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MICROGRIDS ARE THE NEW GREEN
By Lyn Corum

Microgrids have become a hot topic in industry news describing installations popping up across the country, particularly at universities and on military bases.  The Solar Electric Power Association, whose mission is to support utility integration of solar, held a webinar on July 31 profiling two microgrids in San Diego Gas & Electric’s service territory.  One is the microgrid at Borrego Springs built by the utility. The other has been built by the University of San Diego on its campus.

UCSD GENERATES ITS POWER

Beginning in 2000, Byron Washom, director of strategic energy initiatives at UC San Diego, and his colleagues built a 40-MW microgrid system that now provides power for 90% of the campus. Peak demand is 42 MW on the 1,200 acre campus that hosts a daily population of 45,000 studies, faculty and researchers.
 Washom described the various components of the microgrid: Two Solar combined-cycle gas-fired turbines produce 25 MW and 3 MW of Dresser Rand steam turbines produce 120,000 lbs./hour of steam for heat recovery. The waste heat flows into the district heating system to provide 95% of the campus’s heating and cooling. There are three steam-driven chillers and eight electric-driven chillers.

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Lyn Corum

WTE-RENEWABLE FUEL
By Dick Flanagan


Bill Arvan
General Facility Manager,
B&W’s Palm Beach Resource Recovery Corp


WEST PALM BEACH, FL – The nation’s first new waste to energy power plant to be built in twenty years is being constructed by Babcock & Wilcox and its consortium partner KBR on a 24 acre greenfield site for the Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach. SWA is a governmental agency with 400 employees governed by seven elected County Commissioners of Palm Beach County and is funded by user fees through an annual property tax bill on the county’s 1.4 million residents and businesses. B&W and KBR are sharing the design and work scope, while B&W will exclusively perform the operations and maintenance for the 95 megawatt facility expected to come online in Q-1-15. Florida Power and Light has a 20 year power purchase agreement.

The new plant referred to as PBREF#2 can process a million tons of municipal solid waste annually producing electricity and reducing the waste sent to the county’s landfill by up to 90 percent. (Landfills generate methane which is 21 times more potent of a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.) B&W will supply three mass burn boilers, grates, ash and metal recovery systems and emissions control equipment (article continues)

MAGNETIC FUSION
By Jeanne Jackson Devoe

The heart of the U.S. Department of Energy’s
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) is the
National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX-U), a device
that will help researchers develop magnetic fusion as a
safe, abundant and inexpensive source of electric energy.
Magnetic fusion harnesses the same process that
fuels the sun. Researchers heat an ionized gas called a
plasma to a temperature far hotter than the core of the
sun in a device called a tokamak, which controls the gas
with powerful magnets. The extreme heat and magnetic
confinement force positively charged atomic nuclei — or
ions — to fuse together and create a powerful burst of
energy that could ultimately produce steam to generate
electric energy.

 

Jeanne Jackson Devoe
PPPL, Office of Communications

The NSTX-U is undergoing a $94 million upgrade that will make the facility the most powerful tokamak of its type in the world when it is completed around the end of the year. The two main components of the upgrade are the central magnet, or center stack, and a second neutral beam injector to heat the plasma. These components will double the heat and electric current in the tokamak and quintuple the duration of the plasma.

PROGRESS OVER THE LAST YEAR

“We’re building a scientific tool for the country and the Laboratory and there’s been great progress over the last year,” said PPPL Director Stewart Prager during the annual State of the Laboratory address. “To date, every technical challenge has been met.”

The second neutral beam is already in place in the NSTX-U and the center stack magnet is being constructed. Prager noted that the center stack is really two magnets in one: A cylinder composed of 36 copper bars that create a magnetic field, and a coil around the cylinder that drives a current through the plasma. Constructing the center stack “requires incredible engineering and craftsmanship and it’s gone extremely successfully,” Prager stated.

He noted that the U.S. Department of Energy has strongly supported the NSTX-U project despite the ups and downs of federal funding. “This is a fantastic result for this year. Next year we’ll be talking about the initial experiments on the NSTX-U,” Prager said.

The NSTX-U will allow researchers to produce “a sustained high pressure plasma” over the next decade, Prager explained. (article continues)

 


Richard T. Flanagan















MISTRAS


This is an issue of “firsts!” Alstom is piloting the world’s ‘first’ solar grid; B&W is building the ‘first’ US-WTE plant in 25 years; PPPL joined ITER, the world’s ‘first’ joint experiment in magnetic fusion, and Alton Energy joined our family of advertisers for the ‘first’ time. We hope you enjoy reading this issue as much as we did publishing it.

