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  • There are breakthroughs, and then there are breakthroughs. Ontario just experienced a billion-dollar one last week, and even more hydropower for the province will soon result, we learn in The Toughest 10K Ever.

  • A sustainable design approach is the signature of what may be the Southeast's first LEED-certified county jail, in Run to Daylight.

  • Proximity to ports and to fiber determined recent facility locations for wood pellet manufacturer and exporter Enviva, and there's more to come, in Pellet Run.


Site Selection was among the hundreds of organizations in attendance at the American Wind Energy Association's Windpower 2011 Conference and Exhibition in Anaheim this week. So was Ohio-based Timken Co., which announced on Monday that it would establish the Americas' only wind-energy research center focused on advanced development of bearing systems in wind turbines.

Timken will build the $11.8-million Wind Energy Research and Development Center in collaboration with Stark State College, the Stark County Port Authority and Stark Development Board. The 18,000-sq.-ft. (1,672-sq.-m.) center will anchor the new Stark State Emerging Technologies Airport Campus on 15 acres (6 hectares) of property adjacent to the Akron-Canton Airport in Ohio, on the borders of the City of Green (yes, you read that right) in Summit County and Jackson Township in Stark County.

The center will secure 65 jobs directly, while creating a unique research practicum and technical certification program for Stark State College students to acquire critical experience conducting research, development, and testing of large wind-turbine bearing systems. Joint funding for the project combines more than $6 million invested by Timken; $2.1 million from Ohio's Third Frontier Commission; and a $1.5 million loan from the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority's Advanced Energy Jobs Stimulus Program.

Stark State is the same school that hosts the newly consolidated R&D center for North America from Rolls-Royce Fuel Cell Systems Ltd., which is adding 60 jobs to the company's previous fuel cell technology payroll of 32 in Ohio.

This map depicts the early stages of development of the Stark State Emerging Technologies Airport Campus on 15 acres (6 hectares) of property adjacent to the Akron-Canton Airport in Ohio.
Image courtesy of Stark State College

If your idea of useful online education is a one-hour Webinar of Powerpoints and some easy credits, then you won't be interested at all in the substantial learning opportunity afforded by the Intro Energy Finance WebCourse offered by the Council of Development Finance Agencies July 12-14, 2011, from 1-5pm (EDT) each day.

CDFA says the course explores the wide range of tools available for financing energy projects, including bonds, tax credits, revolving loan funds, grant programs, and covers how new energy production/generation, energy efficiency, retrofitting and support programs are used throughout the country to encourage investment in large and small projects alike.

The European Parliament's Environment Committee on Monday in Brussels voted to increase the EU's greenhouse gas emission reduction target to 30 percent by 2020 including "25-percent internal reductions by 2020" within the EU.

"This is a very positive signal for the EU industry," said Rémi Gruet, senior regulatory affairs advisor for climate and environment for the European Wind Energy Association. "It is in the EU's interest to reduce emissions at home and hence develop its green industry even further, as it holds a clear competitive advantage in renewable technologies."

The report also acknowledges the many positive impacts of higher climate protection and higher production of renewable energy, including six million potential additional jobs and a more competitive European Union.

According to a release from the EWEA, a proposal for a binding 45-percent renewable energy target by 2030 made by the European Renewable Energy Council would have similarly positive impacts.

"EWEA fully supports a 45-percent renewable energy target for 2030," said Gruet. "€400 billion need to be invested in new power generation over the next two decades. EU governments must send a clear message that such investments must be made in renewable energy sources. A new regulatory framework covering the period after 2020 needs to be in place by 2014 - within the lifetime of this Parliament and Commission."

As long as we're spending money, if you have a spare €100 you can purchase the new 200-pp. paperback book from the Paris-based International Energy Agency entitled "Harnessing Variable Renewables - A Guide to the Balancing Challenge," also released in Brussels. Or you could download for free this handy seven-page summary, which contains some valuable insights, including the fact that, after Denmark and the Nordic region, the United States stands poised as the next-best region for doing what the book's title says.

Cummins Inc. on May 3 announced the Cummins Oil and Gas Center of Excellence, a business launched to serve the needs of its growing oil and gas customer base. The Houston land-based center is located in a primary hub of engineering and technology for the oil and gas industry. The Cummins Offshore Oil and Gas Center of Excellence is located in Singapore, geographically positioned in a global center of oil platform and shipbuilding and the home of related suppliers. Both facilities deliver a wide range of customized and integrated power packages specifically designed to the needs of each individual oil and gas customer.

