Friday, October 24, 2014

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 24 October 2014

Five Years, 2,000 Scientists and How Do You Wake People Up to Climate Change?
Oct 22, 2014 - The U.S. and European Union are pushing for a stronger explanation about the dangers of climate change and the consequences of failing to stem fossil-fuel emissions in the UN’s most extensive report on global warming.

The appeals are detailed in a document putting together comments from more than 30 governments about the United Nations report, due to be published next month. The study is the culmination of five years of work by some 2,000 scientists.

“This report is a story of what happens if we don’t act, and what can happen if we do,” U.S. negotiators wrote. “It should be an effective story.” The text, they said, “lacks a threading narrative.” read more>>>

Home Solar Power Discounts Are Worker Perk in New Program
OCT. 22, 2014 - Expanding the notion of corporate benefits beyond discounted health club memberships and low insurance rates, a group of major companies is set to offer employees access to cheaper solar systems for the home.

Under an arrangement announced Wednesday, employees of the companies — Cisco Systems, 3M, Kimberly-Clark and National Geographic — will be able to buy or lease solar systems for their homes at rates substantially lower than the national average, executives said. The program, offered through Geostellar, an online marketer of solar systems, will be available to more than 100,000 employees and will include options for their friends and families in the United States and parts of Canada. read more>>>

South Florida Wants to Be the 51st State Because of Climate Change Worries
Money and politics have divided Florida for decades, but the rising sea level has finally prodded the south into action.

October 23, 2014 - When a region wants to break away from its state or from the U.S.—whether we're talking about Texas, Vermont, or the former Confederate states—it's usually because of government, politics, and money. But for the city of South Miami, which earlier this month passed a resolution to separate southern from northern Florida, the main concern is climate change.

North and South Florida have had their differences for decades, says Walter Harris, vice mayor of South Miami. South Florida is largely urban and leans left, he says, whereas the north—where the capital, Tallahassee, is located—is mostly rural and much more conservative.

These long-standing political divisions are further fueled by an economic imbalance: according to the resolution for independence, 69 percent of Florida's 22 billion dollars of tax revenue comes from the 24 counties in the southern part of the state. read more>>>

Renewable energy crucial to Michigan
October 23, 2014 - The $10 billion a year Michigan businesses and residents pay for electricity makes it clear how central the energy sector is to the health of our economy.

For a strong manufacturing sector, we need an energy strategy that keeps costs down, minimizes the risk of price spikes, promotes economic development and preserves excellent reliability. Making energy efficiency and renewable power the foundation of our energy policy will achieve those goals while also protecting public health and the environment — themselves core components of a thriving economy.

To help Michigan regain its position as a manufacturing leader, state leaders should enact a strategy that: read more>>>

India sets overall wind energy target for 2017
16 October 2014 - India has set a target of achieving an overall wind energy installed capacity of 27.3GW by 2017 and 38.5GW by 2022.

According to estimates by Novonous, this will create a $31.25 billion opportunity for the wind market in India extending at least until 2022.

“The wind energy market in India has been growing for many years” said Ambarish Kumar Verma CEO of Novonous. “The total installed capacity of the Indian Wind Energy market is 21.13 MW and India stands at the 5th Rank in terms of the total installed wind power capacity just behind China, USA, Germany and Spain.” read more>>>

Renewable energy will power the green economy, innovation will drive it
October 18, 2014 - A green economy, according to the United Nations environment programme, is one that “results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities”. While seemingly altruistic, the concept is by no means unrealistic. Its viability is substantially improved by innovations in renewable energy, arguably the lifeblood of a sustainable economy.

