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The Maryland Clean Energy Center will host its 2013 Clean Energy Summit October 15-16 at the newly renovated Marriott Inn and Conference Center UMUC in College Park.
This year's theme is "Solving the Distributed Energy Puzzle: Micro-grids and other Smart Solutions."Read More»
The Maryland Clean Energy Center will host its 2013 Clean Energy Summit October 15-16 at the newly renovated Marriott Inn and Conference Center UMUC in College Park.
This year's theme is "Solving the Distributed Energy Puzzle: Micro-grids and other Smart Solutions."
Jon Wellinghoff, Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, will deliver this year's keynote speech.
In keeping with our "Distributed Energy" theme, MCEC is currently looking for abstracts, speakers, and sponsors to showcase at the fourth annual Maryland Clean Energy Summit.
Every year, the Summit brings together industry leaders and innovators from a broad spectrum of clean energy specialties, as well as senior federal, state, and local government officials. Last year's Summit attracted hundreds of attendees from Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic region, making it one of the best professional development and networking events in Maryland's clean energy sector.
As a Summit speaker, sponsor, exhibitor, or attendee, you will gain exposure to industry leaders, project developers, investors, policy makers, public officials, academics, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders.
MCEC heavily promotes the Summit through our newsletter, network partners, social media, and advertising campaigns in print and broadcast media. Sponsors who sign on early, get maximum exposure in those publicity efforts. Exhibit space is available at the Summit for sponsors who wish to attract clients or partners by showcasing their products, services, and innovations.
Plan to be part of the Maryland Clean Energy Summit 2013. Please contact us with your ideas, proposals or questions at email@example.com or 443-949-8505.
Members of Maryland's General Assembly cleared the way for the development of offshore wind farms in the state, but produced few other breakthroughs for clean energy during the 2013 legislative session.
|Photo compliments of the Office of the Governor|
Before the General Assembly adjourned Sine Die on April 8, delegates and senators passed Gov. Martin O'Malley's offshore wind bill which would provide state support for an offshore wind energy project up to 200 megawatts. The bill offers the successful developer a subsidy of up to $1.7 billion over 20 years. Those funds would come from electrical ratepayers who would be charged a maximum of $1.50 per month.
"Obviously the passage of the wind bill is a significant piece of the clean energy puzzle falling into place," said Kathy Magruder, Executive Director of the Maryland Clean Energy Center. "It creates a more conducive environment for the successful adoption of that technology in our state. Offshore wind could be a tremendous potential resource in Maryland's efforts to meet our Renewable Portfolio Standard goal of 20 percent renewable energy by 2020. We hope the right players got the signal loud and clear that we would like them to do business here."
Magruder cautioned that an offshore wind mega development won't happen quickly or effortlessly. "The work of getting the regulatory framework in place for this technology was no small feat, but there is still all the work of standing up the technology. This is not going to happen overnight."
Industry watchers predict construction of a wind farm off the coast of Ocean City will likely take four to seven years to complete.
Some other clean energy bills failed or experienced sweeping amendments in the 2013 legislative session.
Del. Dana Stein (D-Baltimore County) attempted to advance legislation that would grant Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) for thermal energy generated by clean, efficient biomass systems, primarily ones fueled by wood or plants.
At the request of the administration, the bill was altered to instead create a task force to study which sources of thermal energy should be included in Maryland's Renewable Portfolio Standard and how best to integrate them into the RPS. The General Assembly passed that bill.
"I am very hopeful that the task force will lead to a very positive recommendation for legislation next year that will authorize Renewable Energy Credits for these types of thermal systems," Stein said.
Legislators rejected proposals to create a construction financing program for energy efficient and green homes, to establish an on-bill financing program for energy efficiency upgrades of existing homes and buildings, to launch a pilot program of community-owned clean energy projects, or to enable condominium corporations, homeowners associations or other cooperative housing organizations to qualify for state grants for solar PV and solar thermal installations.
Legislators also rejected a bill that would have closed what is regarded as a major loophole in Maryland's RPS legislation, namely the allocation of RECs to pulp and paper mills that burn a wood-waste product known as "black liquor." The process produces energy, but is carbon heavy and generates roughly the same amount of carbon dioxide as burning coal. Paper mills, including some out-of-state companies, earned $3.8 million from RECs in 2011 - about 45 percent of all RECs paid out during the year.
