RALEIGH, N.C.— The NC Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) recognized 11 individuals and businesses on Thursday, October 11 for their exemplary work toward the advancement of North Carolina’s clean energy economy. NCSEA presented the 2012 Clean Energy Awards before a crowd of over 450 attendees at its annual Making Energy Work conference at the Charlotte Convention Center.
Each year, NCSEA honors individuals and companies who demonstrate outstanding innovation and leadership in growing North Carolina’s clean energy economy.
“The 2012 Clean Energy Award winners represent the brightest minds and they are a driving force in the growth and success of North Carolina’s clean energy economy,” said Ivan Urlaub, NCSEA’s Executive Director. “Their hard work, innovation and incredible leadership truly benefits so many of us in North Carolina and beyond in terms of the jobs they’re creating, the clean energy projects they’re building, the programs they’re developing and launching, and their financial investments in communities across our state. NCSEA is honored to be working and collaborating with these outstanding award winners.”
The recipients of NCSEA’s 2012 Clean Energy Awards are as follows:
2012 Lifetime Achievement Award: Judy Kincaid of Clean Energy Durham
In May 2007, Judy Kincaid became the founding Executive Director of Clean Energy Durham. The organization's mission is to move America toward cleaner and safer energy by creating and educating organizations of neighbors helping neighbors save energy.
Under Judy's leadership, Clean Energy Durham developed the Pete Street training program, which helps neighbors to learn where energy is typically wasted in homes, how to understand utility bills, and no-cost and low-cost ways to save energy. Clean Energy Durham also teaches volunteers to train others in a “pay it forward” program. Neighbors learn hands-on, do-it-yourself weatherization techniques and commit to being resources within their neighborhood. The most experienced volunteer trainers, called “Super Trainers,” start the chain and train neighborhood leaders who immediately train others.
The impact of Judy's work on homes and the community is significant. The average energy saving by a workshop participant is 7 percent and has been as high as 17 percent. One participant in a low-wealth neighborhood now saves $50/month. More recently, Clean Energy Durham partnered with the City of Durham to reach over 700 homes with energy upgrades through America Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding.
2012 Individual Leadership Award: Vincent Davis of Duke Energy
Vincent Davis is Director of Duke Energy’s Smart Energy Now program. He leads the company’s participation in the Envision: Charlotte initiative, which involves collaborating with large commercial building owners and municipal and federal agencies to evaluate and implement energy efficiency products and services. He was named to his current position in September 2010.
Most recently, he served as general manager of marketing and customer experience for Duke Energy’s US Franchised Electric and Gas organization. In that role, he was responsible for developing and implementing portfolio management plans and strategies that define and achieve market objectives for retail customer products and services for residential, mass business and large business customers.
2012 Business Innovation Award: Lilyn Hester of Google, Tatjana Vujic of Duke Unversity, Owen Smith and Ollie Frazier of Duke Energy of the Carolinas, and Loyd Bryant
In October 2011, Google joined Duke Energy and Duke University to support a ground-breaking project to generate renewable energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and manage waste from a Yadkin County swine facility. The project is the first and only to produce renewable energy certificates in fulfillment of NC’s Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard’s (REPS) swine waste set-aside. The project at Loyd Ray Farms produces electricity for the farm by capturing and destroying methane from manure of nearly 9,000 hogs. Methane gas is 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Its destruction in a 65-kW microturbine generates approximately 500 MWhs and ~5,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalents annually. The system substantially eliminates ammonia, pathogens, metals and odors, and altogether prevents discharge of waste to surface and groundwater. Google helped fund the project by purchasing five years’ worth of carbon offsets.
2012 Business Leadership Award: Strata Solar (Markus Wilhelm accepted the award)
Strata Solar is a turn-key solar provider based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The company first opened three years ago and its impact on the local community and environment is unfathomable. Strata Solar offers project development, engineering, procurement, construction and financing solution for any size project whether it be utility scale solar farms or residential projects. The magnanimity of Strata’s previous success and projects has redefined North Carolina’s appeal in the solar industry. This year to date, Strata has commissioned five utility scale projects totaling over 26 megawatts of power, enough energy to power 2,800 homes. Strata is currently constructing and will finish another 6 farms, adding on another 38 megawatts of power, which will produce enough energy to fuel 4,200 homes. These projects aren’t only a source of clean energy, but a means of job creation. This year alone strata has hired over 300 local staff through the Raleigh Business and Technology Center, Wounded Warriors and the Urban League.
2012 Community Leadership Award: The City of Asheville, Office of Sustainability (The award was presented to Maggie Ullman)
The City of Asheville’s Office of Sustainability has done outstanding work on clean energy related initiatives, including the LED Street Light Project. Behind the leadership of Maggie Ullman, the City is in the Phase II of a four year program to change all streetlights to LEDs. From November 2011 to June 2012, 2,800 streetlights will be upgraded. When complete, this initiative will save $650,000 annually and reduce carbon emissions that are equal to planting 60,000 trees. The most innovative aspect of this program relates to how the savings are used. All dollars saved from this program will be kept and used to for the street light capital investment and to fund future energy efficiency efforts. Here are some program highlights:
- Total project cost: $3.2M
- Project duration: April 2011- June 2014
- Total fixtures in project: 9,000
- Fixtures installed to date: 3,600 (40%)
- Annual Savings Projections: $580,000
- Energy Savings: 43%
- ROI: 5.5 Years
In addition to the energy and financial savings, the project has drawn national media attention to the clean energy activity of Asheville and North Carolina. This project is a great example of a local government organization leading by example in North Carolina.
2012 Legislator of the Year: NC Sen. Neal Hunt
Senator Neal Hunt represents Wake County in the North Carolina Senate. As one of the chairmen of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Hunt worked extremely close with NCSEA and our state’s three university energy centers, which are located at NC State University, Appalachian State University and NC A&T, to ensure they received adequate funding in the state budget. At several points along the way during the budget process over the last two years, the situation looked dire, but in the end, much-needed funding was included in the state budget. Today, these university energy centers’ vital research, job training and economic development work continues to benefit many North Carolinians and others across the nation.
2012 Legislator of the Year: NC Rep. Tom Murry
Representative Tom Murry represents a portion of Wake County in the North Carolina House of Representatives. Representative Murry supports clean energy because he recognizes the valuable jobs and companies located in and around his district and across our state, which led him to sign-on as one of the lead sponsors of the Solar Jobs Act that sought to create more solar jobs and projects across North Carolina. Although this bill was not approved, he continued working with NCSEA and its members to educate and build support among his colleagues on numerous clean energy policies, including the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS), the renewable energy investment tax credit, and allowing third party financing and sales of electricity. And recently, he’s been pushing to expand the national “Brownfields to Brightfields” program to more locations in NC, so we can put to use and literally energize these normally “hard-to-develop” properties with the installation of solar panels. From day one at the Legislature, Representative Tom Murry was open-minded, rolled up his sleeves and went to work, which is one of the reasons he was recently named the “Most Effective Freshman” by another nonpartisan group.
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About the NC Sustainable Energy Association:
Founded in 1978, the NC Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) is a 501(c)3 non-profit membership organization of individuals, businesses, government and non-profits working to ensure a sustainable future by promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency in North Carolina through education, public policy and economic development.
NCSEA has been the “go-to” leader in shaping North Carolina's commitment to renewable energy, energy efficiency, high performance building, smart grid and electric vehicle jobs and economic opportunities in communities all across our state. Learn more at www.energync.org