Today we are experiencing a new energy transition. The numbers speak for themselves: in the year 2000, the total solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity installed globally was about 1.5 gigawatts (GW). Less than 15 years later, one commercial organisation has more than six times that capacity installed worldwide. This revolution is centred on the growing realisation that renewables – and solar in particular – are no longer just a subsidy-enabled option, but are cost-competitive with conventional fuels. read more>>>

Zuma urges S/Africa’s development sectors to “go green”
October 18, 2014 - South African President Jacob Zuma has encouraged all sectors in the country’s development efforts to implement measures to fight climate change, APA learnt on Saturday.“If all sectors implement the measures to fight climate change at the same time, together we can build the biggest mitigation buffer against climate change,â€� Zuma said at the official opening of the Environment House at the headquarters of the Ministry of Environmental Affairs in Pretoria.

According to the President, the solution to climate change and global warming problems lay in every development sector managing its affairs effectively. read more>>>

Bases exist for Saudi Arabia to have green future: Expert
October 18, 2014 - Saudi Arabia could consume as much oil as it exports by 2030 and it uses nearly 200bn kWh of electricity every year, according to an expert.

“There are excellent foundations here in Saudi Arabia for sustainability in green building and you can sense the commitment when the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment (PME) has initiated a decree that in 5 years all companies have to meet new air, water and noise pollution standards. As a start 90,000 mosque across the Kingdom would be made more eco-energy,” said John Mandyck, chief sustainability officer, UTC Building & Industrial Systems.

He added “therefore, Saudis should make their economy more energy, efficient and how to accelerate green building.” read more>>>

Barnes & Noble

Green economy for sustainable development
2014-10-18 - In recent times, government leaders, politicians, economists, ecologists and common people around the globe are increasingly becoming familiar with the concepts of green economy, green growth, green accounts, green banking and green jobs. Lots of seminars and publicity are taking place in different countries to create awareness on these among the general people and the policymakers.

Developing countries have invested heavily in green technology, causing the south-south renewable trade to grow faster than global trade, a new report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) revealed.

Speaking at the launch of the report, UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner referred to a widely-held belief that environmental goods and services could potentially harm the economies of developing states, because they cannot have a competitive edge over goods and services based on industrial technology. read more>>>

China Puts Teeth Into Gas-Mileage Rules, Will 'Punish' Makers Who Don't Comply
October 17, 2014 - Several countries are implementing stricter fuel-efficiency standards, but none appear to be enforcing them as strictly as China.

Perhaps thinking U.S.-style fines were too lenient, the country that is now the world's largest new-car market will "punish" carmakers who don't comply with upcoming gas-mileage rules.

China will restrict production and publicly name the automakers who fail to meet fuel-economy targets for 2015, Reuters reports. read more>>>

Smart Cities are Driving Change Across the Energy Sector, According to Navigant Research
Oct 16, 2014 - A new white paper from Navigant Research examines the critical issues facing cities and utilities as they develop energy policies suited for the 21st century.

Cities are a focal point for some of the most profound economic, environmental, social, and technological issues facing the world today. There is increasing demand to move to cleaner and more efficient energy resources to meet the demands of an urban population that will expand by 2.4 billion people during the next 35 years. Click to tweet: According to a new white paper from Navigant Research, the spread of smart city technologies and policies, developed in response to the rapid growth and change happening in cities around the world, is helping to drive sweeping and fundamental changes in the energy landscape. read more>>>

Google to test flying wind turbines in Hawaii
Oct. 13, 2014 - The tech giant Google is looking to start a pilot project to test a flying wind turbine design that could revolutionise the wind energy sector.

According to reports, the company has selected a site on Hawaii where it hopes to develop and test its latest innovation.

