Retrofits & Upgrades, Solar

POWER-GEN International Does Vegas

Issue 11 and Volume 113.

By Nancy Spring, Senior Editor

Attending POWER-GEN International and NUCLEAR POWER International means you’ll want to make the most of your time. Conference sessions run from Dec. 8 to 10, but pre-conference educational opportunities start on Sunday, Dec. 6. Use this basic guide (and the map on the next page) to plan your week at the largest power generation conference in the world—and you might have time to enjoy some of the other attractions Las Vegas has to offer.

Technical Tours and Power College

Competitive Power College pre-conference workshops offer a wide range of issue-concentrated courses for power generators. The two-day, 8-hour or 4-hour classes are scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 6, and Monday, Dec. 7, and cover topics such as Turbine Generator Failures: Prediction and Prevention; Heat Rate Awareness and Carbon Reduction; and Basic Gas Turbine Metallurgy and Component Repair. Courses on developing wind farms and designing parabolic trough solar power plants are also offered.

On Monday, Dec. 7, technical tours will take attendees to Hoover Dam, the Chuck Lenzie and Harry Allen Generating Stations, Acciona’s Nevada Solar One and the Edward W. Clark Generating Station. Always a popular extracuricular activity at POWER-GEN, as of this writing all the tours are sold-out except for the Clark Generating Station.

A multi-technology natural gas-fueled power generating complex that includes 19 generating units with in-service dates ranging from 1973 to 2008, the Clark Station was originally built in 1954 and has shifted from base load to intermediate load and now to peaking duty as Las Vegas’ energy demand has grown. The plant includes 12 FT8 Pratt & Whitney peaking units, four upgraded Westinghouse 501B6 combustion turbine generators and a 75 kW high-concentration photovoltaic system built in cooperation with the University of Nevada and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Award-winning Projects

Presented by Power Engineering magazine, the Projects-of-the-Year Annual Awards Gala recognizes the world’s best power projects, honoring excellence in design, construction and operation of power generation facilities.

This highly-anticipated POWER-GEN event begins on Monday, Dec. 7, at 7:00 p.m., with a cocktail reception, followed by dinner at the Las Vegas Hilton. The award winners—nominated by the industry and selected by Power Engineering magazine’s editors—are announced and presented with awards recognizing their contributions to the power generation industry.

The Gala Awards Banquet is open to the awards finalists, their guests and all POWER-GEN and NUCLEAR POWER International attendees. Be a part of this special evening recognizing the best-of-the-best in innovation and technology. The cost is $75.00 and seating is limited.

Keynote Kicks Off Conference

This year’s keynote session, “Dynamic Changes, Dynamic Responses,” kicks-off the 21st Annual POWER-GEN International Conference with three dynamic industry leaders.

The keynote session begins on Tuesday, Dec. 8, at 9:30 a.m., with opening remarks from Power Engineering chief editor David Wagman. Michael Yackira, president and CEO of NV Energy, our host utility in Las Vegas, will then take center stage.

Mr. Yackira will speak about renewable energy integration issues from the perspective of an investor-owned utility. NV Energy’s renewable resource portfolio is among the most diverse in North America. Currently, the company gets a portion of its power from 27 renewable energy sources. Those plants operate using geothermal, solar, hydro and biofuel resources. Based on its most recent Integrated Resource Plan, NV Energy will spend approximately $2 billion to purchase and invest in new renewable energy by 2015.

Mr. Yackira joined Sierra Pacific Resources (now NV Energy) in January 2003 and was elected CEO of Sierra Pacific Resources in August 2007. Before joining NV Energy, he spent more than a decade as an executive with FPL Group where he served in several positions, including president of FPL Energy. FPL Energy (now known as NextEra Energy) is one of the largest wind power developers in the U.S.

Also speaking during this year’s Keynote Session will be Pierre L. Gauthier, president and CEO of Alstom Canada Inc. and Alstom U.S. Inc. He will discuss carbon capture and sequestration technologies.

Mr. Gauthier joined GEC Alstom in 1996, after various functions in marketing, technology, quality and general management with Gulf Canada, Gaz Métropolitain and ABB. He was appointed president of Alstom Energy in 1998 and president of ABB Alstom Power Canada Inc. upon the creation of the enterprise in 1999. Since the acquisition by Alstom of ABB’s shares within ABB Alstom Power in May 2000, he was appointed president of the power division of Alstom Canada Inc. In June 2003, he was appointed president and CEO of ALSTOM Canada and as of April 2008, president and CEO of Alstom US Inc.

