BSC Library Articles Tagged: Renewable Energy

  • renewable energy


    May 8, 2014

    Photo: Strata Solar/video screen capture In another sign of significant growth in utility-scale solar across NC, Chapel Hill-based Strata Solar has just announced that it has completed construction of 9 new utility-scale solar plants using $100m in tax equity financing from Wells Fargo. The 9 projects are located in Bladen, Chatham, Columbus, Franklin County, Lenoir, Nash, Person, Vance and Wayne, and together will provide enough power for over 5,000 households.  According to Strata Solar CEO Marcus Wilhelm, the benefits reach way beyond the environmental: "We are very proud of our ability to invest and build in North Carolina's rural communities.  These…

  • clean energy


    October 20, 2014

    Photo: Strata Solar On October 14th, legislators, community leaders, solar farm landowners and industry representatives gathered at a solar farm in Sampson County to celebrate one company's major clean energy milestone. Strata Solar was announcing it has passed $1 billion in project investments in North Carolina solar since the company was founded in 2009. Whether it's the USDA investing $55 million in NC solar farms or Duke Energy committing to a huge increase in its solar capacity, solar power in North Carolina appears to be on a winning streak right now. (NC has been near the top of national rankings for installed…

  • renewable energy


    May 7, 2014

    Image: NC Solar Center Utility-scale solar may be taking off in North Carolina but, so far, distributed residential installations are nowhere near as commonplace as in other parts of the country due, in part, to less favorable economic incentives. There are, however, several incentive programs available to Duke Energy customers, and choosing which one best fits each household can be a challenge. The North Carolina Solar Center—a public service center in the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University—has now published a report to help North Carolinians understand the costs and savings associated with installing solar panels on private residences. The guide walks readers…

  • renewable energy


    October 29, 2014

    Photo: Alevo/video screen grab On Tuesday, October 29th, international press, dignitaries and energy leaders gathered in Concord, NC to hear plans for a brand new battery plant that could bring thousands of jobs to North Carolina in the coming few years. Backed to the tune of $1bn by anonymous Swiss investors, and headed up by Norwegian former dot com entrepreneur Jostein Eikeland, Alevo plans to be manufacturing its "Gridbank" energy storage and analytics systems by July of 2015 on a corporate campus located at a former Philip Morris plant which closed in 2009.  This technology, if proved viable (no full-scale…

  • clean energy


    May 1, 2014

    Photo: Activ Solar/creative commons In a sign of just how vibrant NC's solar energy scene is right now, Duke Energy's recent RFP for 300MW of solar projects is already oversubscribed. And not just oversubscribed. It's oversubscribed nearly three times over. This is big news for clean energy advocates. Here's how Cleantechnica reported on the success of this effort:  The 300 MW request for proposals — for solar PV plants over 5 MW — that Duke Energy put out just a few months ago, only just in February for that matter, has already been oversubscribed nearly three times over, according to recent…

  • asheville


    December 11, 2014

    Credit: Mother Earth News Fair For a second year, Asheville will host the Mother Earth News Fair in 2015.  Tickets are now available for the April 11-12 event, which will feature more than 150 workshops on sustainable and self-sufficient living. The fair, taking place in five locations across the country next year, will offer sessions on organic gardening and food preservation, natural health, renewable energy, and other aspects of rural and urban homesteading. The “Original Guide to Living Wisely,” Mother Earth News has provided practical guidance for simple living since the back-to-the-land movement of the 1970s. The publication, which recently…

  • agriculture

    How sheep farming can help maintain solar farms

    April 23, 2014

    Photo: Sun-Raised Farms, screen shot The solar industry is growing rapidly in North Carolina, thanks in large part to the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards law, which requires utilities to source 3% of their energy from renewable sources this year, increasing to 12.5% by 2021. Some people have raised concerns that renewable energy generation could crowd out agricultural uses of land. But NC-based Sun-Raised Farms has a potential solution: Let hungry sheep mow the fields. Chad and Jodi Ray started using sheep to maintain one of O2 Energies’ solar fields in Bunn, NC in 2011. They managed to lower O2 Energies’…

