Thursday, December 19, 2013

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 19 December 2013

WEF ranks nations on ability to deliver secure and affordable sustainable energy
11 December 2013 - The World Economic Forum released its annual Global Energy Architecture Performance Index this morning, hoping to help countries spur their efforts to meet energy challenges and opportunities in innovative ways.

Prepared in collaboration with Accenture, the Index assesses regions and 124 countries according to economic growth, environmental sustainability and energy security performance, analysing the complex trade-offs and dependencies that affect country efforts.

Norway tops the Index rankings, followed by New Zealand and France. The top ten is dominated by EU and OECD countries with the exception of Costa Rica and Colombia. 41 percent of energy supply in the top ten countries comes from low carbon energy sources, compared to a global average of 28 percent. read more>>>

IRENA's first-of-its-kind web portal demystifies renewable energy costs
10 December 2013 - The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) launched a unique web portal dedicated to renewable energy cost analysis on the opening day of its latest council meeting in Abu Dhabi.

The portal provides access to IRENA’s data and analysis at no cost to users.

“IRENA has developed the most current and comprehensive global database of renewable energy project costs available to the public. Our new portal makes this resource available for policy makers, businesses and the renewable energy community worldwide,” said Dolf Gielen, Director of the IRENA Innovation and Technology Centre in Bonn, Germany, and project leader for this initiative. read more>>>

UK renewables industry delighted at increased government support for renewable heating
06 December 2013 - The UK government has announced improved support for renewable heating through its Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) in a response document published this week.

The document, published by the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) entitled ‘Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive: Improving support, increasing uptake’, sets out a range of improvements and increased support under the non-domestic RHI. This covers Air to Water Heat Pumps, Energy from Waste and the Non-domestic Scheme Early Tariff Review. It also addresses the outcome of four calls for evidence relating to bio-propane, large biomass, ground source heat pumps and landfill gas. read more>>>

'Green economy' jobs will spring up across all sectors
It's not just wind turbine engineers and solar panel installers who can look forward to more work as the economy goes green - new careers will pop up across all sectors

12 Dec 2013 - Britain becoming more environmentally friendly is expected to create nearly half a million new jobs by 2020 - but not necessarily in the areas you might expect.

While the stereotypical view of a ‘green’ job is of a solar panel installer or wind turbine engineer working in the energy sector, the new roles will be created across a far more diverse range of businesses according to new research. read more>>>

Wind and Weather

Solar Cells Made Thin, Efficient and Flexible
Dec. 9, 2013 — Converting sunshine into electricity is not difficult, but doing so efficiently and on a large scale is one of the reasons why people still rely on the electric grid and not a national solar cell network.

But a team of researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Central Florida in Orlando may be one step closer to tapping into the full potential of solar cells. The team found a way to create large sheets of nanotextured, silicon micro-cell arrays that hold the promise of making solar cells lightweight, more efficient, bendable and easy to mass produce. read more>>>

Microgrid Control System Helps Faial Integrate Wind Power
Faial is one of 9 islands in the Azores, which is a Portugese archipelago between Europe and North America. This island currently relies on a 17 MW microgrid to supply about 15,000 people with power. As part of a goal to increase the island’s electricity production by about 25% — without having too much of an impact on the environment or the island’s tourism appeal – 5 wind turbines were recently installed there.

However, due to the fact that Faial is on a microgrid (a very small, localized power grid), grid stability was a concern, so the local utility company, Electricidade dos A├žores (EDA), decided to also use a system provided by ABB that controls the wind turbines and the grid’s oil-fired power plants in such a way that grid stability is constantly maintained, while minimizing the fuel consumption of the oil-fired generators. read more>>>

Kenyatta Launches Green Schools Programme
07 December 2013 - The President said one of his administration's key plans is creating and strengthening of Forest Conservation Committees and Community Forest Associations to instill a sense of ownership on communities.

Kenyatta was speaking during the official launch of Green Schools Programme at Michinda Primary School in Nyandarua County.

The programme whose theme is ‘Green Schools and Commercial Tree Growing for a Green Economy’ through tree planting will demonstrate simple technology interventions for sustainable forest protection.

“These community-based structures are at the forefront of forest protection and play a watchdog role, often whistle blowing whenever threats to forest conservation are detected, and I thank them for this,” Kenyatta said. read more>>>

Solari Green Tech Center programs expand
Dec 9th, 2013 - The clanging sound of metal tools echo through the workshop as students break into groups and set to work on a row of small-scale buildings at the Solari Green Technology Center in Watsonville on Tuesday.

Among the students is Mark Amott, a real estate analyst for Driscoll’s who is taking the Cabrillo College construction and energy management course as part of his ongoing training with the company.

As part of his job, Amott has to manage construction projects remotely, and the skills he is learning at the community college help him stay up to date with all the latest innovations in green building and construction. read more>>>

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Human Pressures Leave More Birds Critically Endangered
December 9, 2013 - The number of bird species listed as Critically Endangered has soared to an all-time high, reports BirdLife International with the release of this year’s Red List for Birds. Even so, some conservation efforts are succeeding.

Critically Endangered is the highest risk category on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species maintained by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. BirdLife is the authority for birds on the IUCN Red List.

“Almost 200 species of bird are now in real danger of being lost forever,” said Dr. Leon Bennun, BirdLife’s director of science, policy and information. “They are being hit on multiple fronts. Habitat loss, agricultural changes, invasive species and climate change are the principle threats. Without these problems being addressed the list will continue to grow.” read more>>>

Chevy Spark Gets 119 MPG, Tops 2014 U.S. Fuel Economy Guide
December 4, 2013 - Because it can travel 119 miles on the equivalent of a gallon of gasoline, the 2014 Chevrolet Spark electric subcompact car occupies the #1 spot in the official U.S. 2014 Fuel Economy Guide published Tuesday.

According to the Fuel Economy Guide released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy, the Chevy Spark gets 128 mpg equivalent in city driving and 109 mpge on the highway, for a combined mileage figure of 119 mpge.

The next most fuel efficient vehicle is the 2014 Honda Fit electric small station wagon. This model can travel 118 combined city and highway miles on the equivalent of a gallon of gasoline and has a range of 82 miles. read more>>>

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