Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 30 April 2014

District of Columbia Adopts Innovative New Construction Codes to Promote Sustainable Building
Apr 22, 2014 - The District of Columbia has again demonstrated its commitment to being at the forefront of sustainable building practices by adopting the 2013 D.C. Construction Codes. Mayor Vincent Gray announced the adoption this past Wednesday, which takes effect today. New among the District’s codes is the D.C. Green Construction Code. Developed with the input and support of local experts and stakeholders, including members of the U.S. Green Building Council, National Capital Region (USGBC-NCR) Chapter and the national office of the U.S. Green Building Council, these codes represent the mainstreaming of many core elements of green building practice and propel the community forward in the District’s race to be the greenest and most livable city in the nation. read more>>>

These 6 cities are among the greenest in the world
It's cool to be green in Adelaide, Australia, where solar-powered buses are the norm.

April 22, 2014 - Solar-powered buses. Carbon neutral buildings. Motion-sensitive lights and water faucets.

Sounds like something out of "The Jetsons."

But cutting-edge technologies like these are already the norm in some of the world's greenest cities, where the environment takes precedence over industry and the debate over sustainable living has long been decided in favor of it.

As the world celebrates Earth Day, GlobalPost takes a look at six cities that are among the most environmentally friendly based on their energy sources, transportation options, sustainable planning and other factors: read more>>>

Green Living Everyday

Con Edison setting solar example
April 22, 2014 - Con Edison is setting a solar example for customers at its landmark office tower in Manhattan. In cooperation with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), among others, the utility is encouraging customers to consider using the sun for their electricity generation needs by installing its own solar array.

"Our customers are discovering that they can use the power of the sun to cut their electric bills and help ensure a safe, sustainable future for New Yorkers," said John McAvoy, Con Edison's president and CEO. "We wanted to share our customers' experience by installing solar panels on our building. We're reducing our own electric bills, and helping the environment too." read more>>>

A Green Factory to Crop Up On Chicago's South Side
April 18, 2014 - While most 19th century manufacturing hubs were known for their poor working conditions, the Pullman District on Chicago’s South Side was the country’s first model industrial town designed to provide a safer and healthier environment for the Pullman sleeping company’s workers. Over a century later, Method, the green cleaning products brand, is now carrying on the District’s progressive legacy with the construction of its new 150,000-square-foot sustainable factory. The company asked William McDonough + Partners to design its sprawling building, spanning roughly five acres on a brownfield site where the original Pullman lumberyard once stood. Prior to construction of its new facility, Method has committed to cleaning up the 22-acre property, and then transforming it into lush parkland for its employees and the surrounding community. read more>>>

Taiwan reaffirms commitment to green energy
04/23/2014 - ROC President Ma Ying-jeou said April 22 that the government is committed to developing sustainable energy and the green economy in Taiwan as per the U.N. Rio plus 20 framework.

The green economy policy being implemented by the National Development Council will provide guidelines for government agencies to promote economic growth while furthering the green initiative, Ma said. This is key if Taiwan is to continue fulfilling its obligations as a leading proponent of global greening, he added. read more>>>

ENERCON launches two turbines specifically for strong wind sites
15 April 2014 - ENERCON has announced plans to develop two new wind turbines designed specifically for strong wind locations

The turbines will be Wind Class I versions of both the E-82 and E-101 turbines. The announcement was made at the Hannover Fair earlier this month (April 7-11) where both new machines were presented.

The E-82 series will have a rated power of 2.35MW and will be optimised for full load and cost-effectiveness. read more>>>

Now Turn to the Right
March 2014 - The Mueller Community is a redevelopment of Austin’s former Robert Mueller Municipal Airport. The transit-oriented neighborhood, located three miles from downtown, thoughtfully mixes housing, open space, and commercial uses according to a green master plan that will surely be replicated by cities and towns across the U.S. But sustainability aficionados who visit the Mueller Community will notice that something feels slightly different from a best-practices model. For one, the place boasts a large concentration of Chevy Volts. For another, rooftop photovoltaics are not facing unanimously south, the installation convention for the Northern Hemisphere.

