Energy Supply Solutions
The following is a brief overview of energy supply solutions undertaken by members of C2ES's Business Environmental Leadership Council (BELC).
For more information on each of these companies efforts to address climate change, please see the Businesses Leading The Way section of this Web site.
Air Products and Chemicals
- Air Products’ larger hydrogen plants function as “cogeneration” facilities. In addition to producing hydrogen, steam is often produced and exported to a nearby user. The energy efficiency of these hydrogen plants is over 85% of what is theoretically achievable, exceeding the 60% efficiency level typical of modern natural gas-fired combined cycle turbine power plants.
- A cogeneration unit was also installed to provide energy, heating and cooling at the Air Products Hersham, UK European headquarters. This innovative approach for providing energy to an office complex reduced CO2 emissions by 2700 metric tonnes per year.
- Alcoa and other leading corporations are partnering with World Resources Institute (WRI) to build markets for renewable energy. Convened in 2000, WRI's Green Power Market Development Group seeks to develop corporate markets for 1,000 MW of new, cost competitive green power by 2010.
- Alcoa produces high-efficiency turbine blades for the industrial turbine market in the electric power generation industry.
- In March 2010, Alstom Power and its partner Bardella opened a new plant at Porto Velho in Amazonia. This plant produces hyroelectric equipment for future power plant facilities that will be built along the Rio Madeira and in northern Brazil. This is Alstom's third plant in the country.
Alstom will supply two 25 MW turnkey geothermal power plants to Mexico's Los Humeros power station in Michoacán state, with the steam turbines to be produced locally at Alstom’s site in Morelia. The two plants, which are scheduled for commissioning in 2012, will power more than 100,000 homes in southeastern Mexico.
- Alstom has installed or is installing more than 2,100 wind turbines, corresponding to a total capacity of more than 2,700 MW.
- Alstom turbines and generators installed worldwide represent more than 25% of the total hydropower capacity today.
- Alstom designs, engineers, and constructs geothermal power plants.
In 2005, American Water constructed what was, at the time, the largest groundmounted solar array east of the Rocky Mountains in New Jersey. Since then, it has expanded that system and installed an additional solar array at an adjacent facility. In 2010, these two facilities generated 864,667 kWh of green power and saved approximately one million pounds of CO2 emissions from being released.
American Water is due to complete two capital projects in 2011 that will expand its solar capacity by approximately 240 kW. In addition, American Water has plans to expand its solar capacity in 2012 and 2013 by almost 2 megawatts (MW).
American Water has been a purchaser of green power for some years. One hundred percent of the 1,400,000 kWh of energy used annually at our Yardley, Pennsylvania plant comes from wind power. In 2009, this green wind energy supply saved 1.6 million pounds of CO2 emissions from being released into the atmosphere.
Bank of America
Bank of America Corp.'s Bank of America Merrill Lynch unit announced in June 2011 that it will provide $1.4 billion in loans for a four-year, $2.6 billion project to place solar panels on rooftops in 28 states. The project, led by NRG Energy Inc. and ProLogis Inc
, is designed to generate about 733 megawatts of energy, enough to serve more than 100,000 homes. The installations will be built on facilities owned by ProLogis, a warehouse operator, and co-owned by NRG.
Bank of America's Brighter Planet™ Affinity Banking offers credit and debit cards that help customers finance community-based renewable energy projects. More than 150,000 Bank of America Brighter Planet customers have helped fund the construction of 19 community renewable energy projects in the U.S., preventing the release of more than 200 million pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as of June 2010.
Dominion’s renewable assets in Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia, Indiana and Illinois include wind, hydro, and wood biomass.
When completed and operating at full power, combined output from clean energy is expected to exceed 1,600 megawatts– enough to supply more than 400,000 typical households.
In 2010, hydroelectric power provided almost half (46 percent) of the company's in-service renewable energy capacity. Wind power accounted for about 41 percent of the total, with the remaining 13 percent coming from wood biomass.
Dominion is seeking regulatory approval of a pilot solar distributed generation program for our electric customers. Distributed generation refers to power that is generated and used on-site as opposed to power produced at a large, centrally located facility and transmitted long distances via the power grid to homes and businesses. This program would consist of utility-owned solar installations on leased roof space, as well as special pricing incentives to encourage customer-owned solar installations.
