United States Leadership Forum


Natural Gas Demand To Rise Worldwide By 50 Pct

November 29, 2013

OSLO, NORWAY, November 29, 2013 – The world of energy has been turned upside down. The reason for this is shale gas. Since the USA began broad-scale production of unconventional gas, the balance in the global energy sector is shifting significantly. The United States is now the largest natural gas producer worldwide – which has profound consequences for the European energy markets. The low natural gas prices triggered by the successful shale gas production are putting European competitors under pressure. Leading business, scientific and political representatives discussed the opportunities, risks and possibilities of shale gas in Europe at the international energy conference “The European Formula“ in Oslo upon the invitation of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP).

Largest growth by 2035 from natural gas

Keisuke Sadamori from the International Energy Agency presented the agency’s new World Energy Outlook in Oslo and drew attention to the continued importance of fossil fuels in meeting global energy demand growth, with gas playing a central role: “Out of all the fossil fuels, natural gas has the highest absolute growth. The global demand for natural gas increases by half over the period to 2035,” Sadamori said. This means that the share of natural gas in the global energy mix would approach 25% by 2035. While gas requirements rise moderately (+13% from 2011-2035) in Europe, the anticipated increase in gas requirements was being driven in particular by a sharp rise in demand in China, India and the Middle East (+60%). Unconventional natural gas resources, such as shale gas, account for about a third of the natural gas produced worldwide in 2035.

Shale gas debate strengthens the role of natural gas overall

Rainer Seele, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of Wintershall, underlined the stimulating effect of the shale gas boom on the market. The wholly owned BASF subsidiary, a company steeped in tradition and internationally active, is Germany’s largest oil and gas producer. Seele went on to explain how the example of the USA, which was the only leading industrialized nation to record significant reductions in its greenhouse gas emissions, showed how ecological and economic needs can be brought together intelligently. Natural gas was also the backbone of the current new wave of industrialization in the USA. “The shale gas boom has focused attention on natural gas as a product. All producers, whether conventional or unconventional, benefit from this,” Seele explained. Even if shale gas production in Europe was not possible on the same scale as in the USA, apart from anything else because of the more limited resources, Europe had to take the opportunity to demonstrate with selected projects that “shale gas made in Europe is possible”. Seele added that natural gas had to move higher up the political agenda of European decision-makers again to take advantage of its strengths: low carbon, reliable and secure.

Norway remains central partner in the natural gas supply

In this context, Helge Lund, Chairman of the Norwegian energy company, Statoil, emphasized at the conference the special importance of Norway as Europe’s second largest supplier of gas. “Norway has sufficient gas and a well-developed infrastructure in order to secure Europe`s and Germany`s energy supplies in the long term,” said Lund.

Source: LNG World News

DOD’s $4 Billion Annual Utility Bill

November 26, 2013

WASHINGTON, November 26, 2013 – The effects of climate change are already evident at Defense Department installations in the United States and overseas, and DOD expects climate change to challenge its ability to fulfill its mission in the future, according to the first DOD Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap.

John Conger, the acting deputy undersecretary of defense for installations and environment told American Forces Press Service the roadmap was completed in 2012 and published early this year.

The document “had us do a variety of things,” Conger said. “But the piece that I think is the crux of the report is, rather than creating a stovepipe within the DOD organizational structure to deal with climate change, [the document says] we are going to integrate climate change considerations into the normal processes, the day-to-day jobs of everybody.”

Such language is going to be integrated into various guidance documents, he added, “and we’ve already started doing that.”

The department’s action is part of a federal government effort to address the global challenge. In June, President Barack Obama launched a Climate Action Plan to cut carbon pollution, prepare communities for climate change impacts and lead similar international efforts.

Across the United States, local communities and cities are updating building codes, adjusting the way they manage natural resources, investing in more resilient infrastructure and planning for rapid recovery from damage that could occur due to climate change.

