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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 22 July 2014

New mega-map details all the ways climate change will affect our everyday lives
18 Jul 2014 - From flood barriers to fish stocks, a new super-graphic from the Met Office and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office shows how climate change is likely to alter human activity.

Looking at where our food comes from and how countries interact through travel and trade, it makes for a stark visualisation of what different regions can expect as climate change kicks in.

Mega-map read more>>>

Perry County man revamps truck to run solely on electricity
July 20, 2014 - When gasoline first hit $4 per gallon, Gary Nye began thinking about switching his truck to electric to save some money on gas and other repairs.

So when he found a 1990 Isuzu truck for $1,800 that matched all of his criteria, Nye decided to buy it and take on the project himself.

“(It) had to be stout enough to carry the weight of the batteries, it needed two-wheel drive. (Then) I removed all the internal combustion components, the gas tank, the radiator.” read more>>>

Solar Royal Solar Ventilation Attic Fan

Students Build Record-Breaking Solar Electric Car
July 20, 2014 - Sunswift, a team of engineering students from the University of New South Wales, designed and built a car that holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest solar-powered vehicle. In 2011, that car reached a top speed of 88 km/h (55 mph). The team hopes that its newest vehicle, eVe, will break a 20-year-old electric vehicle record for the highest average speed over a 500 km (310 mi) distance. The current record is 73 km/h (45 mph), and the Sunswift team is confident that eVe can beat that by a comfortable margin. For the record attempt on July 23, 2014, the car will only use a fully charged battery bank without help from its solar panels. read more>>>

Climate models on the mark, Australian-led research finds
July 21, 2014 - A common refrain by climate sceptics that surface temperatures have not warmed over the past 17 years, implying climate models predicting otherwise are unreliable, has been refuted by new research led by James Risbey, a senior CSIRO researcher.

Setting aside the fact the equal hottest years on record - 2005 and 2010 - fall well within the past 17 years, Dr Risbey and fellow researchers examined claims - including by some members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - that models overestimated global warming.

In a study published in Nature Climate Change on Monday, the team found that models actually generate good estimates of recent and past trends provided they also took into account natural variability, particularly the key El Nino-La Nina phases in the Pacific. read more>>>

Shoots of the green economy
July 14, 2014 - DURING a meeting of the organizing committee of the 9th Negros Island Organic Farmers Festival, a participant asked, “Has Negros Island attained the Green Economy?” The theme of the organic fair for the current year is “One Negros, One Green Economy.” So what is the Green Economy?

The World Resource Institute defines the Green Economy “as an alternative vision for growth and development; one that can generate growth and improvements in people’s lives in ways consistent with sustainable development. A Green Economy promotes a triple bottom line: sustaining and advancing economic, environmental and social well-being.”

On the other hand, UNEP’s working definition “as one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks from climate change, and ecological scarcities. read more>>>

Unsustainable conversion of forests to private wealth must cease, economist says
14 Jul 2014 - Shifting to a green economy will require ceasing the unsustainable conversion of public wealth to private wealth while accounting for for the full social costs of private-sector activities, according to a leading economist.

The idea is hardly a new one, but it has gained currency as demographic changes and unsustainable development have hastened degradation of the environment — particularly in Southeast Asia, where rapid growth has come at the expense of the region’s forests.

The benefits that forests provide, including water storage and management, carbon sequestration, crop pollination, biodiversity protection, among others, “are public goods and services — they don’t belong to anybody; they belong to everybody,” said Pavan Suhkdev, UN Environment Programme goodwill ambassador. read more>>>

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Deep within spinach leaves, vibrations enhance efficiency of photosynthesis
July 13, 2014 - Biophysics researchers at the University of Michigan have used short pulses of light to peer into the mechanics of photosynthesis and illuminate the role that molecule vibrations play in the energy conversion process that powers life on our planet.

The findings could potentially help engineers make more efficient solar cells and energy storage systems. They also inject new evidence into an ongoing "quantum biology" debate over exactly how photosynthesis manages to be so efficient.

