Let’s Get Real

PPL Challenge: Renewable and Alternative Energy at PPL

Present a business case on the most feasible options among renewable and alternative resources for PPL to meet the Pennsylvania legislation that requires 18% of the energy it delivers in 2020 to come from alternative sources.


PPL announced plans in February 2007 to expand its renewable energy portfolio. The company has been developing projects since 2000 and currently has 10 operating facilities, in addition to those developed for others.


Pennsylvania's legislature approved SB1030, the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act. Under the bill, 18 percent of the electricity sold in Pennsylvania in 2020 must come from alternative sources.


The bill divides the requirements into two tiers: Tier 1 (renewable) sources include solar, wind, low-impact hydro (below 50 MW per project), geothermal, biomass, biological and coal-mine methane, and fuel cells. Tier 2 (alternative) sources include waste coal, distributed generation systems, demand-side management, large-scale hydro, municipal solid waste, wood byproducts, and integrated combined coal gasification technology.


Teams should consider Tier 1 and/or Tier 2 sources and explain any they find non applicable.



1.      To what degree does PPL meet the standards presently? Research which renewable energy sources PPL uses and what percent of overall electrical generation they comprise.

2.      How much can PPL gain by increasing the efficiency of their existing generation facilities? For example, PPL is in the process of increasing the capacity of some of its hydroelectric facilities in Maine and Pennsylvania.

3.      What will be the likely availability of renewable energy sources in 2020? Will sufficient resources be available to meet state law?

4.      Develop a business cases for which areas of renewable and alternative energy PPL should expand into and why?

Teams should investigate the economic feasibility and environmental impacts associated with each renewable energy source. Consider the following:

¨      Siting issues – Consider permits that would need to be acquired to create new generation facilities.

¨      Economic feasibility – Will implementing many different renewable energy sources raise electricity costs to the consumer? Is the technology just too expensive at this time?

¨      Environmental impacts – Is there any water, air or soil pollution associated with the energy source? Will there be any impacts to the local wildlife?

¨      Land requirement – Is the ecological footprint very large for the energy source? For example, It would take about 1,734 wind turbines, spread over at least 570 square miles, to produce as much power as PPL’s Susquehanna nuclear plant

¨      Energy output – What is the amount of electricity each source can generate? Consider the reliability of each source. For example, how often does the wind blow or the sun shine?

¨      Social impact – What public input would be required? Consider the NIMBY (not in my backyard) mentality.


PPL expects the team to research the various renewable and alternative energy sources and their impacts. Teams should create a written business case (not PowerPoint) with cited sources, and be able to back up their management decision with facts. Consider the economic, environmental and social consequences of each source and determine how PPL should proceed to meet the new standards.


PA Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Energy and Technology http://www.depweb.state.pa.us/energy/cwp/view.asp?a=3&q=484858&energyNav=|


Sustainable Energy Fund of Central PA http://www.thesef.org/


National Renewable Energy Laboratory http://www.nrel.gov/


U.S. Department of Energy http://www.eere.energy.gov/


PPL’s Corporate Responsibility Report (highlights energy source percentages) http://www.pplweb.com/corporate+responsibility+report/corporate+vision+and+strategy/overview.htm


PPL Generation Portfolio as of 2007 - see PDF file. Contact PPL at mewelker@pplweb.com for additional PPL fact sheets.



PPL Clean and Renewable Energy


Project Overview



Fuel cells

PPL has installed seven FuelCell Energy fuel cell projects and is installing an eighth unit in Connecticut:

o       Sheraton Edison Hotel – Edison, N.J., 250 kW fuel cell operating using power and heat.

o       Sheraton Parsippany Hotel – Parsippany, N.J., 250 kW fuel cell operating using power and heat.

o       Ocean County College – Toms River, N.J., 250 kW fuel cell operating using power and heat.

o       Coast Guard – Cape Cod, Mass., 250 kW fuel cell operating using power and heat.

o       Zoot Enerprise – Bozeman, Mont., 2 x 250 kW fuel cells not operating, fuel cells operated for several years and will be relocated due to power needs of customer being less than fuel cell output

o       Pepperidge Farm – Bloomfield, Conn., 250 kW fuel cell to be installed 2005, will use power and heat.


PPL has installed three Caterpillar engine projects and is installing its fourth in Pennsylvania:

o       Northern Tier Landfill – Bradford, Pa., 800 kW landfill gas operating.

o       Pennsauken Landfill – Pennsauken, N.J., 2.8 MW landfill gas operating.

o       Frey Farm Landfill – Lancaster, Pa., 3.2 MW landfill gas to installed 2005.

o       United Water – Haworth, N.J., 8 MW peaking power operating.


PPL has installed 19 Capstone microturbines.

o       Allentown Wastewater Treatment Plant – Pa., 390 kW methane gas operating.

o       Bloomsburg Hospital – Pa., 30 kW operating.

o       Masonic Homes – Elizabethtown, Pa., 300 kW operating with new boilers using power and heat.


PPL is installing 1 MW of photovoltaics.

o       Aluminum Shapes – Delair, N.J., 500 kW solar panels to be installed 2005.

o       Pennsauken Landfill – Pennsauken, N.J., 500 kW solar panels to be installed. 2006.



PPL Timeline and Procedures

Registration Forms Submittal (also complete written proposal submittal instructions, below) — Be sure to view the rules, registration and forms. You must submit completed registration forms and contract forms for the PPL Challenge via
U.S. mail to:

Let's Get Real
624 Waltonville Road
Hummelstown, PA 17036


by January 25, 2008


Written Proposal —You must submit your written proposal in an acceptable electronic format [Microsoft Word (.doc) or simple text file (.txt)]. Please note:  The written proposals should be submitted as a Word document explaining your business case, not PowerPoint slides. 

Power Point presentations do not give the judges enough information to judge.  If separate graphics or scanned images are included in the written proposal, they should be in gif, jpg, or jpeg format. Send your proposal for the PPL Challenge via e-mail to both  mewelker@pplweb.com and lgr@epix.net by January 25, 2008.  Make sure you submit your written proposal to both e-mail addresses.

Oral Presentation — Your team coordinator will be notified during the week of
February 25, 2008, whether or not you are selected to give an oral presentation. **The date and location of the Final Oral Presentations for the PPL Challenge will be announced soon.  Arrangements for a renewable energy tour are being planned.**

NOTE:   You will be sent directions and an agenda after finalists are selected.

Only finalist student team members and their adult team coordinator are invited to attend the oral presentation finals. PPL is not prepared to host student family members.

PPL Awards for Winning Teams — Each student on the winning team will receive PPL Corporation common stock and a winner’s certificate. The winning team will also receive a team trophy suitable for the school’s trophy case. The runner-up team (if one is selected) will receive a team trophy, and each of the students will receive runner-up certificates. All students taking part in the oral presentation will receive a Let’s Get Real T-shirt.