NC Sustainable Energy Association


NC Sustainable Energy Buzz

August 10, 2011 9:54 AM | Posted By: Julie Robinson, Director of Government Affairs

NC Sustainable Energy Buzz North Carolina is leading the Southeast in the emerging clean energy economy and our state's valuable sustainable energy businesses, local community leaders and organizations, educational institutions, and others are ready and eager to start new projects to make us a national leader. Below are just a few of the recent major announcements and innovations from across our state. Click on the links below to learn more:

NC-based ABB, the leading power and automation technology group, has won an order worth around $1 billion from the Dutch-German transmission grid operator TenneT to supply a power link connecting offshore North Sea wind farms to the German mainland grid.This is the largest power transmission order in ABB’s history.

Appalachian State University’s Solar Homestead, a net-zero, solar-powered home, prepares to compete in the US Dept. of Energy's biennial Solar Decathlon in Washington, DC on Sept. 23-Oct. 2. The Solar Decathalon features 20 collegiate teams from around the world.

Celgard will invest $105 million to expand production capacity at its new Concord plantand will hire an additional 250 employees during the next two years.

Atlantic Wind LLC, a subsidiary of Iberdrola Renewables, is moving forward with plans to erect up to 150 wind turbines on a 20,000-acre tract outside of Elizabeth City. The company is paying many farmers in the two counties $6,000 per turbine per year – and the farmers still can work their land around the turbines' concrete base. This is like having a new crop with a steady income no matter the weather, said a farmer.

The town of Cary and FLS Energy are planning a 2.3 megawatts solar energy project that could rank among the largest in the state. If the Cary Town Council and Progress Energy approve a staff proposal, the town would rent two sites to a private green energy company that would install and maintain photovoltaic arrays.

Enviva has selected Northampton Co. for a new biomass fuel facility, which will create 62 jobs and $60 million in investment. This will be Enviva’s second wood pellet facility in North Carolina.

Office and school furniture manufacturer, distributor and wholesaler OFM plans to install another 250-kilowatt solar farm on the rooftop of its headquarters in Holly Springs. The company installed its first 250kW solar system last year and has since been producing more energy than it uses.

CED, a private, nonprofit organization that promotes entrepreneurial efforts in North Carolina, has named 25 winners for the second annual North Carolina Companies To Watch awards, honoring growth-stage entrepreneurial companies that demonstrate high performance in the marketplace, exhibit innovative products or display other unique qualities that make them "worth watching." The list features two NCSEA Business Members – Southern Energy Management and FLS Energy.

The Plug In 2011 conference last month brought the latest electric cars, technologies, trends and top experts to Raleigh – the first time the national conference was held outside of CA. Click here for a great recap.

Two free electric vehicle charging stations have been installed at Neal's Garageat 1907 West Markham Ave. near Duke’s campus – Durham’s first. The so-called Level 2 chargers are sufficient to "top off" a battery pack while the motorist is out having dinner or shopping downtown, within walking distance of Neal's Garage. Raleigh, by comparison, has at least a dozen public charging stations, and plans more than 30 by the end of this year. The charging stations have been registered with the U.S. Department of Energy, so that they will show up on electric vehicle navigation systems and online maps. Neal's Garage, which repairs gas-electric hybrids, touts other green credentials. For example, the full-service auto shop uses water-cooled fans instead of air conditioners in the work area, and doesn't turn on electric lights until about 2 p.m., using natural lighting instead.

Mouser Electronics, Inc., a top design engineering resource and global distributor for semiconductors and electronic components, has signed a global distribution agreement with Cree, a worldwide leader in LED lighting and silicon carbide (SiC) power products. The global agreement enables lighting designers worldwide to quickly find, compare, select, and order Cree’s latest products.

Energy Star’s annual “Biggest Energy Loser” competition has teams from 245 US buildings competing to see who can reduce their energy use the most. Once again, this list includes several buildings in NC – including Kenan Residence Hall at UNC-Chapel Hill, which is among the top leaders at the mid-point of the competition. Morrison Hall at UNC-Chapel Hill won last year by cutting its energy use by 36%.

The Catawba County EcoComplex represents this nation’s most advanced approach to landfill technology, an effort to transform the disposal of ever-controversial household and industrial wastes into something of communitywide value. The fancy term for it is “industrial ecology,” which turns the waste stream into a commodity.

President Obama recently outlined a plan to ratchet up fuel efficiency and cut harmful carbon pollution for cars and trucks. The plan for model year 2017-2025 cars and light-duty trucks sets a fleet-wide average standard of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. The agreement was negotiated in a slew of closed-door meetings with the country’s major automakers. Big tractor-trailer trucks will have to get 20 percent more miles per gallon by the 2018 model year under the first-ever fuel economy rules for heavy vehicles, announced Tuesday by President Obama.

Charlotte’s Fifth Third Bank recently unveiled its newest “green” banking center, a branch office at 2752 Ashley Road. It is the second “green” banking center in the chainand the bank will pursue LEED Silver certification for the facility.