Keith O. Rattie, chairman, president and CEO of Questar Corp., will also address the keynote session and will offer an engineer’s view of the climate change issue. Prior to Questar, Mr. Rattie served as senior vice president of The Coastal Corporation. Before that, he spent 19 years with Chevron Corporation, where he served as general manager of the company’s international gas unit. He is a member of the board of the National Petroleum Council and past chair of the board of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA).

The keynote session is open to all registered attendees.

Conference Tracks and Sessions

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POWER-GEN International’s conference tracks offer power-packed sessions on industry trends, environmental issues, fossil technologies, gas turbine technologies, renewable energy, on-site power and plant performance.

Just a small sampling of conference sessions includes:

Integrating Renewables with Thermal Generation: This panel reviews planning issues and solutions for the combination of substantial as-available energy generation (such as wind and solar) to existing utilities. It begins with an overview of the issue and then offers current and developing thermal designs for rapid starting and load following to assure adequate supply and system reliability. GE Energy, Vogt Power International, Siemens Energy Inc. (Tuesday, Dec. 8, 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.)

Mercury Test Results and Issues: This session will present and discuss operational experience from a range of technologies available for mercury control. In addition, the session addresses operating issues for mercury disposal. Alstom Power, CONSOL Energy, Sargent & Lundy, NRG Energy, EPRI, ADA Environmental Solutions. (Tuesday, Dec. 8, 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.)

Regulatory Issues and Environmental Compliance: This session offers a diverse range of case studies that point to major trends in environmental compliance for fossil-fueled generation facilities. Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies, Gunderboom Inc., PND Engineers, Shaw Power (invited), DAVIES, GE Water & Process Technologies. (Wednesday, Dec. 9, 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.)

Innovations in Gasification and IGCC: Providers of gasification and IGCC technologies continue to incorporate innovations into the latest gasification and IGCC plants. This session focuses on results from a number of demonstration plants that have implemented these innovative technologies. (Wednesday, Dec. 9, 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.)

Combustion Optimization and Boiler Cleaning: Getting more from your existing plant combustion optimization and boiler cleaning technologies can reduce NOX and CO2 emissions and improve plant efficiency. This session explores viable strategies. National Energy Technology Laboratory, Clyde Bergemann Inc., NRG Louisiana Generating, Platt River Power Authority, Zolo Technologies (invited), EPM, KCBPU, SEGA, The Babcock & Wilcox Co., Alliant Energy, Associated Electric Coop Inc. (Wednesday, Dec. 9, 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.)

NUCLEAR POWER: Conference in a Conference

Now in its third year, NUCLEAR POWER International 2009 provides the nuclear power industry with the perfect venue to gather and exchange information about nuclear power’s role in today’s changing world.

NUCLEAR POWER International is co-located with POWER-GEN International and attendees of NUCLEAR POWER International enjoy the same benefits and have access to the same programs as POWER-GEN International attendees.

Featuring its own exhibition floor, NUCLEAR POWER International offers two tracks of sessions and two mega-sessions.

Sessions include:

Construction Management: Delivering On-time and On-budget Projects: Construction management skills will play a central role in the new nuclear build. Speakers in this session will cover scheduling, modularization, workforce issues and other topics of interest to those working to successfully bring nuclear power mega-projects in on-time and on-budget. (Wednesday, Dec. 9, 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.)

Beyond the Nuclear Island: Secondary system design and maintenance is an essential aspect of long-term successful nuclear plant operation. Attend this session for an informative discussion of equipment design, outage planning and upgrades. (Wednesday, Dec. 9, 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.)

Vendor 101: How to be Successful – Panel Discussion: What does it takes to be a vendor in the nuclear power industry? Attend this Q&A to find out about Non-Q to Tier 1; what it takes to establish a nuclear QA program; and innovative approaches to entering the supply chain. Also included will be a testimonial from a supplier who has been through the struggle to enter the system and an in-depth look at a certified supplier program and a fabrication facility. (Wednesday, Dec. 9, 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.)

Nuclear Lessons Learned: Now that we are experiencing a new surge of interest in the nuclear power industry, lessons learned from the original building “boom” can be instructive. Quality programs are needed before construction can begin and attention has to be paid to materials and processes to ensure high standards for construction are met. Attend this session to learn why integrity needs to be first and foremost in the nuclear power industry. (Wednesday, Dec. 9, 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.)

Two mega-sessions are scheduled for the NUCLEAR POWER International conference.

Mega-session I, The Economics of Nuclear Power, is a panel discussion. The value of nuclear power should be measured by more than just the price of electricity generated, just as the economics of nuclear power go beyond the direct cost of power plant construction. Panelists in this session will address the impact of new and existing nuclear projects in broader terms, beginning with jobs created and economic stimulus. Included will be a focused look at regional economic development. Merrill Lynch, Westinghouse, New Energy Finance Limited, Erler Engineering Ltd., NERA Economic Consulting. (Tuesday, Dec. 8, 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.)