Pecan Street is responsible for the anomaly. This University of Texas at Austin–based think tank promotes a smarter energy grid through two divisions: Its Pecan Street Research Institute analyzes utility system reliability, renewable energy integration, and especially customer resource-use behavior, while the Pike Powers Laboratory and Center for Commercialization incubates new companies pioneering smart-grid and other clean technologies. read more>>>

On Cape Cod, Solar Projects Turn up the Wattage
04/15/2014 - The clouds appear to have cleared, at least partially, for several large solar energy projects on Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard .

Projects in nine towns totaling nearly 12 megawatts worth of solar energy are under construction again, four months after work came to a screeching halt when the installer announced it was going out of business. An additional 16 megawatts are being installed by a separate company, primarily on Cape and Vineyard landfills.

"I'm just pleasantly surprised it's going as smoothly as it has," said John Checklick , president of the Cape and Vineyard Electric Cooperative , the regional energy organization responsible for the projects.

In total, the projects are expected to save cooperative members and participants $2.8 million in the first year of operation, according to the cooperative. read more>>>

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House windows that double as solar panels? Shiny quantum dots brighten future of solar cells
April 14, 2014 - A house window that doubles as a solar panel could be on the horizon, thanks to recent quantum-dot work by Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers in collaboration with scientists from University of Milano-Bicocca (UNIMIB), Italy. Their project demonstrates that superior light-emitting properties of quantum dots can be applied in solar energy by helping more efficiently harvest sunlight.

"The key accomplishment is the demonstration of large-area luminescent solar concentrators that use a new generation of specially engineered quantum dots," said lead researcher Victor Klimov of the Center for Advanced Solar Photophysics (CASP) at Los Alamos. read more>>>

Renewables Beat Fossil Fuels 6 Months In A Row
Why 80% of new electricity capacity added to the grid in the past 6 months was clean energy.

April 24, 2014 - Forty four years ago, on the first Earth Day, we were only using solar cells on satellites. NASA was still four years away from launching the program that would give birth to the modern wind turbine.

Fast forward to the present and renewable energy is beating fossil fuels on every front. Every day seems to bring more news of another city or company that has blown past its clean energy targets, or another region where solar and wind power are now cheaper than coal and gas.

The chart below is a snapshot of life on the cusp of a new energy era. Between October 2013 and March 2014, 80% of the new electricity installed in the United States was renewable energy. In California, where I live, we installed more solar in 2013 than in the previous 30 years combined. read more>>>

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 29 April 2014

Summit told renewables are the world’s best economic and technological option
15 April 2014 - The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) today reinforced the call to action from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to limit global temperature increase and avert catastrophic climate change.

In a statement released this morning, the agency said the transition to a sustainable global energy mix must be accelerated in order to reduce global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 40-70 percent compared with 2010 by 2050.

Renewable energy, IRENA highlights, is the economically viable and technologically proven option to keep CO2 levels below the widely accepted threshhold of 450 parts per million (ppm). read more>>>

Green economy could add $45 billion to Kenya GDP, says UN
16. April 2014 - A joint study by the UN Environment Programme and the Government of Kenya forecasts that Kenya could boost its economy by as much as $45 billion by 2030 if it transitions to an inclusive, low emission and resource efficient green economy.

The Green Economy Assessment Report: Kenya finds that with an investment of just 2% GDP on proposed green measures, Kenya's normalized GDP could grow in excess of 12% within two decades, generating greater food security, a cleaner and greener environment, and higher productivity of natural resources. read more>>>

Green energy plans in Saudi Arabia to result in eco-friendly mosques
17 April 2014 - As part of a bid to gain green building initiatives national attention, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is planning to make over 90,000 mosques friendlier to the environment through the use of solar power and other green energy sources.

Green building focuses on promoting resource efficiency and pro ecological practices.