"The Cummins Oil and Gas Center of Excellence allows Cummins to expand our current product offering beyond the broad range of diesel and natural gas engines currently available to customers," said Tom Linebarger, Cummins president and COO. "The centers provide global technical sales support, design, testing and validation and package manufacturing and assembly. The final result is an integrated package delivering the superior performance and reliability that Cummins customers have come to expect."

The new Cummins Oil and Gas Center of Excellence will be fully operational at the end of June 2011 and will add 50 highly skilled jobs by the end of 2012, with future job growth expected in 2013. "Cummins has chosen to locate the Oil and Gas Center of Excellence in Houston because we fully recognize that Houston is a major hub for business and engineering for the oil and gas market," said Carlos Ayala, general manager of the Center of Excellence Houston. "The Greater Houston Partnership Group and Harris County have played a large role in our decision to locate in Houston, providing incentives for skills development. We are also fortunate to expand upon our existing relationship with the University of Houston, allowing us to tap the university's resources for testing and foster a mentor program between our product engineers and students."

The new 70,000-sq.-ft. Cummins Oil and Gas Center of Excellence will sit on six acres of land on the north side of Houston, and features office and meeting spaces, assembly cells, a paint booth and two test cells physically sized for up to a 78-liter engine.

As part of the company's 125th anniversary activities, Bosch is investing approximately $10 million (€7 million) over eight years to support local universities and energy research projects in North America. Part of a global initiative, the Bosch Energy Research Network (BERN) is a project that works jointly with leading North American universities to achieve lasting developments in research and accelerate progress in the important fields of the environment, energy and mobility.

In 2011, the company will spend over $5 billion (some 4 billion euros) on global R&D activities. Approximately 45 percent of Bosch's R&D budget is focused on products that help to enhance energy efficiency and protect the environment. The BERN project is a part of the Bosch InterCampus program, a global initiative in which the company invests about $70 million (€50 million) to provide support for universities and research programs focused on sustainable energy usage in Germany, China, India and the U.S. over the next ten years.

The BERN project will fund 20 university research grants, with the goal of developing the best transformative energy technologies for series production. Funding will focus on several topics including energy conversion through solar energy, wind power and photovoltaics, storage technologies for transportation and utilities, and usage efficiency through microgrids and cooling systems. The research grants, each at a maximum of $125,000, will be awarded competitively on a two-year duration basis. For the project's initial phase, the following institutions are invited to participate: California Institute of Technology; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Stanford University; University of California, Berkeley; and the University of Michigan. Other universities may be considered at a later phase.  

The sequence of natural disasters that has killed thousands and wreaked economic havoc around the world over the past few months includes recent wildfires threatening oilsands operations in Canada. Here's last week's update on the situation from the Globe and Mail.

The International Bar Association on Tuesday hosted a live Q&A, available by Webcast, with Peter Rees QC, the recently appointed legal director for Royal Dutch Shell, about challenges facing the energy sector; the changing business of Royal Dutch Shell; the increasingly powerful role of the general counsel; and corporate social responsibility. Among other titles, Rees has chaired the International Construction Projects Committee of the IBA, The Technology and Construction Solicitors' Association and the Board of Management of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, and is a member of the Council of the International Chamber of Commerce UK.

Among other resources, the IBA also recently hosted a Webcast interview with the chair of the Organization for Economic Development and Co-operation (OECD) Working Group on Bribery in International Business Transactions.

Looking for deep analysis of how cleantech manufacturing supply chains, the smart grid, and a host of other green trends are converging in the real world? You can't do much better than Duke University's Center on Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness.

As for energy-efficient buildings, you can't do much better than the new series of Advanced Energy Design Guides available for free download at the ASHRAE Web site. Developed by a coalition that includes ASHRAE, the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES), the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the new guides offer contractors and designers the tools\ needed for achieving a 50-percent energy savings compared to buildings that meet the minimum requirements of ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-2004. The original series of guides have an energy savings target of 30 percent over ASHRAE Standard 90.1-1999.

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

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

Vol.3 , Issue 05

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