From enrichment to waste storage, the nuclear fuel cycle can be designed safely and economically. In Mega-session II, Fuel Cycle – Panel Discussion, panelists will discuss reprocessing and MOX fuel fabrication based on the successful AREVA model in France and new fuel enrichment technologies and facilities. Waste storage and fuel recycling policy issues will also be addressed. This session will be of particular benefit for those involved in the U.S. nuclear program in light of the latest decisions on the Yucca Mountain facility. National Enrichment Facility (invited), The University of Nevada, The Kenrich Group LLC, AREVA Inc. (Thursday, Dec. 10, 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.)

Mega-Sessions at POWER-GEN International

Three two-hour mega-sessions wrap-up the POWER-GEN International conference on Thursday, Dec. 10, running concurrently from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

In a panel discussion, Preparing for the Upcoming CO2 Capture/Sequestration Legislation, industry leaders from EPRI, Bechtel, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the Solena Corp. and Calera Corp. will address overall challenges and technology options, design considerations for CO2 capture plants and using CO2 to make algae and cement.

The Large Frame Gas Turbines mega-session provides an update on design improvements for each of the major suppliers of large frame gas turbines, including operating history and power station case study.

Alstom will present “Upgrades of the GT24 to Increase Performance and Maximize Operational Flexibility,” and GE Energy (invited) will address continued improvements in advanced gas turbine technology. Mitsubishi Power Systems will present “Mitsubishi Large Frame Gas Turbines Latest Development for High Efficiencies” and Siemens will deliver a product update on the SGT6-5000F(4) gas turbine. “Combined Cycle Power Plant Long-term Preservation Program: The Araucaria Power Station Case Study” will be presented by COPEL.

E3 Consulting LLC, Troutman Sanders LLP, Competitive Power Ventures Inc. and Marubeni Sustainable Energy Inc. (invited) will address the issues facing the development and implementation of renewable projects in the mega-session Renewable Power Survival. With wind well-established in the marketplace, can biomass, solar and others energy sources become viable economic alternatives to help us reach the lofty goal of more than 20 percent of power coming from renewables by 2020?

Networking Opportunities

Dynamic speakers, technical sessions and professional development opportunities are just part of the value the POWER-GEN International conference provides.

Tee off at the Desert Pines Golf Club on Monday, Dec. 7, at 9:30 a.m., for the PGI Golf Tournament. Pines Golf Club offers a taste of the Carolinas and is just minutes from your hotel. This Dye-designed course features thousands of mature pine trees lining the fairways. White sand bunkers protect large, undulating greens with water coming into play on nine out of 18 holes. The course provides players of all abilities a fun and rewarding experience.

Join us for the POWER-GEN International Networking Reception with food, drinks and entertainment on Wednesday, Dec. 9, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., at the Las Vegas Hilton. This important networking event will attract thousands of attendees and is the perfect venue to network with new business contacts and other industry experts from around the world. Energy provider program participants and international delegates are admitted free; others, $45.00 each.

Attend Networking Breakfasts on Wednesday and Thursday mornings starting at 7:30 a.m. Each table will focus on a different topic, with the discussion led by industry experts. This is your chance to learn more about your area of interest in a relaxed but focused venue. The cost is $50.00 per person.

For complete details on the conference schedule and registration information, visit

You could win this 2010 Corvette by taking part in the always-popular car giveaway.

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All delegates receive an entry card. To qualify for your chance to win, visit each of the car giveaway sponsors on the exhibit floor, have your entry stamped and return the completed card to the PennWell booth (#C5-685) before the drawing, set for 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 10.

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Areva delivered two enhanced once-through steam generators to the Three Mile Island Generating Station in Pennsylvania on Sept. 30. The steam generators arrived after an eight-week trip that began at Areva’s Chalon/St-Marcel facility in France, where they were manufactured. The replacement steam generators are an integral part of a $300 million investment Exelon is making in the TMI Unit 1 reactor to extend the plant’s operations. The trip culminated with a 75-mile journey over land that began Sept. 8 in Port Deposit, Md., and traveled through four counties and 17 municipalities in Maryland and Pennsylvania before arriving at TMI. Michael Baker Jr. Inc. provided engineering services, Kinsley Construction Inc. was responsible for all infrastructure construction and reinforcement and Fagioli Inc. transported the two units. The journey over land required a crew of about 100 on a daily basis. Each steam generator weighs more than 510 tons, measures over 73 feet long and is more than 12 feet in diameter. Total weight for each transport with steam generator was about 825 tons and measured 53 feet long, 17 feet wide and 24 feet high. The route consisted of many narrow, winding roads, up to 14 percent inclines and declines and 51 bridge and stream crossings. In addition, several thousand utility wires and traffic signals had to be moved or raised to provide overhead clearance. All crossings and movements were engineered to protect infrastructure from damage and post-crossing inspections were done to confirm no damage occurred. Photo by Warren Wright, courtesy Areva.

