This week, CleanTechnica reported that 53.3 percent of new U.S. electricity capacity in 2014 came from wind and solar, 42.8 percent from natural gas. Other advanced energy sources such as geothermal and waste heat capture brought the total new advanced energy capacity to 99.1 percent of the total capacity added in 2014. Not too shabby!
As incredible as they are, these numbers shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention. Earlier this week, we took note of the release of the Bloomberg New Energy Finance/Business Council for Sustainable Energy “Sustainable Energy in America Factbook,” which is full of fun facts and figures about the advanced energy economy. Residential solar has achieved “socket parity” with power from the grid in several states and advanced meters have been deployed to more than a third of all electricity customers nationwide. Advanced energy marches on!
AEE’s member companies are at the forefront. Just this week, First Solar set a new efficiency record for cadmium-telluride (CdTe) cell conversion with an astonishing 21.5 percent. “Our work is not done in isolation, but is in part a result of the many fruitful collaborations we have with academia, national labs, and our industrial partners, most notably GE Global Research,” said First Solar CTO Raffi Garabedian.
For its part, General Electric, also an AEE member, is involved in a huge number of advanced energy products and projects. This week, Gigaom reported on GE Appliance’s plans for a pilot program with the Wink smart home system, making refrigerators sold since 2009 smarter. GE Appliance will begin the pilot with 20,000 WiFi modules that customers can plug into existing RJ45 ports on their refrigerators. GE is also partnering with another AEE member, Ingersoll Rand, to increase efficiency at the company’s Davidson, North Carolina, facility. GE provided LED lighting fixtures, which resulted in energy savings both in the lighting system as well as the HVAC system, as LEDs produce much less heat than traditional lighting, reducing the AC load by 0.32 watts for every watt saved in lighting.
Not long ago, EnerNOC announced that the company had delivered $1 billion in enterprise customer savings with its energy intelligence software. Companies like Great Lakes Cold Storage have used EnerNOC’s software to manage overall energy consumption at facilities. Great Lakes Cold Storage saw savings of more than $250,000 since it incorporated the software.
Finally, returning to electricity generation rather than energy savings, Renewable Energy Systems Americas (RES Americas) announced this week that it has entered a 20-year power purchase agreement with the Deerfield Wind Energy Project and Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative in Michigan to provide 114 MW of wind energy to the “thumb” of the state (seriously, that’s what they call it in Michigan).
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