Solar Water Success in Nevada Attracts Investors
(Pahrump, NV) Valley Electric Association (VEA), an electric co-op based in Pahrump, NV, hosted a workshop on October 8, 2012, to highlight the history, economics, and impacts associated with its nationally-recognized domestic solar water heating program. The event was organized in response to an information request from the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada and drew attendees representing Nevada’s largest investor-owned utilities, NV Energy and Southwest Gas, along with counsel from Nevada’s Office of the Attorney General Bureau of Consumer Protection, the program manager of the Maryland Solar Water Task Force, in addition to engineering and economic analysts from the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada.”
“We’re pleased to share information that can help Nevada and our nation save energy and money,” explained Thomas H. Husted, VEA’s Chief Executive Officer. “Co-ops work for the sustainable economic development of their communities and solar water heating offers many communities across the country an effective way to improve both the economy and the environment.”
A National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) study estimated that solar water heating could potentially save Americans more than $8 billion a year in energy costs.
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“Valley Electric Association’s initiative is by far the most successful of any program in the continental U.S.,” stated Craig Marlowe of the Maryland Solar Water Task Force. “It was well worth the effort to travel across the country to meet with VEA and gain insight into how such success could be replicated elsewhere in the country.”
680 VEA members have already installed solar water heating systems for their homes through the co-op’s innovative “no money down, zero percent interest” loan program. Homeowners pay their monthly loan payment for the solar water heating system from their savings on the fuel-- propane or electricity—they previously used to heat water.
In his presentation to workshop attendees, VEA’s Chief Operating Officer Rick Eckert explained how the program reduces the co-op’s expenditures on expensive peak power, saves co-op members an average of $243 a year, and helps create local jobs, among other benefits.
Eckert also noted that the program’s genesis was from the co-op’s members, with many of VEA’s volunteer “Ambassadors” participating in the pilot phase of the effort before the full program was launched in the fall of 2009.
“Electric co-ops came into being during one of the toughest times in our nation’s history,” said Husted. “Similarly, during the difficult times we face today, electric co-ops like VEA are developing innovative energy solutions that are helping to recharge our economy.”
VEA (www.vea.coop) plans to host another domestic solar water heating workshop in the fall of 2013. Those interested in attending future VEA workshops on solar or other energy technologies can email [email protected] for dates and more information.
Trafigura and Yara International explore clean ammonia usage
Reducing shipping emissions is a vital component of the fight against global climate change, yet Greenhouse Gas emissions from the global maritime sector are increasing - and at odds with the IMO's strategy to cut absolute emissions by at least 50% by 2050.
How more than 70,000 ships can decrease their reliance on carbon-based sources is one of transport's most pressing decarbonisation challenges.
Yara and Trafigura intend to collaborate on initiatives that will establish themselves in the clean ammonia value chain. Under the MoU announced today, Trafigura and Yara intend to work together in the following areas:
- The supply of clean ammonia by Yara to Trafigura Group companies
- Exploration of joint R&D initiatives for clean ammonia application as a marine fuel
- Development of new clean ammonia assets including marine fuel infrastructure and market opportunities
Magnus Krogh Ankarstrand, President of Yara Clean Ammonia, said the agreement is a good example of cross-industry collaboration to develop and promote zero-emission fuel in the form of clean ammonia for the shipping industry. "Building clean ammonia value chains is critical to facilitate the transition to zero emission fuels by enabling the hydrogen economy – not least within trade and distribution where both Yara and Trafigura have leading capabilities. Demand and supply of clean ammonia need to be developed in tandem," he said.
There is a growing consensus that hydrogen-based fuels will ultimately be the shipping fuels of the future, but clear and comprehensive regulation is essential, according to Jose Maria Larocca, Executive Director and Co-Head of Oil Trading for Trafigura.
Ammonia has a number of properties that require "further investigation," according to Wartsila. "It ignites and burns poorly compared to other fuels and is toxic and corrosive, making safe handling and storage important. Burning ammonia could also lead to higher NOx emissions unless controlled either by aftertreatment or by optimising the combustion process," it notes.
Trafigura has co-sponsored the R&D of MAN Energy Solutions’ ammonia-fuelled engine for maritime vessels, has performed in-depth studies of transport fuels with reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and has published a white paper on the need for a global carbon levy for shipping fuels to be introduced by International Maritime Organization.
Oslo-based Yara produces roughly 8.5 million tonnes of ammonia annually and employs a fleet of 11 ammonia carriers, including 5 fully owned ships, and owns 18 marine ammonia terminals with 580 kt of storage capacity – enabling it to produce and deliver ammonia across the globe.
It recently established a new clean ammonia unit to capture growth opportunities in emission-free fuel for shipping and power, carbon-free fertilizer and ammonia for industrial applications.