Saturday, August 16, 2014

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 16 August 2014

Renewable Energy Companies to Invest $7 Billion in Chile Power
Aug 14, 2014 - The government awarded 70 concessions for solar power projects and six for wind farms, the country’s Energy Minister Maximo Pacheco told reporters today in Santiago. There were more than 30 recipients.

Chile has 1,716 megawatts of renewable-energy capacity, or 8.9 percent of the total installed, according to a report this month from the Energy Ministry’s Renewable Energy Center. Wind accounts for 40 percent of the total, and biomass is second with 26 percent.

The country’s environmental regulator has approved 6,100 megawatts of solar projects, and 487 megawatts of solar farms are under construction in Chile. The country has expanded its renewable capacity by 600 megawatts this year. read more>>>

Egg-shaped, solar- and pedal-powered $5,500 ELF eco-trike on the way
Aug 10th 2014 - Remember the old Flinstones cartoons where Fred and Barney could make their cars go faster by peddling their feet on the ground under the car? One North Carolina-based company is putting its own spin on that concept. All for the sake of the environment, of course.

Organic Transit is selling what it calls the ELF, which stands for Electric, Light Fun and is a three-wheeled 150-pound vehicle (technically classified as a bike) that can be powered by electric power, solar power or pedal power. The vehicle, which can carry as much as 350 pounds, has a 14-mile single-charge range and a top speed of 20 miles per hour, though tack on another 10 mph with the pedal-power option. The trike also has disc brakes, fiber-carbon body panels and a 60-watt photovoltaic solar panel that allows the vehicle to by fully recharged under seven hours of sunlight. For those who can't wait that long, three hours plugged into an electrical socket will also do the trick. read more>>>

Wind and Weather

Environmental Issues and Climate Change Important to Minority Voters
Aug 10, 2014 - Environmental issues and climate change are important to people of color. Minority voters understand that a negative change in the environment threatens their way of life. And they believe that finding solutions to those threats would benefit them economically, creating new industries and generating well-paying jobs.

A new report published by Green For All showed that a majority of minority voters (70 percent) stated that they were more likely to support candidates willing to increase resources to challenge environmental issues over candidates who reject such efforts. The same percentage indicated that they were interested in paying closer attention to new information on the subject of climate change. read more>>>

A lot of good reasons for buying a green home | HomeWork
August 8, 2014 - Q: What are the advantages of building or buying a green home?

A: There are many compelling reasons why families today are considering building or buying a green home.

Personal health is one of the most important advantages of building or buying green. The homes feature better indoor air quality because of tightly sealed ductwork and high-quality filtration systems.

Green homes have less volatile organic compounds and products containing formaldehyde. These chemicals, common in certain paints, carpets, cabinets and millwork, raise health concerns because they produce off-gasses that can contaminate the air in a new home for years after completion. read more>>>

3rd annual festival spotlights RI's growing 'green' economy
August 08, 2014 - Can a green thumb help cultivate a green economy?

The answer to that question can be found both in black and white, in an economic report on Rhode Island’s green industries, and in living color, at Sunday’s third annual Green Market Festival in South Kingstown.

The festival — with its storytelling, live music, games and information booths — was designed as an entertaining way to illustrate what the study found: that plant-based and agricultural businesses in Rhode Island make up a $1.78-billion industry employing more than 12,000 people. The event is put on by the Rhode Island Nursery and Landscape Association. read more>>>

City of Vancouver aims for a green future
August 12, 2014 - An abundance of natural resources has long made B.C. a cash cow for the carbon industry. Oil and gas companies have enjoyed quick financial paybacks and provided plenty of jobs for labourers.

But the city of Vancouver has a different economic landscape in mind as it looks forward to 2040. The city has made a plan that will see a huge push toward increasing the number of green jobs and growing a green economy, despite facing several big challenges.

