Archive for March, 2010

SmartTrips Business reports successful first year

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

By Inna Levin

SmartTrips Business is an outreach program of the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) that helps local businesses inform their customers and employees of sustainable transportation options to reach their destination. Its final report for the first year in the North and Northwest Portland neighborhoods is now out and can be found here.

Between the months of May and September last year, SmartTrips Business worked with 192 employers, most of whom are small store-front retail businesses in the St. John’s, University Park, Nobb Hill and Pearl Districts. Together, they were able to distribute nearly 1,000 sustainable commuter kits to employees that included transit, bicycle, walking and ridersharing information as well as fill over 300 orders for customized commute options materials. They also scheduled installation of 43 bike racks. SmartTrips Business also offered information and consultation on the Business Energy Tax Credit, which they believe will be a powerful incentive for employers to promote alternative commuter options.


70 percent of employers were happy to report that the SmartTrips Business materials had a positive effect on their business. “The maps have been very popular with our customers. As a matter of fact, I plan on requesting more this week.” Says Andrew Chung, of Kokiyo Teriyaki in St. John’s. “There are definite advantages. It helps bring in foot traffic, rather than people just driving by in a car.”

Randy at Plew’s Market (now called Plew’s Brews) enthusiastically agrees. “The project has been very successful in the North end of town; everyone’s participating!” he said. “We’re just happy that the project is available and the city is moving forward with alternative means of transportation.”

So look out for the Smart Trips decal on the windows of your favorite local shops to get your maps and let PBOT know if you hear of a Portland business that would like to provide free maps to their customers and/or employees.

Bend solar parts maker PV Powered bought by Colorado’s Advanced Energy

Monday, March 29th, 2010

By Jeff Manning, The Oregonian

March 24, 2010, 4:20PM

A promising Bend-based solar power company has been bought out by a Colorado competitor for as much as $90 million in cash and stock.

Advanced Energy Industries Inc. of Fort Collins, Colo., has purchased PV Powered, a maker of so-called inverters, a fundamental component of solar power systems. Advanced Energy executives said in a conference call Wednesday that it will operate PV Powered as an independent subsidiary and maintain its Bend office.

“They make some of the most reliable and easy to install inverters in the industry,” said Larry Firestone, Advanced Energy’s CFO and executive vice president. “PV Powered also has one of the most experienced design teams in the country. There’s some really skilled talent up there.”

PV Powered has emerged as one the bright lights of Oregon’s push into green energy. The company has about 90 employees and annual revenue of $21 million. The company’s sales have quadrupled in the last two years, said Gregg Patterson, PV Powered CEO.

Patterson said the deal is a big win for the company, it’s employees and Oregon. The company gets a new, deep-pocketed owner. It is putting several million dollars into enlarging its manufacturing line, in part with funds provided by Advanced Energy. And the company and its workers get to stay in economically battered Central Oregon.

Advanced Energy, like PV Powered, sells inverters, which convert the direct current (DC) electricity generated by solar panels into the alternating current (AC) power usable by households and other customers on the electrical grid.

While PV Powered has catered to residential and smaller commercial customers, Advanced Energy has concentrated on larger commercial and industrial users. “This is as synergistic a product portfolio as you can get,” Patterson said.

The Colorado company is also active in other products. It has more than 1,300 employees.

Another key attraction of PV was its production line. The Bend company has more manufacturing capacity than Advanced Energy and more than enough to capitalize on anticipated growth, Patterson said.

“We’re going to run that factory as hot as we can,” Firestone said.

Terms of the deal call for Advanced Energy to pay $35 million in cash and $15 million in company stock. The balance — as much as $40 million — will be paid out later and hinges on PV Powered meeting certain financial goals in 2010.

PV Powered was launched in 2003. Evans Renewable Holdings II LLC, made up of principals of Longview, Wash.-based construction company JH Kelly, bought a majority stake in PV Powered in 2008 and 2009.