  • renewable energy


    January 5, 2015

    From Strata Solar celebrating $1bn invested in NC projects to Duke Energy spending big on utility-scale solar, solar power—and in particular large-scale solar power—was on a roll in 2014. Developers had been concerned, however, that the North Carolina Utilities Commission might make changes to regulations governing how solar power producers are compensated by utilities. Among the items under review was a proposal from utilities to reduce the terms of a standard Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) from 15 years to 10 years, and to change the size of qualifying projects from 5MW to just 100 kilowatts. Both of these proposed (along with…

  • innovation


    April 9, 2014

    Like NC State's impressive sustainability achievements, the rest of UNC's 17-campus university system is in the midst of a major, long-term transition toward sustainability. With an eventual goal of reaching carbon neutrality at every campys by 2050, individual campuses are enacting interim goals and initiatives that seek to reduce energy, water and resource use, as well as increasing the consumption of renewable and other low-carbon fuel sources. As part of those efforts, UNC has already cut energy use by 20% per square foot in the last decade, and potable water use by 40% in that same time period. UNC's various…

  • durham

    Solarize races to enroll Triad residents

    February 8, 2015

    Photo credit: Creative Commons We've reported  previously on “Solarize,” a DOE-funded initiative with grassroots momentum to ramp up residential solar. NC WARN, one of many organizations running Solarize campaigns across the state, launched its first project in Durham a year ago in January. Now it is focusing efforts on the Triad region. The Solarize model aims to make home rooftop solar installation affordable through a tiered pricing scheme that drops as registration increases. Through April 17, Triad residents may enroll in Solarize Triad, which offers not only free solar assessments but also free energy efficiency audits, thanks to a project…

  • innovation


    March 24, 2014

    Photo: mckaysavage/creative commons Chinese Premier Li Keqiang recently declared a "war on pollution" in an effort to bring China's now notorious air-quality issues under control. While some have questioned the implications of such an effort for China's economic growth targets, others are pointing to the massive investment opportunities represented by renewable energy, energy efficiency and other cleantech.  With the Triangle positioning itself as a hub for cleantech, there's little doubt that China's energy and cleantech landscape will have a direct impact on the North Carolina economy.  That's why the 2014 EDGE Forum, being held at Duke University this Wednesday (March…

  • clean energy

    Clean energy creates jobs in NC

    March 16, 2015

    Anticipated Job Growth in 2015. Photo credit: North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association The NC Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) completed its seventh annual North Carolina Clean Energy Industry Census for 2014. This years’ report shows steady growth in the clean energy sector, outpacing the growth of any other sectors of the economy.  From the NCSEA press release: “According to the 2014 Census, North Carolina has experienced approximately 15 percent annual increase in revenues generated by clean energy activities since 2012, reaching $4.8 billion in gross revenues in 2014, up $1.2 billion from 2013. The Census also reports significant job growth in…

  • renewable energy


    February 17, 2014

    Photo: Activ Solar/creative commons Duke Energy has already built some large solar power installations in North Carolina, contributing to the state's boom in utility-scale solar last year. Now the energy giant is sending clear signals that there is more to come, issuing an RFP for 300 MW of new solar power capacity to be completed no later than the end of 2015. In a press release about the RFP, Rob Caldwell, vice president of Renewable Generation Development, explained that this will mean a significant increase in Duke's own renewable energy capacity. "This proposal will practically double our current solar capacity…

  • renewable energy

    2050: 100% renewables possible in NC (and every other state)

    June 10, 2015

    Photo: The Solutions Project/creative commons When Apple, Google and Facebook warned NC legislators against freezing renewables targets, they hinted very strongly that the state's growing prowess in renewable energy was a key factor in their investments here. Yet, whenever discussion about renewable energy comes up, many detractors still cite economic cost and technical challenges as a major reason to stick with the status quo. A new study led by Stanford civil and environmental engineering professor Mark Z. Jacobson, and published in Energy and Environmental Sciences, suggests that a 100% renewable energy future is not just possible for North Carolina, but…