World-Gen and 34 other journalists from 14 countries visited Alstom’s NICE GRID, the world’s first solar energy smart grid storage demonstration project launched with partners ERDF, EDF, SAFT and RTE spread over four years at a cost of €30 million starting on page 1. Alstom envisions that the smart grid market has the potential to grow to €51 billion by 2020, up from the present €29 billion creating 100,000 new highly skilled engineering jobs and another 300,000 indirect jobs. Alstom is studying how data is becoming the fuel of future economic development, and exchanging data that is at the core of the smart grid development. Alstom, its partners, and the Nice Town Council responded by building a micro grid, optimizing energy production from solar panels. Alstom supplied its new MaxSine™ eStorage conversion solution connecting batteries to the high/medium voltage network.

The nation’s first new waste to energy power plant to be built in twenty years is being constructed by Babcock & Wilcox and its consortium partner KBR on a 24 acre greenfield site for the Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach, FL, covered on page 1. The 95 megawatt facility is expected to come online in Q-1-15; Florida Power and Light has a 20 year power purchase agreement. The new plant reduces the waste sent to the county’s landfill by up to 90 percent. SWA has recycled more than two million tons of residential and commercial material that otherwise would have been landfilled and recovered nearly 250,000 tons of clean vegetation annually. The State of Florida counts waste delivered to a Renewable Energy facility towards the State’s 75% Recycling Goal, and the State provides one ton of recycling credit for each megawatt hour of energy produced.

Jeanne Jackson Devoe tells us on page 1 that the heart of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) is the National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX-U), a device that will help researchers develop magnetic fusion as a safe, abundant and inexpensive source of electric energy. PPPL is one of 17 national laboratories funded by the Department of Energy, managed by Princeton University and has about 450 employees. The NSTX-U is undergoing a $94 million upgrade that will make the facility the most powerful tokamak of its type in the world when it is completed around the end of the year. The next step in developing magnetic fusion as an energy source is the huge fusion experiment called ITER in Cadarache, France, that is supported by seven international partners that include the United States. ITER is designed to create a sustained fusion reaction — or burning plasma — that produces more energy than it takes to create the reaction. Experiments are to begin in the 2020s.

Lyn Corum writes from California on page 12 that California’s electricity world has been upended following the retirement of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in June 2013. Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric are scrambling for new resources to replace the lost 2,200 MW SONGS produced.
However, new resources do not necessarily mean the traditional base-load generating plants. What utilities are looking for in the load center formerly served by SONGS is fast-starting dispatchable power to buffer renewable resources coming online and new transmission. In March, the CPUC approved a plan for SCE to acquire 500 MW to 700 MW and SDG&E to acquire 500 MW to 800 MW by 2022. At least 600 MW must include renewable, demand response and energy efficiency resources plus 75 MW of energy storage. SCE said it will add the newly approved resources to a solicitation it was conducting. The CPUC ordered SDG&E to design a solicitation for the newly approved resources. The California Independent System Operator had recommended 2,400 MW in new capacity but the CPUC believes new transmission capacity and energy efficiency savings will lower the region’s needs.

Samir Succar tells us on page 13 that the future of the utility industry has become a central focus for many as the sector grapples with several existential threats. Among the chief threats looming on the horizon is the large projected growth in distributed energy resources (DERs) and its potential to compound the impacts of the anemic growth in net load observed in many regions today. But this growth in DERs is relatively recent. While the resource base has certainly grown significantly for specific resources in particular regions, on a national basis these resources still occupy a relatively small fraction of the overall mix. Nevertheless, the conditions for growth for this class of resource are approaching a tipping point toward widespread viability in many more markets and there is growing enthusiasm around the potential for growth of DERs in the years and decades to come.
The growth of distributed generation and its impact on price formation in U.S. capacity markets implies a fundamental shift in the structure of resource adequacy mechanisms. As variable, distributed generation increasingly becomes a prevalent source of generation in regions, changes in capacity market dynamics will have a profound impact on generating assets and their future economic viability. These impacts will be felt most acutely in organized markets with well-developed capacity market mechanisms.

World-Gen welcomes "Letters to the Editor." Please send your comments to: flanagan@world-gen.com.

 
 

EDITORIAL CALENDAR

October / November 2014
POWER-GEN INTERNATIONAL (PGI)
SOLAR POWER INTERNATIONAL (SPI)

Ad Closing - September 26th.

December / January, 2015
CLASS OF 2015

Bonus circulation is guaranteed at above conventions.


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