Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 24 April 2013

Green Business Forum at RIC Showcases Best Practices in “Green” Construction
Some of the state’s leading building, energy and sustainability experts will speak at a Green Business Forum at Rhode Island College on April 25 to discuss the best ways to incorporate green and sustainable initiatives in residential, commercial and industrial buildings. The forum will be held at 7 p.m. in the Forman Center at Rhode Island College. This is the first event in a speaker series that will continue this fall.

“Smart businesses have been ‘greening’ their operations for years and enjoy competitive market advantages as a result of these efforts,” said Jim Murphy, sustainability coordinator at Rhode Island College. The forum will highlight the benefits of these initiatives, while showcasing some of the “best practices” now being used by the state’s leading construction companies. read more>>>

Policy needed to tap $1T advanced energy market
April 23, 2013 - Advanced energy is a $1 trillion global market, growing revenue by 19 percent in 2012. But in order to take advantage of this economic opportunity, the U.S. will need to work to align federal policy, according to Advanced Energy Economy (AEE).

As part of its ongoing research, AEE's educational and charitable affiliate Advanced Energy Economy Institute commissioned PA Consulting Group to interview CEOs of advanced energy companies across a range of technologies and services, about how federal policies affect them and their businesses. The researchers interviewed companies big and small, established and start-up, technology-focused and service-oriented. read more>>>

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The US distributed solar market
April 11 2013 - A group of solar rooftop industry executives had a wide-ranging discussion at the PV America convention in Philadelphia in February about the basic business models in use in the US market, customer default rates, investor returns, barriers to entry, emerging new financing strategies and other issues. The panelists are Ben Cook, vice president of structured finance at SolarCity, Kristian Hanelt, senior vice president of renewable capital markets at Clean Power Finance, Laura Stern, president of Nautilus Solar Energy, Sandy Roskes, vice president for sales at Astrum Solar, and Song Yi, chief financial officer of Standard Solar. The moderator is Keith Martin with Chadbourne in Washington. read more>>>

CSI research breaking down renewable energy myths
April 23, 2013 - If the U.S. ceases to burn coal, shuts down a quarter of existing nuclear reactors, and trims its use of natural gas by 2050, the resulting increased reliance on renewable would pose no additional reliability issues, according to research prepared by Synapse Energy Economics for the Civil Society Institute (CSI).

The research finds that by 2050, with a heavy reliance on renewables, regional electricity generation supply could meet or exceed demand in 99.4 percent of hours, with load being met without imports from other regions and without turning to reserve storage. In addition, surplus power would be available to export in 8.6 percent of all hours, providing an ample safety net from one region of the U.S. to the next. read more>>>

EcoLunchBoxes: Green Your Lunches

SA must use ‘limited window’ to become green economy leader, says IDC
22 April 2013 - SOUTH Africa had a limited window of opportunity to make itself a world leader in the creation of a green economy, which could generate more than 460,000 jobs, Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) senior economist Nico Kelder says.

Presenting before Parliament’s economic development committee last week, Mr Kelder said South Africa had developed good policies and laws to kick-start its green economic initiatives, but it had now become a matter of implementation and enforcement. read more>>>

US drops back in clean energy race
April 22, 2013 - The global clean energy sector is undergoing geographic and technological shifts as new markets emerge and renewable capacity grows, according to research released by the Pew Charitable Trusts. The sector registered a record 88 GW of additional generating capacity in 2012, even though investment levels declined 11 percent -- to $269 billion -- from 2011.

The 11 percent decline was due in part to curtailed incentive programs in a number of countries, among them Spain, Italy, and Germany. Policy uncertainty in the U.S. has caused investment patterns to fluctuate sharply in recent years. read more>>>

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

Keystone XL Pipeline ‘All Risk, No Reward’ State Dept. Told
April 19, 2013 - Opponents of TransCanada’s Keystone XL tar sands pipeline packed a State Department public hearing on its latest environmental analysis of the pipeline to warn that it is all risk for the United States, with no reward.

