Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 20 August 2014

Solar panel shortage looms even as manufacturers invest in production
August 19, 2014 - Shortage follows years of high inventories, which have pushed prices down and encouraged installations.

The solar industry is bracing for a global drought in photovoltaic panels after a series of high supply years that pushed prices to all-time lows and encouraged installations.

Solar panel adoption is supposed to increase as much as 29% this year, which has top manufacturers and installers anticipating a drop in availability of panels. This would be the first such shortage since 2006 when the nascent solar energy industry was just taking hold, reported Bloomberg News. read more>>>

After a slow start, PACE getting off the ground in Missouri
08/19/2014 - Four years after Missouri passed a law allowing Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE), the state is on the verge of launching the first few projects.

“It’s been a long birthing process,” said Nathan Nickolaus, who is on the board of directors of the Missouri Clean Energy District, which administers the program.

As in many of the 31 states that have passed PACE laws allowing municipalities to create a PACE lending program for clean-energy projects, cities in Missouri concluded that they weren’t up to the task of creating a PACE program. Only 25 of those states actually have lending programs in place. read more>>>

Green energy job postings increase 88 percent from 2013
August 12, 2014 - There were more than two million job postings in the green energy sector in the first and second quarters of 2014 -- an increase of 87.5 percent from the first and second quarters of 2013 -- according to Ecotech Institute's Clean Jobs Index.

The Clean Jobs Index classifies clean energy jobs based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics description, which defines a clean job as part of a business that benefits the environment or conserves natural resources.

Ecotech Institute created the Clean Jobs Index to provide objective job information about the renewable energy industry and gathers its information from a combination of research entities, including the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency, the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Green Building Council. read more>>>

Montreal’s Saint-Laurent Looking To Start Installing “Green Rooftops”
August 12, 2014 - Saint-Laurent wants green roofs, and they could have them, if Quebec’s Régie du bâtiment would hurry up and approve their construction. Mayor of Saint-Laurent Alan De Sousa fears that if the Régie du bâtiment takes any longer to publish its official guidelines on green roofs, their inclusion in the borough’s newest houses will not occur.

Green roofs are basically rooftop gardens with their own drainage system, that have many benefits for the building at city at-large, such as moderating the city’s heat, improving air quality, insulating heat within a building (great for winter), add to the city’s greenspace, and even reduce the noise emitted from a building. read more>>>

7 cutting edge resiliency technologies (New York is investigating them now)
Aug 13, 2014 - The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has awarded $3.3 million to seven research teams to develop technologies that add resiliency and efficiency to New York State's electric grid.

Radar for faster restoration. Enhance storm model predictions by incorporating radar data to better estimate damage on a local basis.

Aerial damage assessment. Analyze aerial pictures to locate line damage and pinpoint outages.

Using computers to analyze pictures for possible problems. Computer algorithms to recognize potential problems from smart phone pictures sent in by witnesses. read more>>>

Branching out for a green economy
July 30th, 2014 - To further the agenda of climate change and green growth knowledge generation, Unisa’s Exxaro Chair in Business and Climate Change has instituted a unique collaborative research programme on bio-derived fuels (BDF) and solar transition with researchers both within and outside the university.

Combining the chair’s expertise with various institutions, the chair’s incumbent, Professor Godwell Nhamo said it was important to institute a trans-, inter- and multidisciplinary (TIM) research programme on bio-derived fuels and solar transition under climate change and green economy/growth. The idea for this long-term research programme emerged in the last quarter of 2013, said Nhamo. Brainstorming then started within the chair and was later expanded to the Materials and Process Synthesis (MaPS) research unit within Unisa’s College of Science and Technology. read more>>>

Google's $1 million Green Idea Challenge
07/28/2014 - Internet giant Google has opened up submissions for the "Littlebox Challenge", in which contestants stand a chance of winning $1 million in prize money.

The competition challenges the entrants to shrink inverters that take direct current from devices such as solar panels and batteries and turn them into alternating current for use in homes and businesses.

