Thursday, February 28, 2013

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 28 February 2013

Solar3D Files PCT International Patent Application for Breakthrough 3-Dimensional Solar Cell
February 26, 2013 - Solar3D, Inc., the developer of a breakthrough 3-dimensional solar cell technology to maximize the conversion of sunlight into electricity, today announced that the Company has filed a Patent Cooperation Treaty international application for its next generation solar cell design and methods of fabrication in the United States Receiving Office. Pursuant to current regulations, all countries that are currently PCT contracting states were designated in the PCT application.

"This is the first big step in the final stretch toward making the Solar3D Cell available to the world. As we approach commercialization, we felt it imperative to expand the scope of our filing to cover our technology, process, and our potential geographic marketplace," said Jim Nelson, CEO, Solar3D. "Since we filed our initial patent application in 2010 and subsequent applications in 2012, we have made a number of new advances that have us poised to take an extraordinary product to market." read more>>>

MIT Group Uses Sun to Sterilize Medical Equipment in Poor Countries
February 26, 2013 - With the recent launch of MIT’s Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, MIT News examines research with the potential to reshape medicine and health care through new scientific knowledge, novel treatments and products, better management of medical data, and improvements in health-care delivery.

Using sunlight, researchers and students at MIT are trying to change how medical equipment is sterilized in remote clinics — and a pilot project in Nicaragua has begun to show promising results. read more>>>

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USDA gives $330 million to rural coops for T&D and smart grid
Feb 19, 2013 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that rural electric cooperatives and utilities in 12 states will share $330 million in loan guarantees to improve generation and transmission facilities and implement smart grid technologies. Of that, approximately $8 million will go toward smart grid technologies.

The announcement was made during this week's NRECA TechAdvantage conference in New Orleans.

The utilities that will receive the funding, contingent on meeting the terms of the loan agreements, are: read more>>>

US utilities rush to invest in wind power
25 February 2013 - American utilities are locking in fixed-price contracts for wind power following the renewal of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy

A total of 66 US utilities bought or owned wind power at the beginning of 2013, nearly half of them for large amounts over 100MW. Since President Obama extended the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy in the ‘fiscal cliff’ bill, signed at the beginning of January, utilities have continued to sign up for more wind energy which is now more cost-competitive than ever. read more>>>

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China´s Offshore Wind Market Expected to Grow to US$16 billion
Feb. 27, 2013 - Despite the considerable challenges and bottlenecks faced by China's offshore wind power market, the country's efforts in technologies for development of offshore wind power have remained strong. Thanks to years of coordination and cooperation between the government and domestic offshore wind power players, the first batch of offshore wind power license projects, most of which have been idle for more than two years, are likely to go online in 2013.

So far, Jiangsu, Shandong, Hebei, Zhejiang and Guangdong provinces as well as Shanghai have completed their planning for offshore wind power development. Liaoning, Fujian, Guangxi and Hainan provinces as well as the city of Dalian are currently finalizing their plans. read more>>>

Climate Change adaptation reshaping U.S. Military
Feb. 26, 2013 - The U.S. Department of Defense has released a comprehemsive Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap that details the Department's plan for managing the effects of climate change on its operations and infrastructure in both the short and long term.

Long a leader on measures to address climate change, the U.S. military's Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap is a blueprint for addressing climate related impacts in a national security context. See GLOBE-Net article 'Renewable Energy Major Priority for Military'.

The Defense Department's strategic focus on climate change adaptation began in 2010 with the publication of the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) by the U.S. Secretary of Defense. read more>>>

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 27 February 2013

Implementing an Energy Management System in a School
Feb. 11, 2013 - Implementing an energy management system in a school can reduce expenditure on energy and minimise waste. This can be both as a result of on-site management/operational issues as well as through investment in energy saving (no-, low-, medium- or high-cost measures).

Carbon emissions can be reduced through the use of less energy and utilising lower-carbon fuels (e.g. renewable energy or gas in preference to oil or electricity, where this is feasible). With existing financial mechanisms these can be cost neutral or, often, generate a net financial benefit.

These processes will raise awareness amongst the school community with the possible spread of good practices to home. read more>>>

Delivering the message for a green economy
27 February 2013 - We were 50,000 strong, converging on the nation's Capitol on Feb. 17 to exercise one of the perks of our democracy: The right of Peaceful Assembly.

The issue: the XL Pipeline, which if approved would continue the destruction of Alberta's landscape, exacerbate climate change, and threaten the water supply of thousands of Americans in the Midwestern states.

With the Washington Monument as a backdrop, we heard rousing speeches by Bill McKibben, Van Jones, Native American leader Chief Jaqueline Thomas and other activist heavyweights, and with a wind chill of 17 degrees to urge us along, we walked the blocks surrounding the White House to reiterate the theme of the speeches: that the president go thumbs down on the XL Pipeline and that we elected him on the basis of his promise to pay serious attention to the reality of climate change. read more>>>

Air/Q: Safer, Greener, More Effective Air Freshening for the Home

Goodbye to solar intermittency concerns
February 26, 2013 - The intermittent nature of solar energy may be less of a concern to utilities with the creation of a new, more accurate forecasting method.

