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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Sports Fields Go Green with Renewable Energy

Earth Day 2014 has come and gone, as has some people’s attention to the environment. But it’s encouraging to see sports facilities managers jumping on the “green” bandwagon.

Stadium seatsMore and more sports stadiums are trying to become more sustainable, according to articles published by Energy Digital and USA Today.

For example, in 2004 Jeffrey Lurie, owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, contacted Allen Hershkowitz, a scientist at the non-profit Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), to ask for help making his team and the stadium, Lincoln Financial Field, more sustainable, according to Energy Digital.

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Top 4 Things to Know About the Incandescent Bulb Phase Out

Around since the late 1800s, the incandescent light bulbs are now on their way out because they no longer meet federal energy-efficiency standards.

Light bulb in hand (green tree growing in a bulb)The incandescent bulb phase out began in 2012 with 100-watt bulbs; 75-watts were phased out the next year.  As part of the Energy Independence and Security Act, this year marks the final stage of the phase out, meaning incandescent 40-watt and 60-watt bulbs will no longer be manufactured.

Most facility managers have already been dealing with the phase out of the incandescent light bulbs for the past couple years, so the effects this year should be minimal.

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