P&G to Meet Power Demands with 100% Wind

Proctor & Gamble (P&G) made an announcement this week when they committed to meet 100 percent of its electricity demands with wind power. The company has developed a partnership with EDF Renewable Energy (EDF RE) that includes the development of a 370,000 MWh wind farm in Cooke County, Texas expected to be online by December 2016. The Tyler Bluff Wind Project will produce enough energy to meet all power demands for their North American Fabric and Home care plants where globally brands including Tide, Gain, Downy, Dawn, Cascade, Febreze and Mr. Clean are manufactured.

wideshotpinwheels_webThe announcement was made in conjunction with P&G’s signing of the American Business Act on Climate Pledge where they pledged to achieve 30 percent renewable energy to power its plants globally by 2020 with a longer-term vision of all facilities being 100 percent renewable energy powered.

Speaking about the project Shailesh Jejurikar, North America Fabric Care President, P&G, said, “I am delighted that our collaboration with EDF RE continues to provide our consumers with their favorite, high performing brands while reducing our environmental footprint. At P&G, when it comes to sustainability, actions speak louder than words and this move is a significant milestone in delivering that promise. It is incredible that the wind farm will generate enough electricity for all our P&G Fabric and Home Care plants; to put that in context: This is enough electricity to wash a million loads of laundry.”

The electricity consumption of the plants makes up about half of their total energy consumption, and this electricity will be exclusively generated by wind power. The plants will continue to use natural gas for process heating and comfort heating during winter.

To celebrate the scale of the collaboration, P&G Fabric & Home Care and EDF RE have constructed a mini-wind farm in Washington DC. The installation is placed on the lawn in front of the Capitol Building and is made up of thousands of spinning pinwheels.

Massachusetts Most Energy Efficient US State

Massachuesetts has edged out California as the most energy efficient state in the U.S. according to the ninth annual State Energy Efficiency Scorecard. Several states continue to improve their scores including California, Maryland, Illinois, Texas and Washington D.C. The report is published by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) with support from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

2015-map-640ACEEE Executive Director Steve Nadel said of this year’s findings, “As states move to frame their plans under the federal Clean Power Plan this year marks a tipping point for energy efficiency. State policies are increasingly encouraging utilities to invest in cost-effective efficiency, prompting them to adopt new business models that align their interests with those of customers and policymakers. We can see this taking hold in the 20 states that improved their Scorecard rank in 2015. Utilities across the United States invested more than $7 billion in energy efficiency over the past year alone.”

Some key finding of the 2015 State Scorecard include:

  • The top 10 states for energy efficiency are Massachusetts, California, Vermont, Rhode Island, Oregon, Connecticut, Maryland, Washington, and New York, with Minnesota and Illinois tied for 10th place. Massachusetts retains the top spot for the fifth consecutive year based on a strong commitment to energy efficiency under its Green Communities Act.
  • A solid 20 states rose in the State Scorecard rankings. California, a leading state, is also one of the most improved states this year. Maryland, Illinois, the District of Columbia, and Texas also deserve recognition for improvement over the past year.
  • Overall, 16 states fell in the rankings this year, due to such factors as policy or program rollbacks or failure to keep pace as other states expanded efficiency efforts. The five states most in need of improvement (starting with dead last) are: North Dakota, Wyoming, South Dakota, Louisiana, and Mississippi, although new efficiency programs in Louisiana and Mississippi mean these states may not be in the bottom for much longer. While not in the bottom five states, New Mexico dropped the farthest in 2015, losing four points and falling six positions from 25th to 31st in the rankings. This is due in part to the state’s failure to adopt energy building codes beyond the 2009 requirements.

Another key finding: Savings from electricity efficiency programs in 2014 totaled approximately 25.7 million megawatt-hours (MWh), a 5.8% increase over last year. These savings are equivalent to about 0.7% of total retail electricity sales across the nation in 2014. Gas savings for 2014 were reported at 374 million therms (MMTherms), a 35% increase over 2013. Click here to read the full report.

Global Wind Atlas Offers Comprehensive Data

A new free resource has been launched that provides detailed data and statistics on global wind energy potential. Provided by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), the Global Wind Atlas, provides wind resource data at one-kilometre resolution; whereas, in the past the best data was at 10-kilometres.