PV Powered was a beneficiary of Oregon’s controversial Business Energy Tax Credit program, which the state has used to lure green-energy businesses to the Oregon. PV Powered received about $3 million from the program. Critics have blasted the BETC program as an overly generous and sloppily managed giveaway to business

After an extensive series of stories in The Oregonian detailed problems in the program, the state scaled it back.

Patterson remains a fan of the program, saying it was pivotal to PV Powered’s success. “That was essential,” Patterson said. “We would not have this story if not for the BETC.”

Despite the promise of solar power, the recession has taken a toll on Advanced Energy. The publicly traded company’s sales hit $186.3 million in 2009, down 43 percent from $328 million the year before.

Advanced Energy lost more than $102 million in 2009, the second year in a row it finished in the red.

Jeff Manning

Transportation Engineers from CH2M Hill Venture into Social Media

Friday, March 19th, 2010

Press release from: CH2M Hill – Green Growth Cascadia

Green Growth Cascacdia Logo
Green Growth Cascacdia Logo
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(openPR) – Transportation engineers from Seattle, San Francisco, Portland, Vancouver, and Edmonton have teamed up to start Green Growth Cascadia (greengrowthCC.com) to promote awareness of how basic engineering and transportation decisions can affect our carbon footprint and emission levels.

Started by a Senior from Interlake High School, Wesley Zhao, as an intern at CH2M HILL in Bellevue, WA this green growth and sustainable transportation blog now has authors spanning 3 different states and into 2 provinces in Canada.

The blog was created along with accompanying Facebook and Twitter pages to allow these old engineers to fully take advantage of new social media. The site itself includes a Green Growth Terms glossary for any person to look up specific sustainable transportation terms or engineering acronyms.

“The Green Growth Cascadia venture is meant to inform the public about all the new technologies and policies that happen everyday and can significantly affect their daily routines and the Earth’s well-being. We are using social media to engage the average Joe by making transportation engineering and planning exciting and relatable,” said Jeanne Acutanza, Senior Transportation Planner at CH2M HILL. “The Green Growth blog is the easiest way for our bright and talented staff to be present and engaged with our surrounding Cascade region communities in technological advances in Smart Growth Technology.”

The new social media venture from CH2M Hill named Green Growth Cascadia was created by young and bright transportation engineers and planners from Seattle, San Francisco, Edmonton, Portland, and Vancouver.
CH2M Hill is an international engineering consulting company that has a Transportation Group that is paving the way for sustainability and smarth growth. The Green Growth Cascadia team works under the CH2M Hill Transportation Group to inform everyday people how smart growth is not only good for the Earth but also good for their general well being.

CH2M Hill – Green Growth Cascadia
1100 112th Avenue Northeast
Bellevue, WA 98004

Contact: Wesley Zhao
Email: wesley.zhao@ch2m.com
Direct: (425) 233 3444
URL: greengrowthcc.com

Oregon utility expands solar portfolio with large rooftop project

Monday, March 15th, 2010
Wednesday, 03 March 2010 04:30
By Oliver M. Bayani

P.G.E.’s solar roofs will cover the top of seven distribution warehouses of ProLogis. Above is a rendering of the project. Photo from BusinessWire

Portland General Electric will add to its solar energy portfolio a 2.4-megawatt solar rooftop project in Oregon that is said to be the largest of its kind in the Pacific Northwest.

Spanning roughly 900,000 square feet, the solar roofs will cover the top of seven distribution warehouses of ProLogis, a distribution facilities company, in Portland, Gresham and Clackamas.

Northwest Solar Solutions, a division of Snyder Roofing, will install thin-film solar panels provided by United Solar Ovonic, a subsidiary of Energy Conversion Devices Inc.

SunWay 3 L.L.C., a joint venture between the United States Bank and P.G.E., will own and operate the system and will secure state and federal solar tax credits to help finance the project.

The project received funding from the utility’s Clean Wind program, as well as $2.3 million in incentives from the Energy Trust of Oregon.