Offshore wind is potentially one of the largest sources of carbon-free, renewable energy in Virginia, with near-term resource availability of approximately 2,000 MW and potentially up to 3,000 MW. In 2010, the Virginia Offshore Wind Development Authority was created to facilitate the commercial development of this renewable resource. Dominion is currently assessing the potential of Virginia’s offshore wind resources and announced an offshore transmission line feasibility study in March 2011. Dominion Virginia Power is planning to respond to the federal government’s call for interest in building electricity-generating wind turbines in the Atlantic Ocean off the Virginia coast. The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has identified approximately 113,000 acres about 24 miles off the coast of Virginia that could be developed for electricity-generating wind turbines. Dominion plans to formally express interest in developing the offshore parcels.
In April 2011, Dominion announced plans to convert three small coal-burning power stations to biomass (using mostly wood waste), which, pending regulatory approvals, would add 153 megawatts of renewable energy to its Virginia generating fleet when they are scheduled to begin operations in 2013. The fuel conversion would result in reduced nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and particulate emissions.
Dow Chemical Company
- Dow will use electricity produced from natural gas created by the landfill in the City of Midland, Michigan to power its hometown facilities. This economically-viable source of clean energy will save an estimated 12,000 tons of GHG emissions annually and provide approximately 25 percent of the energy needs for Dow’s Headquarters.
- Dow's AIRSTONE™ Systems for Wind Energy is a family of products, based on proven technology and chemistry, with performance characteristics well suited for use in the fabrication of wind blades. They include systems for infusion, hand wet layup, tooling and adhesives. Multiple product grades allow customers to tailor their final products based on specific market and environmental conditions.
- The DOW POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingle is developed as a Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) product and is tough, flexible and thin enough to serve as roof shingles for homes. Not only do these shingles generate power, but they shield homes from the elements.
- Dow is working to incorporate alternative energy into its operations. At Dow's Pittsburg, California facility, the company has installed a solar energy farm capable of generating 210 kW, which is enough energy to power 175 homes and offsets approximately 440 million pounds of CO2 per year.
- Dow and the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) are jointly developing and evaluating a process that will convert biomass to ethanol, as well as other chemical building blocks. A mixed alcohol catalyst from Dow is seen as the key to unlocking the potential for this promising, renewable energy resource. The process will use non-food ingredients, like the leaves from a corn plant or wood wastes, and convert the bio-based material through a gasification process to synthesis gas. Dow’s technology helps convert the synthesis gas into a mixture of alcohols including ethanol that can be used as transportation fuels or chemical building blocks.
- Dow's chemistry is essential to three 50-megawatt solar units in Spain. Using DOWTHERM™ A – a mix of specialized heat transfer fluids – to help convert heat energy into electricity, the plants will generate 150 megawatts of clean energy, enough to power 90,000 homes and save 450,000 tons of CO2 per year.
- DTE Energy is partnering with the U.S. DOE, the State of Michigan, and the City of Southfield to develop, build, and operate a pilot project that will create hydrogen gas from tap water and use that gas in stationary fuel cell generators and to refuel fuel cell vehicles. DTE Energy’s Hydrogen Technology Park, a $3 million, five-year pilot project, will be capable of delivering about 100,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year.
- DTE Biomass Energy operates 29 landfill gas recovery projects at sites across the United States. Methane recovered from these projects is converted into pipeline-quality gas, steam, or electricity. DTE Biomass landfill projects have captured the equivalent of more than 25 million metric tons of CO2.
- In 1996, Detroit Edison introduced the SolarCurrents® program and became the first utility in the nation to provide customers with solar power through the grid from a central facility.
- DTE Energy’s Detroit Edison has promoted geothermal technology in its service area, where nearly 4,000 residential units and two-dozen commercial businesses have geothermal systems.
- DuPont and several other companies are partnering with World Resources Institute (WRI) to build markets for renewable energy. Convened in 2000, WRI’s Green Power Market Development Group seeks to develop corporate markets for 1,000 MW of new, cost-competitive green power by 2010.
- DuPont announced in June 2005 DuPont™ Generation IV membrane electrode assemblies (MEA) technology for fuel cells requires significantly less catalyst loading compared with the previous generation, while still delivering approximately 20 percent higher power density and well over two times improvement in durability and reliability, leading to more cost-effective fuel cell systems.
