Of all the industries in the world today, the global energy industry has witnessed the most incredible changes in the past couple of decades. The US energy industry, in particular, is expanding and changing at an exponential rate, generally moving away from fossil fuels towards a range of renewable energy options, including wind, hydro and solar power. However, the US energy industry is a complex one that still incorporates old technologies, like coal-fired power plants, as well as controversial new ones, including nuclear power and fracking. Nevertheless, MESH Automation is uniquely positioned to meet the energy automation and manufacturing needs of those operating in the sector, providing high-performance automated solutions for diverse sub-sectors of the market.
Legislation Affecting Energy Issues
The energy industry is intimately affected by US Government legislation and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules and programs. Additionally, because other industries require energy in one way or another, inevitably they too will be affected by energy issues.
Examples of legislation and programs include:
- The Clean Power Plan (CPP) that aims to regulate emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), particularly those at existing fossil-fired electric power plants.
- New standards for fuel consumption as well as greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards for certain vehicles.
- Increased production of hydrocarbon gas liquids in the industrial sector.
In its Annual Energy Outlook from 2016 to 2040, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) has analyzed the fuel types used in different US regions and states. Fuel types specified are coal, nuclear, natural gas, wind/solar, and “other.”
According to the report, California and the northeast regions have already reduced emissions by cutting coal usage to virtually nothing (to 4 and 3 percent respectively) and increasing natural gas usage dramatically (53 and 49 percent.) However, California’s use of wind and solar power represented only 15 percent of fuel type, and the northeast regions by a mere 3 percent. Use of nuclear power in California and the northeast regions was 8 and 29 percent respectively.
Fuel usage statistics for the US as a whole were:
- Coal – 33 percent
- Nuclear – 20 percent
- Natural gas – 33 percent
- Wind/solar – 6 percent
- Other – 9 percent
According to the EIA total energy-related CO2 emissions in the US decreased by 2.8 percent in 2015, and they are expected to decrease a further 2.5 percent by the end of 2017.
Since transportation accounts for more than 70 percent of the country’s petroleum consumption, and is the second-largest consumer of energy in the US, it is responsible for significant GHG emissions. This has enormous implications for the automotive industry, in terms of new vehicle design and manufacture, particularly for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. New standards will affect proposed Government regulations for both fuel consumption and emissions, which will, in turn, have an impact on manufacturers.
The EIA anticipates that renewable energy used for electricity will increase fairly significantly during 2016 and 2017, except for hydropower generation that is expected to fall by 0.6 percent in 2017. Excluding hydro, renewable energy consumption is expected to increase by 11.8 percent in 2016, and by 11.1 percent the following year.
Solar capacity by the end of 2015 was 13.5 gigawatts (GW) countrywide, and this is forecast to increase to 26.8 GW by the end of 2017, with Georgia, California, North Carolina, Nevada, and Texas leading in “utility-scale solar capacity additions.”
Wind capacity totaled 72.5 GW at the end of 2015 and is expected to increase to more than 89 GW by the end of 2017.
Renewable fuel standards (RFS) are set progressively by the EPA; the most recent setting biomass-based diesel volumes for 2017. This incorporates both biofuel and renewable diesel products.
All these factors will affect manufacturers too.
MESH Energy Automation Solutions
From product handling to assembly and testing, MESH has the experience and comprehensive understanding required by our customers. Overall there is no doubt that companies, in general, will have an increasing need for energy automation. Factory automation is at the core of our business, and this is where we can give our customers in the energy industry a competitive edge.
We have all the resources on-site to manage your project at every stage from concept to completion and can offer turnkey automated solutions. Whether you require simple or complex energy automation solution, a vision system, or new software to monitor your plant floor, we have the expertise and resources in-house to provide the right solution at the best value. Our engineers always keep your ROI in mind, so contact us to discuss your needs.