Sunday, April 27, 2014

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 27 April 2014

Quake Risk Exceeds Licensed Limits at U.S. Nuclear Plants
April 18, 2014 (ENS) – Massachusetts Senators Edward Markey and Elizabeth Warren today called on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to direct the licensees of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Massachusetts and Seabrook Station in New Hampshire to immediately implement mitigation measures against seismic risks that were previously unknown.

Reports released Thursday by the NRC reveal that dozens of reactors that reassessed their vulnerability to earthquakes in the wake of the March 2011 meltdowns at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant are at greater risk than they were originally licensed to withstand.

“We were alarmed to discover that of the dozens of reactors that re-assessed their vulnerability to earthquakes in the wake of the Fukushima meltdowns, the newly evaluated seismic risk at both Pilgrim and Seabrook is larger than the risk the reactors were originally licensed to withstand,” write the Senators in the letter to NRC Chair Allison Macfarlane. read more>>>

Gulf construction experts urge green practices, better regulation
2014-04-21 - Gulf building materials manufacturers met in Doha last week at a forum to encourage the development of a regulatory investment strategy for the industry and to urge environmentally-friendly practices within the sector.

The building materials industry "plays a vital role in supporting the building and construction sector which is one of the main pillars of industrial and economic development in GCC countries and Yemen", said Abdulaziz bin Hamad al-Ageel, secretary general of the Gulf Organisation for Industrial Consulting (GOIC), which hosted the event. read more>>>

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Merging new construction with renewable energy
04/21/2014 - Renewable energy is here, it's growing and it's actually feasible.

That was the general takeaway from the "green" building experts at a workshop on renewable energy and new construction. The discussion was one of six held by the Montachusett Regional Planning Commission and Northern Middlesex Council of Governments, two planning groups given a grant to plan sites for renewable-energy facilities in the two regions.

Carter Scott of Transformations Inc. discussed net zero energy houses that his company has built in Devens, Townsend, Princeton and elsewhere across the state. read more>>>

Bringing energy efficiency to cannabis operations
April 22, 2014 - In the midst of a shakeup surrounding the legal status of marijuana, the United States is grappling with serious and complex issues related to the intense energy drain that legal grow house operations put on the electricity grid, according to Manifest Mind who recently introduced research on the subject.

According to the Manifest Mind report, residential dwellings that grow cannabis often use 10 times the amount of energy as an average home, while warehouse operations may use as much energy as an industrial-scale data center. These huge amounts of energy consumption can place a real strain on the grid. However, legalization of marijuana can actually reduce the demands placed on the grid, as growers can take advantage of energy efficiency products and services for their now legal operations.

But will growers seize these opportunities? read more>>>

Green Living Everyday

Consumer support for renewable energy widespread
April 21, 2014 - Products and services such as solar PV, utility-scale renewables and hybrid electric vehicles have all experienced double-digit compound annual growth rates over the past decade, accounting for significant adoption of clean energy technologies across broad demographic groups. New nationwide research commissioned by SolarCity and Clean Edge explains what is behind this expansion.

Performed by polling firm Zogby Analytics, the research focused on U.S. homeowners and their choices surrounding a range of clean energy topics -- including renewables, energy efficiency, clean transportation, and energy storage. In addition, the survey revealed some interesting things about what homeowners know and think about electric utilities, third-party energy service providers, and consumer choice. read more>>>

$4B available to commercialize clean energy technology
April 21, 2014 - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is looking for innovative renewable energy and energy efficiency projects located in the U.S. that avoid, reduce, or sequester greenhouse gases. At its culmination, the DOE initiative could make as much as $4 billion in loan guarantees available to help commercialize technologies that may otherwise be unable to obtain full commercial financing.

Loan guarantees are an important tool to commercialize innovative renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies because these projects may be unable to obtain full commercial financing due to the perceived risks associated with technology that has never been deployed at commercial scale.

"Through our existing renewable energy loan guarantees, the Department's Loan Programs Office helped launch the U.S. utility-scale solar industry and other clean energy technologies that are now contributing to our clean energy portfolio," said Secretary Ernest Moniz in a statement. "We want to replicate that success by focusing on technologies that are on the edge of commercial-scale deployment today." read more>>>

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Vietnam Moves Towards A Green Economy
April 19 (Bernama) -- Vietnam needs to continue studying and perfecting relevant mechanisms and policies while learning from the experiences of other countries in moving towards a green economy, Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reported citing the Nhan Dan (People) online newspaper.

Green economy is still a relatively new concept in Vietnam, requiring study and the popularisation of related knowledge to leaders, policymakers, enterprises and residents.

Associate Professor Dr. Nguyen The Chinh, deputy head of the Institute of Strategy and Policy in Natural Resources and Environment, says green economy and environmental protection are two different things but they tend towards each other to form a popular category - sustainable development - which is being widely applied in every field. read more>>>

Heat Is On for Southeast Asia to Shift to ‘Green Economy’ Paradigm
Apr 19, 2014 - Each month in Southeast Asia, an area three times the size of Jakarta is stripped of its trees.

Across the region, forests are being cleared for their timber or for agriculture, or to make way for infrastructure and settlements. Indeed, the region’s surging economic growth in recent years has come, in large part, at the expense of natural resources, particularly forests.

Will this paradigm continue?

Will Southeast Asia all but run out of forests? read more>>>

Microgrids Aren’t a Fad…They Are the Future
April 18, 2014 - Sometimes I feel like no matter how much I write about (or talk about) alternative energy solutions, the ideas fall on deaf ears. Of course, I am not referring to our own community, but rather those on the “outside” who need to learn that there are other options available.

With some of the new solar technology coming to market right now, it’s not difficult to become completely energy independent. Perhaps some of the opposition faced by alternative energy is simply because people do not understand enough about the technology. Maybe it’s because most people are wary of change. read more>>>

An abundant and inexpensive water-splitting photocatalyst with low toxicity
April 16, 2014 - Technology that allows the direct conversion of sunlight, an ultimate renewable energy, into chemical energies (i.e., fuels) that can be condensed and transported is not yet available. As such, solar energy is not ready at present to be utilized in place of conventional fossil and nuclear fuels.

Many water-splitting photocatalysts, such as titanium dioxide (TiO2), can decompose water and produce hydrogen fuel when absorbing ultraviolet light. However, due to their inability to absorb visible light, which accounts for more than half of solar energy, their practical use in the conversion of solar energy is limited. While the development of new photocatalysts that can split water by absorbing visible light has been worked on globally, there are cost- and environment-related issues because many of the available photocatalysts contain expensive rare metals, such as tantalum, or high concentrations of lead, which is very toxic. read more>>>


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