Energy Efficiency Sector Ranks #1 in Job Growth by DOE

 

UNEP-Green-Economy-employment-energy-550x242

Figure 1:  Projected Job Growth by Sectors – Green Economy Report, 2011 (1)

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Energy today released the agency’s first annual analysis of how changes in America’s energy profile are affecting national employment in multiple energy sectors. By using a combination of existing energy employment data and a new survey of energy sector employers, the inaugural U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER) provides a broad view of the national current energy employment landscape.

USEER examines four sectors of the economy — electric power generation and fuels; transmission, wholesale distribution, and storage; energy efficiency; and motor vehicles — which cumulatively account for almost all of the United States’ energy production and distribution system and roughly 70 percent of U.S. energy consumption. By looking at such a wide portion of the energy economy, USEER can provide the public and policy makers with a clearer picture of how changes in energy technology, systems, and usage are affecting the economy and creating or displacing jobs.

Some key findings of the report include:

3.64 million Americans work in traditional energy industries, including production, transmission, distribution, and storage.
Of these, 600,000 employees contribute to the production of low-carbon electricity, including renewable energy, nuclear energy and low emission natural gas.
An additional 1.9 million Americans are employed, in whole or in part, in energy efficiency.
Roughly 30 percent of the 6.8 million employees in the U.S. construction industry work on energy or building energy efficiency projects.

A copy of the full report is available HERE.

The report also found several energy industries with projected increases in new jobs. Responding to the USEER survey of employers, the energy efficiency sector predicted hiring rates of 14 percent in 2016, or almost 260,000 new hires. Projected hiring rates were at 5 percent within the electric power generation and fuels sector, reflecting overall growth despite a loss of employment in 2015 in the oil and natural gas extraction sectors. Transmission, wholesale distribution, and storage firms anticipate 4 percent employment growth in 2016. Solar energy firms predicted 15 percent job growth over the next year.

Yet even as the report found the opportunity for job growth in many energy sectors, over 70 percent of all employers surveyed found it “difficult or very difficult” to hire new employees with needed skills.

“The transformation of our energy system and the growth of energy efficiency technologies are creating opportunities for thousands of new jobs, especially in energy efficiency and solar,” said David Foster, Senior Advisor on Energy and Industrial Policy at the Department of Energy.  “This report gives an important snapshot of energy employment in America, and subsequent reports will provide better information to guide policies and priorities that create new jobs, appropriately train workers, and promote a successful national energy policy.” …” (1)

“…As a rule of thumb, investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency generate about 3 times the amount of jobs that other energy related investments create (gas, oil, coal, nuclear). Average numbers of jobs created per million euro invested (3CSEP):

  • Building retrofits: 17
  • Renewable energy: 15
  • Coal: 7
  • Oil and gas: 5

[…] (2)

poschen_chart2.jpg

Figure 2:  Job Generators Comparison Chart (3)

“[…] While much of the debate on climate change and employment has focused on renewables, another and more significant source of jobs from decarbonization has received much less attention. Substantial efficiency gains are technically feasible and economically viable in industry, housing, transportation, and services. Businesses can make a profit and households can enjoy real savings. And spending the surplus on things other than fossil energy will boost an economy’s employment.

For example, the United States is a diversified economy that imports substantial amounts of equipment for renewables. A recent study carefully considered economy-wide effects of reducing emissions by 40 percent by 2030 through a mix of clean energy and energy efficiency (Pollin and others, 2014). It concluded that $200 billion a year in investment would generate a net gain of about 2.7 million jobs: 4.2 million in environmental goods and service sectors and their supply chains but 1.5 million lost in the shrinking fossil- and energy-intensive sectors. The net gain of 2.7 million jobs would reduce the unemployment rate in the 2030 U.S. labor market by about 1.5 percentage points—for example, from 6.5 percent to 5 percent. The authors consider this a conservative estimate; for example, it does not take into account the 1.2 to 1.8 million jobs likely gained from reinvested savings.

