Saturday, November 23, 2013

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 23 November 2013

Build green economies to ensure sustainable growth, says banker
16 November 2013 - The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP19) is currently being held in Warsaw, Poland. In this context, Doha Bank Group CEO Dr R Seetharaman has stressed the need to build green economies to ensure sustainable global growth and gross welfare.

The level of progress at COP19 will be an indicator of the world’s chances of reaching a deal in 2015, which is the new landmark year in the UN-led process after the 2009 summit in Copenhagen. Developed countries have reiterated their commitment to promises on long-term climate finance support to developing nations, with a view to mobilise $100bn by 2020.

The UN Climate Change Conference (COP18/CMP8) held in Doha last year provided an important platform for global leaders to take necessary steps in response to climate change. The conference came up with “Doha Climate Gateway” to push forward the solutions to climate change. read more>>>

How Microgrids are Bolstering the Nation’s Power Infrastructure
Rather than drain power from a nearby plant, these systems create energy of their own, making for a more sustainable future

November 15, 2013 - At noon on October 22, 2007, the University of California, San Diego, received an emergency call from the local utility. Regional wildfires had damaged and disabled power lines and the California grid operator had declared an energy transmission emergency. San Diego Gas & Electric asked the university to reduce the amount of electricity it was drawing from the grid and, if possible, start generating power for use by other utility customers.

Within 10 minutes, the campus swung from drawing 4 megawatts of electricity from the power grid to feeding it 3 megawatts, says Byron Washom, Director of Strategic Energy Initiatives for UCSD. “That 7 megawatts was the razor-thin margin between the San Diego Gas & Electric grid remaining up or collapsing.” read more>>>

Creative Kidstuff

Duke Energy will roll out utility solar in the Carolinas first
Nov 15, 2013 - Duke Energy’s efforts to include solar power in the generation mix for its regulated utilities will start in the Carolinas, where North Carolina’s renewable energy requirements and a strong local solar industry put the region ahead of Duke’s four other utility-service areas.

Duke (NYSE: DUK) intends to incorporate solar power and distributed energy across its six-state utility footprint, says Lee Mazzocchi, Duke’s chief integration and innovation officer. “But this is where we will put it first. I think that’s fair to say.” read more>>>

Solar PV capacity to double by 2020
November 15, 2013 - Despite decreasing government supportand high-profile bankruptcies, the solar photovoltaic (PV) market continues to grow. Technology costs have steadily declined and continue to do so. By the end of this decade, Navigant Research predicts that solar PV will be cost competitive with retail electricity prices in a significant portion of the world -- even without subsidies. In fact, annual installations of new solar PV capacity will more than double by 2020 -- from 35.9 GW in 2013 to 73.4 GW in 2020, according to Navigant.

"Lower prices for solar PV modules are opening up new markets for distributed PV, while also helping the technology reach grid parity more quickly in high-cost retail electricity markets," said Dexter Gauntlett, senior research analyst with Navigant Research. read more>>>

Solarize Brooklyn: How Did We Do?
November 14, 2013 - November 1 was the official deadline for Solarize Brooklyn:Kensington Windsor Terrace & Flatbush participants to sign contracts with the program’s solar providers for solar electric or solar hot water systems. For those of you who have not been following Solarize Brooklyn, you can look back at some of our past posts.

So how did we do?

In total, 23 Brooklyn homes will be installing solar energy systems on their roofs through Solarize Brooklyn: Kensington Windsor Terrace & Flatbush. 18 will be solar electric systems, with a total capacity of 80.45 kilowatts, and 5 will be solar hot water systems with a total of 14 collectors. This exceeds the total number of residential solar systems installed in Kensington, Windsor Terrace, Flatbush, and Park Slope during all of 2012. read more>>>

SA keen to encourage manufacturing of green technology
18 November 2013 - THE government wants South Africa to become a manufacturer of "green technology" such as parts for renewable energy plants, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said at the Living Planet Conference on Friday.

South Africa’s Integrated Resource Plan seeks 17.8GW of energy from renewables by 2030.

Mr Davies said the New Growth Path had identified "the green economy" as one of six growth drivers for South Africa. The New Growth Path was adopted in 2010 as the country’s framework for economic policy and the driver of its jobs strategy. read more>>>

Delivering our green potential – Ireland and the Green Economy
November 14, 2013 - Ireland was honoured to be asked by Minister Leo Brincat and his colleague Minister Evarist Bartolo to provide a keynote speaker on the Green Economy for the official launch of Malta’s public consultation.

