Thursday, December 18, 2014

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 18 December 2014

First Solar targets residential solar customers
December 10, 2014 - Tempe-based First Solar Inc. is teaming up with Colorado's Clean Energy Collective to develop community solar projects that will allow people to use solar without putting panels on their roofs.

For First Solar, the deal marks its first major foray into the residential solar market.

Community solar projects are large solar plants that allow customers to purchase blocks of the electricity they produce. They take advantage of the cheaper cost of building large plants compared with rooftop-solar arrays. read more>>>

Copenhagen Lighting the Way to Greener, More Efficient Cities
DEC. 8, 2014 - On a busy road in the center of town here, a string of green lights embedded in the bike path — the “Green Wave” — flashes on, helping cyclists avoid red traffic lights.

On a main artery into the city, truck drivers can see on smartphones when the next light will change. And in a nearby suburb, new LED streetlights brighten only as vehicles approach, dimming once they pass.

Aimed at saving money, cutting the use of fossil fuels and easing mobility, the installations are part of a growing wireless network of streetlamps and sensors that officials hope will help this city of roughly 1.2 million meet its ambitious goal of becoming the world’s first carbon-neutral capital by 2025. read more>>>

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Lima climate deal: Every single country now plans to tackle emissions. Sort of.
December 14, 2014 - At this year's UN climate conference in Lima, Peru, representatives from 196 countries agreed to a deal that could eventually commit every nation to slow the growth of its greenhouse-gas emissions.

Over the next six months, each nation will be required to submit a plan for how it will address future emissions. These plans will form the basis of a major new climate agreement to be negotiated in Paris at the end of 2015 and take effect by 2020.

The actual content of each country's plan, however, is entirely voluntary. read more>>>

Senators push for more distributed wind power funding
12/12/14 - A bipartisan group of senators is asking the Energy Department to allocate more funding for small wind energy applications.

The senators, led by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) told the Energy Department to dedicate more of its funds through its renewable energy technology program to distributed wind power, in which turbines are located near power users and not in large farms.

“We believe distributed wind power systems deserve sustained, and increased support,” the senators wrote.

“Distributed wind power systems, spanning a wide variety of applications across communities, businesses, and farms and ranches nationwide, clearly have the potential to contribute many gigawatts of electricity similar to other renewable technologies,” they said. read more>>>

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New report says NC could be clean energy leader with bold push from lawmakers
Dec 15, 2014 - Congress is working on renewing tax credits that could fuel progress with offshore wind energy, especially right here in North Carolina.

That's according to a new report from Environment North Carolina. Experts say North Carolina could be a national leader in renewable energy if lawmakers act now and aggressively.

Officials believe our beaches have near unlimited potential for wind energy because of the long coastlines, shallow seabed, and relatively consistent wind flow. read more>>>

Iowa projected to add 1,330 energy jobs in 2015
December 15, 2014 - Iowa could add about 1,300 more advanced energy jobs next year, pushing up employment in wind, solar, renewable fuels and energy efficiency to nearly 24,000, according to a report from the Advanced Energy Economy Institute.

The Washington, D.C., advocacy group said advanced energy this year made up 1.3 percent of Iowa’s total workforce with 22,643 workers at 1,427 companies. It’s expected to climb 6 percent to 23,979 in 2015, according to the report that’s based on an industry survey. read more>>>

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White House issues climate change guide for hospitals
December 15, 2014 - Declaring climate change to be a public health hazard, the Obama administration issued suggestions Monday to help hospitals and other health care facilities cope with multiple threats of extreme weather.

Health care industry leaders are visiting the White House on Monday to endorse the new report — "Primary Protection: Enhancing Health Care Resilience for a Changing Climate" — and to pledge to follow the guidelines that are proposed.

The "guide and tool kit" is designed to help health care providers and others assure "the continuity of quality health and human care before, during and after extreme weather events," the report said. read more>>>

US and India to announce joint climate change action during Obama visit
15 December 2014 - America and India will unveil joint efforts to fight climate change when Barack Obama visits New Delhi next month, as the US tries to keep up the momentum of international negotiations.

Obama’s visit – on the back of the United Nations talks in Lima – is seen as a key moment to persuade one of the world’s biggest carbon polluters to step up its efforts to fight climate change.

After China and the US, India is the world’s third largest producer of the greenhouse gas emissions causing climate change – although it is responsible for only about 6% of such emissions globally. read more>>>

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9 Things Scientists Did This Year To Ensure A Better Climate Future
December 15, 2014 - While in many ways this was the year of “I’m not a scientist” — a refrain used by politicians to eschew responsibility for an issue they’ve decided doesn’t behoove them or their donors — actual scientists were working hard, and mostly behind the scenes, to address an issue they see as preeminent to the future well-being of humankind.