Renewable energy, clean technology and urban farming are all part of the city’s plan for a greener Vancouver by 2040, which starts by doubling the number of green jobs and companies from 2010 levels by 2020. read more>>>

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Semprius' Stacked Solar Cells Could Make Solar Energy Cheaper Than Natural Gas
08/08/14 - Two of the main obstacles to the widespread adoption of solar energy are cost and efficiency. However researchers at the Durham, North Carolina-based startup Semprius have found a way to tackle both these issues by simply stacking solar cells. The technique enables Semprius to produce solar panels with efficiencies as high as 50% (compared to the industry standard of 25%)

Semprius makes its super efficient solar cells by stacking different semiconducting materials that collect different frequencies of light. The technique is inexpensive, it doesn’t require any radical redesign, and it can be done with pre-existing manufacturing techniques and equipment. read more>>>

State of wind industry demonstrates value of strong policy
August 11, 2014 - The economic and other benefits of wind investments throughout the United States are significant but may not continue without further action from Congress.

So far this year in the U.S., more than 14,000 MW of wind power have either gone online or have started construction, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

"Today's great values on clean, low-cost wind power are encouraging utilities and major companies to sign more and more contracts for it. read more>>>

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Making Milwaukee a global energy hub
August 11, 2014 - The Mid-West Energy Research Consortium (M-WERC) has unveiled plans for the new Energy Innovation Center (EIC), a facility that will accelerate the development of innovative technology in the energy, power and control industry -- and potentially make Milwaukee a global hub for the energy industry.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) has awarded M-WERC more than $850,000 in grants for the center, which will bring together industry and academic scientists, engineers and business leaders to conduct joint research, jump-start innovative technologies, transition prototype products to the commercial stage, and nurture startup companies. The project also received a $50,000 grant from the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority. read more>>>

Solar power for the masses reaches Charlotte
Aug. 10, 2014 - A three-month campaign to broaden the appeal of rooftop solar systems has declared success in its aim of making them cheaper and simpler for Charlotte-area homeowners.

Solarize Charlotte launched in the hometown of the nation’s largest electric utility, Duke Energy, in April. The volunteer-run program offered discounts on installations and connected homeowners to tax savings and low-interest loans.

“One of the issues we all recognized was that even as solar dropped in price, people saw barriers,” said project assistant Michael Zytkow. “So the goal is to help with everything involved.” read more>>>

Stanford: California Can be Powered by 100% Renewable Energy by 2050
08/11/14 - A new study by a team from Stanford presents a “roadmap” for converting California’s all-purpose energy infrastructure over to renewable sources by 2050. The paper, published in the journal Energy, outlines the state’s expected 2050 energy needs, then proposes several steps to ensure that they can be met by a combination of wind, water and sunlight (WWS). The plan begins with all new energy infrastructure implemented from 2020 onwards using WWS sources.

Lead author of the paper, Mark Z Jacobson, has previously outlined similar proposals on a global level. And while the paper only takes into consideration existing technology, it noted that improved efficiencies in energy consumption would help achieve the goal of 100 percent WWS-sourced power more easily. Those sources selected “ranked the highest among several proposed energy options for addressing pollution, public health, global warming, and energy security.” These parameters ruled out biofuel, fossil fuel and nuclear energy sources. The paper also allowed for California’s population to increase at a faster rate than the rest of the U.S., following current trends. Conversion to electric vehicles would also be necessary to fully implement the plan. read more>>>

Q Cells is expanding its production capacity
11.08.2014 - Hanwha Q Cells has set up an additional production line for solar cells with a capacity of 204 MW at its factory in Cyberjaya, Malaysia. Due to increasing demand, the photovoltaics manufacturer from Thalheim, Germany, is going to expand its production capacity to more than 1.5 GW by the end of the year.

"Hanwha Q Cells is expanding its already strong position on the international PV market. We are increasing our international production capacity to meet the growing global demand for our high-quality PV products and solutions," CEO Charles Kim says. During the first half of this year, the company shipped 539 MW, which is an increase of 68%. read more>>>

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