Boosting Biomass: New Senate Bill Looks to Improve Outlook

Boosting Biomass: New Senate Bill Looks to Improve Outlook It’s not a new idea: Burn wood to generate energy. The simplest form is your fireplace, but companies are now tackling this concept at scale to produce what’s known as biomass energy. Hoping to take its place alongside solar, geothermal, and wind as the next big renewable, biomass enjoys it share of champions and critics, but according to Renewable Energy Magazine, the United States is looking to encourage biomass generation with the introduction of a new grant program from the Department of Energy (DOE), which legislators hope will both create jobs and boost innovation.

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Powering Down—EPA Issuing New Emission Rules

Powering Down—EPA Issuing New Emission RulesBy summer, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plans roll out regulation 111-D, which focuses on significantly reducing power plant emissions by 2020. The rule-set must be completed and enshrined in law before President Obama leaves office in 22 months—for bureaucracy, that’s practically a sprint.

The result is a new set of standards designed to lessen the environmental impact of power generation, especially at sites which rely heavily on fossil fuels. But let’s dig deeper: What does this really mean for power producers?

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Offshore Wind Power: US Faces Blowback

Offshore Wind Power: US Faces Blowback Offshore wind is among the most promising renewable resources available — along with solar and geothermal power, it represents a new frontier for the energy market. In the United States, however, the offshore wind power market is facing some blowback, according to Real Clear Politics. Is it possible for this project to get up to speed?

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Red Sun — Russian’s Largest Solar Power Plant Opens in Siberia

Red Sun — Russian's Largest Solar Power Plant Opens in SiberiaSiberia isn’t exactly a hot spot for urban development. But according to The Moscow Times, the region’s Atlai Republic is now home to Russia’s largest solar power plant. With plans to boost national renewable energy use from 0.5 to 4.5 percent by 2020, the new five megawatt (MW) Kosh-Agachskata plant is a good start — but is it really all sunshine and rainbows from here?

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Salting the Earth: New Molten Salt Reactor Looks for Commercial Success

Nuclear power has always been a delicate subject, and recent contamination issues such as those in Fukushima have put “traditional” nuclear power under the microscope again.

iStock_000015994204SmallThankfully, there’s an alternative: salt. Not the shaker kind or the sea variety, but molten uranium or thorium suspended in liquid and used to generate anywhere from 29 to 290 megawatts of electricity.

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Cheap Natural Gas Fires Up Cogeneration Plant Proponents

In 2006, Koda Energy inked a deal with Minnesota company Rahr Malting Co. to build a power plant that not only generates electricity but captures waste heat created during the process and puts it to use.

iStock_000039111840SmallThese “cogeneration” plants aim for both environmental stewardship and fuel savings, which fluctuate with the price of natural gas.

When the plant got the green light, for example, the price of natural gas was $13 per one million BTU. By 2012, it bottomed out at $2. Is cheap natural gas the start of a slow decline for cogeneration?

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Clean Coal: Future or Fossil?

Our world has a coal problem. In the United States, coal-burning power plants are the largest source of air pollution, while in China some reports peg coal-based air pollution as the culprit for the deaths of more than 1.2 million people in 2010.

coal power plantBeijing has plans to impose low-sulphur coal policies across all industries next month, but this won’t cure the underlying problem: Massive carbon dioxide emissions.

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New Rules Harshly Affect Coal Industry

Late last year, we told you about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new carbon pollution standards and how they are expected to affect power plants.

Aerial of Power StationTo summarize, the EPA proposed standards in September 2013 intended to reduce carbon pollution for new power plants in an effort to fight climate change and improve public health. The proposal comes as part of President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan, which is focused on cutting carbon pollution.

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Saving Money With a Water Conservation Program

Commercial buildings have a web of interconnected systems relying on water. Water is one of our most precious resources and yet conservation is an often overlooked aspect in whole-building design strategies.

Wasting moneyMost commercial facility managers struggle with managing its consumption, resulting in lots of wasted water. As water rates rise across the country, it’s an economically wise decision, as well as an environmentally conscious practice, to manage water usage.

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Capitalize on the Billions Available in Energy Rebates

There are billions of dollars in rebates available to facilities from utilities across the United States, according to a whitepaper by Ecova.

Skyscraper with dollar signEcova should know quite a bit about rebates as it is an energy and sustainability management company, whose goal is to help clients save resources.

As explained in the paper, there appears to be a growing interest in utility-sponsored rebate programs. Using rebate programs AND energy management, a facility can offset rising energy costs. And that’s important, considering that electricity is expected to increase by at least 4% in 2014 and gas prices may rise by about 10%.

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