Energy Update: Campbell Soup breaks ground on solar power project; GE Power creates steam innovation center

May 31, 2017

The solar array will generate more than 5 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year, making it the largest in the city of Camden.

Campbell breaks ground on solar power project at headquarters

Campbell Soup Company, in partnership with BNB Renewable Energy Holdings, SunPower Corp., and ORIX USA Corp. broke ground on a 4.4-megawatt (MW) solar power project at the company’s world headquarters in Camden, New Jersey. The system is scheduled to come online in the fall and will provide energy to Campbell through a 20-year power purchase agreement. The solar array will generate more than 5 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year, making it the largest in the city of Camden. 

GE Power to create steam innovation center

GE Power  announced plans to convert its 242-megawatt coal-fired Birchwood Power facility in King George, Virginia, into a Steam Plant Services Innovation Center. GE says the center, which provides sufficient electricity to power more than 240,000 homes, demonstrates how the latest GE technologies can greatly increase the efficiency and flexibility of coal-fired steam power plants while also reducing emissions.

Georgia-Pacific completes energy project at Alabama mill

Georgia-Pacific recently completed a $388 million energy improvement project at its Brewton, Alabama mill after two years of construction. The project modernizes and streamlines the mix of equipment in the mill’s recovery boiler system and now provides the mill with the ability to generate its own energy using natural gas and biofuel residuals from the paper making process. The company invested another $50 million for upgrades to the mill’s paperboard machine. That project is scheduled to begin late summer.

Siemens completes upgrades at Dubai power plant

Siemens completed service operations on the gas turbines at Jebel Ali K-station located in Dubai and owned by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority. The facility has been in operation since 2002. The services Siemens provided enable further efficient and reliable operation for approximately 100,000 hours, the equivalent of about 15 years. The upgrades also increased power output by 62.6 megawatts and improved power plant efficiency by about 0.5 percent.

Siemens and Chromalloy form casting joint venture

Siemens and Chromalloy Gas Turbine Corporation entered a partnership to form a new joint venture called Advanced Airfoil Components. The company’s primary focus will be turbine blade and vane cast components for power generation. Both partners are investing approximately $139 million in combined value to create the new facility. The groundbreaking is scheduled for later this year, and its completion is planned for fall 2018.

ME2C acquires full patent rights from EERCF

Midwest Energy Emissions Corp. (ME2C) acquired all patent rights for its Sorbent Enhanced Additive mercury emissions control technology from the Energy & Environment Research Center Foundation (EERCF), an organization that provides innovative solutions to the world’s energy and environmental challenges. ME2C acquired the rights for $2.5 million plus 925,000 shares of common stock in ME2C.

EIA Briefs

Largest source of electricity this summer expected to come from natural gas

Electricity generation fueled by natural gas during June, July and August will be lower than last summer, but will continue to exceed generation of any other fuel, including coal-fired generation, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) April 2017 Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO). This is the third summer in a row that natural gas-led electricity generation has taken the lead. The projected share of total U.S. generation for natural gas is expected to average 34 percent, down from 37 percent last summer. Coal’s generation share was 32 percent.

Power capacity boosted by energy storage & renewables

Additional amounts of utility-scale electricity generation capacity in the U.S. are provided by technologies such as hydroelectric pumped storage, batteries, flywheels and renewable fuels other than hydro, wind and solar, according to the EIA. Combined, these sources made up 4 percent of the electricity generating capacity in the U.S. in 2016.

Oil-fired power plants provide small amounts of U.S. electricity

About 70 percent of petroleum-fired electric generating capacity that exists today was built before 1980, according to the EIA. Generators on the utility scale that report petroleum as their primary fuel made up just 3 percent of total electric generating capacity, and produced less than 1 percent of total electricity generation in 2016.

California electricity mix involved less natural gas

Increased hydroelectric generation and solar power generation in California so far this year have contributed to lower natural gas-fired power generation in the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) region, the electric system operator for much of the state, according to the EIA. Increased electricity demand due to warmer-than-normal summer temperatures was one of the factors that raised potential energy reliability concerns, according to Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas). The ability to draw natural gas from storage fields in the SoCalGas system continues to be affected by operating restrictions on the company’s Aliso Canyon field, an underground natural gas storage facility.

Power plants’ costs, value not easily reflected

Capital, maintenance, operating and financing costs often vary significantly across technologies and fuels, making it one of the key factors influencing the choice of fuels and technologies used to generate electricity, EIA reports. Regional differences in construction, fuel, transmission and resource costs also mean that location plays an important role.

Industrial and electric power sectors use less carbon intensity of energy

The industrial sector produced 44 kilograms carbon dioxide per million British thermal units (kg CO2/MMBtu) in 2016, the least amount of CO2 per unit of primary energy among the five major energy-consuming sectors in the U.S., EIA reports. The electric power sector was one of the more carbon-intensive sectors, but produced 48 kg CO2/MMBtu in 2016.

Natural gas generators are largest share of U.S. capacity

Natural gas-fired generators were responsible for 42 percent of the operating electricity generating capacity in the U.S. in 2016, edging out coal to become the leading generation source, according to the EIA. In 2016, natural gas provided one-third of total electricity generation. Its increase is credited primarily to continued cost-competitiveness of natural gas relative to coal.

U.S. nuclear capacity & generation expected to decline

Nuclear power accounts for about a fifth of electricity generation in the U.S., giving it an important role in electricity markets. The U.S. Energy Information Administration anticipates in its 2017 Annual Energy Outlook Reference case that about a quarter of the nuclear capacity currently operating without retirement plans will be removed from service by 2015. A large amount of new nuclear capacity additions are also not expected.

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