Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 16 September 2014

University of California signs major solar deal
September 8 2014 - The University of California says it has made one of the largest ever solar-energy purchases by a university system in the United States.

The UC system, one of the largest public university systems in the nation, says the deal will provide enough solar power to offset 60 percent of the electricity use at five of the state’s 10 campuses, as well as some university medical centers.

UC electricity manager Mark Byron said Monday that a 25-year deal with San Mateo-based Frontier Renewables will provide 80 megawatts in solar power, or 200,000 megawatt-hours annually. read more>>>

Support energy standard
09/10/2014 - Though Gov. Sam Brownback rightly claims to be a champion of wind energy in Kansas, his position on the state’s renewable portfolio standard seems to depend on which way the wind blows. He should join a strong majority of Kansans in supporting the RPS now and for the future.

The RPS, a step-by-step framework for ensuring Kansas utility companies would get 20 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2020, was passed by the 2009 Legislature as part of the deal meant to allow another coal-fired power plant near Holcomb. Though the plant is unbuilt, the RPS has paid off richly in rural development of wind farms and land-lease income for farmers. Also greatly assisted by the now-expired federal wind production tax credit, Kansas has seen its wind farms multiply from one to 21 in a decade, with more under construction and planned. read more>>>

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CA has 100K plug-in cars, and counting
Sept. 8, 2014 - Cumulative sales of plug-in electric cars in California have surpassed 100,000, industry experts announced Monday.

As of the end of August, Californians had purchased 102,440 plug-in cars, including both all-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids that run on a combination of electricity and gasoline, according to figures compiled by HybridCars.com and Baum & Associates, a Michigan-based market research firm.

The sales records date back to December 2010, when the all-electric Nissan Leaf and plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt were first introduced to consumers in select U.S. markets. read more>>>

Sea Level Rise app aims to map flooding hot spots
September 10 2014 - Residents in flood-prone Hampton Roads have a new tool to view and report flooding hot spots.

The Norfolk-based environmental group Wetlands Watch has developed a mobile application that allows people to easily map, take pictures of and outline areas that are inundated during high tide and heavy rains. A test of the Sea Level Rise app was conducted Wednesday near downtown Norfolk by an inlet called the Hague, which routinely floods nearby streets at high tide.

With pedestrians and vehicles forced to find alternate routes due to high water Wednesday morning, volunteers walked along the outlines of the flooded area and dropped pins on a map on their smartphones about every 10 yards to mark where the water had accumulated. read more>>>

Cleveland Becomes Cleantech Leader But Ohio Backtracks on Renewable Energy
Hundreds of companies are working toward clean energy solutions as governor freezes statewide targets for renewables.

Sep 11, 2014 - As the state of Ohio freezes climate policy, the city of Cleveland and its surrounding area are taking a different approach. Northeast Ohio is charging ahead with plans to build green industries that could jumpstart the economy and reduce pollution at the same time.

In the past decade, 500 companies have been built in northeast Ohio on the promise of green technology, each handpicked by civic leaders to match the strengths of the region. Meanwhile, politicians–including the governor–are knocking back statewide renewable energy targets that benefited many of those companies, such as wind and solar farm operators. The conflict could stall—or even stifle—further development of businesses trying to create climate-friendly technologies and a new clean energy economy. read more>>>

Stopping climate meltdown needs the courage that saved the ozone layer
Governments dither on the solution to global warming – but the Montreal protocol is a reminder of a time when they took their hands out of their pockets

11 September 2014 - In The Magnificent Seven Deadly Sins, a comedy made in 1971, Spike Milligan portrays Sloth as a tramp trying to get through a farm gate. This simple task is rendered almost impossible by the fact that he can’t be bothered to take his hands out of his pockets and open the latch. He tries everything: getting over it, under it, through it, hurling himself at it, risking mortal injury, expending far more energy and effort than the obvious solution would require.

