Sunday, February 3, 2013

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 3 February 2013

World seed banks get funds to tackle climate, other threats
31 Jan 2013 - Scientists have agreed on a $109 million plan to strengthen the world's biggest seed banks of crops such as rice and wheat to help protect and develop new varieties resistant to climate change and other threats.

The Global Crop Diversity Trust and the CGIAR Consortium of agricultural researchers said on Thursday that a five-year plan would help secure storage of more than 700,000 samples of crops at 11 existing gene banks from the Philippines to Belgium.

"This will drive the creation of a real global system" to help safeguard food crops, Cary Fowler, outgoing head of the Bonn-based Trust, told Reuters in a telephone interview.

The funds will allow the collections to expand, put more information about genetic makeup of seeds on the Internet, and enable duplication of more seeds, partly to ensure that conflicts such as those occurring now in Syria or Mali do not wreck collections. read more>>>

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A One-Stop Shop for Water Worries
January 30, 2013 - Water, or the lack thereof, is one of the defining challenges of the 21st century. As temperatures rise and droughts become more frequent, the threat of dwindling water resources worries not just environmentalists and governments but companies and their investors, too.

Nearly every industrial sector, from food and beverages to mining to pharmaceuticals, depends on water for its operations. Figuring out which places are likely to be hit hardest can help a company either steer clear of a certain region or plan ahead to minimize damage to its business or supply chain.

Now, a new interactive tool is at hand to help clarify those risks. read more>>>

Natural gas, renewables and efficiency make emissions a winner
February 1, 2013 - New Research from Bloomberg New Energy Finance and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy paints a dynamic and quickly changing U.S. energy landscape in which natural gas and renewables have gained market share and energy efficiency is making a significant impact.

The research found that from 2007 to 2012, natural gas rose to 27.2 percent of total energy consumption (including electricity, heat, and transportation) from 23.4 percent, while renewables including wind, solar, biomass and hydropower have increased to 9.4 percent from 6.4 percent. During the same timeframe, coal declined to 18.1 percent from 22.5 percent and oil fell to 36.7 percent from 39.3 percent. read more>>>

Pure Citizen

Apple moves towards greener Chinese supply chain, report says
January 31, 2013 - A lot has been published about the labor issues that Apple has faced over the past two years, but much less about the environmental problems in the company’s supply chain. That is certainly not because the IT industry has a paltry impact on the environment.

To the contrary, IT manufacturing relies on a number of toxic metals and solvents and has a huge environmental impact that is quite apparent across China. NRDC and a Chinese NGO named the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE) have actively worked with Apple over the past year to recommend an improved environmental oversight program.

IPE released its latest report in Beijing this week on environmental pollution from the IT industry, focusing heavily on Apple’s transition to a much stronger player in supplier environmental oversight. read more>>>

Juhl Wind to install $8 million wind energy facility at Honda Plant in US
28 January 2013 - Juhl Wind, Inc., a developer of community-based wind power facilities, will install and operate two utility-scale wind turbines at Honda Transmission Mfg. of America Inc.'s plant in Russell's Point, Ohio.

The $8 million project is scheduled to be completed later this year.

Juhl Wind acquired the development asset from Boulder, Colorado-based NexGen Energy Partners in 2011, and is expected to take ownership in the project under its Juhl Renewable Asset subsidiary.

The Honda Wind Project represents a growing niche within our renewable energy development services, which includes installing 'behind the meter' wind and solar facilities for large industrial electricity users and corporate clients," said Corey Juhl, Juhl Wind's vice president of Project Development. "Our goal is to continue to grow this sector of our business by providing quality development services to companies that are looking to utilize renewable energy at their planned or existing facilities." read more>>>

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In the war against climate change, look to the states
January 27, 2013 - Nature’s signals are changing American minds about the risks of climate change. But Washington’s minds are lagging, despite President Obama’s stirring call to action in his inaugural speech.

The best hope for achieving the transition to a low-carbon economy is through innovation to reduce the costs of new energy technologies. Energy markets left to themselves will discount climate-change risks, so public action to encourage these innovations is needed. But public action does not mean putting government agencies at the center of the innovation system. Instead, the focus should be on unlocking the immense creativity and resources of America’s private entrepreneurs, investors, producers, and energy users.

The debate in Washington on how to do this has featured two and a half ideas — from Democrats, Republicans, and economists. read more>>>

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