Thursday, March 20, 2014

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 20 March 2014

Nuclear: A not-so-perfect storm
March 14, 2014 - Nuclear Matters, a campaign aimed at engaging and educating policymakers and the public about the need to preserve existing nuclear energy plants, has officially launched.

Nuclear Matters is comprised of a cross-section of individuals, organizations, and businesses with similar views about nuclear energy. Former Senators Evan Bayh (D-IN) and Judd Gregg (R-NH) serve as co-chairs of the campaign. The organization hopes that the discussions that arise will lay the groundwork for the kinds of public policies that take into account the full value of existing nuclear energy plants and the new reality in which they are operating. read more>>>

Meanwhile: March 19, 2014 Second radiation leak detected at New Mexico nuclear waste site

A tour of America's fanciest microgrid
March 13, 2014 - It is a Friday, and Byron Washom is obliged to give yet another tour of the microgrid at the University of California, San Diego. Last week it was utility executives, and next week it would be a honcho from the Navy. The requests keep coming in. "It's just nonstop," he said.

Washom, the university's director of strategic energy initiatives, unplugged his white Nissan Leaf (parked at one of the university's 56 electric car plug points) and settled in for a three-hour tour. The campus is a big place, 1,200 acres on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and the nation's most ambitious microgrid is distributed all over the place. read more>>>

Green Living Everyday

Giant Green Roofs Top MenoMenoPiu's Wind-Powered Taichung City Cultural Center
03/13/14 - Taiwan's third most populous city, Taichung, is quickly establishing itself as a leader in sustainable architecture. MenoMenoPiu Architects and Atelier Castro Denissof are seeking to enhance the city's brand as a progressive metropolis with their Taichung City Cultural Center, which is packed with green roofs and renewable energy.

Although Japanese architecture firm SANAA snapped up the winning bid, we felt that MenoMenoPiu Architects and Atelier Castro Denissof’s inspiring proposal was too good not to share. read more>>>

Now You Can Buy Solar Panels at 60 Best Buy Stores Across the United States
03/15/14 - Consumers heading down to their local Best Buy for a new laptop or microwave will now be able to pick up solar panels as well. Best Buy and SolarCity have announced a new partnership to sell off-the-shelf photovoltaic systems in 60 Best Buy stores in Arizona, California, Hawaii, New York, and Oregon. To give the new program an exuberant kick off, SolarCity is giving every customer a $100 Best Buy gift card when they sign up for solar service through Best Buy before Earth Day on 22 April, 2014.

The San Mateo solar company hopes this new partnership will reach homeowners too wary or intimidated by installing solar panels on their homes. The initiative is an expansion of a pilot program the two companies carried out last year at Best Buy stores in California and New York. read more>>>

Nearly 79k clean energy jobs announced in 2013
March 12, 2014 - More than 78,600 clean energy and clean transportation jobs were announced in 2013, at 260 projects with solar power generation driving more than 21,600 jobs in the sector, according to Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2).

Following solar as the top job generator, other strong sectors proved to be building efficiency and public transportation. California's sector topped the list of states with roughly 15,400 jobs. Rounding out the top 10 states for the year were Texas, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Illinois, Nevada, Oregon, New York and Missouri.

In the fourth quarter alone, E2 tracked more than 70 projects nationwide that could create 13,000 jobs. read more>>>

Technological advances in solar
March 12, 2014 - Rising concerns over depletion of fossil fuel reserves, rising greenhouse gas emissions, and increasing investments for governments represent the major factors driving demand for solar power. In particular, the market for thin film photovoltaic cells is projected to thrive -- reaching $22.8 billion by 2020, according to Global Industry Analysts (GIA).

Solar PV has traditionally been based on silicon, but with advances in technology as well as the shortage of raw silicon, new PV devices are now being manufactured with other materials such as thin films, resulting in growing adoption in a range of industries, according to GIA. Thin films offer the benefits offered of the ability to considerable reduce the cost of solar, increased aesthetics and performance, and environmental friendly features. read more>>>

Mexico raises solar "attractiveness profile"
March 12, 2014 - In the first quarter of 2014, Mexico raised its "attractiveness profile" in the global photovoltaic (PV) market, closing in on South Africa and Turkey, according to IHS Technology.

The IHS attractiveness index rates the allure to prospective investors, developers and manufacturers of emerging solar markets in countries throughout the world in four categories: macroeconomic climate, potential market size, project profitability, and pipeline maturity. Profitability, as determined by power prices and the pull of incentive schemes, is deemed the most important factor for near-term attractiveness. read more>>>

Advanced Energy is a $1.1 Trillion Global Industry
Mar. 6, 2014 - At $1.1 trillion in estimated global revenue, advanced energy grew at a rate more than double the global economy last year, according to a market report commissioned by Advanced Energy Economy (AEE). In the United States, the advanced energy market excluding wind energy experienced double-digit growth the last two years – outpacing the economy by a factor of four – while wind energy saw a boom and bust in that two-year period due to inconsistent federal policy.

The study, conducted by Navigant Research, found that advanced energy in the United States was a $169 billion market in 2013. Excluding the wind industry, which experienced a drop due to uncertainty regarding the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC), U.S. advanced energy revenue grew 18 percent in 2012 and 14 percent in 2013. Revenue from wind installations jumped from $13 billion in 2011 to $25 billion in 2012, then plunged to $2 billion in 2013. Overall, U.S. advanced energy revenue in 2013 was 27 percent higher than 2011 and down 2 percent from 2012. read more>>>

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Illinois commended for local renewable energy buys
Mar. 7, 2014 - Illinois has more cities providing 100 percent renewable energy than any other state, which has reduced pollution by the equivalent of removing a million cars from the road over the past few years, according to a report released Friday by national and state environmental groups.

A 2009 state law allowed communities to buy their own electricity, rather than relying on a central purchasing agency. Since then, more than 600 Illinois cities and towns have adopted aggregation, which allows them to bundle residential and small business customers to buy cheaper electricity in bulk from smaller suppliers.

Of those, 91 provide all renewable energy, either by buying it directly or buying credits that help fund renewable energy development, the report says. read more>>>

Stuttgart University tests natural fibre wind turbine blades
11 March 2014 - Composites Evolution’s Biotex Flax has been used to manufacture natural fibre reinforced turbine blades for a rooftop wind turbine at the University of Stuttgart

The blades were conceived, designed and manufactured by the Stuttgart University’s Endowed Chair of Wind Energy (SWE) after having discovered that Biotex Flax delivered the performance characteristics they were looking for. The team began designing the new blades in 2011 focusing on improving the reliability of turbines while reducing production costs. The aim was to design a new set of blades for the university’s 1kW rooftop wind turbine. read more>>>

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