This is how environmental diplomacy works. Governments gather to discuss an urgent problem and propose everything except the obvious solution – legislation. The last thing our self-hating states will contemplate is what they are empowered to do: govern. They will launch endless talks and commissions, devise elaborate market mechanisms, even offer massive subsidies to encourage better behaviour, rather than simply say “we’re stopping this”. read more>>>

Hope for clean economy as $20bn in green bonds are issued in 2014
From wind farms in Texas to energy efficiency in Mexico’s poorest neighbourhoods, bonds might sound dull but they’re a vital weapon against climate change

11 September 2014 - There are two reasons why Zurich Insurance Group, one of the largest public companies in the world, is investing $2bn in green bonds. The first is the environmental benefit of investing in projects that will reduce carbon pollution and limit global warming, whether it’s a wind farm in Texas or energy efficiency upgrades to refrigerators and air conditioners in Mexico’s poorest neighbourhoods. The second reason – and most critical to investors – is that green bonds are profitable.

“If opportunities exist that provide market returns as well as tangible measurable environmental impacts, then I think that is a great investment opportunity,” said Cecilia Reyes, group chief investment officer at Zurich, speaking earlier this year in New York. “The question to ask is not why invest in green bonds, but why not invest in green bonds.” read more>>>

Sun and Wind Alter Global Landscape, Leaving Utilities Behind
SEPT. 13, 2014 - Of all the developed nations, few have pushed harder than Germany to find a solution to global warming. And towering symbols of that drive are appearing in the middle of the North Sea.

They are wind turbines, standing as far as 60 miles from the mainland, stretching as high as 60-story buildings and costing up to $30 million apiece. On some of these giant machines, a single blade roughly equals the wingspan of the largest airliner in the sky, the Airbus A380. By year’s end, scores of new turbines will be sending low-emission electricity to German cities hundreds of miles to the south.

It will be another milestone in Germany’s costly attempt to remake its electricity system, an ambitious project that has already produced striking results: read more>>>

Both Red & Blue States Green On Energy, Stanford Says
September 13th, 2014 - With Congress squelching innovation in Washington, we need to look to the states for policies green on energy. A study released by Stanford University and the Hoover Institution this week (The State Clean Energy Cookbook: A Dozen Recipes for State Action on Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy) cites 12 innovative projects being implemented by almost 20 state governments (and one federal program) that can inform other capitals and industry about successful approaches.

States have done more to modernize energy than the federal government. They have spurred renewable energy and energy-efficiency programs that improve the economy and reduce emissions at minimal cost. Says George Schulz, coauthor of the cookbook, former Secretary of both State and Treasury, and chair of the Hoover Institution’s Shultz-Stephenson Task Force on Energy Policy: read more>>>

Keep Kansas’ renewable energy mandate and the benefits of wind power
09/13/2014 - Despite Gov. Sam Brownback’s sudden lack of support for it, the renewable energy mandate in Kansas deserves to be kept in place.

The Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requires the state to get at least 20 percent of its electric power from sources such as the sun and wind by 2020. It has created thousands of jobs in the wind industry, provided new income to farmers and kept electricity prices in check for utility customers since bipartisan approval by the Kansas Legislature in 2009.

Unfortunately, its few enemies are rich and influential in the strong-arm kind of way when it comes to lavishing campaign contributions on lawmakers.

Opponents include special interest groups that financially benefit from the dominance of coal and other polluting fossil fuels (hello, Koch Industries) as well as conservative lobbying groups such as the American Legislative Exchange Council, Americans for Prosperity (a Koch-funded group) and the Kansas Chamber of Commerce. read more>>>

Barnes & Noble

Ethiopia: Fast Track Project for Green Economy
8 September 2014 - The Ministry of Forest and Environment said the Fast Track Project will facilitate the implementation of the Ethiopian Climate Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) Strategy.

State Minister Kebede Yimam said, on a consultative meeting held at Adama town, that the Fast Track Project Implementation has a great role for scientific forest development in the country.