- DuPont leads the Integrated Corn-Based BioRefinery (ICBR) project – a U.S. Department of Energy-funded research program. As part of the ICBR, DuPont, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and other companies will develop the world's first integrated pilot-scale "biorefinery" that will make use of the entire corn plant—including the stalks, husks, and leaves—to make electricity, biofuels, and an array of biomaterials. For example, in 2003 DuPont received the President’s Green Chemistry Award for the development of bio-PDO, a raw material for its Sorona fiber.
- DuPont is a leading supplier of materials for photovoltaic cells, and provides numerous materials for windmills as well.
- Entergy, along with Nike, Environmental Resources Trust, and Global Green, has started the Solar Schools Initiative in New Orleans to help revitalize New Orleans with newly constructed solar-powered schools and homes. This initiative combined with a newly adopted net metering rule will help facilitate investments in distributed renewable energy in New Orleans that will reduce customers' bills and provide direct CO2 reductions on the Entergy system. Four public schools in Orleans parish have been selected for the project. The installation of the solar equipment began in the summer of 2009, with the most recent project completed in May of 2010.
- Selling wind energy in Pennsylvania
- PECO WIND is a new environmentally friendly power option provided by PECO and leading wind energy marketer Community Energy, Inc., of Wayne, Pa. PECO launched the product in May 2004, and almost 10,000 customers had enrolled by the end of the year. In aggregate, they will purchase more than 28 million kWh of wind-generated electricity annually. The environmental benefit is the same as planting about two million trees or not driving 25 million miles.
- PECO WIND has become one of the largest and fastest growing green power programs in the country, according to DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The customer enrollments place PECO WIND among the top 10 utility green energy programs when compared with NREL’s 2004 ranking of similar programs. Announcement of a new list is expected during the spring of 2005.
- PECO WIND, the first wind energy product offered by a utility in Pennsylvania, is available to PECO’s residential and business customers in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Philadelphia and York counties. Customers may elect to purchase wind energy either for their entire electric load or in increments of 100-kWh blocks up to 100 percent of their total load. For more information or to sign up, please call 1.866.WIND.321 or visit www.pecowind.com.
- ComEd’s renewable energy portfolio
- ComEd purchases electricity generated from landfill methane gas at 22 sites across northern Illinois and wind energy from the 51 MW Mendota Hills project and the 54 MW Crescent Ridge project. In 2004, Chicago passed the 1-MW milestone for installed photovoltaic systems with the completion of the Exelon Pavilions in Millennium Park that integrates photovoltaic into the building’s exterior walls – a first-of-its-kind system.
- ComEd’s achievements in developing renewable energy resources continued to earn honors in 2004. ComEd received the Solar Electric Power Association’s Business Achievement Award, and ComEd also received an Illinois Governor’s Pollution Prevention Award for Continuous Improvement.
- By the end of 2004, Chicago had more than 50 photovoltaic installations, totaling 1.2 MW. They include systems on ComEd’s Chicago South facility, several universities, affordable single-family housing units and the new Cook County Domestic Violence Court House – at 110 kW, the largest single system in the city to date. The Chicago solar systems represent 86 percent of the solar electric output in ComEd’s service territory and 71 percent of the total solar electric output in Illinois, contributing significantly to the state’s ranking in the top five.
- For more on ComEd’s photovoltaic installations, click here.
- Exelon’s Wind Generation Portfolio
- Exelon Generation has long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) with four wind generation projects in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, providing a total wind capacity of 153 MW. The installed capacity associated with these contracts easily makes Exelon the largest wholesale wind marketer east of the Mississippi.
- The original rationale for Generation entering into its PPAs several years ago was the belief that the primary demand for wind would be to supply renewable energy credits to competitive retail suppliers and, with the approval of a wind block rider, through PECO. As the market developed, however, retail choice has not been a growing market. Instead, we discovered a demand for wind energy among large institutions such as universities and government agencies.
- And now the market has again shifted with increased focus on compliance demand associated with RPS laws in Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. New RPS requirements are considered in other states in the future. Consequently, we see a tightening of renewable supply and demand in PJM Interconnection by 2006-2007. Our marketing and sales strategy will accordingly shift somewhat to compliance demand. To expand our renewable portfolio, we will pursue additional generation projects in PJM.