And on Nov. 1, the president issued an executive order on climate preparedness directing federal agencies to modernize programs to support climate-resilient investments, manage lands and waters for climate change preparedness and resilience, and plan for climate-change-related risk, among other things.

The order also forms an interagency council on climate preparedness and resilience, chaired by the White House and composed of more than 25 agencies, including the Defense Department.

The foundation for DOD’s strategic policy on climate change began with the defense secretary’s publication in 2010 of the Quadrennial Defense Review. The QDR, produced every four years, translates the National Defense Strategy into policies and initiatives.

In 2010, the QDR for the first time linked climate change and national security. It said climate change may affect DOD by shaping the department’s operating environments, roles and missions, have significant geopolitical impacts worldwide, and accelerate instability or conflict.

The QDR said DOD also would have to adjust to climate change impacts on its facilities, infrastructure, training and testing activities and military capabilities.

As the acting deputy undersecretary of defense for installations and environment, Conger also is the department’s senior climate official, and his first job is to manage the installations and environment portfolio.

“That includes over 500 bases and 300,000 buildings and 2.2 billion square feet of space,” he said. “The infrastructure has a plant replacement value on the order of $850 billion. There’s a lot of stuff out there that is all going to be impacted by changes in the climate.”

Conger said the department has to plan for the contingencies that climate change poses just as it would plan for any other contingency, driven by any other force in the world.

“As I look at managing the infrastructure, I have to think about risk as well in that context,” he said. “What is climate change likely to do? What are the major changes that will occur that will affect that $850 billion real property portfolio?”

The obvious threats are things like a rise in sea-levels, storm surges and storm intensity, but there’s also drought and thawing permafrost that affects bases in Alaska, the deputy undersecretary added.

“Similarly, on our installations we have over 400 endangered species,” he said. “We manage those species through documents called integrated natural resources management plans and we manage [them] not through some degree of altruism … but the fact is that if we don’t manage those species effectively and they do appear more threatened, then other regulatory agencies will put limits on what we can do on our property and that will impact training.”

Conger added, “We said, ‘Take climate into account. Make sure you have planned for this. Make sure you have thought about it and addressed it in your [installation management] plans.’”

“These are all, in my mind, sensible, reasonable steps that don’t cost very much money today and just require a little bit of forethought in order to reduce our exposure to risk tomorrow.”

The president’s June Climate Action Plan categorized recommendations for action in terms of mitigating or eliminating emissions that cause climate change, adapting to climate change, and working internationally on climate change, Conger said.

DOD has been looking at mitigation, or the energy problem, for a long time, the deputy undersecretary added.

Energy and climate are tied together, Conger said, because energy and emissions are tied together.

“We are working very hard and diligently to reduce our energy usage, to reduce our energy intensity and to increase the use of renewable energy, which doesn’t have emissions,” he said. “And we have done each of these things not because it is good for the climate or because it reduces emissions but because they provide mission and monetary benefits.”

Conger says the department’s $4 billion annual utility bill drives the search for energy-efficiency, renewable-energy development projects and more. All have benefits from a mission perspective first, he said, and also turn out to be good for the environment.

Source: Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

ARPA-E Announces $30 Million for Distributed Generation Technologies

November 25, 2013

WASHINGTON, November 25, 2013 – Today, the Department of Energy announced up to $30 million in Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) funding for a new program focused on the development of transformational electrochemical technologies to enable low-cost distributed power generation. ARPA-E’s Reliable Electricity Based on ELectrochemical Systems (REBELS) program will develop fuel cell technology for distributed power generation to improve grid stability, increase energy security, and balance intermittent renewable technologies while reducing CO2 emissions associated with current distributed generation systems.

“To maintain our technological lead in the 21st century, American ingenuity must continue to drive new technology options for generating, transmitting, and storing energy,” said Acting Director of ARPA-E Cheryl Martin. “ARPA-E is re-imagining distributed generation by pushing the boundaries of fuel cell technology to improve grid resiliency and reliability.”

