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English: Compact fluorescent light bulb

English: Compact fluorescent light bulb (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

KUB small business customers averaging 50 kw or less can still take advantage of a free lighting assessment program with grants contributing toward energy efficient upgrades. 

Since the MainStreet Efficiency program's launch in January, more than 500 KUB small business customers have signed up to implement recommended lighting upgrades, and 285 have been installed as of April 17, according to data from EnerPath. 

Funding for the program is provided by TVA, which has set aside $1.5 million to be used through September 30.

Customers receive a free lighting assessment from TVA contractor EnerPath showing how much they could save on energy costs with more efficient lighting. The program will pay up to $2,000 to offset the cost of energy efficient upgrades if they decide to implement suggested changes. 

According to TVA, lighting consumes nearly 35 percent of the electricity used in commercial buildings in the country. Lighting also impacts other building systems through its use of electricity and through waste heat.

Most upgrades in the program have cost an average of $1,310, less than the max grant amount, so most customers have no out-of-pocket costs, a KUB spokesperson said.

Projected energy savings from the committed projects is more than 2 million kilowatt hours, with an average per-customer savings of $482 per year.

Under MainStreet Efficiency, lighting upgrades could include replacing fluorescent fixtures with higher-efficiency lamps and ballasts, changing regular bulbs to compact fluorescent lights or light-emitting diode lights, or upgrading "Exit" signs to LED technology.
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English: 2011 Chevrolet Volt under the hood. R...

A 2011 Chevrolet Volt under the hood. Right side: the power inverter on top of the electric drive unit (electric motor) used for traction. Left side: the 1.4-liter gasoline-powered engine used as generator to provide power to the electric motor or to engage mechanically to assist propulsion when the battery is depleted. Taken at the 2011 Washington Auto Show. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Once they've finished powering electric vehicles for hundreds of thousands of miles, it may not be the end of the road for automotive batteries, which researchers believe can provide continued benefits for consumers, automakers and the environment.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers are studying five used Chevrolet Volt batteries to determine the feasibility of a community energy storage system that would put electricity onto the grid. Over the next year, researchers from ORNL, General Motors and the ABB Group will conduct studies and compile data using a first-of-its-kind test platform.

"With about one million lithium-ion batteries per year coming available from various automakers for the secondary market beginning in 2020, we see vast potential to supplement power for homes and businesses," said Dr. Imre Gyuk, manager of the Energy Storage Research Program in DOE's Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability in a press release. "Since these batteries could still have up to 80 percent of their capacity, they present a great opportunity for use in stationary storage devices before sending them to be recycled."

Last year in San Francisco, a GM/ABB energy storage system provided 100 percent of the electricity needed to power a temporary structure for several hours. A similar application could one day power a group of homes or small commercial buildings during a power outage or help make up for gaps in solar, wind or other renewable power generation.

The ORNL platform provides 25 kilowatts of power and 50 kilowatt-hours of energy that could potentially provide cost-effective backup energy, said Michael Starke of ORNL's Energy and Transportation Science Division.
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TVA gets kudos for using more wind power

Carno Wind Farm above Trannon Farm - geograph....

Carno Wind Farm above Trannon Farm - - 1730187 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

TVA has been recognized for adding significant amounts of wind power to its power generating portfolio this year.

TVA added 1,100 megawatts of wind energy capacity from seven sites in 2012, according to a press release.

The utility was named "Utility of the Year" by the American Wind Energy Association. and one of the "Most Innovative Utilitie in Renewable Integration" by Fierce Energy.

In January, TVA activated 535 megawatts of wind power from four wind farms in Kansas, Illinois and Iowa.  In June another 200 megawatts came from a second Illinois facility.  During November and December an additional 165 megawatts came from cansas and 200 from Illinois.

TVA now has 10 contracts with nine wind farms for more than 1,500 megawatts of energy.

The Buffalo Mountain site near Knoxville became the first commercial wind farm in the Southeast in 2000 and provides 27 megawatts of capacity.

TVA's renewable energy portfolio includes more than 6,300 megawatts of  energy capacity from hydro, wind, solar, and biomass. 

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Thumbnail image for SmartLabs Logo.pngEnerNex, Knoxville-based electric power research company, will test, evaluate and demonstrate smart grid technology at its new Smart Grid Labs facility.  It will also be used for education and training.

The company will be able to model the connection and disconnection of equipment and demonstrate how it will affect its local grid.

"EnerNex's commitment to innovation, grid modernization, and interoperability is woven throughout the Lab's design. We plan to continue to invest in the Lab's testing infrastructure to meet the evolving Smart Grid architecture and technologies," said Brad Singletary, Deputy Director. 

The independent facility simulates a utility substation, control center, residential or light commercial service entrance, residential utility room (washer, dryer, water heater), kitchen, and a living space. These will be used to help vendors, utilities and regulatory elements to evaluate and understand technology readiness for Smart Grid in ongoing and emerging technology efforts.

EnerNex is the administrator for the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel. In August 2009, the company was awarded an $8.5 million contract by the National Institute of Standards and Technology to sustain the accelerated development of the standards that will be required to build a secure, interoperable smart electric power grid.

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