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OIL & GAS
  • In a follow-up conversation with the former Shell president John Hofmeister, founder and CEO of Citizens for Affordable Energy, Ron Starner reports U.S. Falling Behind in Oil Production.


COAL
  • More than two years after a landmark legal victory, Keystone Coal's on the way to importing South American coal and other commodities at its new facility in Jacksonville, in Terminal Marks New Beginning.


RENEWABLE ENERGY
  • Large solar power projects in all sorts of climates look to financial backing befitting their scale, in Get Behind the Sun.


ENERGY MATTERS
Construction on SolarWalk began in August 2010 and was completed in November 2010. The project was designed and built by Rudolph/Libbe.
The SolarWalk is projected to produce about 104,435kWh / annually, enough to power 10 average Ohio homes This production will offset a portion of The Toledo Zoo's annual electrical load and displace 75 metric tons of CO2 each year, the equivalent of taking 15 cars off of the road.
150 tons of steel were used to construct the 1,400-lineal-foot SolarWalk, which was designed to mimic a snake winding along the perimeter of the zoo parking lot to the entrance.


In other Great Lakes solar news: Even the most mundane of property assets has renewable energy potential: November saw the dedication of the 1,400-panel SolarWalk, an artistic, educational and productive steel structure at The Toledo Zoo. Extending from the Zoo's entry complex to the furthermost point of the main visitors parking lot, it will be used by nearly 1 million people annually, providing shade, knowledge and clean solar energy. On sunny days the SolarWalk is expected to provide up to 320 kilowatt-hours, and each year it's projected to produce over 104,000 kilowatt hours. The energy produced by the SolarWalk panels enables the zoo to reduce its annual CO output by 75 metric tons. Estimated to cost just under $1.5 million, the SolarWalk was made possible through a partnership with First Solar, which donated the solar modules and provided design and engineering expertise. The Zoo also received a Renewable Energy Grant from the Ohio Department of Development, and additional support was provided by Rudolph/Libbe.


 An interactive kiosk provides information about how solar energy works, as well as how much energy the SolarWalk is providing for the Zoo. Rudolph/Libbe built a customized reporting program that collects "live" data from the system's DC-to-AC inverters.


  Benches are welded to 27 vertical finials, allowing visitors to sit under the array. LED lights are installed in the glass globes at the top of every other column. These decorative finials are hand-blown glass globes created by the Toledo Museum of Art.


A new study by The Brattle Group finds that emerging U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations on air quality and water for coal-fired power plants could result in over 50,000 MW of coal plant retirements and require an investment of up to $180 billion for remaining plants to comply with the likely mandates. The study by Brattle economists Metin Celebi and Frank Graves analyzes the economics of retirement decisions for each coal plant operating in the United States under the proposed and emerging EPA air quality and water regulations, taking into account the predicted profitability and cost of replacement power for both regulated and unregulated plants.


An Anadarko rig at work in the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania.
Photo courtesy of Anadarko

Site Selection and "Energy Report" readers know how closely we've followed the tremendous business development activity associated with shale gas, particularly in the Marcellus Shale formation . A flurry of facts and figures about the "shale rush" is now falling in Pennsylvania, as a new governor and legislators consider how to finally join the other 49 states in levying some form of natural gas severance tax. Among the studies being wielded is a Penn State report from May 2010 detailing the tremendous economic impact already being felt. The authors acknowledge, however, that it was completely funded by the Marcellus Shale Coalition, composed of businesses that have a stake in the drilling boom. Balancing it out are a number of more recent reports from the university ag school's cooperative extension, detailing the socio-economic and water withdrawal aspects of the boom.


To celebrate its 30th anniversary, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) presented awards on December 7 to individuals and organizations who have made outstanding contributions to the field of energy efficiency. Honorees included retired head of the California Energy Commission Arthur H. Rosenfeld, Rocky Mountain Institute Chairman Amory Lovins, Sen. Ernest "Fritz" Hollings of South Carolina and Rep. Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts. They also included New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), utility Seattle City Light, 3M and Whirlpool Corp.

