Green Innovations

Developing renewable and clean technology companies in New York

Friday, January 29, 2010

Warner Energy announces plans to build solar farm

Syracuse area based Warner Energy has announced plans to build a 320 solar panel farm at its corporate headquarters.  The renewable energy development company is developing a next generation, high-efficiency solar panel technology that it intends to manufacture and produce. 

This project will include solar panels that are 55-inches long by 27-inches wide, and less than a quarter-inch thick, stacked on eight steel platforms.  Each platform will hold 40 panels  and they will 6,630 square feet.
Warner expects to generate roughly 19,000 kilowatt hours annually, all of which will be used at the company's headquarters.  According to news reports, the company will also use the project as a sales tool, and intends to begin selling and marketing solar farms by late spring 2010.

Warner Energy was featured at a recent visit by Governor David Paterson’s to SUNY ESF in Syracuse to announce NYPA's 100 MW solar initiative.  Paterson mentioned Warner Energy as a new solar company and showcased its products.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Unfettering New York State's Innovation Economy


The Public Policy Institute this week released a new report, "Transcending the Hamster Cage."  Weird name (it's explained inside).  Interesting publication.  The document sets out to explore and solve a challenge:  "The key to unlocking the innovation economy is talented, driven and risk favorable people.  Motivation, inspiration and the capacity to dream, and to act on those dreams, are the greatest assets in the global innovation competition."

Guided by New York State academic and industry leaders, economic developers and entrepreneurs, it includes chapters on:
  • Human capital -- creating a critical mass of talent
  • Business climate -- developing regional innovation clusters
  • Economic development -- policies and investments that emphasize innovation
  • Tax policy -- enhanced incentives for R&D
  • Energy -- encouraging the development and commercialization of green technologies
  • Sector-based development -- strengthening key sectors such as bio-pharma and biotechnology
The theme of the report is creating an "innovation culture" that facilitates the creation of ideas that can be translated into new products and services. "The only path to sustainable growth is through innovation," writes Linda Sanford, IBM, a contributor to the report.  "Today's global economy rewards the innovators who can deliver unique value that cannot be easily replicated.  Creating a climate that consistently produces new ideas and advances intellectual property effectively to the marketplace is the best way to remain competitive in the innovation economy."

Download the report here.

NYS companies demonstrating innovative technologies for sustainable, energy-efficient manufacturing


Four New York companies will share $610,315 in grants from NYSERDA to develop and demonstrate innovative technologies for more sustainable and energy efficient manufacturing.

The four projects announced this week for funding are:

  • Excelerant Ceramics (Alfred) -- $60,325 to develop a product that will reduce the energy and costs of producing hydrogen gas for industrial processes such as fuel cell production, oil refining, ammonia production and others. Excelerant will work with Alfred University and Ceralink, Troy on this project.
  • United Environment and Energy, LLC (Horseheads) -- $74,990 to develop a technology to produce asphalt using renewable and recycled waste products instead of heavy petroleum and gravel to achieve significant reductions in energy, CO2 emissions and raw materials costs.
  • August Ninth Analyses, Inc. (Scarsdale) -- $75,000 to conduct a feasibility study for “Thinktroller,” a software and hardware system that mimics human sensory capabilities for use in a broad range of mixing, milling and blending applications of chemicals, food, plastics, metals, and other products.  The project will optimize processes, reduce load, and shift the process so that it occurs during off-peak electric demand periods.
  • Inland Paper Products Corp. (Brooklyn) -- $400,000 to purchase and install a hybrid ultra-violet/electron-beam (UV/EB) system for drying printed thin-film paper products as they exit a printing press. This process is expected to save 75-90% of thermal operation costs.
15 proposals were selected for funding in the first-round of PON 1276.  Together, they will $3.2 million to develop product and process innovation related to energy-efficient boilers and blowers, plastics and ceramics development, use of lasers and radio waves for coating, curing, and lamination, molding and casting production, and waste heat recovery in large food processing plants.

Companies funded in the first round of awards include:
  • Automated Dynamics (Schenectady) --$396,146
  • Aymont Technology, Inc., (Ballston Spa) -- $75,000
  • Ceralink, Inc. (Troy, Rochester, Highland) -- $399,154
  • CSL Materials LLC, (Alfred) --$49,635
  • CVD Equipment Corp. (Ronkonkoma) --$400,000
  • Evident Technology, Inc. (Troy) -- $75,000
  • Frito-Lay, Inc. (Binghamton)-- $400,000
  • The Fulton Companies (Pulaski) -- $75,000
  • IBA Industrial, Inc. (Edgewood) -- $119,262
  • Mohawk Innovative Technology, Inc. (Albany) --$74,491
  • MPI, Inc, Poughkeepsie, (Troy) -- $75,000
  • Novomer (Ithaca) -- $400,000
  • Sono-Tek Corporation (Milton, Troy) --$74,491
  • Strathmore Products, Inc. (Syracuse) -- $73,690
  • Transparent Materials (Rochester) -- $221,533

NYSERDA releases guide to developing renewable and sustainable biomass energy projects


NYSERDA today released a guidebook to faciltate biomass projects that will help the State meet its clean energy and environmental goals.  The guidebook was produced in conjunction with the Pace Energy and Climate Center to help with siting small-scale biomass-to-electricity projects in the state.

The guidebook focuses on three biomass technologies: 
  • Anaerobic digester gas-to-electricity (ADG), a proven technology that is helping dairy farmers, wastewater treatment plants, and the food industry reduce operating costs, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and mitigate odors by converting gases that are produced from organic waste into electricity.
  • Biomass combustion technology, which uses biomass as a fuel source for generating electricity, either by itself or in conjunction with fossil fuels. 
  • Biomass gasification transforms solid biomass into a combustible gas to generate electricity in a way that significantly increases efficiency and dramatically decreases emissions.
Large utility-scale versions of biomass combustion technologies are currently deployed at five facilities in Upstate New York:  Niagara Generating Facility (Niagara County); AES Greenidge, LLC (Yates County); Boralex Chateaugay Biomass Plant (Franklin County); Lyonsdale Biomass (Lewis County); and Onondaga Renewables LLC (Ononodaga County), which is the first direct combustion biomass facility in the state. These facilities are expected to deliver nearly 760,000 megawatt hours -- enough renewable energy to supply approximately 112,000 average homes with electricity.

NYSERDA has been working to increase the use of highly efficient gasification units and also recently invested in three companies to manufacture these products in Upstate New York: Alternative Fuel Boilers (Dunkirk), $555,000; Advanced Climate Technologies (ACT) (Schenectady), $642,000; and Thermocontrol Systems (Cobleskill), $258,000.

For all three biomass technologies, the Guidebook underscores the importance of incorporating combined heat and power (CHP) technologies to make biomass projects more efficient and economically viable. The Guidebook is available on NYSERDA’s renewables website, www.powernaturally.org.

NYS releases RFP for 100MW of new PV: Solar developers invited to create large scale "community solar" projects


Governor David A. Paterson and NYPA CEO Richard M Kessel came to SUNY ESF in Syracuse today to announce an initiative that will more than quintuple the amount of solar energy currently produced in New York State. The New York Power Authority (NYPA) issued a request for proposals (RFP) seeking a public-private partnership for the installation of up to 100 MW of photovoltaic systems across the State.