Duke to Develop Solar Power with ENN Group

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China-based ENN Group and Duke Energy will jointly develop commercial solar power projects in the U.S. Under the agreement, ENN and Duke will focus on two types of solar photovoltaic designs: large “utility-scale” solar farms and commercial distributed generation solar projects. This joint development agreement builds upon a memorandum of understanding announced September 23 at the Clinton Global Initiative’s annual meeting. Both companies pledged to work together to accelerate development of low-carbon and clean energy technologies. Duke Energy Generation Services will team with ENN to develop, own and operate the solar projects.

Southern and LS Power Reach Plant Pact

Southern Power agreed with a unit of LS Power to acquire full ownership interest in West Georgia Generating Co. and its 600 MW Thomaston gas-fired plant in Georgia.

The plant is a peaking facility with four gas-fired combustion turbines. Capacity from two of the four units is sold through long-term power purchase agreements with the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia and the Georgia Energy Cooperative. The agreement also gives LS Power full ownership of Southern Power’s DeSoto County Generating Co., which owns the DeSoto plant in Florida. DeSoto is a 320 MW plant with two combustion turbine units.

TVA to Buy N. Dakota Wind Energy

CPV Renewable Energy Co signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with the Tennessee Valley Authority for 200 MW of wind energy from its Ashley project in North Dakota. There was no word on the value of the deal. Permitting has already begun and CPV will build and operate the wind farm that is expected to begin operations in 2012.

This is the second power purchase agreement announced by CPV in a month. In September, CPV and Oklahoma Gas & Electric Co agreed to a 152 MW power purchase agreement. That project is expected to be online in late 2010.

DOE Provides Carbon Capture Funding

The U.S. Department of Energy said $55 million will be made available to develop advanced carbon capture technologies at existing power plants. DOE is looking for applications for projects in four areas of interest: membranes, solvents, solid sorbents and condensed-phase capture. It said it will support development of technologies that can remove 90 percent of carbon dioxide in flue gas stream at no more than a 35 percent increase in the cost of electricity.

SunEdison in $200mm Sales Agreement

MEMC Electronic Materials, which provides silicon wafers to the semiconductor and solar industries, has agreed to buy privately held SunEdison for $200 million in cash and stock. SunEdison develops solar power projects and is one of North America’s largest solar energy services providers. The acquisition is expected to close by the end of the year. SunEdison has developed about 300 solar power plants representing 80 MW of generating capacity in the U.S., Canada and Europe.

720 MW Power Plant Breaks Ground

Southern Power broke ground on a 720 MW natural gas-fired power plant in North Carolina. The plant is expected to cost between $350 and $400 million. The plant would consist of four Siemens F Class gas turbines and is expected to enter service by 2012. It will provide power to two electric power distributors under long-term contracts.

Sempra Generation Buys Maui Wind Project

Sempra Generation bought a wind power project on the island of Maui from Shell Wind Energy. Sempra will develop the 22 MW wind energy facility, which is planned to include battery storage. Construction could start in 2011 with commercial operations targeted for 2012. The battery could store as much as 28 MWh of energy, which could be used either to meet late afternoon peak demand or for grid stability. Sempra is looking for financial support from the U.S. Department of Energy to expand the battery storage capacity to 72 MWh. Maui has a goal of deriving 95 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

Emissions Control Project OK’d in Delaware

Delaware state officials approved $500 million in emissions control technology proposed for NRG Energy’s 784 MW Indian River coal-fired power plant. The state’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control approved the permits needed to begin the work as part of an agreement between the company and the state. The agreement also includes shutting down the plant’s two oldest coal-burning units over the next two years and installing scrubbers on the remaining two units.

Siemens Energy Wins Turbine Orders

Siemens Energy received six turbine orders for a total of 565 MW of capacity. The 250 turbines involved in the deal will go to projects in Ontario, California, Oklahoma, Washington and Wyoming. The total order value is around $890 million. Last month, Siemens broke ground on a wind turbine assembly facility in Kansas. The 300,000-square-foot wind turbine nacelle facility is scheduled to open next year. The plant’s annual planned output will be approximately 650 nacelles, or 1,500 MW.