Makani Power, which Google acquired last year and absorbed into its Google X division, is running the project and has designed lightweight kites that can harness energy from high-altitude winds. read more>>>

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 23 October 2014

New Report: Action Needed Now to Fix Climate Change Preparedness Deficit
Conservation, Insurance Leaders Urge Reinvestment in Natural Defenses

10-20-2014 - Climate impacts are hitting home faster than governments are adapting, but it’s not too late to protect our communities with cost-effective, nature-based approaches for risk reduction, according to a new report from the National Wildlife Federation, Allied World Assurance Company Holdings, LG, and Earth Economics. Natural Defenses from Hurricanes and Floods: Protecting America’s Communities and Ecosystems in an Era of Extreme Weather takes an in-depth look at the growing risks we face from these potentially-catastrophic natural hazards, the policy solutions that can safeguard people, property and wildlife habitats, and local case studies that point the way forward. It calls on America to substantially increase our investments in proactive risk reduction measures at a “Marshall Plan” scale that takes into consideration the growing risks from more intense storms, flooding and sea level rise. read more>>>

California looks to curb methane emissions
October 20, 2014 - Pressure is growing on regulators in California and Washington, D.C., to crack down on methane, a greenhouse gas that’s 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide and is accelerating the warming of the planet.

Methane, the main component of natural gas, escapes into the atmosphere through leaks in drilling operations and pipeline delivery. Sometimes the gas is vented or intentionally burned as waste by oil companies, particularly in the Bakken fields of North Dakota.

The Environmental Protection Agency is considering new rules to target methane emissions from oil and gas, which account for a quarter of the methane emissions in the United States, according to the agency. read more>>>

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Hacker, Terrorist Threats Spur Bases to Build Power Grids
Military Worries About Facilities Being Linked to Vulnerable Utility Companies

Oct. 21, 2014 - Fear that utility companies remain vulnerable to hackers, terrorists and natural disasters has the Pentagon pushing construction of independent power grids at military bases across the U.S., including one nearing completion here at the Marine Corps combat center.

The base at Twentynine Palms, home to about 22,000 people and spread across 1,100 square miles of the Mojave Desert, still buys power from Southern California Edison. But soon it will be able to operate even if there is a blackout, using a system of small power plants, solar panels, batteries and diesel generators. It already is saving $10 million a year in energy costs.

Dozens of U.S. bases are marching in the same direction as they try to keep up with the growing power demands of a modern military. “A lot of bases want what we’ve got,” said Gary Morrissett, the energy manager at Twentynine Palms. read more

Climate records are breaking so often now, we’ve stopped paying attention
October 21 2014 - On Monday, we learned from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that last September was the hottest of them all, out of 135 Septembers going back to 1880.The same was true for August 2014. And June of 2014. And May of 2014. What that means is that for each of these months, the combined average global land and ocean surface temperature has never been higher, at least since we started recording these temperatures back in the presidency of Rutherford B. Hayes.

These kinds of records are becoming so regular that they're starting to seem a lot less impressive. They're shrug-inducing. But to think of them in that way is a mistake. A little context shows just how dramatic the warming of the globe, on a month-by-month basis, has actually been. read more>>>

Top 10 Greenest Countries in the World
October 21, 2014 - How green is your native land? The 4th edition of the Global Green Economy Index, produced by private U.S.-based consultancy Dual Citizen LLC, has just been released, and you can look it up. The index provides an in-depth look at how 60 countries and 70 cities are doing in developing more environmentally friendly economies, in actual performance and in how experts perceive their performance.

“We first published the Global Green Economy Index in 2010 guided by a belief that the environment, climate change and green, low-carbon growth would rapidly become defining issues for national policy makers and the global reputation of countries,” says the report’s introduction. “As we went to press, 2,646 events in nearly 162 countries mobilized pressure on over 100 world leaders gathered in New York at the United Nations to take substantive and binding action on climate change. The link between these issues and the reputation of leaders and nation states is more vivid today than ever before.” read more>>>

Ethiopia Shows Developing World How to Make a Green Economy Prosper
Oct 16 2014 (IPS) - Ethiopia has experienced its fair share of environmental damage and degradation but nowadays it is increasingly setting an example on how to combat climate change while also achieving economic growth.

“It is very well known by the international community that Ethiopia is one of the front-runners of international climate policy, if not the leading African country,” Fritz Jung, the representative of bilateral development cooperation at the Addis Ababa German Embassy, tells IPS.