The project will encompass both roof-mounted and ground-mounted solar arrays.  Targeted facilities are schools, public universities and colleges, State and local government facilities, municipal electric utilities and rural electric cooperatives. When fully installed, this project will be the largest solar initiative in State history and will generate the equivalent of powering approximately 15,000 homes. It is estimated that will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 45,000 tons per year.

The initiative is also expected to help develop large scale "community solar" projects to connect to the distribution systems of municipal utilities and rural electric cooperatives.  These kinds of projects can provide to electric grids nearing capacity, and can also help alleviate the need for capital-intensive facility upgrades.

The Power Authority is now soliciting proposals from developers to install, own and operate PV arrays, and to sell all the energy and environmental attributes to NYPA subject to a 20-year power purchase agreement. NYPA will then enter into contracts with the project site hosts for the distribution of green power. It is anticipated that the installation of some of these projects could begin 2010 and be completed by the end of 2014.

The RFP calls for bids related to four separate categories and five separate regions. Bidders can submit proposals for one or more regions in one or more categories. The categories include:  government facilities, including public colleges and universities; public and private K-12 schools; and parking lot canopies at any governmental, educational facilities and facilities in the municipal and rural cooperative territories. The regions are Western New York, Northern New York, Central New York, Southeast New York and New York City. The deadline for RFP responses is April 9. Recommendations for an award are expected to be made at the September meeting of NYPA's Board of Trustees.

For more info, or to register for more information on the program:
www.nypa.gov/solar/100mw or www.nypasolarrfp.org 

Read the Syracuse Post Standard story about the announcement at SUNY ESF.




NYPA provides low-cost electricity to governmental agencies, municipal electric systems, manufacturers and to investor-owned utilities for resale without profit.  It operates 18 generating facilities across the state.  It is considered a national leader in the field of energy services, clean and renewable energy technologies, and the promotion of energy efficience, and has committed more than $100 million per year to energy services with cumulative investments of more than $1.1 billion since the program's inception.

Tech Garden launches Student Sandbox as national model for launching student enterprises


The Syracuse-based Tech Garden has launched an innovative Student Sandbox program designed to become a national model for capturing talent and launching new enterprises by the best and brightest students at world-class regional colleges and universities. The goal of the program is to identify student entrepreneurs and provide them with a structured assistance program to nurture new business ideas under the supervision of business and community leaders, along with seasoned entrepreneurs who are committed to retaining talent in Upstate New York. Studies show that 84% of incubated businesses remain within the region where they were incubated. The represents an enormous pipeline in the Central Upstate New York region which boasts 38 colleges and universities and 138,000 students.

The Sandbox’s objective is to accelerate the process of ideation, development and deployment through mentoring and coaching, with an end-goal of producing student businesses capable of seeking growth capital from angel, venture or traditional financial sources. The project is a collaboration between The Tech Garden, and Kaufmann Foundation Enitiative schools (Syracuse University, LeMoyne College, Cayuga Community College, Onondaga Community College, Morrisville State College and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry). Student teams from each of the Enitiative Schools are eligible to apply.  E-mail for more information.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Silicon Valley entrepreneur launches outreach and resource startup to accelerate entrepreneurship in Upstate New York


 Veteran Silicon Valley entrepreneur and Little Falls, NY resident Martin Babinec announced today the launch of Upstate Venture Connect, a not for profit corporation designed to create entrepreneurial momentum in Upstate NY by generating a large number of smaller, innovation oriented companies.

Upstate Venture Connect (UVC) is being built on the premise of increasing collaboration between existing institutions, resources and the region’s world class human assets. The organization will strengthen partnerships between Upstate higher education institutions and community based entrepreneur support programs. It will also embark on focused outreach to connect college alumni and émigrés with those seeking to build new companies Upstate. A key element of this effort is Vconnect, a highly interactive web-based platform to create a mega community committed to growing private capital backed businesses across the Upstate region. An informational website is now active at http://www.upstateventureconnect.org

Babinec was CEO of TriNet, a Silicon Valley company he founded in 1988, and moved his family back to his Upstate hometown of Little Falls in 1999, spending the next ten years commuting from Upstate to Silicon Valley while still running TriNet. He has been recognized as a recipient of the Silicon Valley Entrepreneur of the Year Award and is well known in emerging technology and venture capital circles throughout the country. His vision for creating a platform for dynamic collaboration in Upstate was first laid out in a keynote speech Babinec delivered at the Fall 2007 “I Live New York” conference in Cortland, NY. Over the following 18 months, he gathered input from both private and public sector resources, and built an advisory board representing incubation experts, investors and early stage entrepreneurs from Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and Ithaca.

“I am invigorated by the challenge that lays ahead in building a substantial organization,” said Babinec.

PSC approves National Grid's economic development plan which includes a new renewable energy development initiative


The New York State Public Service Commission has approved  a $9 million economic development plan by National Grid, which will include a new renewable energy development initiative to stimulate the development of renewable technologies.  Under the new initiative, National Grid will be able to make matching grants of up to $750,000 to customers that can demonstrate that the installation of alternative generation technologies will produce economic development gains.  Eligible technologies through the new program will include solar, photovoltaic, thermal, biofuels and anaerobic digestion.  A project must also advance the development of "green energy" technologies.

National Grid will also expand its successful Capital Investment Incentive (CH) program to more small businesses.  The program allows National Grid to assist customers with upgrading energy infrastructure to make an expansion or to attract a new company.  National Grid will now be able to expand eligibility to csutomers sized from 100kW to 500kW.  Previously, only 500 kW + customers could participate in the program.

For more information:  www.dps.state.ny.us

How to BUILD Green in 2010: Tips from the DEC


Building products made from recycled materials reduce solid waste problems, cut energy consumption in manufacturing and save on natural resource use.
Use renewable energy, passive-solar heating, daylight and natural cooling where possible.
Interior space can be optimized through careful design so that the overall building size and the resources to construct and operate it are kept to a minimum.
Low-maintenance, water-efficient landscaping saves precious water resources and lowers the need for pesticide use.
Design for future reuse and adaptability. Choose materials and components that can be reused or recycled.

Gray water from sinks and showers or clothes washers can be recycled for irrigation in some areas.
Renovate older buildings. Conscientiously renovating existing buildings is the most sustainable construction.
Energy efficient building is the way to go. Use high levels of insulation, high-performance windows and tight construction. Install high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment, high-efficiency lights and appliances, water-efficient equipment and mechanical ventilation equipment.
Existing vegetation can be used to shade buildings and reduce energy consumption. Trees on the east and west sides of a building can dramatically reduce cooling loads. Hedge rows and shrubbery can block cold winter winds or help channel cool summer breezes into buildings.
Natural resources can be saved by using salvaged materials where possible. Examples include lumber, millwork, certain plumbing and hardware. Make sure these materials are safe (test for lead paint and asbestos).

For more info or DEC publications on energy and the environment:  www.dec.ny.gov

Monday, January 25, 2010

Green confidence index


http://greenbiz.com/greenconfidence




What's in the cards for 2010 when it comes to the green economy?  The Green Confidence Index (GCI), produced by GreenBiz.com, Earthsense, and Survey Sampling International (SSI) offers a monthly metric.  Produced by Syracuse-based Earthsense, it's the first marketplace survey to focus specifically on environmental beliefs and behaviors, providing ongoing, real-time analysis of the evolving green economy.  The Green Confidence Index utilizes index scores, tracking changes in marketplace perceptions, and highlighting shifts in market confidence as bellwethers of future intentions.  It’s the only such study conducted monthly to provide an ongoing, real-time gauge of the evolving green economy.