GWA pocket screenshot2“Wind energy potential across the globe is vast, but the upfront costs of measuring potential and determining the best locations for projects is an obstacle in many countries,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. “The new Global Wind Atlas provides this needed data directly and for free, making it a ground-breaking tool to help jumpstart wind energy development worldwide.”

The Wind Atlas is the latest offering as part of the Global Atlas, a renewable energy mapping tool. The organization explains that the dataset uses microscale modeling to capture wind speed variability on small scales, allowing for better estimates. For example, when locating wind farms, developers naturally pick areas with the highest wind speeds. In datasets that provide average wind speeds over large areas, the enhancement of wind speeds due to small scale features such as hills and ridges are not captured, making the resource appear weaker than it actually is. The Wind Atlas can prevent this underestimation, provide visual maps showing wind speeds at three different heights, and also provide tools to generate and export data and statistics such as wind roses and wind speed distributions over a chosen area.

Danish Minister for Energy, Utilities and Climate, Lars Christian Lilleholt, added, “The release of the Global Wind Atlas demonstrates the support of the international community to expand global renewable energy to address global climate change, increase electricity access and stimulate economic development,” said. Denmark, together with South Africa, has already developed the South African Wind Atlas and we have seen the value of the tool in the development of the wind energy sector.”

U.S. Census Fun Fact: Wind

Did you know that the first practical wind turbine generator dates back 74 years to 1941? It was then that Palmer Putnamof Vermont demonstrated his device. His 1.5 MW wind turbine had blades 66 feet in length, and in 700 hours of operation, produced nearly 300,000 kilowatt hours.

Innovators were working on wind turbines between the World Wars, mostly for rural areas in Canada and America where people had difficulty getting power. However, it was Putnam who realized that to generate more power, more efficiently, location and high wind speeds were vital. When searching for his ideal location, Putnam looked for wind speeds in excess of 30 mph. He also wanted to be able to supply alternating current to the grid without the losses incurred by converting direct current to alternative current.

According to his patent, he found his “advantageously exposed” location in that of Grandpa’s Knob, a 1976 foot high forested summit with a rocky base. During the winter of 1940-1941, workers built the 120 foot (36 meter) tower and turbine. The wind turbine featured just two steel blades, each weighing 7.5 tons each and were 66 feet (20 meters) long —bigger than the wings of all but a handful of bombers flying at the time. The turbine was designed to operate in wind velocities between 30 and 60 miles per hour and to withstand gusts stronger than 140 mph.

Today, there are more than 2,700 electric power generating facilities (i.e. wind farms) producing 4.1 million megawatt hours. Wind power now provides 4.5 percent of the U.S. electricity production. Siemens is building the world’s longest blade that is 74 meters long, nearly 243 feet, the length of an A-380 Airbus airplane,

IEA Releases Mid-Term Renewable Report

According to the International Energy Agency (EIA), renewable energy will represent the largest single source of electricity growth over the next five years. Pointing to the need to economically mitigate climate change and enhance energy security, the report calls on governments to reduce policy uncertainties that are creating barriers to development.

MT_Renew_MR_2015_Cover_HR“Renewables are poised to seize the crucial top spot in global power supply growth, but this is hardly time for complacency,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol as he released the IEA’s Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2015 (MTRMR) at the G20 Energy Ministers Meeting held in Turkey. “Governments must remove the question marks over renewables if these technologies are to achieve their full potential, and put our energy system on a more secure, sustainable path.”

The Renewable Energy Mid-Term Market Report 2015 finds that renewable electricity emissions will exceed 700 GW and will account for nearly two-thirds of global power capacity additions. Non-hydro sources such as wind and solar will represent nearly half of the total global power capacity increase finds the report. Similarly, the Natural Resources Defense Council in a recent study also found wind and solar to be leading the way in renewable energy growth.

The share of renewable energy in global power generation will rise from 22 percent in 2013 to more than 26 percent in 2020. Also by 2020, the amount of global electricity generation coming from renewable energy will be higher than today’s combined electricity demand of China, India and Brazil.