The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is spearheading a three-year project to create unprecedented, 36-hour solar forecasts for solar power plants.

The system will forecast sunlight and resulting power every 15 minutes over specific solar facilities, enabling utilities to continuously anticipate the availability of solar energy. read more>>>

U.S. Power Giant to Cut Coal Emissions Polluting Eastern States
February 25, 2013 (ENS) – The U.S. EPA, eight states and 13 citizens groups have reached an agreement with American Electric Power that requires the nation’s largest power company to cut air pollution at 16 of its coal-fired power plants across the Midwest and South.

The settlement comes in a lawsuit originally filed in a federal court in Ohio in 1999 and is a modification of a prior 2007 settlement in a federal-multistate air pollution lawsuit.

That case addressed the air pollution carried from AEP plants east of the Mississippi River into New England and the Mid-Atlantic states. Under the 2007 settlement, the company was required to install $4.6 billion worth of pollution controls and to invest $60 million in air pollution reduction projects. read more>>> - #1 online destination for solar panels & wind power!

Sequester Spending Cuts Will Hurt the Environment
February 24, 2013 (ENS) – If Congress does not act this coming week, automatic federal spending cuts, called the sequester, will go into effect March 1 that will impact the environment. Funding for parks, energy development, travel, clean air and water, fish and wildlife protection, pollution prevention, and disaster readiness will be cut.

Known as the sequester, the cuts will amount to $85 billion dollars over a seven-month period; 100,000 people are expected to lose their jobs and many thousands more are government employees who will be furloughed for several days each pay period.

These cuts are aimed at achieve the $4 trillion in deficit reduction that economists say we need to stabilize our finances, the White House says. read more>>>

BPA taps water heaters to stir wind
February 27, 2013 - Residential electric water heaters can help integrate wind into the power system, according to research from Ecofys energy consultants funded by the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and the Northwest Power and Conservation Council.

That's not all. The research further reveals that residential electric furnaces, freezers/chillers in cold storage warehouses at industrial sites, and commercial heating and cooling loads can all help the grid accommodate the intermittency of wind. read more>>>

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 26 February 2013

As economics shift, wind developers see the light on solar power
02/25/2013 - Wind energy companies are getting into the solar game.

An ongoing lull in wind projects and falling solar panel prices has wind companies looking to add solar projects to their portfolios.

In the U.S., 2013 is projected to be a lost year for the wind industry, which added more than 13 gigawatts of capacity in 2012 but could do as little as 3 gigawatts this year in the aftermath of the latest uncertainty over the federal wind production tax credit.

Meanwhile, solar is surging. Duke Energy President Gregory Wolf recently predicted that U.S. solar installations could surpass new wind additions this year for the first time ever. read more>>>

Wisconsin utilities focusing on energy efficiency
February 25, 2013 - Wisconsin's energy-efficiency is set for growth this year with the help of the utilities' statewide energy-efficiency and renewable energy program Focus on Energy.

Focus on Energy develops and implements creative energy programs for homeowners, building owners, small businesses and large energy users. Fifteen new energy efficiency and renewable energy programs were launched in 2012 alone, and new programs are expected in 2013.

In 2012, the program reached the most energy savings and customer participation since its inception more than 10 years ago. read more>>>

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The way forward: MISO ruling was 'only regulatory hurdle' to shutting down Kewaunee Power Station
Feb 21, 2013 - The organization that manages the Midwest’s power grid has ruled that closing the Kewaunee Power Station would not affect the overall reliability of electric power to customers.

As a result of the Midwest Independent System Operators (MISO) ruling, Dominion Resources Inc. announced Feb. 19 that it will proceed with shutting down the nuclear plant during the second quarter of this year.

“That was the only regulatory hurdle. No other approvals are necessary,” said Mark Kanz, Kewaunee Power Station spokesman. “We just need to alert the Nuclear Regulatory Commission 30 days before we shut down.” read more>>>

Uruguay To Buildout 200 MW of Solar
February 25, 2013 - Uruguay will offer contracts next month to buy power from 200 megawatts of solar farms at the world’s cheapest rates as the South American nation seeks to add low-cost generation.

President Jose Mujica plans to sign a decree in two weeks that will require Uruguay’s national power utility Administracion Nacional de Usinas y Transmisiones Electricas to purchase electricity from the projects at a set rate of about $90 a megawatt hour, Ramon Mendez, director of energy at the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining, said today in a telephone interview.

Uruguay will produce some of the world’s cheapest wind energy and expects to do the same with solar power as the cost of photovoltaic panels fall, he said. read more>>>

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Solar Power Generation to Increase by 35 Times in Argentina
02/25/13 - There is a good reason why Argentina’s flag sports a shining sun. At present, Argentina only produces about 10MW of solar power, but that figure is soon about to receive a giant boost as the country plans to increase its capacity by 35 times and the government begins to hand out incentives to private companies. International developers are looking to the western regions where projects are estimated to produce over twice the amount of energy coming from solar in Germany, the world’s current market leader. The plans would assist in the efforts of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner to increase the amount of energy generated by renewables from 2 percent to 8 percent by 2013.