- Emissions performance that beats industry averages
- Generating electricity with fossil fuels produces a variety of air emissions and greenhouse gases. Exelon Generation’s air emissions per unit of energy produced are very low compared to the industry across all major emissions, as measured against the year 2002 U.S. electric utility average (EUA).
- Nuclear generation constitutes the majority of our generating capacity and is the main driver behind Exelon’s low emission rates, as this technology relies on nuclear fission rather than combustion of fossil fuels as its primary source of energy to generate electric power. Other contributions come from Exelon Power’s non-emitting Conowingo Hydroelectric Station, additional generating capacity achieved from Exelon’s nuclear and hydroelectric uprate and efficiency programs and a continuation in 2004 of industry-leading capacity factors at Exelon’s nuclear units.
- Eddystone optimization project reducing pollution and improving cash flow
- For many years, Eddystone unit 2’s deteriorating performance on collection of dry ash resulted in significantly increased air emissions, load limitations and high costs for wet ash processing. In 2003, Eddystone unit 2 began replacing or upgrading its electrostatic precipitators (ESP) at an expected cost of $10–20 million. Rather than accepting this cost, the project team conducted a detailed study of the possible root causes of poor ESP performance. The team members mapped the fuel utilization process from coal delivery to flue gas leaving the stack, collecting and analyzing more than 10,000 data points.
- The findings confirmed that dust loading leaving the ESPs was extremely high but also showed that, surprisingly, the ash collection issues were mostly due to two interrelated causes far upstream in the process. Flue gas flow was found to be 50 percent over design, and nearly 3 percent of all coal was being sent up the stack as particulate emissions. The team reframed the project to fix these root causes at a cost of less than half of the original concept. Benefits include reduced air pollution, substantial fuel savings, decreased capital and maintenance costs and additional revenue from fully utilizing the unit’s capacity. Together, these benefits increased the unit’s cash flow by more than $2 million annually.
- The project installation was completed in May 2004 with zero lost-time accidents. On September 13, 2004, the project team received Exelon’s first-ever Chairman’s Environmental Award for Environmental Performance Improvement and Operational Excellence.
- Financing clean energy in Pennsylvania
- The Sustainable Development Fund (SDF)(www.trfund.com/sdf) finances Pennsylvania companies and projects that involve renewable energy, advanced clean energy and energy efficiency technologies. Funded by PECO settlement agreements, SDF is managed by The Reinvestment Fund, a regional nonprofit based in Philadelphia. In addition to providing the environmental benefits of clean energy, SDF helps PECO diversify its power generation options.
- In 2004, SDF approved $4.25 million in production incentives for two wind projects that will add 50 MW of generating capacity in 2005. The incentives are expected to leverage approximately $60 million in private investment. SDF also provided $4.7 million in lease financing in 2003 and 2004 for four energy conservation projects and leveraged $2.8 million from private banks for purchasing participation in these transactions. In 2004, SDF’s Pennsylvania Advanced Industrial Technology (PA-AIT) Fund invested $670,000 in three early-stage renewable and clean energy companies. The SDF solar photovoltaic grant program grew to 83 systems and 308 kW of capacity, including PECO’s eight solar affordable housing units in Philadelphia. SDF also approved a new round of television and radio spots to encourage support for the PECO WIND product.
- GE tracks the CO2 emissions that are avoided by its installed base of wind turbines. In 2009, the installed base of wind turbines globally was estimated to be 37.5 million MT CO2 annually.
- GE’s next generation wind turbine is a 4-megawatt machine designed specifically for offshore deployment. As the largest wind turbine in GE’s fleet, it incorporates advanced, direct-drive train and control technologies that eliminate the need for gearboxes — which can be the single most costly failure in a turbine located in harsh ocean conditions.
- GE's FlexEfficiency Combined Cycle Power Plant is GE's latest innovation in gas turbine technology, engineered to deliver cleaner, more efficient energy onto the power grid and into our homes. The first product in GE’s new FlexEfficiency portfolio, the FlexEfficiency 50 plant will enable the integration of more renewable resources onto the power grid by combining efficiency and flexibility to rapidly ramp up when the wind is not blowing or the sun is not shining, and to efficiently ramp down when they are available.
