Biodico Awarded Net Zero Farm CEC Grant

Biodico has received a $1.2 million grant from the California Energy Commission (CEC) to help fund its Zero Net Energy Farms project, which would enable farms to generate all electrical and heating power needs from on-site renewable resources. The monies were awarded under CEC’s Electric Program Investment Charge Challenge, a program designed to help develop advanced energy communities. Biodico is matching CEC funds and its Net Energy Farms project will be undertaken at Red Rock Ranch in Five Points, California and will be designed to combine solar cogeneration, wind turbines, anaerobic digestion and gasification.

1199bb48ee9b5be6644cbaf6b474ce71_CEC-grant2-863-430-c“The Zero Net Energy Farms project leverages Biodico’s proprietary technology to create an energy-efficient farm by utilizing economically viable solutions,” said Biodico President and Founder Russ Teall. “Our goal is to establish a template for ranches, farms and other agricultural interests throughout California’s Central Valley and beyond. This project comes at a particularly important time as California’s agricultural community searches for more efficient ways to produce, process and store more than 400 food, fiber, flora and fuel crops, not to mention convert biomass into electricity, as biomass power plants continue to close.”

Teall continued, “Equally important is the water-energy nexus—the production of on-site renewable energy reduces the consumption of water used to produce grid-based utility energy. As California agriculture continues to suffer the impact of water constraints, this has become extremely important.”

“There is a great need today for establishing a rational business case for tomorrow’s energy efficient farm,” added JJ Rothgery, chairman of the board at Biodico. “A Zero Net Energy Farm will help diversify power production and reduce the reliance on fossil fuels and water to generate electricity. The incorporation of these technologies will also enhance local economic development by providing jobs and an increased tax base.”

5 Surprising Sources of Renewable Energy

*This is a special feature to DomesticFuel from Rebecca Paredes with Green Future.

Weird renewable energy sourcesAccording to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Earth’s average temperature has risen by 1.5°F over the past century — and as long as we continue to burn fossil fuels, that number “is projected to rise another 0.5 to 8.6°F over the next hundred years.”

Human activities have released large amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution. The majority of greenhouse gases come from burning fossil fuels to produce energy, and one of the prime offenders is coal — a resource that some estimate will last no more than another 250 years at today’s consumption rate.

So, not only are we increasing the planet’s overall atmospheric temperature, but we’re also steadily running out of the energy source that powers places like the Gibson generating station in southwestern Indiana, which churns out “more than 3,000 megawatts of electric power, 50 percent more than Hoover Dam,” writes Tim Appenzeller.

Fortunately, promising developments in the renewable energy sector have created greater opportunities for widespread change. For instance, the city of San Francisco recently became the first major US city to require the installation of solar panels on new buildings. This unanimous decision came as part of San Francisco’s goal to meet 100 percent of the city’s electricity demand with renewable energy.

Unexpected Sources Of Renewable Energy

At the same time, solar isn’t our planet’s only promising source of renewable energy; wind and hydroelectric power have also demonstrated that it’s possible to power large-scale electric grids. But some sources of renewable energy are distinctly out of the ordinary — and in some cases, they’re downright weird.

#IE02016 Projects Strong Renewable Energy Growth

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has released its International Energy Outlook 2016 (IEO2016) with updated projections for world energy markets through 2040. During this timeframe, world energy consumption is projected to increase more than 48 percent led by strong increases in Asia as well as China and India.

IEO_2016webimage“Developing Asia accounts for more than half of the projected increase in global energy use through 2040,” said EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski. “This increase will have a profound effect on the development of world energy markets.”

The report finds that clean energy technologies play an important role in the outlook, with renewables expected to be the fastest-growing energy source. IEO2016 projects renewables as the fastest-growing global energy source increasing 2.6 percent each year through 2040. However, fossil fuels will still supply more than three quarters of world energy use, albeit falling.