Other studies show similar results. A review of 30 studies covering 15 countries and the European Union as a whole found appreciable actual or potential net gains in employment (Poschen, 2015). Most studies considering emission targets in line with the ambitions announced for a Paris agreement in December find net gains on the order of 0.5 to 2.0 percent of total employment, or 15 million to 60 million additional jobs. In emerging market economies such as Brazil, China, Mauritius, and South Africa, green investment was found to accelerate economic growth and employment generation when compared with business as usual. Several studies suggest that more ambitious climate targets would generate greater gains in employment (for a discussion of particular countries, see Poschen, 2015). […]” (3)

References:

(1)  http://bit.ly/1RsVAdc

(2) http://1.usa.gov/1Tby7lt

(3) http://bit.ly/1RlUaV8

 

Advertisements

DOE’s 3 Year $220M Grid Modernization Plan

With 88 projects from coast to coast, it might be the biggest grid edge R&D effort ever. Here’s how the money is going to be spent.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.greentechmedia.com

“[…] The Grid Modernization Multi-Year Program Plan will bring a consortium of 14 national laboratories together with more than 100 companies, utilities, research organizations, state regulators and regional grid operators. The scope of this work includes integrating renewable energy, energy storage and smart building technologies at the edges of the grid network, at a much greater scale than is done today.

That will require a complicated mix of customer-owned and utility-controlled technology, all of which must be secured against cyberattacks and extreme weather events. And at some point, all of this new technology will need to become part of how utilities, grid operators, regulators, ratepayers and new energy services providers manage the economics of the grid.

DOE has already started releasing funds to 10 “pioneer regional partnerships,” or “early-stage, public-private collaborative projects […]  The projects range from remote microgrids in Alaska and grid resiliency in New Orleans, to renewable energy integration in Vermont and Hawaii, and scaling up to statewide energy regulatory overhauls in California and New York. Others are providing software simulation capabilities to utilities and grid operators around the country, or looking at ways to tie the country’s massive eastern and western grids into a more secure and efficient whole.

Another six “core” projects are working on more central issues, like creating the “fundamental knowledge, metrics and tools we’re going to need to establish the foundation of this effort,” he said (David Danielson).  Those include technology architecture and interoperability, device testing and validation, setting values for different grid services that integrated distributed energy resources (DERs) can provide, and coming up with the right sensor and control strategy to balance costs and complexity.

Finally, the DOE has identified six “cross-cutting” technology areas that it wants to support, Patricia Hoffman, assistant secretary of DOE’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, noted in last week’s conference call. Those include device and integrated system testing, sensing and measurement, system operations and controls, design and planning tools, security and resilience, and institutional support for the utilities, state regulators and regional grid operators that will be the entities that end up deploying this technology at scale.

Much of the work is being driven by the power grid modernization needs laid out in DOE’s Quadrennial Energy Review, which called for $3.5 billion in new spending to modernize and strengthen the country’s power grid, while the Quadrennial Technology Review brought cybersecurity and interoperability concerns to bear.[…]

DOE will hold six regional workshops over the coming months to provide more details, Danielson said. We’ve already seen one come out this week — the $18 million in SunShot grants for six projects testing out ways to bring storage-backed solar power to the grid at a cost of less than 14 cents per kilowatt-hour.

“We can’t look at one attribute of the grid at a time,” he said. “We’re not just looking for a secure grid — we’re looking for an affordable grid, a sustainable grid, a resilient grid.” And one that can foster renewable energy and greenhouse gas reduction at the state-by-state and national levels. […]

See on Scoop.itGreen Energy Technologies & Development

DOE Energy Review Report Recommends Grid Modernization and Transmission System Upgrades

The Department of Energy (DOE) recently released its first installment of its Quadrennial Energy Review (QER) – a comprehensive report examining how the United States can modernize energy infrastructure to promote economic competitiveness, energy security, and environmental responsibility. This installment…

Source: switchboard.nrdc.org

>” […]  Electric grid reform is timely due to a confluence of factors. First, our grid infrastructure is old and in dire need of upgrade. We could just patch up the existing system by replacing old poles and wires with new ones and call it a day. But given evolving customer preferences for more control over energy usage and newly available efficiency-enabling technologies, doing that would be like replacing an old rotary phone with a newer one instead of upgrading to a smart phone. Grid reform should also consider the changing environment, as grid reliability is increasingly threatened by severe weather. The continuing shift in the energy generation mix to include the benefits of more roof-top solar and remote wind generation will also require changes to our transmission grid.