- Four GM manufacturing facilities in the US currently use landfill gas as a source of energy. Currently, landfill gas use is 14% of the energy consumed at the Fort Wayne, IN plant; 16% if the Toledo, OH transmission plant; 18% at the Shreveport, LA assembly plant, and 58% at the newly renovated Orion, MI assembly plant.
- GM has two of the largest automative rooftop solar power installations in the US at two facilities in California. GM also has the world's largest rooftop solar installation at its Zarazoga, Spain car assembly plant.
- IBM and several other companies are partnering with World Resources Institute (WRI) to build markets for renewable energy. Convened in 2000, WRI’s Green Power Market Development Group seeks to develop corporate markets for 1,000 MW of new, cost-competitive green power by 2010.
- IBM met approximately 11.3 percent of its energy consumption needs with renewable energy sources including wind, solar photovoltaics, and biomass in 2009.
- In February 2011, Intel announced that it would increase its REC purchase for 2011 to 2.5 billion kWh—equivalent to approximately 85% of its projected 2011 U.S. energy use—a 75% increase over our 2010 purchase. According to the EPA, its purchase commitment—which includes a portfolio of wind, solar, small hydroelectric, geothermal, and biomass sources—has the equivalent environmental impact of eliminating the carbon dioxide emissions from the annual electricity use of nearly 218,000 average American homes or nearly 202 million gallons of gasoline consumed
- In 2010, Intel partnered with third parties to complete nine solar electric installations at Intel locations in Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon, and Israel—collectively generating more than 3.8 million kWh per year of clean solar energy.
NextEra Energy, Inc.
, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy, Inc., derives approximately 95%
of its electricity from clean energy: it obtains 47% of its electricity from renewable resources (wind 44%, hydro 2%, and solar/other 1%), 36% of its electricity from natural gas, and 14% of its electricity from nuclear energy. Only 4% of its electricity comes from oil. NextEra Energy Resources is the largest owner and operator of U.S. wind generating facilities. It has approximately 85 wind facilities in operation in 17 states and Canada capable of producing approximately 8,300 net megawatts of electricity. It is also a leading producer of hydroelectric power in Maine, totaling approximately 360 megawatts of renewable energy. Lastly, it is also the largest U.S. generator of solar energy through operations at the Solar Electric Generating Systems (SEGS) in California’s Mojave Desert.
NextEra Energy Resources has incorporated the cleanest burning fossil fuel into its portfolio with n
atural gas facilities in 10 states, and many of these facilities use combined-cycle technology that uses waste heat to drive an additional power generator for increased energy efficiency and lower emissions than conventional fossil-fueled units.
Florida Power & Light (FPL)
, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy, Inc, has a carbon dioxide emissions rate that is 35 percent better than the industry average. FPL currently obtains 56 percent of its electricity from clean-burning natural gas. Nuclear power, which produces no greenhouse gas emissions, is responsible for another 21 percent of power production
FPL has begun operation of three commercial-scale solar generation facilities. Together, these three facilities will prevent the release of nearly 3.5 million tons of greenhouse gases over the life of the projects, which is the equivalent of removing 25,000 cars from the road per year, according to the EPA.
NRG sees solar power as a national development opportunity and is building a robust multi-technology portfolio to lead the industry in delivering the benefits of this zero-emission renewable power source. NRG has made great strides in the past year in both expanding and deepening the solar portfolio. Through the combination of acquisitions in 2010 and new projects in both utility scale and distributed solar, NRG is now the nation’s largest developer of solar power with some 2,000 MW under development.
Reliant Energy, a subsidiary of NRG Energy, is the largest supplier of electricity to business and industry, and the second largest residential provider in Texas. NRG’s largest retail provider also supplies more electricity from renewable sources than any other Texas retailer. Texas customers have the option to choose up to 100% renewable energy from Texas wind generation.
NRG owns interests in four wind farms in Texas—Elbow Creek, Langford, Sherbino and South Trent—totaling about 450 MW, which were all developed or acquired in the last three years. NRG is pursuing offshore wind projects off the coasts of Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey through our NRG Bluewater Wind subsidiary, which the Company acquired in 2009.