Chilled Ammonia CCS Results Released

We Energies, Alstom and the Electric Power Research Institute said a project to test an advanced chilled ammonia process has demonstrated more than 90 percent capture of carbon dioxide from the flue stream of a Wisconsin coal-fired power plant. We Energies’ Pleasant Prairie Power Plant hosted the project. The test used a 1.7 MW electric slipstream from the plant. It began in early 2008 and will end later this year. A news release said the project confirmed the predicted performance of the chilled ammonia carbon capture system. It apparently also achieved key research metrics around hours of operation, ammonia release, CO2 removal levels and CO2 purity. A scaled-up 20 MW electric capture system has been installed at American Electric Power’s 1,300 MW Mountaineer Plant, where it will remove an estimated 90 percent of carbon dioxide emissions from the flue gas stream, capturing up to 100,000 metric tons of CO2 a year.

CO2 Emission Likely to Fall in 2009

Carbon dioxide emissions from coal, oil and natural gas are expected to drop 6 percent this year thanks to the recession and a push to replace fossil fuels at generating plants, according to the Energy Information Administration. Substituting natural gas for coal, along with an increase in renewable sources, should help cut emissions, the EIA said in its most recent Short Term Outlook. EIA also said the use of some fossil fuels has fallen faster than others. Lower coal consumption accounts for 63 percent of the drop in CO2 emissions, petroleum accounted for 30 percent and natural gas 7 percent.

Vogt Power Nets HRSG Order

Vogt Power International, a unit of Babcock Power, was chosen to supply two heat recovery steam generators to South Mississippi Electric Power Association for the Moselle Repower Project in Mississippi. Vogt Power will design, manufacture and deliver two natural gas fired, two pressure level, natural circulation HRSGs with a selective catalytic reduction system to remove nitrogen oxide from the gas turbine exhaust stream. The HRSGs will be installed behind GE 7EA gas turbines. The combined cycle unit is expected to add an additional 134 MW of generation capacity to the 177 MW gas and oil-fired Moselle Generating Station and is expected to be complete by 2012.

Enbridge to Buy 20 MW Solar Project

Enbridge Inc agreed to buy a 20 MW solar energy project from First Solar that is considered to be among Canada’s largest solar projects. The Sarnia PV solar project in Ontario is expected to be complete by the end of this year and will be among the largest solar installations in the country, according to a news release. Enbridge said it may work with First Solar on other projects at the Sarnia site, which will complement four existing wind energy projects that have a combined capacity of 260 MW.

PG&E Signs Up for 250 MW of Solar Power

NextEra Energy Resources signed a contract to sell 250 MW of solar thermal power to Pacific Gas and Electric Co. from the planned Genesis Solar Energy Project in California. The proposed Genesis project will be comprised of two 125 MW units with more than 500,000 parabolic mirrors assembled in rows in the Sonoran Desert. It is expected to begin construction in 2010 with operations planned to begin approximately 30 months after. The deal is subject to approval from the California Public Utilities Commission. The parabolic troughs work by concentrating the solar energy to produce steam to power a steam turbine generator. Genesis is one of several solar projects the U.S. Bureau of Land Management identified for fast track considerations to receive permits by the end of 2010.

Rancho Seco Decommissioning Completed

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has released the majority of the 930 MW Rancho Seco nuclear power plant for unrestricted public use, 20 years after California residents voted to shut it down. The NRC initially issued an operating license for Rancho Seco in 1974 and the plant began commercial operation in 1975. A voter initiative shut the plant down in 1989.

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), which owned the plant, successfully decommissioned the facility October 23. Eighty acres of the site now fall below the NRC’s regulatory requirements of a maximum annual dose of 25 millirem from residual contamination. The average person in the United States receives about 300 millirem a year from background or natural radiation. Approximately 11 acres of land including a storage building for low-level radioactive waste and a dry-cask spent fuel storage facility will remain under NRC licenses.

SMUD will continue to secure and protect the remaining NRC licensed land and facilities until all radioactive material is removed from the site.

EPA Adopts Mercury Rules

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has agreed to adopt rules reducing emissions of mercury, soot and other chemicals from all coal-fired power plants in the United States, which has some in the industry worried about additional costs for emission control technology.

In 2005, the Bush administration issued the Clean Air Mercury Rule, which would have created a cap and trade system to cut mercury emissions. In 2008, a federal court vacated the rule, saying it did not do enough to cut emissions.

If a federal court accepts the consent decree, there would be new rules by November 2011 and the lawsuit would be settled.

Lockheed and OPT in Ocean Wave Pact

Lockheed Martin and Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) signed a commercial engineering services agreement to develop OPT’s wave energy systems for use in future utility-scale power generation projects.

Under the agreement, Lockheed Martin will provide its expertise in systems integration, manufacturing, and test and optimization analysis to enhance OPT’s innovative PowerBuoy wave power generation technology to utility-scale.

This step will allow the two companies to pursue future utility-scale power generation projects in North America. The companies agreed to collaborate on such projects in a letter of intent signed in January 2009.