Through photosynthesis, plants and some bacteria turn sunlight, water and carbon dioxide into food for themselves and oxygen for animals to breathe. It's perhaps the most important biochemical process on Earth and scientists don't yet fully understand how it works. read more>>>

This Is Where the World’s Most Energy-Efficient Buildings Are Being Invented
A first-of-its-kind lab in California is helping builders shrink your future home’s carbon footprint.

July 11, 2014 - High in the Berkeley Hills overlooking San Francisco Bay sit four modern steel-blue buildings that resemble pint-size Ikea stores. Inside, scientists have built a first-of-its-kind test bed to invent technology for the ultimate in green homes and office buildings.

Operated by Berkeley Lab, FLEXLAB is designed to ensure that energy-efficient buildings live up to their billing once construction is complete.

Green building architects currently can’t measure the energy consumption of all of a building’s components—such as lighting, heating, and air conditioning—during the design phase. FLEXLAB can help them nail down the right configuration by testing an entire building’s performance under real-world conditions. read more>>>

U.S. corporations' renewable energy demand presents clear market opportunity
July 14, 2014 - Utilities take note: 12 major U.S. corporations are sending you a message. They want more options for purchasing renewable energy.

Because utilities and energy suppliers are not meeting these companies' ambitious renewable energy targets, the 12 companies have signed the Renewable Energy Buyers' Principles in order to better communicate their purchasing needs and expectations to the marketplace. To this end, the World Resources Institute (WRI), the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Rocky Mountain Institute partnered to develop with the companies the principles, which spell out what the companies need in order to purchase more renewable energy, such as more procurement options and long-term contracts. read more>>>

Green Home’s Technologies Will Be Open to Building Industry
07/11/2014 - Late last month, Green Home Builder Magazine announced that construction on Affordable, Buildable, Certified (ABC) Green Home 2.0 will begin in Walnut, CA. The design team is led by project developer Nick Slevin, publisher of Green Home Builder and supported by Southern California Edison and Habitat for Humanity.

Architect Manny Gonzalez and his team KTGY Group Architecture + Planning in Los Angeles designed the home. The 2,400-square-foot plan will feature multi-generational living and provide smart home technology, which works together to automate a number of the home's basic systems, including the electrical, lighting, security and communication systems. In material reduction, the studs have been built 2 feet apart instead of the normal 16 inches and are constructed from 2-by-6-inch boards instead of 2-by-4 inch boards, which also allows for more insulation in the walls. read more>>>


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 19 July 2014

Offshore Wind Deal Boosts Clean Energy Investments by 9%
Jul 15, 2014 - Global investment in clean energy increased to $63.6 billion in the second quarter, boosted by the biggest deal in the industry’s history, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said.

Financing swelled 9 percent from a year earlier, and 33 percent from the first quarter, the London-based research company said today in an e-mailed statement. The main driver was the $3.8 billion backing of a 600-megawatt offshore wind farm off the coast of the Netherlands.

The increase marks a reversal after investments declined more than 20 percent from a 2011 peak, Michael Liebreich, chairman of BNEF’s advisory board, said in the statement. read more>>>

The International Energy Efficiency Scorecard
The International Energy Efficiency Scorecard ranks the world's largest economies on their energy efficiency policies and programs. The rankings include Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union.

Thirty-one different energy efficiency indicators have been analyzed for each economy ranked in the report. The rankings are determined by scoring out of 100 possible points. Points can be earned in four different categories, including buildings, industry, transportation, and national effort, which measures overall or cross-cutting indicators of energy use at the national level. read more>>>

Small Wind Turbine Generator for Clean Energy Power Production

Microsoft Greens the Internet With Its Largest Wind Energy Investment
July 15, 2014 - A new project from Microsoft will help the company make its Web footprint greener and help power Bing, XBox Live and other services with wind energy.

It also represents the company’s largest wind energy purchase.

