• 23 Mar 2018 12:10 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The 22nd Annual NCAC spring conference--Energy Technologies and Innovations: A Disturbance in the [Market] Force--is just around the corner! It will be held April 12 at The George Washington University, and includes a great cast of speakers. Gil Quiniones, President and CEO of the New York Power Authority, and Mark Mills, Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute will deliver the keynote addresses. Please sign up as soon as possible. Technological innovation in the energy sector is happening across the spectrum of supply and demand. Panels at the conference will address key issues such as greater electrification of the economy, changes in the oil and gas industry to stay competitive, technologies that are just coming to the horizon but may have a big impact on the sector, and how energy policy is affecting changes. In addition to our great speakers on these topics, we expect a high-level of informed participation from our attendees. Don't miss it!!

     


  • 22 Mar 2018 12:52 PM | Anonymous

    Adam Sieminski Wins Award

    Adam Sieminski, former USAEE president and James Schlesinger Chair for Energy and Geopolitics at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), was honored as Champion of the Year at the 37th Annual Gala of the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment on March 14. The Champion Award honors individuals who have been important mentors to women in the energy and environmental sectors.

    NCAC Tour of the National Energy Technology Laboratory and Longview Power Plant

    By Joel S. Yudken

    One of the perks of belonging to the National Capital Area Chapter of the U.S. Association for Energy Economics (NCAC-USAEE) is the opportunity to participate in organized visits to major energy installations in the mid-Atlantic region.

    In early March this year, I went on another exciting overnight field trip that took us to Morgantown, West Virginia, where we toured both the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) and the Longview Power Plant in nearby Maidsville. Longview is a 778 MW facility billed as one of the most highly efficient coal-fired generators in North America.

    On Wednesday, March 7, at 2 p.m., twenty of us, mostly NCAC members and a few non-members, met at the Shady Grove Metro station, in Gaithersburg, Maryland. We picked up our tour bus, which would transport us to Morgantown. The trip took four hours. After settling into our hotel, most of us went in smaller groups to enjoy the nightlife downtown.

    Several of us went to a very good Italian restaurant, while others went to dinner and drinks at a nearby pub. A small group went after dinner to the Morgantown Brewing Co., where we were entertained by a local band. This informal time together is an important part of every NCAC tour. Together with the long bus rides, it gives members a chance to network and get to know each other.

    Our bus picked us up at 8 a.m. the next morning, for the short ride to the NETL. Chris Nichols, an analyst in NETL’s Systems Engineering and Analysis (SEA) Directorate, and a USAEE Pittsburgh member, greeted us with an overview of NETL’s operations and work. NETL is one hundred years old; it’s one of 17 Department of Energy laboratories, and the only one dedicated to the research, design and analysis of coal, oil, and gas technologies.

    The West Virginia site is one of five NETL labs—the others are in PA, OR, AK, and TX. Chris also described the work he does in the SEA directorate, which includes economic analysis, design and cost estimation of energy processes, energy systems, process engineering and energy markets.

    We then visited several individual onsite research labs, where NETL scientists described and demonstrated their research on improving the efficiency and cutting emissions of coal technologies. For example, the Cold Flow Circulating Bed houses a 12-inch diameter, 50-foot tall circulating fluidized bed used to improve the knowledge of gas/solid flows with applications to gasification, combustion, carbon and chemical looping.

    At another lab, we learned about the Carbon Capture Simulation Initiative (CCSI), a partnership of five national laboratories, industry, and academic institutions, focused on advanced computation modeling tools to accelerate the development and deployment of carbon capture tools.

    After a very good lunch at the lab, our bus drove us to the Longview power plant. We again were greeted with an overview presentation. It was given by the plant’s chief executive officer, chief operating officer and VP for energy management. This was followed by a tour of several parts of the facility, mostly in-doors, where we saw turbines, boilers, piping, and control rooms.

    Longview, a new plant which started operations in 2011, is the cleanest, most efficient coal-fired power plant in the 13-state PJM Interconnection. Its heat rate of 8,700 Btu/kwh surpasses that of other comparable coal-fired plants in the country. Several technologies—an advanced supercritical boiler, a new pollution control system, and other efficiencies—account for the dramatic high efficiency-low emissions (HELE) levels of the Longview plant. It is the lowest-cost deliverer of electricity of any coal-fired plant in the region, and among the lowest pollution emitters in the nation among coal plants.

