The CCBJ 2009 Business Achievement Awards
Welcome to Climate Change Business Journal’s first annual business achievement awards. Industry pioneers often remain unsung, and the CCBJ awards are our attempt to recognize companies, technology developers and entrepreneurs for taking risks to build a sustainable business in the climate change industry. In this first awards issue, CCBJ winners are honored either for business performance in the form of revenue growth, or for gaining traction in new service practices, new technology or unique projects. The aggregation of CCBJ winners along with the executive Q&As in the journal offer perspective and insight into parts of the climate change industry that experienced the most activity in 2009.
So CCBJ congratulates the winners and thanks the companies that submitted nominations, inviting them and CCBJ readers to San Diego for our official awards ceremony and executive meeting at the Environmental Industry Summit in March 2010.
Business Achievement: Growth
EnerNOC, Inc. (Boston, Mass.) for revenue growth of 134%, from $44.2 million to $103.1 million, and improvement in gross margin from 41.6% to 50.1%, over the period from the third quarter of 2008 to the third quarter of 2009. Over the same period, megawatts under management grew to 3,250 MW from 1,760 MW, and commercial and industrial customer numbers rose to 2,500 from 1,400 across 5,600 sites, up from 3,400. EnerNOC expanded its geographic reach by signing demand-response agreements with nine utilities, including Idaho Power and Xcel Energy Colorado. EnerNOC also began its first overseas operations, in the United Kingdom. The company also deployed PowerTalk, touting it as the industry’s first presence-enabled smart grid technology, and it acquired eQ, an enterprise carbon management and energy efficiency software developer, and commissioning firm Cogent Energy. EnerNOC integrated eQ’s software with its CarbonTrak application, also announced this year. CarbonTrak helps customers measure, manage, report on, and recommend ways to reduce GHG emissions. Cogent Energy brings commissioning and engineering experience to EnerNOC’s MBCx energy efficiency application.
First Solar, Inc. (Tempe, Ariz.) for revenue growth and undertaking several deals, projects, and other actions that demonstrated a high level of activity in a solar power market slowed by recessionary pressure in 2009. Revenues for the first nine months of fiscal 2009 grew 75% to $1.4 billion from $813 million in the first nine months of fiscal 2008.
The company’s eventful year included signing in September 2009 an unprecedented deal with the Chinese government to build a 2 GW PV power plant in Ordos City, Inner Mongolia. The phased project is scheduled to begin in 2010 and be completed by 2019. Earlier in the year First Solar acquired the project pipeline of OptiSolar (Hayward, CA), including the following assets: the 550 MW Topaz solar development project, which is under a power purchase agreement with Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E); a project pipeline of an additional 1,300 MW in solar energy development, currently in negotiation with western region utilities; and strategic land rights to approximately 210 square miles, with the potential to deploy up to 19 gigawatt (GW) of utility scale solar power projects.
In July, First Solar and EDF Energies Nouvelles (Paris, France) established a joint venture to build the largest solar panel manufacturing plant in France, at a cost of $130 million. First Solar followed up the French deal in August with a pair of agreements with Southern California Edison, under which First Solar will build two power plants, the 250 MW Desert Sunlight facility near Desert Center in Riverside County and the 300 MW Stateline facility in San Bernardino County. In December, First Solar sold a 21 MW, utility scale PV project in Blythe, Calif. to NRG Energy.
Ormat Technologies, Inc. (Reno, Nev.) for 2009 growth and continued expansion of the installed base of geothermal and recovered energy generation (REG) facilities. For the nine-month period ended September 30, 2009, total revenues increased 28% to $320 million. Product Segment revenues for the nine months were $128 million, an increase of 116% driven by EPC contracts for the construction of geothermal projects. REG involves the capture of unused waste heat from industrial processes and converting it into usable electricity without additional fuel consumption and with zero emissions. Ormat has built or supplied equipment for 1,300 MW of geothermal and REG power plants, and owns 520 MW of such power capacity. Ormat has 64 MW of additional geothermal and REG power capacity under construction and approximately 156 MW of geothermal and REG power capacity under development.