The project also helps to balance the ecology of an environment where it is being implemented, he added. read more>>>

New ‘Green Growth’ Report Shows How the U.S. Can Cut Carbon Pollution by 40 Percent While Creating 2.7 Million New Jobs
Summary of Report Co-Authored by the UMass Amherst Political Economy Research Institute and the Center for American Progress Now Available Online

8-Sep-2014 - The University of Massachusetts Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) and the Center for American Progress have announced a groundbreaking report that quantifies the investment and technology deployment needed for the United States to do its part to avoid the worst consequences of climate change. Released as climate leaders and policymakers meet in Nevada for the seventh annual National Clean Energy Summit, the executive summary for “Green Growth: A U.S. Program for Controlling Climate Change and Expanding Job Opportunities” shows that the United States can cut its carbon pollution by 40 percent from 2005 levels and create a net increase of 2.7 million clean energy jobs in the process, reducing the unemployment rate by 1.5 percentage points.

The complete report, which is scheduled for release in the coming weeks, also provides analysis showing the need for a substantial new wave of mostly private investment in advanced energy technology and higher performing buildings, as well as public and private investment in efficient infrastructure. read more>>>

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 10 September 2014

X-ray imaging paves way for novel solar cell production
9 September 2014 - The sharp X-ray vision of DESY's research light source PETRA III paves the way for a new technique to produce cheap, flexible and versatile double solar cells. The method developed by scientists from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) in Roskilde can reliably produce efficient tandem plastic solar cells of many metres in length, as a team around senior researcher Jens W. Andreasen reports in the journal Advanced Energy Materials.

The scientists used a production process, where the different layers of a polymer (plastic) solar cell are coated from various solutions onto a flexible substrate. This way, the solar cell can be produced fast and cheap in a roll-to-roll process and in almost any desired length - up to several kilometers long single solar cell modules have already been manufactured. read more>>>

Solar power rules to boost India’s energy security
As power cuts strike northern India, new rules mean solar panels could answer energy security problems

9 September 2014 - A power crisis crippled north India this summer, with daily power cuts of up to five hours in the capital city of New Delhi.

Regional governments are increasingly looking to solar power to solve the problem. An estimated 300 million Indians have no access to electricity.

The governments of four Indian states – Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh – have already put in place policies to support solar power. read more>>>

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Interest in Solar Water Heating Spreads Globally
SEPT. 3, 2014 - To produce milk and cheese for the world, dairies need cows and grass. But they also go through enormous amounts of hot water each day to flush out milk lines and clean other equipment. And so farmers on King Island, part of the Australian state of Tasmania, were delighted when workers began installing solar arrays on their dairies’ rooftops to capture the energy of the harsh Australian sun and use it to heat water.

“They actually look quite attractive, believe it or not,” said Troy Smith, who heads a farmers’ group on the island. He estimates that the solar hot water gear, set up earlier this year, will lower power costs 10 to 15 percent. The Tasmanian government financed the equipment with a $188,000 grant, and the dairy farmers paid for related expenses like roofing and electrical upgrades. read more>>>

UN official: New York climate summit a 'major turning point'
09/08/14 - The United Nations climate summit in New York is expected to be a "major turning point" for negotiations on an international pact to address global warming, according to officials organizing the event.

Selwin Hart, director of the U.N. climate team under Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, said on call with reporters Monday that the summit "will be a major turning point in the way the world is approaching climate change," and is meant to put the issue "back on top of the international agenda."

Over 100 heads of state and government leaders, including President Obama, are expected to attend the summit on Sept. 23. read more>>>

California Successfully Emphasizes Renewable Energy Commitment
September 8, 2014 - Over the years, California has justifiably claimed the exalted position of originator of new ideas in fashion, entertainment, social media, and even electric cars. The state’s Silicon Valley is the shining symbol of the world’s breakthrough communications technology.

But now it seems that a significant escalation of solar energy and, to a lesser extent, “wind” is lending credibility to the once improbable California campaign to generate one-third of its power from renewable resources by 2020. This now realizable objective is personified by “NextEra Resources’ Blythe Solar Project” by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Although originally eclipsed by the 1,000 megawatt photovoltaic farm originally proposed, conceivably the largest solar project in the world, the implementation of “Blythe” will generate enough power to service 485,000 homes, and reduce gas emissions by 400,000 metric tons per year. read more>>>

'Blue-Green Economy' Needed for Island Nations Threatened by Rising Sea, Says UN
Sep 02, 2014 - Small island nations have been facing increasing difficulties as the state of the world continues to change. Now the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is recommending that small island developing states (SIDS) adapt a new strategy for socioeconomic purposes to weather the storm of climate change.