    Another advantage is the plant’s tight relationship with Mepco, the sole supplier of the power plant’s coal, which is transported from its underground mine by a 4.5-mile conveyor, minimizing transportation costs and avoiding the local impact of trucking coal.

    I was greatly impressed by both places we visited. There are a few caveats, though, such as learning that all the steel and the state-of-the-art boiler at Longview were made in China. I also learned that NETL’s research funding is not as stable as might be desired, and money for other energy research, such as biomass energy, has dried up.

    Unfortunately, a recent news article revealed that Longview’s economic situation is uncertain after its coal provider, Mepco, recently closed the mine that supplies the plant. Finally, although the current Administration has revived support for fossil fuels at a time of great public concern over climate change, I felt an undercurrent of uncertainty at the sites about the future of coal technologies.

    That future is especially contingent on the price of natural gas, more than renewable fuel sources. Nevertheless, both NETL and Longview present the most optimistic case for future deployment of advanced, high-efficiency, low-emissions and cost-effective coal energy technologies.

    Click here for more photos of this event

    Joel Yudken, Ph.D., is a Principal, High Road Strategies, LLC and NCAC Treasurer

    NCAC Technical Tour - National Energy Technology Laboratory and Longview Power Plant

    By Janine Finnell

    I participated in our technical tour to the National Energy Technology Laboratory and saw several research projects being conducted on methods to capture carbon through more efficient fossil energy combustion and post-combustion processes.

    The benefits of the trip included meeting the researchers and being invited to follow up with them in the future. It was also valuable to exchange knowledge with other energy professionals in an experiential-learning environment, and to network and build friendships during the bus ride and meals. There were several international participants on the trip, and it was interesting to hear their perspectives based on energy research in their countries.

    The NETL research project highlights included advanced combustion research such as Chemical Looping Combustion (CLC). CLC is a transformational technology that shows great promise for drastically reducing the cost of capturing carbon. We saw a Chemical Looping Pilot-Scale Reactor that is helping to accelerate the scale up from lab-sized units to industrial-sized units. Details on CLC are available in this NETL factsheet and video below.


    Post-combustion processes that enhance and enable the use of advanced solvents to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from power plants are being examined in the “Micro-Encapsulated Carbon Solvent” (MECS) project. Further details are available here.

    A Carbon Capture Simulation for Industry Impact (CCSI2) toolkit is used to apply cutting-edge computational modeling and simulation tools to accelerate the commercialization of these carbon capture technologies, from their discovery to the development, demonstration, and ultimately the widespread deployment to hundreds of power plants. We heard that over 50 personnel from 5 national laboratories are involved in this effort to spur an industry-wide revolution in carbon capture technology development. In addition, numerous universities and private sector companies are involved. A 3-minute video with NETL’s David Miller provides a great description below.


    Chris Nichols at NETL, who is also a USAEE member, mentioned the important complementary role of policy with technology advancements to make inroads into a low-carbon future. Chris touched on several scenarios in NETL’s models. He discussed one that involves renewable energy technology, including biomass carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, in combination with a carbon tax to reduce carbon emissions by 80% in the power sector by 2050.

    The tour also included a visit to the Longview Power Plant, which is one of the most efficient coal-fired power plants in the US. The advanced environmental control technology and high efficient low emissions (HELE) plant improves its emissions profile considerably over the standard coal fleet. Longview is currently obtaining coal from techniques using longwall and “room and pillar” mining versus surface mining techniques encompassing mountain top removal.

    Additional details on the technical tour are also available in an extended article on the Leaders in Energy website.

    Janine Finnell is a NCAC-USAEE member and Executive Director, Leaders in Energy.

    The Net-Zero Carbon Home Experiment – Highway to the Future?

    By Ben Schlesinger

    My wife and I are building a home in St. Michaels, Maryland, that will balance three basic goals – beauty, functionality, and environmental compatibility. In that order. The beauty part means living by the open water in a Charles Paul Goebel-designed home with an Erin Paige Pitts interior – among the best designers in the business. The functionality goal drove us to our wonderful designers, but also to local builder Brent Paquin and his experienced, practical, dogged crew.