View a sample issue at: http://greenbiz.com/gci/issue/28290
Subscribe at:   http://greenbiz.com/greenconfidence

State of Green Business Forum








Upstate NY-based Earthsense is off to San Francisco next week to speak at the annual "State of Green Business Forum" produced by GreenBiz.com

Earthsense, based at The Tech Garden in Syracuse, will be previewing the latest results from its U.S. Green Confidence Index. The Green Confidence Index gauges American's attitudes and confidence in elected leaders as well as manufacturers on environmental responsibility. It also measures consumer's understanding of issues and willingness to make green purchasing choices.  The Index is the first comprehensive monthly tracking of consumer trends around environmental responsibility, information availability, and purchase history and intent.  Earthsense collaborated with two leading companies to create the Index:  GreenBiz.com and Survey Sampling International. GreenBiz.com produces industry research reports and events on the greening of mainstream business.

Read more about the conference: 
http://www.greenbiz.com/stateofgreenbusinessforum2010

Download last year's free report:
http://www.stateofgreenbusiness.com/

New York State's 2010 clean energy agenda: An overview


As 2010 gets underway, New York is taking bold steps to address climate change -- with aggressive goals, regulatory mechanisms, incentives for energy efficiency, and initiatives to foster innovation. Building a clean energy economy is one of the cornerstone's of the State's agenda for 2010. Here are some highlights from a recent release from the Governor's Office:

Long-Range Planning
  • 45 by 15: Governor Paterson has set a goal to meet 45 percent of the State's electricity demand through efficiency and renewable energy by 2015 – 15 percent reduction in energy use through efficiency, and 30 percent of energy supply through renewable electric generation. More than $750 million per year in public funding is currently allocated to the State's clean energy programs.
  • 80 by 50 Target: With Executive Order No. 24, Governor Paterson set a goal to reduce greenhouse gas pollution in New York State by 80 percent below the levels emitted in 1990 by the year 2050. The Climate Action Council he created will prepare a draft Climate Action Plan by September 30, 2010, that will assess how each sector of the economy can reduce greenhouse gas pollution and how these actions support New York's goals for a clean energy economy.
  • 10-Year State Energy Plan: In December 2009, Governor Paterson accepted the State Energy Plan to make energy more affordable for New Yorkers in a carbon-constrained economy. The plan will ensure that New York continues to lead the nation in advancing clean energy and will keep more of our energy dollars in-State. The Plan is built around producing, delivering and using energy more efficiently; supporting the development of in-State energy supplies; investing in energy and transportation infrastructure; stimulating innovation in energy technologies for the clean energy economy; and forging the necessary partnerships with other states and local governments to achieve common goals.
Regulatory Mechanisms
  • Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI): New York was instrumental in the creation and successful implementation of the country's first mandatory cap and trade program. RGGI establishes a cap on power sector carbon dioxide pollution and reduces it over time using an auction to distribution emission allowances. The auctions are generating hundreds of millions of dollars that will be reinvested in clean energy measures to help New York's families and businesses cut their energy use and their carbon footprint.
  • Energy Codes: New York is updating its energy code to ensure new construction meets minimum efficiency standards. Several municipalities around the State are exceeding the code by adopting "Energy Star" standards.
Incentives to Improve Energy Efficiency and Increase Use of Renewable Energy
  • Encourage greater investments in renewable resources to help meet the ambitious energy reduction goals for New York.
  • Increase use of solar photovoltaic systems 7-fold within the next two years through expansion of the Renewable Portfolio Standard, revision to net metering laws and innovative use of power purchase agreements with the Long Island Power Authority and New York Power Authority. 
  • Focus on energy efficiency, a cost effective tool to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gases, with more than $750 million annually being invested in energy efficiency programs for natural gas and electric customers.
Initiatives to Foster Innovation
  • Smart Grid Consortium: New York utilities, universities, industry and government are partnering to share information and experience in developing a Smart Grid for the State. The Public Service Commission pre-approved over $800 million in smart grid demonstration projects statewide that utilities have proposed for funding under ARRA. New York's utilities are the only ones in the nation to receive such pre-approval.
  • New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium: In May 2009, Governor Paterson created the NY Best Consortium to foster collaboration among the State's universities and industry to increase the speed of innovation in energy storage technologies and seek to develop battery manufacturing facilities in NYS. That same month, GE announced that it would build a new battery manufacturing facility in Upstate New York.
  • Clean Energy Incubators: New York has established four clean energy incubators across the State to help turn new inventions into viable business enterprises, with an additional two that will be announced in the coming weeks.
More information on New York's efforts to combat climate change can be found at: www.nyclimatechange.us

NYS outlines its climate change action initiative


New York State this week outlined its initiative to develop an extensive plan that will dramatically reduce greenhouse gas pollution while also building New York's clean energy economy. The multi-faceted effort is driven by Executive Order No. 24, which sets a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in New York State by 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.  Over the course of 2010, a climate action council will be commissioned to meet with expert advisory panels and focus on the full spectrum of energy use and economic activity including:
  • Power supply and delivery;
  • Residential, commercial and industrial;
  • Agriculture, forestry and waste;
  • Transportation and land use; and
  • Adaptation, such as responses to potential climate-related threats to various sectors.
More than 100 individuals representing private sector companies, utilities, government officials, non-profit organizations, academia, advocacy groups, and others will participate in the advisory panels. The staff work of the CAC will be led by NYSERDA and DEC.

Earlier this month, a planning session was held at the New York Academy of Sciences to begin the process of developing a vision of how New York's energy system should evolve by 2050. At this meeting, nationally renowned experts provided insight on strategies to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, meet the State's energy needs, and create economic opportunities for "green-tech" jobs in New York.

For more information:
http://www.state.ny.us/governor/press/press_01211001.html

Thursday, January 21, 2010


The latest issue of Green CNY is on newstands around Central Upstate New York.  The publication, produced by The Syracuse Post Standard, is unique for a major daily newspaper.  Look for it at community locations, or read highlights on-line at:  http://blog.syracuse.com/green/2010/01/green_central_new_york_raises.html

The Post Standard also produces an on-line daily green news beat:
www.syracuse.com/green

Applications close 1/22/2010 for the largest privately funded business plan competition in the country


$200,000 Emerging Business Competition
 

Who will win?  Follow the progress here ... 
www.creativecoreny.com

RIT's University Services Center to become one of the first LEED Platinum university facilities in NYS


Rochester Institute of Technology's new University Services Center has been certified LEED Platinum by the U.S. Green Building Council, achieving the highest level designation for building performance and sustainability.  LEED certification provides third-party validation that a building's design incorporates strategies to improve performance across categories that include energy and water efficiency, use of local materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovative design processes.  The three-story 54,000 square foot building features a circular, glass-enclosed Student Innovation Center.  Sustainability highlights include a 48.6 percent energy cost reduction and 43 percent reduction in water usage, with 35 percent of the building's electricity supplied from renewable resources.  This is the second RIT facility to achieve U.S. GBC certification.  Last year, the University's Applied Science and Technology Building was designated LEED Gold -- the second highest level of achievement.