Siemens Energy Sector (Erlangen, Germany) for the receipt of numerous large wind turbine orders, including orders for offshore installations and new national markets. Examples include a deal reached in March with Denmark’s Dong Energy, under which Siemens is supplying 500 wind turbines for offshore wind farms, amounting to 1,800 megawatts (MW) of electricity-generating capacity. In April, Siemens received an order from StatoilHydro (Stavanger, Norway) and the Norwegian electric utility Statkraft to supply 88 of its SWT-3.6-207 wind turbines for installation at the 315 MW Sheringham Shoal offshore wind farm off the UK’s Norfolk coast. In May, the company received its first U.S. order for its recently introduced SWT-2.3-101 wind turbine, 33 units of which will go to Minnesota Power’s Bison I wind project near Center, North Dakota. Also in May, Siemens was selected by Dong Energy and its partners E.ON and Masdar to supply 175 of its SWT-3.6-107 turbines for the massive, 630 MW London Array offshore wind farm in the Outer Thames Estuary. In October, Airtricity, the renewable energy development arm of Scottish and Southern Energy, placed an order for 150 of Siemens 2.3 MW wind turbines for Airtricity’s 350 MW Clyde wind farm in South Lanarkshire, Scotland. In November, Siemens received its first order for deliveries of wind turbines to Mexico, through a contract with Mexican wind farm developer Grupo Soluciones en Energias Renovables (GSEER) under which it will supply 70 2.3-MW turbines for installation a 160 MW wind farm in Tamaulipas. Siemens also announced plans to construct a new turbine component production facility in Kansas and a turbine manufacturing plant in China.
Business Achievement: Finance
Suniva (Norcross, Ga.) for raising one of the largest funding private funding rounds of the year and expanding production capacity. Founded in 2007 to bring advanced processing and semiconductor design techniques to solar cell manufacturing, Suniva had raised over $55 million in private funding after one year. Throughout 2009, Suniva continued upon its breakneck pace, raising an additional $75 million and expanding production by a factor of three. Suniva says it currently holds $1 billion in sales orders from European and Asian PV module manufacturers and that its performance demonstrates that a U.S.-based company can manufacture domestically while maintaining its edge in a competitive global industry.
Solyndra, Inc. (Fremont, Calif.) for achieving several key milestones in the development of its cylindrical PV technology for commercial rooftops. Most notably, Solyndra and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) finalized in December a guarantee for a $535 million loan to help finance the construction of the first phase of Solyndra’s new manufacturing plant. The loan guarantee, reportedly the first issued under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) and Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, is expected to provide debt financing for about 73% of the construction costs for the plant, which has a planned capacity of 500 MW per year. In May, Solyndra and SunConnex B.V. (Amsterdam, Netherlands) signed a $189 million contract whereby Solyndra will supply SunConnex with solar panels over the next five years. This deal was followed in July by the signing of a long-term, $238 million sales contract with solar integrator Umwelt-Sonne-Energie GmbH (Germany) for the supply of solar PV systems. In December, Solyndra filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a proposed initial public offering IPO of common stock.
Consulting & Engineering Firms
C&E: Climate Change Practice
Coto Consulting, Inc. (CCI; Coto De Caza, Calif.), an environmental consulting firm, for successful entry into the climate change and sustainability consulting market. CCI, a woman-owned small business (WOSB) founded in 2009, developed a suite of services to include climate change and sustainability for the private and government sectors. CCI secured over $150,000 of new projects in these categories in less than four months, and CCI personnel obtained accreditation from the California Air Resources Board to provide greenhouse gas (GHG) lead verification services. This accreditation is expected to produce substantial revenue for CCI in 2010, as California has 600 facilities that must complete their mandatory GHG third-party verification by December 1, 2010.
In recognition of CCI’s expertise in these technical areas, CCI personnel have taught or been invited speakers at the following institutions and organizations: University of California Irvine (Sustainability Leadership Program and the Merage School of Business), Los Angeles/Orange County Environmental Training Center, the Auditing Roundtable, and the Federal Environmental Symposium. Lastly, CCI has established master service agreements or teaming agreements with 10 leading providers of environmental services.
