Thursday, October 31, 2013

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 31 October 2013

Rockaways to Turn to Microgrids for Next Hurricane?
October 24, 2013 - New York City’s Rockaway Peninsula took the brunt of Hurricane Sandy when the storm blew ashore a year ago, leaving the Rockaways in Queens devastated from flooding and 34,000 without electricity for weeks.

In the ensuing 12 months, the city has suggested many ways to make itself more able to withstand such storms. As part of New York City’s climate change response plan, “ A Stronger, More Resilient New York,” issued earlier this year, one of the city’s suggestions to help the Rockaways survive the next hurricane is for the peninsula to become the site of a microgrid pilot project that will help keep the lights on at hospitals, schools and other critical infrastructure during and after a storm. read more>>>

Utilities preparing for another Sandy
October 25, 2013 - A year after Superstorm Sandy ravaged and devastated the Mid-Atlantic, utilities like Con Edison and PPL Electric Utilities are making improvements to the reliability of critical infrastructure and protect customers from major storms.

With damaging weather becoming more frequent, Con Edison is toughening its system as part of a $1 billion plan to fortify critical infrastructure and has already completed several improvements. Con Edison has built more than a mile of concrete flood walls around stations and critical equipment, and installed more than 180 watertight flood doors and barriers, as well as installing 800 special float-check valves to protect gas services from floods. read more>>>

Get Started With Green Energy at

Energy storage database demonstrates project, technology diversity
October 25, 2013 - The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) first-of-its-kind international energy storage database has surpassed 420 documented energy storage projects from around the world. The database provides free, up-to-date information on grid-connected energy storage projects and relevant state and federal policies. It is funded through DOE's Sandia National Laboratories, and has been operating since January 2012.

"This database shows the impressive diversity of energy storage projects across the globe, as well as the broad services they provide," said Dr. Imre Gyuk, DOE's energy storage program manager. read more>>>

Breakthrough for Solar Cell Efficiency
Oct. 25, 2013 — Did you know that crystals form the basis for the penetrating icy blue glare of car headlights and could be fundamental to the future in solar energy technology?

Crystals are at the heart of diodes. Not the kind you might find in quartz, formed naturally, but manufactured to form alloys, such as indium gallium nitride or InGaN. This alloy forms the light emitting region of LEDs, for illumination in the visible range, and of laser diodes (LDs) in the blue-UV range.

Research into making better crystals, with high crystalline quality, light emission efficiency and luminosity, is also at the heart of studies being done at Arizona State University by Research Scientist Alec Fischer and Doctoral Candidate Yong Wei in Professor Fernando Ponce's group in the Department of Physics. read more>>>

Scientists' New Approach Improves Efficiency of Solar Cells
Oct. 25, 2013 — An international team of scientists, led by researchers from the Universities of York and St Andrews, has developed a new method to increase the efficiency of solar cells.

The new approach achieves highly efficient broad-band light trapping in thin films, with more light captured in the film in order to maximise absorption and electricity generation.

The research, which is reported in Nature Communications, also involved scientists from Sun Yat-sen University and the GuangDong Polytechnic Normal University, China, and IMEC (Interuniversity MicroElectronics Center), Leuven, Belgium. read more>>>

Enphase Energy Microinverters Installed in over 3MW of San Diego Unified School District Solar Arrays
Microinverter flexibility renders 125-building distributed solar project feasible

PETALUMA, Calif.--October 22, 201-- Enphase Energy, Inc. (NASDAQ: ENPH) announced today the successful completion of a 125-building distributed solar project developed by Main Street Power Company, Inc. using Enphase® Microinverters. The flexibility of Enphase technology in commercial solar allowed the project to be spread across 29 schools and two facilities buildings throughout the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD), with individual system designs varying in size and orientation.

"Enphase is proud to have our trusted technology associated with a project dedicated to educating children about alternative energy. Not only will the students learn about their school's rooftop solar in the classroom, but the school district will benefit from reduced energy costs over the long term," said Bill Rossi, CMO of Enphase Energy. read more>>>

Holiday Sale

National environmental strategy needed for green economy
October 27, 2013 - The protection of the population from hazards, and the preservation of the environment from further degradation so that it can be transformed into a “green economy” is what A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) is calling for.

This they posit is achievable through a national environmental strategy that the Peoples Progressive Party/ Civic should implement.