OPT’s PowerBuoy technology uses “smart” buoys, based on integrated patented hydrodynamics, electronics, energy conversion and computer control systems, to capture and convert energy from the natural rising and falling of waves into electricity. The generated power is transferred ashore via an underwater power transmission cable.

U.S. Geothermal Production Well Completed

U.S. Geothermal Inc. said that well NHS-5, the second full-size production well at the Neal Hot Springs project in eastern Oregon, was successfully completed on October 15.

NHS-5 encountered several lost circulation zones within the targeted horizon and intercepted a large aperture fracture at 2,796 feet resulting in a total loss of circulation. The well was completed to a depth of 2,896 feet. An initial 16-hour flow test completed using air lift produced fluid at a rate of 1,500 gallons per minute and resulted in a down hole flowing temperature of 286 F (141 C).

The reservoir-hosting fracture zone intersected in NHS-5 is 509 feet deeper in the geologic system than the large producing fracture intersected by NHS-1 which is some 600 feet to the southeast. Both wells were instrumented with pressure and temperature equipment during the flow test. Geologic information and flow data from the drilling and flow test is being incorporated into the ongoing development of a reservoir model of the Neal Hot Springs geothermal system.

In addition to the drilling program for production-sized wells, the company has a temperature gradient drilling program underway using a small-diameter drill hole. Five TG holes ranging in depth from 500 to 900 feet have been completed and are providing temperature gradient data for the overall area that hosts the Neal Hot Springs reservoir. Currently, another seven TG holes will be drilled with three of the holes expected to reach a depth of 1,500 feet in areas near the identified production zone.

Wind Turbine in Place for NREL Tests

Siemens Energy Inc. and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) formally commissioned a 2.3 MW Siemens wind turbine at NREL’s National Wind Technology Center in Golden, Colo. The turbine is part of a multi-year project to study the performance and aerodynamics of a new class of large, land-based machines. Under the initial phase of the $14 million research program, Siemens will contribute $9 million, NREL $5 million. Siemens and NREL will test basic turbine characteristics and verify new performance enhancing features over a minimum of three years.

The Siemens 2.3-MW turbine is among the largest land-based turbines deployed in the United States and is the largest at the NREL site. Planned testing includes structural and performance testing; modal, acoustics and power quality testing; as well as aerodynamic testing and turbine performance enhancements. A new meteorological tower to the west of the Siemens turbine will feature more than 60 instruments to collect the most advanced data available on wind, temperature, dew point, precipitation and other weather features that can influence wind turbine performance and lifespan.

New Jersey Solar Capacity Reaches 100 MW

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities said the Garden State now has over 100 MW of solar capacity with more than 4,340 projects statewide. Seven years ago, the state had six solar installations. Since that time New Jersey has established a program that incorporates both energy efficiency and renewable energy. New Jersey’s integrated approach to solar development includes a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) with a solar electric set aside, interconnection and net metering standards, a Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC) financing model that provides energy credits and additional long-term financing for those who invest in solar.

New Jersey’s Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC) financing model is one of the state’s newest initiatives. One SREC is issued for each megawatt-hour generated. SRECs are then sold or traded, separately from the power, providing solar system owners a source of revenue to help offset the cost of installation. In most cases, SRECs replace state rebates, which fueled solar growth in the early years of the state’s solar program. New Jersey is among the first governments to adopt the use of SRECs to help finance solar projects on a broad scale.

The BPU recently approved innovative financing programs at three of the state’s electric utilities: Jersey Central Power & Light, Atlantic City Electric and Rockland Electric Co. In addition, earlier this year the Board approved Public Service Electric & Gas’s “Solar 4 All Program” to expand solar generation in its service territory. Under these programs, the state’s electric utilities may enter into long-term contracts with customers for the purchase of SRECs, which facilitates long-term financing for solar projects.

Army Kicks Off $1.5bn Solar Project

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the development team of Clark Energy Group and Acciona Solar Power kicked off development of a 21-square-mile, industrial-scale solar energy project at Ft. Irwin in California’s Mojave Desert, and home to the nation’s National Training Center.

The 13-year, $1.5 billion project will address Ft. Irwin’s energy security vulnerabilities, assist the installation with meeting state and federal energy mandates, improve energy efficiency and provide Californians with more renewable energy options, all with no additional investment by taxpayers or the government.

The project was conceived as a 500 MW development using multiple solar energy technologies. However, its total development potential may run to 1,000 MW of electricity. This solar power initiative is part of a more comprehensive Army Energy Security Implementation Strategy, which is changing how the Army operates and deploys. The Army is spending more than $1 billion on energy security projects this year, including nearly $700 million in Army energy stimulus funds.