By 2040, coal, natural gas, and renewable energy sources provide roughly equal shares (28%-29%) of world electricity generation. This is a major change from 2012 when coal provided 40 percent of all power generation. Going forward, wind and hydropower are predicted to be the two largest contributors with an estimated two-thirds increase.

Interestingly, if the forecasts prove accurate the move away from fossil-fuel based electricity will not be enough to stave off carbon increases. IEO2016 finds worldwide energy-related carbon dioxide emissions will rise from 32 billion metric tons in 2012 to 36 billion metric tons in 2020 and then to 43 billion metric tons in 2040, a 34 percent increase from 2012 to 2040.

Wind Energy Kicks off 2016 with a Bang

The American wind energy industry kicked off the year with a bang – the best since first quarter 2012. According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), wind added 520 MW of new generating capacity from January – March of this year. The U.S. Wind Industry First Quarter 2016 Market Report also found the industry has begun construction on another 2,000 MW with a total of more than 10,100 MW of wind capacity currently under construction.

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 8.24.25 AM“Our productive first quarter reflects the strength of American wind power entering 2016. We have a low-cost product that’s in high demand,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA. “As the wind business builds momentum, we’re prepared to double wind’s contribution to America’s electricity supply in the next five years.”

There are now more than 48,800 wind turbines operating in 40 states plus Puerto Rico and, for the first time, Guam – enough to power 20 million average homes with 74,512 MW of total installed capacity. Turbines were installed at seven projects across six states this quarter; Oklahoma led the country with 270 MW of wind capacity installations, followed by Iowa (154 MW), Utah (62 MW) and New Mexico (32 MW).

Texas remains the leader for total installed capacity and reported construction activity and accounted for over 54 percent of construction underway during the first quarter. The Plains region of Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska came next with 18 percent of construction activity, followed by the Midwest at 12 percent.

The newest quarterly market results follow the release of AWEA’s 2015 U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report, which highlights the growing demand for wind energy in 2015.

US Wind Jobs Hit Record

The U.S. wind industry continues to shatter records. In 2015, wind energy supported 88,000 jobs, an increase of 20 percent over 2014. The data was released as part of the U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report, Year Ending 2015 from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). The strong job growth coincided with wind energy hitting the number one spot as the country’s new source of generating capacity.

US Wind Industry Annual Report 2015The report was officially released at the Vestas wind turbine component factory near Denver and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper was on hand for the event. He noted in his remarks, “In 2015, Colorado ranked fifth in the nation for wind power capacity additions. An investment in the wind power industry and in wind projects generates new jobs, economic development in rural counties and clean air benefits to all Coloradans.”

Helping to fuel growth is the re-passage of the wind energy Production Tax Credit along with the Investment Tax Credit late in 2015. The report finds that wind energy is on track to meet the Department of Energy’s Wind Vision scenario of supplying 20 percent of total electricity by 2030.

“Wind power benefits more American families than ever before,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA. “We’re helping young people in rural America find a job close to home. Others are getting a fresh chance to rebuild their careers by landing a job in the booming clean energy sector. With long-term, stable policy in place, and a broader range of customers now buying low-cost wind-generated electricity, our workforce can grow to 380,000 well-paying jobs by 2030.”

AWEA Wind power“Made-in-the-USA wind power will help keep our economy competitive and our air clean for generations,” Kiernan added. “Our wind energy will never run out.”

The job growth in 2015 is primarily fueled by more wind project development and construction, requiring more than 38,000 employees. The report found the industry also experienced a stabilization of its manufacturing sector, which now supports over 21,000 well-paying jobs across 43 states, up over 10 percent in a year. And more than 8,800 jobs are held by wind turbine technicians, the fastest growing profession in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Texas leads the nation with over 24,000 wind energy employees. Wind project construction propelled Oklahoma to second place with more than 7,000 jobs. Rounding out the top five are Iowa and Colorado with over 6,000 jobs, and after moving up 11 spots, Kansas ranks fifth with over 5,000 wind workers. Maine gained the most in the state wind employment rankings, rising 16 spots.