QER electric grid modernization findings and recommendations

Here are some QER highlights relevant to FERC and what it can do to support a clean electricity grid. (Our Sustainable FERC Project coalition submitted comments to DOE on some of these items before the QER was finalized.)

The necessary transmission build-out for a low-carbon future is likely consistent with historic investment 

To access wind and solar renewable resources far from populated cities, we need long-distance transmission infrastructure. But how much is enough? The QER studied a variety of clean energy future cases, including scenarios with high penetrations of wind and solar power, a cap on climate-warming carbon dioxide emissions to achieve a 40 percent reduction in 2030, and increased natural gas prices. The scenarios produced a range of new transmission requirements, all consistent with our historic investment in transmission infrastructure. In other words, the needed transmission infrastructure build-out to get to a low-carbon future is reasonable. So it boils down to this: the nation will continue to invest billions of dollars in grid infrastructure updates whether we build for a clean energy future or ignore the potential for it – which will it be? We’d argue for the clean pathway to clean our air and stave off the worst effects of climate change

We can more efficiently use existing infrastructure to avoid unnecessary and costly transmission construction 

Just as the highways clog at rush hour, the electric grid gets congested when customer power demand is at its peak. The QER emphasizes that there are a number of ways to alleviate congestion on transmission wires without building costly new infrastructure. These include managing energy use through energy efficiency (smarter use of energy) and demand response (customer reduction in electricity use during high congestion times in exchange for compensation), locally supplying energy through distributed generation (such as rooftop solar), or using stored energy when the transmission lines are constrained. These alternatives not only reduce new transmission construction requirements, but come with the added bonus of improving electric service reliability and reducing pollution from electricity generation. Indeed, three important DOE-funded planning studies show that scenarios combining high levels of these resources can reduce the expected costs of new transmission investment (see a description of the Eastern Interconnection study here).

We can also avoid costly transmission construction by using existing transmission more efficiently through improved operations. Without getting into the wonky details, this means grid operators can adopt smart network technologies and better network management practices to minimize electricity transmission bottlenecks.

We need to appropriately value and compensate energy efficiency, demand response, energy storage, and other resources providing cleaner, cheaper grid services 

Unlike traditional power plants, energy efficiency, demand response, energy storage and other resources can nimbly respond to unanticipated grid events or meet energy demand without requiring extra transmission capacity at peak times. But these resources often offer more to the grid than they receive in compensation. Accurately valuing the services these resources provide would allow regulators and utilities to incent their participation in grid markets. The QER therefore recommends that DOE help develop frameworks to value and compensate grid services that promote a reliable, affordable, and environmentally sustainable grid. […]”<

See on Scoop.itGreen & Sustainable News

DOE Invests in Super-Critical Carbon Dioxide Turbine Research to Replace Steam for Electric Power Generators

The U.S. Department of Energy hopes to create a more efficient turbine that uses CO2 to make electricity

Source: www.scientificamerican.com

“> […]

Whether burning coal, concentrating sunlight or splitting atoms, most thermal power plants use the energy for the same thing: heating water into steam to drive a turbine. Steam-based generation produces 80 percent of the world’s electricity.

After more than a century of incremental improvements in the steam cycle, engineers have plucked most of the low-hanging fruit and are chasing diminishing returns, spending millions of dollars for every percentage point of efficiency improvement. These upgrades propagate to other steps in electricity production, allowing power plants to extract more work for a given unit of fuel.