  • clean energy

    Clean energy jobs grew 20% in 2013

    January 29, 2014

    Photo: Southern Energy Management With big business investing large amounts in NC solar projects, it was little surprise that NC ranked among the top states for solar installations in 2013. But what does this mean for the state's economy, and is solar an outlier, or part of something bigger? According to the NC Sustainable Energy Association's 2013 Census, the entire NC clean tech sector exhibited robust growth in 2013, growing jobs to 18,404 full-time equivalent employees - up by 20% from the year before. And while RTP may be positioning itself as a clean tech/smart grid cluster, this growth seems…

  • clean energy

    NC to get region’s first large-scale wind power

    July 13, 2015

    Photo: Iberdrola Renewables/promotional image When Target announced last week it was putting solar on eight NC stores (Charlotte Business Journal reports this figure may actually be 25 to 30 stores), and figures showed that natural gas beat out coal for the first time ever in NC, we suggested that North Carolina's energy landscape was changing fast. This week brings more evidence of this fact, with news outlets across the country reporting that construction will begin on a $600 million wind power installation near Elizabeth City. Not only will it be the state's first utility-scale wind power plant, but actually the region's first.…

  • asheville


    January 2, 2014

    Photo: Andreas Demmelbauer/creative commons There is a solar surge going on in NC right now, but most of that growth has been limited to large, utility-scale solar farm projects.  At least, so far.  New schemes are springing up in several cities across the state that seek to make solar affordable for ordinary citizens, including low income homeowners. Based on a grassroots model initially developed in Oregon, and supported by the Department of Energy,  Solarize Asheville has already been signing up would-be solar system owners and using their collective bargaining power to drive down costs. In November of last year, Raleigh city…

  • clean energy

    ALDI plans rooftop solar on 10 NC stores

    August 12, 2015

    Target isn't the only bog box retailer investing in North Carolina's clean energy future. 

  • clean energy


    August 21, 2014

    The North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association's Making Energy Work conference will this year be held on October 1-2 in Charlotte, NC. Bringing together 600 state, regional and national clean energy providers, advocates and decision-makers, the theme for the conference this year is billed as "Securing the Future". Given recent reports that the solar industry is once again facing a shortage of panels due to increased demand, and with on-going debates over the future of energy supply, there is probably no better topic for timely discussion. NCSEA director Ivan Urlaub explained the motivation behind choosing this topic: “This is a critical time for the…

  • charlotte


    December 11, 2013

    Photo: Phil Prince/Habitat Charlotte Solar power is taking off in a big way in North Carolina. Now Habitat Charlotte, which has already made a strong commitment to green building, is getting in on the act. Charlotte Business Journal reports that the non-profit is installing 550 photovoltaic panels on its roof in an effort to cut carbon emissions and reduce its reliance on the energy grid:  The solar panels are expected to generate 137,500 kilowatt-hours annually. Work started this week, says Habitat Charlotte spokesman Phil Prince. A private investor is underwriting the project. Habitat Charlotte’s main office is on 3815 Latrobe Drive, off…

  • north carolina

    Target installing solar on eight NC stores

    July 10, 2015

    The big box retailer is investing heavily in renewables, including 8 large rooftop installations here in North Carolina. 

  • environmental impact


    July 23, 2014

    A large-scale, conventional hog waste lagoon on a farm in North Carolina. Photo: Waterkeepers Alliance/creative commons Hog waste has long been a source of trouble for North Carolina, but now it's becoming a source of energy. Late last month, Storms Hog Farms cut the ribbon on its Storms Hog Power facility in Bladenboro, NC, which uses anaerobic digestion to convert hog waste into a source of renewable energy. The Storm Hog Power facility is the sixth such facility in North Carolina, and the largest one to date. Each day, the farm collects the manure from 30,000 hogs and places it into…

  • clean energy


    November 19, 2013

    At the 2013 NCSEA Making Energy Work Conference, Michael Shore was honored with a lifetime achievement award – and for good reason. A co-founder and former CEO of Asheville-based FLS Energy, Michael has helped develop some of the state’s most high profile solar installations – including the major solar surge at Camp Lejeune.  He was also influential in the drafting of North Carolina’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, played a lead role in development of our state’s landmark Clean Smokestacks Act and was a founding board member of NC Green Power.  We got on the phone with him to talk about some…