In total, Argentina is hoping to produce 3,000 MW from clean energy, where 10 percent could come from solar. The country may have some trouble finding international capital as the nation defaulted on its debts in 2001 and so far has been relying on domestic funding for energy projects. The country also claims a rate of inflation of about 11.1 percent, but could in reality be as high as 26 percent. read more>>>

Scientists Develop a Whole New Way of Harvesting Energy from the Sun
click to enlarge graphic

Feb. 24, 2013 — A new method of harvesting the Sun's energy is emerging, thanks to scientists at UC Santa Barbara's Departments of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, and Materials. Though still in its infancy, the research promises to convert sunlight into energy using a process based on metals that are more robust than many of the semiconductors used in conventional methods.

The researchers' findings are published in the latest issue of the journal Nature Nanotechnology. "It is the first radically new and potentially workable alternative to semiconductor-based solar conversion devices to be developed in the past 70 years or so," said Martin Moskovits, professor of chemistry at UCSB. read more>>>

Monday, February 25, 2013

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 25 February 2013

Graphene: A Material That Multiplies the Power of Light
Feb. 24, 2013 — Bottles, packaging, furniture, car parts... all made of plastic. Today we find it difficult to imagine our lives without this key material that revolutionized technology over the last century. There is wide-spread optimism in the scientific community that graphene will provide similar paradigm shifting advances in the decades to come. Mobile phones that fold, transparent and flexible solar panels, extra thin computers... the list of potential applications is endless.

The most recent discovery published in Nature Physics and made by researchers at the Institute of Photonic Science (ICFO), in collaboration with Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research, Germany, and Graphenea S.L. Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain, demonstrate that graphene is able to convert a single photon that it absorbs into multiple electrons that could drive electric current (excited electrons) -- a very promising discovery that makes graphene an important alternative material for light detection and harvesting technologies, now based on conventional semiconductors like silicon. read more>>>

BioTrade in Nepal: Harnessing the potential for transitioning to a green economy – The Case of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants in Nepal
The growing global demand for medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs) could help drive Nepal’s green economy, while improving livelihoods in its poorest communities. The study focuses on the cultivation, processing and trade of high-value MAPs, which are found in the forests and grasslands of the mountains in the northern part of the country. Given Nepal’s high degree of biodiversity, the study confirms Nepal’s significant potential to develop its BioTrade sector. This study is part of Capacity Building for BioTrade (CBBT) project, which is implemented by UNEP with financial support from Germany, and has conducted similar studies in Namibia and Peru. visit to download report>>>

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BioTrade in Peru: A Catalyst for Transitioning to a Green Economy in Peru
The BioTrade sector in Peru has grown by 20 per cent in the last five years - generating significant revenue and promoting sustainable development, while simultaneously supporting pro-poor development. The report sheds light on national and international regulations, certification and labeling processes and the role of the private sector and public-private partnerships. It also outlines specific areas for policy reforms and investments, in both the public and private sector, which can help the BioTrade sector realize its growth potential. Recommendations include economic partnership agreements; developing a national investment strategy for the BioTrade sector; enhancing research and development; building capacity and introducing economic and fiscal incentives. visit to download report

BioTrade in Namibia: A catalyst for transitioning to a green economy in Namibia
With its rich biodiversity, prior rural development investments and achievements in environmental management, Namibia is positioned to benefit from emerging markets of BioTrade. While highlighting the opportunities, this study is an important reminder of the many challenges that Namibia has faced and continues to address with regards to reducing socio-economic inequalities, maintaining economic growth and achieving a higher level of sustainable use and trade of biodiversity-based products. The study identifies a number of key sub-sectors in need of additional policy support and investment to derive secure and higher sustainable development returns from BioTrade. visit to download report

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Mounting investor demands for enhanced environmental performance
February 22, 2013 - Business leaders at the world's largest listed companies have been facing growing pressure from investors to embrace environmental best practices, following the launch of the Carbon Disclosure Project reporting season and the publication of new research showing shareholder support for environmental resolutions is on the rise.

The CDP announced that it has kicked off its annual disclosure season, writing to more than 5,000 public companies around the world requesting information on their carbon emissions and climate change strategy. read more>>>

2013MIECF to Promote Development of Sustainable Cities - The Way Towards a Green Future
The 2013 Macao International Environmental Co-operation Exhibition and Forum (2013MIECF) will take place from 21 to 23 March at the Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel. The theme of this year’s MIECF is “Sustainable Cities – The Way Towards a Green Future”. A series of green activities includes forums, seminars, exhibition, business matching, Green Public Day and technical visits, contribute to a better platform for business and investments. MIECF has gradually become an important platform for the Pan-Pearl River Delta and the international environmental protection industry to promote a green economy and technology. Please visit us for more information.