Element Markets, LLC, in conjunction with Basin Electric Power Cooperative, is providing Chevrolet with verified carbon emissions reductions from the following clean energy projects:
- Waste Heat Recovery projects in Culbertson, MT and Garvin, MN: capture the waste heat generated by compressor stations along a natural gas pipeline to produce zero emissions electricity.
- Crow Lake Wind: a 108 turbine wind farm that is co-owned by Basin Electric Power Cooperative, the Mitchell Technical Institute, and a consortium of over 600 rural landowners in South Dakota.
- Prairie Wind: a 77 turbine wind farm in North Dakota that was the largest project solely owned by a rural cooperative at the time of its construction.
“Element Markets is pleased to have been selected as a supplier of carbon reductions to Chevy through our partnership with Basin Electric,” said Angela Schwarz, Chief Executive Officer of Element Markets. “This transaction highlights the ideal intersection of our environmental marketing services and our commitment to the clean transportation sector.”
Element Markets will provide assistance in validating and verifying the emissions reductions from these projects and provide them to the Bonneville Environmental Foundation, which will retire them on behalf of Chevrolet.
- The U.S. Conference of Mayors awarded first place to Mayor Annise Parker for the City’s Green Building Initiatives in a large city with population over 100,000. The annual award is given to cities which increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Evanston, Ill., was awarded first place in the small city category with population under 100,000.
- Houston Ranked #1 for Local Government Green Power Purchasers (according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency [EPA]—July 6, 2010). The City of Houston is the number one municipal purchaser of green power in the nation, purchasing more than 440 million kWh of green wind power annually and accounting for 34 percent of the municipality’s total power consumption.
- Houston Ranks #3 for Largest Green Job Market (according to Forbes.com, October 9, 2008). Forbes.com ranked Houston third for “green” jobs. With a working knowledge of energy and ability to take on big projects, Texas has become the leader in wind energy.
- Houston Ranked #6 for Most Energy Efficient Commercial Buildings in the Nation (according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), March 2010). Houston’s energy-efficient buildings saved $70.6 million worth of energy in 2009. In the previous year’s rankings, the EPA ranked Houston #3 (the fall in ranking is related to the EPA’s newly implemented rankings system).
- Houston ranked #8 for Top Cities for Clean Tech Jobs (according to Clean Edge, Inc., November 2009). Houston jumped from 15th to eighth this year based on a combination of job postings, investment activities, job presence and patent activity.
Texas also has the greatest solar power resource potential in the nation, according to the State Energy Conservation Office. In 2008, Houston was recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy as a Solar America City for its commitment and comprehensive approach to the deployment of solar technologies.
“Houston is a leader in alternative energy, bucking all perceptions of us only being an oil and gas town,” said Spanjian. “The EPA named Houston the number one municipal purchaser of renewable energy in the country. A diverse energy portfolio is key to us being on the cutting edge of energy policy and emerging technologies.”
TURNING WASTE TO ENERGY
Element Markets, LLC, a biomethane developer and the largest supplier of environmental credits in North America, is another Houston-based leader in the renewable energy sector. Last year, Element Markets received the Award of Excellence at the Platts Global Energy Awards, an annual program recognizing exemplary industry leadership, and was named US Emissions House of the Year by Energy Risk magazine.
The company positioned itself as a leader in the biomethane market when it acquired the Huckabay Ridge Anaerobic Digestion Facility last November. Huckabay Ridge, one of the largest plants of its kind in North America, processes agricultural manure and organics (residues from food, grease, and other organic compounds) into pipeline-quality renewable natural gas.
The Huckabay Ridge facility converts manure and organics into methane-rich biogas through the process of anaerobic digestion. Anaerobic digestion technology produces biogas by enhancing nature’s organic degradation process via microbial activity. By creating a hospitable environmental for bacteria to consume the organic material in manure and the organics, methane is created along with a nutrient-rich effluent that is beneficial for agricultural crop production. The methane-rich biogas is compressed and conditioned for pipeline injection and can be used to produce power, fuel industrial facilities, and clean fuel for vehicles.
“The agricultural-based alternative energy market has had a number of technological success stories but very few commercial successes,” said Randy Lack, a founding member and Chief Marketing Officer of Element Markets.
“The commercialization of alternative energy projects requires more focus on identifying market niches where green energy can compete with brown energy. Element Markets believes that the biomethane market can provide clean energy and reduced emissions while being commercially successful. We are very excited about the future of the Huckabay Ridge Anaerobic Digestion Facility.”
Next up for Element Markets is a rapid expansion of its landfill gas portfolio with immediate plans to develop several new projects that will transform gas from landfills into pipeline-quality renewable natural gas, the first of which will break ground later this year.
Another Houston based company, Waste Management, Inc., is also at the forefront of renewable energy technology. Waste Management is the leading provider of comprehensive waste management services in North America. It is also a leading developer, operator and owner of waste-to-energy and landfill gas-to-energy facilities in the United States.
Like wind and solar power, landfill gas is a natural resource that can be harnessed to produce green energy. Most landfills collect landfill gas, a greenhouse gas, and burn it in a flare system to destroy it. Instead of burning the gas, Waste Management uses it to create green energy. Use of landfill gas as fuel reduces greenhouse gas emissions; it provides a predictable, renewable energy source during energy demand peak hours; and its energy output is constant and not dependent on sun, wind or other environmental variables.
The company operates 11 landfill gas energy plants in Texas that produce the same amount of energy as 260,000 tons of coal. “The ability to create energy from something that would be thrown away is tremendous value for business and the environment,” said Robert Kidwell, spokesperson for Waste Management’s renewable energy operations.
Waste Management currently supplies landfill gas to more than 100 beneficial-use gas projects in North America, providing the equivalent of more than 475 megawatts of energy—enough to power more than 400,000 homes as well as saving the equivalent of more than seven million barrels of oil per year.
In addition to landfill gas, Waste Management also converts waste into energy. The company’s subsidiary Wheelabrator Technologies uses trash as fuel to generate electrical power through its 17 waste-to-energy plants, which have the capacity to process more than 24,300 tons of waste per day. These 17 plants have a combined generating capacity of 686 megawatts of electricity, enough energy to power more than 700,000 homes. Converting trash to energy reduces the volume of the waste by 90 percent, saving valuable space in landfills while providing a viable and economical alternative to the use of fossil fuels.
In 2009, Waste Management joined Valero in investing in Houston-based Terrabon’s unique waste-to-fuel MixAlco™ technology. Terrabon is a technology transfer company that develops sustainable bioenergy solutions. MixAlco™ is an acid fermentation process that turns trash into organic salts that are refined into high-octane gas. In addition to money, Waste Management provides trash for Terrabon to process.
Together, Waste Management’s landfill gas projects and waste-to-energy projects produce enough electricity to power one million homes, saving the equivalent of more than 14 million barrels of oil per year.
“We invest a lot in the alternative energy space because it’s what our customers want. Increasingly, they come to us looking for cleaner energy solutions. Houston is already the center of expertise for energy, and as customers look for other options, we need to be experts on alternative energy options as well to meet the demand,” said Kidwell.