A new study released on May 11 by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has found that about 6.5 million people were employed in the renewable energy industry worldwide in 2013, compared to 5.7 million in 2012. The largest sector in terms of employees was the solar energy industry with 2.27 million workers. Solar was followed by the liquid biofuels industry, which has 1.45 million workers, the wind energy sector with 834,000 employees, and the biomass sector with 782,000.
The countries with the largest renewable energy workforces last year were China, Brazil, the United States, India, Germany, Spain, and Bangladesh, respectively. Surging demand for solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in China and Japan has increased employment in the installation sectors. See the IRENA news release.
The Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) recently completed a national survey of state incentive program managers in order to better understand and compare features of incentive offerings across the 50 states. Additionally, C2ER performed an analysis of the programs within C2ER State Business Incentives Database, and then used these findings for the survey report 2012 State Economic Development Incentives Survey Report, released in May 2013. As the map here shows, energy is a big target for a big part of the country.
In related cartographic news, Platts on May 22 released its 2014 North American Electric Power System Map (snapshot below), which depicts in detail the U.S. and Canadian transmission and utility sectors. In addition to geographical features, the map illustrates the industry’s current infrastructure and latest projects. Existing and planned power plants of 100 megawatts (MW) or greater are labeled with the plant name and color-coded by primary fuel source. Operating and planned transmission lines of 161 kilovolts or greater are color-coded by voltage.
Cimetrics this week released a case study about an unnamed global pharmaceutical manufacturer (“GPM”) its Analytika Pro solution helped save $650,000 in annual energy costs. (A quick gloss of the text Cimetrics used to describe the company, which operates in over 100 countries and produces drugs in six main areas, reveals a strong chance that company might be AstraZeneca.) According to Cimetrics, GPM had a goal of reducing energy consumption throughout its global facilities by 30 percent by 2015 from 2010 levels. Additionally, GPM had a global commitment to reduce operational greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent.
Cimetrics studied five buildings at GPM's campus in the Northeastern United States that included 1.5 million sq. ft. of FDA validated and non-validated space that is utilized for offices, research laboratories, manufacturing and energy utility generation. Cimetrics collaborated with GPM and their building automation system provider to connect to and collect sensor and actuator data from over 4,700 physical points. Actionable recommendations were documented and provided to the client both through online and offline channels. Furthermore, Cimetrics helped secure over $100,000 in utility incentives to help pay for implementation of recommendations. This business process helped achieve over 90 percent implementation of recommended actions. Results achieved:
- Energy savings: $647,233
- Simple payback: 0.33 years
- Net present value: $984,396
Trammell Crow is managing the development of a new campus (rendering below) for FMC Technologies that just broke ground at Generation Park, located on the northeast corner of the Sam Houston Tollway (Beltway 8) in Houston, Texas. Phase I, which will consist of six primary buildings comprising more than 1 million square feet of office, workshop, and warehouse space, will sit on 71 acres. The project also includes a large parking structure, service yard areas, and extensive infrastructure.
FMC, a provider of technology solutions for the energy industry, purchased the 173-acre site at Generation Park from McCord Development in late 2012, with assistance from Trammell Crow and CBRE. Within the next two years, the company will move approximately 1,800 of its 3,700 Houston employees to the first phase of the new campus. The timing of additional phases will be driven by the overall business environment and specific operating requirements.
Toyota and its partners announced May 20 from Japan that they have developed a silicon carbide (SiC) power semiconductor for use in automotive power control units. Toyota plans to begin test-driving vehicles with the technology on public roads in Japan within a year.
The chips, made from carbide — one of the hardest materials in nature — theoretically have superior characteristics such as one-tenth the electrical power loss and 10 times the drive frequency. Toyota said the chips (pictured) would also allow it to reduce the size of current automotive power control units by 80 percent. The automaker said it has already achieved a 5 percent improvement in fuel efficiency in test vehicles and aims to commercialize the technology by 2020.
The European GreenBuilding Integrated Design Award 2014 recently was awarded for the first time during the IEECB Conference (Improving Energy Efficiency in Commercial Buildings) in Frankfurt, Vienna. The prize went to ATP architects engineers (Vienna) and the Vienna Business Agency for their aspern IQ building (below).
The project convinced the jury with its combination of high standards of energy efficiency with reasonable costs. Architect Horst Reiner (pictured), ATP partner and managing partner in Vienna, accepted the prize on behalf of ATP architects engineers: “We are fully convinced that integrated design is a pre-requisite for sustainability. We have been designing integrally for 38 years. Hence I am delighted about the recognition that our work has received today.”
Duke Energy in April announced it has selected five North Carolina properties for participation in its 2014 Site Readiness Program to prepare the properties for potential industrial development:
- The 72 Rail site, 257 acres of former farmland located in Robeson County, near Lumberton, one hour from the Port of Wilmington
- The Chocowinity Industrial Park site, 246 acres of undeveloped property south of Little Washington in Beaufort County
- The Havelock Business Park site, located in Craven County near the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point and the Fleet Readiness Center East. The land is being prepared for potential suppliers who repair military aircraft.
- The Marks Creek site, 99 acres of undeveloped land in Hamlet. The proposed Richmond County industrial park is located on N.C. Hwy. 177 near the Richmond County Airport.
- The Shannon Farm site located in Union County. Planners will be assessing a prime piece of real estate that has excellent rail capabilities and interstate access.
“Since the Site Readiness Program began in 2006, Duke Energy has evaluated 114 sites in the Carolinas," said Stu Heishman, Duke Energy's vice president for economic and business development. "We've been successful. So far, we've won 12 major projects on those sites, resulting in approximately 2,100 jobs and approximately $2.9 billion in capital investment."
Visitor registration has opened for the Offshore Energy Exhibition & Conference 2014 (photo from 2013 below), which takes place in Amsterdam at the end of October.
Some reshoring is being reshored to China.
The Heraeus Photovoltaics Business Unit, a worldwide leading supplier of metallization pastes for solar cells, announced May 15 it has decided to begin manufacturing front-side metallization paste in China. This move will complement the local sales, technical staff and back-side paste production that currently exist in China. "China represents the most critical market for the success of the PV Industry. It is projected that about 25 percent of worldwide PV installations and over 60 percent of cell production will occur in China over the next three years," said Andreas Liebheit, global manager of the Heraeus Photovoltaics Business Unit. “This decision not only shows our enormous commitment to the market in China, it also allows Heraeus to increase our flexibility in meeting our Chinese partners' specific demands on our products. We can significantly reduce delivery times down to two days after the receipt of a purchase order.”