Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 12 February 2014

Microgrids: The next logical step for the military
Feb 4, 2014 - For the past several years the military has been installing renewable energy assets, primarily solar, to reduce its dependency on traditional generation sources. Federal mandates (See my previous Smart Grid News Article, “Why federal renewable mandates challenge U.S. utilities (and what they can do)”) have accelerated the pace that DoD installations have added solar and wind plants in a race to be compliant.

The Energy Initiative Task Force (EITF) is the Army’s responsible organization for identifying, prioritizing, and coordinating large-scale renewable energy of 10 MW and greater. The Civil Engineering Center leads the renewable energy program for the Air Force, performing similar roles to the Army’s EITF. The Navy has established Task Force Energy which is responsible for the overall energy strategy both onshore and at sea, and is supported by the tactical Navy Energy Coordination Office (NECO) responsible for implementing the strategy. Bottom line, there’s a lot going on and the U.S. military is taking energy very seriously. read more>>>

Hiring people with disabilities benefits 'green' industries
Feb. 4, 2014 - Green-economy jobs hold promise for people with disabilities, and inclusion practices would also improve the outlook in this growing sector, according to new research from the ILR School’s Employment and Disability Institute.

A focused effort to engage and train people with disabilities in green fields would bring “a diverse, talented and largely untapped portion of the U.S. workforce” into the emerging economy, says the report, “The Green Economy and Job Creation: Inclusion of People With Disabilities in the USA,” published in the International Journal of Green Economics (Vol.7, No.3). read more>>>

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'Green Economy' key focus of UAE: Khalifa
February 04, 2014 - The Green Economy has offered a new model of economic development to which all nations and peoples aspire, to improve living conditions, provide justice and use resources efficiently, President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has affirmed.

Sheikh Khalifa praised the organisers of the National Environment Day for selecting the theme of ''Green Economy: Innovation and Sustainability'' for the 17th national event.

In his address to the nation on the occasion which falls tomorrow (February 4), the President said: "Green Economy is a key component of the State's strategic thinking which is clearly stated in the UAE. read more>>>

Green Home Building Continues to Climb, Valued at $36 Billion in 2013 and Expected to More than Double by 2016--Says New McGraw Hill Construction Study
February 4, 2014 - McGraw Hill Construction, a part of McGraw Hill Financial (NYSE: MHFI), today released findings from a new Green Home Builders and Remodelers Study at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) International Builders' Show in Las Vegas. Green homes comprised 23% of the overall residential construction market in 2013 and are expected to grow to between 26% and 33% of the market by 2016. This equates to a doubling in the value of green home construction over three years, growing from $36 billion in 2013 to $83--$105 billion in 2016, based on the current McGraw Hill Construction forecast for total residential construction.

According to McGraw Hill Construction research dating back to 2006, the green home building market most rapidly accelerated during the housing downturn when builders experienced in green remained in business at higher proportions than those not knowledgeable about energy-efficient and green home building. As the residential market improves, indications are that the residential market is becoming bifurcated, with green builders accelerating the depth of their green work, and new or returned entrants into the market focusing on traditional construction practices. read more>>>

European parliament votes for stronger climate targets
MEPs respond to earlier commission proposal with call for binding 2030 targets on renewables, emissions and energy efficiency

5 February 2014 - The European parliament voted on Wednesday to require member states to meet binding national targets on renewable energy, energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions.

In a decisive vote, 341 to 263 MEPs called for three binding targets for 2030: a 40% cut in greenhouse gases, compared with 1990 levels; at least 30% of energy to come from renewable sources; and a 40% improvement in energy efficiency.

This was stronger than the proposal from the European commission last month, that called for 27% of energy to come from renewable sources by the same date. read more>>>

Google Earth: how much has global warming raised temperatures near you?
The University of East Anglia has released an interactive Google Earth layer with local temperature data

4 February 2014 - If you've ever wondered how much global warming has raised local temperatures in your area or elsewhere on the globe, the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit (UEA CRU) has just released a new interactive Google Earth layer that will let you answer this question with ease. UEA CRU is one of the scientific organizations that compile temperature data from around the world. Their temperature dataset over land is called CRUTEM4, and is one of the most widely used records of the climate system.

The new Google Earth format allows users to scroll around the world, zoom in on 6,000 weather stations, and view monthly, seasonal and annual temperature data more easily than ever before. Users can drill down to see some 20,000 graphs – some of which show temperature records dating back to 1850. read more>>>

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Pacific Gas and Electric's smart grid success
February 5, 2014 - In 2013, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) served 15 million people who experienced the least amount of time without power in company history, according to the utility. PG&E continues to make progress and improvements in reliability through smart grid investments.

In 2013, not only did the average duration of a service interruption fall to an all-time low, but customers also experienced the fewest service interruptions in company history with a 40 percent improvement in the average duration of a service disruption and a 27 percent improvement in the number of customer interruptions since 2006. The average PG&E customer was without power for 117 minutes in all of 2013, a reduction from 196 minutes in 2006. The average customer experienced 1.07 power interruptions in 2013, compared to 1.46 in 2006. read more>>>

Billionaire Island Owners Install Microgrids; Planet Now Safe for Supermodels
February 5, 2014 - NRG Energy's Twitter feed promised a big announcement this morning. But instead the news is that Sir Richard Branson is liberating the kite-surfers of Necker Island from the oppression of diesel gen-sets.

Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, along with NRG Energy (NYSE:NRG), is developing "a renewables-driven microgrid for the entire island, supplying high-quality, reliable electricity powered at least 75% by an integrated array of solar, wind and energy storage technologies," according to a release.

Necker Island is a 74-acre resort island in the British Virgin Islands owned by Branson. read more>>>

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Wind Energy Construction Boom Fueled By Threat of Expiring Federal Tax Credit
The 147-megawatt Weatherford Wind Energy Center.

February 3, 2014 - The looming Dec. 31 expiration of the federal production tax credit for renewable energy helped drive a last-minute rush to start construction on wind energy projects around the country and in Oklahoma.

Developers had to start construction by 2013 to qualify, The Oklahoman‘s Paul Monies reports, “but the wind industry fears another bust if the credit isn’t renewed.”


`The North Seas as the energy pool of Europe`
Feb. 3, 2014 - Members of European, national and regional parliaments signed a Joint Declaration on the North Seas Countries Offshore Grid Initiative (NSCOGI) expressing the need for a stronger cooperation among the 10 NSCOGI countries (Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway and the United Kingdom).

The North Seas Countries Offshore Grid Initiative (NSCOGI) was established by a Memorandum of Understanding on 3 December 2010 in order to form a regional platform for facilitating coordinated development of a possible offshore grid. The initiative was set up by the 10 North Seas Countries governments (Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway and the United Kingdom) and supported by regulatory agencies and transmission system operators as well as the European Commission. The NSCOGI countries worked together with regulators and TSOs on regulatory, technical and legal barriers and produced a grid study. read more>>>

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