Energy Efficient Technologies Set to Double by 2020
This week, the White House released an Executive Order aimed at improving industrial energy efficiency in the United States by setting a national goal to increase the use of energy efficient technologies by about 50% by 2020 and encouraging federal-state partnerships.
The Pew Clean Energy Program applauded the order to increase industrial energy efficiency in the following statement from the program's director, Phyllis Cuttino:
“Today’s executive order is an important step—and a common-sense strategy—for creating jobs and helping American industries and institutions reduce energy costs and ensure power reliability. We applaud the administration’s goal of increasing electricity generation by 40 gigawatts (GW) through energy efficiency technologies, such as combined heat and power and waste heat recovery, and encouraging federal and state partnerships to identify best practices.
“Industrial energy efficiency is a pragmatic policy with broad support from members of both political parties. Combined heat and power and waste heat recovery are deployed throughout the country, with the largest concentration of installed capacity located in Texas, California, Louisiana, and New York.
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“Some large manufacturers, refineries, hospitals, universities, military bases, and others rely on these technologies. But many more facilities and institutions could take advantage of industrial energy efficiency.
“Already these methods provide more than 80 GW of energy in the United States—almost 9 percent of the nation’s total electricity capacity. Expert studies by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Department of Energy have concluded that the combined heat and power and waste heat recovery could produce an additional 85 GW of power, or 20 percent of the nation’s electricity supply, by 2030. Doubling industrial efficiency could create nearly 1 million skilled jobs, generate $234 billion in investment, and reduce emissions by 848 metric tons. Harnessing energy efficiency technologies benefits manufacturers, workers, and the environment alike.”
Major move forward for UK’s nascent marine energy sector
Although the industry is small and the technologies are limited, marine-based energy systems look to be taking off as “the world’s most powerful tidal turbine” begins grid-connected power generation at the European Marine Energy Centre.
At around 74 metres long, the turbine single-handedly holds the potential to supply the annual electricity demand to approximately 2,000 homes within the UK and offset 2,200 tonnes of CO2 per year.
Orbital Marine Power, a privately held Scottish-based company, announced the turbine is set to operate for around 15 years in the waters surrounding Orkney, Scotland, where the 2-megawatt O2 turbine weighing around 680 metric tons will be linked to a local on-land electricity network via a subsea cable.
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Described as a “major milestone for O2” by CEO of Orbital Marine Power Andrew Scott, the turbine will also supply additional power to generate ‘green hydrogen’ through the use of a land-based electrolyser in the hopes it will demonstrate the “decarbonisation of wider energy requirements.”
“Our vision is that this project is the trigger to the harnessing of tidal stream resources around the world to play a role in tackling climate change whilst creating a new, low-carbon industrial sector,” says Scott in a statement.
The Scottish Government has awarded £3.4 million through the Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund to support the project’s construction, while public lenders also contributed to the financial requirements of the tidal turbine through the ethical investment platform Abundance Investment.
“The deployment of Orbital Marine Power’s O2, the world’s most powerful tidal turbine, is a proud moment for Scotland and a significant milestone in our journey to net zero,” says Michael Matheson, the Cabinet Secretary for Net-Zero, Energy and Transport for the Scottish Government.
“With our abundant natural resources, expertise and ambition, Scotland is ideally placed to harness the enormous global market for marine energy whilst helping deliver a net-zero economy.
“That’s why the Scottish Government has consistently supported the marine energy sector for over 10 years.”
However, Orbital Marine CEO Scott believes there’s potential to commercialise the technology being used in the project with the prospect of working towards more efficient and advanced marine energy projects in the future.
“We believe pioneering our vision in the UK can deliver on a broad spectrum of political initiatives across net-zero, levelling up and building back better at the same time as demonstrating global leadership in the area of low carbon innovation that is essential to creating a more sustainable future for the generations to come.”
The UK’s growing marine energy endeavours
This latest tidal turbine project isn’t a first for marine energy in the UK. The Port of London Authority permitted the River Thames to become a temporary home for trials into tidal energy technology and, more recently, a research project spanning the course of a year is set to focus on the potential tidal, wave, and floating wind technology holds for the future efficiency of renewable energy. The research is due to take place off of the Southwest coast of England on the Isles of Scilly