It is a small project by almost any objective standard, but the just-completed LED lighting retrofit at NRG Stadium, home to the NFL’s Houston Texans, is big news, underscoring the dramatic changes under way in the commercial/institutional lighting market—changes that threaten to undercut future demand growth in the already slow-growing electric utility sector.
The stadium retrofit, which is scheduled for a national unveiling during the Texans’ Thursday, Oct. 9th home game, the first night game using LED lighting according to NRG, involved replacing the existing lighting system with some 65,000 light emitting diodes. At full power, NRG said, the new lighting array will use 337 kilowatts of electricity—60 percent less than the 842 kilowatts used by the old unit.
And that is why this smallish project is such big news—companies and local and municipal governments around the country are doing exactly the same thing as NRG, they are replacing older, inefficient incandescent lighting with highly efficient and long-lasting LEDs, and along the way they are cutting deeply into future utility electricity sales.
Continue reading LEDs Pose Big Threat
For Slow Growing
Electric Utility Industry
Few noticed, but the seeds for the coal industry’s survival and the utility industry’s ability to keep coal-fired capacity in its generation portfolio were sown in the past couple of months.
One of those seeds was the official opening Oct. 2 of SaskPower’s Boundary Dam integrated carbon capture control project in Estevan, Saskatchewan. The project will capture 90 percent of the carbon dioxide generated at the 110 megawatt facility, an estimated 1 million metric tons annually (as well as 90 percent of the facility’s sulfur dioxide emissions), using Shell Oil’s Cansolv process. The CO2 is being sold to Cenovus, a Calgary-based oil company, which will be using it in enhanced oil recovery (EOR) operations at the Weyburn field in the southern portion of the province. A portion of the captured CO2 also will be piped to SaskPower’s nearby research facility where it will be injected about two miles underground in a brine-filled sandstone formation to prove that deep storage is a safe, workable alternative. That portion of the project will be overseen by Canada’s Petroleum Technology Research Center (PTRC).
The project has a $1.4 billion price tag, but the utility is quick to note that the CCS portion is just $600 million, with the remainder going to refurbish the aging power plant and install the SO2 controls. The Canadian government contributed $240 million to the project.
Continue reading Coal’s Future
Than You Think