Renewable energy (RE) and energy storage are two families of technology that seek to reduce carbon emissions and fossil fuel dependence. To better understand the role of copper in renewables and energy storage, the Copper Development Association (CDA) commissioned two studies, which not only examine copper’s function but also provide insights into energy infrastructures.

The first is by BBF Associates and titled “Current and Projected Wind and Solar Renewable Electric Generating Capacity and Resulting Copper Demand.” The second is a KEMA study titled “Market Evaluation for Energy Storage in the United States,” which is now available online.

As the supply chain grows more and more globalized, scales and weighing equipment are becoming a more and more essential component of our operations and infrastructure. Grain from Oklahoma makes its way to the Ivory Coast. Scrap steel from South Dakota becomes a high-tech electronic in Shanghai. And at each stage of the transportation process, materials need to be weighed, measured and assessed.

Most companies, especially those in the waste industry, therefore understand that profit and efficiency are directly dependent on accurate equipment. However, when seeking a weights and measurements supplier, companies often know to look for a partner who can implement a solid solution, but they don’t often think to look for a partner who will engineer one.

New methods of natural gas and oil production have unlocked new supplies from shale formations around the United States over the last two decades, and these new supply sources have brought about rapid changes in the transportation infrastructure needed to bring these supplies to market. Pipeline developers – whether moving oil, natural gas or natural gas liquids (NGL) – have sought to keep up with the increasing volume and changing production locations by building new infrastructure and repurposing existing pipelines. The origin points for new and repurposed pipelines are often in areas historically lacking large-scale pipeline infrastructure. In some cases new production locations were previously destinations or through-points for oil, gas and NGL pipelines before the shale production boom.

Throughout the past year, Maryland’s Kent County, in collaboration with its school board, county commissioners and a local municipality, has installed nearly 4.5 megawatts of photovoltaic solar power within its borders, making the small coastal county on the Chesapeake Bay one the largest hosts of solar power in the state. In addition to the environmental benefits of producing no-emissions solar energy on site, the county facilities are estimated to realize savings in the millions of dollars over the next 20 years. The installations have come as a result from a partnership with leading project developer Standard Solar Inc. of Rockville, Md.

The South Pacific region witnessed some of the pivotal action in World War II, ranging from the Battle of Guadalcanal to the brutal struggle for Iwo Jima. Although rich in military history, the 21st century has brought something new: a wave of fresh power projects as local governments seek to upgrade their nations’ infrastructure.

These efforts come at a time when the Asia-Pacific region is enjoying an average gross domestic product growth rate of six percent. As NBC recently noted, China and the United States are now rivals in pouring aid into the region. It is estimated that China’s aid amounts to $200 million annually while the United States spends approximately $300 million a year.

When asked about infrastructure needs at our global ports, most experts mention dredging deeper waterways to handle larger ships, or better access to rail and inland distribution lines. One growing need that is often overlooked is the capacity of our ports’ IT infrastructure. As advances in smart electronics and control systems are quickly finding their way into international shipping, the need for more effective data and physical IT infrastructure required to properly handle the growth is ever-increasing.

Public-private partnerships (PPPs) are so vital for today’s seaport infrastructure projects, that not only are they necessary to get to the finish line, they’re critical to even get in the race. The finish line is the completed expansion of the Panama Canal in 2015, and the race encompasses the infrastructure developments that must be in place to handle the larger ships that will be coming through the widened Canal.

The shale revolution continues to modify the North American energy landscape in ways previously unforeseen. After the epic fall of natural gas prices in late 2011, most upstream producers spent 2012 shifting their exploration and production to liquids-rich shale plays, particularly those containing crude oil, in order to obtain higher margins.

The location and volume of all this new crude oil has created a logistical problem: How to reach the market? Similar to natural gas, the existing crude oil pipeline infrastructure is significantly constrained. But unlike natural gas, crude oil doesn’t require compression for transport. As a result, rail transportation of oil is booming and has led to the growth of a new niche market: marine oil terminals. Dozens of these projects have been announced, complete with unit train unloading facilities to receive and store shipments of crude oil and move them to refineries.

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