Could natural gas fracking price clean energy out of the market or could it provide a vital demand-response service that enables more clean energy developments? Could additional natural-gas-powered electricity plants reduce America's greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions or would they ensure that America remains dependent on fossil fuels and fails to meet GHG-reduction goals?
Those were some of the questions addressed by a panel of energy experts at a March forum sponsored by the Clean Energy Technolgy Incubator (CETI), a joint creation of the Maryland Clean Energy Center and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
Bjorn Frogner, Entrepreneur-in-Residence at CETI, noted that emissions from power plants fueled by natural gas are about 30 percent lower than oil-fired plants and about 45 percent lower than coal-fired plants. Meanwhile, fracking has driven the wholesale price of natural gas down to the equivalent of about 3 cents per kilowatt hour.
"If shale gas stays very cheap for a very long time, it might crowd out clean energy," Frogner said.
Several panelists stressed that the full extent of harmful emissions from natural gas exploration and development aren't fully understood and reported.
Nick Cheremisinoff of Princeton Energy Resources International said fugitive emissions from equipment and processes are not thoroughly monitored. Drilling rigs, well heads, pneumatic devices, compressors, dehydrators, storage tanks, pumps and other natural gas equipment can produce a variety of harmful emissions, including NOX, SOX, PM10, PM2.5 and volatile organic compounds.
Cheremisinoff said the natural gas industry could address that situation by installing leading-edge monitoring equipment.
"There are advanced technologies that have been used in the mainstream of European industry and are being more aggressively applied in the United States in the petrochemical industry and at refineries. The same technology could be applied to natural gas," he said.
Alan Krupnick, director of the think tank Resources for the Future, said that an extensive assessment of fracking operations in Pennsylvania showed that companies were doing a good job at containing process water. Yet, the study still showed a correlation between fracking operations and certain water quality issues. Researchers reported higher levels of suspended solids in rivers and streams near fracking operations. They also noted higher salt levels.
"The companies have been sending a lot of process water to waste water treatment plants, but the treatment plants can't desalinate water," Krupnick said.
Treatment plants discharge the treated, salty water, he added. "This is a bad practice because the streams are getting saltier and that can lead to habitat problems."
Shawn Bender - a member of the governor's commission on Marcellus Shale and a division manager at Beitzel Corp., a service provider to the drilling industry - said he has had the good fortune to work with highly responsible companies that have avoided environmental problems at their drill sites. Many industry professionals, he added, are working to create and operate by "a gold standard" for natural gas fracking.
Arjun Makhijani, founder of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research and author of "Road Map to Zero Carbon and Zero Nuclear," said he hasn't yet adopted a firm position on whether America should support natural gas fracking or not. As an electricity source, natural gas is cheap and lower-carbon than coal and oil. Gas turbines are also easier to adjust to offset more sporadic energy sources, such as wind and solar.
"So natural gas looks pretty good when married with renewables. It might be a good transition fuel," Makhijani said.
"But I think we are leaping too fast into fracking," he added, noting that we don't yet know the full extent of harmful emissions from fracking, its potential seismic impacts or whether America could ever achieve GHG-reduction goals while still using natural gas.
Makhijani suggested an alternative.
"The best source of new natural gas is existing buildings," he said. "If we do energy efficiency in existing buildings and use natural gas very, very efficiently, we can have a bigger source of natural gas than all the fracking can provide to you. So my question is, why aren't we focused on that?"
As part of its ongoing efforts to adopt clean energy and energy efficiency technologies, Dorchester County Public Schools has installed an 803-kilowatt solar array at Mace's Lane Middle School.
The ground-mounted solar installation consists of 3,276 solar panels and should generate 1,108 megawatt hours of electricity. The system is expected to reduce the school system's greenhouse gas emissions over the next 20 years by an amount equal to planting more than 35,000 pine trees or avoiding the use of 1.78 million gallons of gasoline.
"The completion of this project means that Mace's Lane Middle School will be powered by clean, renewable energy for the foreseeable future," said Henry V. Wagner, Jr., Superintendent of Dorchester County Public Schools. "Beyond the environmental impact, it presents a unique learning opportunity for students throughout the school district to get a hands-on lesson in green power and innovation... It will serve as an educational vehicle encouraging environmental sustainability awareness in our classrooms."