Renewable generation technologies, such as solar and wind, pose a fundamental challenge to centralized power generation due to variability and intermittency. In addition, centralized generation frequently requires long transmission distances that result in power losses and leave lines susceptible to disruption during natural disasters. Many of these challenges can be mitigated through a distributed system, where power is generated in close proximity to the end-user. REBELS addresses these challenges by developing innovative, low-cost distributed generation technologies using electrochemical power generation that can also act as a storage device.

Current fuel cell research generally explores technologies that either operate at high temperatures for grid-scale applications or low temperatures for vehicle technologies. REBELS projects will focus on developing intermediate-temperature fuel cells through innovative designs, fuel activation approaches, and low-cost materials to facilitate widespread distributed power generation. REBELS projects also explore multi-functional fuel cell systems that can store energy like a battery or use electricity to convert natural gas to liquids.

ARPA-E is encouraging outstanding scientists and engineers from different organizations, scientific disciplines, and technology sectors to form new project teams for REBELS applications and projects. ARPA-E believes that inter-disciplinary and cross-organizational collaborations can facilitate scientific and technological discoveries that a single group alone would not be able to achieve.

More information on REBELS Teaming Partner Arrangements and the full REBELS Funding Opportunity Announcement can be found at https://arpa-e-foa.energy.gov/#FoaId0802fb19-a7dd-4cb4-9f90-d949468c5faf

Source: U.S. Department of Energy

Obama: Taking Control of America’s Energy Future

November 16, 2013

WASHINGTON, November 16, 2013 — In his weekly address, President Obama discussed progress in American energy and highlighted that we are now producing more oil at home than we buy from other countries for the first time in nearly two decades. We reached this milestone in part not only because we’re producing more energy, but because we’re wasting less energy, and as a result, we are also reducing our carbon emissions while growing the economy.

The audio of the address and video of the address will be available online at www.whitehouse.gov at 6:00 a.m. ET, November 16, 2013.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
November 16, 2013

Hi, everybody. On Thursday, I visited a steel plant in Cleveland, Ohio to talk about what we’re doing to rebuild our economy on a new foundation for stronger, more durable economic growth.

One area where we’ve made great progress is American energy. After years of talk about reducing our dependence on foreign oil, we are actually poised to control our own energy future.

Shortly after I took office, we invested in new American technologies to reverse our dependence on foreign oil and double our wind and solar power. And today, we generate more renewable energy than ever – with tens of thousands of good, American jobs to show for it. We produce more natural gas than anyone – and nearly everyone’s energy bill is lower because of it. And just this week, we learned that for the first time in nearly two decades, the United States of America now produces more of our own oil here at home than we buy from other countries.

That’s a big deal. That’s a tremendous step towards American energy independence.

But this is important, too: we reached this milestone in part not only because we’re producing more energy, but because we’re wasting less energy. We set new fuel standards for our cars and trucks so that they’ll go twice as far on a gallon of gas by the middle of the next decade. That’s going to save an average driver more than $8,000 at the pump over the life of a new car. We also launched initiatives to put people to work upgrading our homes, businesses, and factories so that they waste less energy. That’s going to save our businesses money on their energy bills – that’s money they can use to hire more workers.

Here’s another thing. Between more clean energy, and less wasted energy, our emissions of dangerous carbon pollution are actually falling. That’s good news for anyone who cares about the world we leave to our kids.

And while our carbon emissions have been dropping, our economy has been growing. Our businesses have created 7.8 million new jobs in the past 44 months. It proves that the old argument that we can’t strengthen the economy and be good stewards of our planet at the same time is a false choice. We can do both. And we have to do both.

More good jobs. Cheaper and cleaner sources of energy. A secure energy future. Thanks to the grit and resilience of American businesses and the American people, that’s where we’re heading. And as long as I’m President, that’s where we’re going to keep heading – to leave our children a stronger economy, and a safer planet.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.