Ninety-seven percent of scientists already agree that global warming is driven by human activity and the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. While politicians work to obscure this consensus, scientists are working to better understand the implications of climate change and how to best deal with them through adaptation, mitigation, and innovation. read more>>>

Microgrid project to help electricity reliability in NY's North Country
10 December, 2014 - A wide group of entities including GE, DOE, NREL, National Grid and Clarkson University are partnering in a research project aimed to mprove the reliability and resiliency of electricity delivery in northern New York.

The works will be focused in the Village of Potsdam, near the Canadian border, an area prone to ice storms that could damage utility lines and other above-ground power infrastructure.

With a $1-2 million grant from DOE, and a contribution of $300,000 from GE, the project intends to develop an Enhanced Microgrid Control System (eMCS) which is designed to be the key element for keeping the town's electricity system working for several days despite an eventual disconnection from the main power station. read more>>>

Sustainable Style for Kitchen and Dining

GIZ allocating $50m for green construction in Egypt
09 Dec 14 - German development company GIZ is allocating $50m of European Union (EU) and German government funds for green construction and sustainable community projects in Egypt. Gunther Wehenpohl, the company’s programme coordinator, said GIZ will work with the Egyptian government in 17 projects, which started in July 2014 in cooperation with NGOs, the private sector, and local authorities.

The first phase will be developing Ain Shams and Ezbet Al-Nasr regions in Cairo, and Warraq and Jazerat Al-Dahab in Giza, and the second phase is developing three regions in Qaliubiya, according to reports. read more>>>

New technique could harvest more of the sun's energy
December 9, 2014 - As solar panels become less expensive and capable of generating more power, solar energy is becoming a more commercially viable alternative source of electricity. However, the photovoltaic cells now used to turn sunlight into electricity can only absorb and use a small fraction of that light, and that means a significant amount of solar energy goes untapped.

A new technology created by researchers from Caltech, and described in a paper published online in the October 30 issue of Science Express, represents a first step toward harnessing that lost energy.

Sunlight is composed of many wavelengths of light. In a traditional solar panel, silicon atoms are struck by sunlight and the atoms' outermost electrons absorb energy from some of these wavelengths of sunlight, causing the electrons to get excited. read more>>>

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 16 December 2014

Climate change will make more politicians into environmentalists
December 7, 2014 - By the time the 2016 presidential election formally gets underway, pundits are likely to debate the climate change gap in the same breath as they argue over the gender gap.

Voters already have telegraphed elected officials that they need to take global warming seriously, because they do. Or face the consequences at the ballot booth if they don't.

Buried in an avalanche of election exit-poll data are these nuggets: read more>>>

Our Voice: Keep investing in wind power
December 6, 2014 - Congress should vote to strengthen wind power, which is especially important in the Coachella Valley.

During the lame-duck congressional session last week, it appeared the Wind Production Tax Credit would be revived. The PTC for windmills was established in 1992 as part of the Energy Policy Act, a 2.3-cent-per-kilowatt-hour benefit for the first 10 years of operation. It was strengthened by President Obama’s stimulus initiative in 2009. The PTC was set to expire in 2012, but Congress extended it for another year. read more>>>

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Greens chide industry, boast 3M comments defending climate rule
12/05/14 - Green groups submitted roughly 3.7 million comments to the administration in support of its signature climate rule on carbon pollution from power plants this week, according to a memo.

The memo, circulated by the Climate Action Campaign (CAC) communications staff, chides the oil and gas industry, arguing “they have long been in denial” over public support for cutting carbon pollution.

According to the memo from the Washington, D.C.-based coalition of national green groups, they turned in 3 million comments backing the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal.

That adds to the 1.9 million comments the EPA told the Climate Action Campaign the official count has now reached, and it's still counting. read more>>>

New Tool Launched Today Measures Corporate Progress Towards Safer Chemicals
12/8/2014 - Third-Party Benchmark Designed to Help Reduce Public Health & Environmental Risks from Chemical Exposure for Health Care Industry, Retail Stores, Socially Responsible Investors and other Stakeholders

A group of corporate and NGO leaders today released a new tool for assessing leadership in corporate chemicals management. The Chemical Footprint Project (CFP) provides the first-ever common metric of its kind for publicly benchmarking corporate chemicals management and profiling leadership companies.

“You can’t manage what you don’t measure,” said Dr. Mark Rossi, Co-Director of the nonprofit Clean Production Action and Chair and Founder of BizNGO, who released the Chemical Footprint Project today with the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production and Pure Strategies. “The CFP finally establishes a meaningful measurement of overall corporate performance to safer chemicals in products and supply chains. We look forward to engaging business leaders in tracking and disclosing their Chemical Footprints.” read more>>>

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Maine Tabbed As Blueprint For Renewable Energy
December 8th, 2014 - Maine is one of eight states chosen for a study of clean energy.

The decision comes from the Pew Charitable Trust which did research indicating Maine has an abundance of renewable resources.