This Horn of Africa nation has learned more than most that one of the most critical challenges facing developing countries is achieving economic prosperity that is sustainable and counters climate change. read more>>>

World’s First Net-Zero Exhibit Space to be Unveiled at Greenbuild 2014
October 16, 2014 - Hanley Wood, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and EMerge Alliance announced that the world’s first Net Zero Zone will be unveiled at the 2014 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo taking place October 22-24 at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans.

“Driven by the innovative work of EMerge Alliance and its members, the launch of the new Net Zero Zone will make Greenbuild 2014 the first conference and expo to have exhibition space where booths are fully powered by an on-site microgrid including alternate energy generation, storage and distribution,” said Lindsay Roberts, show director, Greenbuild. “This is an important step for the trade show industry and sends a strong message to the entire green building movement that hybrid power in buildings is both possible and practical.”

The Net Zero Zone at Greenbuild will focus on three areas: read more>>>

Sunswift solar-powered car smashes 26-year EV speed record
Oct 16th 2014 - We're not sure which is more impressive: that a team of Australian students set a new distance-speed record for an electric vehicle or the fact that the driver got that little solar-powered bad boy up to 82 miles per hour. Either way, the Sunswift team at University of New South Wales (NSW) has earned the right to crow about their solar-powered EV. It broke a record that stood for 26 years.

The team performed the feat a few months back, but it has now been officially verified by the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile governing body. The 700-pound car ran at an average speed of more than 100 kilometers per hour (62 mph) over a 500-kilometer (311-mile) stretch. To put those numbers another way, the Sunswift made a Chicago-to-Detroit-equivalent drive using about 44 cents worth of electricity, and it even had a few miles to spare. G'day, indeed. read more>>>

Panel installation begins on Washington DC universities' 52 MW solar project
16. October 2014 - An innovative solar project involving three universities in Washington, D.C., and a solar plant in North Carolina has begun taking shape after SunEnergy1 announced that it has begun installing JinkoSolar panels at the Duke Energy-owned site.

The 52 MW solar farm in eastern North Carolina, dubbed the Capital Partners Solar Project, is unique in that all solar power generated will be piped to three customers in nearby Washington, D.C., – the higher education establishments of George Washington University, American University and the George Washington University Hospital. read more>>>

Wisconsin Green Building Alliance honors state's greenest projects
Oct. 16, 2014 - Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. tore down a 16-story building to make way for its new office tower, but the company also has worked to rehabilitate some of its older buildings.

Case in point: the seven-story Van Buren Office Building, which the insurance company gutted and modernized. In the process, the architect and construction team on that project made it among the most efficient and environmentally friendly buildings in Wisconsin.

Northwestern Mutual transformed an older space into a modern office building with "remarkable" energy efficiency including LED lighting, daylighting and strong insulation, judges of the Wisconsin Green Building Alliance's annual contest found. read more>>>

Energy sector is key to powering prosperity in sub-Saharan Africa, says IEA
14 October 2014 - Increasing access to modern forms of energy is crucial to unlocking faster economic and social development in sub Saharan Africa, according to the International Energy Agency’s Africa Energy Outlook, a Special Report in the 2014 World Energy Outlook series.

More than 620 million people in the region live without electricity, and nearly 730 million people rely on dangerous, inefficient forms of cooking. The use of solid biomass (mainly wood and charcoal) outweighs that of all other fuels combined, and average electricity consumption per capita is not enough to power a single 50-watt light bulb continuously. read more>>>

Triodos Renewables launches crowdfunded share issue
15 October 2014 - Triodos Renewables has launched a major £5 million share offer aimed at raising funds for investment in constructing new UK renewable energy generation assets.

The money raised by the share issue will be used by the company to further grow electricity generation capacity across the country. Triodos Renewables already owns and operates eleven renewable energy projects across the UK totalling 53MW. This includes the recently constructed Avonmouth wind farm near Bristol. A further four projects are being developed by the company, including one at Boardinghouse in Cambridgeshire. read more>>>