Cornell fires up $82 million new CHP plant


Cornell started up its $82 million new combined heat and power plant this past week -- part of the university's climate change commitment to eliminate coal as an energy source by next year.  The plant, which received $1 million in support from NYSERDA, includes two natural gas-fired turbine generators capable of producing 30 MW of electricity.  Recycled heat from the turbine exhaust will produce steam to heat the campus.  Cornell's goal is to reduce its annual coal consumption by about 60,000 tons, and to reduce carbon emissions associated with its heating and electricity needs by 28 percent over the next 18 months.

National Grid proposes Upstate New York program that will be test site for energy grid of the future


This week, National Grid proposed a comprehensive smart grid demonstration program in the Syracuse area that will serve as a test site for the energy grid of the future and provide hundreds of “clean energy” jobs in upstate New York, according to a company release.  The demonstration project will encompass 39,400 homes and businesses in the Syracuse area that will use new, state-of-the-art equipment to give customers information about their energy use and tools to reduce their carbon footprint and manage their energy costs.  The company submitted its plan to the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) last week.

Tom King, president of National Grid in the U.S noted that the proposal, which is subject to PSC approval, supports New York State's State Energy Plan that calls for reducing state electricity use to 15 percent below forecast levels by 2015. “National Grid believes that the New York State Energy Plan signals a much needed shift from the reliance on a model in which electricity is generated and controlled centrally,” King said. “The new model is one in which energy is integrated at a local level taking advantage of renewable energy sources and reducing overall usage,” said King.

The project, if approved, will have significant near and long term benefits to customers in the pilot area and to the overall economy of upstate New York. “We expect this pilot to create a number of jobs,” King said. “We estimate that hundreds of local jobs could be created by this project. All of these jobs will be part of the new energy economy.”

According to the company, the proposed site was chosen because of the Syracuse area’s diverse populations of residential and commercial customers, offering the opportunity to test Smart Grid technology with a variety of customers. In December, National Grid was selected as a sub-applicant in a recent Department of Energy (DOE) award for a three-year project that will demonstrate advanced energy storage in several locations, including Syracuse. This funding will be used in the Syracuse area to install two energy storage units at one of its substations, and the third at Syracuse University to demonstrate and study the importance of energy storage for managing increased use of renewable generation and the improved reliability of the distribution system. These testing sites are located in the foot print of the proposed program.

A key objective of the proposal is to provide the backbone for potential clean distributed generation and energy storage resources in order to determine how these resources can be safely and reliably incorporated. Syracuse has a number of existing and potential distributed generation project sites, including a large solar project at SUNY Environmental Sciences and Forestry Center

National Grid’s Smart Technology Center (STC) in Liverpool, NY will be a major part of the program. The STC is a comprehensive state-of-the-art outdoor laboratory and training facility that tests and evaluates smart grid technologies to ensure safe, secure and reliable equipment performance prior to deployment. In addition to testing smart grid equipment for the proposed Syracuse area site, the lab tests equipment for other sites within National Grid’s U.S. service territory.

“Syracuse has the right resources and the right customer base for this type of project,” King said. “Our proposal of this project in Central New York is part of our commitment to Upstate New York.”

Smart grid technology will provide customers improved energy use information, automation, and savings as well as an unprecedented amount of choice and control over how they use energy. Implementing smart grid technology also will enhance the reliability of the electric system. National Grid hopes to gain valuable information from the programs that it can use in the future to develop a smart grid on a wider scale.
Under the program, all customers will receive a ‘smart’ meter, and some customers will have the option to have additional equipment installed in their homes that includes special programmable thermostats and other devices that provide data and support energy management.

Eventually, customers will be able to purchase ‘smart’ appliances that will connect to the smart grid and start or stop when programmed to do so. Participating customers will be asked how they prefer to receive their energy information – via text message or from the Internet – and arrangements will be made for them to view and monitor energy consumption on a real-time basis, providing information that allows customers to use less energy during peak periods when electricity use is at its highest. Additionally, customers will have the option to receive a new rate plan that allows them to save money during periods when electricity use is at its highest across the region.

Source:  National Grid news

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

NYSERDA invites proposals for development at the Saratoga Technology + Energy Park

PON 1116Invitation to Development at the Saratoga Technology + Energy Park

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) invites proposals from business entities or developers to construct a building and related improvement at the Saratoga Technology + Energy Park (STEP) in the Town of Malta, Saratoga County, New York.

For technical questions:  Kevin Hunt, klh@nyserda.org

For more information:  http://www.nyserda.org/funding/1116pon.asp

NYSERDA funding opportunity out: Renewable Portfolio Standard Program Purchase of Renewable Energy Attributes

RFP 1851:  Renewable Portfolio Standard Program Purchase of Renewable Energy Attributes

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) seeks to procure the environmental attributes created by eligible generation resources under the Renewable Portfolio Standard Program (RPS Attributes).

For technical questions:  rps@nyserda.org
For more information:  http://www.nyserda.org/funding/1851rfp.asp

NYS is big winner of DoE grants to improve energy efficiency in the IT sector


New York State was a big winner of DoE funding awards just announced to improve energy efficiency in  the IT and telecom sectors. Only 14 projects nationally will share in the $47 million awards, funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and five of those are New York State projects.  Among one of the largest awards was nearly $10 million to support a new Yahoo! data center being developed in Lockport, NY.

Green IT is becoming increasingly important as the smart grid is deployed, which will require a supportive physical infrastructure that includes data centers, networks, routers and other smart green information and telecommunication technologies.  While still quite small compared to other sectors such as transportation and buildings, it is estimated that information technology and telecommunications facilities account for approximately 120 billion kilowatt hours of electricity annually.  Data center and communications network usage also typically occurs highest during peak electric consumption hours, placing additional stress on the grid.

DoE funding for these projects will focus primarily on equipment and software, power supply chain and cooling.  It will be matched by more than $70 million in industry funding.

The number of New York State projects selected for these DoE awards speaks to the state's R&D strength in the IT sector.  Among the New York State projects selected for these highly competitive awards:

  • Reducing Data Center Cooling Energy through Software-Based Management Tools. ~ IBM T.J. Watson Research Center (Yorktown, NY), Project Location: Research Triangle Park, NC ~ The project will develop and field test data center and telecommunication facility management tools to reduce power consumption from cooling components. Using real-time temperature, humidity, hot-spot management, air-leakage measurement, and corrosion monitoring, this tool will optimize air conditioning systems and use of outside air in computing facilities. This technology has the potential to save 10% of average data center and telecommunication center energy requirements. Awarded: $1,666,550 
  • Power Minimization for Networked Data Centers. ~ California Institute of Technology, Project Location: Ithaca, NY ~ Many large companies use massive arrays of servers across multiple data centers without a global method for managing energy consumption based on customer demand. This study will create algorithms designed to understand the demand for services from server technology and to balance services across servers and data centers according to preferred energy use goals. The so-called “volume servers” targeted in this project are the largest consumers of data center energy, so efficiency gains can yield substantial energy savings.  Awarded: $300,000
  • Reduction in Server Power Consumption through Improved CPU Energy Conversion. ~ Trustees of Columbia University, Project Locations: Ithaca, NY – Yorktown Heights, NY ~ This project will develop “on-chip” technology to make power conversions more efficient within servers. By increasing the amount of electricity that is used versus lost in operating the Central Processing Unit (CPU), server energy efficiency can be increased by at least 10%. Awarded: $2,800,000
  • Research Triangle Park, NC – Data Center Cooling using a Liquid Metal Thermal Interface. ~ IBM T.J. Watson Research Center (IBM-03), Project Locations: Poughkeepsie, NY ~ This project combines advanced metals and liquid cooled heat sinks to carry heat out of the data center to a Dual Enclosure Liquid Cooling (DELC) system. The DELC system will exchange heat from the data center with ambient air. Expelled heat will also be made available for room or water heating elsewhere. The project goal is to reduce cooling energy to 5% of total data center energy (conventional systems often use 25%).  Awarded: $2,347,801
  • Next Generation Passive Cooling Design for Data Centers. ~ Yahoo!, Inc., Project Locations: Lockport, NY ~ This project will design and engineer a key data center for a major internet company. The integrated building design, including the building’s shape and orientation and the alignment of the servers within the building, allows the data center to use outside ambient air for cooling 99 percent of the year. The relatively low initial cost to build, compatibility with current server and network models, and efficient use of power and water are all key features that make this data center a highly compatible and replicable design innovation for the data center industry. Awarded: $9,921,887

