Gov. Malloy Pushes for Inland Route

Trains In The Valley

Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy pens strong letter of support for the establishment of New Haven—Springfield—Boston passenger service on the Inland Route.

In his letter, Malloy asks that Gov. Baker advance the necessary planning and engineering work that would be required to establish the service.

He also asks for the project to be added to the updated Massachusetts State Rail Plan, which is current being prepared by MassDOT.

Gov. Malloy’s letter follows a letter of support — for both expanded service on the Knowledge Corridor and East-West rail — sent by Congressman Jim McGovern and Congressman Richard Neal back in November 2016.

In a related development, the Worcester City Council on Tuesday evening called for a regional transportation summit to look at improved passenger rail service from Worcester to Boston, and to Springfield, eastern Connecticut, and New York City.

Returning passenger service on the route between Boston and New Haven via Springfield, a service that was recommended in the recently completed Northern New England Intercity Rail Initiative (NNEIRI) study, is not a small project.

Moving this project forward requires the support of Gov. Baker, who until now has been reluctant to say much of anything on this topic. Additionally, state and federal funding for the required planning and engineering work would need to be identified and secured.

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Hyperloop coming? Northern Ohio?

Why not the Hyperloop for northern Ohio?

U.S. Rep Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo), whose district includes West Cleveland, has signed onto a letter asking President Donald Trump to include $20 million in next year’s budget to study the Hyperloop.

She is one of three Cleveland-area congressmen joining the effort to promote research of the futuristic concept here in Ohio.

The Hyperloop is a giant pneumatic tube that would transport capsules carrying people at speeds up to 760 mph — theoretically making possible a half-hour commute from Cleveland to Chicago for only $20. That is according to the letter signed by Miss Kaptur and eight other congressmen.

There was no mention of it stopping to pick up riders in Toledo. At 760 mph, the Hyperloop would still be accelerating by the time Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza loomed into view.

The benefits of the Hyperloop are many, including low environmental impact, and energy savings. It would also greatly reduce the stress of commuting.

The money requested by Miss Kaptur would be used for transportation research, which is something the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency — Cleveland’s version of the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments — is involved in.

There would be no bonus for Toledo if the Hyperloop came to Cleveland. But a large chunk of Ohio would benefit.

General Electric targets giant Midlands battery storage system

General Electric (GE) is targeting a portion of the UK’s growing battery storage market, after partnering with London energy firm Arenko to create one of the UK’s largest fully-integrate battery storage solutions.

GE has been involved in battery storage solutions since 2010 and has launched 19 large-scale commercial projects worldwide

Arenko has invested in the American firm’s 41MW battery energy storage system, and will use advanced control technologies to provide on-demand electricity equivalent to approximately 100,000 UK homes.

GE Power’s global commercial and marketing executive for energy storage Mirko Molinari said: “Energy storage will help balance supply and demand close to real time, avoiding frequency drifts and supporting the mid-term response to grid imbalances.

“The flexibility it offers smooths the fluctuating nature of renewable energy, provides quick reserves when needed, stores excess energy generation and much more. Energy storage will enable a more efficient system for a more reliable supply of electricity to consumers.”

Based in the Midlands, the system is expected to come online later this year and will relieve pressure on the UK grid infrastructure by providing flexibility to account for fluctuations in supply and demand.

Demand for battery storage has grown as intermittent renewable generation increases its share of the energy mix. However, GE and Arenko want to develop a long-term commercial solution to consumer needs without a reliance on subsidies or policy incentives.

GE has been involved in battery storage solutions since 2010 and has launched 19 large-scale commercial projects worldwide. Arenko was set up in 2014, and the Midlands project will be the company’s first involvement with a solution of this scale.

Arenko’s chief executive Rupert Newland added: “Arenko’s new battery system will provide much needed flexibility to the UK grid, reducing waste and helping to make energy bills cheaper for households and businesses. This project is very significant in addressing the UK’s long-term energy security concerns, enabling the transition to a low carbon energy future.

“As a leading owner and operator of grid scale battery systems in the UK, we are delighted to have established this strategic alliance with GE to deliver large scale battery energy storage projects. We share the same focus and commitment to the sector and we have been very impressed by GE’s world class technology and project delivery of energy storage systems across the globe.”

Stored credit

The first few months of 2018 have provided a boon for UK energy storage solutions. The Government-backed Faraday Institution will provide £42m for energy storage research and electric vehicle (EV) battery development.

FWCS considering STEAM school at Electric Works

Journal Gazette

Fort Wayne Community Schools is considering classroom space at Electric Works, the sprawling former General Electric campus being renovated for multi-purpose use.

A letter of intent has yet to be signed, but the vision is for a STEAM school to be operated by FWCS on Electric Works’ west campus, said Kevin Erb of Ferguson Advertising, the local firm working with the development group. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

The letter of intent has to be approved by the district’s board, which Erb said he expected soon.

The idea is in line with past statements by the district. Superintendent Wendy Robinson, accompanied by children from Fairfield Elementary School, was at last year’s announcement revealing plans for the site. District spokeswoman Krista Stockman later said Robinson attended for the education possibilities.

The STEAM school, for grades 6 through 12, would be similar to FWCS’ Career Academy at Anthis, which offers experience in various fields, but would not have the same programs, Stockman said Friday. It would be open not only to FWCS students but to others from public and private schools in northeast Indiana.

The emphasis would be on project-based, hands-on learning, she said, “all those things we’re trying to implement regardless of where our kids are in school so that they can be adaptable and ready for a future work environment that’s going to change rapidly.”

“Even though the students aren’t necessarily directly interacting with the community college and Parkview, it is in the same environment so they do have some interaction and we do have access to other experts nearby when and if we need them,” Stockman said.

Education is a huge component of Electric Works, which would allow for a “holistic, comprehensive experience,” for students in the FWCS program, Erb said. In addition to school “they’re going to be exposed to STEAM curriculum that can be real-world based experiential that’s a really exciting model that we’ve seen in other parts of the country.”

“Even though the students aren’t necessarily directly interacting with the community college and Parkview, it is in the same environment so they do have some interaction and we do have access to other experts nearby when and if we need them,” Stockman said.

Cross Street Partners, a Baltimore firm, is partnering with two Indiana developers on the Electric Works project: Decatur firm Biggs Development, headed by Kevan Biggs, and Indianapolis firm Greenstreet Limited. Plans for the first phase, which would transform the buildings west of Broadway, will cost $214 million.

The overall vision of Electric Works has a district that would provide a hub of innovation, entrepreneurialism, education and research.

Indiana Tech announced in December it intends to lease a portion of the site, which includes plans for residential, retail, office and education space. The school will rent 10,000 square feet on the west side of the campus. Officials said they are exploring options for how to use the space.