The company took to its blog Monday morning to reveal plans for the Pilot Hill Wind Project—a 175 megawatt (MW) wind facility about 60 miles from Chicago, IL. Construction is under way with the farm scheduled to provide green power in 2015. read more>>>

The EPA’s carbon plan asks the least from states that pollute the most
July 16 2014 - The EPA’s Clean Power Plan is undoubtedly one of the biggest regulatory events in decades. The proposed rule under the Clean Air Act is the centerpiece of the Obama Administration’s strategy to address climate change, and its champions laud it as an important step in combating climate change and a boon to public health, while its detractors say it represents a war on coal and an abuse of executive power.

The rule provides every state with a target carbon-emissions intensity for its power plants, with preliminary standards kicking in by 2020 and full goals to be achieved by 2030. But where do those targets come from, and how demanding are they? read more>>>

Without Much Straining, Minnesota Reins In Its Utilities’ Carbon Emissions
JULY 17, 2014 - When city leaders and state legislators agreed last year to fund roughly half the $1 billion cost of a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings, they attached the usual strings for such projects: It had to be architecturally iconic, employ steel made from Minnesota iron ore and offer at least a few cheap seats.

It also had to be energy efficient, from lighting to building materials to the sources of its power. In this state, that is not unusual. Minnesota has mandated sharp reductions in energy use in every new state-financed building for more than a decade, and in renovated buildings for more than five years. read more>>>

Brilliance from Sea to Shining Sea: Which States are the Clean Energy Superstars?
July 17, 2014 - A great new report from the smart folks at CleanEdge looks in depth at which states are leading the clean energy charge in the United States. And, given the many ways to look at, the list of clean energy superstars is long. Here are eight slices from their analysis.

The Clean Energy Technology Leaders - Technology is one way to think about leadership—who’s getting what built, and how far out in front some states are.

Renewable electricity generation – How much of states’ electricity production comes from utility-scale wind, solar, and geothermal? The answer is more than 25 percent, in the case of leaders Iowa and South Dakota, and more than 15 percent for several others. read more>>>

Spring2012 428 x 60 - Outdoor Solar Lighting

China Focus: Green finance needs government intervention: experts
July 11, 2014 - The Chinese government should strengthen its control over financing of green projects in order to help the green economy grow, experts say during an environmental protection forum in Guiyang, capital of southwest China's Guizhou Province.

Ma Jun, economist with the People's Bank of China, the central bank, said there is currently little incentive for green investment in China, so polluting projects enjoy an oversupply of capital while environmentally friendly ones are faced with a severe capital shortage.

The country should build a policy system to direct more investment into the green sector, Ma said at the forum, scheduled to run from Thursday to Saturday. read more>>>

Net-Zero Boulder Home for Two Attorneys Produces 140% of the Energy it Needs
07/10/14 - This net-zero home designed for two Boulder, CO environmental attorneys by HMH Architecture & Interiors is built with sustainable materials throughout. The window design optimizes the amount of sunlight that comes in to keep the home cool in the summer and warm in the winter, while a 10kW rooftop solar array and hot water solar system produces 140 percent of the home’s energy every year. The excess power is sold back to Xcel Energy, which will eventually help pay off the initial investment. A beautiful showcase of cutting edge solar technology and green materials, the home is warm and livable – an essential component of this impressive design. read more>>>

6 Isolated Luxury Retreats for Off-Grid Living
07/12/14 - Going off-grid and using natural resources like the sun or wind to power your home is one of the modern ways to rebel against the system, and designers are proving that you don't need to sacrifice comfort or style in order to do so. You don't have to spend your life in a tent or live in a hobbit house to be completely self-sufficient—in fact, approximately 1.7 billion people are living off-grid worldwide at this very moment. Whether your goal is to reduce your carbon footprint, to save money, to prepare for the collapse of the oil economy, or just to be independent, check out this collection of off-grid retreats - including a sun-powered Alpine capsule and France's highest building! read more>>>

The city of Montréal makes it easier to charge electric cars downtown
03 July 2014 - It's just gotten easier to charge electric vehicles in downtown Montréal.

On Tuesday, Pierre Arcand, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, inaugurated the first curbside charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs) in downtown Montréal, with Montréal’s executive committee member in charge of transportation, Aref Salem, and Hydro-Québec President and Chief Executive Officer Thierry Vandal, representing the Electric Circuit, in attendance. read more>>>