In a fossil fuel-fired generator, this means less carbon dioxide emissions for the same unit of electricity produced. For a solar thermal plant, this results in higher capacity at lower operating costs.

Now engineers are looking into replacing steam with supercritical carbon dioxide, a technique that could unlock up to 50 percent greater thermal efficiency using a smaller, cheaper turbine.

Last month, in a budget briefing and in two different hearings before Congress, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz specifically mentioned the Department of Energy’s supercritical carbon dioxide initiatives. The department’s 2016 budget request allocates $44 million for research and development on this front, including a 10-megawatt supercritical turbine demonstration system.

A simpler, smaller, cleaner machine
The term “supercritical” describes the state of carbon dioxide above its critical temperature and pressure, 31 degrees Celsius and 73 atmospheres. Under these conditions, carbon dioxide has a density similar to its liquid state and fills containers the way it would as a gas.

Coffee producers are already using supercritical carbon dioxide to extract caffeine from beans. Materials companies are also using it to make plastics and ceramics.

“From a thermodynamic perspective, it’s a very good process fluid,” said Klaus Brun, machinery director at the Southwest Research Institute, a nonprofit research and development group. “You get a fairly efficient cycle and a reasonable firing temperature.”

In its supercritical state, carbon dioxide is nearly twice as dense as steam, resulting in a very high power density. Supercritical carbon dioxide is easier to compress than steam and allows a generator to extract power from a turbine at higher temperatures.

The net result is a simpler turbine that can be 10 times smaller than its steam equivalent. A steam turbine usually has between 10 and 15 rotor stages. A supercritical turbine equivalent would have four.

“We’re looking at a turbine rotor shaft with four stages on it that’s 4 inches in diameter, 4 feet long and could power 1,000 homes,” said Richard Dennis, turbine technology manager at the National Energy Technology Laboratory.

He noted that the idea of a supercritical carbon dioxide power cycle dates back to the 1940s, but steam cycles were already very efficient, well-understood and cheap, creating an uphill slog for a new power block to catch on. In addition, engineers were still finding ways to improve the combustion side of power production, so the need to improve the generation side of the plant wasn’t as acute until recently. […]”<

See on Scoop.itGreen Energy Technologies & Development

Minimum Efficiency Standards for Electric Motors to Increase – DOE

DOE’s analyses estimate lifetime savings for electric motors purchased over the 30-year period that begins in the year of compliance with new and amended standards (2016-45) to be 7.0 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu). The annualized energy savings—0.23 quadrillion Btu—is equivalent to 1% of total U.S. industrial primary electricity consumption in 2013.

Source: www.eia.gov

>” Nearly half of the electricity consumed in the manufacturing sector is used for powering motors, such as for fans, pumps, conveyors, and compressors. About two thirds of this machine-drive consumption occurs in the bulk chemicals, food, petroleum and coal products, primary metals, and paper industries. For more than three decades the efficiency of new motors has been regulated by federal law. Beginning in mid-2016, an updated standard established this year by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for electric motors will once again increase the minimum efficiency of new motors.

The updated electric motor standards apply the standards currently in place to a wider scope of electric motors, generating significant estimated energy savings. […]

Legislation has increased the federal minimum motor efficiencies requirements over the past two decades, covering motors both manufactured and imported for sale in the United States. The Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPAct) set minimum efficiency levels for all motors up to 200 horsepower (hp) purchased after October 1997. The U.S. Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 updated the EPAct standards starting December 2010, including 201-500 hp motors. EISA assigns minimum, nominal, full-load efficiency ratings according to motor subtype and size. The Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 also requires DOE to establish the most stringent standards that are both technologically feasible and economically justifiable, and to periodically update these standards as technology and economics evolve.

Motors typically fail every 5 to 15 years, depending on the size of the motor. When they fail they can either be replaced or repaired (rewound). When motors are rewound, their efficiencies typically diminish by a small amount. Large motors tend to be more efficient than small motors, and they tend to be used for more hours during the year. MotorMaster+ and MotorMaster+ International, distributed by the U.S. Department of Energy and developed by the Washington State University Cooperative Extension Energy Program in conjunction with the Bonneville Power Administration, are sources for cost and performance data on replacing and rewinding motors.