Opposition Leader David Granger in a press briefing held recently at his office in Hadfield Street, said that “APNU is convinced that Guyana’s favorable geographical location, rich mineral and natural resources should be conducive to developing a ‘green economy’ – one that generates growth and human happiness in ways that are consistent with economic exploitation of those resources.” read more>>>

Power plant emissions declining
October 28, 2013 - Greenhouse gas emissions in the United States have decreased by 4.5 percent from 2011 to 2012, according to newly released research from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The decline was mostly related to a decrease in total report emissions from power plants, which decreased by 6.3 percent over the same timeframe due to switching from coal to natural gas for electricity generation, as well as a slight decrease in electricity production.

The number of facilities reporting in 2012 went up by 2.7 percent but only about 10 percent of the facilities emitted 76 percent of the total 3.1 billion metric tons of emissions reported in 2012. In 2012, the 770 highest-emitting facilities accounted for almost 2.4 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, including power plants and petroleum refineries. read more>>>

Intelligent efficiency savings could reach $50B by 2020
October 29, 2013 - The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) estimates that the annual energy cost savings of intelligent efficiency for the commercial and manufacturing sectors could reach more than $50 billion by 2020 and that system optimization will bring non-energy benefits including better services and quality control, and lower operating costs which free up capital for additional investments in productivity and capacity.

Over the near term, the best opportunities for intelligent efficiency appear to be in the commercial and industrial sectors, according to the research, which embrace automation more readily than other sectors due to the need for sharply controlled operating costs in competitive environments.

Intelligent efficiency not only achieves energy savings at the device level but at the system level and above, utilizing ICT-based enabling technologies. Intelligent efficiency manifests itself through the emergence of the "Internet of Things," whereby all of the components of a manufacturing system can inform other parts of the system to react to incoming information from them. read more>>>

Climate Change Policy & Sustainability Update
Oct. 1, 2013 - Proven Investment Vehicles May Spur New Renewable Energy Grow

Harnessing two types of investment vehicles for renewable energy investing; Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs), would speed adoption rates for renewable energy, level the playing field with fossil fuel investments and attract billions in new investment.

REITs and MLPs are publically traded entities and each has special tax considerations which make them attractive investment options. REITs invest in real estate through directly owning property and collecting rents or through holding mortgages and collecting interest, but have also invested in oil and gas infrastructure. read more>>>

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 30 October 2013

Wind energy could be much cheaper says Dutch firm Deltares
18 October 2013 - Initial scale modelling tests are focusing on the impact of steep and breaking waves on wind turbine pile structure

Dutch firm Deltares has started to conduct initial scale modelling tests in order to investigate how the cost of wind energy could be reduced. The project follows the statement by members of the Joint Industry Project ‘Wave Impact on Fixed turbine’ (JIP WiFi) that wind turbines at sea could be made much cheaper. read more>>>

The Air Force Catches the Wind
10/29/2013 - The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Advanced Power Technology Office (APTO) identified state-of-the-art small wind turbines capable in extreme arctic conditions for a winter demonstration.

The demonstration will provide proof-of-concept as well as data regarding site conditions and failure mechanisms.

The site will be remotely monitored to include data on ice, temperature, wind, humidity, and vibration sensors as well as camera feeds of the turbines.

The information will be relayed via satellite for off-site, real-time analysis. In addition to wind turbine analysis, the Air Force will also demonstrate a fuel cell system in the wintery climate. read more>>>

Creative Kidstuff

Team Uses Forest Waste to Develop Cheaper, Greener Supercapacitors
Oct. 23, 2013 — Researchers report that wood-biochar supercapacitors can produce as much power as today's activated-carbon supercapacitors at a fraction of the cost -- and with environmentally friendly byproducts.

The report appears in the journal Electrochimica Acta. "Supercapacitors are power devices very similar to our batteries," said study leader Junhua Jiang, a senior research engineer at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center at the University of Illinois. read more>>>

Next-Gen SolarVolt Generator Uses Lighthouse Glass to Capture the Power of 20 Suns
10/23/13 - You might not expect it, but lighthouses are leading the way to more powerful solar panels in outer space and here on earth. The key is Fresnel lenses, which enabled 19th century lighthouses to focus a beam of light for many miles. Fast forward to the modern era and you’ll find NASA engineers using these lighter, thinner lenses to improve space-borne solar power – and scientists recently used Fresnel lenses to create a miniature photovoltaic system called the SolarVolt that can concentrate the sun’s rays 20 times.

