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Daily news and top headlines for manufacturing professionals

SolarCity To Back Up Solar With Tesla Batteries

December 5, 2013 10:04 am | by Jonathan Fahey, AP Energy Writer | News | Comments

The solar panel installer SolarCity is beginning to address one of solar power's big drawbacks: The sun doesn't always shine. The solution: big battery packs that will provide backup power while lowering electric bills. The supplier: electric car maker Tesla Motors, whose CEO Elon Musk is also the chairman of SolarCity.

Obama To Feds: Boost Renewable Power 20 Percent

December 5, 2013 8:04 am | by Matthew Daly, Associated Press | News | Comments

Obama says the plan to use renewables for 20 percent of electricity needs will help reduce pollution that causes global warming, promote American energy independence and boost domestic energy sources such as solar and wind power that provide thousands of jobs.

GE Improving Industrial Energy Efficiency

December 4, 2013 3:51 pm | Product Releases | Comments

GE today announced the latest version of it industrial energy management solution—Power Management Control System version 7 (PMCS v7.0)—to help customers improve the energy efficiency of their operations. By actively monitoring energy assets and trends, the system helps industrial customers make system changes that optimize energy use, reduce downtime and deliver more productivity.

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U.S. Trade Deficit Drops To $40.6B In October

December 4, 2013 8:53 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

The U.S. trade deficit fell in October, helped by America's energy boom that lifted overall exports to an all-time high. The trade gap narrowed to $40.6 billion in October, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. That's 5.4 percent lower than the September gap of $43 billion, which was higher than initially estimated.

Eye On Energy: Harnessing The Latest Energy Tracking Technology

December 3, 2013 1:50 pm | by Lindsey Jahn, Associate Editor, Food Manufacturing | Articles | Comments

Energy usage continues to be a critical issue in the manufacturing sector, due to concerns over energy costs as well as the need to meet corporate sustainability requirements. But with advanced energy management technology, manufacturers more easily can meet their energy goals.

Ethanol Maker Offered $6.3M For 65 Fuel Plant Jobs

December 3, 2013 10:22 am | by Emery P. Dalesio, Associated Press | News | Comments

A long-anticipated $200 million ethanol plant that will turn grasses grown on North Carolina hog farms into motor fuel will go ahead, Gov. Pat McCrory's office said Monday.The plant operated by Biochemtex, a partnership headed by Italy-based Gruppo Mossi & Ghisolfi, plans to employ 65 people in three years near Clinton in Sampson County.

Ethanol's Rise Can Mean Loss Of Hunting Lands

November 27, 2013 1:20 pm | by Dirk Lammers, Associated Press | News | Comments

Before the 2007 ethanol requirement, the conservation program had grown every year for nearly a decade. Farmers began leaving the program almost immediately after the mandate. Meanwhile, Congress cut money for the program, reducing the amount of farmland that could be placed in conservation.

Power Energy-Efficient Data Centers

November 25, 2013 2:29 pm | Product Releases | Comments

Schneider Electric has recently announced its Powerbus Busway, which offer 400 A and 600 V ratings. They’re designed to provide scalable, flexible and energy-efficiency power in data centers, and can replace the traditional centralized cable distribution runs with a more flexible method of power distribution.

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Guilty Plea In Bird Deaths At Wind Farms A First

November 25, 2013 8:17 am | by Dina Cappiello, Associated Press | News | Comments

Until the settlement announced Friday with Duke Energy Corp. and its renewable energy arm, not a single wind energy company had been prosecuted for a death of an eagle or other protected bird — even though each death is a violation of federal law, unless a company has a federal permit. Not a single wind energy facility has obtained a permit.

Iowans Worry About Ethanol's Lost Political Clout

November 25, 2013 8:05 am | by Thomas Beaumont, Associated Press | News | Comments

For decades, presidential candidates' chances in Iowa were wounded if not doomed unless they backed federal support for ethanol, a boon to the state's corn-growing economy. That rule of politics collapsed resoundingly in the 2012 campaign when five of the six top Republican candidates said it was time for such intervention in the private market to end.

Energy Loses $139M On Loan To Electric Car Maker

November 25, 2013 7:59 am | by Matthew Daly, Associated Press | News | Comments

The Obama administration said Friday it will lose $139 million on a loan to struggling electric car maker Fisker Automotive Inc. after selling part of the loan to a private investor that immediately took the company into bankruptcy. Hybrid Technology LLC, the California car marker's new owner, said it plans to keep Fisker operating after it emerges from bankruptcy.

Network Of Electric Car Chargers Stalled In Calif.

November 22, 2013 11:38 am | by Justin Pritchard, Associated Press | News | Comments

More places to "refuel" would diminish worries of getting stranded with a dead battery, and widespread adoption of the cars would help the state meet ambitious air quality goals. Instead of Californians plugging in, however, progress has been plugged up: 110 of the 1,040 stations that NRG committed to installing by early December are ready.

