Thursday, May 16, 2013

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 16 May 2013

Florida residential solar market gets a little sunnier
May 15th, 2013 - Installing a solar energy system on a home in Florida may soon be less of a financial headache for residential property owners. That’s because the Florida legislature recently passed House bill 277. It exempts the value of renewable energy devices from the assessed value of new and existing residential property. The bill awaits the governor’s signature to become law. The exemption not only applies to solar energy systems, but also exempts wind energy and energy derived from geothermal systems. Once signed into law, any increase in the value of residential property, for property tax purposes, can’t be attributed to the value of a newly installed renewable energy device. It applies to assessments beginning January 1, 2014. That removes homeowners’ worries that the installation of solar thermal or solar photovoltaic (PV) system will inadvertently play a role in increasing their property taxes. read more>>>

Scotland’s Rockstar Clean Energy Leadership — 39% Renewable Electricity Today, 100% By 2020, & More
May 15, 2013 - Scotland may not be as large as Germany or Australia or the US, but it certainly deserves a bit more attention when it comes to its clean energy leadership.

Scotland already gets over 30% renewable electricity — about 33% today according to the interviewee in the first video below; 39% of total electricity demand in 2012, according to the Scottish government. It has a 2020 target of 100% renewable electricity. And it also has an ambitious overall renewable energy target. read more>>>

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UC San Diego "Grand Champion" of energy efficiency
May 15, 2013 - San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) has announced the winners of its Energy Champion awards for excellence in energy savings and outstanding energy-efficiency efforts.

Collectively, these 11 SDG&E customers have saved more than 34 million kWh of electricity and more than 2 million therms of natural gas. In addition to their energy-saving efforts, many of this year's winners also offer electric vehicle charging to their employees and visitors.

The winners include:

Database to document smart grid developments
May 15, 2013 - As energy demand grows, the electrical supply industry is seeing rapid development as it evolves to meet new grid requirements. Significant overhaul of grids in both the U.S. and Canada have been reported, with more than 100,000 km of new line expected to be deployed to either replace aging infrastructure or provide added capacity. Total investments are estimated at $170 billion over the next eight years, according to research from NRG Expert.

As grids are upgraded and new technologies are implemented, developments in the electrical supply industry will be more important than ever. With this in mind, NRG Expert has released the Electrical Supply Industry Database. read more>>>

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Help Crowdsource Climate Change Research
05/14/2013 - Citizen scientists, environmentalists and anyone who lives near a power plant -- your services are requested. Climate change scientist Kevin Robert Gurney needs your help in a grand undertaking: the mapping of all the power plants in the world.

It's a big job, and he and the people in his lab cannot do it alone.

Gurney, an associate professor at Arizona State University, builds carbon dioxide emission data models that help him and others better understand how carbon moves around the planet and how it effects climate change. read more>>>

Going Green: State-funded Audits Help Farmers Save
04/16/2013 - Because they're busy with daily chores, farmers often can't find time to research the latest energy-efficient technology on the market.

Now, they have access to someone who has done that work for them. Community energy auditor Gerald K. Loch visits farms in the north country to slash energy costs. The expert from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County has started conducting free energy audits at farms this spring, thanks to $6.2 million in state funding awarded this year to the Agriculture Energy Efficiency Program from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. Along with providing farms free audits, the program funds up to 75 percent of energy-efficient equipment for which farmers qualify. Up to $250,000 can be awarded per farm. read more>>>

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Microgrids: Big Power, Small Grids
Bob Hebner spends his days researching how next-generation energy technologies, so-called microgrids, could help the nation avoid rolling blackouts, secure an airport during a natural disaster and deliver energy to a hospital during an emergency.

“Microgrids give greater reliability during an emergency and greater efficiency during normal day-to-day activities,” said Hebner, director of the Center for Electromechanics and professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

In the last 10 years, the technology to support these souped-up versions of power grids, or microgrids, has evolved, creating both challenges and opportunities. UT Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering is working to address these through theoretical modeling using super computers, as well as testing in real-world environments. read more>>>

SUPER Act to Slow Global Climate Change
May 13, 2013 - Environmental Investigation Agency: Late last week, Representative Scott Peters (CA-52) introduced the Super Pollutant Emissions Reduction Act of 2013 (the 'SUPER Act') as a first step to stopping emissions of short-lived climate pollutants, to slow down the rate of climate change.

Short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs), including methane, black carbon, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), and tropospheric ozone, are responsible for 40-45% of the man-made forcing causing climate change. read more>>>

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