Monday, January 18, 2010

NYPA rolls out its 2010 - 2012 Sustainabilty Action Plan


The NYPA's Sustainability Action Plan rolled out this week with the publication of a blueprint for action ... and some action of its own -- the installation of a fuel cell at its Westchester County offices.  The plan combines NYPA’s longstanding energy saving and environmental conservation practices with future initiatives under one sustainability umbrella to achieve goals related to environmental stewardship, social equity and economic prosperity.  Entitled "Generating Sustainability," the plan is comprised of five sections representing NYPA’s major areas of activities: workplace, community, environment, marketplace and operations.  It includes 21 key focus areas ranging from health and safety, to stakeholder engagement and climate change adaptation.  NYPA has identified 41 separate actions that it will strive to complete between 2010 and 2012.

The plan can be viewed on the Web at www.nypa.gov/sustainability/plan.pdf

Top ten clean tech predictions for 2010


While it's hard to gaze into the crystal ball, The Cleantech Group has a knack for reading it well. Here is a quick round-up of their predictions for 2010.


1. Private capital growth recovers, record fund year
All in all, given the global recession, 2009 was not such a bad year for cleantech investing. We predict global venture and private equity in cleantech in 2010 will exceed that in 2009, and exceed it by a healthy margin. Above all, watch for greater innovation in fund strategies, for example those that bring “innovation and infrastructure” together or those that focus on cross-border plays.

2. Clean economies become the new space race
Fueled by unprecedented quantities of “green and clean” stimulus money, cities, states, provinces and countries are now competing to grow cleantech businesses, to bring innovation to market, to attract inward investment and to brand themselves as hubs of cleantech growth. It’s no longer about trading our way out of the carbon crisis, it’s about inventing new industries. Look out for changes in momentum, admittedly starting from very different starting points, from places such as Australia, Singapore, France, Germany, Scandinavia, Israel, parts of the U.S.,

3. Electric cars take the back seat to smart mobility
In 2009, electric vehicles and hybrids eclipsed fuel cell vehicles as the undeniable new center of gravity of the auto industry. In 2010, clean cars will form part of a broader shift to smart mobility. Look increasingly in 2010 for eco-city designs based on concepts such as “new urbanism.”

4. Resource constraints beyond carbon rise to the fore
While the world is understandably fixated with the challenge of moving to a low carbon economy, in 2010 we anticipate more attention will begin to be paid to other natural resource constraints. As and when the global economy picks up, the demand for commodities—especially metals, food and oil—will underscore that the natural resource problem hasn’t gone away. In 2010, watch for price spikes that affect cleantech industries, as well as for potential trade conflict over supplies of valuable natural resources. For example, with the rollout of a new generation of EVs in 2010, will there be a shortage of lithium?

5. Commodity tradeoff debates intensify
Associated with rising concerns over the scarcity of natural resources are tradeoffs between how resources should be used. Watch for these tradeoffs to hit the headlines in 2010 and the hunt for solutions to intensify:
  • Water-energy
  • Land-energy
  • Land-water
  • Carbon-water

6. Energy efficiency, driven by ICT, eclipses solar
In the coming year, software-based innovations are going to make up a much larger proportion of cleantech venture and PE investment than they currently do in a wide range of areas related to more sustainable and efficient use of energy, materials and natural resources, from the smart grid to remote sensing to industrial design. Private innovation capital/finance in energy-efficient ICT products and services could even eclipse that in solar, we predict.

7. Marketing suddenly matters
Marketing will take on an increasingly important role in cleantech in 2010. For clean technology vendors in some vertical technology sectors, such as solar and biofuels, an increased number of competitors, commoditized products and ballooning inventories are going to drive investments in marketing. In 2010, it’s going to be important to be able to articulate certain clean technologies’ propositions and differentiation, to consumer or enterprise buyers alike, and telegraph them in shorthand in a brand that stands for something in the mind of the prospect.

8. Buffett leads the super rich into cleantech
In late 2008 and 2009, the world’s most successful investor, Warren Buffett, made four high profile investments that, when stitched together, paint a picture that suggests the super-rich are now ready to play big in cleantech related investments. And that will further increase the awareness of cleantech as an investment sector and decrease the risk of participating in it. In 2010, Warren Buffett is likely to be joined by other super rich and super savvy, some partially motivated by worries over global warming, to make large scale commitments to cleantech innovation, directly and indirectly. George Soros is but one recently example, joining early players such as Virgin’s Richard Branson.

9. Acquisitions and consolidations accelerate
Not all will be pretty in cleantech during 2010. There will be losers as well, particularly in sectors and geographies where there has been overinvestment in recent years. The coming year will also likely see an overbuild of capacity in some cleantech sectors that will drive consolidation in 2011. LEDs (light emitting diodes) are poised, for instance, to follow the same bubble and bust seen in the solar PV manufacturing sector.

10. The rise of waste-to-energy, geothermal and aquaculture
Forecasting specific hot cleantech investment segments for 2010 is challenging in light of the broad secular megatrends driving toward a clean economy that touches every mainstream industry and sector—from cement to consumer electronics. While we think well-known clean energy technologies such as waste-to-energy and geothermal power will receive greater attention in 2010, in addition to the more visible renewable energy segments of wind and solar, we also believe increasing attention will be paid to nutrition-related investments, with sustainable aquaculture being one such area, as part of a shift to more sustainable agriculture and food production.

Read the full, original article at:

http://cleantech.com/news/5342/ten-cleantech-predictions-2010

Clean tech investment report -- what's the landscape ahead?


What does the 2010 clean tech investment landscape look like?  While Copenhagen did not produce the binding agreements that many had hoped for, there is an expectation that the market will continue to strengthen for renewable and clean technologies.  Access to capital for clean tech was an issue in 2009, but the year finished strong.  Investor activity picked up in 4Q09 as stimulus grant and loan guarantee programs were crafted, and federal and state Renewable Portfolio Standards were adopted.  As 2010 starts, investors are beginning to again look at deals and expectations are that new private equity fund raising is about to begin, particularly as market conditions improve.  The U.S.and China have collectively pledged to spend more than $110 billion on clean energy.