2015 Sets Global Renewable Energy Record

According to new data released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), renewable generation capacity increased by 152 GW of 8.3 percent during 2015. This marks the highest global growth ever. Renewable Capacity Statistics 2016 finds that as of the end of 2015, 1,985 GW of renewable generation capacity existed globally.

RE Capacity Highlight_Infographic“Renewable energy deployment continues to surge in markets around the globe, even in an era of low oil and gas prices. Falling costs for renewable energy technologies, and a host of economic, social and environmental drivers are favoring renewables over conventional power sources,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. “This impressive growth, coupled with a record $286 billion invested in renewables in 2015, sends a strong signal to investors and policymakers that renewable energy is now the preferred option for new power generation capacity around the world.”

The report finds 2015 was a record year for solar and wind energy in large part due to a continued decline in technology costs. Wind power grew 63 GW (17%) driven by declines in onshore turbine prices of up to 45 percent since 2010. Solar capacity increased 47 GW (37%) thanks to price drops of up to 80 percent for solar photovoltaic modules in the same time period. Hydropower capacity increased by 35 GW (3%), while both bioenergy and geothermal energy capacity increased 5% each (5 GW and 1 GW respectively).

Overall, the study reports capacity has increased by roughly one-third over the last five years, with most of this growth coming from new installations of wind and solar energy.

The fastest growth in renewable generation capacity came in developing countries, in terms of regional power generation. Central America and the Caribbean expanded at a rate of 14.5 percent while in Asia, where additions accounted for 58 percent of new global renewable power generation capacity in 2015, capacity expanded at a rate of 12.4 percent. Capacity increased by 24 GW (5.2%) in Europe and 20 GW (6.3%) in North America. Continue reading

Wind Energy Provides $7.3B in Health Savings

According to a new report from the American Wind Energy Association, U.S. wind farms reduced electric power carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 132 million metric tons in 2015. In addition, wind energy reduces other harmful air pollutants including smog-causing sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx), which helps reduce rates of asthma and other respiratory issues. Electricity generated by wind in 2015 displaced an estimated 176,000 metric tons of SO2 and 106,000 metric tons of NOx, representing $7.3 billion in avoided health costs last year.

wind energy health“Americans will be able to breathe easier and live longer thanks to clean energy produced by American wind power,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA. “Clean air benefits from wind power totaled $7.3 billion last year, without even including the value of carbon savings, and the industry also attracts thousands of quality jobs and billions of dollars in private investment to the U.S. economy. With wind power, states don’t have to make a trade-off between clean air and strong economic growth.”

Based on costs assumptions provided by the Harvard School of Public Health study, the tons of SO2 and NOx pollution avoided in 2015 carry a public health monetary value of more than $5.4 billion and $1.8 billion, respectively. At the start of 2016, there were 9,400 megawatts (MW) of wind power capacity under construction, which is expected to reduce another 23 million metric tons of CO2 emissions each year when operational, and cut overall power sector CO2 emissions by an additional one percent.

The 132 million metric tons in CO2 reductions in 2015 are equivalent to eliminating all power sector carbon dioxide emissions in Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Colorado last year.

This data is an early look at AWEA’s 2015 U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report. The report will provide a comprehensive update on the state of the U.S. wind market, job numbers, state-by-state comparisons, and more.

Clean Energy Jobs Continue to Rise

Clean energy jobs continue to rise with a new report from Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) showing more than 2.5 million jobs in the clean energy industry across all 50 states. “Clean Jobs in America,” is based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics information and new data from the U.S. Department of Energy, as well as a comprehensive survey of tens of thousands of businesses across the country. The report provides detailed breakdowns of clean energy jobs not previously available.

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 9.54.32 AMAccording to the findings, energy efficiency is by far the nation’s largest clean energy sector employer, with nearly 1.9 million Americans while nearly 414,000 people work in renewable energy. The top renewable sectors were solar with 299,000 workers (including nearly 209,000 who work on solar full-time or close to full time, as The Solar Foundation noted in its 2015 job census) and wind with 77,000 workers.