    For environmental compatibility, we had only ourselves to turn to. With helpful tips from our designers and builder, mentors to the project, we set out on a series of steps, always considering the three sometimes inconsistent goals – beauty, functionality, and environmental compatibility.

    We purchased a lot in St. Michaels with an older home already on it, which had been owned by the late Rev. and Mrs. George Evans. Rev. Evans served as chaplain of the U.S. Marine Corps, and we wanted to honor his service and homesite. Rather than tear it down, we sought to deconstruct the house, literally dismantling it down to (but not including) the floors, siding and rafters. All the building refuse was donated to the Choptank Habitat for Humanity.

    Deconstruction is a pretty new field, and practitioners are hard to find, and harder to schedule. This process took up about a month, which we’re told is fast, thanks to local contractor Pete Bailey.

    1. Geothermal – drilling 8-12 wells to a 250-300-foot depth
    2. Ground-source heat pumps, SEER 45, about as efficient as the market will allow
    3. Rooftop solar – 50 Sunpower high-efficiency 360-watt panels, thus 18 kw.
    4. Battery storage – 3 Tesla Powerwall batteries, enough to power the home through the night and, together with the solar panels, hopefully beyond, in emergencies
    5. Battery electric cars (not hybrid) powered
    6. Biodiesel motor for boating

    Disclaimer: I’ve been a natural gas expert and enthusiast for decades – none of the zero-carbon features I am putting into this house diminishes that background in the slightest. Natural gas will be around for decades, powering our homes, buildings, factories and cars. We’re only trying to move the ball down the field!

    Ben Schlesinger is President, Benjamin Schlesinger and Associates (BSA).

    The United States Exported More Natural Gas Than It Imported In 2017

    By Tom Russo

    This marks the first time since 1957 that the US has been a natural gas exporter. Since January 2018, natural gas production increased from 72 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) to 78 Bcf/d. Most of the increased production is coming from the Marcellus/Utica shales in Appalachia and associated gas from crude oil production in the Permian and Eagle Ford shales in Texas as oil prices have increased.

    US imports of natural gas from Canada actually decreased. At the same time, exports of pipeline gas to Mexico averaged 4.1 Bcf/d and liquefied natural gas exports averaged 3.1 Bcf/d from Cheniere’s Sabine Pass Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Export terminal on the US Gulf Coast. LNG exports from the new Cove Point Export terminal in Maryland have just begun. However, LNG exports may triple after four other LNG terminals become operational in 2019-2020.

    The continued growth of US natural gas exports may be affected by NAFTA renegotiations and Mexico’s upcoming presidential election in July, especially if the newly elected president does not support the current energy sector reforms. LNG exports are also facing stiffer competition from solar, wind and electric storage projects as costs decline for these technologies. Finally, in some shale plays, the cost of water for hydraulic fracking and treatment/disposal of flowback water is driving up production costs.

    Tom Russo is President, Russo on Energy LLC.

    Economic Optimism and Energy Security

    By Sarah Ladislaw

    Economic optimism continues to stand in stark contrast with a precarious geopolitical landscape. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) now estimates that global output grew by 3.7% in 2017, faster than they believed earlier and forecasts for 2018 and 2019 have been revised upward by 0.2 percentage points to 3.9%. Positive economic signs rightly bring a degree of comfort given the political havoc that the financial crisis and economic downturn wreaked on countries around the world. If for no other reason, governments, investors, and corporations alike can breathe a small sigh of relief that efforts to boost growth and break the cycle of downturn has worked, to an extent. This optimism is tempered, however, by warnings that near-term growth is masking threats to longer-term sustainable economic growth and the heightened geopolitical risk environment.

    This atmosphere pervades the energy sector as well. Right now, the near-term upbeat economic assessment is reflected in global oil markets with Brent crude oil prices nearing 70 dollars per barrel last month. After several punishing years of low oil prices, oil markets are closer to rebalancing thanks to a stronger economy, several years of lower investment and the emergence of a new alliance between OPEC and Russia to keep 1-1.5 million barrels per day of crude oil off the market. And yet while prices are higher and the worst of the price downturn appears to be behind us, the oil market price recovery is fragile and prices could easily fall again if the surge in U.S. tight oil production hits the highest production estimates or if the OPEC alliance falters, or the world suffers an economic shock to the downside.