While 2009 venture investment was down 33% from its record high of $8.5 billion in 2008, investment in cleantech declined less than other sectors.  Overall venture capital has retreated back to 2003 levels, according to the U.S. NVCA, but cleantech venture capital has been reset only to 2007 levels.

"Cleantech venture investment was buoyed by increasing corporate and utility investment, amid the financial crunch and economic crisis," according to the just released report by The Cleantech Group. "Wind energy, which was the sector most heavily invested in by U.S. utilities in 2008, continued to be a significant investment sector for utilities in 2009, trailed by investments in solar thermal and PV. In addition to utilities, among Fortune Global 500 companies, energy and consumer and industrial products companies made significant investments in the cleantech sector."


Top Venture Capital Clean Technology Sectors in 2009
Technology Sector Amount Invested % of total
Solar $1.2 billion 21%
Transportation (including electric vehicles, advanced batteries, fuel cells) $1.1 billion 20%
Energy Efficiency $1.0 billion 18%
Biofuels $554 million 10%
Smart Grid $414 million 7%
Water $117 million 2%

Where were the big deals?  What country led?  What are the companies to watch?
Read the full story:
http://cleantech.com/about/pressreleases/20090106.cfm

252-megawatt Galloo Island Wind Farm moving ahead


Upstate NY Power Corp. has said the 84-turbine, 252-megawatt Galloo Island Wind Farm project in Jefferson County, NY is moving along with required approvals and is expected to create up to 250 construction jobs during the next three summers of construction.

The project will be about the same size as Wolfe Island Wind Farm, the second largest wind farm in Canada, developed by the Canadian Renewable Energy Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Canadian Hydro Developers, Inc.  That wind farm, located directly on Wolfe Island, a few kilometres off the shore of Kingston, Ontario, is a 197.8 MW plant comprised of 86 wind turbines, each turbine with a rated capacity of 2,300 kilowatts.  Wolfe Island is located just across the water, accessible by ferry from Cape Vincent, Jefferson County, NY.  Together, the Galloo Island and Wolfe Island Wind Farms will be among the largest concentrations of wind production in the east.

There are more than 500 wind turbines already in operation in the North Country, including Maple Ridge Wind Farm in Lewis County and other wind projects in Clinton County.

Northeast's largest solar farm planned at Brookhaven National Laboratory


A 200-acre solar farm planned by BP Solar at Long Island's Brookhaven National Laboratory could be the largest of its kind in the Northeast. The energy company BP Solar is planning to build the equivalent of a 32-megawatt generator, enough to power 4,500 homes, Newsday reports.  The U.S. Department of Energy, which operates the lab, will host the clean-energy project in exchange for research opportunities. 

Friday, January 15, 2010

NYS company, SunWize, gets contract to install solar-power projects at Veterans Affairs hospitals around the country

Kingston, NY-based SunWize Technologies earned a U.S. Veterans Administration installation contract for 10 solar-power systems at VA medical centers around the country, including three in Upstate New York.  The projects, estimated at $7.8 million, will vary in size from under 50 kilowatts to more than 400 kilowatts.  NYSERDA is providing incentives to help offset the costs for the NYS installations, based on savings per kilowatt-hour.  The projects are designed to help meet federal agency goals to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 30% by 2015.

U.S. News selects SUNY Oswego among "Top Up-and-Coming Schools" for 2010


SUNY Oswego is among only 28 public colleges and universities nationally to have made the prestigious "Top Up-and-Coming Schools" for 2010 list in U.S. News and World Report's "America's Best Colleges" issue.  SUNY Oswego is one of just two public master's level colleges selected for the honor, recognizing innovations that "everyone should be watching."  SUNY Oswego has a half billion dollars of planned campus projects, including state-of-the art science facilities set for construction next year. 

For the sixth straight year, SUNY Oswego was also named to the Princeton Review's list of Best Northeastern Colleges:  2010 Edition.

For more info:  www.oswego.edu

NYPA 100 MW solar photovoltaic initiative set to launch soon



The New York Power Authority (NYPA) hopes to release a Request for Proposal for its 100MW Solar Photovoltaic Initiative by mid-January. Check back here for more information.

NYPA is exploring a public-private partnership for the installation of up to 100 megawatts (MW) of solar photovoltaic systems, including roof-mounted and ground-mounted PV arrays, at municipal facilities, public and private schools and government buildings throughout the state.  Eligible facilities are invited to explore the criteria for participating in this initiative and propose sites for the installation of solar arrays.  The goal of the 100 MW Solar PV Initiative is to invite public and private schools, government buildings and businesses throughout the state to serve as host sites for a roof- or ground-mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) array. The solar array will be installed at no upfront cost to the facility, and will provide participating facilities with fixed-price solar energy for 20 years along with protection from future energy price increases.   The solar array installation will supply electricity to the facility throughout the year; when not needed, excess solar power may flow to the surrounding community through the local utility meter. Through net-metering, the local utility will deduct excess energy from the facility's electric bill. 

It's a creative approach to achieving NY's aggressive Renewable Portfolio Standard goals, while creating  community benefit.  Learn more at:  https://www.nypa.gov/solar/100mw/

$10 million in stimulus funds to assist solar energy companies with projects across the state


The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority has announced $10 million in awards to seven solar energy equipment installers for solar electric projects across the state.The companies are Alteris Renewables  of Menands; Hudson Valley Clean Energy of Rhinebeck; groSolar of White River Junction, Vt.; Solar Energy Systems of Brooklyn, and Tioga Energy of San Mateo, Calif.

The money is coming from the federal stimulus package and is expected to lead to the addition of six megawatts of solar electricity as more than 600 homes and businesses will have solar electric systems installed by the seven companies over the next two years.  The grants are separate from the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard that offers subsidies for solar electric system installation.

The awards were competitively selected by NYSERA after proposals were submitted in October.

Clean Tech Center joins New York Solar Thermal Consortium

The Clean Tech Center, a NYSERDA-funded initiative to develop renewable and clean energy companies, has signed on to the New York Solar Thermal Consortium -- a collaborative effort led by Clarkson University's Center for Advanced Materials Process (CAMP), the New York Solar Energy Industry Association, the Solar Energy Consortium and Droege & Comp., an international management consulting firm with a Competence Energy Center focused on renewable energy. 

The goal of the consortium is to help make New York the national leader in the research, development and manufacturing of solar thermal technologies.  The group is working on a Solar Thermal Roadmap that will build upon global best practices, including the $3 billion European Union solar thermal market initiative and the recently unveiled California initiative as potential models. 

Goals of the consortium are to:
  • Install solar thermal capacity of 2,000 Megawatts Thermal by 2015
  • Create thousands of high skills jobs in the solar thermal field
  • Displace 2 million pounds of CO 2 emissions per year

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cornell's JumpStart program chooses four New York small businesses for collaborations


Four New York state small businesses have been selected to receive JumpStart awards to collaborate with the Cornell Center for Materials Research (CCMR) this spring semester.  The CCMR JumpStart program, funded by the New York State Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR), helps New York's small businesses develop and improve their products through university collaborations. JumpStart projects receive up to $5,000 in matching funds for project costs, including faculty and their research staff, facilities, services, supplies and materials. This semester's projects:
  • Cerion Enterprises LLC, Rochester, will collaborate with the research group of David Muller, associate professor of applied and engineering physics, to characterize its current proprietary nanoparticle materials and extend its technology using advanced electron microscopy techniques.
  • Mag Energy AES, Bristol, will collaborate with David Caughey, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, to complete the aerodynamic design of a prototype vertical air and water turbine.
  • Rigidized Metals Corp., Buffalo, will engage with Shefford Baker, associate professor of materials science and engineering, to develop new value-added metal coatings to complement its current product line.
  • ZetrOZ LLC, Ithaca, will partner with Susan Ashdown and Margaret Frey, professor and associate professor, respectively, of fiber science and apparel design, to develop a prototype -- a wearable patch for transferring ultrasound energy into the skin for therapeutic applications.
For further details, including how to apply for fall 2010 projects (starting in September 2010), see the CCMR Web site at http://www.ccmr.cornell.edu/industry/.