Improving the efficiency of motor systems, rather than just improving the efficiency of individual motors, may hold greater potential for savings in machine-drive electricity consumption. Analysis from the U.S. Department of Energy shows that more than 70% of the total potential motor system energy savings is estimated to be available through system improvements by reducing system load requirements, reducing or controlling motor speed, matching component sizes to the load, upgrading component efficiency, implementing better maintenance practices, and downsizing the motor when possible.”<

 

See on Scoop.itGreen Energy Technologies & Development

DOE Proposes Major Energy Efficiency Changes for Commercial Air Conditioners

The White House announced a number of commitments to energy efficiency this morning, not the least of which is a proposed energy efficiency standard for rooftop air conditioners that could produce the largest electricity savings under any U.S. appliance efficiency…

 

image courtesy of http://akbrown.com/?page_id=278

Source: switchboard.nrdc.org

>”[…] NRDC strongly applauds today’s White House’s efficiency and clean energy announcements which come the same week that a new energy-savings standard became effective for refrigerators and freezers, with the majority of models cutting their energy use by 20 to 25 percent, thanks to a 2010 consensus recommendation to the Department of Energy (DOE) from refrigerator manufacturers, efficiency advocates, consumer groups and states.

According to the White House, the rooftop air conditioner proposed standard announced would help cut carbon pollution by more than 60 million metric tons, and could save consumers nearly $10 billion on their energy bills through 2030.  […]

The announcement follows significant groundwork by DOE in this product category, including DOE’s High Performance Rooftop Unit Challenge, a competition among manufacturers to produce efficient cooling units that cut their energy use almost in half and are still affordable in the commercial and industrial real estate space. DOE worked with members of its Commercial Building Energy Alliances (CBEA), which includes many large commercial building owners, to create a challenge specification that rooftop air conditioning manufacturers could meet. As part of the challenge, CBEA members, including Target, Walmart, Macy’s and McDonald’s, expressed strong interest in potentially purchasing high-efficiency roof-top units, helping to drive buyer support for the challenge levels. Manufacturers Daikin McQuay and Carrier succeeded in producing rooftop ACs that met the challenge specifications and resulted in substantial energy reductions.

Also included in today’s announcement are further savings from building energy codes. DOE will issue its final determination that the latest commercial building energy code – ASHRAE 90.1-2013 – saves energy compared to the previous version. Once DOE issues a positive determination that the new code saves energy compared to the previous code, individual states will consider the code for adoption leading to energy savings in new buildings and major retrofits in those states. DOE will also issue its preliminary determination on the latest residential energy-saving building code – the IECC 2015. DOE estimates that the updated commercial building standards will reduces energy bills for states and the federal government, while cutting emissions by 230 million metric tons of carbon dioxide through 2030.  […]”<

See on Scoop.itGreen Building Design – Architecture & Engineering

US GSA Recognizes two 3rd-party Green Building Certification Systems

See on Scoop.itGreen Building Design – Architecture & Engineering
Green-Globes-NC-Building-Energy-Performance-Paths-chart

LEED and Green Globes approved as third party certification programs for federal facilities.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>In its recommendation to DOE, GSA recommended the Green Building Initiative’s Green Globes 2010 and the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) 2009 as the third party certification systems that the federal government can use to gauge performance in its construction and renovation projects. Other certification systems were not selected because they did not align with the government’s requirements. Additionally, under this recommendation, GSA will conduct more regular reviews in order to keep up with the latest green building tools that the market has to offer.

Third party certification systems like LEED and Green Globes help in measuring reduction targets for water, energy, and greenhouse gas emissions against industry standards. Agencies can use one of the two certification systems that best meet their building portfolios, which range from office buildings, to laboratories, to hospitals, to airplane hangars.