Clemson Dedicates $110 Million Energy Center

November 22, 2013 10:11 am | by Bruce Smith, Associated Press | News | Comments

A new $110 million energy research center dedicated by Clemson University will not only help develop a new generation of wind energy but will strengthen the grid by which electric power is distributed, U.S. energy and university officials said.     

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House OKs Bills To Speed Oil, Gas Drilling

November 21, 2013 8:46 am | by Matthew Daly, Associated Press | News | Comments

The measures were among three energy bills the House is considering this week as Republicans who control the chamber push to expand an oil and gas boom that's lowered prices and led the U.S. to produce more oil last month than it imported from abroad.

Uncertainties Abound In Fukushima Decommissioning

November 19, 2013 8:31 am | by Mari Yamaguchi, Associated Press | News | Comments

Nobody knows exactly how much fuel melted after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami knocked out cooling systems. Or where exactly the fuel went — how deep and in what form it is, somewhere at the bottom of reactor Units 1, 2 and 3.     

The Cheapest Energy Is That Not Consumed

November 18, 2013 2:21 pm | by Bob Hinkle, Metrus Energy | Articles | Comments

However, the energy efficiency market is rapidly evolving to include no-first-cost financing options that finally enable companies to implement projects that not only have deeper energy savings with longer paybacks, but also improve the bottom line and the sustainability of their operations.

UN Climate Chief Calls On Coal Industry To Change

November 18, 2013 8:05 am | by Monika Scislowska, Associated Press | News | Comments

On the sidelines of a U.N. climate conference, Christiana Figueres told dozens of CEOs of coal companies meeting at Poland's Economy Ministry that their industry needs to change radically to curb emissions of heat-trapping gases that scientists say are warming the planet.

First Solar To Invest About $100M In Japan

November 15, 2013 2:33 pm | News | Comments

First Solar will invest about $100 million in Japan to develop solar power plants. The largest U.S. solar company said Friday that it will team with Japanese companies to develop, build and operate solar power plants. The company has created operating subsidiary First Solar Japan GK and opened a Tokyo office.

EPA Proposes Reducing Biofuel Mandate

November 15, 2013 2:28 pm | by Dina Cappiello and Mary Clare Jalonick, Associated Press | News | Comments

The Obama administration wants to reduce the amount of ethanol in the nation's fuel supply, acknowledging the biofuel law championed by both parties in 2007 is not working as well as expected.The new proposal announced Friday is unlikely to mean much for consumers at the pump.

Plant Design: Efficient Budgeting And Resource Conservation For Food Manufacturers

November 15, 2013 2:09 pm | by Kerry Mowlam, Division Manager, Stellar and Frank Freeman, Senior Mechanical Engineer, Stellar | Articles | Comments

We find that many plants are now undergoing expensive retrofits because future needs were not appropriately considered. Not only are retrofits expensive, but if new equipment is not sized and sequenced effectively, it can significantly affect your energy costs.

Next Generation Of Biofuels Still Years Away

November 14, 2013 7:56 am | by Jonathan Fahey, Associated Press | News | Comments

The failure so far of cellulosic fuel is central to the debate over corn-based ethanol, a centerpiece of America's green-energy strategy. Ethanol from corn has proven far more damaging to the environment than the government predicted, and cellulosic fuel hasn't emerged as a replacement.

High Court Considers Whistle-Blower Protections

November 13, 2013 8:19 am | by Mark Sherman, Associated Press | News | Comments

The provision at issue at the Supreme Court protects people who expose the kind of corporate misdeeds that arose at Enron. But there is a dispute over whether the protection covers only employees of publicly traded companies or also applies to contractors hired by the companies.

Industry Takes Aim At AP Ethanol Investigation

November 12, 2013 10:10 am | News | Comments

In an unusual campaign, ethanol producers, corn growers and its lobbying and public relations firms have criticized and sought to alter the story, which was released to some outlets earlier and is being published online and in newspapers Tuesday.  

The Secret, Dirty Cost Of Obama's Green Power Push

November 12, 2013 7:42 am | by Dina Cappiello and Matt Apuzzo, Associated Press | News | Comments

The ethanol era has proven far more damaging to the environment than politicians promised and much worse than the government admits today. As farmers rushed to find new places to plant corn, they wiped out millions of acres of conservation land, destroyed habitat and polluted water supplies, an Associated Press investigation found.

Japan Starts Up Offshore Wind Farm Near Fukushima

November 11, 2013 7:43 am | by Elaine Kurtenbach, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

The wind farm near the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant is to eventually have a generation capacity of 1 gigawatt from 143 turbines, though its significance is not limited to the energy it will produce.        

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