RALEIGH, NC – The North Carolina Energy Office has received a $532,134 U.S. Department of Energy grant to expand its award-winning Utility Savings Initiative to provide energy efficiency assistance to often overlooked or understaffed rural public school systems, community colleges and local governments. The grant will enable the Energy Office to work with eight public school districts, eight community colleges and six local governments to plan, implement and finance energy efficiency improvements to buildings and other public infrastructure.
Weaverville, NC – Sundance Power Systems, Inc. was recently notified that we are now officially designated as a Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) with the Statewide Uniform Certification Program under the NC Department of Administration.
In June 2011, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) settled a court case filed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the states of North Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee to address Clean Air Act violations associated with air pollution from its coal-fired power plants. Under the terms of the settlement, the TVA agreed to a $3 billion to $5 billion cleanup of its coal-fired power plants in three states.
The settlement of Clean Air Act violations at 11 power plants in Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee requires the TVA to install new or upgraded pollution controls to reduce smog and acid rain-forming emissions by more than two-thirds. The TVA must also provide $350 million for clean energy projects, including $11.2 million in North Carolina.
To learn more about the settlement, click here.
North Carolina is leading the Southeast in the clean energy economy and our state's valuable sustainable energy businesses, local community leaders and organizations, educational institutions, and others are starting new projects everyday to make us a national leader.
Below are just a few of the recent major announcements and innovations from across our state. Click on each hyperlink below to read more about each project.
Apple hopes the solar farms and fuel cell installation being built near its plant in Maiden will provide 60 percent of the power needed to run its massive data storage center.
U.S. Senator Kay R. Hagan (NC) today announced that 31 projects in North Carolina have been selected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy consumption and costs through renewable energy technologies.
Duke Energy Renewables and Sumitomo Corp of America completed a 131-megawatt wind farm in Kansas.
To promote electric vehicle technology in Charlotte, owners can still get a free re-charge at city-owned charging stations that opened in April. The city installed 26 charging plug-ins at seven sites in and around uptown and at park and ride stations elsewhere in the community.
Raleigh, NC – Springleaf Strategies, a marketing and sustainability consulting firm, is pleased to announce it recently became a Green Plus Certified company and has been re-certified as a B Corporation. B Corporation and Green Plus certifications are third-party rating systems that verify the company is living up to their promise of corporate environmental and social responsibility.
ELM CITY, N.C. – The sunshine that produces juicy muscadine grapes 11 miles southwest of Rocky Mount will now produce enough electricity to power nearly 200 homes and businesses in Nash County.
State and local officials, company representatives and neighbors from the Elm City area gathered on Thursday evening, June 21, to commission the 1.5-megawatt Sandy Cross Solar Farm on an 11-acre site at the Lewis family farm.
The Sandy Cross Solar Farm is the most recent project completed by O2 energies Inc., a Charlotte-area solar-development firm that is building a reputation for marrying sustainable agriculture and sustainable energy production on farms in the southeastern United States. O2 energies already owns and operates several solar farms across North Carolina and will start construction soon on a solar farm that also will create a new sheep farm in Franklin County.
Duncan McPherson, AIA, LEED AP Architect, is a principal and vice president at Samsel Architects in Asheville. Samsel Architects has produced award-winning design in Western North Carolina. The firm specializes in custom residential architecture, inns, galleries, retail, medical and educational facilities. NCSEA spoke with McPherson about the firm's commitment to green building.
What sets Samsel Architects part from other firms?
The architecture profession strives to achieve the delicate balance of artistic beauty and technical precision. Our studio has struck that balance of design vision and technical expertise to create exceptional projects that are attractive, functional, durable and efficient. We believe in leaving only beautiful marks on the Earth and hold ourselves to this standard on every project.
Why did the firm choose to focus part of its mission on green building?
Our commitment to green building and sustainability comes directly from our personal values and beliefs. Jim Samsel founded the firm in 1985 with a focus on passive solar and energy efficient design. Since then, as the firm has grown, the core values of the firm have evolved. Each of us in the studio has the desire to take our personal values and apply them to our projects every day. It’s one of the most rewarding aspects of our work.
Why are green homes and buildings growing in popularity?
The economics of green building has finally reached the point where we can’t afford not to build green. Technologies and products have advanced to where the return on investment is relatively short and energy costs continue to increase. When you frame the discussion in economic terms and not just environmental terms, there’s really no argument left to have. It has become a question of how do we achieve sustainable buildings, not a question of why.
BUNN, NC – Solar cells and grazing sheep, power lines and ewes and lambs, sustainable energy and sustainable agriculture will converge this year on a 46-acre field outside Bunn (population: 344) in Franklin County, where construction will start soon on a 4.5-megawatt solar farm.
The $15-million project being developed by Charlotte-based O2 energies Inc. will also create a working farm where a 10th-generation North Carolina farmer and his wife will raise free-range sheep and lambs. Progress Solar I initially will be a test site for herd-management best practices on a solar farm. The partners' ultimate goal is to create a model for future collaborative efforts that marry solar-energy production and agriculture in rural sections of the southeastern United States.
NC legislators passed the $20.2 billion budget (final conference report) on Thursday, June 21. The budget brings together the previously-passed Senate and House budget plans to fund state investments for fiscal year 2012-13, which begins July 1.
According to the NC Budget & Tax Center, the budget funding is at 11.4 percent below pre-recession levels and at a new all-time historic low of 5.47 percent of state personal income. It now awaits action by the Governor Bev Perdue.
System Advisor Model Virtual Conference
Hosted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) on NREL website
NCSEA's Miriam Makhyoun will give a presentation on "Modeling Levelized Cost of Solar Photovoltaics in North Carolina with and without Tax Credits Compared with Retail Electricity Prices to 2020" during the System Advisor Model Virtual Conference.
When: 4 p.m. EST, Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Where: NRELSAM webite
What: The conference will be a series of 15-minute presentations of different applications of SAM by your colleagues from around the world, hosted by the SAM team at NREL.
This North Carolina-specific case evaluates when the declining cost of solar PV systems will reach “grid parity”—the point at which the amortized cost of a solar PV system becomes equal to retail electricity prices in North Carolina. This parametric analysis evaluates the impact of PV system capacity and the presence or absence of federal and state tax credits on the cost of solar PV systems.
The System Advisor Model of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory was used to produce the levelized cost of energy (LCOE), the cost incurred to install and maintain an energy-producing system divided by the energy the system will produce over its lifetime of operation, which was compared with retail electricity prices.
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