The report says the geography of deployment will increasingly shift to emerging economies and developing countries, which will make up two-thirds of the renewable electricity expansion to 2020. China alone will account for nearly 40 percent of total renewable power capacity growth and requires almost one-third of new investment to 2020. Continue reading

EDF RE Completes 194 MW Wind Farm

Spinning Spur 3 delivers clean electricity to the towns of Georgetown and Garland in Texas. (Photo: Business Wire)

Spinning Spur 3 delivers clean electricity to the towns of Georgetown and Garland in Texas. (Photo: Business Wire)

EDF Renewable Energy’s (EDF RE) Spinning Spur 3 Wind Project located in Texas is now in operation. The 194 MW wind farm was completed three months ahead of schedule and the renewable electricity produced will feed into the CREZ (Competitive Renewable Energy Zone) transmission infrastructure and be sold to Georgetown Utility Systems and Garland Power & Light, two municipal utilities who signed long-term power purchase agreements. Spinning Spur 3 is located 50 miles west of Amarillo in Oldham County and consists of its 97 Vestas V-100 2 MW wind turbines.

“We are excited to have commenced commercial operation of the Spinning Spur 3 project, and would like thank the residents of Oldham County and surrounding areas for helping us reach this important milestone,” said Ryan Pfaff, executive vice president of EDF Renewable Energy. “We are also pleased to be working with Garland Power & Light and Georgetown Utility Systems to supply clean, competitively priced electricity to their customers for years to come.”

With the Spinning Spur 3 project in operation, the Group’s installed capacity in the state has now reached 1,066 MW through six wind energy projects.

NRDC Report: U.S. Energy Economy Healthy

America’s energy economy has never been better according to a new report, “A Tectonic Shift in America’s Energy Landscape,” from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). One key finding is that innovative energy saving techniques have enabled the country to more than double its economic productivity from oil, natural gas and electricity over the past 40 years. This means, finds the report, that energy efficiency has contributed more to meeting the country’s needs than all other resources combined.

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 11.00.06 AM“Although the nation’s energy news has trended from bad to worse for decades, we’ve seen a remarkable turnaround, much of it due to the huge and inexpensive resource of energy efficiency — getting more out of every energy dollar,” said Ralph Cavanagh, NRDC co-director of the energy program. “But you’d never know it from those who want to build the massive KXL pipeline, ratchet up oil and gas drilling, launch a nuclear renaissance or embrace an ‘all of the above’ energy policy.”

NRDC’s First Annual Energy and Environment Report, America’s (Amazingly) Good Energy News, is the product of a detailed, extensive analysis of recent government data that shows total U.S. energy use in 2012 was below the 1999 level even though the economy grew by more than 25 percent (adjusted for inflation) during that period. This result, shows the report, is that factories and businesses are producing substantially more products and value with less energy, the amount of gasoline per mile driven is down, and the cost of all energy services (from lighting to refrigeration) also has decreased.

“These energy reductions are saving hundreds of billions of dollars every year, helping U.S. workers and companies compete worldwide, and making our country more secure,” added Cavanagh.

The report notes that the amount of climate-warming carbon dioxide pollution also is down, putting the nation on track to meet President Obama’s emissions reduction target of 17 percent over the next seven years, though much more must be done, says NRDC, to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

Here is a snapshot of several of the report’s major findings: Continue reading

Michigan Consumers Could Save Millions with Wind

A wind vision for new growth in Michigan,” finds Michigan energy consumers could save millions of dollars while Michigan farmers could reap millions in land lease payments by building new wind farms. The new report was released today by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and the Wind Energy Foundation (WEF) who held a roundtable discussion at Macomb Community College where students are learning skills that will enable them to secure well-paying jobs in the renewable energy industry. Of special interest is the finding that building a robust wind energy industry in the state can in particular revitalize add new wind manufacturing jobs to Michigan’s economy.

A Wind Vision for New Growth in Michigan“With stable policy we can grow wind energy and we can save Michigan homeowners and businesses over $3.59 billion dollars,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA. “Because of American ingenuity, wind energy’s costs have dropped by 66 percent in just the last six years and by continuing to invest in wind over a billion dollars in savings can be passed onto consumers in Michigan and across the Great Lakes region.”

The data in the report came from calculations made using the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) 2015 Wind Vision report. The new data finds that wind energy can supply ample electricity to power more than 710,000 homes while adding more than $11.6 million dollars in annual property tax revenue. In addition, Michigan landowners would be paid by wind farm owners an additional $7.6 million in lease payments a year by 2030.

