Thursday, August 21, 2014

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 21 August 2014

Microsoft Ends Its Relationship With ALEC Over Anti-Clean Energy Agenda
Aug 20, 2014 - The Sustainability Group, a group aimed at fostering socially responsible investment, along with Walden Asset Management, which offers portfolio management services to socially responsive investors, have been working with Microsoft to encourage it to end its relationship with the corporatist group American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC.)

The Sustainability Group was successful. From a statement released today: read more>>>

Retired general to discuss clean energy in Raleigh
20 August 2014 - A retired U.S. Air Force general is visiting Raleigh to highlight the military's role in clean energy innovation and what this means for North Carolina's economy.

Gen. Ron Keys will participate in several events Wednesday with the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce and business owners, economic developers, university researchers, community leaders and elected officials. read more>>>

Minneapolis works with utilities on being green
August 19, 2014 - Minneapolis is negotiating agreements with local electric and natural gas utilities that seek more commitment to clean energy, a year after controversial debates over the city starting its own municipal utility.

City leaders are renewing 20-year-old franchise agreements, set to expire in December, that give Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy access to public right of way in exchange for millions of dollars in fees.

The new arrangements are expected to be much shorter in duration, accompanied by a separate partnership that would have utilities work with the city to meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets. read more>>>

The lost bipartisan consensus on climate change
The death of Sen. Jim Jeffords this week underscored that there is no longer a political center on the issue

20 August 2014 - This week, Jim Jeffords, the former senator from Vermont, passed away at the age of 80.

Jeffords is perhaps most famous for disrupting the balance of power in the Senate in 2001. Disillusioned with the growing conservative bent of the Republican Party, Jeffords declared himself an Independent in May of that year, undermining GOP control of the Senate.

But Jeffords was also a champion of environmental causes, including sponsoring an aggressive but ultimately quixotic bill to fight climate change that eventually served as an inspiration for President Obama's environmental policy. As a politician who straddled both parties, his legacy underscores the disappearance of the political center in general — and climate change in particular. read more>>>

Major Court Ruling Clears the Way to Let Renewables Into the Grid
20 August 2014 - Building wind farms and huge solar arrays means nothing if they cannot transmit that energy to homes and businesses, and a recent court ruling just made connecting to the grid a lot easier.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, commonly known as FERC, doesn’t often draw headlines for fulfilling its duty of regulating electricity, gas, and oil transmission. However a Friday ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit affirming a 2011 FERC order is poised to usher in major changes in the way utilities and regulators consider transmission and to open pathways for more renewables to enter the grid. read more>>>

Over 150 UK businesses tell PM to back solar industry
07 July 2014 - A coalition of over 150 businesses from the solar industry and beyond have written to Prime Minister David Cameron warning of the threat to Britain’s thriving solar industry.

The letter signed by the coalition includes big names like IKEA, Triodos Bank, Ecotricity, Kyocera, Interface, the Centre for Renewable Energy Systems Technology at Loughborough University and Good Energy. It was also signed by a host of small businesses engaged in UK solar, revealing an industry made up of over 2,000 small and medium sized businesses supporting 16,000 jobs – in stark contrast to the Big 6 utilities. read more>>>

Barnes & Noble

First Solar set to build largest PV plant in Latin America
27 June 2014 - First Solar has announced it has received approval for funding to support construction of the 141MW Luz del Norte solar power plant in Chile’s Atacama Desert.

The company has received board approval for the financing from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the US government’s development finance institution, and IFC, a member of the World Bank Group. The loans are expected to close later this summer and they clear the way for First Solar to proceed with construction planning at the site, located near the city of Copiapo. read more>>>

Why Tiny Barbados Is Beating Us on the Road to Green Energy
07/09/2014 - Oil prices are soaring again -- this time due to uncertainty over the fate of major producers like Russia and Iraq. Expect to pay more at the gas pump and the grocery store in the months ahead, since everything from transportation to manufacturing to our petroleum-intensive agricultural system is a puppet flailing upon the strings of this volatile commodity.

Haven't we been through this drill before? A crisis -- usually in the Middle East-- causes oil prices to rise. Inflation increases and economic growth shrinks. At which point, we hear renewed calls for energy independence.

The recent boom in natural gas has glutted the market with cheap energy, somewhat muting these calls of late. But the U.S. remains far from achieving energy independence. read more>>>

First ever international conference on Green Economy holds in Tanzania
July 9, 2014 - The Green Economy in the South conference will take place this week at the University of Dodoma, Tanzania, hosted by the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies. The conference, which takes place July 8 to 10, 2014, will critically examine different tools and approaches that inform Africa’s green economy strategies and will be opened by Idriss Kikula, the vice chancellor of University of Dodoma, who will give the keynote address.

The momentum gathering behind the idea and practice of the Green Economy is coinciding with financial instability and continued economic woe in the North, but generally happier economic circumstances in the South. Africa’s economies are growing and ‘green economic initiatives’ are part of these changes. read more>>>

End fossil fuel subsidies and increase green investment portfolios, says French minister
July 8th, 2014 - Foreign minister of France Laurent Fabius has called on governments to cut subsidies to fossil fuels in order to avoid “climate chaos” and proposed to increase the share of traditional portfolios dedicated to green economy from 1% to 10% by 2020.

Speaking at an economic meeting in Aix-en-Provence, Fabius said, “Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, fossil fuels have been the main engine of growth.

“But fast enough, it will destroy more wealth than it creates.” read more>>>

A livable city solution: The powerful potential of microgrids
Jul 08, 2014 - A majority of the world's population now lives in cities, which consume 75 percent of the world's resources and emit most of its greenhouse gases. The United Nations estimates that by 2050, an additional three billion people will move into these dense, resource-intense urban environments.

“Projecting from current trends, you realize that we should have a plan for how this change unfolds,” says Mike Corradini, director of the Wisconsin Energy Institute and professor of engineering physics.

As urban growth increases stress on global systems, Corradini is among a team of UW-Madison researchers working to develop solutions that contribute to the livability of future cities. When it comes to urban energy— and its ever-increasing consumption—Corradini believes resiliency, reliability and accessibility will be critical factors in ensuring a sustainable supply. read more>>>

Europe dominating concentrated solar power
August 14, 2014 - In 2013, the global concentrated solar power (CSP) market was worth $2,507.4 million and is forecast by Transparency Market Research (TMR) to reach $8,674.7 million in 2020 -- growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.4 percent from 2014 to 2020.

Growing concern over declining fossil fuel reserves, rising demand of power in industrial, commercial and residential sectors, greenhouse gases emissions, and increasing prices of power generation from fossil fuels are fueling market growth, according to TMR. An increasing need to reduce carbon emissions and find an alternative clean, sustainable energy solution will bolster overall demand. read more>>>

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