$25 million in federal funds for Upstate NY renewable energy and defense companies


Congressman Maurice Hinchey has announced that $25.36 million in federal funding through the 2010 Defense Appropriations bill will go to: BAE Systems ($3.84 million), Binghamton University's Center for Autonomous Solar Power (CASP) ($4 million), Endicott Interconnect ($4.8 million), Johnson Outdoors ($2.4 million), Primet Precision Materials ($6.4 million), Rockwell Collins ($2.72 million), and Widetronix ($1.2 million) for projects to advance renewable energy and defense systems.

Among the renewable energy highlights:
  • Binghamton University’s Center for Autonomous Solar Power (CASP), $4 million – To advance the university’s leadership in solar energy research and development for defense, aerospace, consumer and industrial markets.  The funding will help CASP to develop new storage systems, or "supercapacitors," that are better suited for the solar power generation technology the center is developing -- large area thin film flexible solar modules. Supercapacitors are intended to help improve the challenges associated with gathering solar energy at peak availability for off-peak usage
  • Primet Precision Materials, $6.4 million – To assist this high-tech battery company form a partnership with Applied Materials, a major semiconductor company, as well as Cornell University and Binghamton University.  Primet will use a portion of the funding to further develop an advanced composite nickel-manganese-cobalt and other lithium ion battery technologies for the U.S. military with energy sources that are smaller, lighter, safer, and longer-lasting than any lithium batteries available on the market today, greatly extending duty cycle and survivability for applications ranging from handheld devices to unmanned aerial vehicles.
  • Widetronix, $1.2 million – To assist the company scale its low-defect silicon carbide wafer production process to accommodate larger wafer sizes and production volumes sought by the commercial customers and the U.S. Department of Defense.

    Catalyst Renewables, Atlantic Power share in $96 million NYS awards

    Dallas-based Catalyst Renewables will share in $96 million in state funding -- one of five projects selected by the state -- as part of the $300 million Renewable Portfolio Standard Program which is designed to accelerate development of New York's clean energy economy.  Catalyst Renewables Corp., through its biomass energy subsidiary Syracuse-based CRC Renewables, is partnering with Boston-based Atlantic Power Corp. on plans to convert a cogeneration plant in Geddes, NY to a biomass facility that will produce power for central New York and steam for local businesses. With a capacity of 40 megawatts, Onondaga Renewables will produce enough electricity to power approximately 40,000 homes and provide low-pressure steam.

    The amount of funding awarded to Catalyst is set to be announced.

    Catalyst opened its Syracuse offices with an announcement of its $100 million biomass power facility project in Geddes (just outside Syracuse) in fall of 2008.  At the same time, it also introduced its TreeSource Solutions LLC division to provide technologies and management services to business, governments, forest owners and loggers to better manage wood waste. TreeSource is looking for Upstate farmers who want to grow woody biomass on their underused or abandoned farmland, providing new markets.

    Catalyst Renewables also owns and operates the Lyonsdale Biomass LLC wood-fired cogeneration facility, a 19 megawatt power generation facility in Lyonsdale NY.  For more information:  http://www.catalystrc.com/

    CNY Works receives $3,715,931 federal job training grant


    CNY Works was one of 38 national recipients of green jobs training grants through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act). The $150 million grant program is designed to help transition workers into employment “pathways” in energy efficiency and renewable energy industries.

    The Syracuse-based CNY Works application was a consortium effort that included a coalition of workforce providers, government agencies, educational institutions and trade associations. 

    The grants are part of a larger Recovery Act initiative — totaling $500 million — to fund workforce development projects that promote economic growth by preparing workers for careers in the energy efficiency industries. For a full listing of the grants and project descriptions, visit: http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/eta/eta20100039.htm

    Tuesday, January 12, 2010

    Three NYS companies receive NIST awards


    Three New York State companies were among the 27 projects announced today by the U.S. Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to receive $34.12 million measurement science and engineering research grants. The NIST funding, through the federal stimulus, targets research areas such as energy, the environment, biosciences, information technology and cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing and physical infrastructure.  Recipients were higher-education, commercial, and nonprofit organizations, selected through a competitive review process involving more than 300 NIST scientist and engineers who reviewed more than 1,300 proposals for the grants.

    NYS recipients included:
    • $1.5 million -- General Electric, GE Global Research (Niskayuna, NY) to develop novel measurement techniques for technology that will assist large amounts of power for rapidly routing electrical energy to customers from diverse sources such as wind and solar powered
    • $1,255,833 -- General Motors Electrochemical Energy Research Lab (Honeoye Falls, NY) to develop and apply neutron detectors that can view the inner workings of fuel cells with 10 times improved spatial resolution over previous efforts, and assess mechanisms for degradation of lithium-based battery capacity and power.
    • $1,494,041 -- IBM (Yorktown Heights, NY)  to develop measurement science tools and techniques to optimize the progress and development of cloud computing technology.
    For the complete list of recipients:

    Monday, January 11, 2010

    Federal award for manufacturing operation in Upstate NY leverages GE's $150 million investment in battery technologies


    G.E. Transportation was one of the bigger recipients of the new federal manufacturing tax credits announced this week. The company will received $25.5 million in credits to renovate its existing manufacturing facility in Upstate New York that will make advanced energy storage systems.

    The award will leverage G.E.’s current efforts to build up a new product line that will serve the rail, marine, mining, telecommunications and utility sectors.  The Schenectady, New York facility will create 350 new manufacturing jobs in New York. The state has partnered with G.E. by pledging more than $15 million in incentives to benefit the facility’s development. The plant is scheduled to be fully operational in the middle of 2011.

    At full capacity, G.E. said the plant could produce approximately 10 million cells capable of generating 900 megawatt-hours of energy per year – the equivalent of the battery power required for 45,000 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles with an 80-mile range.   The batteries, which are a critical piece of energy storage systems, will rely heavily on new materials, manufacturing technologies and intelligent control systems.

    Schenectady facility is located near G.E.’s Global Research laboratory in Niskayuna, where advances to the battery chemistry were developed.   G.E. has already invested more than $150 million in developing battery technologies, and the tax credit will supplement their investments.

    Sunday, January 10, 2010

    $2.3 Billion in Tax Credits for New Clean-Tech Manufacturing Jobs -- NYS recipients


    Yesterday’s announcement of $2.3 billion in Recovery Act Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credits for 183 projects in 43 states will generate more than 17,000 high quality clean energy jobs and the domestic manufacturing of advanced clean energy technologies including solar, wind, and efficiency and energy management technologies, according to the Obama administration.   The investment tax credits, worth up to 30% of each planned project, are expected to leverage private capital for a total investment of nearly $7.7 billion in high-tech manufacturing in the United States.