More than 1,000 pipeline opponents – far outnumbering supporters – packed a hearing room in Grand Island Wednesday to deliver that message to the State Department officials.

Chair of the new anti-pipeline group “All Risk, No Reward” Coalition, Nebraska landowner Randy Thompson, spoke against allowing a foreign company to transfer Canadian tar sands oil through this country so it can be shipped overseas. read more>>>

Duke plans to reach 6,000 MW of renewable energy by 2020
Apr 22, 2013 - Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) has released its most recent sustainability report, which lists a goal of increasing the company’s renewable portfolio and reaching 6,000 MW of wind, solar and biomass power capacity by 2020 among its other goals.

Duke added nearly 650 MW of wind and solar capacity in the U.S. in 2012 and now owns more than 1,700 MW of wind and solar generation capacity, according to the report. Duke Energy Renewables has invested more than $2.5 billion in renewable energy since it began operation in 2007. read more>>>

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 23 April 2013

NY regulators approve $2B hydropower transmission line
April 19, 2013 - New York State energy regulators on Thursday approved the construction of a major new transmission line, which will stretch from the Canadian border to the borough of Queens and run largely underwater through Lake Champlain and the Hudson River.

The New York State Public Service Commission's granting of a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need paves the way for the 330-mile, 1,000 MW Champlain Hudson Power Express project. Its southern end will connect to ConEd's Astoria annex substation in Queens, New York. The state approval process was more than three years in the making.

The $2 billion transmission line is designed to take advantage of low-cost Canadian hydropower. Regulators touted various merits of the project, such as the potential to reduce strain on the existing power supply and enhance fuel diversity in heavily-congested New York City. read more>>>

CIDB move to turn out green-collar workers
It will work hand-in-hand with Bayer to take sustainability to a higher level in the local building industry

April 19, 2013 - CIDB (Construction Industry Development Board) Malaysia and Bayer MaterialScience AG, a Bayer Group company, will work together to develop modules to train skilled workers who will be expected to raise the level of sustainability in the construction sector.

CIDB Malaysia chief executive Datuk Seri Dr Judin Abdul Karim said: “If we want to ensure sustainability, we must start by working with young people and empower them with the knowledge and skills to achieve this.

“We envision a future where all construction industry professionals and workers will become green-collar individuals who will not compromise on quality and sustainability in executing construction projects. With Bayer’s technology and expertise, we believe we can start to instil this in our youths.” read more>>>

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National Trust invests £3.5 million to put clean energy at the heart of conservation
18 April 2013 - An ambitious plan to provide clean energy to 43 of its historic properties was launched today by the National Trust in conjunction with green electricity supplier Good Energy.

The Trust will invest nearly £3.5 million in five pilot projects, including hydro, biomass and heat pumps, during 2013/14.

“Through our work we show that renewable technologies can be made to work in some of the country’s most sensitive landscapes and historic environments,” said Patrick Begg, Rural Enterprises Director at National Trust. read more>>>

Government policy can help innovate our path to a clean energy future
17 April 2013 - The key to broader penetration of solar energy depends on access to capital markets and innovative financial structures that can reduce the cost of capital for project finance as well as increase the investor base beyond the traditional tax-equity driven investors.

There is a strong case for the DOE to establish the Advancd Research Project Agency-Capital (ARPA-C) that will function to support the broader adoption and commercialization of renewable energy through support mechanisms, including credit enhancment and direct equity investments for capital market project aggregation warehouse facilities and securitization transaction. read more>>>

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Sgurr Energy develops new health & safety guidelines for the offshore and marine energy sectors
15 April 2013 - The new guidelines address the principal offshore activities and hazards over the life cycle of a development

SgurrEnergy has developed new health and safety guidelines for the offshore wind and marine energy industry on behalf of RenewableUK. The growth of both these sectors with their increasing scale and complexity introduce new risks to people and companies involved and so the new regulations have been developed to address the principal hazards associated with these projects within the wider context of current regulations. read more>>>

Research Harnesses Solar-Powered Proteins to Filter Harmful Antibiotics from Water
Apr. 19, 2013 — New research, just published, details how University of Cincinnati researchers have developed and tested a solar-powered nano filter that is able to remove harmful carcinogens and antibiotics from water sources -- lakes and rivers -- at a significantly higher rate than the currently used filtering technology made of activated carbon.

