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  • Stion Solar was one of two Silicon Valley solar technology companies to take very big, 1,000-job steps to expand their manufacturing footprints in the Southeast earlier this month. Get the skinny on the thin-film firm's giant leap in Mississippi Touch Down.

  • Green building in the residential sector has a set of challenges and solutions vastly different from such efforts in the commercial and industrial sectors. Or does it? The Top 10 Green Building Trends for 2011from the Portland, Ore.-based Earth Advantage Institute may include more than one idea that is both transferable and transformational.

  • At a Louisiana site that hasn't lost power in nearly 14 years, WorldWinds will help FEMA update storm surge models for the entire East Coast. CEO Elizabeth Valenti (left) tells us why Slidell was the answer, in Surge Protection.


Since implementing "treasure hunts" for energy cost savings at its most power-hungry facilities, "We're at about $160 million a year in energy savings," says Jeff Fulgham, chief sustainability officer and Ecomagination leader for GE Power & Water. In an interview with Site Selection, he said the company has been able to adapt its Web-based energy monitoring system to monitor water and wastewater as well. Water and power are inextricably linked: Replacing an old high-energy cast-iron water pump at one Upstate New York facility translated into approximately $100,000 in savings a year, he said. For more exclusive insights from Fulgham, watch for "The Water Factor" in the March 2011 issue of Site Selection.

Photo courtesy of GWCC

Some GE lighting fixtures may come in handy for a major lighting retrofit and controls system upgrade at Atlanta's Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC), which announced earlier this month it had received a $2.3-million grant for that purpose. Secured through the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) and its State Energy Program, which received funding for the grant from the U.S. Department of Energy as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (AARA), the funds will be used for a major replacement of nearly 1,500 lighting fixtures in the convention center's 12 exhibit halls. The grant, managed by the Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission (GSFIC), will be used to replace the current 1,000-watt metal halide lighting fixtures with 750-watt pulse start metal halide fixtures in the center's 1.4 million sq. ft. of exhibit space. The project is estimated to be complete in September 2011. With an annual power bill of more than $4 million, and more than 20,000 light fixtures throughout the convention center (pictured), the potential savings from the new fixtures will make a tremendous impact. Each bulb will potentially result in up to 25 percent savings per usage and will last 20 percent longer than the bulbs currently in use. In 2010, the convention center saved more than 5.8 million kWhs over 2009 consumption numbers.

The confirmed merger between Duke Energy and Progress Energy has plenty of employees either shaking their heads or shaking in their boots. A good monitor of the unfolding situation is found at crack reporter John Murawski's blog for the News & Observer. The merged companies will serve 7 million customers in six states in the Southeast and Midwest. It will also merge two significant nuclear power plant portfolios, with combined generating capacity of more than 57 gigawatts.

"The proposed deal further solidifies Duke's position as a dominant nuclear utility, with added capital heft and customer base in key energy-producing states," says Clinton Vince, Washington-based chair of the energy-transport-infrastructure practice at law firm SNR Denton.

Southwest Solar Technologies earlier this month opened its 18-acre secured Southwest Solar Research Park on land just south of Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix. The focal point of the facility, a 75-foot-diameter concentrating solar dish, is visible to commuters as they cross the Salt River along I-10. "The company is in discussions with other renewable energy businesses to co-locate at the park to promote collaboration and make land available for testing or demonstration projects," said CEO Brad Forst. Potential collaborators could include universities, private companies, and government-sponsored projects. "This is an important milestone for our company," said Herb Hayden, chief technical officer. "The facility combines our operational headquarters with a uniquely placed research and development complex for others that are seeking to advance solar technology."

Southwest Solar is a developer of a new solar power system that combines the high efficiency of a solar dish concentrator with the durability and performance of gas turbine engines. Founded in 2008, the company is focused on this unique approach to provide concentrating solar power (CSP) while using no cooling water, and with the capability of firm power using backup fuel and energy storage.