O’Brien & Gere (Syracuse, N.Y.) for significant growth in revenue delivering climate action plans (CAPs) and related GHG emission reduction services to U.S. colleges and universities. In 2008, CAP-related sales were less than $100,000; in 2009 sales will exceed $1.5 million. In assisting U.S. colleges and universities meet the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), O’Brien & Gere is developing methods for measurement and mitigation of GHG emissions, with the ultimate goal of achieving carbon neutrality on campuses by mid-century. Over the past year, the firm worked with six campuses to reduce collective emissions by more than 500,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent per year.
C&E: Renewable Energy
ESS Group, Inc. (East Providence, R.I.) for expansion in the market for environmental consulting and engineering services for clean energy projects in 2009. Projects for which ESS provided environmental assessments and permitting support included: Cape Wind, a 420 MW, 130-turbine wind park proposed for Nantucket Sound; Deerfield Wind, a 17-turbine, 34 MW project in the Green Mountain National Forest, Vermont; Hull Wind Offshore Expansion, a 14-MW, 4-turbine project in Hull, Mass.; Pure Gen One, a 750 MW integrated gasification combine cycle (IGCC) power and manufacturing plant in New Jersey with Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS), a 7-MW biomass cogeneration system in New Hampshire; the Pioneer Valley Energy Center, a natural gas fired power plant that will be the first new baseload generating facility to be reviewed under the Massachusetts Greenhouse Gas Policy; and the 50-mile, 230 kV transmission line to connect the 270 MW Hounsfield wind farm with the New York regional electric grid. ESS also conducted preliminary siting and feasibility assessments for an inter-island transmission system for Hawaii, and it conducted a regulatory analysis of requirements for offshore renewable energy projects for integration into the Massachusetts Comprehensive Ocean Management Plan.
AECOM Technology Corp. (Los Angeles) for undertaking major renewable energy projects in 16 countries. The company’s services in the renewable energy field include project appraisal, engineering and design, construction, and implementation. Recent projects include: construction oversight and commissioning of the world’s largest geothermal steam turbine in Indonesia; design, supervision and commissioning of eight hydroelectric plants in Asia, Africa, and North and South America; the investigation and development of 24 wind farms in North America, Europe, and Australasia, amounting to more than 1,000 turbines; the evaluation and implementation of 10 solar projects in North America, Europe, and Asia, with total capacity of more than 2,000 MW; the assessment of marine/tidal energy projects in Europe and North America; and the investigation of the conversion of organic waste to energy in Asia and New Zealand.
C&E: Climate Change Adaptation
ICF International Inc. (Fairfax, Va.) for supporting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Change Division and Oceans and Coastal Protection Division to address climate change in coastal areas through the Climate Ready Estuaries (CRE) Program. ICF has supported EPA in all aspects of the program including: conducting a needs assessment via interviews with on-the-ground coastal managers on current local activities related to climate change and potential needs for adaptation; creating the Coastal Toolkit (www.epa.gov/cre/toolkit.html); and providing targeted support to four CRE partners—Casco Bay, Charlotte Harbor, Long Island Sound, and Tampa Bay.
Renewables Portfolio Development
Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E; San Francisco) for taking several actions designed to substantially boost its portfolio of electricity generation from renewable sources. In February, PG&E announced a plan to develop up to 500 MW of solar PV power in northern and central California over the next five years. The plan encompasses the development of up to 250 MW of utility-owned solar PV generation and another 250 MW of capacity that will be built and owned by independent developers.
During 2009, PG&E signed power purchase agreements with several renewable energy companies, including the following: BrightSource Energy, Inc. (Oakland, Calif.), which will deliver 1,312 MW of electricity from solar thermal plants that are currently under development; NextLight Renewable Power, LLC (San Francisco, Calif.), which will provide 230 MW of electricity from its proposed AV Solar Ranch 1 in Antelope Valley, Calif., and 290 MW from its Agua Caliente solar PV project in Yuma County, Ariz.; and Spain’s Abengoa Solar, which will deliver the 250 MW of its Mojave Solar CSP plant in California’s San Bernardino County. In December, PG&E signed a deal with Iberdrola Renewables, Inc. (Portland, Ore.) to acquire its first its first wind farm, the 246 MW Manzana Wind Project in the Tehachapi region of California’s Kern County.
