In October-December 2013, Climate Change Business Journal solicited the climate change industry and the environmental industry via email, website and word-of-mouth for nominations for the annual CCBJ Business Achievement Awards. Nominations were accepted in 200-word essays in both specific or unspecified categories. Final awards were determined by a committee of CCBJ staff and CCBJ editorial advisory board members. Award nominations were open to any firm or organization in the climate change industry, and companies were permitted to submit their own nominations.
The 2013 CCBJ Business Achievement Awards will be presented to recipients in attendance at a special ceremony at Environmental Industry Summit XII on March 12, 2014 at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront in San Diego, California. Congratulations to the 2013 award winners. CCBJ encourages all interested companies to participate next year.
Disclaimer: Company audits were not conducted to verify information or claims submitted with nominations.
Business Achievement: Growth
Silver Spring Networks for growing its revenues by more than 85% in Q3 2013 following its IPO in February 2013. Silver Spring’s branded Smart Energy Platform offers networks for communications between utility back offices and devices on the power grid, as well as a suite of products that run on those networks to facilitate advanced metering, distribution automation and demand-side management.
Through Q3 2013, Silver Springs claimed contracts with leading electric utilities and utility holding companies in the United States and other countries, including Pepco Holdings; Exelon Corporation; CHEDHA Holdings; CPFL Energia; CPS Energy; NextEra; Guelph Hydro Electric Systems; OGE Energy; PG&E; Progress Energy; Sacramento Municipal Utility District; Singapore Power; and Virginia Electric and Power Company. As of September 30, 2013, the company had delivered 17.5 million Silver Spring-enabled devices that connect homes and businesses, according to its quarterly report.
In addition to the electric utility market, Silver Springs is targeting municipal governments with a Smart City service to make street and traffic lighting more energy efficient. “The payback time for smart public lighting is legitimately in the no-brainer category,” EVP Eric Dresselhuys told SiliconBeat from the November 2013 Smart City Expo in Barcelona. “Right now, street lights and traffic lights are managed with the kind of timer that you use when you go on vacation.” Silver Spring earlier announced it was selected to network 20,000 street lights in Copenhagen and was also working in Paris on an advanced “streetlight and traffic signal project” that would cut energy usage by 30% over 10 years.
Business Achievement: Finance
Samas Capital for providing the structured financing that is enabling some of the country’s most successful property-assessed clean energy (PACE) programs to finance energy efficiency upgrades and renewable power systems at residences and small businesses-including the groundbreaking Florida PACE program which also finances storm-hardening upgrades.
PACE is the hottest innovation in clean energy finance since the solar leasing and power purchase agreement (PPA) model pioneered by SolarCity and others set residential solar markets on fire. With PACE, local governments use their property taxation power to facilitate the financing of energy efficiency upgrades and renewable energy installations on private property by issuing bonds which are paid back through property tax assessments. First adopted by Berkeley, the method quickly spread to other local governments-before it was nearly killed in July 2010 by the Federal Housing Finance Agency which objected to PACE loans having senior position on residential mortgages.
But third-party PACE program managers such as Ygrene and Renovate America and lenders like Samas are giving PACE life. Samas is backing the number-two PACE program in the country, Western Riverside Council of Governments’ HERO PACE program, and newer PACE programs in San Francisco and San Bernardino County.
Samas is also providing the capital and servicing infrastructure for the $500 million Florida PACE program, which features the brilliant innovation of combining energy efficiency upgrades with structural improvements to make homes more resistant to hurricanes. (See Florida PACE award under Business Model Innovation: Combining GHG Mitigation with Climate Adaptation.)
Describing itself as an “International Financial Innovator, Originator, and Asset Manager of Structured Products,” Samas’s principals “have a wealth of experience in asset-backed securities origination, trading, and securitization.” In addition to the Western Riverside County and Florida programs, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge website credits Samas for providing $150 million in “PACE financing to commercial properties throughout California through San Francisco’s GreenFinanceSF and CaliforniaFIRST.”
In addition to streamlining the establishment of PACE programs, Samas helps streamline the loan origination process with a call center staffed by more than 100 “client support specialists,” “state-of-the-art underwriting solutions,” according to its website.
Consulting and engineering firm MWH Global and its client the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) for developing lending programs to stimulate private investment in energy efficiency upgrades and distributed renewable power in Turkey. A developing country with per capita GHG emissions much lower than those in Europe, Turkey is growing rapidly. With electricity demand increasing by 7% annually averaged over recent years, it is one of “the world economies with the largest emissions growth since 1990,” according to an EBRD report.
MWH is coordinating EBRD’s Mid-size Sustainable Energy Financing Facility (MidSEFF) and Turkey Sustainable Energy Financing Facility (TurSEFF). The former has a credit line of almost €1 billion targeting mid-sized renewable energy projects, while the latter makes about €400 million available to local banks for on-lending to small- and medium-sized enterprises for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects to SMEs.
In 2013, MidSEFF exceeded the disbursement milestone of €500 million, financing about 3% of the total renewable capacity in Turkey and reducing the annual national CO2 emissions by 0.5%. As of November 2013 about €210 million of TurSEFF’s funds had been lent, leading to estimated energy savings of 274,652 tonnes of oil equivalent (TOE) per year and reducing CO2 emissions by 688,186 TOE/year, equivalent to the emissions of 275,000 cars.
The TurSEFF programme has proven to be an effective instrument in overcoming inexperience and lack of awareness of stakeholders and difficult access to credit by SMEs, according to MWH. It also enhances the market penetration of highly efficient equipment.
According to MWH, its fees are tied to the volume of loans, creating a “relationship based on reciprocal support [that] is generating results beyond expectations¡ raising sustainability consciousness with local banks, funding sustainable energy projects and stimulating intercompany knowledge transfer.”
Clean Power Finance (CPF) for empowering the US solar industry, reducing solar costs, and facilitating utility investment in residential distributed generation (DG) solar. CPF is a financial technology company driving the mass adoption of residential solar. It connects institutional investors looking for profitable, low-risk assets with solar professionals who sell solar finance products that help U.S. consumers afford solar energy.
CPF entered the solar finance sector in 2011: today, 80% of top installers in major US solar markets access solar financing through CPF, according to the company.
In 2013, CPF deployed new technology that simplifies solar sales processes and reduces soft costs, making residential solar more efficient and cost-competitive. Also in 2013, the company closed a Series C round of financing that included four major US utility holding companies. Simultaneously, it helped one of the three largest US electric power companies deploy more than $55 million in residential solar assets.
CPF transacts more than $5 million in consumer credit applications for solar across its platform every day and manages half a billion dollars for solar investors. CEO Nat Kreamer pioneered residential solar finance when he co-founded Sunrun and sold the first ever residential power purchase agreement to a Redwood City doctor in 2007.
The Investor Confidence Project (ICP) formed by Environmental Defense Fund for enabling a market for investor-ready energy efficiency projects by reducing transaction costs and engineering overhead while increasing the reliability and consistency of savings.
As covered in prior CCBJ editions, financing small- and mid-sized energy efficiency projects is more difficult than distributed solar projects because of the inability to measure energy cost savings across multiple projects with precision. “Measuring efficiency (which really means ‘calculating’ savings) requires a variety of methods to read baselines and find the delta between what ‘is’ and what ‘would have been,” noted Stephen Lacey in a piece on the ICP for GreentechMedia.com. “That makes building owners and investors more skeptical about performance.” And it hampers the ability of lenders to approve non-recourse project finance loans that are paid back by a dedicated revenue stream produced by the project.
The ICP developed Energy Performance Protocols with experts such as Sustainable Real Estate Solutions, EMCOR Services New England Mechanical and Connecticut’s Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority CEFIA. In December 2013, a $2 million, 98,000 sf commercial energy efficiency retrofit in Connecticut was financed using the ICP’s protocols.
ICP is moving the energy efficiency industry closer to the Holy Grail of securitization, in which energy efficiency projects can be valued based on consistent parameters with little project-specific analysis and vetting-processes that ratchet up soft costs quickly. Securitization would make energy efficiency financing more attractive for a wider range of lenders and investors. “The $2 million project in Connecticut doesn’t get the industry anywhere close to securitization. But it does create a bit more momentum for standards implementation within the state, which could spill into other markets,” wrote Lacey. “And that’s the first step toward a ‘plain vanilla’ efficiency market-the exact flavor investors are looking for.
Consulting & Engineering: Climate Risk Management & Adaptation
Tetra Tech (Pasadena, CA) for providing integrated solutions to address climate risk. By leveraging its centers of excellence in water resources management, water supply, flood protection and emergency response, Tetra Tech is developing solutions to domestic and international challenges impacted by global climate change.
Tetra Tech applies a climate change technical framework that focuses a mitigation and adaptation lens on broad policy programs to address needs within forestry, water and food security sectors. As part of a contract with the U.S. Agency for International Development, Tetra Tech is supporting the East Africa Commission and the Lake Victoria Basin Commission to develop and implement integrated water resource management plans to protect watersheds in Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, and Kenya.
In the United States, Tetra Tech is helping communities adapt to water supply issues related to climate change. In San Antonio, Texas, Tetra Tech is design of a brackish groundwater desalination facility that will supply potable water without further diminishing lake and stream levels. Using an integrated approach, Tetra Tech conducted Rhode Island’s first statewide assessment of its drinking water facilities to determine the impacts from climate change.
AECOM for applying its knowledge, global capabilities and goodwill to make cities and regions more resilient to extreme weather events and natural disasters. Supporting the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN ISDR), AECOM contributed to the Private Sector Advisory Group (PSAG) to advance the Making Cities Resilient Campaign with 1500 signatory cities.
AECOM led a Resilient Investment case study for UN ISDR in conjunction with PSAG members and the City of San Francisco. The project brought together private and public sector representatives to explore how resilience is valued, current barriers and effective incentives to increase investment.
From this study, AECOM worked with IBM to develop a City Resilience Scorecard for UN ISDR to identify resilience strengths and weaknesses across city systems and identify pathways to increase resilience, attracting investment and reducing insurance risk and costs.
AECOM also worked with the Carbon Disclosure Project on the CDP 2013 Global Cities Report to develop benchmarks and best practice assessments of 110 cities for climate mitigation and adaptation activities, costs and benefits. This project has stimulated and supported climate change activity in cities globally increasing resilience to significant changes in climatic, social and economic conditions.
Consulting & Engineering: Energy & Carbon Management
Burns & McDonnell for its OnSite Energy and Power practice, where a team of about 140 people do everything from master plans and combined heat and power (CHP) screening and feasibility studies, to designing, building and operating on-site power assets. The group’s director, long-time CHP advocate and expert Ed Mardiat, was named CHP Champion for 2012 by the Texas CHP Initiative.
Not all of the group’s projects are CHP, but Mardiat and his team educate clients about the sharp efficiency gains and reductions in GHG emissions-100% or more vs. non-CHP configurations-that CHP can achieve by making use of the heat from engines or turbines that would otherwise be wasted.
With the firm’s strong position in electric power, an industry for which it performs consulting, engineering, procurement and construction, the OnSite Energy group also engages electric utility clients in exploring how to integrate distributed CHP into business models built on central generation, transmission and distribution. With electricity demand expected to be flat for some time, “the investor-owned utilities have to think about how they’re going to make new sources of revenue,” said Mardiat for CCBJ’s recent CHP edition. “Selling thermal energy and even O&M services through ownership of on-site CHP may become a more compelling value proposition for some.” And seeing more future generation built in CHP mode would have.
Environmental Resources Management (ERM) for building on its substantial environmental work with the oil and gas industry to develop a robust GHG monitoring and management practice driven by EPA reporting requirements and by the growing recognition in the oil and gas industry that GHG reporting is important for investors and other stakeholders. In 2013, ERM had over 300 employees working internationally for the oil and gas industry on air quality and GHG reporting and mitigation.
ERM reported to CCBJ in 2013 that after an initial “reactionary” period by U.S. operators-required for the first time to collect and report emissions from upstream operations-there has been “a shift toward integrating the GHG reporting with broader air compliance programs,” according to Lisa Campbell, climate change services practice lead for the oil and gas industry. Companies increasingly want to ensure that there GHG “data is robust enough not just for reporting but to help them understand where and how they can most efficiently reduce their GHG emissions and their energy consumption.”
To manage and report all air emissions data more efficiently, clients frequently draw on ERM’s Sustainability Information Solutions (SIS) practice. Using an in-house visualization tool, ERM helps clients map out baseline energy usage and GHG emissions from individual processes or facilities then identify upgrades such as vent and flare gas recovery, capturing flashing losses from hydrocarbon storage tanks, recovering waste heat and replacing pneumatic devices used in natural gas operations for reduction in gas emissions.
AECOM for partnering with CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) to produce CDP’s 2013 Cities Global Report. CDP is an independent, not-for-profit organization that works to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and drive sustainable water use.
CDP’s annual cities report provides a snapshot of the challenges and opportunities cities face due to the global increase of carbon emissions as well as the ways they are adapting to existing and future climatic changes. AECOM volunteered its expertise to provide data analysis, communications and visualization techniques in producing the 2013 report, as it did for the 2012 report.
The 2013 cities global report was based on data disclosed by 110 cities, an increase from the 73 cities that reported in 2012. The 2013 report shows how climate change action is making cities healthier and even wealthier. Cities are cutting their carbon footprint, reporting annual energy savings of up to US$13 million, and their residents are benefitting from healthier living and better business environments, according to the report.
O’Brien & Gere for supporting development of the first comprehensive smart growth plan for regional energy and sustainability in Central New York. The VisionCNY plan provides a vision and framework for an innovative, clean energy economy that the firm predicts will stimulate investment, create jobs, and meet energy needs over a horizon ending in 2030.
O’Brien & Gere led the energy management planning process, including establishing a vision, goals to guide stakeholders in addressing energy-related issues, and recommendations to achieve these objectives. The firm identified strategies to improve energy efficiency and security; increase distributed energy resources and renewable energy deployment; develop alternative financing tools that support sustainable energy investments; improve waste management; and reduce greenhouse emissions.
O’Brien & Gere also developed a Pathway to Projects approach to translate sustainability concepts to the prioritization of energy projects. The Company screened the region for potential sites for solar PV, wind, geothermal, and CHP deployment, creating a project list that will create opportunities for carbon reductions, energy efficiency savings and renewable energy deployment. The project was sponsored by the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board for the CNY Regional Economic Development Council five-county area and supported by the NYS Cleaner, Greener Communities Program.
Research & Analysis: Energy & Carbon Management
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s China Energy Group for helping with one of the most important tasks on the global climate agenda: improving energy efficiency and reducing the carbon intensity of electric power, industrial production and other sectors in China. The largest producer of GHGs, China’s economic growth trajectory-7% a year is dangerously close to a recession for the world’s most populous nation-and its heavy reliance on coal for electric power and industry make greening China’s energy sector a fundamental prerequisite for mitigating global GHGs.
CEG’s staff of 16 and visiting faculty from universities and national labs in the U.S. and China work with China’s government, businesses and NGOs to understand and quantify energy and GHG emissions, improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions and strengthen China’s energy efficiency capabilities. CEG is widely viewed in energy and climate circles as an authoritative source on these topics, giving its research and analysis credibility in policy and business circles.
Recent reports include: a study of energy-efficient, water-efficient and low-pollution technologies for the textile industry; comparisons of efficiency standards for computer monitors and gas stoves around the world, which is designed to inform the standard-setting process in China; and an evaluation of how local governments are enforcing efficiency standards and labeling for appliances.
CEG’s China’s Energy and Carbon Emissions Outlook to 2050, published in 2011 and since updated, lays bare just how much influence China will have on climate change. Comparing China’s business-as-usual energy/carbon pathway (which already incorporates aggressive improvements for energy and carbon intensity) to an aspirational Accelerated Improvement Scenario (featuring far more nuclear and renewable power than BAU), CEG estimates China could mitigate its annual CO2 emissions by 3.8 billion tonnes-more than 10% of current global GHG emissions-by 2050.
Thomson Reuters Point Carbon, the premier market analysis firm for GHGs and emissions trading systems, for launching a new emissions forecast for South Korea, a new price forecast for Australia, a new tool for modeling the California emissions market, extending its EU Emissions Trading Scheme model to 2030 and beginning coverage of China’s seven emerging ETS programs.
The firm’s California model predicts emissions in each economic sector, accounting for production trends and efficiency gains throughout the California economy. In 2013, Thomson Reuters Point Carbon forecast California emissions would be below the cap through 2019, leading to a price decrease estimated by the firm at 5%. In 2014, it will update its supply forecast for REDD (reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) projects as California moves forward with accepting REDD credits from Chiapas, Mexico, and Acre, Brazil.
With the extension of its EU ETS model in 2013, the analysis firm developed a reference point to facilitate investment decisions up to 2030 and beyond, enabling decision makers and traders to take a long-term view on a currently fragile market.
Business Model Innovation: Energy Efficiency
Renovate America for partnering with local governments to develop PACE residential financing programs for energy efficiency and renewable energy systems using the firm’s HERO financing program. Among Renovate America’s 107 HERO communities is the Western Riverside Council of Governments, estimated by CCBJ to be the number-two PACE program nationwide (behind the Sonoma County Energy Independence Program). By the H1 2013, WRCOG had processed over $166 million in funding applications for about 5,900 residential property owners and completed $42 million in projects-about 70% energy efficiency, 30% solar PV and less than 1% water efficiency-on just over 2,400 properties. Renovate America estimates that the WRCOG PACE program has created more than 2,500 jobs.
Like Ygrene (CCBJ award recipient for 2012), Renovate America’s HERO financing is a fully funded and managed program for which the firm also provides marketing and public relations, a technology platform, contractor training and management and other key elements of a successful PACE program.
In H2 2013, Renovate America had announced new agreements with San Francisco, San Jose and San Bernardino County. In December 2013, California Gov. Jerry Brown awarded the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award to Renovate America for HERO.
Korea Environment Corporation (KECO) for successful operation since 2009 of the Carbon Points System, a national action program for reducing GHG emissions from residential and commercial sites since 2009. The system promotes voluntary greenhouse gas reduction by providing economic incentives-generally cash or gift vouchers-to those that consume less electricity, water and gas compared a baseline established over the prior two years.
The number of participants in the system has increased every year, and as of December 2013, approximately 4 million households in Korea participated. In 2013, KECO estimates that the Carbon Points System was responsible for reducing 500,000 tonnes of CO2 at a cost of $8.7 million. Added benefits include raising public awareness about the importance of GHG mitigation and mitigating electricity shortages in some industrial areas.
Business Model Innovation: GHGs & Adaptation
Tierra Resources for pioneering the research, development and monetization of the “blue carbon” contained in coastal wetland ecosystems, such as estuaries, mangroves, and salt marshes. Carbon finance can be an important revenue stream to expedite large-scale wetland restoration which can slow and even reverse the trend of rapid wetland loss, while providing multiple other environmental and economic benefits including GHG mitigation.
Tierra Resources developed the first wetland carbon methodology, “Restoration of Degraded Deltaic Wetlands of the Mississippi Delta” that introduces wetlands as a new carbon offset sector for entities to invest in to offset their carbon emissions. The first-of-its kind methodology provides a new means to quantify the carbon benefits from wetland restoration projects in order to receive carbon credits that can be sold in the global carbon market.
Carbon markets may offer a valuable source of new funding for critical wetland restoration projects. Tierra estimates carbon finance can bring about $5 billion in private funding for wetland restoration to the State of Louisiana over the next 40 years. Tierra Resources is now working with companies such as ConocoPhillips, Shell, and Entergy Corporation to start implementing wetland carbon offset projects.
Florida PACE Funding Agency for bringing the effective PACE financing model to the cause of GHG mitigation and climate risk resilience by funding both energy efficiency upgrades and structural improvements to make Florida homes more resistant to hurricanes. Run by the technology and engineering firm Leidos, Florida PACE is a special purpose local government formed by Flagler County and the City of Kissimmee and since joined by Nausau County.
Like other PACE programs, the Florida outfit provides streamlined financing for energy efficiency and renewable power projects-performed by vetted contractors-with the loans paid back on property tax bills. But in hurricane-exposed Florida, the PACE funding is also available for wind-hardening upgrades. Most of the state’s 4.9 million single-family homes are vulnerable to hurricanes and high winds because they were constructed before 2002 when the state implemented modern engineering-based building codes that are credited with reducing the frequency of hurricane losses by 60% and the severity of those losses by 40%, according to a presentation at a Florida PACE Funding Agency seminar by Tim Reinhold of the Institute for Business and Home Safety.
Among the upgrades that can provide older buildings with greater resiliency: when re-roofing, re-nailing and sealing roof decks and installing high wind-rated shingles; fortifying soffits to withstand high winds and protect attics from rain; install covers on gable end and ridge vents to withstand winds and prevent water intrusion.
With financing from Samas Capital (see Business Achievement: Finance) and a growing roster of trained contractors, Florida PACE Funding Agency is urging counties across Florida to subscribe. And so are two competing Florida PACE programs: EcoCity Partners’ Florida Green Energy Works, which focuses on commercial properties; Ygrene Energy, which has signed up Cutler Bay in a Clean Energy Green Corridor.
CH2M HILL for establishing Green Path Partners, a joint venture with EKO Asset Management, to use private financing to develop green, resilient infrastructure that is designed and built to adapt to climate change and provide other long-term benefits to communities and the environment.
Green Path is an extension of CH2M Hill’s ongoing work with government clients to finance infrastructure development and upgrades through innovative public-private partnerships and an approach known as performance based infrastructure.
In announcing Green Path in April 2013, CH2M Hill noted the huge gap in infrastructure needs and available funding. “In developed countries, governments are dealing with upgrading and replacing aging infrastructure, while in the rapidly developing countries of Asia, Latin America and Africa there is a need to design and build new infrastructure for growing populations and growing economies. In both cases, the needs far outweigh available funding. Traditional sources of infrastructure finance are either tapped out [or] cannot keep pace with the new scale and scope of infrastructure growth.”
Green Path Partners will target projects that utilize natural infrastructure or offer an opportunity to integrate it into traditional infrastructure; provide positive ecological, social and economic outcomes; and afford an opportunity to use innovative financial structures, non-traditional impact investment capital, or both.
“These types of projects could be delivered on a ‘pay-for-performance’ basis by private entities raising private capital and using environmental approaches (e.g. bioswales, permeable pavement, rain gardens, etc.),” noted the company in its news release. “In this way, private actors take the risk of financing the infrastructure development and only are paid by government if and when the infrastructure is built and delivers the desired services.”
In Q2 2013, CH2M Hill project managers highlighted for CCBJ a model stormwater management project in the City of Philadelphia that it hoped to replicate elsewhere. Philadelphia established a parcel-based stormwater billing structure that provides credits up to 100% of stormwater fees for non-residential property owners who retrofit impervious surfaces and demonstrate that they can manage onsite the first inch of rainfall in storms. The city is targeting nearly 10,000 acres of impervious surfaces on public and private property to reduce demand on the city’s wastewater treatment plant and create more park land.
While retrofitting streets and alleyways will play an important role in reducing stormwater runoff, the private sector is also in the mix identifying acres to be greened, including parking lots and roof tops from commercially owned properties, according to CH2M Hill’s Mike Tilchin, vice president, Environmental Services. “The parcel owners will get significant relief from stormwater fees, and the companies making these conversions of currently impervious surfaces will realize a portion of the savings.”
Technology Merit: Smart Grid & Energy Management
Leidos (formerly known as SAIC) for performing the system integration role an Intelligent Load Management system that can provide for cheaper integration of wind power and replace expensive supply-side generation options with demand response.
Leidos describes ILM as “a new concept in the domain of demand side management [that] is far beyond demand response. ILM can provide a firm, qualified resource that can be relied on by grid operators for 24/7/365 dispatching, with the ability to ramp up and down.
ILM uses commercial-off-the-shelf technologies to measure, aggregate and dispatch industrial, commercial and residential loads so that the aggregated load may be defined as resources at the transmission level which are “visible” and controllable by the system operator, according to Leidos.
Aggregated loads can then be managed similarly, if not identically, to an electrical power generating plant via dispatch instructions and related telemetry. In many respects ILM performs like a pumped storage facility but on the demand side of the power system via a virtual power plant.
In a November 2013 story, Greentech Media’s Jeff St. John heralded Leidos’s role in PowerShift Atlantic, “an innovative project spanning Canada’s three Maritime Provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.” The system controls a combined 11.5 MW of loads that range from “big industrial HVAC systems and water pumping stations, to thousands of remote-controllable water heaters in customers’ homes.” These loads-networked and managed with technology from ENBALA Power Networks and Integral Analytics-can help the provinces integrate their 675 MW-and growing-on- and offshore wind power capacity and will likely be applicable to other wind- and solar-heavy grids.
American Water for expanding its relationship with ENBALA Power Networks to harness the flexibility of the company’s demand-side assets to deliver grid balance to the electric power system.
As CCBJ readers know, ENBALA’s innovative technology manages the way treatment plants and pumps use power without impacting the efficiency of the plants’ processes or operational costs. Instead of adjusting power generation to match second-by-second changes in electrical demand, ENBALA’s system adjusts the demand of the pumps and operational equipment so generation can be operated at optimal levels and efficiency. American Water and other participants receive cash payment in exchange for the return of energy to the grid.
In addition to a pilot program at Pennsylvania American Water’s Shire Oaks pumping system, which came on-line in 2012, New Jersey American Water’s Canal Road Water Treatment Plant is in the final testing stages and was expected to be online in December 2013.
The pilot study showed the SCADA system could respond within seconds and the entire demand-response process was seamless to the water plant operator. Because of the inherent flexibility of water plant operations, the ENBALA Power Network could slow down or speed up pumping without any observable impact on plant operation.
Technology Merit: Energy Storage
Back from reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, Beacon Power is building a second electricity storage plant using its flywheel technology in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. In Q2 2013, Beacon Power began installing the first of 200 flywheels at the $53 million facility, which will be designed to provide frequency regulation to the regional grid, providing up to 20 MW of up- or down-regulation by charging or discharging energy as needed, with the ability to reach peak output in about one second, according to the company.
Beacon Power is manufacturing the flywheels at its plant in Tyngsborough. The company, recipient of a $43 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in August 2010, had filed for bankruptcy protection in late 2011 after failing to make money from its first plant, a 20 MW facility in Stephenstown, New York. In February 2012, private equity firm Rockland Capital acquired Beacon and its assets out of bankruptcy.
Beacon Power announced in April 2013, that it’s first frequency regulation plant in Stephentown, New York, had achieved 97% availability with no material technical issues since June 2011-and achieved 100% availability in the first four months of 2013.
Technology Merit: Transportation
Daimler for ramping up its commitment to commercially launching fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) with a commitment in January 2013 to collaborate with Ford, Nissan and Renault to develop affordable FCEVs. And in September, Daimler and its five partners in the German H2 Mobility Initiative (Air Liquide, Linde, OMV, Shell and Total) agreed to increase their ambitions for hydrogen fueling infrastructure from the current 15 hydrogen filling stations to 100 by 2017 and 400 by 2023. The project will cost an estimated $474 million and aims to provide 10 or more fueling stations for each German metropolitan by 2023.
Of course, Daimler isn’t the only major automaker developing FCEVs. “BMW, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, and Toyota have all begun developing fuel cell technologies. Some automakers, like Hyundai and Honda, have pledged to bring fuel cell vehicles to the U.S. market in the next two years,” according to a December 2013 posting by the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium. NAFTC also reported that at the most recent LA Auto Show featured global debuts for two new FCEVs: Hyundai’s Tucson FCV crossover and Honda’s FCEV concept car, based on the EV Fit.
But Daimler’s commitment is worthy of special recognition, given its leadership position in manufacturing and leasing 200 Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-CELL FCEVs, its articulation of the core value proposition of FCEVs and its support for hydrogen fueling infrastructure.
In 2011, Daimler executives told CCBJ that they believe FCEVs-electric vehicles with onboard clean generators-will be a major segment of a diverse electrified transport industry. “The age of electric mobility will not be ushered in at the press of a button. Thus our solution is an intelligent blend of drive concepts [for] various vehicle categories, application profiles, and individual customers’ wishes.”
“Long-distance transport will continue to be dominated by state-of-the-art internal combustion engines, with or without hybrid modules. In rural driving, with passenger cars there will be additionally plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles with fuel cell[s]. In urban traffic-especially in the increasing number of mega-cities throughout the world-the streetscape will be more and more characterized by locally emission-free vehicle concepts with battery and fuel cell drive.”
Linde for investing in projects to supply liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the transportation sectors-from cars to trucks to ships-including a growing proportion of gas derived from biomass sources. A global supplier of industrial gases and a designer, builder and operator of gas processing plants, Linde is “bullish about using biomethane for transport fuel, which is a high-end, high value use of biogas,” according to Olof K?llgren, head of clean energy, merchant LNG. “We’re fairly in our view.”
The Linde Group also focuses on hydrogen-a gas it has more than a century of experience with-for transport in Europe. And in September 2013, Linde and its partners in the H2 Mobility Initiative announced expanded ambitions (see Daimler above). “The ultimate aim there is to produce and distribute green hydrogen that is based on renewable sources,” said K?llgren.
Biomethane is a more near-term opportunity, and Linde already supplies biomethane, together with the compression and storage solutions, to fuel retailers in Northern Europe. “We are sourcing biomethane from municipal waste plants and other sources with which we have sourcing offtake agreements and we are also using LNG from our small scale LNG import terminal outside Stockholm to be able to guarantee a secure and efficient supply,” said Kallgren.
Linde’s merchant LNG value proposition is focused on building small- to medium-scale LNG facilities to provide complete supply chain solutions for industrial as well as transportation markets-competing against higher-GHG diesel for transport fuels. Examples of recent projects include an LNG terminal outside Stockholm that fuels local industries, the Stockholm city gas grid and private, public transport and taxi fleets. In the UK, Linde has started to supply LNG to heavy goods vehicles, and in some Asian markets, Linde is developing smaller and mid-size LNG plant projects that are based on stranded natural gas reserves.
Siemens for partnering with Swedish heavy goods vehicle (HGV) manufacturer Scania to partner in EV development to develop a pilot project using Scania’s emerging electric and hybrid HGVs and Siemens e-highway concept: highways where HGVs can run on electricity drawn by pantographs that connect with overhead electrical conductors.
Last year in a test on Gotland, the companies demonstrated how an electric HGV might work and function. A video on Siemens website shows a hybrid-electric HGV driver raising and lowering the pantographs to draw current from overhead lines. Siemens calls e-Highway “an innovative solution that combines tried and tested rail technology with the flexibility of road transport.”
For its part, Scania is pursuing large-scale development of electric hybrid technology, with the internal combustion engine being supplemented by an electric motor that is powered by regenerative braking.
According to a report on the Port of Rotterdam website, Siemens’ e-Highway solution may be particularly useful for ports, which are already challenged to meet air quality regulations due to the heavy use of diesel HGVs and the high cost of “building the dedicated lanes ¡ $5 to $7 million per mile.”
Technology Merit: Low Carbon & Renewable Power
Solar Reserve for receiving the go-ahead from the California Public Utilities Commission to develop what may be the first large-scale concentrating solar power facility to use energy storage-a key to making solar energy truly dispatchable and improving the economics of CSP technologies which use the sun’s thermal energy to generate power.
Solar Reserve’s 150 MW Rice Solar Energy Project will be designed to provide eight to 10 hours of stored electricity to the grid. “This capability will be crucial as California progresses towards its 33% renewable target,” said SolarReserve CEO Kevin Smith in a news release.
“We are also making tremendous strides in exporting this proven U.S. technology worldwide to markets in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America, and our projects in Nevada and California help establish the U.S. as an innovation leader in alternate energy.”
SolarReserve has a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Pacific Gas & Electric for the output of the Rice facility and is pursuing financing, expecting to break ground in early 2014.
Siemens Energy for completing NRG Energy’s El Segundo Energy Center, a 560 MW combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power that combines high efficiency with the ability to ramp much more quickly and with less O&M impacts than traditional CCGT plants-a requirement for Southern California grid operators to integrate more capacity from variable wind and solar power generators. El Segundo Energy also increases the reliability of California’s electricity system.
According to Siemens, the new units will use 30% less natural gas than the units they are replacing, helping meet California’s mandatory GHG standards. With the Siemens Flex-PlantTM 10 technology the highly efficient units at El Segundo can be online in 10 minutes, providing back-up support for wind and solar power. These and other design features like low water consumption and low environmental impact help in meeting stringent environmental requirements.
El Segundo is the second Siemens Flex Plant to be developed in Southern California, the first being Northern California Power Agency’s 300 MW Lodi Energy Center. According to Gas Turbine World, Siemens has achieved the elusive combination of CCGT flexibility with low CO emissions through changes in the heat recovery steam generator technology, supplying steam turbines with stress controllers and optimizing control logic in a fully integrated control system.
Alstom for continuing to invest in carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology for coal power plants and other applications despite significant reverses in the market for CCS since 2008.
Alstom’s effort to advance CCS includes activities currently underway in China, by far the top producer and user of coal for power and industrial production worldwide. Within the last two years, Alstom has established an engineering office for CCS and environmental control system (ECS) development in Beijing and is working with Chinese partners on two ambitious CCS demo projects: A 350 MW coal-fired power plant to be equipped with Alstom’s oxy-firing technology; and a 1000 MW coal-fired power plant that will be fitted with Alstom’s chilled ammonia process (CAP) for post-combustion carbon capture. Both projects will use the captured CO2 for enhanced oil recovery, and both technologies can be used to retrofit existing coal power plants-an urgent need given the rapid pace of coal power build-out that has occurred in the last 10 years and is likely to continue before CCS is commercially available.
While there are different opinions about whether China will ever widely deploy CCS on its enormous coal power fleet or is simply investing in CCS for export purposes, Alstom’s CCS leaders aver that China’s leaders know they have to do address GHGs from coal.
Additionally, Alstom is performing R&D on a flameless chemical looping process that produces 950¡ã-1030¡ã C steam with no visible flame and a clean stream of CO2 which can be captured relatively easily. The process uses tiny metal oxide particles moved between an air reactor-where oxygen molecules attach to the particles-and a fuel reactor where the fuel reacts with the oxygen. Alstom has built and operated two systems, a 1 MW system in Germany and a 3 MW system that its lab in Windsor, Connecticut. In 2013, Alstom told CCBJ that it was working with U.S. and European companies to form a consortium and apply for co-funding of a 10 MW demo project.
Lockheed Martin for signing a contract with Beijing-based Reignwood Group to develop an ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) power plant at a site to be determined. Lockheed Martin will design and build the 10 MW facility, which the company says will be the largest OTEC project developed to date.
OTEC uses the temperature difference in the water column in tropical seas to operate heat engines that can produce electricity. It has been studied in pilot projects, but hasn’t yet proven to be commercially viable. Lockheed Martin has been engaged in advancing this technology for decades, and constructing a multi-megawatt OTEC power plant for Reignwood Group is considered to be a crucial step toward the full commercialization of OTEC.
Technology Merit: Resource Efficiency
Driptech for developing proprietary manufacturing technology to produce affordable, high-quality irrigation systems designed for small-plot farmers. According to its website, the venture-backed company distributes its products through local governments, corporate partners, and NGOs in India and China.
The World Economic Forum selected Driptech as a 2012 Technology Pioneer, and in 2013 the company’s achievements include landing a Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development.
One of only two recipients-the other was the World Cocoa Foundation for advising on pest management and fertilization for 15,000 smallholder cocoa farmers in Cote d’Ivoire-Driptech’s drip irrigation kit-in-a-box offers smallholder farmers “an affordable, simple-to-use system that provides water for crops, and has been shown to improve yields by 50% and save up to 80% in labor costs,” according to USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah.
Project Merit: Wind Power
Xcel Energy for setting a goal of growing its wind portfolio by 40% in 2013, adding about 1,900 MW of wind power resources throughout its service territory, building on the 4,900 MW of wind turbines pumping electrons onto Xcel’s grids at the end of 2012. While it’s too soon to tell how much of that goal has been achieved, there’s no question that Xcel Energy, which operates utility companies in Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico and Wisconsin, is the largest purchaser of wind-generated power in the United States.
While MidAmerican holds the honor of owning the most wind power capacity of any U.S. utility, Xcel has chosen to secure most of its wind energy through power purchase agreements (PPAs) with independent power producers. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) named Xcel Energy its “Utility of the Year” for 2013 and noted that the company set a national record in Colorado for peak wind generation in May: 60.5% or 1,874 MW of a total load of 3,100 MW between 1 and 2 AM.
With such heavy penetration of wind on its systems, Xcel is a pioneer in wind integration, having conducted trials with energy storage devices and working with the National Center for Atmospheric Research on high-resolution forecasting systems “to better predict wind energy and power down fossil fuel plants when the wind is blowing,” according to its website. “We estimate improved forecasting has saved customers about $22 million so far in fuel costs since the effort began in 2009.”
Project Merit: Solar Power
ICF International for assisting the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (MassDOER) on a multi-stage consulting engagement concluding in 2013 to help improve access to bank and credit union loans for residential and small commercial customers interested in solar power projects.
Through detailed, confidential interviews with about two dozen lending officials at local financial institutions, ICF helped identify gaps in knowledge about solar project finance and perceptions of project risk that impeded lending activity in this sector.
ICF then worked with MassDOER to develop educational materials that addressed these gaps and perceptions and delivered those to audiences of lending officials through in-person workshops and webinars.
Attendees credited the workshops with expanding their ability to accurately gauge the viability and risk of solar projects and improving their comfort level in pursuing solar loans.
Project Merit: Climate Risk Management
CH2M Hill for its joint venture project with Hazen & Sawyer to address the impacts of climate change and weather events on wastewater infrastructure for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP).
According to NYCDEP’s October 2013 news release, the resulting NYC Wastewater Resiliency Plan is “the nation’s most detailed and comprehensive assessment of the risk climate change poses to a wastewater collection and treatment system.”
Initiated in 2011 and expanded after Hurricane Sandy, the study included asset-by-asset analysis of the risks from storm surges under new flood maps at all 14 treatment plants and 58 pumping stations, representing more than $1 billion in infrastructure.
The CH2M Hill and Hazen & Sawyer team first defined baseline conditions using precipitation data, climate research, and climate change projections. Then they considered climate change impacts, including sea level rise, and compared baseline condition performance with performance under future scenarios.
Critical system thresholds and vulnerabilities were identified, and cost-effective and environmentally sustainable adaptation solutions were defined. Hydraulic models included: InfoWorks to understand sea level impacts; ISIS 2D modeling of flooding from surcharging sewers; and MIKE-21 to screen impacts of sea level rise. The assessment developed strategies for the vulnerabilities, and recommended $315 million of improvements, avoiding over $2 billion in potential damages over the next 50 years.
ICF International for its Federal Highway Administration-funded project, Impacts of Climate Change and Variability on Transportation Systems and Infrastructure: Gulf Coast Study, Phase 2. ICF reports that the project is the largest federally funded multi-year adaptation project in a single location (Mobile, Alabama). It includes an end-to-end analysis of the vulnerability of all modes of transportation, with outputs that support decision making to increase the resilience of transportation assets and services in Mobile.
Beyond Mobile’s borders, the methods pioneered in this study are designed to be replicable and transparent for use by state DOTs, local planners, and transportation practitioners nationwide. Key successes of the project during 2013 included: Completion of an indicator-based scoring system to evaluate key vulnerabilities of Mobile’s transportation system under a variety of climate change scenarios with a web-based, ArcGIS online application that lets users dynamically explore spatial results of the vulnerability assessment; a new Excel-based tool for utilizing state-of-the-art climate model information in transportation planning; and a data-rich Vulnerability Assessment Scoring Tool designed for use by local planners and transportation officials around the country.
AECOM for applying its knowledge, global capabilities and goodwill towards making global cities and regions more resilient to increased extreme climatic events and natural disasters by supporting the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction Private Sector Advisory Group’s Making Cities Resilient Campaign.
AECOM led a Resilient Investment case study for UN ISDR in conjunction with PSAG members and the City of San Francisco, bringing together private and public sector representatives to explore how resilience is valued, current barriers and effective incentives to increase investment.
From this study, AECOM worked with IBM to develop a City Resilience Scorecard for UN ISDR as a public good to increase activity and investment in resilience. The scorecard helps cities identify pathways to increase resilience, attract investment and reduce insurance risk and costs.
Golder Associates for incorporating climate change impacts for the Concert group’s Harbourside mixed-use development on three blocks of partially developed waterfront land in North Vancouver, British Columbia.
Golder’s planning/landscape architectural division brought to the project expertise honed by assisted in development of land use guidelines for sea level rise, including a draft BC policy that anticipates a rise in global sea level of 50 cm (20 inches) by 2050, and 1 metre (39 inches or more) by the end of the century.
These guidelines, taken together with projections of storm surge risks, local wind exposure, sea depth, and related wave effects, have been used to raise flood construction level targets for Harbourside that will be significantly higher than the current minimum building elevations.
Working with Concert, Golder’s coastal team helped design treatments for site and building form, including a waterfront park that respects geomorphology principles and considers wave effects. That way, optimum building elevations can be proposed with confidence.
Golder proposed a shoreline concept adapted for sea level rise, analyzing a series of slopes and terraces that reduce the wave effects up to a minimum “flood crest elevation,” which protects the proposed buildings. The final waterfront design is likely to include a combination of perched beach, headland, salt marsh, boardwalk, walkway, and bikeway, as well as convenience parking, retail, and hotel/dining experiences.
Project Merit: Renewable & Low-Carbon Power
Electricite de France (EDF) for winning the bid to build the UK’s first new nuclear plant since 1995. The $25.9 billion Hinkley Point power plant in southwest England will be financed 45-50% by EDF and 30-40% by its partners in the venture, China General Nuclear and China National Nuclear.
While opposition to nuclear has increased in the UK and elsewhere after Fukushima, UK Energy Secretary Ed Davey described the investment in new nuclear power capacity as essential to the country as supplies of gas from the North Sea decline. “If people at home want to be able to keep watching the television, be able to turn the kettle on, and benefit from electricity, we have got to make these investments,” he told the BBC.
The deal has been greeted with protests by anti-nuclear campaigners who cite, in addition to radioactivity dangers, the high costs of the project, which include a guaranteed wholesale price for 35 to 40 years. Indeed, EU competition regulators have opened an investigation to determine whether the deal meets EU rules for state subsidies. UK news sources stated that EDF took the announcement in stride, saying that any deal of this magnitude would be subject to such scrutiny.
Babcock & Wilcox for winning the Department of Energy’s competitive funding process to develop an mPower small modular reactor (SMR) by 2022 and for working with nuclear technology company Lightbridge to develop a pilot plant for manufacturing metal fuel for light water reactors.
SMR technology is seen both as a more affordable and adaptable form of nuclear power unit and a branch of nuclear generation technology where U.S. companies have the opportunity to gain significant global competitive advantage.
Christofer M. Mowry, president of Babcock & Wilcox mPower, told CCBJ last year that the modular design of the firm’s SMRs makes them “almost plug and play.” Reactors, measuring 83 feet high by 13 feet in diameter, can be built in factories, shipped by rail or truck to construction sites, and then assembled onsite.
Buried underground beneath reinforced-concrete walls, the reactors’ above-ground profile will “look like a WalMart. With trees around, you wouldn’t even see it,” said Mowry.
The metallic fuel initiative, focusing on a zirconium-uranium alloy, which uses a unique composition and fuel rod geometry, according to World Nuclear News, holds the promise of operating a higher power density than uranium oxide fuels in use today. If successful, it could enable pressurised water reactors to operate at higher power outputs while also extending operating cycles, improving economics and providing safety and fuel performance benefits.
Bioenergy Deployment Consortium for becoming a reliable, trustworthy, organization that helps members (public and private entities) quantify market opportunities and evaluate technologies and provides neutral third-party research and analysis to journalists and policymakers. For example, BDC’s investigation and tracking of all North American announcements of advanced biofuels projects provided reliable data to help validate estimates of cellulosic biofuel production capacity-a critical factor in the evolution of the U.S. Renewable Fuels Standard.
The nonprofit BDC conducts member seminars, frequently recruiting world class speakers, and sponsors tours of pilot and demonstration facilities enabling members to view technology and product performance. BDC validates codes and distributes what it calls “bellwether” announcements which are available to members by category on the website.
BDC also learns member needs and alerts them of opportunities, including federal or state funding assistance. Three BDC members have won multimillion dollar DOE grants, two for biorefineries and one for energy/GHG reduction. A British BDC member completed funding for U.S. biorefinery demonstration and commercial plants. BDC is helping another U.S. member select a site in the U.S. or Brazil for a unique commercial biorefinery, and another BDC member is currently selecting partners for a demonstration plant in the U.S.
Project Merit: Energy Efficiency
Institute for Industrial Productivity for becoming a valuable source of information and expertise about industrial energy efficiency. At the heart of this work is IIP’s website, with five comprehensive databases on energy efficiency policy, technology, supply chain initiatives, financing and programs.
These databases contain a rich set of resources to help decision-makers in governments and industry develop and implement policies and corporate practices that will dramatically reduce greenhouse emissions and increase productivity in the industrial sector.
The databases are reviewed by local experts in each country and are continually updated so that content is relevant and up-to-the-minute. They have become a formidable resource for governments, industry and NGOs across the world, particularly in the US, China and India, three of IIP’s priority countries.
Traffic to the site has increased three-fold in the past year: 12,486 unique visits in October 2013, up from 3,459 in October 2012.
A non-profit organization, IIP says it is the only global organization solely dedicated to helping reduce industrial energy use to mitigate climate change and address other relevant environmental issues. IIP has a global team and network of independent experts that provide advice on industrial energy efficiency. It also works at national and local levels to improve energy efficiency policies, practices and technology adoption.
NGO Activist Award
Farming First is a coalition that articulate, endorses and promotes sustainable agriculture worldwide. In 2013, the nonprofit co-sponsored a Feeding the World summit with The Economist in London and organized efforts to raise the profile of agriculture at the November global climate negotiations in Warsaw. “The bad news is that delegates opted to delay again, discussions of agriculture,” wrote Rachel Kyte, Vice President for Sustainable Development at the World Bank on Farming First’s website. Calling the decision short-sighted, Kyte said “Agriculture is the only sector that can not only mitigate, but also take carbon out of the atmosphere. It has the potential to substantially sequester global carbon dioxide emissions in the soils of croplands, grazing lands and rangelands.”
“The good news is that there are steps we can take to make agriculture part of the solution. Importantly the discussions with farmers on how to improve incomes and yields, to serve the nutritional content of the food we grow, are our key focus. But we can at the same time improve resilience of food systems and achieve emissions reductions.”
Kyte cited the “triple wins” being accomplished by sustainable, climate-smart ag initiatives worldwide, including tree planting, crop improvement, livestock breeding and other features of “climate-smart villages” in Kenya.
Farming First advocates a new approach to climate and ag that transcends demands for reduction targets. Instead, “governments should commit to climate change mitigation through improved and sustainable agricultural productivity across multiple factors including water use, carbon efficiency, improved nutrient use efficiency, and land-use intensity.”