Welcome to the Direct Energy Buzz for May 2014. This month, we’ll be looking at some milestones and developments in Texas energy, taking solar power to the streets, and how Direct Energy will be helping nonprofits become more energy efficient.
Texas Wind Reaches New Heights. Texas wind energy set a new record on March 28, 2014, producing 10,296 megawatts (MW) at 8:48 p.m. and providing nearly 29% of the 35,768 MW of electricity used in the ERCOT region of Texas. The state has over 11,000 MW of current wind capacity with another 8,000 MW in development. A further 26,700 MW is under study. Recently, on May 7, wholesale prices on ERCOT’s electricity spot market fell because wind power exceeded forecasts.
New Storage Capacity for Wind Energy. Wouldn’t it be great to take some of that Texas wind and store it in a cave to use when the wind isn’t blowing? The Apex Matagorda Energy Center is planning to do something very similar. Recently approved for construction by the EPA, the new Apex Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) center will store compressed air in an underground salt formation (the Markham Dome) beneath the plant. During peak demand, the air will be released at 1,900 to 2,830 PSI, heated by natural gas, and expanded through sequential turbines driving a generator to produce up to 317 MW for as long as 100 hours. CAES is a form of bulk or grid energy storage and so far, there are only two operational CAES plants in the world; the McIntosh plant in Alabama and the Huntorf facility in Germany.
Diagram courtesy of Apexcaes.com
Announcing a New Electricity Plan. Direct Energy has a new offer for Texas residents looking to make the switch to a new electricity company. Sign up with our brand-new Direct To You 400 24-month plan, and you’ll be eligible for up to $400 in Visa gift cards.
Developments in Solar Energy: Everyone loves a wide open road. In reality, if it weren’t for vehicles speeding by, highways (and many parking lots) are basically empty expanses of pavement. Scott and Julie Brusaw of Idaho want to pave roads with solar panels.Their solar road panels are 4-inch thick hexagons made out of impact resistant textured glass for traction. They can sustain a 250,000-pound load, and are self-heated to clear ice and snow. LEDs inside can also display road markings and messages while electricity from a network of “solar roads” could power homes and businesses. Repairs would potentially take less time because the solar panels are modular. Having already used two phases of funding from the Federal Highway Administration, the Brusaws have launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise $1 million to commercialize their prototypes and keep production jobs in United States.
Image courtesy of SolarRoadways.com
Moving This Summer? If you’re planning on moving in the near future, Direct Energy’s Moving Done Easy now makes the whole process easier by providing you your very own FREE Personal Move Assistant. You can get your electricity turned on in your new home, your TV and internet provider services set up, find mover quotes, help you with change of address and other home services, and let you choose from special plan offers — like the Moving Done Easy 12 Plan. Just a call to 1-866-828-6743 can get you moving.
Energy Efficiency Grants for Nonprofits: Being energy efficient isn’t always easy —especially for a nonprofit charitable organization that sometimes must choose between its mission and its bills. Direct Energy wants to help these important organizations make a difference by offering $200,000 in grants to nonprofits to make energy efficient upgrades as part of the Reduce Your Use For Good grant program. Grants will be awarded in $5,000 blocks to nonprofits in areas served by Direct Energy Brands. The money can be used to:
- Purchase Energy Star appliances
- Replace outdated lighting fixtures and install CFL bulbs
- Update HVAC systems
- Install programmable thermostats
- Install window coverings and panels
Applications must be submitted no later than 5 p.m. CST on August 31, 2014 in order to be considered. Nonprofits must qualify as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization ( or have a Registered Charitable Number in Canada).
Heard any interesting energy-industry news-buzz? We’d love to know about it! Share it in the comments. and we might expand on the topic in next month’s edition of the Direct Energy Buzz!