The North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) honored several individuals, businesses and community organizations as part of its annual MAKING ENERGY WORK 2010 conference at the Benton Convention Center in Winston-Salem on Thursday, September 30. NCSEA announced the seven winners of its 2010 Sustainable Energy Awards in front of an audience of close to 300 energy leaders from across North Carolina and neighboring states.
Award winners were nominated by NCSEA members and other supporters of sustainable energy earlier this summer with the final decision made by NCSEA’s Awards Selection Committee. The annual awards recognize and honor North Carolinians who are promoting and championing renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency solutions, which is helping to grow North Carolina’s green energy economy in communities across our state.
“North Carolina’s green energy economy is rapidly expanding and creating thousands of jobs in communities across our great state – and we’re just getting started,” said Ivan Urlaub, Executive Director of the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association. “Today, we honor just a few of the hard working men and women of our growing sustainable energy community and industry who are making this tremendous growth and success possible, even in times of an economic recession. Because of the efforts and leadership of these remarkable individuals, organizations and businesses, North Carolina is leading the Southeast in sustainable energy and green jobs, and with the right actions and policies, we can become a national leader.”
The following award winners were honored at Thursday’s conference and presented a plaque by NCSEA’s Executive Director Ivan Urlaub and Maria Kingery, who is co-owner of Southern Energy Management in Morrisville and Chair-Elect of NCSEA’s Board of Directors:
2010 NORTH CAROLINA SOLAR HALL OF FAME – Dr. John Blackburn was inducted into the North Carolina Solar Hall of Fame this year in honor of his many years of dedication and service in promoting sustainable energy across North Carolina. A plaque with the names of individuals inducted into the NC Solar Hall of Fame hangs in the NC Solar Center’s Solar House on the campus of NC State University. The NC Solar Hall of Fame was established in 1998 by the North Carolina Solar Energy Association, which is now known as the NC Sustainable Energy Association.
Dr. John Blackburn is Professor Emeritus at Duke University, former chair of the university’s economics department, and served as its Chancellor from 1971-1976. Dr. Blackburn’s research and teaching has revolved around the subjects of economics, energy and economic development, energy conservation and policy, and renewable energy. Although he is now retired, Dr. Blackburn still remains active in the professional community.
He has since published two books, The Renewable Energy Alternative and Solar Florida. Over the span of his career, Dr. Blackburn has been an academic and regulatory visionary in North Carolina and across the Southeast, helping our society better understand how a more sustainable energy future would function and benefit our people. Most recently, Dr. Blackburn has attracted international attention for his technical insights into critical misconceptions about reliability, dispatchability and storage issues regarding solar and wind power in particular. These misconceptions of renewable energy have held solar and wind power back in North Carolina and across the Southeast for far too long. Going beyond his selfless commitment to provide non-profit organizations with valuable technical expertise on our most challenging renewable energy issues, Dr. Blackburn has donated generous financial resources to the advancement of sustainable energy for many years. Most recently, he has provided great technical expertise on NCSEA’s Vision 2025 report, which will be released in early October.
2010 Business Innovation Award– Presented to Forsite Development of Charlotte for its efforts to advance sustainable energy through innovative projects, services, activities, and its business model in North Carolina.
Forsite Development was honored for its ReVenture Park project, which is transforming a 667-acre Superfund site along the Catawba River in Charlotte into the region’s first Eco-Industrial Park. This dynamic and multi-faceted initiative features multiple clean-energy projects and will advance North Carolina’s environmental and economic goals by attracting a myriad of renewable energy and alternative fuel projects. The proposed Eco-Industrial Park is designed to include multiple sustainable components including a biomass waste-to-energy power plant, solar fields, incubator labs, wastewater treatment and reuse, and R&D facilities. When fully developed, ReVenture is estimated to generate over $900 million of new investment and create more than 1,000 green-collar jobs. Not only a leader in North Carolina, ReVenture is poised to become a national model for innovative redevelopment of Brownfield industrial properties that are similarly situated.
2010 Business Leadership Award– Presented to Argand Energy Solutions of Charlotte for its efforts to advance sustainable energy through engagement in public education, community service and public policy in North Carolina.
