Friday, August 30, 2013

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 30 August 2013

Ameren Illinois opens smart grid testing center in Illinois
08/22/2013 - Ameren Illinois opened a $3.3 million testing facility to assist with research and development of smart grid technologies. The Technology Applications Center (TAC) will provide small businesses and entrepreneurs with the infrastructure and resources needed to test programs, technologies, business models and other smart grid-related energy improvements on a live electric grid.

The TAC is a component of the Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act (EIMA) passed by the General Assembly in 2011. Under EIMA, also known as the smart grid act, Ameren Illinois is investing an additional $643 million over 10 years, through its Modernization Action Plan, or MAP, to make improvements to the electric grid to make it more efficient and reliable and to create hundreds of new jobs. read more>>>

More Renewable Power Coming, Thanks to State Initiatives
Installations of wind and solar projects is expected to increase

August 22 2013 - U.S. investment in clean energy was down in 2012 after breaking records all through 2011, but rapidly declining installment costs mean deployments are likely to continue to rise, according to new analysis from Ernst & Young LLP, a multinational accounting firm.

The report ranked the renewable energy "attractiveness indices" for all 50 states, and those numbers remained similar -- California and Texas continue to dominate the market, with Hawaii making the strongest jump last year through significant solar and wind gains. read more>>>

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AWEA: Tax Reform Talks Provide Best Opportunity To Extend PTC
August 22 2013 - The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) will be looking to include an extension of the production tax credit (PTC) as part of upcoming Capitol Hill discussions on tax reform. Tom Kiernan, the association's CEO, revealed the plans at the 10th Annual American Renewable Energy Day (AREDay), recently held in Aspen, Colo.

Appearing on a panel with Susan Reilly, CEO at RES Americas, and Susan Innis, senior manager of public affairs at Vestas, Kiernan highlighted for attendees the extraordinary success the U.S. wind industry experienced in 2012, a record-breaking year that included more than 13 GW in installed capacity. read more>>>

A Quest for Even Safer Drinking Water
August 26, 2013 - On a muggy Friday afternoon in a strip mall parking lot, as thunder echoed in the Alleghenies and cottonwood seeds floated on the breeze, Lee Stanish, 32, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Colorado Boulder, and Natalie Hull, 24, a lab manager, stepped out of a white van, its hood plastered with dead insects.

After a brief conversation with a chain store manager, the two women retrieved a large black container from their van and wheeled it into the bathroom. Ms. Hull opened the faucet and let the cold water run. The two snapped on disposable gloves, unpacked their equipment, and began collecting tap water. read more>>>

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Green Jobs for Young Marylanders
August 27, 2013 - It's not easy landing that first job, but it just got easier for a few dozen young Marylanders interested in improving the environment. Today in Annapolis, the Chesapeake Bay Trust is announcing the names of 26 newly-selected members of its Conservation Corps.

According to Trust executive director Jana Davis, the participants will be helping schools, nonprofits, and businesses launch environmentally-friendly initiatives, while boosting their own career prospects. read more>>>

Obama administration announces plan to boost NJ Transit energy grid
08/26/13 - The Department of Energy (DOE) announced on Monday that it was forming a partnership with New Jersey Transit to improve the state agency's energy grid.

The effort is part of President Obama's attempts to guard grid transit agencies that were damaged during Hurricane Sandy against future storms, the DOE said.

“The President’s Climate Action Plan calls for making our nation’s infrastructure smarter and stronger so that it can withstand new and more serious environmental threats and increasingly severe weather events,” Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in a statement. read more>>>

When a wind turbine comes knocking: Wind farms have no impact on home values
August 27, 2013 - Wind turbines are the fastest growing energy source in the US and as wind farms spread across the landscape there have been worries that they’ll affect the value of nearby homes. No need to worry say researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

That’s good news since wind turbines are sprouting up like dandelions. read more>>>

China Power Seen Doubling With Renewables as Coal Holds Sway
Aug 26, 2013 - China’s generation capacity will more than double to 2030, with half of all new plants powered by renewable energy and coal remaining the most important fuel, analysts said.

China may add 1,583 gigawatts of capacity and attract $1.4 trillion in renewables investment by that year, according to a Bloomberg New Energy Finance report. Coal will still account for more than 50 percent of power generation, the London-based researcher said. read more>>>

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Jackson firm helping Wayne State University with project aimed at reducing harmful emissions from electricity
August 27, 2013 - Imagine being able to program your washing machine to run when it will be less harmful to the environment by releasing less toxic emissions.

To make this a reality, Jackson-based Commonwealth Associates was selected to be part of a Wayne State University research team looking at ways to utilize a recently developed technology that shows in real-time the amount of harmful toxins released into the environment when running electricity. read more>>>

Exide to begin testing for dangerous metals buildup in neighborhood
Responding to Exide neighbors' health concerns, California ordered Vernon battery plant to test for toxic substances in soil and dust.

August 27, 2013 - State officials have ordered a Vernon battery recycler to begin testing dust and soil in the neighborhood around its plant to determine whether dangerous metals have accumulated and are posing a health risk to the community.

In April, the state tried to close the Exide Technologies facility, after an analysis released by the South Coast Air Quality Management District showed that arsenic emissions from the plant were posing an increased cancer risk to as many as 110,000 people in Boyle Heights, Maywood, Huntington Park and other places. The state also contended that the plant was continuously leaking hazardous waste through a faulty pipeline. read more>>>

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 28 August 2013

The Military Connects Microgrids for a ‘Secure Cluster’ of Power Networks
A new project will link three U.S. Navy microgrids into a mutually reinforcing, power-sharing unit.

