The 43rd Earth Day happens April 22, which prompted the U.S. Census Bureau to share the following energy-related facts, among others:
2.3 million: Estimated number of occupied housing units across the country heated by wood in 2011, which is more than 2.0 percent of all homes.
40,063: Estimated number of occupied housing units across the country totally heated by solar energy in 2011.
57.0 million: Estimated number of occupied housing units across the country heated by utility gas in 2011, which is about half of all homes.
88%: Estimated percent of newly built single-family homes across the country with air-conditioning in 2011. In 1974, it was 48 percent.
25.5 minutes: Estimated average time for workers age 16 and older across the country spent getting to work in 2011, up from 25.1 minutes in 2009 and 25.3 minutes in 2010.
32.2 minutes: Estimated average time for workers age 16 and older in Maryland spent getting to work in 2011, the longest commute time in the nation.
16.9 minutes: Estimated average time workers age 16 and older in North Dakota and South Dakota spent getting to work in 2011, tied for the shortest one-way commute time in the nation.
49,174: Number of workers employed in nuclear electric power generation across the U.S. in 2010, up from 41,502 in 2009. They had an average salary of $109,021, down from $110,355 in 2009.
19,061 trillion Btu: The energy consumption in the U.S. manufacturing sector in 2010, down almost 10 percent from the 21,098 trillion Btu (British thermal units) consumed in 2006.
- 46%: The drop in the consumption of residual fuel oil in the U.S. manufacturing sector in 2010, going from 314 trillion Btu in 2006 down to 170 trillion Btu consumed in 2010.
A $400-million refinery in the works since 2002 on tribal land under the auspices of the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara nations is scheduled for a groundbreaking soon, following the Nov. awarding of an interior construction contract and the October approval by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. Of more immediate interest in the area might be these eight pages of job opportunities in the oilfields as of April 1.
Speaking of the DOI, on March 20 the department held a nearly 39-million-acre oil and gas lease sale for the Central Gulf of Mexico that drew $1,214,675,536 in high bids for tracts on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) offshore Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. A total of 52 offshore energy companies submitted 407 bids on 320 tracts, covering more than 1,722,191.42 acres. The sum of all bids received totaled $1,595,397,446. Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) i estimates the areas available for sale could result in the production of up to 890 million barrels of oil, and 3.9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Here's where you can access the latest OCS Gulf of Mexico leasing data as of April 1.
And speaking of the ocean: What are methane hydrates, and how might they dwarf shale gas when it comes to future energy sources? This story serves as a layman's introduction.
The first foreign installation of Intelliface, a sustainable resource and energy management system from New Jersey-based Quality Attributes Software (QAS), will be performed in Qatar, QAS announced in March. Thirteen IntelliFace systems will be installed in buildings in Education City, located on the outskirts of Doha, and three others will be installed in other Doha facilities. "We are confident these projects will open up a multitude of opportunities with the Qatar Foundation, as well as with other projects the country is planning," said Nico Willis, president of QAS.
The graphic presentations from Intelliface present an x-ray view of the energy flow of the building, measuring the energy usage for optimum analysis and management. The system also provides analysis of energy and resource performance, identifying trends as well as issues needing to be addressed. With geographic flexibility, monitoring multiple buildings at one or even several locations around the world is easily done. IntelliFace provides a detailed dashboard that can be configured with a variety of data presentations depending on the audience. Each display can track energy and resource use as well as renewables such as solar and wind. Intelliface also uses a tool called the GreenTouchscreen that is designed to educate occupants, raise their awareness and influence behavior.
On Feb. 28, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) expanded and modified the California Solar Initiative (CSI)-Thermal Program to provide incentives to process heat applications, solar cooling technologies, space heating technologies and systems that combine multiple applications. The CPUC also modified the way rebates are paid to certain systems under the program by creating a performance-based incentive system that will pay rebates based on actual metered energy delivered to the facility. Under the decision:
- Performance-based incentives will replace the current 70/30 incentive. Rebates will be paid based on metered energy delivered to the end use from the solar thermal system, with payments made quarterly over a two-year time period. Process heat, solar cooling, combination systems, and very large systems will be required to take the performance-based incentive.
- Incentives will be provided to process heat applications via a performance-based incentive system that pays the incentive based on metered energy delivered to the facility.
- Incentives will be provided for solar-assisted absorption chillers as a limited pilot program to test this technology's performance, durability, and economics. Incentives will be limited to no more than $10 million across the service territories of Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric, and Southern California Gas Company, and will be paid on a performance-based incentive basis.
- The CSI-Thermal Program will offer an incentive to the space heating portion of an OG-300 rated combination system, in addition to the water heating incentive, once these systems are certified by a qualified standards body.
SunEdison, a solar energy services provider and a subsidiary of MEMC Electronic Materials, Inc., just announced a global milestone in the company's solar operations as it now has more than 1 gigawatt (GW) of global solar PV assets under the management of its Renewable Operations Centers (ROCs). The facilities managed by the ROCs include a mix of plants that are owned by SunEdison and its investment partners, as well as third parties who have come to SunEdison to utilize its advanced services platform. SunEdison operates three ROCs providing 24/7 services year round, configured with redundancy to prevent disruption of service.
SunEdison monitors the full range of components and systems within a solar installation; including weather stations, pyranometers, ambient temperature sensors, panel temperature sensors, inverters, string combiners, recombiners, soiling analysis stations and AC subsystems. Based on plant information collected and analyzed by the ROCs, SunEdison provides comprehensive services to ensure reliable, high-yield operations for the life of the assets.
Is a TIF for a wind farm area a good idea? Some in central Iowa think so. And some don't.
On March 12, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Lockheed Martin IS & GS-Defense President Gerry Fasano announced Lockheed Martin will make a $3-million capital investment at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility to manufacture cryogenic tanks for liquefied natural gas. The LNG tanks, which initially will be used for ship propulsion, are part of Lockheed Martin's increased emphasis on converting defense technology to commercial applications. The project will create 166 new direct jobs with an average salary of $42,000 a year, plus benefits. Lockheed Martin will initially produce tanks to fuel the propulsion systems for oceangoing vessels. Long-term plans call for the company to manufacture tanks to meet the needs of shipping by land, rail and sea, as well as for land-based storage of LNG. At the Michoud facility in New Orleans, Lockheed Martin also will develop Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion heat exchangers – a maritime sustainable energy project – as part of a slate of new technologies planned at the NASA manufacturing site.
To secure the project, the state will provide the company with Louisiana's Competitive Projects Payroll Incentive, which will entail a payroll rebate of up to 12 percent for eligible jobs in the advanced manufacturing industry. Lockheed Martin will receive the services of LED FastStart® and the company is also expected to utilize the Industrial Tax Exemption Program. The first phase of the project is expected to begin with the installation of equipment in December 2013. In the future, Lockheed Martin will pursue additional advanced manufacturing projects at the Michoud facility, where it has long assembled major components of NASA's space systems.