Houston-based Transwestern announced Oct. 28 the US Green Building Council (USGBC) approved its proposed LEED v4 Volume Program for its managed office buildings that saves owners a significant amount of time and money in obtaining LEED certification. The program is the first prototype in the world to be certified under the v4 rating systems. Transwestern’s building prototype was pre-certified LEED Platinum under the LEED v4 Operations and Maintenance: Existing Buildings™ rating system, achieving a total of 86 points out of a possible 110 points. With the LEED v4 Volume Program in place, all Transwestern-managed office buildings that meet the prototype’s criteria can take advantage of a streamlined and cost-effective certification process.
As of mid-year 2014, Transwestern’s in-house sustainability team has certified 88 properties totaling 26.8 million sq. ft. and its efforts have saved 47.2 million gallons of water, 303,852 tons of CO2 and 336,060 tons of waste.
GE’s internal media machine Ideas Lab tells us what’s what with LEDs and other energy innovation in Africa. But they don’t mention non-GE-affiliated solutions, such as Bay Area–based d.light design’s innovations powered by social impact investors, or the former G24i, which restarted production at its Wales plant under new ownership last November.
Marking the two-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, Vermont–based nonprofit Clean Energy Group (CEG) has released a paper about new financing options for the installation of resilient power projects. “Resilient power technologies, such as solar PV with energy storage, could ensure against the devastating consequences of power outages from future disasters,” said the company, whose paper explores how conventional financing options such as bond financing, credit enhancement, and public and private ownership structures can be applied to resilient power projects.
“Instead of diesel generators like those which failed during Sandy,” said CEG, “new policies have been put in place to support more resilient power technologies such as Connecticut’s $40 million micro-grid program, the $40 million Massachusetts resilient power program, and New Jersey’s $200 million Energy Resilience Bank.”
Satsumasendai City and Sumitomo Corp. in early October agreed to carry out a joint project on the Koshiki Islands to establish an effective use of reused batteries from electric vehicles ("EV") as large-scale power storage facilities and to promote renewable energy into the micro-grid of these remote islands. The city expects to obtain technical support and advice from Kyushu Electric Power Co., Inc., for the aim of making this a project that can be applied to other remote islands facing difficulties with introducing renewable energy.
The project is similar to an earlier project announced outside Osaka. In addition to the reused EV battery systems, the project will also install solar power systems at two evacuation facilities on the Koshiki Islands that can be used in the case of disasters and other emergencies. A subsidy from the Ministry of the Environment will be used to construct the facilities, which are expected to be completed during the first half of fiscal 2015. Reused EV batteries are to be supplied by 4R Energy Corp., a JV founded by Sumitomo and Nissan.
At the sixth Global Cleantech 100 Summit, held in early October in Washington D.C., E.ON was named Corporate Investor of the Year. E.ON has so far acquired stakes in 10 cleantech start-ups in the United States and Europe. In early September E.ON opened its fourth office in the United States. The Technology and Innovation office in San Francisco will enhance E.ON's ability to identify promising business ideas early and build successful partnerships.
E.ON has been developing wind energy in the United States since 2007 and currently operates 18 wind farms. Its 19th wind farm, Grandview, is under construction in Texas. In 2011, E.ON re-located its global solar energy headquarters to San Francisco. E.ON also operates an energy trading desk in Chicago.
A few days ago, Post Carbon Institute released what it calls “likely the most in-depth and conclusive study of shale gas and tight oil production ever conducted.” Authored by PCI Fellow J. David Hughes, Drilling Deeper uses actual production data to show that the US Department of Energy’s forecasts for tight oil and shale gas “are likely highly over-optimistic.”
Madrid-based Técnicas Reunidas (TR) has been selected by Pemex Refinación for the execution of the ultra-low-sulfur diesel project at the General Refinery Lazaro Cardenas in Minatitlan, Mexico. “This project is part of the development and updating plans that Pemex Refinación is carrying out, with investments of $5,500 million, within the Fuel Quality Project at their Refineries throughout the country, to produce and supply diesel with a maximum sulfur content of 15 parts per million (ppm), which represents a reduction of 97 percent to meet environmental standards,” said the TR press release. “Similarly, air quality will be improved by reducing emissions of greenhouse gases by more than 12,000 tons per year. These works will have a very positive impact in areas where refineries are located, generating 12,000 direct jobs and 31,000 indirect jobs.”
The project in Minatitlan consists of two phases totaling $550 million in investment and expected to take just over three years to execute.
Forty first responders from nine states took part this summer in a Norfolk Southern-sponsored crude-by-rail emergency response class at the Association of American Railroads' Security and Emergency Response Training Center (SERTC) in Pueblo, Colo. Participants learned about the different kinds of crude oil being transported, types of tank cars used for crude transportation and crude oil response precautions. They also practiced specialized firefighting techniques during a mock 20-car derailment and fire.
“This is top-notch,” said Jason Hudgens, a firefighter and paramedic from Akron, Ohio, who participated in the training. “We were on a 52-acre facility in the desert, and they ignited a fire to create a real-life situation. We could feel the heat and use the hoses to spray foam. You can’t do that in a classroom. You can’t do this anywhere else.”
The training is part of the freight rail industry’s commitment to provide specialized crude-by-rail training and tuition assistance to 1,500 first responders during 2014. As the AAR graph below illustrates, US crude oil production has rocketed upward over the past five years.
Shell Canada in August set the 69th and final module at its Quest oil sands carbon capture and storage (CCS) project north of Edmonton, Alberta at the company’s Scotford Upgrader (pictured). The project, first profiled three years ago by Site Selection, will start injecting carbon dioxide from Shell’s oil sands operations two kilometers under the Alberta prairie in 2015.
“The final module was constructed in Edmonton — a growing center for modularization construction techniques that is bringing down costs in the oil sands and providing opportunities for Canadians,” said the company. Quest CCS is being built by Shell Canada on behalf of its Athabasca Oil Sands Project partners Chevron and Marathon to capture over one million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year from the Scotford Uprader and inject it deep underground for permanent storage under multiple impermeable rock layers. The project is part funded by the Alberta provincial and Canadian federal governments and the technology designed to make the project work will be shared with the governments as part of the funding agreement. Once operational the Quest project will join a handful of commercial-scale CCS projects in operation worldwide.
On 25 April 2014, following the European directive for a drastic reduction in sulfur emissions from ships, particularly in the Channel and North Sea area, and ahead of the opening of the LNG Terminal, the Port of Dunkirk (pictured) in northern France issued a Call for Expressions of Interest (CEI) for the setup of a marine bunkering and on-land supply chain of small-scale LNG from the port of Dunkirk. Detailed analysis is now in progress with the Dunkerque LNG – Air Liquide – Exmar consortium. An agreement is expected to be signed soon, followed by a call for funding under the European Union’s TEN-T transport infrastructure scheme.