Technology Merit: Solar Power
eSolar (Pasadena, Calif.) for the introduction of a modular and scalable concentrating solar power (CSP) technology that uses thousands of small mirrors and ultralight mounting and tracking systems to cut deployment time and drive down cost. By using less steel and more software, eSolar claims to be able to decrease the overall costs of its plants to less than half that of a parabolic trough facility.
In August 2009, eSolar opened its first CSP plant, the 5 MW Sierra SunTower in Lancaster, Calif., the only operating power tower in North America and one of three worldwide, according to eSolar. Now delivering power to Southern California Edison, the Sierra SunTower consists of two mirror fields and two power towers only 180 feet high and more than 24,000 one-square-meter heliostats.
SolFocus (Mountain View, Calif.) for the development of concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) technology that combines high-efficiency solar cells and advanced optics for low-cost, clean energy that is scalable and dependable. In combination with efficiency levels upwards of 25%, SolFocus claims to be accelerating the trajectory for solar energy to reach cost parity with traditional energy sources. Its CPV systems use a fraction of the active PV material compared with traditional solar panels. In contrast with concentrating solar power systems, SolFocus CPV systems do not consume water because they are passively cooled; water is only used for panel cleaning and maintenance.
SOLON (Berlin, Germany) for the introduction of its scalable, turnkey “power plant in a box” solar system. A U.S./German solar manufacturer with production capacity in the United States, SOLON launched the Velocity MW Solar System to provide preconfigured, 1 MW modular solar fields that can quickly scale to capacity in as fast as four months. SOLON says that the Velocity system’s streamlined design will expand the solar power market’s reach by eliminating most of the time, cost, and performance risks currently associated with integration. To create Velocity, SOLON leveraged its experience designing and implementing turnkey solutions for major U.S. utilities, including Tucson Electric Power Company and Pacific Gas & Electric.
National Semiconductor Corp. (Santa Clara, Calif.) for the implementation of its SolarMagic power optimizers as a solution to long-standing problems with solar arrays, boosting solar system performance and reliability. Prone to underperformance issues from real-world conditions such as asymmetrical aging and environmentally induced mismatch, studies show that array impairment of as little as 1.5% can cause a system performance degradation of 17%, according to the firm. National’s researchers and engineers utilized proprietary algorithms to extract the maximum energy available from a system. To minimize costs without compromising reliability, National kept the time-proven series-parallel panel arrangement, distributing only the DC/DC and maximum power point tracking function at the module level.
In worldwide field trials, SolarMagic recovered approximately 50% of otherwise lost energy, with a maximum 71% recovery achieved. National also signed a memorandum of understanding with Suntech, under which the two companies will jointly promote the technology and develop future solutions. The SolarMagic distribution network has grown to 22 distribution partners across four continents.
Technology Merit: Carbon Capture & Storage
American Electric Power (AEP; Columbus, Ohio) for advances in carbon capture and storage (CCS) during 2009. In September, AEP began operating a validation test of Alstom’s chilled ammonia carbon dioxide capture technology on a 20 MW slipstream of flue gas from AEP’s 1,300 MW Mountaineer coal fired power plant in Virginia. The CO2 compressed and piped for storage into deep geologic formations, roughly 1.5 miles beneath the plant surface. On December 4, 2009, AEP was notified by the U.S. Department of Energy that it was selected to receive $334 million in federal stimulus funding assist with an expansion of the system to capture at least 90% of the CO2 from 235 MW of the plant’s total capacity.
Technology Merit: Energy Efficiency
Lumenergi Inc. (Newark, Calilf.) for the development of an energy efficient lighting system for buildings. Through a system of lighting ballasts and controls, Lumenergi’s system allows fluorescent lighting systems to be selectively dimmed at a level that saves energy but doesn’t impede employee comfort and operational performance. Lumenergi’s system also integrates into demand response protocols, enabling building managers to respond intelligently to energy fluctuations during peak operating hours. Currently, Lumenergi is retrofitting two federal buildings in California to help meet energy efficiency objectives.