“Michigan’s previous renewable energy policies have put the state on a path for success,” said Beth Soholt, Executive Director of Wind on the Wires. “Public policies that encourage the development of more wind energy are a win-win. Local economies will grow from the jobs and economic development that come from new wind energy projects, and consumers will benefit from the clean, renewable, and low-cost energy wind can provide.” Continue reading

BNEF: Wind, Solar Competing with Fossil Fuels

According to a new analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), this year has seen a shift in the generating cost comparison between renewable energy and fossil fuels. The report, “Levelised Cost of Electricity Update,” for the second half of 2015 based on extensive data and global projects shows that onshore wind and crystalline silicon photovoltaics – the two most widespread technologies- have both seen significantly reduced costs while costs have gone up for gas-fired and coal-fired generation.

The BNEF study shows finds that the global average levelised cost of electricity, or LCOE, for onshore wind nudged downwards from $85 per megawatt-hour (MWh) in the first half of the year, to $83 in the second half of the year, while that for crystalline silicon PV solar fell from $129 to $122.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance logoIn the same period, the LCOE for coal-fired generation increased from $66 per MWh to $75 in the Americas, from $68 to $73 in Asia-Pacific, and from $82 to $105 in Europe. The LCOE for combined-cycle gas turbine generation rose from $76 to $82 in the Americas, from $85 to $93 in Asia-Pacific and from $103 to $118 in EMEA.

“Our report shows wind and solar power continuing to get cheaper in 2015, helped by cheaper technology but also by lower finance costs,” said Seb Henbest, head of Europe, Middle East and Africa at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. “Meanwhile, coal and gas have got more expensive on the back of lower utilisation rates, and in Europe, higher carbon price assumptions following passage of the Market Stability Reserve reform.”

Levelised costs take into account not just the cost of generating a marginal MWh of electricity, but also the upfront capital and development expense, the cost of equity and debt finance, and operating and maintenance fees.

Among other low-carbon energy technologies, offshore wind reduced its global average LCOE from $176 per MWh, to $174, but still remains significantly more expensive than wind, solar PV, coal or gas, while biomass incineration saw its levelised cost stay steady at $134 per MWh. Nuclear, like coal and gas, has very different LCOE levels from one region of the world to another, but both the Americas and the Europe, Middle East and Africa region saw increases in levelised costs, to $261 and $158 per MWh respectively.

BCSE Calls for Passage of Clean Energy Programs

More than 580 companies including the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) are calling for the passage of legislation that provides the extension of expired and expiring tax incentives designed to promote the growth of clean energy and clean energy technologies. The groups submitted a letter to Congress stressing to the federal lawmakers that,”Businesses and investors need stable, predictable federal tax policy to create jobs, invest capital, and deploy pollution-reducing energy technologies.”

“Businesses and investors need stable, predictable federal tax policy to create jobs, invest capital, and deploy pollution-reducing energy technologies. Allowing the lapsed clean energy tax provisions to languish undermines investor confidence and jeopardizes continued economic and environmental benefits,” said Lisa Jacobson, BCSE President.

2015FB_1According to the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook published by Bloomberg New Energy Finance and BCSE, the use of lower and zero carbon energy sources has grown rapidly over the past seven years. BCSE says the clean energy tax provisions have a proven track record of helping scale up production and drive down the cost of clean energy technologies, thereby ensuring that market-ready technologies are deployed to their full potential.

Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) whose organization was also a signer of the letter, said of the need for these programs to have multi-year extenders, “American wind power is building momentum right now, but Congress has yet to pass these critical tax incentives, and the clock is ticking. The U.S. wind energy industry has rebounded from the loss of 23,000 jobs in 2013 due to policy uncertainty, and we can grow to support 380,000 jobs by 2030 with stable policy. That’s why we join hundreds of other voices in the business community to call on Congress to take action now.”

Kelly Speakes-Backman, Senior Vice President of Policy and Research at the Alliance to Save Energy and also a letter signer added, “Extension of the clean energy tax incentives is a bipartisan issue. This extension will bring stability to a growing private industry, while reducing pollution from the energy sector. The Alliance endorses this business-oriented approach to strengthen our economy and encourage energy efficiency and clean technology investments.”