Transitioning to a Clean Electric Grid
As the electric grid evolves from fossil-fuel-powered generators to clean energy, the role of energy storage is becoming critical. Energy storage is required to ensure that electricity generated from photovoltaic solar and wind farms does not go to waste and can be used as a supplemental power source during peak hours of the day.
In many parts of the country, large wind and solar farms are becoming a common sight on the landscape. In recent years, solar and wind are being used for a larger portion of electric generation, which has brought the issue of energy storage to the forefront. While the cost of solar and wind has decreased significantly in recent years, and they remain intermittent sources of power, they are becoming more prevalent and continue to take on a larger role in the electric grid.
Grid-scale energy storage is an important part of the clean energy progression and can be achieved through a variety of technologies, however, lithium-ion batteries are the most common. Fortunately, the cost of these installations has significantly decreased over the past ten years. Additionally, utility regulators in many states have recognized the need for energy storage to ensure an effective transition to clean energy and provided subsidies to encourage energy storage facilities.
Several energy storage grid applications have included installations to retire old diesel generators which were needed for peaking power such as on the islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard off the Massachusetts coastline. A facility is also being designed and installed on Cape Cod to eliminate the need for new electric lines through environmentally sensitive areas.
Other alternatives that are being investigated include distributed sources such as electric vehicle batteries which are being assessed for their potential to charge the grid. All of this technology has created exciting opportunities for utility companies and their support network as we transition to a clean electric grid.
For more information about energy storage, contact CHA's Utility Market Leader Greg Germain at firstname.lastname@example.org or New England Market Segment Leader for Utilities Dwayne Basler at email@example.com
96th Street and Keystone Parkway Interchange and Corridor Improvement
The 96th Street and Keystone Parkway Interchange was a key component to the 96th Street Corridor Improvement Project in Carmel, Indiana, which replaced traffic lights at key intersections with more efficient and safer roundabouts. This transformative project has greatly reduced congestion and enhanced business access at what was formerly one of the most congested corridors in Indiana.
The primary effort involved a split-grade teardrop roundabout interchange, six-lane bridge, collector-distributor roadway, teardrop roundabout, five roundabouts, street reconstruction, and three connector roadways. New multi-use paths and sidewalks were also created. Daily users now enjoy a noticeably faster commute, with travel times reduced by upwards of 15 minutes on this heavily traveled corridor near Indianapolis.
*This project was awarded a 2020 Monumental Award for Engineering and a 2021 ACEC Indiana Honor Award
Northern New York Battery Storage Project
CHA is delighted to be providing project management services to the New York Power Authority (NYPA) on an exciting project in Northern New York State supporting New York’s clean energy target of 3 GW of energy storage by 2030. The project includes construction of a large-scale, 20-megawatt (MW) 1-hour lithium-ion battery storage facility under an engineering procurement construction (EPC) contract. The project will make a significant and positive impact on the supply of power in New York by freeing transmission congestion in the northern part of the state. It is NYPA’s first utility-scale battery project and one of the largest projects of its kind in New York currently under construction.
This innovative facility is expected to be in service in mid-2021 and has the capability to store undeliverable renewable energy for times of high demand, promoting greater flexibility and resiliency of the power grid and moving the state closer to its clean energy targets.
*photo shown is of a similar facility
Blackhall Road at Rum Creek
The project on Blackhall Road at Rum Creek in Jonesboro, Georgia, involved replacing an existing structurally deficient bridge carrying a county road over a creek. The road was bounded by a residential subdivision to its east and a large man-made lake to the west. The replacement bridge was originally planned to be constructed using a 9-month road closure and temporary detour. As an outcome of public meetings, the project requirements were revised to reduce the road closure to just 60 days using Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC). This technique allowed the bridge superstructure to be constructed prior to closing the road and significantly reduced the duration of the road closure. Once the roadway was closed, the existing bridge was demolished, and the new permanent bridge foundations and substructures were constructed. The deck girders were then transported and erected on the permanent bridge substructures using an 800-ton capacity crane.
Living More Productive, Healthier Lives: How Low Energy Design Directly Benefits the End-User
Smart, well-planned commercial development is known to responsibly improve our communities and our lives. When developments are built with energy efficiency in mind, the result goes beyond the long-term financial benefits. It is beneficial for the environment to use fewer fossil fuels, and it promotes healthier lifestyle choices for residents.
Americans spend most of their days indoors, whether in the homes they live and sleep in or the workplaces where they spend 40 to 60 hours per week. Improving energy efficiency leads to better health, improved productivity, and generally a successful and happier quality of life.
Improved Indoor Air Quality
Indoor spaces designed to building standards that specifically address reduced energy usage, such as Passive House, incorporate continuously filtered air to improve indoor air quality and provide a healthier built environment.
Lower Noise Levels
From traffic to construction noise, minimizing outdoor noise is a byproduct of a well-built, energy-efficient building. These lower noise levels allow end-users to enjoy a peaceful living environment, more restful sleep at night and more productivity during the day.
Energy Cost Reduction
Perhaps more than anything else, improvements in energy efficiency have shown a dramatic reduction in a building's energy costs. For a nominal increase in upfront fees, a building's overall energy use can be reduced tremendously.
Quality of Life
Emerging evidence shows that certain sustainable building features, including increased personal control over indoor environmental conditions, access to daylight and views, and connection to nature, are likely to generate positive states of well-being and health.
Owners, designers, and construction leaders can be committed to the idea of creating a low energy building. Decisions are then made along the building's life cycle (design, construction, occupancy, and maintenance) that all must align with the underlying idea that energy efficiency is critical to success.
From the project executives to the subcontractor's field staff implementing the project's plans, the entire team must be reaching for a common goal. Continuous testing, inspections, and incremental field verifications throughout the process are critical. Upon final commissioning, testing, and signoffs, training and familiarization with building systems, ongoing maintenance protocols, and end-user manuals are needed. This supports continuity and a successful project from concept through to occupancy and allows property managers to fully utilize the building systems and features as designed.
For more information about Low Energy Design, contact CHA’s Commercial Development National Market Director Ben Igoe at firstname.lastname@example.org