Posts Tagged ‘clean energy’

Massachusetts Clean Energy Center Sponsored Internship

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

By Paul Barbaro

Coming into the “real world” from being a college student can be a daunting task. The persistent fear of never being able to find a job that pertains to one’s interests and passions is always looming overhead. However, with countless internship positions available in the workforce it is possible to pursue the career path you would find to be the most suitable. Through the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s internship program I was able to connect my passion of the environment and clean energy technologies to a real time position at HMMH.

The process of getting involved with the MassCEC’s internship program was very easy. I appreciated the simplicity which included; submitting your resume and credentials, where you lived and were willing to work, and the particular clean energy interests you had. I released all this information to the MassCEC who then paired me with HMMH because of their firm’s location relative to my home and their work in environmental services.

My time spent as HMMH was very beneficial to my development into a young professional in the environmental and clean energy services field. It has been my first experience having a desk job that requires a lot more of me than a typical part time position. I worked as an intern under the Climate and Energy group at the firm. Some of my responsibilities included researching and attending conferences on various different forms of renewable and/or clean sources of energy. In fact, my main project for the summer was to compose a database of all the large-scaled solar installations (above 1 MW) in Massachusetts. I was also tasked with using my knowledge of G.I.S technologies to compose solar feasibility maps for several different airports in the nation looking to foster clean, solar energy. For a project involving several airports in Rhode Island wanting to incorporate solar power, I was able to take a helicopter ride and view the airports from above with my supervisor. Another task asked of me conducting field work for noise insulation studies at T.F Green airport in Rhode Island. Lastly, I worked with my supervisor to release a memo to Nashville International Airport to help guide them to select a cleaner source of fuel to run their airport shuttle bus fleet off of.

At HMMH, I was able to truly sink my teeth into the clean energy realm. They gave me the tools and opportunities to follow my interests and gain valuable work experience. I cannot thank them and the MassCEC enough for this opportunity. I met amazing people through my time as a MassCEC sponsored intern and feel so much more confident making strides into the clean energy and environmental workforce.


Recap on EBC Program on Energy and Environmental Affairs

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

by Stephen Barrett, LEED AP


I recently had the opportunity to participate in a panel discussion organized by the Environmental Business Council of New England (EBC) with Matthew Beaton, the new Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs under Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker.  While the Baker Administration took the reins in early January and Secretary Beaton has been on-board since day one, this panel was one of his first public appearances as he has been busy building his team and getting them up to speed.  Some in the clean energy and environmental industries had been concerned that the Baker Administration would roll back clean energy policies and environmental protections, though Beaton emphasized that the Administration was entering office with an open mind and no actions would be considered during an initial three month freeze period on any new regulations or programs.  Renewable energy advocates were happy to hear the Secretary’s announcement at the PV America Conference the previous day that the Administration would continue the Patrick Administration’s commitment of 1600 MW of solar by 2020.  Beaton was asked by the panel about another Patrick Administration proposal – the Clean Energy Standard – which would incentivize the purchase of Canadian hydropower in Massachusetts in an effort to achieve the 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act goal of 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050.  With the proposed program out for public comment, Beaton only said that he would wait to review public comment, but that he would focus on cost-effective solutions.  The high cost of electricity in Massachusetts due to constrained supplies of natural gas elicited a lot of interest.  While everyone seems to agree that high energy costs are a burden on the economy and that increasing natural gas supply in some manner is the best short-term solution, how to deliver new supply (e.g., new or enhanced pipelines, more Liquid Natural Gas [LNG] deliveries by sea) and how much to deliver given the region’s current over-dependence on natural gas is of much debate.  Beaton did not offer a plan for avoiding price spikes next winter but said it would be a focus of his agenda in the coming months.  All in all, the evening was a welcomed introduction to the new Secretary and the start of a productive dialogue with the environmental and energy business community.

ACRP Releases HMMH-authored Report on Energy Projects and Airports and Airspace

Friday, April 25th, 2014

by Stephen Barrett

HMMH is pleased to inform clients and colleagues of the official release of Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Report 108 “Energy Technologies Compatibility with Airports and Airspace.” This report is the first in a series of ACRP Reports on energy and airports that are expected for release in the next year. The HMMH-authored report reviews the aviation industry’s experience with a variety of energy technologies including solar, wind, oil and gas drilling, and traditional electricity generation and transmission, and provides guidance for future projects to avoid impacts on airports and airspace. The report is timely given the country’s focus on domestic energy production to serve economic and national security interests and to diversify energy generation sources toward cleaner fuels, including renewables. The guidance will also help airports as they consider opportunities to lease out underutilized non-aeronautical property for energy production.