Green Mountain Energy Company, a subsidiary of NRG Energy, offers cleaner electricity and carbon offset products to residential and business customers nationwide. Acquired by NRG in 2010, Green Mountain serves about 400,000 retail electricity customers in Texas and New York City, and maintains a partnership with Portland General Electric in Oregon to run one of the nation’s leading green pricing programs. The company has also maintained a commitment to 100% carbon neutrality since 2004 and publicly reports its carbon footprint annually. Green Mountain has helped its customers avoid more than 11.3 billion pounds of carbon dioxide emissions and helped spur the development of more than 50 new wind and solar facilities across the nation since 1997.
- NRG Energy Inc. and ProLogis Inc. said announced in June 2011 they are embarking on a four-year, $2.6 billion project to place solar panels on rooftops in 28 states, one of the most ambitious clean-energy projects in recent years. The project is designed to generate about 733 megawatts of energy, enough to serve more than 100,000 homes. The installations will be built on facilities owned by ProLogis, a warehouse operator, and co-owned by NRG.
- NRG owns the largest PV solar project in California, the 21 megawatt (MW) power plant in Blythe, Calif. NRG is also the lead investor, along with Google and Brightsource, of the 392 MW Ivanpah project currently being developed in southeastern California’s Mojave Desert.
- NRG is developing and has fully permitted a project that will convert its Montville plant in Uncasville, Conn., from heavy fuel oil and natural gas to open-loop biomass as feedstock. When compete, the station will use forestry residues, tree trimmings and clean, recycled wood to produce 40 MW of carbon-neutral electric power.
- In 2009, NRG launched a pilot project at the Big Cajun II plant in New Roads, La., to evaluate local conditions for growing dedicated energy crops near the site (closed-loop biomass). NRG created a test farm on 20 acres of land at the plant site, which is being managed by a local farmer. Harvested into bales like hay, energy grasses are dried and shredded before being fed into the combustion chamber. Since the carbon emitted from the grasses was previously absorbed from the atmosphere during the growing season, combusting the above-ground biomass is nearly carbon neutral ...l.
- In 2009, PG&E's retail customers purchased 79,624 GWh of electricity. Of that amount, 28,114 GWh were generated by PG&E's own natural gas, hydroelectric and nuclear facilities, as well as small amounts of fuel oil, diesel and solar energy
- The CPUC approved PG&E's new solar PV program, which, once complete, will generate up to 500 MW of clean energy, enough to meet the needs of about 150,000 homes. The program will include up to 250 MW of PG&E-owned solar PV generation and an additional 250 MW to be built and owned by independent developers. One of the largest undertakings of its kind in the country, the five-year program is expected to deliver more than 1,000 GWh of electricity annually once fully operational—approximately 1.3 percent of PG&E's annual electric demand. Te first PV solar projects will be operational in 2011.
- PNM purchases all of the power produced by the massive, 200-megawatt New Mexico Wind Energy Center in eastern New Mexico.
New Mexico’s renewable portfolio standard requires that 10 percent of PNM's total energy comes from renewable sources by 2011 and 20 percent by 2020. The plan PNM filed in early 2010 outlines our path to continue to expand renewable energy sources and calls for more than 80 MW of solar energy. The plan, which requires regulatory approval, also includes biogas produced from cattle waste to fuel a natural gas power plant in southern New Mexico.
- PNM owns 10 percent of Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, the nation's largest nuclear power plant.
- PNM has two existing programs that allow customers who own their own solar PV systems to:
- send excess power on to the grid and receive credit for it.
- be paid for the environmental attributes of that energy (known as renewable energy credits).
- Rio Tinto obtained sixty seven per cent of the electricity in 2010 from low carbon sources, mainly hydroelectricity
- Rio Tinto and BP formed a jointly-owned company in 2007 called Hydrogen Energy. The joint venture develops technologies and businesses that reduce carbon emissions and accelerate the deployment of hydrogen-fuelled electric power plants. These ‘decarbonised’ energy projects are based on the conversion of fossil fuel feedstocks such as coal, petroleum coke (a refinery by-product) or natural gas, to hydrogen and CO2 gases, with 90 per cent of the CO2 being captured and sent for permanent storage in geological formations deep beneath the earth’s surface. By using hydrogen as a fuel, virtually no GHG emissions are produced and the main by-product is water. Each of the component technologies is already proven but they need to be combined and integrated to a very large scale.
