Archive for November, 2012

Renewable Energy News: Is there a Bright Future for Solar Power?

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Renewable energy accounted for about 13% of the total United States utility-scale electricity generation in 2011, placing the U.S. behind just China in total electricity generation from renewable energy. And while solar power was responsible for less than 1% of all renewable-generated electricity in the U.S. last year, the use of solar energy is growing rapidly.

1. In the first quarter of 2012, developers installed 85% more solar panels compared to the first quarter of 2011.

2. Total U.S. shipments of solar photovoltaic (PV) modules in 2011 hit a record high, increasing from 2,644,498 peak kilowatts in 2010 to 3,772,075 peak kilowatts in 2011, a 43% increase over 2010. Peak kilowatts stands for peak power. This value specifies the output power achieved by a Solar module under full solar radiation.

3. From the beginning of 2010 to the end of June 2012, 1,308 megawatts (MW) of new utility-scale solar capacity has come online, more than tripling the 619 MW in place at the end of 2009.

4. The Energy Information Administration projects solar power to reach 18,000 megawatt hours per day in 2013.

solar use

Interesting Facts about Solar Power in the United States

1. Solar energy is the most abundant energy source on the planet, with 173,000 terawatts striking the Earth continuously. That’s more than 10,000 times the world’s total energy use.

2. The first solar cell was built in 1954 by Bell Laboratories.

3. The space industry has utilized solar power since the 1960s, when they began harnessing solar energy to provide power to spacecraft.

4. The world’s largest solar energy project, consisting of 350,000 solar mirrors, is underway in California’s Mojave Desert.

Prices continue to fall, but Obstacles remain

As prices of both solar cells and solar modules continue to fall – solar cells dropped from 1.13 in 2010 to $0.92 in 2011and solar modules (a packaged connected assembly of photovoltaic cells) dropped from $1.96 in 2010 to $1.59 in 2011- the feasibility of solar energy use in the U.S. continues to increase. And these prices are expected to keep dropping in 2012 as solar technology advances.

price of solar energy

Still, there are hurdles that the solar industry must still address, such as soft costs (permitting, zoning, and hooking the solar system to the power grid). On average, these soft costs can add more than $2,500 to the total cost of a solar energy system.

As you can clearly see, solar power is not going to take over the energy industry in 2012, but we are headed in the right direction!

To learn more, please contact CQI Associates by calling 410-740-0667 or visit CQIAssociates.com today!

CQI Associates has saved our public and private commercial clients well over $1,500,000,000 based on our energy and environmental program and project saving recommendations.

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Hurricane Sandy and the Energy Industry: What can you expect?

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Besides knocking down power lines and causing countless blackouts up and down the east coast, Hurricane Sandy may also have a bigger impact on the energy industry, hitting you were it hurts most: your wallet.

Hurricane Sandy and the Oil Industry

According to IHS Global Insight, supply chain managers in the Northeast are expected to see a shortage of refined oil products after Sandy forced 70% of the East Coast’s oil refineries to shut down. And while many refineries have returned to full capacity, several refineries throughout New Jersey and New York, including the product trading hub in New York Harbor, remain out of operation.

More importantly, the closing of the hub in New York Harbor has severely affected the oil supply line. The entire Northeast relies not only on oil products from the region, but also products imported from the Gulf Coast and elsewhere. Demand in the Northeast is approximately 2.2 million barrels per day:  42% from local refineries, 31% from other regions (mainly the Gulf Coast), and 27% from net imports.

For this reason, 24% of all New York gas stations are still without gas.

Crude Oil Prices Rise

Crude oil prices rose today for the second straight day in the market after gasoline supplies fell 1.5 million barrels to 198 million. Crude oil advanced as much as 1.4% to $2.6571 a gallon.

“The devastation and fuel shortages brought on by Hurricane Sandy are still being felt across the product complex in the U.S.,” said Andrey Kryuchenkov, a London-based analyst at VTB Capital.