Like Malta, Ireland has gone through a lot of changes. In our case a shift to the Green Economy has helped speed our economic recovery and exit from the EU-IMF Programme of Financial support which will finish in December this year. The Irish Government’s focus is firmly fixed on achieving a successful and durable exit from our programme.

Ireland will be the first euro country to exit an EU-IMF programme of this type. In this context, all options that assist in supporting durable and sustainable future market funding will be considered. read more>>>

The democratisation of green energy that is sweeping Germany
15 November 2013 - One of the most misunderstood aspects of Germany’s energy transition is the assumption that this is top-down mandate to adopt green energy. Nothing could be further from the truth, and one key statistic underlines this point: the major electricity generators account for just 7 per cent of the renewable energy that now makes up nearly one quarter of the county’s electricity production. The rest has come from farmers, households, communities and small business.

There is a bunch of reasons why this is so. For many, it is their dislike of nuclear. For others, it’s the opportunity of maintaining a lifestyle, finding independence, or retaining ownership of a family farm. For many it is an environmental issue, for others it is an economic one. read more>>>

Earthquake Kits

Two for One in Solar Power: New Process Could Revolutionize Solar Energy Harvesting
Nov. 17, 2013 — Solar cells offer the opportunity to harvest abundant, renewable energy. Although the highest energy light occurs in the ultraviolet and visible spectrum, most solar energy is in the infrared. There is a trade-off in harvesting this light, so that solar cells are efficient in the infrared but waste much of the energy available from the more energetic photons in the visible part of the spectrum.

When a photon is absorbed it creates a single electronic excitation that is then separated into an electron and a positively charged hole, irrespective of the light energy. One way to improve efficiency is to split energy available from visible photons into two, which leads to a doubling of the current in the solar cell. read more>>>

Solar One Hosts Packed Professional Development for Teachers
November 12, 2013 - Elementary and Middle school teachers were trained in Green Design Lab curriculum and high school teachers were trained in Solar One’s advanced Clean Tech curriculum. The Solar One Education team modeled hands on activities from the curriculum with the teachers, and discussed the importance of urban environmental education for students in NYC.

In surveys conducted after the training, teachers were extremely enthusiastic about using activities from the curriculum in their classrooms. A middle school teacher commented “Children are interested in real-life connections. They are anxious to help and learn and dedicate their time to help with these tasks.” read more>>>

Monday, November 18, 2013

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 18 November 2013

The Next Big Thing in the Energy Sector: Photovoltaic Generated DC Electricity
Nov. 5, 2013 — Energy consumption continues to grow. The costs of generation and transmission of energy must come down for the increased consumption to be sustainable. Energy must be generated without depleting resources, without causing pollution, and without incurring waste. Transmission of energy too must be efficient. These ideal goals, when realized, would enrich lives, regardless of economic distinction.

A viable solution is the onsite generation of electricity using the photovoltaic (PV) method of converting solar energy directly into electrical energy. read more>>>

Transmission and distribution driving China's smart grid
November 6, 2013 - The growth of the smart grid market in China is being driven by the installation of smart transmission and distribution equipment, according to London-based independent research firm TechNavio. In fact, smart T&D equipment will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 31.6 percent during from 2012-2016, the firm predicts.

Out of six major segments based on technology, smart T&D will grow the fastest followed by software and hardware, sensors, communication and wireless infrastructure, smart meters, and others mainly due to smart transmission and distribution equipment not only increasing the efficiency of T&D, but also reducing electricity loss through continuous monitoring of the T&D process. read more>>>

Creative Kidstuff

Could Solar Energy Be America's Greatest National Security Asset?
America’s energy use poses threats to national security on numerous fronts. Aging transmission systems coupled with an increasingly computerized grid have left our country vulnerable to a crippling attack on our energy infrastructure. The Department of Defense is the largest energy consumer in the world and is hemorrhaging money on electricity and oil expenditures. Overseas, reliance on fuel is deadly and costly for military operations. And of course, there’s climate change, which poses numerous security threats to Americans. Solar energy offers a remedy for each of these monumental security risks.