    And that’s just the downside price risk, which is a significant consideration for many countries that rely on oil to fund their governments and economies. There is upside price and energy security risk as well – physical infrastructure disruptions throughout the energy sector, economic shocks to the downside, cyber disruptions, and more. For several years now, low energy prices and technological advancements have obscured the potential threats to global energy security. The energy world should not become complacent about potential threats and should instead use this time to bolster resilience and devise new strategies and understanding for how to plan for continued energy security. The new U.S. administration should lead the international community in an assessment of its preparedness and ability to withstand these threats through policies that encourage fuel diversity, efficiency, and appropriate levels of strategic reserves.

    Sarah Ladislaw is Director and Senior Fellow, Energy and National Security Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

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  • 31 Jan 2018 2:11 PM | Anonymous

    NCAC’s Spring Conference 

    Energy Technologies and Innovations: A Disturbance in the [Market] Force

    Clear your calendar for April 12, 2018!  NCAC’s Spring Conference, Energy Technologies and Innovations: A Disturbance in the [Market] Force, will be held at George Washington University.  The event is cosponsored by GW’s Economics Honor Society.  The all-day conference will focus on how the energy sector is morphing because of technological breakthroughs and other changes, such as batteries, policy, exports, blockchain, and big data.  The program should prove to be an exciting exchange of ideas.  It will be followed by a reception.

    And check out these great upcoming events:

    • February 9, 2018 | Lunch Meeting
    • March 1 Annual Dinner
    • March 7-8 Technical Tour
    • April 24 Happy Hour

    NCAC LUNCH MEETING AND PRESENTATION 
    Friday, February 9, 2018 - 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM

    Topic: NGLS - The 'Lower Carbon Hydrocarbons' Leading the U.S. Manufacturing Renaissance
    Presenter:  Anne Keller, Research Director - Natural Gas Liquids, Wood MacKenzie, Inc.

    Description: The often overlooked and usually unheralded bounty of the shale revolution has been a huge increase in natural gas liquids production.  In the northeastern part of the U.S., China has announced plans to spend as much as $80 billion to capitalize on abundant gas and NGLs in West Virginia.   On the U.S. Gulf Coast, $85 billion has already been spent since 2010 on capacity expansions with more to come.  What's the excitement about?

    Lunch location is Carmines, 425 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20004.  Register here soon; the NCAC lunch presentations fill up quickly.

    NCAC Annual Dinner
    Thursday, March 1, 2018 - 6:00 PM

    Topic: A U.S Producer’s Story: Opportunities and Challenges of Natural Gas Exploration and Production in Europe

    Presenter:  George Yates is President and CEO of HEYCO Energy Group, Inc., an exploration and production company.  

    Description: George Yates has been a success as an independent oil and gas producer in the U.S.  HEYCO Energy was in the forefront of the U.S. shale revolution. Next, HEYCO and its subsidiaries have set their sights on Europe.  HEYCO was part of the group that discovered the Avington field in southern England in 2007.  Today HEYCO is positioned in 1.4 million acres in Northern Spain and in England’s unconventional gas play, the Bowlen Shale, as well as other European locations.

    Dinner location is The University Club DC, 1135 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036. Register here.

    NCAC Technical Tour
    Wednesday, March 7, 2018 at 2:00 PM -- Thursday, March 8, 2018 at 8:00 PM

    National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) and Longview Power Plant, Morgantown, West Virginia

    This is an overnight trip. Members will leave by bus from the Shady Grove Metro station to travel to Morgantown, where we will eat dinner and spend the night at the Fairfield Inn.

    The first stop on Thursday morning is the National Energy Technology Laboratory in Morgantown, one of a handful of such facilities in the country.  Significant research on coal and carbon capture is performed at the lab for the Department of Energy.

    After lunch, the group will be given a tour of Longview Power, a 700-megawatt coal-fired generator built in 2011 in nearby Maidsville, WV, that employs the best available emissions control technology and is one of the most efficient such plants in the country.

    You must take two steps to make your reservation: first, get details and sign up on the NCAC website; second, reserve a room at the Fairfield Inn.  There is an NCAC group rate for those who reserve before February 28.