In the journal Nano Letters, Vikram Kapoor, environmental engineering doctoral student, and David Wendell, assistant professor of environmental engineering, report on their development and testing of the new filter made of two bacterial proteins that was able to absorb 64 percent of antibiotics in surface waters vs. about 40 percent absorbed by the currently used filtering technology made of activated carbon. read more>>>

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Martifer Solar USA Completes Landmark Installation at Occidental College
April 19, 2013 - Martifer Solar USA has completed a 1.142 MW solar PV system, a combination of a parking lot carport and a hillside ground-mount at Occidental College. This represents one of Martifer Solar USA's most unique installations as it incorporates elements of art into the design of the system. Kara Bartelt of Lettuce, a Los Angeles architecture firm, conceptualized the unique elliptical pattern of the hillside portion of the installation.

"The Martifer-built Occidental College solar array is one of several initiatives on campus to respond to the threat of global climate change," said Dr. Daniel Snowden-Ifft, physics professor and the driving force behind the project. "It is sustainable from economic, environmental and aesthetic perspectives and as such, it exemplifies one of our main messages to students -- that big problems often require multi-disciplinary solutions. I hope it will inspire our students, our community and others to think outside the box." read more>>>

Battery Low? Give Your Mobile Some Water
Apr. 18, 2013 — A power source for your mobile phone can now be as close as the nearest tap, stream, or even a puddle, with the world's first water-activated charging device.

Based on micro fuel cell technology developed at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, the MyFC PowerTrekk uses ordinary water to extend battery life for devices of up to 3 watts.

Anders Lundblad, KTH researcher and founder of MyFC, says that the device can be powered by fresh or seawater. The water need not be completely clean. read more>>>

Monday, April 22, 2013

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 22 April 2013

The Face of Climate Change

Climate change can seem like a remote problem for our leaders, but the fact is that it's already impacting real people, animals, and beloved places. These Faces of Climate Change are multiplying every day. Fortunately, other Faces of Climate Change are multiplying too: those stepping up to do something about it. Help us personalize the massive challenge climate change presents by taking a photo and telling your story. How has climate change impacted you? What are you doing to be part of the solution? LEARN MORE>>>

Earth Day founder's 'living' building signals new era of sleek sustainability
An array of 575 solar panels covers the roof of the Bullitt Center, a role model for a new generation of sustainable, energy-efficient buildings.

22 April 2013 - In cloudy, drizzly Seattle, Denis Hayes, the environmental activist who organized the first Earth Day in 1970, is pulling the wraps off a six-story office building that generates all of its electricity via an oversized rooftop array of solar panels.

A sun-powered building in Seattle is "formidable," Hayes told NBC News, but the Bullitt Center project aims to show it is possible in a visible, tangible manner that, in turn, makes an impact on the often invisible, slow-motion challenge of global climate change.

"When this whole [Earth Day] thing got launched in 1970, we had people walking around with gas masks and smokestacks were pouring out enormous impenetrable clouds of black smoke," said Hayes, who is now president of the Bullitt Foundation, which supports environmental causes. read more>>>

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Can corporations help build a better tomorrow?
April 17, 2013 - Harvard Professor Rebecca Henderson wants to change the conversation.

For Henderson, it’s not enough that large corporations have adopted various sustainability measures. Businesses can’t just rest on their laurels. They must bring a deeper passion to the table if they expect to help find solutions to complex environmental problems, she argues.