A new report from the World Economic Forum and Accenture, "Energy Efficiency: Accelerating the Agenda, emphasizes the urgent need for energy efficiency to be at the forefront of the global agenda.


From the Unintended Irony Department: A recent missive from the U.S. Dept. of Commerce's Invest in America program included this note: "The Organization for International Investment recently published its first half 2010 Greenfield Insourcing Projects, which reveals that green energy greenfield investments rose dramatically during the first six months of 2010, accounting for nearly 30 percent of all greenfield investment. These investments, totaling $9.6 billion, created 14,000 new U.S. jobs." The report uses data provided by OCO Consulting, part of the Financial Times' fDI Markets operation, and makes no distinction between power plant and infrastructure investments on the one hand, and end-user companies' corporate, manufacturing and other operations on the other. The relative green-ness of greenfield projects vs. brownfield redevelopment or reuse of a vacant property remains an open question.


Those with a taste for personal reportage and economic history will find plenty to appreciate in a recent reminiscence called "Changes: The Emergence of Singapore as an Oil Centre" by Al Troner, president, Asia Pacific Energy Consulting.


Geography Doesn't Matter, Except When It Does: In November, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) acted to improve the investment climate for electric transmission projects clarifying an important aspect of its policy for determining what return on equity (ROE) is available to developers of those projects. When a developer of an electric transmission project applies to recover the costs of a project through a rate that requires FERC approval, the developer generally proposes an ROE that is intended to account for the risks facing that company. As part of that proposal, a developer generally presents a set of other companies, known as a proxy group, that it sees as facing comparable risks.

FERC said it will not require that a proxy group be composed of companies in the same geographic region as the applicant. While geographic proximity may be relevant in determining whether that company has comparable risks, FERC said that geographic proximity is not the only, or the most important, determining factor, and that proxy groups should be determined on a case-specific basis.



The 738-pp. World Energy Outlook 2010 was released in November by the International Energy Agency. Among other findings in its projections through the year 2035, the IEA says to look toward the oil and gas resources of the Caspian region. It also says this: "Investment in renewables to produce electricity is estimated at $5.7 trillion (in year-2009 dollars) over the period 2010-2035. Investment needs are greatest in China, which has now emerged as a leader in wind power and photovoltaic production, as well as a major supplier of the equipment. The Middle East and North Africa region holds enormous potential for large-scale development of solar power, but there are many market, technical and political challenges that need to be overcome."




One of the biggest nuclear reservations in the U.S. now has a new project making energy from wood waste and tires. The project is one of several using fluidized bed combustion technology systems developed by Energy Products of Idaho.


Vattenfall's Nuon Energy company serves an entire region in the Netherlands with a family of six combined heat and power (CHP) plants called the Utrecht Cluster. The plants were specially designed to supply heat for urban heating services in Utrecht, Nieuwegein, Amsterdam Zuidoost and IJbur, supplying hundreds of thousands of households with heat. Now a new gas-fired CHP plant, Diemen 34, is being developed for Nuon by Siemens. "Diemen is the ideal location because of its proximity to customers with a demand for heating and because of the existence of a heating network," said Nuon earlier this year. "In addition, the site already has the infrastructure needed for a power plant: connections, cooling water capacity, official designation for 'energy production' and room to construct new buildings."

Among the innovations associated with the new plant is a heat pipeline that will travel below IJmeer Lake to the nearby community of Almere. "Combining the highest feasible output of the gas-fired plant with large-scale supplying of heat to Amsterdam and Almere will enable overall output of 85 percent to be achieved," says Nuon.

The new combined cycle gas turbine power plant at Nuon's Diemen site will have a maximum capacity of 435 megawatts, enough to provide power to 750,000 households.
Photo courtesy of Nuon



Want more? Make sure to visit the Energy Report Archive.

"Energy Matters" is compiled, written and edited by Adam Bruns.

Vol.2 , Issue 10

 
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