    More than 500 applications were received with tax credit requests totaling over $8 billion. As part of an innovative partnership between the Departments of Treasury and Energy, the two cabinet agencies worked together to develop, launch, and award the funds for this program in record time. The Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit authorized Treasury to provide developers with an investment tax credit of 30% for facilities that manufacture particular types of energy equipment. Qualifying manufacturers will produce solar, wind, and geothermal energy equipment; fuel cells, microturbines, and batteries; electric cars; electric grids to support the transmission of renewable energy; energy conservation technologies; and equipment that captures and sequesters carbon dioxide or reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

    Expanded Support for 48C Tax Credits to Accelerate Manufacturing Job Creation:
    Because the 48C program generated far more interest than anticipated, DOE and Treasury have a substantial backlog of technically acceptable applications, and the Administration has called on Congress to provide an additional $5 billion to expand the program. 

    NYS recipients included:
    • GEMX Technologies LLC of Schenectady, NY was awarded $25,500,000 to re-equip an existing manufacturing facility.  The facility will produce sodium metal halide batteries for various markets, including electricity grid support and regulation services to help support renewable energy penetration levels, enable remote power systems based on renewable energy sources, and help increase efficiency by reduced peak power demands.
    • Ener-G-Rotors of Schenectady, NY was awarded $834,000 to install manufacturing capacity to build systems that turn low temperature heat from industrial processes, from 180F to 240F, into 50kW of electricity.
    • Ice Energy of Hammondsport, NY was awarded $1,508,973 to expand a facility to design and manufacture energy storage modules for use with direct expansion air conditioners commonly found in commercial and small industrial applications.  When deployed, the asset enables the storage of electricity from renewable energy resources in the form of ice.
    • Ramgen Power Systems, LLC of Orlean, NY was awarded $4,767,438 to produce a CO2 compressor capable of converting coal plant CO2 into a supercritical fluid that can be sequestered.  The result is projected to be more efficient and cost-effective for Carbon Capture and Storage.
    • Stirling Energy Systems, Inc of Ashville, NY was awarded $642,000 to produce pedestals, hubs, facet support structures, booms and mirror facets that combine to serve as the radial solar concentrator dish structure of the SunCatcher, a 25 kW solar dish.  The resulting technologies will aid Solar Concentrating Solar Power industry domestically.
    See the full list of selected projects (Exc el 115 KB).

    NYS proposes $25 million New Technology Seed Fund


    The innovation economy got another big boost this week with the announcement of a proposed $25 million New Technology Seed Fund -- a recommendation that came out of both the Governor's Small Business Task Force and Higher Education - Industry Task Force, and which has been strongly championed by business groups around the State.

    The fund will help commercialize emerging technologies and put NYS on par with states like Pennsylvania, California, Maryland and Texas in terms of directly supporting entrepreneurial development.  Investment decisions by the Fund will be made by independent, professional investors and state funds will require matches of at least 1:1 from federal or private sources to leverage and maximize the impact of State investments.

    The proposal is currently aimed at technology being developed at colleges and universities, but as it is developed, it is essential to expand it beyond university-based research to fully capture the promise of the innovation economy. In structuring the fund, it is important to note that promising technologies have also come from talented young entrepreneurs working in garages and warehouses, seasoned technologists who have transitioned from legacy industries, and industry spin-offs that have proven to be the gazelles of the innovation economy.  (Apple was founded by two college drop-outs with $1,300 in angel investment in 1996, went public in 1980 and became the first personal computer company to reach $1 billion in sales by 1982.  Amazon's founder transitioned out of a Wall Street career in 1994, put together a small equity raise with angle investors and took the company public in 1997.  Google was started by young entrepreneurs in a garage in Menlo Park in 1998, seeded by a private angel investment from the co-founder of Sun.)

    In the past several years, early stage funding has been a critical funding challenge for entrepreneurs, especially as the venture capital community is increasingly interested in more mature companies experiencing rapid growth and larger deals. Recognizing the potential of early stage companies with promising technology, many states have addressed this gap by creating co-investments programs.

    Best practice recommendations being adopted by many states now include:
    • Helping establish and support regional angel networks statewide and expanding investor education about emerging technology sectors
    • Providing financial incentives to encourage angel investment, and implementing metrics to measure results
    The NYS New Technology Seed Fund holds promise for supporting the most viable emerging technologies and companies being created across NYS.   The Clean Tech Center strongly supports its expanded development and looks forward to its successful implementation.

    Green innovation gets big boost in State of the State address through proposed new Manufacturing Legacy Program to re-purpose industrial buildings for new green industries


    This week's State of the State address included a proposal to create a NYS Manufacturing Legacy Program to re-purpose older industrial sites to manufacture the products of a new green economy -- photovoltaic cells, wind turbines and fuel cell batteries, among other emerging technologies.  The plan starts with an inventory of available locations, and investment to aggressively market the locations nationally and internationally.

    In addition, the State will create industrial assistance centers to support efforts to transition underutilized facilities.  NYSERDA will assist companies by providing capital enhancements to renovate and reuse the facilities to produce clean energy technologies and components.  NYPA will offer low-cost financing for clean energy retrofits for its economic development customers.

    In addition, a proposed Excelsior New Jobs Program will target tax credits in sectors such as high technology, clean technology and biotechnology.  A new Excelsior Jobs Tax Credit, expanded Research and Development Tax Credit and expanded Investment Tax Credit will support expansion and growth by companies in targeted emerging technology sectors.

    Advancing the clean energy economy: Highlights from this week's State of the State address


    This week's State of the State address by Governor David Paterson reiterated his commitment to transition NYS to a clean energy economy.  The address focused on ways to prromote energy efficiency and conservation throughout the state, identify promising areas for state research and development, review state policies and regulations affecting development of renewable, and alternative energy and develop programs to grow clean energy industries. 

    Among the highlights:
    • Submit legislation to "green" the State's energy code
    • Submit legislation to adopt minimum energy efficiency standards
    • Develop a "stretch" code that municipalities can voluntarily adopt
    • Submit legislation to improve the net metering law to make it more attractive for commercial customers
    • Issue at least two solicitations for large-scale renewable energy projects under the expanded Renewable Portfolio Standard
    • Inventory State-owned properties that are suitable for renewable energy installations
    • Provide incentives through NYSERDA to encourage bioheating systems, solar thermal and geothermal
    • Ensure environmental safeguards related to natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale reserves
    • Prepare a Climate Action Plan that will identify how to achieve an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050
    • Inventory existing transportation corridor rights of way that could be used for new energy infrastructure
    • Commence Smart Grid demonstration projects
    • Foster the development of clean energy incubators and regional clean energy clusters to accelerate technology commercialization
    • Begin making clean energy job training curriculum standard in all SUNY and CUNY schools
    • Dedicate funding from the Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard for pathways out of poverty programs to train workers for clean energy jobs
    • Submit legislation for a longer term replacement to the Power for Jobs program that will also encourage energy efficiency
    • Help local governments become Climate Smart Communities
    Together, these initiatives are designed to stimulate innovation in the clean energy economy and help the State's manufacturing base and local communities transition to a low-carbon future.  Governor Paterson has been a long proponent of a clean energy economy -- leading the State's Task Force on Renewable Energy when he was Lt. Governor:  http://www.state.ny.us/governor/press/0626073.html