Source: The White House

Army Awards Second Technology Under $7 Billion Renewable Energy MATOC

August 28, 2013

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – August 28, 2013. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville, working with the Army Energy Initiatives Task Force (EITF), awarded Multiple Award Task Order Contracts (MATOC) to a group of 22 qualified solar technology contractors Aug. 27, 2013.

Solar is the second of four technologies being awarded under $7 billion Renewable and Alternative Energy Power Production for DoD Installations MATOC.  The first, geothermal, was awarded May 3.  The remaining technologies – wind and biomass – will be awarded on a staggered schedule by the end of the calendar year.

The contractors that are qualified through this process will be able to compete for future projects within their approved technology area for any renewable energy task order issued under the MATOC by the Army or Department of Defense (DoD).  The MATOC leverages the DoD authority to contract up to 30 years under Title 10 USC 2922a.

“The MATOC represents a major step forward in the procurement of renewable energy for the Army and the other Services that will significantly reduce timelines by streamlining acquisition processes. Utilizing the MATOC in this way will assist the EITF in meeting the Army’s goal for one gigawatt renewable energy by 2025 as well as additional Congressional mandates,” said John Lushetsky, EITF’s Executive Director.

This MATOC will be used to procure reliable, locally generated, renewable and alternative energy for DoD installations through power purchase agreements (PPA).  The $7 billion capacity will be expended for PPAs to procure energy during a period of up to 30 years from renewable energy generation systems that are designed, financed, constructed, operated and maintained by contractors using private sector financing.

The companies awarded contracts are:

  • Acciona Energy North America Corporation, Chicago, Ill.
  • Apex Wind Energy Holdings, LLC, Charlottesville, Va.
  • Borrego Solar, San Diego, Calif.
  • Cobra Industrial Services, Inc., Houston, Texas
  • Dominion Energy, Inc.; Richmond, Va.
  • Element Power US, LLC, Portland, Ore.
  • Emerald Infrastructure, San Antonio, Texas
  • Enel Green Power North America, Andover, Mass.
  • Energy Matters, LLC, Arlington, Va.
  • Gehrlicher Solar America Corporation, Springfield, N.J.
  • Johnson Controls Government Systems, Milwaukee, Wis.
  • Lend Lease, Nashville, Tenn.
  • LTC Federal, LLC, Detroit, Mich.
  • New Generation Power, Chicago, Ill.
  • NRG Energy, Inc., Princeton, N.J.
  • Photon Finance, LLC – SunPower, Mountain View, Calif.
  • Siemens Government Technologies, Inc., Arlington, Va.
  • Silverado Power LLC, San Francisco, Calif.
  • Solar Power Ventures, Arlington, Va.
  • Standard Solar, Inc., Rockville, Md.
  • Sunpower Corporation, Richmond, Calif.
  • Washington Gas Energy Systems, Inc., McLean, Va.

Huntsville Center, working on behalf of USACE with the Army’s EITF, issued the Request for Proposal for the $7 billion Renewable and Alternative Energy Power Production for DoD Installations MATOC on Aug. 7, 2012.

These contracts will place the Army one step closer to meeting its congressionally mandated energy goal of 25 percent production and consumption of energy from renewable sources by 2025 and improving installation energy security and sustainability.

“Awarding these contracts for solar technology is an important milestone in the process of awarding contracts for the four technologies selected to help the Army meet renewable energy goals,” said Col. Robert Ruch, commander, U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville.  “By pre-qualifying companies under each technology and awarding the contracts to them, we are situated to more quickly award task orders for individual future projects being developed by the Army or DoD.  We look forward to working with the EITF and other potential DoD organizations to help implement renewable energy projects.”

In April 2012, the White House announced the Defense Department was making one of the largest commitments to clean energy in history, by setting a goal to deploy three gigawatts total of renewable energy – including solar, wind, biomass or geothermal – on Army, Navy and Air Force installations by 2025.  The Army’s goal is one gigawatt of that total.  These efforts support the broader DoD goal to enhance installation energy security and reduce installation energy costs.


Source: U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center