  • apple

    Apple, Google, Facebook warn against NC renewable energy freeze

    May 29, 2015

    Image credit: Apple North Carolina has been enjoying a solar boom of late, not least because tech giants like Apple, Google and Facebook have chosen to locate some of their huge, energy-hungry server farms here and to power them using solar energy and other clean technology. Now, as reported by Greentech Media, the three tech giants are flexing their political muscle in support of renewable energy, signing on to a letter in support of maintaining the state's current renewable energy targets. The move comes in response to a North Carolina Senate panel rushing through legislation that would freeze the amount…

  • renewable energy


    July 2, 2014

    Photo: Slaunger/creative commons North Carolina is experiencing a significant surge in utility-scale solar power development but, so far, wind energy development has lagged behind in the state. Offshore wind, however, may be a game changer. Stronger, more consistent winds—combined with a greatly reduced visible impact compatred to onshore wind—has meant that offshore wind development has become a favorite for policy makers in many parts of the world. The UK, for example, increased its wind energy capacity 80% between 2012 and 2013, moving from 1,858MW of installed capacity to over 3,321MW in just one year. Now the N&O reports that scientists are…

  • clean energy


    November 14, 2013

    Race car driver and environmental activist Leilany Münter stands next to her Tesla Model S Photo: NCSEA It's not often you hear of race car drivers, utility executives, solar installers, bankers and politicians (from both sides of the aisle) gathering to discuss the future of clean energy. But that's exactly what happened at the NC Sustainable Energy Association's annual conference in Raleigh - entitled Making Energy Work.  Present throughout the conversations and presentations at the conference was a very real, tangible sense that the clean energy industry - and the energy sector as a whole - is on the cusp…

  • community

    NC GreenPower tests new focus on solar for schools & community

    March 4, 2015

    Photo Credit: Alex Snyder / Creative Commons NC GreenPower has announced two new pilot projects that signal a shift in the organization's focus. After more than a decade of helping to boost the state's voluntary renewable energy portfolio through production-based incentives, the group is transitioning its direction toward school solar installations and other community impact projects more likely to galvanize contributor support. A Changing Landscape for Renewable Energy Launched in 2003, NC GreenPower is a Raleigh-based non-profit that has supported nearly 1,000 projects across the state, with emphasis on residential solar PV. The first initiative of its kind in the…

  • renewable energy


    June 27, 2014

    Photo: Shezamm/creative commons Two major announcements from Duke Energy suggest that the advance of utility-scale solar power in North Carolina appears to be picking up speed. Firstly, Duke Energy Renewables announced it would build 3 large-scale solar farms in Eastern NC, totalling 52MW of installed capacity. As Charlotte Business Journal reports, this deal was made possible by a 20-year power purchase agreement with American University, George Washingon University, and George Washington University Hospital and, as such, the location of the project is crucial:  The eastern North Carolina location is key for the project. The three institutions were determined to buy…

  • charlotte


    November 4, 2013

    Photo: UNC Charlotte/Urban Eden It’s no surprise corporations are leading the solar boom in North Carolina, but our universities are also charging forward with innovative approaches to sustainable construction and design too. A multidisciplinary team from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte entered “UrbanEden” into the Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon 2013, bringing home two awards - tied for third place in the juried Engineering Contest and winning the popular-vote People’s Choice Award.. UrbanEden is a net-zero energy solar powered home “inspired by a commitment to urban revitalization.” Although it’s designed for urban living, it still embraces nature with…

  • charlotte

    Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Durham schools can save millions by going solar

    February 3, 2016

    Charlotte-Mecklenburg and Durham school districts can meet electricity needs, save millions by going 100 percent solar. In a press release published today, February 3, 2016, two reports by the North…