ACRP Report 108

Solar Farm at Indianapolis International Airport

Monday, February 11th, 2013

by Steve Barrett

One of the largest solar farms at an airport in the world is being proposed at Indianapolis International Airport.  A recent news story publicized the project. The project, however, has been in the works for a few years and will likely be implemented in several phases.  Recent news is primarily related to the start of construction on Phase I which is proposed in the southwest area of the airport near the I-70 interchange.  In the summer of 2010 when the Indianapolis Airport Authority (IAA) was considering the solar opportunity presented by the local utility and private developers, IAA engaged HMMH to assess the potential impacts of the proposed project on airspace safety.  HMMH completed a study of reflectivity, communications systems interference, and physical obstruction with Part 77 surfaces.  Due to the project’s location southwest of the air traffic control tower, no glare impacts were predicted.  Based in part on our analysis, IAA proceeded with a procurement process to select a private developer who would lease airport land and own and operate the solar farm.  HMMH was also engaged by the project developer to conduct a more detailed analysis on impacts from a modified design on both the control tower and arriving aircraft.  The IAA filed a Form 7460 with the FAA and FAA issued a determination of no hazard in the summer of 2012.  HMMH has subsequently been engaged by IAA to evaluate the Phase II location.  The Indianapolis Airport Solar Farm is a great example of the potential financial benefits available to airports in leasing underutilized lands for renewable energy development.


Chicago Rockford International Airport

Chicago Rockford International Airport Solar Farm


Portsmouth, RI Runs on Its Own Power

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

by Chris Menge

The Environmental Business Council’s wind energy committee held a meeting and site visit in Portsmouth, RI on September 22nd to hear about and see Portsmouth’s new 1.5 MW utility-scale wind turbine.  HMMH’s Director of Clean Energy, Steve Barrett, organized the meeting as chair of the EBC’s wind energy committee.  The presentation and site visit, attended by 12 to 15 interested parties, was hosted by Gary Gump, who led the effort to get the turbine permitted and built, as chairman of Portsmouth’s Sustainable Energy Subcommittee.

Gary gave an enthusiastic and very informative presentation, which included many details of the economic, legal, logistic, permitting, and construction aspects of the new wind turbine.  The goal of the project was to produce approximately three-fourths of the power required by the town of over 17,000 residents to run its municipal buildings, including the schools. 

The Portsmouth Sustainable Energy Subcommittee started working on the potential use of wind power in 2004.  First, they needed to ensure that a wind turbine would be an economic asset to the town, so they performed an extensive feasibility study that looked at all aspects of the project.

One challenging and critical aspect to making the project economically viable was that Rhode Island law had to be changed to allow for increased municipal net metering.  This change permitted the utility to give credit for power generated by the turbine at up to ten town electric meters, rather the five previously allowed. 

A large enough town-owned site was also needed, with nearby power lines.  Fortunately, Portsmouth High School had sufficient land, not too far from their tennis courts and athletic fields.

At the athletic fields

At the athletic fields

Once the project was deemed feasible, the committee then asked the citizens to vote to approve the project, which they did with a clear majority.  In April 2008, the town signed a contract with AAER of Canada to build the turbine, which was turned over to the town in March 2009.  The turbine has been in operation since then.

The site is very near Route 24, so the large turbine, which is 336 ft high at its highest, is very easily seen by passing motorists.  Our group was able to walk right up to the base of the turbine while it was running, and to go inside the base (Gary had the key) to see the power transfer units and some control systems.

Portsmouth turbine

Portsmouth turbine

Base of the turbine

Base of the turbine

The unit is self-contained and controlled, but it has two monitoring stations, one at the town hall, and one at the fire department.  The fire department controller can also start and stop the turbine, in case of emergencies.  As we saw during Gary’s demonstration at the town hall, these monitoring stations provide a great deal of data on the operation of the turbine, including wind speed and direction, momentary and historical power output, and direction it is pointing, to name a few.

The turbine was turning and generating power during our entire visit.  I was impressed at how quiet this utility-scale turbine seemed, since I’ve done noise studies for wind farms and read much about how some people are affected by the noise.  I did hear the “swish-swish” sound when I was close, but I couldn’t hear it if I was more than about 100 ft away from the turbine.  One advantage of this location was the presence of traffic noise from Route 24, a four-lane divided highway.  Traffic noise has a similar sound character to the turbine noise, so it masks the turbine sound quite effectively.

The Town of Portsmouth Sustainable Energy Subcommittee maintains a Website detailing the project and providing many facts and photographs.  The finacial bottom line that Gary gave us is that the turbine is expected to generate between $450,000 and $500,000 in income annually.  The expenses and debt service will be about $250,000 annually, so the net revenue to the town is expected to be approximately $200,000 per year.  As hoped, this represents about three-fourths of the town’s energy costs.

Congratulations to Gary and the Subcommittee for a very successful sustainable energy project!  And thanks for a terrific presenation and site visit!