Experts are calling the bulk of this strategy a "blue-green economy," which was detailed in the UNEP's Global Environment Outlook SIDS Outlook report.

The report recommends that SIDS take significant action to break away from "business as usual" - where island nations are left further and further behind even other developing states in areas like economics and technology. read more>>>

How to make a community microgrid: Follow San Francisco?
September 02, 2014 - If neighborhoods controlled their power supply, chances are many would opt for clean and efficient energy, especially if it’s cost-effective.

But energy choices aren’t left to the locals in the United States. Instead, utilities, cities and states determine our mix of power plants.

Communities might have more say if they develop their own microgrids. But there are some practical issues to resolve before we see community microgrids emerge in great numbers. read more>>>

State governments pushing cities and utilities to get microgrids
Sep 2, 2014 - A giant snowstorm knocked out power to Connecticut's Wesleyan University three years ago. University officials hope it will never happen again thanks to a recently installed microgrid. Wesleyan can now generate its own power during an outage. It can also serve as a disaster coordination center for the region.

The microgrid concept is gaining popularity especially in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey and New York, all of which have microgrid initiatives. With severe weather becoming more common, these states are turning to microgrids to minimize the impact. read more>>>

Africa: Momentum Building for a Greener and More Inclusive Economy
1 September 2014 - A quarter of the world's countries are now pursuing green economy plans Three new reports to support governments in building greener and more inclusive economies unveiled at the Green Economy Coalition annual meeting

Green economy policies are spreading worldwide at an increasing pace, with more than 65 countries now actively pursuing green economy policies and 48 of them taking steps to develop national green economy plans.

These figures were presented by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) at the Green Economy Coalition's first public annual meeting, which is assessing the status of green economy around the world and particularly progress towards financial reform. read more>>>

PV system supports biodiversity
02.09.2014 - A recent study has demonstrated that the Citizens' Solar Power Plant Vienna-Liesing helps to protect rare species of animals. Even field hamsters have settled at the site of the photovoltaic system.

The ground-mounted system consists of nearly 4,000 solar modules and preserves the green areas of the region as a natural habitat for insects and small animals. During construction of the photovoltaic system in the vicinity of Heizwerk Süd, particular attention was paid to the natural environment at the location. This allowed new habitats to be created. read more>>>

Green Bonds Add to $5.7 Trillion Privately Invested in the Green Economy
September 2, 2014 - The first two quarters of 2014 show the Green Transition Scoreboard® (GTS) at $5.7 trillion in private investments and commitments since 2007. This confirms the green economy is on track to reach $10 trillion in investments by 2020 to effectively scale innovations and reduce costs in green technologies as the world transitions to the Solar Age.

The 2014 mid-year update “Green Bonds Growing Green Infrastructure” focuses on the bond markets’ addition of green, impact and ESG (environmental, social, governance) targeted bond issues. These new bonds provide long-term investment opportunities to pension funds and other institutional investors as global policy makers, corporations and asset managers see demand for investments in infrastructure, environmental, social and human capital being integrated into financial markets. “This update of the Green Transition Scoreboard gives you a ‘one stop reference’ to the dynamic and growing area of Green Bonds, all the latest in a few pages - great job!,” says Peter Lynch, principal, Salem Financial, Inc. read more>>>

GridShare launches crowdfunding platform for renewable energy projects
13 August 2014 - GridShare LLC has launched an independent crowdfunding platform to help renewable energy projects and cleantech companies raise capital.

In a written statement, the company said its online platform will enable renewable energy project developers and cleantech companies from around the world post their funding needs.

Potential investors can then peruse investment opportunities in a variety of renewable energy sectors, including: solar, wind, geothermal, and biogas. The site will also host micro-hydro projects, green building initiatives, and cleantech companies that are raising funds to develop alternative energy technologies or expand their existing green businesses. read more>>>