Energy Grid and Cyber Security -

Flagship Microgrid at UCSD Pioneers in Energy Efficiency
As a leading institution in biotech studies and research, it’s no surprise that UCSD is also a trailblazer in the field of energy. Our campus is home to a complex microgrid system that generates nearly all of its own energy across the span of 1200 acres.

A microgrid is a centralized system that uses solar energy, wind energy, fuel cells or other sources to meet local energy needs. Its varied energy sources and localization makes such a system highly reliable. In fact, in an interview with the Rocky Mountain Institute, UCSD Director of Strategic Energy Initiatives Byron Washom said that UCSD’s microgrid remained remarkably functional during a blackout that affected Arizona, southern California and northern Mexico on Sept. 8, 2011. The system is located in the Central Utilities Plant, which is on the western edge of Revelle College across from the UCSD School of Medicine. read more>>>

After Trillium: Solar-Powered Flower Sculpture Opens and Closes With the Sun
11/12/13 - After Trillium is a solar powered robotic sculpture by artist Anthony Castronovo that is inspired by Iowa’s native Trillium flower. The sculpture is made of cast aluminum and kiln-formed glass and uses custom electronics to respond to changes in the local environment. The flower opens each morning and closes each night and is illuminated from within for four hours after dusk. The sculpture’s environmental response is determined by temperature, which controls how far the flower opens each day.

In winter, when the temperature is below freezing, the flower remains in a dormant stage and does not open. read more>>>

New Paradigm for Solar Cell Construction Demonstrated
Nov. 12, 2013 — For solar panels, wringing every drop of energy from as many photons as possible is imperative. This goal has sent chemistry, materials science and electronic engineering researchers on a quest to boost the energy-absorption efficiency of photovoltaic devices, but existing techniques are now running up against limits set by the laws of physics.

Now, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University have experimentally demonstrated a new paradigm for solar cell construction which may ultimately make them less expensive, easier to manufacture and more efficient at harvesting energy from the sun. read more>>>

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Students help with green home in New Caney
Plan is to create energy efficient and cost-effective structure from a used shipping container

November 12, 2013 - A new home for green building is being constructed in Montgomery County.

The U.S. Green Building Council's Piney Woods chapter has joined with New Caney Independent School District to build a demonstration house, crafted from used shipping containers.

Students from the district's vocational training program will work alongside architects and contractors focused on sustainability to earn real world experience in the construction industry.

Once the project is complete, the public will be welcome to visit the energy-efficient - and cost effective - model home for ideas and inspiration. read more>>>

CCSE targets soft costs of solar
November 13, 2013 - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot Initiative has selected the California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE) to lead a $1.3 million project to streamline and standardize solar energy installations for residential and small commercial uses throughout California. The center administers the California Solar Initiative in the San Diego Gas & Electric service territory, providing rebates for residential and commercial solar PV, solar water heating systems and other solar thermal applications.

Funding for the two-year project comes from the DOE's SunShot Initiative Rooftop Solar Challenge II -- the second round of a nationwide program to spur solar power deployment by making it easier, faster and less expensive to finance and install solar photovoltaic (PV) energy systems. read more>>>

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Private investments kickstart innovation
November 06, 2013 - Investing in R&D is key to America’s economic future as well as America’s ability to forge solutions to our nation’s most pressing needs. Both our large and small businesses are leading the world in innovative research, and it is vital that Congress keeps the U.S. on the cutting edge of scientific research and discovery. Supporting small business innovators is critical to this effort.

The Start-up Jobs and Innovation Act, introduced by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), will do just that by reforming the rules governing how private investors can partner with small, research-intensive companies. read more>>>

Consumers put clean energy above reliability
November 13, 2013 - More consumers are willing to pay extra to invest in and support alternative energy than to improve reliability. That is according new nationwide research from the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative (SGCC) conducted by Market Strategies International. Specifically, the research determined that more than 60 percent of consumers are willing to pay an extra $2, $5 or $15 a month to support deployment of alternative energy, but less than 60 percent were willing to pay those amounts to improve reliability.

This can be attributed, in part, to a consumer mindset about the job of the utility itself. Consumers who believe that reliability is part of what a utility should deliver as a basic responsibility and competence will not be willing to pay extra for it. Further, given that consumers are receiving more positive messaging surrounding renewable energy and its environmental benefits makes it more attractive and worth the premium. read more>>>