Situated along the southern banks of the Salt River in the heart of urban Phoenix, Arizona, the 18-acre Southwest Solar Research Park is not only the company's corporate headquarters, but the development and demonstration site for the TurboSolar Power System platform, as well as a collaborative testing ground for other future technologies.
Photo courtesy of Southwest Solar Technologies

If you're seeking to keep up with all news concerning shale gas, point your browser toward Shale Daily. Among its recent reports: "Three experienced state energy officials were selected by Pennsylvania Gov.-elect Tom Corbett on Tuesday to helm the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and another was tapped as the state's first Energy Executive."

On February 3-4, 2011, Practising Law Institute (PLI), the nation's largest producer of continuing legal education, will present the First Annual Energy and Environmental Law Institute with the University of Houston Law Center. Among the topics covered during the two-day program will be important trends and regulatory developments in both energy and environmental law; key legal initiatives in climate change, oil and gas, renewable energy, and nuclear power development; new legislation and regulations for offshore energy drilling, production and spill response after the Deepwater Horizon events and in light of development of natural gas from non-traditional areas, particularly shale deposits; pending EPA and state enforcement initiatives that might affect the development of oil and gas from traditional, nontraditional and offshore resources; and emerging issues in electric power, including nuclear and coal fired power development.


The International Motorsports Center just received its LEED Gold Certification Award from the U.S. Green Building Council. The center (pictured left), which functions as the world headquarters for NASCAR, GRAND-AM and International Speedway Corporation, is located in Daytona Beach, Fla.

But the Milwaukee office of commercial real estate service provider Transwestern's Sustainability Services team (below) is really getting up some speed: It just became one of only 84 LEED for Commercial Interiors (LEED-CI) projects in the world. The building was previously renovated and certified to LEED Core & Shell Silver standards.

"We are charged with greening commercial spaces across the Transwestern portfolio and beyond," said Al Skodowski, managing senior vice president of Transwestern's Sustainability Services team "Therefore, it was important that we demonstrate what is achievable within our own office space. Using our LEED expertise and experience in environmentally improving existing buildings, we were able to put our own team and process to work and take our project as far as it could go."

Photo courtesy of Transwestern

Site Selection readers recently learned about Adobe's new fuel cell installation. But they're not the only fuel cell-powered firm in California. Last week Cox Communications completed two separate 400-kilowatt (kW) installations at its San Diego headquarters. One fuel cell will provide 100 percent of the electrical load for one building, and the second fuel cell will provide nearly 60 percent of the electrical requirement for the main building. Cox is using PureCell Model 400 fuel cells from UTC Power, a United Technologies Corp. company. In 2010, Cox San Diego was identified as a 2010 Waste Reduction Award Winner by Cal Recycles and was previously named the city of San Diego's Recycler of the Year. The fuel cell project is part of a nationwide Cox Conserves program that aims to reduce the company's carbon footprint by 20 percent by 2017.

In the wake of a major income tax hike in Illinois, neighboring states are crowing about their business climate advantages, with new Wisconsin Gov. even going right to Chicago's Loop to do it, and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels saying it was like "living next door to The Simpsons" in terms of dysfunction. Looks like Illinois is faring no better with "clean coal" projects. Even as a similar multibillion-dollar plant got the go-ahead in Indiana last month, earlier this month the Illinois Senate rejected rate subsidies that had been sought by Tenaska for a $3.5-billion power plant in Taylorville. Meanwhile, a separate Tenaska carbon-capturing power plant in Sweetwater, Texas, received its final air permits in December. Plans call for the captured carbon dioxide to aid enhanced oil recovery in the Permian Basin.

In announcing its fourth quarter guidance from Chongqing in early January, Daqo New Energy Corp., a polysilicon manufacturer, also announced plans to build its Phase 2 polysilicon production facility in Shihezi Economic Development Area in Xinjiang autonomous region in western China. This new production facility is expected to commence production in the third quarter of 2012 and to be fully ramped up by the end of 2012. "The successful completion of the Phase 1 capacity enhancement project has increased our total production capacity to 4,300 MT in 2011, which will help us to better serve our customers in the future," said CEO Dr. Gongda Yao.

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

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

Vol.3 , Issue 01

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