The trust is also impressed with our state’s long-term commitment to the clean energy industry.

“What we found is Maine really is leading in terms of the amount of biomass and wind power that it’s using, it’s creating economic opportunities,” said Tom Swanson manager, clean energy, The Pew Charitable Trusts. “And the University here is really playing a huge role in helping push these new innovative technologies toward commercialization and helping drive down the cost of these technologies.” read more>>>

Invenergy harvests Californian sun
8/12/14 - Invenergy Clean Power has closed financing and started commercial operation at the 6.3MW Desert Green concentrated solar project in Borrego Springs, California.

The facility is sited in San Diego County, some 90 miles north-east of San Diego. Output is being sold to San Diego Gas & Electric under a long-term power purchase agreement.

Invenergy acquired Desert Green from Soitec Solar Development and the plant features more than 3500 Soitec CPV modules manufactured in San Diego. read more>>>

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A green utopia deep in Mississippi? This guy has a game plan
9 Dec 2014 - Jackson, Miss.: Not exactly the eco-capital of the world. The city’s wastewater disposal has the attention of the EPA, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant is a big fracking supporter, there’s no glass recycling within city limits … and so on. But longtime organizer Kali Akuno has a vision: He and 100-plus volunteers want to turn the hardscrabble city of roughly 170,000 into a marvel of sustainability and social justice.

Akuno is a co-founder of Cooperation Jackson, a community network that aims to solve the city’s most intractable issues — poverty and unemployment, racial and economic injustice, food access and industrial pollution — through developing a series of cooperatives that radically re-imagine how people live and work. Cooperation Jackson, less than a year old, is one of the pilot communities of the Our Power Campaign, an effort launched by the Climate Justice Alliance (CJA). And its end goal, like CJA’s, is to transition out of fossil fuel dependence by supporting localized economies, low-income communities of color, and the planet all at once. read more>>>

Guest opinion: Clean energy will provide jobs, savings for Montana
December 12, 2014 - Montana is bursting with opportunity in the clean energy sector. A recent report by Synapse Energy Economics for the Montana Environmental Information Center showed we can create thousands of jobs by developing our vast renewable energy resources and helping people make their homes and businesses more energy efficient.

An energy efficiency consulting firm commissioned by NorthWestern Energy found that energy efficiency programs save customers about $20 million each year. In terms of job creation, renewable energy in Montana is responsible for creating over 1,300 construction jobs, nearly 100 permanent jobs, and generating over $6 million in tax revenue and over $1 billion in new investments. Clean energy is not just good for the environment; it’s good for the economy. read more>>>

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New solar projects to power thousands of Larimer homes
December 12, 2014 - Colorado's 300 days of sunshine are helping nourish a new Fort Collins crop that should keep growing.

A handful of solar gardens set to produce enough electricity to power thousands of homes are planned or under construction in Larimer County, thanks to a favorable economic climate, maturation of the solar industry and increased support among municipalities and utilities.

The additional electricity generated by the sun, coupled with what wind and water already deliver, is increasing the region's renewable energy portfolio while decreasing its reliance on fossil fuels, a mandate from an increasing number of cities and residents. read more>>>

A Pacific Coast model for addressing climate change
11 December 2014 - The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru, is wrapping up Friday after 12 days of negotiations on global carbon emissions.

Yet, even as we work through the complexities of an international agreement, it would be a mistake to miss the extensive change that's already taking place here on North America's Pacific Coast. Last year, our four governments — the states of California, Oregon and Washington and the Province of British Columbia — reached a landmark agreement to align climate and energy strategies for 54 million Americans and Canadians. read more>>>

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California Heading For 500,000 Clean Energy Jobs
December 12, 2014 - California’s booming clean energy industry currently employs nearly 450,000 people and is tipped to reach the half million mark within a year, according to a first-of-its-kind survey of America’s advanced energy sector.

The current number is more than the film, TV, radio, semiconductors and aerospace industries.

The survey, released by the Advanced Energy Economy Institute, found that 431,000 Californians (2.4 per cent of the state’s workforce) are involved in servicing advanced energy technologies, such as solar and wind power, electric vehicles and energy efficiency.

Advanced energy jobs grew five per cent in the past year – more than double the overall state job growth rate – and based on employer hiring plans is on track to grow 17 per cent in the coming year read more>>>

Poll: Oregonians of all stripes support renewable energy
Dec 11, 2014 - Oregonians strongly support renewable energy, according to a poll commissioned by A Renewable America, a project of the Wind Energy Foundation.

The poll, released Tuesday, found 82 percent of Oregonians support renewable energy and a sizable population sees wind and solar as a key toward energy and economic independence.

The poll was conducted in November by Winston Group, which surveyed 750 registered voters, with an oversample of 285 registered voters in the 2nd Congressional District, Oregon's most conservative. read more>>>