Washington Gas Energy Systems will own and operate the array under a 20-year power purchasing agreement. Kenyon Energy and REC Solar designed and installed the system.
The Mace's Lane array is the first solar installation at a Dorchester County Public School, but the latest step in the school system's efforts to utilize clean energy and energy efficiency systems.
Ten years ago, Dorchester became the first school district in the state to use geothermal technologies to heat and cool its schools. Since then, the school system has installed geothermal systems in five newly built or renovated schools and realized huge cost savings as a result, said Sam Slacum, energy manager and project manager for Dorchester County Public Schools.
In addition, the school system has implemented an energy management program that to date has saved the district more than $1 million in avoided energy costs.
"We do as many cost-saving measures as we can," Slacum said.
Those measures have included conducting energy audits on school buildings, closely monitoring set points and run times of heating and cooling systems, participating in a voluntary load-shedding program during periods of peak energy consumption, and conducting rigorous shutdowns on evenings and weekends. The school system switches to a four-day work week during the summer so that it can power down buildings and save energy for three days every week. It also works with an energy consultant, Synergistic Inc., to identify and adopt energy best practices, and optimize its energy-management software which tracks the school system's energy use and savings.
Officials from Dorchester County Public Schools are now exploring possibilities to install more efficient lighting systems at its facilities.
Frederick County is working to trigger a spate of solar installations with a program that offers limited-time grants and volume discounts on photo-voltaic and solar thermal systems.
The newly launched Solarize Frederick County program is designed to lower the cost and simplify the process of installing solar systems on county homes.
By contracting two solar companies to complete all installations for Solarize Frederick County, the program promises to deliver a volume discount on pricing for PV and solar thermal systems.
In addition, organizers secured funds through the Environmental Protection Agency's Climate Showcase Communities Initiative to provide grants of $2,000-2,500 to the first 30 households that purchase solar PV systems and grants of $750-1,000 to the first 30 households that purchase solar thermal systems.
Participants in Solarize Frederick County can also avail of state grants, federal tax credits and Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) sales to further offset the cost of their solar installations.
Organizers don't yet know exactly how much the Solarize Frederick County program will reduce the final price of a PV or solar thermal system. However, other community solarization projects have achieved volume discounts of as much as 33 percent. Combining that discount with Solarize Frederick County's grants and state and federal incentives could bring the first-year cost of a solar system by 54-80 percent, depending on the system type and size.
Lisa Orr, Sustainability Program Coordinator at Frederick County's Office of Sustainability and Environmental Resources, said the program will also streamline and simplify the process of adding a solar energy system to a home. Homeowners, she noted, will not have to assess multiple options from multiple installers. Under Solarize Frederick County, solar PV buyers will work with Astrum Solar while solar thermal buyers will work with Solar Energy Services, Inc. The contractors, she added, will handle coordinaton of project permitting, inspections, and grid connection through Potomac Edison.
The county is currently conducting workshops to familiarize residents with solar energy systems, available incentives and the economics of going solar. Solarize Frederick County will likely accept applications from residents until September 4. All installations must be completed by year-end. County officials selected two communities, Myersville and the Villages of Urbana, to pilot community-based marketing and sales strategies; however, any Frederick County resident can participate in Solarize Frederick County.
For additional information about Solarize Frederick County, go to the program's web site.
Energy professionals in Baltimore have created the newest chapter of the American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE).
Professionals from a variety of companies, ranging from independent contractors to Exelon Corp., and a variety of professions, from engineers to financiers to marketing experts, attended the chapter's inaugural meeting in March.
Kimberly Armstrong - Vice President of the Baltimore AABE and Chairwoman of The Abeona Group, an environmental consulting and education firm - said members of the fledgling group are eager to grow the chapter and put some of the national organization's practices into action locally.
Established in 1977, the AABE is dedicated to facilitating input by African Americans and other minorities in discussions and developments involving energy policies, regulations, emerging technologies and environmental issues. The organization uses the expertise of its members to analyze energy policy and serve as a resource for community leaders, consumers, policymakers and regulators, advising them on the impact of policies on under-represented communities. The AABE is also committed to building a pipeline of African Americans into leadership positions in the energy industry.