Henderson’s work at the Harvard Business School focuses on this central issue -- how organizations can respond to large-scale technological shifts, such as energy and the environment. read more>>>

Smart building strategy: Tackle behavior first, technology second
April 18, 2013 - It’s no secret that technology changes behavior, and that’s likely to be just as true with buildings as it is with, say, mobile devices. But while we often think of the latest technology as a way to improve building functions, we usually fail to fully consider how technology might alter the way people use those buildings. In other words, we tend to overvalue the role of the technology and undervalue the resulting re-engineering of the operational processes. And those process changes, rather than the technology itself, actually can have the biggest impact on costs, effectiveness and efficiency.

To demonstrate the relationship between technology, behavior and performance, here are a few examples of smart devices that use automation technology to change, control and adapt behavior. read more>>>

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Hamburg's WaterHouses are Heated by the Natural Heat of Groundwater
04/22/13 - Of all the cities in Germany, the port city of Hamburg is most closely associated with water. So it makes sense that one of the most exciting new residential developments in Hamburg is located in the middle of a small body of water. For the IBA International Building Exhibition, Schenk + Waiblinger Architects designed the WaterHouses, a complex of homes that are built on pillars sunk into a water basin on the Elbe islands.

The five buildings that comprise the WaterHouses are designed to demonstrate how residential developments of the future could interact with water from an environmental and recreational perspective. read more>>>

6 Fun, Meaningful Ways to Celebrate Earth Day!
04/21/13 - We have holidays dedicated to everything from flags to consumption (ahem Black Friday), so it only seems right that Planet Earth should get one too. On Earth Day, cities, businesses, and individuals all roll out the green carpet. No doubt you've seen lots of famous brands touting Earth Day initiatives or heard about eco-friendly events being planned in your own community. Unfortunately, most of these events have changed from "do something nice for the Earth" events to "buy this thing that is maybe a little greener than the alternative but mostly just something you need to BUY" events. But that doesn't mean you should hide indoors feeling guilty on April 22nd. On the contrary, there are lots of easy and fun ways to celebrate Earth Day that can actually make a difference all year long. We've listed a few below, and we'd love to hear your ideas in the comments! read more>>>

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The Seeds of Earth Day
April 18, 2013 - In 1964, twelve young men in New York publicly burned their draft cards in protest. The many forceful displays against the Vietnam War are well remembered, but what is less remembered is how these commanding displays and the spirit of the era created the energy that led to the first Earth Day witnessed in the US.

Cleverly combining the energy of the anti-war movement and the rising environmental consciousness following Rachel Carson’s publication of Silent Spring, Earth Day founder Gaylor Nelson created a momentous crusade with incredible effects. On April 22 1970, 20 million Americans, of all backgrounds, fought for change–for a healthy, sustainable environment. This initial event led to the creation of the US EPA and the passing of the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Endangered Species Acts. read more>>>

ABB Selects Distributed Sun as Their Preferred U.S. Microgrid Origination, Development and Finance Platform
April 18, 2013 - ABB (NYSE: ABB), a global leader in power and automation technologies, and Distributed Sun LLC (D-SUN), a leading solar development and finance platform company, today announced they have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding for Distributed Sun to provide a wide range of services acting as ABB's preferred "go-to market vehicle" for U.S. microgrid project development and finance solutions.

The companies will drive development and finance of urban and island microgrids, including solar generation, to demonstrate the economic viability of microgrid solutions in the U.S. market. By the end of the decade, the U.S. urban microgrid market size is estimated to be $5B to $10B and growing 18-20%+ annually.

D-SUN is assembling a team of microgrid development and finance leaders via strategic partnerships with dominant global players like ABB and with the goal of deploying $1B of capital in combination with ABB technology solutions. Ultimately, the microgrid is where renewable energy, smart-grid technologies, energy security and energy efficiency all come together. read more>>>