Renewables Investment Shows Quarterly Sag

Latest figures from analysis firm New Energy Finance show that total worldwide new financial investment in clean energy totaled $25.9 billion in the third quarter of 2009. That was down 9 percent from a revised Q2 total of $28.6 billion. The third quarter results were ahead of the $13.3 billion recorded in Q1.

Investment in Q3 was aided by a strong recovery in public markets and the first real installment of the billions of “green stimulus” dollars promised by major economies. Even so, the figures were 22 percent below the total for the same quarter last year. They also were 36 percent below the peak figure of $40.3 billion recorded in Q4 2007.

Narrowing its forecast range for full-year 2009 total new investment to $105-$115 billion, New Energy Finance still expects that total new investment in clean energy is likely to exceed $300 billion a year by 2020.

Fundraisings by quoted clean energy companies totaled $4.5 billion during Q3. That was up from $3.1 billion in Q2 and the $0.4 billion of Q1. The Q3 total was boosted by a few major share issues, including a $724 million rights issue by Norwegian solar company Renewable Energy Corp. and a $371 million initial public offering by U.S. battery maker A123 Systems, one of the first major initial public offerings in the post-crisis period.

Meanwhile, venture capital and private equity investors pumped $2.2 billion into clean energy companies in Q3. That was up from $1.4 billion in Q2, but little more than half of the peak figure of $4.1 billion attained in Q3 2008. Among the big VC/PE deals in the latest quarter were the $198 million of equity raised by U.S. solar firm Solyndra and the $82.5 million raised by U.S. electric vehicle specialist Tesla Motors. Technology venture capital investment in the quarter totaled $813 million, up from $551 million in Q2, the NEF analysis says.

Asset finance, which constitutes the largest portion of overall clean energy investment, hit $19.2 billion in the third quarter of 2009 for new-build projects. That was down from a revised $24.1 billion in Q2 but above Q1’s $11.4 billion, which was the lowest since the beginning of 2006.

TransAlta to Acquire Canadian Hydro Developers

TransAlta Corp. agreed to buy Canadian Hydro Developers Inc. for C$5.25 (US $4.88) a share in cash, or around C$1.6 billion (US$1.49bn). On a combined basis, TransAlta and Canadian Hydro will have net generation capacity of 8,657 MW in operation. The renewables portfolio will include 1,900 MW in operation, or 22 per cent of the combined portfolio. In addition, there are 543 MW under construction and nearly 500 MW in advanced-stage development.

The transaction will be funded initially with new committed bank facilities fully underwritten by Royal Bank of Canada. This initial funding will be replaced with permanent long-term funding in the debt capital markets, underpinned by raising C$350 to C$400 million of equity.

Goldman Sachs and RBC Capital Markets are TransAlta’s financial advisors. Burnet, Duckworth & Palmer is TransAlta’s legal advisor. FirstEnergy Capital Corp. and Societe Generale are Canadian Hydro’s financial advisors. Blake, Cassels & Graydon is Canadian Hydro’s legal advisor.

U.S. Wind Industry Installs 1,600 MW in QIII

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) reported in its third quarter market report that the U.S. wind energy industry installed 1,649 MW of new power generating capacity in the third quarter. The amount was higher than either the 2nd quarter of 2009 or the 3rd quarter of 2008. Total capacity added this year to date rose to over 5,800 MW. AWEA also reported that wind turbine manufacturing still lags below 2008 levels, in both production and new announcements.

AWEA said it does not expect the fourth quarter of 2009 to be as strong as the fourth quarter of 2008. It said the 5,000 MW now under construction is nearly 38 percent lower than the more than 8,000 MW under construction at this time last year.

“Wind power installations are up and that is good news for America’s economy, environment and energy security,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. “But manufacturing, which has the potential to employ many more Americans in good, clean energy jobs, remains uncertain. A firm, long-term national commitment to renewable energy is still needed for the U.S. to become a wind turbine manufacturing powerhouse and create hundreds of thousands of jobs.”

Since the early July announcement of rules to implement the stimulus bill, the wind industry has seen over 1,600 MW of completed projects and over 1,700 MW of construction starts (see accompanying table for a list of projects as reported by AWEA). These projects equate to about $6.5 billion in new investment.

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The top five states in additions for new capacity added in the third quarter are:

Texas – 436 MW
Oregon – 251 MW
Illinois – 201 MW
Colorado – 174 MW
Wyoming – 170 MW.

The top five states in total operating wind capacity are:

Texas – 8,797 MW
Iowa – 3,053 MW
California – 2,787 MW
Minnesota – 1,805 MW
Oregon – 1,659 MW.

