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A Site Selection Web Exclusive, October 2014
WEB Exclusive story

The UK government has announced funding of £8 million ($13 million) to train the next generation of nuclear technicians and engineers.

The Brookings Institution’s Mark Muro and two others opine on how the United States could better leverage its 17 Dept. of Energy national labs.

The DOE is joining a Kentucky collaborative to build a 5-MW solar photovoltaic panel system on an abandoned landfill at Fort Campbell. In 2012 the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, the Department of Defense at Fort Campbell and Pennyrile Rural Electric Cooperative joined to develop a plan that would build the largest solar array in Kentucky. Since forming, the collaborative has amassed more than $10 million to support the project. USDOE will contribute an additional $800,000. The project will consist of more than 16,000 solar modules and cover approximately 20 acres on Fort Campbell. Annually, the solar array is expected to produce more than 6,500 MWh of electricity.

Chevron U.S.A. Inc. in July announced that it had begun commercial production of premium base oils from a newly constructed manufacturing facility at the company's Pascagoula, Miss., refinery, which earlier this year celebrated its 50th anniversary. Lubricants from Pascagoula will add to capacity from the company's refinery in Richmond, Calif., and a JV facility in Yeosu, Korea, approximately doubling Chevron's production capacity and positioning it to be the world's largest producer of premium base oil.

The US EPA last week released its fourth year of Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program data, detailing greenhouse gas pollution trends and emissions broken down by industrial sector, geographic region and individual facilities. In 2013, reported emissions from large industrial facilities were 20 million metric tons higher than the prior year, or 0.6 percent, driven largely by an increase in coal use for power generation.

The Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program is the only program that collects facility-level greenhouse gas data from major industrial sources across the United States, including power plants, oil and gas production and refining, iron and steel mills and landfills. The program also collects data on the increasing production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) predominantly used in refrigeration and air conditioning. Over 8,000 large-emitters reported direct greenhouse gas emissions to the program in 2013, representing approximately 50 percent of total U.S. emissions.

It’s not all bad news for industry from the EPA: Last week it presented to three companies its ENERGY STAR Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Award for their highly efficient CHP systems — energy production systems that decrease energy costs and reduce their carbon emissions. The winners were Eastman Chemical Co. in Kingsport, Tenn.; Janssen R&D LLC in Spring House, Pa.; and Merck in West Point, Pa.

“The companies recognized today with the ENERGY STAR Combined Heat and Power Award are leading by example and reducing carbon pollution equal to the generation of electricity used by more than 63,000 homes, and have reduced their combined energy costs by over $54 million annually,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.

Established in 2001, EPA's voluntary CHP Partnership program seeks to reduce the environmental impact of power generation by promoting the cost-effective use of CHP.

In a new video series from solar installer Vista Solar, owners of three California companies (AER Worldwide, Kortick Manufacturing and Annabelle Candy) discuss the financial and energy savings their SunPower solar systems (pictured) have produced after one to two years in operation. "Our bills went from $6,000 per month to $50 per month," said Andre Weiglein, owner of AER Worldwide, an electronic recycling firm based in Fremont, Calif. "We've seen immediate savings, but more importantly, we're going to see long-term savings that are going to be life-changing for our company," said Gavin Frase, president of Kortick Manufacturing, a pole line hardware manufacturer.

"Our energy bill has plummeted about 95 percent in the last two years and we've recovered almost 100 percent of our energy costs," said Susan Karl, president of Annabelle Candy, makers of Big Hunk and Abba Zaba. Karl's company is saving more than $130,000 annually from their 438-kilowatt SunPower solar system.

Two new solar-panel installations, constructed by Florida Power & Light Company on the grounds of the Technology Business Incubator (TBI) in Boca Raton, are now producing power, generating clean energy and providing real-life data for analysis by Florida Atlantic University scientists and students. The study being conducted by the FAU Solar and Fuel Cell Laboratory will focus on comparing the efficiency of solar panels that are installed in fixed or stationary settings versus panels installed on a tracking mechanism designed to adjust their angle to follow the path of the sun during the day.

Commissioning the solar panel project are (l.-r.) Andrew Duffell, president & CEO, Research Park at Florida Atlantic University; Dr. Amir Abtahi, Director of the FAU Solar and Fuel Cell Laboratory; Craig Muccio, FPL Program Manager for Conservation & Renewable Research; David Bates, FPL Manager of Project Development; Lonnie Maier, Board of Directors, Research Park at Florida Atlantic University.

As part of its mission to enable customers to take control of their energy usage, National Grid last week launched an updated energy efficiency program to support design of high-performing new commercial and industrial buildings in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The New Construction Program provides professionals involved with building design, construction, ownership or operation with an array of energy-saving resources, financial incentives and training designed to help lower building operating expenses, reduce emissions and optimize performance.

ExxonMobil affiliate Esso Belgium, a division of ExxonMobil Petroleum & Chemical B.V.B.A., announced this summer it plans to install a new delayed coker unit at its Antwerp refinery (pictured) to convert heavy, higher sulfur residual oils into transportation fuels products such as marine gasoil and diesel fuel. The new unit will expand the refinery’s ability to help meet energy needs throughout northwest Europe, despite a challenging industry environment.

“Our investments at this refinery, totaling more than $2 billion in less than a decade, will contribute to meeting the demand for fuels and finished products from our customers in Europe,” said Jerry Wascom, incoming president of ExxonMobil Refining & Supply Company. “This new unit, along with the recently completed 130 megawatt cogeneration unit and diesel hydrotreater at the Antwerp complex, reaffirms ExxonMobil as a leader in the European and global energy markets.”

In late September, ExxonMobil Chemical announced it is increasing production of its high-performance hydrocarbon fluids by about 10 percent through expansion projects at its Singapore and Antwerp facilities.

Esso Belgium’s Antwerp refinery has a production capacity of approximately 320,000 barrels per day and has been in operation since 1953.

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