Armstrong said she grew particularly interested in expanding the AABE to Baltimore when she learning about the organization's educational endeavors. The national organization not only provides education and professional development opportunities to its members, it also provides scholarships to students.
"I was intrigued that they had a youth component," Armstrong said. "With all the STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] education that is going on, there are not a lot of minorities, especially young African Americans and Latinos, going into the energy field, and it is an ever-evolving field that is growing very, very fast."
Armstrong hopes to see the Baltimore Chapter of the AABE raise funds for scholarships "because so many young people need to be exposed to opportunities ... and a lot of them come from disadvantaged areas where they may not always have the resources to go to college."
Armstrong and Daniel Wallace, President of the Baltimore AABE and Director of Renewable Energy Systems at BITH Energy, are preparing to host further organizing meetings for the Baltimore chapter.
For more information about the Baltimore Chapter of the AABE, contact Kimberly Armstrong at 800-485-8214 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Supplying energy to the military has become the fastest growing segment of America's clean energy market.
The countdown is on to the May 1 application deadline for the Cleantech Open 2013 Accelerator program.
Selected applicants get the chance to win prizes valued from $20,000 regionally to $200,000 nationally; participate in the National West Coast and/or East Coast Academy; enroll in the full series of Cleantech Open Clinics, Workshops, and Webinars; and participate in the Mentor, Investor and Sustainability Programs. Winning companies also get plenty of press exposure. Each year, the Open secures 1,000+ company/technology-specific articles in regional and national publications.
Cleantech Open will host several networking events over the next few weeks.
Cleantech Open Southeast Washington, D.C. Metro Mixer – Tuesday, April 23 from 6-9 pm at The Graham Georgetown, 1075 Thomas Jefferson Street NW, Washington, DC 20007. To REGISTER
Cleantech Open Southeast Baltimore Metro Mixer – Thursday, April 25 from 6-9pm at Constellation's Sky Lobby Conference Room, Constellation 750 E. Pratt Street Baltimore, MD 21202. To REGISTER
Cleantech Open Southeast Networking Mixer - Tuesday, April 30 from 6-8pm at Opower Offices, Arlington, Virginia. To REGISTER
Clean transportation expo slated for June 24-27
The Alternative Clean Transportation "ACT" Expo provides a one-stop shop to learn about the wide range of clean transportation solutions available. All alternative fuel types are represented—electric, hybrid, hydrogen, natural gas, propane autogas, and renewable fuels. The agenda of the three-day conference at the Washington Convention Center is crafted with input from a national Clean Cities Coalition Planning Committee, as well as a High-Volume Fleet Committee that collectively manages thousands of vehicles across all alternative fuel types. Sessions include:
The ACT Expo also features:
For more information, go the ACT Expo web site.
Become Your Company's Energy Efficiency Champion
Do you wish that your company or organization didn't spend so much on energy costs? Do energy efficiency upgrades seem out of reach? Are you concerned that you lack the technical know-how to embrace energy efficiency?
In conjunction with Catalyst Financial Group, Inc., the Maryland Energy Administration recently released a guide to help energy champions make a persuasive business case to implement energy efficiency improvements with their organization.
The guide, "Getting to 'Yes' for Energy Efficiency," is a comprehensive resource designed to empower energy efficiency "champions," and help them lead their organizations through the decision-making, technical, and financial hurdles to implementing projects. Champions can use this guide to build a persuasive business case for energy efficiency by: identifying supporters and building a team, communicating the cost of delaying a project, making the language of energy efficiency more understandable, and aligning a project with an organization's decision-making process.
Visit MEA's web site to download the "Getting to 'Yes' for Energy Efficiency" guide.
Hannon Armstrong goes public
Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital, Inc. has announced pricing of its initial public offering of 13,333,333 shares of common stock at a price of $12.50 per share. The common stock is trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "HASI."
Based in Annapolis, Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital, Inc. is a specialty finance company that provides debt and equity financing for sustainable infrastructure projects that increase energy efficiency, provide cleaner energy sources, positively impact the environment or make more efficient use of natural resources.