The Littlebox Challenge ( ) Web site states that the device shrunk must be no bigger than a small laptop in volume and smaller than every other contestant's to win the prize.

"There will be obstacles to overcome; like the conventional wisdom of engineering," Eric Raymond of the Google Green Team states in an online post.

"But whoever gets it done will help change the future of electricity." read more>>>

Urban Post-Disaster Housing Prototype Unveiled in New York CIty
June 17, 2014 - It’s nothing short of building a city within a city overnight.

That’s the fundamental premise behind a new modular post-disaster housing unit, designed by Garrison Architects, which was revealed Tuesday by New York City officials. The premise is simple but ambitious: Post-disaster housing will allow city residents to live in their neighborhood for months or years after a major disaster while their homes undergo repairs. The full-scale and operational prefabricated prototype represents the midpoint of a lengthy quest to change how cities respond to disasters in the 21st century.

The critical problem at hand is a total absence of emergency housing solutions in dense urban settings. Conventional approaches, such as the trailer homes of Hurricane Katrina infamy, are simply infeasible in major cities where space is at a premium. read more>>>

Market Report on Climate Change Adaptation Reveals New Business Opportunities
Jul. 24, 2014 - Weather-related disasters worldwide have helped galvanize attention on the need to prepare for the impact of changing weather patterns on our communities, businesses and natural resources. This presents significant opportunities for companies positioned to help clients prepare for, adapt to and even gain competitive advantage from the consequences of climate change.

In its newly updated EBI Report 4800, “Emerging Business Opportunities in the Climate Change Adaptation Industry,” Environmental Business International Inc. (EBI) talks to the first generation of service providers in this emerging business segment, looking at how they are positioning their companies to win contracts and at the challenges involved in pioneering adaptation work. read more>>>

Making eco-friendly 'pre-fab nanoparticles': Versatile, water-soluble nano-modules
August 12, 2014 - A team of materials chemists, polymer scientists, device physicists and others at the University of Massachusetts Amherst today report a breakthrough technique for controlling molecular assembly of nanoparticles over multiple length scales that should allow faster, cheaper, more ecologically friendly manufacture of organic photovoltaics and other electronic devices.

Details are in the current issue of Nano Letters.

Lead investigator, chemist Dhandapani Venkataraman, points out that the new techniques successfully address two major goals for device manufacture: controlling molecular assembly and avoiding toxic solvents like chlorobenzene. "Now we have a rational way of controlling this assembly in a water-based system," he says. "It's a completely new way to look at problems. With this technique we can force it into the exact structure that you want." read more>>>

Insights into a new class of semiconducting materials
August 12, 2014 - A new paper by University of Notre Dame researchers describes their investigations of the fundamental optical properties of a new class of semiconducting materials known as organic-inorganic "hybrid" perovskites.

The research was conducted at the Notre Dame Radiation Laboratory by Joseph Manser, a doctoral student in chemical and biomolecular engineering, under the direction of Prashant Kamat, Rev. John A. Zahm Professor of Science. The findings appear in a paper in the August 10 edition of the journal Nature Photonics.

The term "perovskites" refers to the structural order these materials adopt upon drying and assembling in the solid state. read more>>>

IHS Study: Diversity of United States Power Supply Could be Significantly Reduced in Coming Decades
Jul. 24, 2014 - Diversity in the U.S. power supply—the most cost-effective means of managing the inherent risks in fuel costs and technology performance in generating power—could be dramatically reduced in coming decades, says a new study by IHS (NYSE: IHS), the leading global source of critical information and insight. Fuel and technology decisions on new supply that will determine as much as one-third of U.S. power supply are required in the coming decades to meet growth in power demand, replace retiring power plants and satisfy proposed environmental regulations, the study says.

The new study, The Value of U.S. Power Supply Diversity finds that a combination of factors—chronically depressed wholesale power prices, proposed environmental regulations and a focus on renewables and natural gas over coal, oil, nuclear and hydroelectric power plants—is currently moving the United States toward a significant reduction in power supply diversity. read more>>>

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