Entech Solar and NASA‘s Glenn Research Center co-developed the SolarVolt system, which uses tiny Fresnel lenses just ten thousandths of an inch thick. These lenses allow the “multi-junction“ solar panel array to absorb concentrated light energy on a much smaller cell area while producing the same amount of electricity as a larger cell area under unenhanced light. read more>>>

One Year After Hurricane Sandy: What Have We Learned?
October 24, 2013 - In the year since Superstorm Sandy inundated Solar One and Stuyvesant Cove Park, a lot of work has been done and much has been learned. While Sandy may have been an unusual once-in-a-hundred-years storm, it’s difficult to say how soon or how often storms like that may hit the NYC Metropolitan area in the future, and as an environmental organization located right at the edge of the East River, Solar One has a strong incentive to make sure we and our community are ready for the next time. In the Park, we’re planting thousands of new plants, including more shrubs, grasses and hardier salt-tolerant plants. Some species were all but wiped out last year, while others have come back stronger than ever. Among the new natives are seaside goldenrod, blue mist flower, bitter panic grass, smooth and aromatic sumac, purple love grass and bush honeysuckle. Park staff and volunteers have been working hard throughout October to get them all in the ground before the first frost. read more>>>

Green Design Lab steps in when the Fed steps out
October 18, 2013 - We are leaving a lot on the plate of future generations, especially in terms of environmental issues, yet a lack of environmental education is no way to start them on the right track.

Environmental education received backing in the 2011 Federal Education Budget; the Obama administration saw environmental literacy as a crucial curriculum addition. Yet, this year, budget constraints cut two environmental education initiatives from the EPA and the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) leaving the United States without a federally backed program.

According to the Daily Energy Report, there are 10 core principles all children should know about renewable resources and energy production. read more>>>

What are the next sustainable “shades” of green?
October 22, 2013 - As we round the corner of our third year of our magazine, Sustainable Construction, I continue to see trends emerging in the ever-evolving sustainable construction market. Two of these “shades” of green include product certification programs and building for durability.

Product certification programs are now available in the sustainable construction market. It really boils down to this: Construction professionals want to ensure the products they are using in sustainable construction are not only created in a sustainable fashion, but also that these products are sustainable throughout their life cycle. read more>>>

ASTM Sustainability in Building Standards are offered online
October 23, 2013 - Pertinent to green rating systems or codes in marketplace, ASTM Standards for Sustainability in Building provides instant access to 202 ASTM standards that address sustainability or aspects of sustainability relative to buildings and construction. Subscription-based, online collection includes LEED system and ASHRAE 189.1. Also, collection includes all ASTM standards referenced by latest editions or versions of Federal Green Construction Guide for Specifiers, IgCC, and Green Globes®.

ASTM International Sustainability in Building Standards Offered in Online Subscription read more>>>

Earthquake Kits

Commentary: How Young People Are Rallying for Climate Action and Justice
HBCU students gathered at Powershift 2013 to talk solutions to climate change.

10/24/2013 - It’s been said that the movement of this generation is the fight against climate change. And there is no better evidence of that than Powershift—an energetic gathering of more than 6,000 students and activists from around the country with a vision of a healthier planet and a clean energy economy.

This year, students and activists of color played a huge role. More than 100 HBCU students went to Pittsburgh for the event, and added their voices to the chorus calling for solutions to climate change. They were joined by activists from around the country—including a number of Green For All Fellows—who are working in local communities to promote sustainability, prosperity, and resilience. read more>>>

Record Year Blows United Kingdom Small Wind Installations Past 102 MW
2012 turned out to be a huge year for small wind in the United Kingdom, as the industry nearly doubled in size to pass £105 million in total value.

The record year of installations is creating economic tailwinds for the UK’s green economy and a more resilient energy system, according to the seventh annual “Small and Medium Wind UK Market Report” from RenewableUK.

While these sectors of the wind energy industry remain relatively small in comparison to utility-sized and offshore wind in the UK, they’re now responsible for 102.5 megawatts (MW) of installed distributed generation capacity across the UK – and are projected to continue growing through 2014. read more>>>