The 2.4-MW system is P.G.E.’s second solar rooftop project with ProLogis, following a 1.1-MW project installed in 2008. This puts the utility’s total partnership with ProLogis to 3.5 MW of solar energy, enough to power approximately 388 households every year.

In total, the utility now has more than 12 MW of solar capacity in its portfolio, including 9.1 MW from customer-owned solar installations and a 104-kilowatt solar highway project with the Oregon Department of Transportation.

The state of Oregon requires its utilities to source 25 percent of their output from renewable energy by 2025. P.G.E. currently sources 10 percent of its output from renewable sources, the largest percentage of which is generated at Biglow Canyon wind farm.

Among utilities, P.G.E. (NYSE:

POR

) ranks eighth in the United States for total solar capacity, according to the Solar Electric Power Association.The association awarded P.G.E. in 2009 with the Solar Business Achievement Award for being the first utility in the nation to adopt a third-party ownership model to help develop large-scale solar projects in the state.

Plastic & Rubber Becoming More Eco-Friendly–Taipei Plas Molds a Better Future!

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

 

TAIPEI, Taiwan–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Taipei Plas is about to make it happen! It’s the venue that brings together the entire industry and lays out the roadmap for the coming three years. At the coming event there will be a fresh focus on eco-friendly plastics and rubber making. There will be 14 seminars packed with insiders on the direction of the industry, and even greater emphasis on Cross Strait Cooperation.

“Trend of High Performance and Multi-functions Biomass Composites”

Taipei Plas (the Taipei International Plastics & Rubber Industry Show 2010) hosts 419 exhibitors from 13 countries who are using 2,111 booths to show their best from March 5 to March 9 at the NANGANG Exhibition Hall. Success is guaranteed at this once-every-two-year event since it is organized by TAITRA (Taiwan External Trade Development Council) and TAMI (Taiwan Association of Machinery Industry).

Leading Green Trends in Plastics & Rubber

GOING GREEN is a matter taken seriously by Taipei Plas exhibitors! They know more efficiency means less waste of material and power. That’s why the All Electric Super Speed LGP Purpose Machine by Chuan Lih Fa brings into play all the desired characteristics of speed, energy-saving, quiet operation, multi-axis controller and muti-loop fast cycle design. And it’s also why All Electric feature is designed to meet the goals of reducing carbon and saving energy. The Precision Plunger Type Injection Molding Machine by Edex Technology not only has energy saving features, but also features humanized design with easy-control, error proofing engineering programs. These designs make micro injection molding easier, more precise, and more user-friendly.

And there’s more! This year several new products will be introduced, including In Mold Labeling Turnkey Solution, Fully Automation All-Electric Vertical Injection Molding Equipment, Vertical Desktop Mini-Plunger Injection Molding Machine, All Electric Super Speed LGP Purpose Machine, Matrix Deposit-Free Cooling Machine, Rubber Injection Molding Machine with Energy Saving Innovations.

Covering Every Facet of the Trade!

Taipei Plas 2010 covers such theme areas as:

  • Plastics & Rubber Processing Machinery Area
  • Molds & Dies Area
  • Auxiliary Equipment Area
  • Raw Materials & Semi-Finished & Finished Products Area
  • The Media & Int’l Associations Area

All Star Line-up of Exhibitors

The show covers the complete supply chain of industry to provide total solutions for visitors. Get set to see such manufacturers such as: LIEN FA INJECTION MACHINERY, SHANG TA CHIA, OUTSTANDING MACHINERY, HWA CHIN, FONG KEE, WORLDLY CHEN HSONG MACHINERY, JIH CHING MACHINE, JON WAI, JENN CHONG, QUEEN’S MACHINERY, JANDI’S INDUSTRIAL, HYPLAS, VENUS PLASTIC, FU CHUN SHIN, LONG NEW, VICTOR TAICHUNG, DIING KUEN, CHUAN LIH FA, MULTIPLAS ENGINERY, YE I, KUNG HSING, HEMINGSTONE MACHINERY.