- Rio Tinto is a founding member of the FutureGen Alliance, a public-private partnership to design, build, and operate the world's first coal-fueled, near-zero emissions power plant. The commercial-scale plant will prove the technical and economic feasibility of producing low-cost electricity and hydrogen from coal while nearly eliminating emissions. It will also support testing and commercialization of technologies focused on generating clean power, capturing and permanently storing carbon dioxide (CO2), and producing hydrogen. It is expected that the chosen site will be announced this year and be up and running in 2012.
- Kennecott Energy Company (a Rio Tinto subsidiary) is a member of a consortium that is proposing to enter into an agreement with the U.S. DOE on FutureGen. FutureGen is a $1 billion project that may lead to the world’s first nearly emission-free hydrogen and electricity production plant from coal, while capturing and disposing of CO2 in geologic formations.
- Rio Tinto’s energy product group invests in a number of commercial enterprises and collaborative programs to develop and commercialize new technologies aimed at improving the environmental performance of coal. This includes Pegasus Technologies, a company that uses neural networks to optimize the operation of coal-fired electricity generators, minimizing their fuel requirements and reducing the emission of major pollutants.
- Royal Dutch/Shell’s Shell Renewables was established to pursue commercial opportunities in solar, wind, and other renewable energy technologies. By 2007, the Group expects to invest $500 million to $1 billion, subject to ongoing economic review, in further developing these business areas. The key objective for the solar business is to grow in line with the market, which is currently growing at around 25 percent a year. In the wind business, Shell is focusing on developing and operating wind farms, and selling "green" electricity.
- Royal Dutch/Shell purchased an equity stake in Iogen Energy Corporation in 2002, a world-leading bioethanol technology company. The investment will enable the Canadian-based company to develop more rapidly the world's first commercial-scale biomass to ethanol plant. Iogen utilizes existing agricultural residues such as wheat, oat, and barley straw in its bioethanol process.
Toyota is committed to supporting renewable energy development and expanding the use in its sales and logistics operations. Its Parts Distribution Center in Caldwell, New Jersey has a solar photovoltaic system on its roof that is owned by a third party. This array generates 1.8 million kilowatt-hours of energy making it available for the local grid. Toyota’s Parts Center in Ontario, California still performs to expectations and provides 58 percent of the warehouse’s energy needs. Toyota also purchased two years of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) for its regional Training Centers in Phoenix, Arizona, and Rancho Cucamonga, California. To meet its energy needs, the Lexus Training Center in Dallas, Texas, buys 100 percent renewable wind power from a green power utility.
As of 2008, TransAlta currently has 15 hydro plants, 13 of which are in Alberta. These include two storage reservoirs in the North Saskatchewan River Basin, and six storage reservoirs and three run-of-river hydro developments in the Bow River Basin.
- TransAlta is expanding its portfolio of renewable energy through its investment in Vision Quest WindElectric, Canada’s leading developer of wind power. With TransAlta’s investments, Vision Quest has expanded its wind energy portfolio by 400 percent, and expects to continue to grow.
- TransAlta has invested approximately $5 million to build a full-scale demonstration facility for its new clean coal technology. Partnering with two levels of government, equipment providers, and other energy companies, TransAlta hopes to complete the facility by 2010. The technology could reduce the GHG emissions of typical coal plants by up to 80 percent.
- TransAlta is the first in Calgary to service its corporate headquarters through wind-generated electricity. TransAlta also signed a 10-year contract with Vision Quest to supply about eight million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually.
- Weyerhaeuser met 75 percent of its operations’ energy needs in 2008 through the use of renewable and carbon-neutral biomass fuels such as wood residuals and other organic byproducts
- Weyerhaeuser pulp and paper mills supply 70% and wood products facilities supply more than 50% of their own energy needs through biomass fuels. Weyerhaeuser is also involved in the commercialization of gasification technology that significantly increases the amount of heat and electrical energy obtainable from biomass.
- Weyerhaeuser employs cogeneration (also known as “combined heat and power” or CHP) in a number of its pulp and paper mills. Its containerboard mill in Albany, OR, received EPA’s 2005 Energy Star CHP Award in recognition of its accomplishments in reducing energy and carbon emissions.