Hurricane Sandy and the Electric Industry

Following Hurricane Sandy, outages remain a major problem, especially in New Jersey, where 14% of people (569, 822) are still without power. Meanwhile, 355,055 are without power in New York; 9,797 in Pennsylvania; and 2,113 in Maryland. And while these numbers may seem high, consider that when the hurricane first hit, 8,511,251 were left without power. Since then, power has been restored for 7,357,492 individuals.

Click Here for the up-to-date Hurricane Sandy Situation Report from the United States Department of Energy.

To learn more, please contact CQI Associates by calling 410-740-0667 or visit CQIAssociates.com today!

CQI Associates is a leader in energy and environmental consulting.

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Hurricane Sandy’s Impact on Energy Industry Yet to Be Measured

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Renewable Energy News: The Current State of Hydropower in the United States

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Hydropower, which is, for those of you who don’t know, the use of moving water to generate electricity, is currently the largest source of renewable-generate electricity in the United States. Hydropower accounted for 63% of all renewable-generated energy in 2011, a 13.9% increase over the previous year. But could hydropower be on the decline? Experts say yes.

Hydropower use has fallen by 0.4 quadrillion Btu this year, representing a 13.9% decrease compared to 2011.

renewable energy consumption

However, the decline in hydropower use is not necessarily a bad thing. The primary reason for the drop in usage is due to the growth of other renewable energy forms, such as wind power and geothermal electricity.

The History of Hydropower in the United States

Hydropower is nothing new to the world, with the first hydroelectric power plant being built in 1879 at Niagara Falls. And just three years later, in 1882, the first hydroelectric power plant was constructed and began operation in the United States in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Since this day, hydropower has played a small, yet important role in the overall energy production in the U.S. and remains one of the cheapest ways to produce electricity.

The Current State of Electricity Prices in the United States

The United States Energy Information Association (EIA) reported average residential electricity prices across the U.S. at 12.10 cents per kilowatt hour in September 2012, the last month they released data. This number is expected to drop slightly once the numbers for October 2012 are calculated. And the average residential electricity price for 2012 is projected at 11.84 cents per kilowatthour, a 0.4% increase compared to 2011.

renewable energy use

This winter, with temperatures expected to be 13% colder than last year, EIA expects U.S. electricity prices to rise slightly compared to 2011, 5%.

Of course, all of the numbers above are national averages and can vary depending on where you live.

To learn more, please contact CQI Associates by calling 410-740-0667 or visit CQIAssociates.com today!

CQI Associates has saved our public and private commercial clients well over $1,500,000,000 based on our energy and environmental program and project saving recommendations.

You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LikedIn, and Google+.

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Induction Lighting: Another Energy Saving Tip from CQI Associates

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Induction lighting is nothing new. The technology has been around for over 100 years. But with recent developments Electronic Ballast/Generator technology and the push for more energy efficient buildings, induction lighting is quickly gaining popularity in the United States.

What is Induction Lighting and how does it work?

Similar to fluorescent lighting, induction lighting utilizes mercury in a gas fill inside the bulb. This gas fill is agitated, emitting UV radiation that is then converted into white light by the phosphor coating of the bulb. However, unlike fluorescent lighting, induction lighting does not use electrodes to initiate the flow of current across the arc. Induction lighting, instead, uses a high-frequency generator with a power coupler. This produces a radio frequency magnetic field to agitate the gas fill.

What are the Benefits of Induction Lighting?

Because induction lighting uses a high-frequency generator instead of an electrode, induction lamps last up to 100,000 hours longer. That is a useful life 5-7 times longer than metal halide and 7 times longer than T12HO (high output) fluorescent. Additional benefits of induction lighting include:

  • Instant ignition
  • A color rendering index (CRI) above 80
  • Performs well in extreme cold
  • No glare
  • Vibration resistant
  • Virtually maintenance free
  • Incredibly durable
  • Reduced carbon footprint

 

 

Best of all, induction lighting is incredibly energy efficient. Below is a graph detailing the Lumens per Watt of several popular lighting solutions. Lumens per watt is a measure of efficiency. It is the amount of light a source gives off per watt.

It is no wonder that the United States Department of Energy (DOE) called induction lighting “one of the best kept secrets in energy efficient lighting.”

To learn more, please contact CQI Associates by calling 410-740-0667 or visit CQIAssociates.com today!

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