Seminars Offer Hottest Tips on Trends & Tech

A total of 14 seminars on industrial trends and technologies will be held in conjunction with the exhibition to offer the hottest tips on trade trends and tech. Feature speakers are from Delta Electronics, Pou Yuen Tech, TÜV Rheinland Taiwan, IDT Systematic Technologies, the Plastic Industry Development Center, the Precision Machinery Research and Development Center and the Institute for Information Industry. They address such topics as “Environmental Friendly Plastics of Materials Selection and Processing Applications,” “Trend of High Performance and Multi-functions Biomass Composites,” “Multi Dimensional in Surface Decoration for Polymers,” and “Energy Saving Technology for Plastic Injection and Hydraulic Machine.”

Bonus Events!

In addition, Taipei Plas this year features specially invited guest speaker Mr. Shamin Ahmed, general secretary of the Rubber and Plastics Manufacturing and Export Association of Bangladesh to speak on current and future trends in the plastics market in Bangladesh.

And with the emergence of Cross-Strait trade and industry the plastics and rubber industry has soared in importance. That’s why Taipei Plas is hosting the Cross-Strait Plastics Industry Cooperation and Development Seminar that was organized March 4th just before the show by exhibition organizers from both Taiwan and the PRC and succeeded in building many bridges between Taiwan and China.

First Class Services for Taipei Plas Exhibitors and Visitors

Visitors and exhibitors can enjoy a dedicated service zone at the NANGANG Exhibition Hall’s N Sector. Its services include a buyer’s lounge, meeting zone, internet access, D&B customer credit lookup, and catalogue displays, making this the perfect place to check e-mail, or just have a cup of coffee.

Particularly noteworthy are the D&B Customer Credit Lookup, Hoovers Buyers’ and Sellers’ Database, and customer inquiry services on the 4th floor, provided free of charge by HSBC; in addition, the buyer’s lounge on the 1st floor will offer buyers copying, fax, and internet services, in addition to free coffee (courtesy of Polaris Creative Corp.).

TAIPEI PLAS 2010 runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily from March 5 to 9 and is open to international visitors, domestic industrial professionals with visitor passes, and the general public with tickets. Tickets are sold each show day until 4 p.m. at the price of NT$200 each. Students of machinery-related departments and schools from domestic colleges and universities are welcome to visit the show by showing their student identification to exchange for passes. During the show, free shuttle buses are arranged to travel between the NANGANG Exhibition Hall and Nangang MRT Station and TWTC Exhibition Hall 1 for visitors.

Portland is cautious with biodiesel

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

POSTED: Tuesday, March 2, 2010 at 02:41 PM PT
BY: Nathalie Weinstein
Tags: , ,

Jay Dykeman of Jay’s Garage in Southeast Portland fills up a car with a biodiesel blend. The city has decided to wait on a mandate that all diesel fuel sold in Portland have at least a 10 percent biodiesel blend by July 1, 2010.

Jay Dykeman of Jay’s Garage in Southeast Portland fills up a car with a biodiesel blend. The city has decided to wait on a mandate that all diesel fuel sold in Portland have at least a 10 percent biodiesel blend by July 1. (Photo by Dan Carter/DJC)

Portland isn’t ready for B10 biodiesel. Or at least that’s the impression being given by the Portland Water Bureau, which has decided to delay implementation of a new Renewable Fuels Standard to meet goals for 2010.

The city’s policy requiring all diesel fuel sold within the city of Portland to have a blend of at least 5 percent biodiesel (B5) would have changed July 1 to require a blend of at least 10 percent.

But according to Anne Hill, program manager for Portland’s RFS, the city has decided to hold off on the policy adjustment due to industry concerns about quality standards and engine warranties. Also, a requirement for all diesel fuel sold in the state to have a minimum blend of 2 percent biodiesel went into effect this year, as did a qualifying feedstock rule that requires 50 percent of biodiesel to come from canola and other specific feedstock.