Following a joint meeting that took place between Saudi Green Building Forum and the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, it was agreed to make mosques more eco-friendly. read more>>>

LEGOLAND Florida Becomes First Theme Park in U.S. to Run Completely on Renewable Energy on Earth Day
April 22, 2014 - Today, LEGOLAND® Florida and Tampa Electric will kick off a groundbreaking partnership by making the 150-acre theme park run completely on renewable energy for the day in celebration of Earth Day – the first theme park to do so in the United States. The celebration is part of existing and new conservation initiatives, including installations that will educate park guests about solar energy. As part of the partnership, LEGOLAND Florida will also permanently power a section of the park, Imagination Zone, on renewable energy.

“This is a historic day for LEGOLAND Florida,” said LEGOLAND Florida General Manager Adrian Jones. “With our new partnership with Tampa Electric, we will give guests a whole new way to learn about renewable energy while also doing something that no other theme park in the U.S. has done before.” read more>>>

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Oregon Institute of Technology Now Generating Its Own Energy On Campus
04/22/14 - On April 18th, the Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls celebrated the completion of two major renewable energy projects, making it the first university in North America to generate all of its own electricity and heat on campus. Oregon Tech is a huge leader in renewable energy education; in 2005, it introduced an accredited Bachelor of Science program in Renewable Energy Engineering—another first in North America. The campus has been entirely heated by geothermal water for several decades, and now the geothermal resource is being utilized in a 1.75 MW combined heat and power plant to provide electricity. Additionally, a 2.0 MW solar array was installed on 9 acres of campus land and commissioned at the end of last year. read more>>>

Higher solar-cell efficiency achieved with zinc-oxide coating
April 22, 2014 - Engineering researchers at the University of Arkansas have achieved the highest efficiency ever in a 9 millimeter-squared solar cell made of gallium arsenide. After coating the cufflink-sized cells with a thin layer of zinc oxide, the research team reached a conversion efficiency of 14 percent.

A small array of these cells -- as few as nine to 12 -- generate enough energy for small light-emitting diodes and other devices. But surface modification can be scaled up, and the cells can be packaged in large arrays of panels to power large devices such as homes, satellites, or even spacecraft. read more>>>

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Like a hall of mirrors, nanostructures trap photons inside ultrathin solar cells
April 22, 2014 - In the quest to make sun power more competitive, researchers are designing ultrathin solar cells that cut material costs. At the same time they're keeping these thin cells efficient by sculpting their surfaces with photovoltaic nanostructures that behave like a molecular hall of mirrors.

"We want to make sure light spends more quality time inside a solar cell," said Mark Brongersma, a professor of materials science and engineering at Stanford and co-author of a review article in Nature Materials.

Brongersma and two Stanford colleagues -- associate professor of materials science and engineering Yi Cui and professor of electrical engineering Shanhui Fan -- surveyed 109 recent scientific papers from teams around the world. read more>>>

BC SOLAR grants 'Premium Partner Award 2014' to 23 photovoltaic experts
09 April 2014 - IBC SOLAR AG has granted 23 of its international premium partners the “Premium Partner Award 2014”. The awarded companies stand for high quality with regards to products and system installation, as well as professional consulting on solar power in their home countries.

The German based firm has been awarding the “Premium Partner Award” since 2009.

According to the firm, it represents the highest level of photovoltaic expertise and therefore also provides an important means of orientation for end customers. read more>>>


Nano-engineered composites promise solar efficiency boost finds Swedish university
08 April 2014 - Controlled placement of carbon nanotubes into nano-structures produces a huge boost in electronic performance researchers at Umeå University in Sweden have discovered

The use of carbon-based nanostructured materials as components in solar cells is becoming increasingly popular because of their exceptional properties. Now, in a new study, a team of physicists and chemists at Umeå University have joined forces to produce nano-engineered carbon nanotubes networks with novel properties. Their results have been published in the prestigious journal Advanced Materials. read more>>>

Trina Solar announces new high-efficiency solar module
08 April 2014 - Trina Solar Limited has announced that its State Key Laboratory of PV Science and Technology has developed a new high-efficiency Honey Ultra solar module

The new Trina Solar Honey Ultra monocrystalline silicon module has achieved a new record of 326.3W which has been certified by TUV Rheinland. The module is composed of 60 high-efficiency silicon cells of 156mm x 156mm, fabricated with a technology developed by Trina Solar and currently in pilot production. read more>>>