Technology Merit: Energy Storage
Xtreme Power (Kyle, Texas) for the introduction of dry-cell battery technology that holds the promise of enabling more efficient use of intermittent renewable power generation. Xtreme Power says that its systems offer significant improvements to grid operations through energy savings and reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The technology is produced via zero-emissions manufacturing, and all products are recalled and recycled at end of life. The company’s East Coast pilot demonstrated the technology’s load-leveling and peak power shaving capability, while its South Pole project showcased the viability of its energy storage and power management system in extreme conditions and remote environments. Xtreme Power recently installed a 1.5 MW system on the largest wind farm in Hawaii, where, the company says, it has successfully overcome the intermittency challenges at the site by an order of magnitude.
Technology Merit: Transportation
The Gas Technology Institute (GTI; Des Plaines, Ill.), Linde North America (Murray Hill, N.J.), and Waste Management, Inc. (Houston) for building and starting up what the parties refer to as the world’s largest facility for converting landfill gas to liquefied natural gas (LNG), at Waste Management’s Altamont landfill in Livermore, Calif. The two organizations’ joint venture, High Mountain Fuels, has already produced more than 300,000 gallons of LNG used to fuel Waste Management’s 400 LNG-powered collection trucks. The facility features a GTI-patented gas purification and liquefaction technology that has been licensed to Linde for commercialization.
Project Merit: Carbon Footprinting
AECOM Technology Corp. (Los Angeles) for assisting Celulosa Arauco y Constitución (Arauco), Chile’s largest forest products company and a world leader in sustainable forest management, in the development of a carbon footprint analysis the company’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The project was managed by an Arauco-appointed Carbon Footprint Steering Committee comprising key business and support staff, as well as external advisors from Fundacion Chile and AECOM.
The analysis, led by AECOM Vice President and Director of Sustainability James Weinbauer, determined direct and indirect GHG emissions from Arauco’s operations and value chain across Chile, Brazil, and Argentina, and it included emissions generated by harvesting operations and the transport of raw materials and products, as well as carbon stored in sustainably managed plantations and finished products in use. Arauco has reported the results and is using the data to benchmark continuous improvement and further reduce its carbon signature to support its important climate change solutions. The carbon footprint analysis used internationally accepted protocols, including the GHG Protocol established by World Resources Institute and World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and the 100-Year Method for Estimating Long-Term Carbon Storage in forest products-in-use developed for the International Confederation of Forest Products Associations.
WSP Environment & Energy (Reston Va.) for its partnership with Microsoft and Accenture in 2009, under which the companies developed standards for product carbon footprinting in accounting for the GHG emissions associated with software product life cycles.
Based on several distribution scenarios, the study captured carbon emissions associated with the raw materials, production, distribution, customer purchase, and end-of-life processes for 10 million off-the shelf retail software products. Microsoft then compared these results to the on-line delivery model for 10 million downloads, accounting for the data centers used for hosting software downloads and even the energy used by a consumer’s personal computer to download the Office 2007 program. Not surprisingly, transportation and packaging materials were identified as the largest contributors to carbon emissions for the off-the-shelf product. The study concluded that downloading Office 2007 avoided eight times the amount of carbon emissions compared with producing and shipping a DVD, with its associated packaging, through traditional retail distribution channels.
Project Merit: Energy Efficiency and Demand Response
MaxLite (Fairfield, N.J.) for the receipt of several awards recognizing the company’s growing leadership in the market for energy efficiency lighting products. In 2009, it was named Energy Star Partner of the Year as a lighting manufacturer. Also in 2009, it won the Lighting For Tomorrow design competition for best LED light distribution with our LED Flat Panel. MaxLite serves on two committees of the Energy Star CFL Third Party Testing & Verification Program, and it took a leadership position in addressing the mercury concerns associated with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) in 2009 by converting all of its CFLs from liquid mercury to solid (amalgam) mercury.