Hill said the Water Bureau, which last summer took over management of the RFS from the Bureau of Development Services, feels stakeholders such as oil companies, fuel distributors, station owners and trucking companies need time to catch up.

“There’s been a lot of change in Oregon and Portland around biodiesel this year already,” Hill said. “When you go over 5 percent, the fuel is no longer considered diesel and there are no ASTM standards. We’re waiting for the industry to catch up.”

ASTM International is a nonprofit that develops international standards for materials and products used in construction, manufacturing and transportation. Hill said fleet managers have expressed concern that running B10 in their vehicles could void engine warranties, since no standards have yet been identified for the biodiesel blend. And many car companies have not yet formally acknowledged that a higher biodiesel blend can run in their engines.

“Many car companies have been dealing with bigger things than a B6 to B20 standard,” Hill said. “And the majority of diesel is put into long-haul trucks. I can tell a guy from Texas pulling his rig in that B10 won’t affect his engine. But will he believe me? Or will he fuel up outside of Portland? We don’t want station owners to lose business.”

Oregon ’s biodiesel industry has greatly benefited from Portland ’s Renewable Fuel Standard, according to Tyson Keever of SeQuential, a biodiesel supplier with offices in Portland and Eugene. (Photo by Dan Carter/DJC)

Oregon’s biodiesel industry has benefited greatly from Portland ’s Renewable Fuel Standard, according to Tyson Keever of SeQuential, a biodiesel supplier with offices in Portland and Eugene. (Photo by Dan Carter/DJC)

But at the same time, the RFS has been integral in growing the business of biofuels in Oregon, according to Tyson Keever of SeQuential, a biodiesel supplier with offices in Portland and Eugene. Keever said holding off on B10 for a year or two won’t kill Oregon’s growing biodiesel industry, but added that it will impact his business and those of suppliers.

“The technical differences between B5 and B10 are almost indistinguishable as far as performance,” Keever said. “Right now, there is a lot of misinformation and political land mines around biodiesel. But we have customers who have been using B99 for eight to 10 months with no issues.”

In fact, the Water Bureau’s own fleet for some time has used B20, B50 and B99 blends. Keever said the city’s use of biodiesel in its fleets has been a huge incentive for his company, which has expanded to producing approximately 1 million gallons of biodiesel per year. Other production facilities, including Beaver Biodiesel of Corvallis, GreenFuels of Klamath Falls, and Portland Biodiesel, also have come online recently due to Portland’s hunger for biodiesel.

“(The RFS) has driven growth and spurred development for farmers, production facilities and crush facilities,” Keever said. “Without this standard, our industry would not have grown. This has been a market mover. Portland is the envy of the (biodiesel) industry.”

Crush facilities process the organic materials used in biofuels into a form that can be used as fuel. Four new crush facilities have popped up in Oregon since the RFS was implemented in 2006, Keever said. An RFS also has been adopted in other states, and Washington’s state Legislature is considering implementation of a statewide B2-blend requirement.

“Other places are following Oregon’s lead because we’ve demonstrated that biofuels are working,” Keever said. “I have a sincere appreciation for (City) Commissioner (Randy) Leonard and the council for choosing to run biodiesel in our city fleet. By standing with the industry, they’re saying, ‘This is a real fuel today.’ ”

Hill was adamant that this year’s delay for B10 won’t turn into a reversal on the city’s biofuels mandate. She is monitoring ASTM’s progress in creating a standard for higher biodiesel blends, as well as car manufacturers’ progress in acknowledging that blends can run safely in their engines.

“Petroleum companies will hem and haw, but they will always comply because they don’t want the bad press,” Hill said. “But there are a lot of issues to work through. And we can afford the time to work through those.”

Portland City Council is expected to approve the suspension of the B10 standard at Wednesday’s meeting at 9:30 a.m.

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