operate and maintain for both FPL’s and JEA’s systems. Advances in technology have made cleaner, more fuel-efficient power generation from natural gas and solar more cost-effective, and the addition of a third major natural gas pipeline into Florida will soon make it possible for the generation of clean, affordable power to serve Floridians’ needs without SJRPP and two other coal plants that FPL is shutting down.

FPL has asked the PSC to review this request and make its decision by December 2017, so that SJRPP can be closed down at the end of the year and the projected customer benefits can be realized sooner.

Over the last two years, FPL bought out existing contracts with two independently owned coal-fired power plants with the goal of shutting down both plants, saving hundreds of millions of dollars for customers as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The first of these, the Cedar Bay plant in Jacksonville, ceased operations at the end of 2016. The second, the Indiantown Co-generation plant in Martin County, is on track to close by the end of 2019. FPL continues to look for additional opportunities to save customers money and generate cleaner energy.

As the company continues to invest in cleaner, more fuel-efficient natural gas technology, FPL plans to retire its Lauderdale Plant in Dania Beach, Fla., the site of FPL’s first power plant in 1927. The current plant was last updated nearly a quarter-century ago and continues to operate some components that date back to the 1950s.

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DTE Biomass buys renewable natural gas facilities

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DTE Biomass Energy bought a pair of landfill gas-to-energy projects in Texas, purchasing both the operating Fort Bend Power Producers, facility just outside of Rosenberg and the Seabreeze landfill gas development project in Angleton.

Construction of the Seabreeze power plant is expected to commence next month.

Fort Bend and Seabreeze bring the number of landfill gas-to-energy projects DTE operates in Texas to three and gives DTE five facilities company-wide which convert landfill gas to pipeline-quality renewable natural gas (RNG).

The RNG produced at the Fort Bend project is derived from landfill gas which is then ultimately processed to pipeline-quality standards. This low-carbon fuel is extremely versatile and fully compatible with the U.S. natural gas infrastructure.

Today RNG is primarily used to power compressed natural gas and liquefied natural gas vehicles, offsetting the use of fossil-based fuel. The purchase is consistent with DTE’s recently announced, broad sustainability initiative to help address climate change.

Constructed in 2013, the Fort Bend facility generates enough RNG to supply fuel for 560 diesel transit buses annually. Later this year, DTE will increase the output of the project by expanding the plant’s capacity to generate enough RNG to fuel over 1,000 diesel transit buses. Forecast to reach commercial operations in the fourth quarter of this year, the Seabreeze facility is expected to produce a similar volume.

The plants’ economic and environmental benefits are significant. The projects reduce greenhouse gas by collecting and destroying landfill gas which, according to the EPA, is 25 times more harmful to the environment than carbon dioxide.  

Nationwide, DTE’s landfill gas portfolio includes:

·      13 projects generating renewable electricity

·      3 creating natural gas for industrial applications

·      5 producing RNG for vehicle use and other gas services

DTE Biomass Energy, an Ann Arbor, Michigan based unit of DTE Energy, is a national leader in the landfill gas industry, with a diverse operating portfolio of 21 projects spanning eight states.

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Michael C. Camuñez joins Edison International, SCE boards of directors

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Edison International and Southern California Edison said Michael C. Camuñez has been elected to the board of directors of each company, effective June 15.

“Michael brings a unique combination of diverse experience and skills to our boards,” said Bill Sullivan, chair of the Edison International board of directors. “We look forward to his insights and counsel on a broad range of critical issues.”

“Michael’s public policy expertise, from a shared state, national and international perspective, as well as his extensive legal background and business leadership abilities, will be extremely valuable to our companies,” said Pedro Pizarro, president and CEO of Edison International.

Camuñez, 48, is president and CEO of ManattJones Global Strategies. The firm offers strategic consulting, risk management and market assessment services to Fortune 500 companies, specializing in matters related to international business, corporate governance, public affairs, due diligence, economic policy and government relations.

Prior to joining ManattJones Global Strategies in 2013, Camuñez served in the U.S. Department of Commerce as assistant secretary for market access and compliance, where he helped to lead the federal government’s efforts to open new markets for U.S. goods and services. In that role, he visited more than 30 countries to advance U.S. trade and economic policy.

Before his Department of Commerce service, Camuñez was special counsel to President Obama in the Office of the White House Counsel and special assistant to the president, where he helped manage senior appointments to the domestic cabinet. Prior to his White House roles, Camuñez was an equity partner at the law firm of O’Melveny & Myers, LLP, where he worked for more than 10 years.

Camuñez currently serves on the boards of the Pacific Council on International Policy and the U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and a J.D. from Stanford Law School.

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