EnerNOC, Inc. (Boston, Mass.) for assisting the Whitmore Group, a certified green commercial printer and a Forest Stewardship Council certified company, in its efforts to improve its energy efficiency. Whitmore enrolled in the EnerNOC Demand Response (DR) program to earn payments, protect its business from energy grid issues, and strengthen its portfolio of sustainability efforts. During DR events, Whitmore shifts projects to other equipment and later shifts based on current conditions. Whitmore earns DR payments of approximately $17,000 annually from EnerNOC.
Project Merit: Solar Power
Tioga Energy (San Mateo, Calif.) for the introduction of the SurePath solar power purchase agreement (PPA) contracting mechanism. Like other providers of solar PPAs, Tioga’s solution allows organizations to capitalize on the financial and environmental benefits of solar power without actually being responsible for the solar system itself. In 2009, Tioga flipped the switch on several installations throughout California, providing affordable solar energy to the city of Santa Barbara, The Athenian School (a college preparatory school for children in grades 6 through 12), and primary schools within the Lafayette School District. The company also announced the completion of its $20 million Series B funding round, led by MEMC Electronic Materials, a silicon wafer manufacturer that purchased PV installer Sun Edison for $200 million earlier this year.
Project Merit: Green Building
Weston Solutions Inc. (West Chester, Pa.) for incorporating sustainability principles into a property revitalization project that would become the firm’s Concord, N.H., regional office. Weston transformed a contaminated property into a 21,000-square-foot, energy efficient green building that the firm anticipates will qualify for Gold certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. Highlights include overall energy reduction of 40%; a GreenGrid modular green roof and subsurface infiltration system to eliminate runoff; light tubes, large windows, and maximized building orientation to capture daylight; and a closed-loop geothermal HVAC system.
Internal Carbon Trading
WSP Environment & Energy (Reston Va.) for the development of its “PACT” program, a voluntary personal carbon tracking program for the company’s staff. PACT tracks and manages employees’ personal carbon impacts outside of work. Participants are given a yearly carbon emission allowance and the use of on-line tools to track their activities. They provide quarterly submissions with results of their home energy usage, personal travel and work commute, and at the end of the year they receive a financial bonus if their emissions fall below the threshold. Those who exceed their allowance pay into the program up to a set limit, with all “fines” donated to a nominated charity. About 80 members of the WSP staff signed up for the voluntary trial program, and WSP says that feedback has been so positive that the program is now being rolled out to all of its global staff.
NGO Activist Award
As You Sow (San Francisco, Calif.; www.asyousow.org) for spearheading a shareholder campaign targeting IDACORP, that resulted in the first ever majority vote—51%—enacting a climate change shareholder resolution. Prior to the vote, IDACORP, a nearly 40% coal-based Idaho public utility, was looking to expand coal-based electricity generation. The company had to quickly respond to the majority shareholder vote and within months IDACORP’s board approved guidelines that establish a goal to reduce the CO2 emission intensity of Idaho Power’s operations. The company committed to reduce GHG emissions 10-15% by 2013, announced their first wind energy projects, began a solar generation feasibility study, submitted detailed information to the Carbon Disclosure Project, and applied for and received stimulus bill money for a smart grid project.
About the CCBJ Business Achievement Awards
In October-December of 2009, Climate Change Business Journal solicited the climate change industry and the environmental industry via email, website and word-of-mouth for nominations for the first annual CCBJ Business Achievement Awards. Nominations were accepted in 200-word essays in both specific or unspecified categories. Final awards were determined by a committee of CCBJ staff and CCBJ editorial advisory board members. Award nominations were open to any firm or organization in the climate change industry, and companies were permitted to submit their own nominations.
The 2009 CCBJ Business Achievement Awards will be presented to recipients in attendance at a special ceremony at Environmental Industry Summit VIII in Coronado, Calif. on the evening of March 3, 2010. The Environmental Industry Summit is an annual three-day event hosted by Environmental Business International, Inc., the publisher of CCBJ and Environmental Business Journal. Congratulations to the 2009 winners. CCBJ encourages all interested companies to participate next year. (Disclaimer: Company audits were not conducted to verify information or claims submitted with nominations.)