    Happy Hour Event  
    Tuesday, April 24, 2018 – 5:30-8:00  

    NCAC will co-host with OurEnergyPolicy.org 

    Location is Dirty Martini, 1223 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036. Register on the NCAC website. Contact Garry Tyran online or at 202-669-8130 for more information.

    4th Annual Clean Energy and Sustainability Extravaganza

    University of Maryland - College Park - STAMP STUDENT UNION 
    Friday, February 23rd  11 am – 8 pm

    The Association of Energy Engineers – National Capital Chapter (AEE NCC), Association of Energy Engineers – Baltimore Chapter (AEE-Baltimore), and Leaders in Energy are joining with the University of Maryland (UMD) for its 4th annual Clean Energy & Sustainability Extravaganza.   

    Our theme is "Cleantech Innovation and Entrepreneurship."  Cleantech is an umbrella term referring to clean energy, environmental, and sustainable or green products and services.  This event will bring together the university and business communities in cleantech.  Participants will learn about research and ventures from University of Maryland departments and businesses, including start-ups. They will also hear from women leaders who will provide their perspectives on the industry, in addition to career advice and tips. 

    The Extravaganza has three components:

    1. AEE NCC and AEE-Baltimore Council on Women in Energy and Environmental Leadership (CWEEL) Luncheon Panel  “Career Perspectives in Cleantech from Women Leaders” (11:00 am – 1:45 pm)
    2. Leaders in Energy Cleantech Innovation and Entrepreneurship Showcase (2:30 – 5:30 pm)
    3. Leaders in Energy Reception (6:00 – 8:00 pm)

    Register here.

    NCAC-USAEE’s Mentorship Program

    A Mentoring Success Story

    NCAC established the online Mentorship Program to enable members to tap into the deep reservoir of experience and knowledge of energy industries, markets and development, and career opportunities, embodied in its membership.  Mentoring relationships can benefit not only participating members, but also the NCAC.  For example, Peter Hoegler, a George Washington University (GWU) senior and NCAC student member, recently reached out to Michael Ratner, NCAC Vice President and a policy analyst at Congressional Research Service, to be his mentor.  Peter wanted some help thinking about post-graduation opportunities.  The two got together and two very good things happened: Peter got some career advice and an internship, while Michael got an intern and help organizing the NCAC Spring Conference, which will be at GW.  In fact, Peter was the key to securing the venue and having a university group co-sponsor the event.

    The mentorship program is open to all NCAC members.  In the coming year, we hope to see more members taking advantage of the opportunities the program offers.  We also are exploring ways to improve and enrichen the mentee-mentor interactions, to make it a more effective service for NCAC members.  This includes inviting the mentors and mentees to attend NCAC’s joint Happy Hour with WCEE this coming April. Links to further information about NCAC’s Mentorship Program, and easy directions to sign up either as a mentor or mentee, can be found on NCAC’s website.

    Happy 7th Birthday, EIA’s Today in Energy

    On February 9, 2011, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) launched a significantly refreshed website that included new features, even more information, and better navigation.  According to Richard Newell, EIA Administrator at that time, the new site was part of a comprehensive initiative to improve the agency's ability to disseminate the vast data and analysis capabilities of EIA.  Chief among the site's new features was Today in Energy, with its focus on timely energy topics and issues. When Adam Sieminski became EIA Administrator in June 2012, he encouraged EIA staff think of Today in Energy as one of EIA’s most important publications.

    Sieminski believed that the daily message’s clear text and compelling graphics would improve EIA’s ability to reach policy makers and their staffs with the relevant information needed to make informed decisions and deal with current energy affairs.  Today in Energy went from being published by an entirely volunteer staff to having a core of full-time analysts.  According to Sieminski, “performance standards across EIA were set to encourage contributions from all agency employees and care was taken to ensure that all fuels, regions, and consuming sectors would receive coverage.” 

    By providing links to EIA’s in-depth work, Today in Energy assures that readers have access to the agency’s full output that is highlighted in the daily publication.  In addition to acting as a primer to those new to the energy industry, the publication serves as a comprehensive refresher-course for both private-sector and government officials who are faced with important energy problems. 

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