Navy Awards Ocean Thermal Energy Contract

The U.S. Naval Facilities Engineering Command recently awarded Lockheed Martin an $8.12 million contract to further develop Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) technology, which leverages the temperature difference between warmer water at the ocean’s surface and colder water below to produce renewable and reliable power.

Under the contract, a Lockheed Martin-led industry team will develop critical system components and further mature its design for a pilot plant, an incremental step in developing large-scale utility plants. A key part of maturing the plant design includes developing an interface between the system’s cold water pipe and the platform.

Lockheed Martin’s experience with ocean thermal technology dates back to the 1970s when the company built “Mini-OTEC.” This early prototype is one of the world’s only floating OTEC system to generate power in excess of what is required for self-sustainment.

55 MW Biomass Plant for North Carolina

Fibrowatt LLC, a member of the Homeland Renewable Energy Group, reached an agreement with Fagen Inc. for the engineering, procurement and construction of its first 55 MW biomass-fueled power project in North Carolina. The agreement can also be extended to two additional projects. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The primary fuel will be poultry litter, but it will be able to blend wood and other biomass with the poultry litter.

Wyoming Wind Projects Enter Service

PacifiCorp’s High Plains and McFadden Ridge I wind projects in Wyoming are now in service. The High Plains wind project consists of 66, 1.5 MW General Electric turbines, with a total generating capability of 99 MW. The McFadden Ridge I wind project consists of 19, 1.5 MW General Electric turbines, with a total generating capability of 28.5 MW.

PacifiCorp has completed nine new wind projects during the past two years, seven of which are located in Wyoming. In total, company-owned renewable energy facilities include 12 operating wind projects in Oregon, Washington and Wyoming, and the Blundell geothermal plant in Utah; providing a total generating capability of 957 MW. Additionally, PacifiCorp has 611 MW of contracted wind-powered generation from developers.

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Commerce Department Releases Smart Grid Standards

In September, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke unveiled an accelerated plan for developing standards to reach the smart grid. Produced by the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the approximately 90-page document identifies about 80 initial standards to support interoperability of all the various pieces of the system. The report also lists a set of 14 “priority action plans” that address the most important gaps in the initial standard set.

“To use an analogy from the construction world, this report is like a designer’s first detailed drawing of a complex structure,” said Locke in prepared remarks. “It presents a high-level conceptual model to ensure that everyone is on the same page before moving forward to develop more detailed, formal smart grid architectures. This high-level model is critical to help plan where to go next.”

The draft report, entitled “NIST Framework and Roadmap for Smart Grid Interoperability Standards, Release 1.0,” incorporates input from more than 1,500 industry, government and other stakeholders who took part in the NIST framework development process.

NIST will finalize the Framework document, which is the culmination of the first phase of NIST’s three-phase approach to develop smart grid standards. Phase 1, the engagement of stakeholders in a participatory public process to identify applicable standards and gaps in currently available standards and priorities for new standardization activities, ends with the final publication of the Framework report after public comments have been incorporated.

Phase 2 will establish a private-public partnership and forum—a Smart Grid Interoperability Panel—to drive longer-term progress. Phase 3 will develop and implement a framework for testing and certification of how standards are implemented in smart grid devices, systems and processes. NIST is consulting with industry, government and other stakeholders to develop a plan for a testing and certification framework by the end of 2009 and take steps toward implementation in 2010.

Energy Research Projects Win $151 Million in Funding

The U.S. Department of Energy in late October announced funding for 37 research projects.

The $151 million in funding is being awarded through the Department’s recently-formed Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (“ARPA-E”). ARPA-E’s mission is to develop nimble, creative and inventive approaches to transform the global energy landscape while advancing America’s technology leadership. This is the first round of projects funded under ARPA-E, which is receiving total of $400 million under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

In announcing the selections (listed in the following table) Secretary Steven Chu said: “After World War II, America was the unrivaled leader in basic and applied sciences. It was this leadership that led to enormous technological advances. ARPA-E is a crucial part of the new effort by the U.S. to spur the next Industrial Revolution in clean energy technologies, creating thousands of new jobs and helping cut carbon pollution.”

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The grants will go to projects with lead researchers in 17 states. Of the lead recipients, 43 percent are small businesses, 35 percent are educational institutions and 19 percent are large corporations.

Inspired by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), ARPA-E was created to support high risk, high reward energy research that can provide transformative new solutions for climate change and energy security.

This first ARPA-E solicitation was highly competitive and oversubscribed, with over 3,600 initial concept papers received. Of those, approximately 300 full applications were requested and ultimately 37 final awardees through a review process with input from multiple review panels composed of leading U.S. energy science and technology experts and ARPA-E’s program managers. Evaluations were based on the potential for high impact on ARPA-E’s goals and scientific and technical merit.

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