The son of a solar installer, Erik Lensch, Chris Salmon and the entire team at Argand Energy Solutions have shown their incredible ability to create a successful business by not only delivering excellent services, but also through active engagement in public education, community service and public policy in North Carolina. Over the last decade, Argand Energy has become one of North Carolina’s leading installers of solar electric, wind energy, solar hot water systems, and energy efficiency solutions. From installing solar panels at local schools across our state to educate students about solar power to training new solar installers, green builders and architects, Argand Energy and its staff is widely promoting and educating North Carolinians about the benefits of sustainable energy solutions. Since their small start outside of Charlotte in 1999 to expanding to five locations in three states, Argand Energy represents what many companies entering North Carolina’s sustainable energy market would like to replicate.
2010 Community Leadership Award– Presented North Carolina A&T State University’s Center for Energy Research & Technology and its Director, Dr. Harmohindar Singh, for their efforts to promote sustainable energy through notable accomplishments, innovative programs, and exemplary leadership in North Carolina. This award is given to a nonprofit or government organization.
The Center for Energy Research and Technology is a multidisciplinary research, teaching and outreach group at North Carolina A&T State University that works to enhance undergraduate and graduate education through energy-related research and to transfer this new knowledge to regional and national industries. Founded in 1984 and grounded in the engineering and building sciences, CERT has galvanized a distinguished group of faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students in the pursuit of reducing energy and water use, promoting sustainable design practices and improving economic competitiveness. CERT has become the epicenter for energy research and study in the Triad area and is one of our state’s leading institutions. The Center is accomplished at supplying energy analysis, research, instruction and outreach skills and plans to hold the first International Conference on Green and Sustainable Technology in November, which will once again broaden its reach and impact.
2010 Individual Leadership Award– Presented to J. Hardy LeGwin of Asheville for his exemplary leadership in the promotion and adoption of sustainable energy solutions in North Carolina.
Hardy LeGwin and two other founding partners started FLS Energy in 2006, which has now grown to more than 60 employees and has installed many of the largest solar thermal systems in the United States, leading the industry in design, installation, competence and reliability. After serving as a rescue pilot and commander in the US Coast Guard for over 20 years, Hardy began his second career as a building designer, with a focus on energy efficiency. He has published two volumes on construction specifications which are still carried by the National Association of Home Builders. Hardy built his first solar energy system in the early ‘90s and has become a premier designer of large-scale solar energy systems. In 2006, he designed one of the nation’s largest solar hot water projects atop the LEED Platinum Proximity Hotel in Greensboro. Under his guidance, FLS Energy has received numerous recognitions for their work. Currently, Hardy is FLS Energy’s Board Chairman and continues to guide the company in making solar mainstream.
2010 LEGISLATOR OF THE YEAR – NCSEA honored two legislators, Rep. Hugh Holliman (D-Davidson) and Sen. Dan Clodfelter (D-Mecklenburg), for their valuable leadership and outstanding efforts during this year’s legislative session, which resulted in passage of more than a dozen sustainable energy related bills that will create jobs, expand business opportunities, promote the use of renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency solutions, and spark financial investments in communities across North Carolina.
In announcing the awards, NCSEA’s Executive Director Ivan Urlaub said, “We honor and salute Rep. Hugh Holliman and Sen. Dan Clodfelter’s leadership on issues critical to making green energy solutions more accessible and affordable for all North Carolinians, their dedicated efforts in supporting policies to make our state competitive nationally in creating green jobs and attracting new investments, and furthering the House and Senate’s understanding of how to turn some of our greatest energy challenges into opportunities for our state.”
As the House Majority Leader and co-sponsor of several energy-related bills, Rep. Hugh Holliman has played a key leadership role during the past two years in drafting and encouraging the passage of several bills including the extension, expansion and clarification of North Carolina’s 35% renewable energy tax credit, energy-related government reforms, new financing options for sustainable energy projects, an expansion of our state's energy savings performance contracts, and the revitalization and expansion of our state’s manufacturing tax credit.
Sen. Dan Clodfelter is one of the strongest supporters and advocates for sustainable energy in the North Carolina Senate. Since passage of the REPS in 2007, he has played a key leadership role on numerous energy-related bills, including the extension, expansion and clarification of North Carolina’s 35% renewable energy tax credit, as well as carefully monitoring the on-going implementation of our state’s REPS law. Sen. Clodfelter also led efforts this summer to revitalize and expand North Carolina’s manufacturing tax credit, which could help existing manufacturers transition into the sustainable energy market and create more jobs.