August 26, 2013 - Nobody is more interested in microgrids than the U.S. military. The idea of self-sustaining energy islands that can stay on even during grid-wide blackouts is of obvious value to military bases, which can’t let power outages keep them from performing their missions.

But what if those military microgrids could also serve a broader set of purposes, by linking themselves to one another, or even to the grid at large? That’s a question that the U.S. Navy is now striving to answer, via a first-ever project meant to tie three separate microgrids in San Diego, Calif. into a functioning whole. read more>>>

International Indoor Soccer Arena Benefits From Solar Energy
Aug. 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In business, overhead expense refers to an ongoing expense of operating a business. Energy costs are a big component of overhead in many businesses. The International Indoor Soccer Arena (IISA) located in Albuquerque, recently trimmed its overhead expenses by installing a 44.95kW-DC roof mounted solar PV system. August marked the first full billing cycle of solar production since the system was turned on by PNM. The result was that IISA went from a bill of almost $1,500 to a credit of $41.33. They swapped their bill for a check! One year prior, the electric bill showed a usage of 9,520kWh with a bill of $1,428.43. By having solar installed, IISA saw a 103% reduction in their July electric bill.

Gabe Nosseir, owner and general manager of IISA contacted Affordable Solar with the intention of gaining control of the electric costs associated with operating the indoor soccer arena. read more>>>

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Solar Exchange to Unveil Global Solar Marketplace
Cloud-Based Platform Spawns Global Trade Hub for Entire Solar Value Chain

Aug 26, 2013 - Solar Exchange announced today the launch date of its cloud-based commerce platform which automates the buying and selling of goods for the solar industry. Beginning September 9, professionals across the solar value chain will be able to do business with each other utilizing the Solar Exchange trading platform, a new way to buy and sell materials and finished goods on a global basis.

Solar Exchange utilizes online business-to-business (B2B) auctions and request for quote (RFQ) capabilities to facilitate sales and procurement activities. read more>>>

DOE, State Of New Jersey Partner On Microgrid For Transit System
August 26 2013 - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced it will partner with the State of New Jersey, NJ Transit and the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to develop a microgrid to help power the state's transit system.

"As we rebuild New Jersey from Superstorm Sandy, I am committed to making our state stronger and more resilient. NJ TRANSITGRID is an important step in that process," says New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

“This first-of-its-kind electrical microgrid will supply highly reliable power during storms and help keep our public transportation systems running during natural times of disaster, which is critical not only to our economy, but also emergency- and evacuation-related activities,” he continues. read more>>>

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New tools could save 28B gallons of water annually
August 27, 2013 - Not only do buildings consume 40 percent of the country's energy, but they use vast amounts of another precious resource -- water. Buildings with cooling towers typically use 28 percent of their daily water for cooling. As drought conditions persist across many parts of the country, a new suite of tools could help utilities save U.S. commercial facilities save up to 28 billion gallons of water annually and reduce water demand by 14 to 40 percent.

The tools come from the Environmental Defense Fund -- the result of data produced from pilot projects at AT&T facilities across the United States. read more>>>

ABB positions world's most powerful offshore wind connector in the North Sea
26 August 2013 - ABB has installed the world’s highest-voltage offshore converter station in the North Sea.

In a three-day operation, the 9,300 metric tonne platform (topside) including the converter station was transported offshore by barge around 75 km off the German coast. It was then lifted by the world's largest crane vessel Thialf and positioned on top of the already installed jacket. read more>>>

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USGBC Report Estimates Half of Commercial Construction Will Be Green By 2016
August 26, 2013 - A new report from the US Green Building Council (USGBC) suggests that at the rate green building is growing in the U.S., it may represent more than half of all commercial and institutional construction as soon as 2016.

The USGBC's report, LEED in Motion: People and Progress, measures the individuals and organizations that are driving and benefitting from green building. read more>>>

Albany NY becoming "smart cities" technology hub
August 27, 2013 - The SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) has acquired the landmark Kiernan Plaza in downtown Albany -- a critical step to spur revitalization of the vacant building into a hub for "smart cities" technology companies, research, education and workforce training.

"The transformation of Kiernan Plaza into the Smart Cities Technology Innovation Center will provide an innovative platform enabling groundbreaking research, education, and workforce training for emerging smart cities technologies," New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. read more>>>

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USGS moves to create climate change vulnerability database
08/20/13 - The United States Geological Survey (USGS) is moving to create a registry of climate change vulnerability to better protect wildlife, ecosystems and dams.

The registry will collect and display information on climate change adaptation projects underway across the country, Laura Thompson, a biologist with the USGS National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center, told The Hill. It will pool from federal, state, local and tribal governments, she said. read more>>>

Global warming is real, and it’s our fault — let’s fix it
August 20, 2013 - It’s us.

We did it.

And now we have to fix it.

It’s hard to imagine drawing any other conclusion from the latest news on global warming, this time from the preeminent body on the topic:

The odds are at least 95 percent that human activity is the cause of warming of the planet since the 1950s, a United Nations panel of experts has concluded in a draft report leaked to Reuters and the New York Times. The report, which may change slightly in its details but isn’t expected to deviate from its broad conclusions, will be finalized in late September. read more>>>