“Clean energy is no longer a niche business – it’s a big-time job creator,” said Dan Smolen, managing director of The Green Suits, a Virginia-based talent recruitment and career development firm. “Our lawmakers need to realize that – and put policies in place, right now, to help the sector grow even more.”

Additional report findings include:

  • 328,000 people work in the energy efficient lighting industry. Another 162,000 help build Energy Star appliances.
  • Nearly 170,000 Americans work in the advanced vehicle industry, including 107,000 who work on hybrids and electric vehicles. Strength in this industry is due in part to new fuel-efficiency standards for vehicles and trucks.
  • More people work in clean energy than sectors like real estate and agriculture, and many more work in clean energy than work in dirty energy industries like oil, gas and coal extraction.

“America’s clean energy jobs market is massive,” said Philip Jordan, vice president and principal at BW Research Partnership whose organization conducted the analysis. “It ranks right up there with some of the biggest industries in the country – including real estate, management, and agriculture. When we spoke with clean energy employers nationwide, we were struck by their responsiveness to state- and federal-level policies as well as their optimism.” Jordan added, “It’s clear that by shoring up clean energy policies, lawmakers have a big opportunity to attract even more clean energy jobs to their own backyards.”

NJR Announces U.S. New Wind Project

NJR Clean Energy Ventures (NJRCEV) has announced its fourth onshore wind project, Ringer Hill Farm. The 39.9 MW project is located along the Pennsylvania-Maryland border in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, approximately 60 miles southeast of Pittsburgh and will consist of 14 GE turbines. The new wind farm is expected to be complete in early 2017.

njr-cleanenergy“Wind is an increasingly important segment of our nation’s energy mix and we are pleased to do our part to bring renewable energy to the marketplace,” said Laurence M. Downes, chairman and CEO of New Jersey Resources. “Our investment in Ringer Hill further diversifies our distributed power portfolio, represents the continuation of our Company’s long-term growth strategy and provides value to our shareowners.”

NJRCEV is investing $84 million dollars in the project and expects the wind farm will qualify for federal production tax credits, which were recently extended. Once the project is completed, it joins wind farms in Alexander Wind Farm in Rush County, Kansas which began operating in December 2015; the Carroll Area Wind Farm, located in Iowa, which came online in February 2015; and, the Montana-based Two Dot Wind Farm, which has been in service since June 2014.

Armow Wind Farm Powers Up

The 180 MW Armow Wind power facility in Ontario has powered up. The Samsung Renewable Energy and Pattern Energy Group project used Ontario-made products. Towers for the 91 Siemens 2.3 MW wind turbines were made in Windsor and the 273 blades were manufactured in Tillsonburg.

armow wind project“Samsung is proud to complete our fourth wind project under our Green Energy Investment Agreement with the government of Ontario,” said Steve Cho, Vice President, Samsung C&T. “Armow Wind created more than 350 jobs during peak construction and supported over 750 workers from our Ontario manufacturing facilities. Samsung and its partners are creating jobs and investing in the community which is benefiting real people in Kincardine and across the province.”

According to a press statement, Armow Wind is also bringing strong economic benefits to the Kincardine community, including more than $75 million over 20 years in property taxes, landowner lease royalties and community benefits. As part of a long-term Community Benefit Program, Armow Wind committed $13.6 million dollars to the Municipality of Kincardine. The program supports education and other initiatives.

“Armow Wind is a great example of how Ontario is changing the future of electricity. Armow Wind is a project that produces clean, renewable energy and that was built by Ontario workers with Ontario-made wind turbine components,” added Mike Garland, CEO of Pattern Development. “Armow Wind is now generating millions of dollars in local lease payments and property taxes, updating the local airport, and improving the community of Kincardine through our community benefits program. We want to thank the landowners, other community members and the municipality for their hard work and collaboration on this project. We are honored to become a part of this great community.”

The Armow Wind power facility operates under a 20-year power purchase agreement with the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO).