Tag Archives: “energy efficiency”

PUC Promotes Combined Heat and Power Technology in Pennsylvania

Earlier this month, April 5, 2018, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC)CHP Partnership Logo adopted a policy statement geared toward helping advance the development of combined heat and power (CHP) technology. Additionally, the PUC’s Bureau of Technical Utility Services will initiate a CHP Working Group to engage with stakeholders and encourage the deployment of, and reduce barriers to, CHP initiatives in Pennsylvania.

What is CHP? CHP captures the waste heat energy that is typically lost through power generation, using it to provide heating and/or cooling for manufacturing and business. CHP is an efficient means of generating electric power and thermal energy from a single fuel source, providing cost-effective energy services to commercial businesses like hospitals, universities and hotels.

“CHP offers a variety of benefits,” noted Chairman Gladys M. Brown in a supporting statement at recent PUC public meeting,” First and foremost, CHP supports environmental stewardship through increased efficiency. Also, it provides economic benefits to its adopters through reductions in energy consumption. Further, it supports reliability and resiliency as a distributed energy resource.”

The Commission voted 5-0 to adopt the policy statement, which promotes a coordinated approach to CHP to the benefit of the economy, the environment, and the security of Pennsylvania residents and businesses.  First proposed and issued for public comment in the winter of 2016, the newly adopted policy statement is intended to:

  • promote CHP investments;
  • encourage electric distribution companies (EDCs) and natural gas distribution companies (NGDCs) to make CHP an integral part of their energy efficiency and resiliency plans, as well as their marketing and outreach efforts; and
  • encourage these companies to design interconnection processes and rates for owners and operators of CHP facilities.

Under the new policy, EDCs and NGDCs are required to report to the Commission biennially on CHP development in their service territories, including their efforts to promote such development.  Additionally, Commission staff will provide biennial reports to the Commission summarizing and analyzing the utility reports, identifying government agency programs providing financial aid and other support for CHP and making recommendations regarding the development of CHP in the Commonwealth.

Desire more specific assistance regarding CHP, renewable energy projects, energy law, or real estate law, contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices, P.C.

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Join Us at GlobalCon Energy Expo

gloabalcon_logo_white_2017

The GLOBALCON Expo will emphasize four critical areas of leading edge technology and related services:

  • Energy Management, HVAC and Smart Building Systems
  • Renewables, Alternative Energy and Onsite Generation
  • Lighting Efficiency and Integrated Energy Solutions
  • Plant and Facilities Management

GLOBALCON 2017, presented by the Association of Energy Engineers, is designed specifically to facilitate those seeking to expand their knowledge of fast-moving developments in the energy field, explore promising new technologies, compare energy supply options, and learn about innovative and cost-conscious project implementation strategies.  Get a Free Expo exhibits only pass for a limited time here: GLOBALCON Expo

March 22-23, 2017

Pennsylvania Convention Center
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Desire more specific assistance regarding CHP, Solar; renewable energy projects, energy law, or real estate law, contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices, P.C.

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$107 Million for Solar and Renewable Projects – $65 Million Available This Year

sunshotSeptember 14, 2016 the U.S. Energy Department announced up to $107 million in new projects and planned funding in order to support America’s continued leadership in clean energy innovation through solar technology. Under the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE) SunShot Initiative, the Department will fund 40 projects with a total of $42 million to improve PV performance, reliability, manufacturability and to enable greater market penetration for solar technologies. In addition to the new projects announced today, the Department intends to make up to $65 million, subject to appropriation, in additional funding available for upcoming solar research and development projects to continue driving down the cost of solar energy and accelerating widespread national deployment.

One of SunShot’s goals is to drive down the levelized cost of utility-scale solar electricity to $0.06 per kilowatt-hour without incentives by 2020. 

“Since 2008, the commitments made by the Department of Energy have contributed to solar PV’s deployment growing 30-fold and overall costs falling more than 60 percent,” said Under Secretary for Science and Energy Franklin Orr. “Continuing to invest in solar technologies will help to drive down costs even further for American consumers and ensure that the U.S. maintains global leadership in this century’s clean energy economy.”

PV Research and Development Program: $17 Million for 19 Advanced PV Technologies

SunShot selected 19 projects to receive a total of $17 million under the PV Research and Development Program to improve the performance, reliability and manufacturability of existing PV technology while seeking to advance next generation solar technology development. The new research and development projects focus on both current and emerging PV technologies aimed at improving power conversion efficiency and energy output, while also enhancing service lifetime and decreasing hardware costs. These projects could significantly lower solar PV costs from SunShot’s 2020 targets to support even more widespread deployment of PV technologies across the nation. Click here to view the list of awardees.

Two projects are from neighboring Delaware.  Congratulations U-Del:  

UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE

Project Name: Rapid Patterning and Advanced Device Structures for Low Cost Manufacturable Crystalline Silicon IBC Cells
Location: Newark, DE
SunShot Award Amount: $1,124,491
Awardee Cost Share: $125,084
Principal Investigator: Steven Hegedus
Project Summary: This project is developing a new method for the manufacturing of interdigitated back contact (IBC) solar cells with metal contacts on the backside of the wafer, which allows for greater light harvesting on the front surface due to the absence of grid shadowing. The new process will use direct laser patterning of the metal electrodes to isolate the positive and negative contacts, as well as laser firing of dopants to create localized contacts regions between the metal and the silicon wafer. The result will be a lower cost silicon manufacturing process and device structure that will lead to an IBC cell with 25% efficiency.

UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE

Project Name: Improved Performance and Reliability of PV Modules using the Reaction of Metal Precursors
Location: Newark, DE
SunShot Award Amount: $800,000
Awardee Cost Share: $88,889
Principal Investigator: William Shafarman
Project Summary: This project is working to improve the performance and reliability of thin-film copper indium gallium sulfide selenide (CIGSS) cells. The team is developing innovative approaches to improve the deposition and device fabrication to provide a pathway to significant reduction in LCOE. By focusing on processes and materials with low manufacturing cost and that are already used in commercial production, the project expects to directly impact the market and advance CIGSS technology toward and beyond the SunShot 2020 goal of $0.06 per kilowatt hour LCOE.

Technology to Market Program:  $25 Million for 21 Rapid Solar Innovation Projects

To accelerate the current growth trajectory of solar energy in America, the Department is also announcing nearly $25 million for 21 new projects under SunShot’s Technology to Market Program. The funding will support the development of new tools, technologies and services for the solar industry by helping to reduce hardware costs, improve business operational efficiency and broaden the investor pool for project development. Additionally, the projects will yield products that can leverage new, emerging technologies and assist in streamlining regulatory processes. Click here to view the list of awardees.  One project is from neighboring New Jersey.  

QADO ENERGY, INC.

Location: Summit, NJ
SunShot Award Amount: $700,000
Awardee Cost Share: $700,000
Project Summary: This project enables large utilities to conduct rapid forecasting and planning of distributed energy resource (DER) deployment combinations through the use of hybrid distribution/transmission models. The rapid addition of distributed generation creates concerns among utilities and regional transmission operators about impacts on transmission. The development of transmission impact functionality will drive down interconnection times of large commercial and small utility projects, which are known for their lengthy queues.

Future Funding for PV Technology, Technology to Market and Systems Integration Programs

Later this year, SunShot intends to make up to $65 million, subject to appropriation, in additional funding available under the PV Research and Development Program, Technology to Market Program and its Systems Integration Program. The PV Research and Development Program is expected to make up to $25 million available in funding to improve PV module and system design, including hardware and software solutions that facilitate the rapid installation and interconnection of PV systems. The Technology to Market Program expects up to $30 million to be made available for projects that accelerate the commercialization of products and solutions that can help to drive down the cost of solar energy. Finally, SunShot will make up to $10 million available under its Systems Integration Program for projects that are focused on improving solar irradiance and power forecasts that will accelerate data integration into energy management systems used by utilities.

Desire more specific assistance regarding CHP, renewable energy projects, energy law, or real estate law, contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices, P.C.

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Is My Facility a Good Candidate for CHP?

Considering Combined Heat and Power (CHP) to save money, enhance reliability, and benefit the environment?  The EPA CHP Partnership and Prince Law Offices can help.  Answering “yes” to any of the following questions indicates that the facility may be a good candidate for CHP:

  • Do you pay more than $0.07 per kWh on average for electricity (including generation, transmission, and distribution)?
  • Are you concerned about the impact of current or future energy costs on your business?
  • Is your facility located in a deregulated electricity market? (Hint: If in PA, it is.)
  • Are you concerned about the reliability of your facility’s electricity supply? Would there be substantial business, safety, or health impacts if the electricity supply were interrupted?
  • Does your facility operate for more than 5,000 hours per year?
  • Do you have thermal loads throughout the year (such as steam, hot water, chilled water, or hot air)?
  • Do you expect to replace, upgrade, or retrofit central plant equipment (such as generators, boilers, and chillers) within the next 3 to 5 years?
  • Do you anticipate a facility expansion or new construction project within the next 3 to 5 years?
  • Have you already implemented energy efficiency measures and still have high energy costs?
  • Are you interested in reducing your facility’s impact on the environment?

Visit Project Development Steps to learn more about the steps to CHP project development, from initial qualification to CHP system operation and maintenance.

CHP Spark Spread Estimator

The CHP Spark Spread Estimator (XLSM)(1 pg, 1 MB) is an Excel-based tool that helps evaluate a prospective CHP system for its potential economic feasibility. The CHP Spark Spread Estimator calculates the difference between the delivered electricity price and the total cost to generate power with a prospective CHP system.

The tool is intended to help CHP end users and other interested parties conduct an initial screening of potential CHP cost savings at a facility based on basic site data – annual electricity usage, annual thermal loads, average electricity and fuel prices, and annual hours of operation.

In addition to comparing a preliminary estimate of the cost to generate power on site (in terms of $/kWh) to the retail price of power at the site, the estimator provides an approximate comparison of energy consumption and costs with and without CHP.

Desire more specific assistance regarding CHP, renewable energy projects, energy law, or real estate law, contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices, P.C.

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PUC Considers Alternative Utility Ratemaking for Energy Reliability and Conservation

As we discussed in our blog on January 8, 2016, the Pennsylvania Public Utility puc_sealCommission (PUC) today, March 3, 2016, hosted a Harrisburg hearing to gather information from a diverse group of experts regarding alternative ratemaking methodologies, as part of ongoing discussions about how to best maintain safe and reliable energy infrastructure while also encouraging utilities to push forward with more aggressive energy efficiency and conservation programs.

The panels involved in today’s hearing reflected perspectives from experts in alternative ratemaking, energy efficiency, consumer organizations, industrial customers and utilities. The agenda and full list of panelists is found on the Commission’s website.

The hearing focused on several issues concerning alternative rate design, including:

  • Whether revenue decoupling or other similar rate mechanisms encourage utilities to better implement energy efficiency and conservation programs;
  • Whether such rate mechanisms are just and reasonable and in the public interest; and
  • Whether the benefits of implementing such rate mechanisms outweigh any costs associated with implementing the rate mechanisms.

In addition to the testimony presented today, the Commission also will review written comments regarding alternative ratemaking, which must be received no later than March 16, 2016.  All documents related to the hearing, including the testimony and presentations submitted by the witnesses who testified today, are available on the Commission’s website.

The Commissioners thanked those who testified today, along with those parties who plan to submit additional comments and testimony, as the PUC continues to explore this issue.

Desire more specific assistance regarding ratemaking, utility costs, renewable energy projects, or energy law, contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices, P.C.

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PaPUC to Explore Alternative Utility Ratemaking Methods

Today the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) announced it will hold a March 3, 2016 hearing in Harrisburg to gather information from experts regarding alternative ratemaking methodologies.puc_seal

Ratemaking alternatives, such as revenue decoupling, for example, could involve making consumer charges less dependent on usage. Decoupling advocates suggest that decoupling removes possible disincentives for greater energy efficiency because utility revenues are no longer directly linked to the volume of electricity or gas sold. Because of the importance of this topic, all five Commissioners will be sitting “en banc” – as a full panel – to receive information.

The hearing will focus on several issues:

  • Whether revenue decoupling or other similar rate mechanisms encourage utilities to better implement energy efficiency and conservation programs;
  • Whether such rate mechanisms are just and reasonable and in the public interest; and
  • Whether the benefits of implementing such rate mechanisms outweigh any costs associated with implementing the rate mechanisms.

“It is important for the Commission to foster public discussion about key issues,” said PUC Chairman Gladys M. Brown. “We look forward to receiving testimony which reflects a wide range of perspectives as the Commission studies ways to address potential barriers to energy efficiency and conservation programs in Pennsylvania while also maintaining the reliability and safety of our energy infrastructure.”

The hearing will be held on March 3, 2016, at 9 a.m., in Hearing Room 1 of the Commonwealth Keystone Building, 400 North Street, Harrisburg. The hearing is open to the public and we will also be video streaming the hearing on the Commission’s website for those unable to attend in person.

In a statement regarding recent rate case settlements, Commissioner Robert F. Powelson noted the increasing tempo of state and national discussions about other alternative ratemaking, commenting, “The time has come to better align rate structures in a way that equally benefits all stakeholders, including ratepayers, utilities and the environmental community.”

Note: In addition to the Commission’s en banc hearing, settlements regarding rate increase requests submitted by PECO Energy Company and PPL Electric Utilities Corporation both require that the utilities host public collaboratives on decoupling in early 2016.

A Secretarial Letter provides more details regarding the hearing and instructions for interested parties.

Desire more specific assistance regarding ratemaking, utility costs, renewable energy projects, or energy law, contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices, P.C.

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EPA Clean Power Plan Comments Due Soon

EPA is soliciting comments on the Clean Power Plan Proposed Federal Plan and Proposed Model Rules, to be submitted by January 21st. EPAPlease note that there are a number of topics that may be of interest to combined heat and power (CHP) stakeholders, including those in the following sections of the Preamble:

  • Section IV.C.3 on Eligible Emission Reduction Measures for ERC Generation (80 FR at p. 64994)
  • Section IV.D.6.b on Issuance of ERCs for Measures Used to Adjust an Emission Rate (p. 64999)
  • Section IV.D.8.d on Non-Affected CHP EM&V Requirements (p. 65005)
  • Section V.D.3.b on Set-Asides for Renewable Energy Projects (p. 65019)
  • Section V.D.4 on Provisions to Encourage Early Action through the Clean Energy Incentive Program, including low-income energy efficiency projects (p. 65025)

More Information

How to Comment Comments on the Clean Power Plan Proposed Federal Plan and Proposed Model Rules must be received by January 21, 2016. Be sure to reference Docket ID: EPA-HQ-OAR-2015-0199.

If you or your business have questions regarding CHP, renewable energy projects, energy law or real estate law, contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices, P.C.

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