  • clean energy


    June 20, 2014

    Photo: Activ Solar/creative commons Media discussion of climate change and the future of clean energy is often deeply politicized. Yet the Carlotte Observer reports on a new poll of NC residents which shows broad, bi-partisan support for renewable energy, as well as a majority specifically supporting tax breaks and other government incentives for clean energy expansion. Among the polls findings: Six in 10 NC residents support tax breaks and other incentives for solar energy 86% of Democrats, 84% of independents and 77% of Republicans saying NC should seek more alternative energy sources Nine in 10 NC residents support lifting restrictions…

  • community


    October 20, 2013

    Photo: Selena N.B.H./Creative Commons What's the link between erecting solar panels and increasing employee education? What does supporting local fisheries have to do with donating to charity? It's easy to look at social responsibility or philanthropic efforts as individual acts of doing good, of course, but they are also examples of what's known as social innovation. And it appears that social innovation is on the rise.   Stanford’s Center for Social Innovation defines the term as follows: “A social innovation is a novel solution to a social problem that is more effective, efficient, sustainable, or just than present solutions and…

  • business sustainability collaborative

    Poole College Hosts Leading Sustainable Supply Chain Researchers

    May 27, 2016

    The second annual Sustainable Operations Management Workshop brought scholars from across the U.S. to help set a course for the future of sustainable supply chains and operations. The participants, all cutting-edge researchers who are part of an early-career research network, met to discuss important research questions in the are of sustainable operations management and to foster research collaborations.

  • climate change


    June 6, 2014

    Photo: DebMomof3/creative commons Fort Fisher Aquarium already does a lot to advance the cause of sustainability, educating the public on sustainable seafood, promoting biodiversity and conducting research into marine life too. Now the aquarium is offering visitors the chance to purchase Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to offset their own electricity use, and they'll be helping to lighten the footprint of the aquarium too: Each purchased REC provides an environmental benefit and represents one megawatt-hour of electricity generated from wind power. The wind power is generated and delivered to the national power grid. Purchasing the RECs offers direct support for renewable energy…

  • renewable energy


    September 17, 2014

    Photo: David Goehring/Creative Commons Duke Energy, the country's largest electricity company, announced this week that it was expanding its investment in solar power by $500 million, increasing its solar generation capacity by 278 megawatts. The move is being driven, say executives, by North Carolina's Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards which require that 6% of Duke's retail electricity sales be generated from renewable sources by 2015. Rob Caldwell. Duke Energy's vice president of renewable generation development, told Fox Business: "That's why we're doing this, for renewable portfolio standard requirements," This latest announcement means that Duke Energy has made good on its previous RFP for…

  • business

    What is NC signaling to investors? A few words from the 2017 Clean Tech Summit

    March 16, 2017

    What signals are we sending on behalf of our state to the benefit or detriment of our economy and commitment to job creation? A few words from the 2017 Clean Tech Summit by Larissa Via, Jenkins MBA '18, Sustainable Energy Editor, NC State Net Impact Chapter.

  • renewable energy


    May 29, 2014

    Photo: Shezamm/creative commons Large-scale solar power has been taking off in North Carolina, with Duke Energy's recent RFP for 300MW of new solar quickly getting over subscribed. Still, "large-scale" is a relative term. Many of the solar farms being built in North Carolina are somewhere in the 1 to 10 MW range right now—with Apple's Catawba County 20MW installation being an outlier. But the Charlotte Observer reports that Asheville-based Innovative Solar Systems is looking to leverage economies of scale, filing applications for 12 solar farms of between 25 and 80 megawatts, mostly located in Eastern North Carolina: Farms of that size…

  • clean energy


    September 22, 2014

    Photo: O2 Energies/screenshot Renewable energy is growing fast in North Carolina. Just last week, Duke Energy announced a $500 million investment in new solar capacity. And on Thursday of last week, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visited a Franklin County solar farm to announce $68 million of support from the USDA for 540 new energy effieciency and renewable energy projects. Importantly, for NC, both Time Warner Cable and WRAL are reporting that $55 million of that money will go to North Carolina projects in the form of grants and loan guarantees.  Here's more from the USDA's own announcement on the initiative: In North…

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