Federal construction and modernization projects must adhere to the government’s own green building requirements by law and executive orders. No one certification system meets all of the federal government’s green building requirements. Green building certification systems are just one tool that GSA uses to cut costs and meet sustainability and economic performance goals.<

See on www.todaysfacilitymanager.com

GBI’s Green Globes Recognized by Portland’s GSA as Equivalent to LEED for Green Building

See on Scoop.itGreen Building Design – Architecture & Engineering

PORTLAND, OR–(Marketwired – Oct 29, 2013) – The Green Building Initiative (GBI) applauds the General Services Administration on its recognition of Green Globes® alongside the U.S.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>GBI’s growth in the market is due to its commitment to the practicality of its tools for use by building owners, designers, and facility managers as well as its commitment to open, consensus-based review of its technical criteria. In 2010, GBI was recognized for developing Green Globes for New Construction as the first ever American National Standard for a commercial building rating system. As it continues to improve its rating systems based on changes in the market, GBI remains committed to using the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approved consensus procedures.

“GBI is the only commercial building rating system developer to vet its technical criteria through the ANSI process,” stated GBI Chairman Tonjes. “This helps to ensure that GBI’s rating systems provide the opportunity to evaluate the widest range of buildings using an open, science-based approach to building performance.”

ANSI/GBI 01-2010, also known as Green Globes for New Construction, is due for revision before the end of 2015 based on ANSI periodic maintenance requirements. According to Tonjes, GBI’s ANSI-based rating system review process will begin before the end of this year with the filing of required documents followed by reformation of the technical review committee.

GBI’s tools have a significant focus on both the reduction and efficient use of energy and water in buildings. These, along with other criteria, help reduce building operating costs and their overall impact on the environment.

“Since 2005, the Green Globes product line has evolved to include several updated and expanded tools,” stated Erin Shaffer, vice president of federal outreach at GBI.<

See on www.marketwired.com

DOE awards $30M to develop utility cybersecurity tools

See on Scoop.itGreen & Sustainable News

The Department of Energy today awarded $30 million to a 11 security vendors to develop technology the agency says will better protect nation’s electric grid, oil and gas infrastructure from cyber-attack.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>The projects, which will combine power system engineering and cybersecurity, will include testing of the new products to demonstrate their effectiveness and interoperability, the DOE said. […]

While the DOE’s investment is welcomed, a survey of U.S. utilities in May shows what many utilities are up against. That survey called “Electric Grid Vulnerability,” said more than a dozen utilities said cyberattacks were daily or constant. The survey was commissioned by U.S. Democratic Representatives Edward J. Markey and Henry A. Waxman who are members of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee.<

See on www.computerworld.com

U.S. Geothermal Inc. Announced Final Completion of Neal Hot Springs Power Plant

See on Scoop.itGreen Energy Technologies & Development

BOISE, IDAHO, Aug 01, 2013 (Marketwired via COMTEX) — U.S. Geothermal Inc., (nyse mkt:HTM) CA:GTH -1.96% a leading renewable energy company focused on the development, production, and sale of electricity from geothermal energy, announced () that Final Completion of the 22 megawatt (net) Neal Hot Springs Project has been achieved.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>The Neal Hot Springs Project was the first geothermal project to obtain a loan guarantee under the DOE’s Title XVII loan guarantee program, which was created by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to support the deployment of innovative clean energy technologies. The DOE loan guarantee, guarantees a loan from the U.S. Treasury’s Federal Financing Bank. The project was authorized for a loan guarantee of up to $96.8 million.

The Neal Hot Springs project deployed a first of its kind binary cycle process, utilizing a supercritical cycle that uses R134a refrigerant as the working fluid, as well as pre-fabricated modular construction of major plant components. […]

The project is selling electricity to Idaho’s largest utility, Idaho Power Company, under a previously signed 25-year power purchase agreement for up to 25 megawatts of power per year. Beginning in 2012, the base energy price is $96 per MW Hour and escalates annually. The calculated 25-year levelized price is $117.65 per MW hour.<

See on www.marketwatch.com