Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 16 September 2014

University of California signs major solar deal
September 8 2014 - The University of California says it has made one of the largest ever solar-energy purchases by a university system in the United States.

The UC system, one of the largest public university systems in the nation, says the deal will provide enough solar power to offset 60 percent of the electricity use at five of the state’s 10 campuses, as well as some university medical centers.

UC electricity manager Mark Byron said Monday that a 25-year deal with San Mateo-based Frontier Renewables will provide 80 megawatts in solar power, or 200,000 megawatt-hours annually. read more>>>

Support energy standard
09/10/2014 - Though Gov. Sam Brownback rightly claims to be a champion of wind energy in Kansas, his position on the state’s renewable portfolio standard seems to depend on which way the wind blows. He should join a strong majority of Kansans in supporting the RPS now and for the future.

The RPS, a step-by-step framework for ensuring Kansas utility companies would get 20 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2020, was passed by the 2009 Legislature as part of the deal meant to allow another coal-fired power plant near Holcomb. Though the plant is unbuilt, the RPS has paid off richly in rural development of wind farms and land-lease income for farmers. Also greatly assisted by the now-expired federal wind production tax credit, Kansas has seen its wind farms multiply from one to 21 in a decade, with more under construction and planned. read more>>>

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CA has 100K plug-in cars, and counting
Sept. 8, 2014 - Cumulative sales of plug-in electric cars in California have surpassed 100,000, industry experts announced Monday.

As of the end of August, Californians had purchased 102,440 plug-in cars, including both all-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids that run on a combination of electricity and gasoline, according to figures compiled by HybridCars.com and Baum & Associates, a Michigan-based market research firm.

The sales records date back to December 2010, when the all-electric Nissan Leaf and plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt were first introduced to consumers in select U.S. markets. read more>>>

Sea Level Rise app aims to map flooding hot spots
September 10 2014 - Residents in flood-prone Hampton Roads have a new tool to view and report flooding hot spots.

The Norfolk-based environmental group Wetlands Watch has developed a mobile application that allows people to easily map, take pictures of and outline areas that are inundated during high tide and heavy rains. A test of the Sea Level Rise app was conducted Wednesday near downtown Norfolk by an inlet called the Hague, which routinely floods nearby streets at high tide.

With pedestrians and vehicles forced to find alternate routes due to high water Wednesday morning, volunteers walked along the outlines of the flooded area and dropped pins on a map on their smartphones about every 10 yards to mark where the water had accumulated. read more>>>

Cleveland Becomes Cleantech Leader But Ohio Backtracks on Renewable Energy
Hundreds of companies are working toward clean energy solutions as governor freezes statewide targets for renewables.

Sep 11, 2014 - As the state of Ohio freezes climate policy, the city of Cleveland and its surrounding area are taking a different approach. Northeast Ohio is charging ahead with plans to build green industries that could jumpstart the economy and reduce pollution at the same time.

In the past decade, 500 companies have been built in northeast Ohio on the promise of green technology, each handpicked by civic leaders to match the strengths of the region. Meanwhile, politicians–including the governor–are knocking back statewide renewable energy targets that benefited many of those companies, such as wind and solar farm operators. The conflict could stall—or even stifle—further development of businesses trying to create climate-friendly technologies and a new clean energy economy. read more>>>

Stopping climate meltdown needs the courage that saved the ozone layer
Governments dither on the solution to global warming – but the Montreal protocol is a reminder of a time when they took their hands out of their pockets

11 September 2014 - In The Magnificent Seven Deadly Sins, a comedy made in 1971, Spike Milligan portrays Sloth as a tramp trying to get through a farm gate. This simple task is rendered almost impossible by the fact that he can’t be bothered to take his hands out of his pockets and open the latch. He tries everything: getting over it, under it, through it, hurling himself at it, risking mortal injury, expending far more energy and effort than the obvious solution would require.

This is how environmental diplomacy works. Governments gather to discuss an urgent problem and propose everything except the obvious solution – legislation. The last thing our self-hating states will contemplate is what they are empowered to do: govern. They will launch endless talks and commissions, devise elaborate market mechanisms, even offer massive subsidies to encourage better behaviour, rather than simply say “we’re stopping this”. read more>>>

Hope for clean economy as $20bn in green bonds are issued in 2014
From wind farms in Texas to energy efficiency in Mexico’s poorest neighbourhoods, bonds might sound dull but they’re a vital weapon against climate change

11 September 2014 - There are two reasons why Zurich Insurance Group, one of the largest public companies in the world, is investing $2bn in green bonds. The first is the environmental benefit of investing in projects that will reduce carbon pollution and limit global warming, whether it’s a wind farm in Texas or energy efficiency upgrades to refrigerators and air conditioners in Mexico’s poorest neighbourhoods. The second reason – and most critical to investors – is that green bonds are profitable.

“If opportunities exist that provide market returns as well as tangible measurable environmental impacts, then I think that is a great investment opportunity,” said Cecilia Reyes, group chief investment officer at Zurich, speaking earlier this year in New York. “The question to ask is not why invest in green bonds, but why not invest in green bonds.” read more>>>

Sun and Wind Alter Global Landscape, Leaving Utilities Behind
SEPT. 13, 2014 - Of all the developed nations, few have pushed harder than Germany to find a solution to global warming. And towering symbols of that drive are appearing in the middle of the North Sea.

They are wind turbines, standing as far as 60 miles from the mainland, stretching as high as 60-story buildings and costing up to $30 million apiece. On some of these giant machines, a single blade roughly equals the wingspan of the largest airliner in the sky, the Airbus A380. By year’s end, scores of new turbines will be sending low-emission electricity to German cities hundreds of miles to the south.

It will be another milestone in Germany’s costly attempt to remake its electricity system, an ambitious project that has already produced striking results: read more>>>

Both Red & Blue States Green On Energy, Stanford Says
September 13th, 2014 - With Congress squelching innovation in Washington, we need to look to the states for policies green on energy. A study released by Stanford University and the Hoover Institution this week (The State Clean Energy Cookbook: A Dozen Recipes for State Action on Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy) cites 12 innovative projects being implemented by almost 20 state governments (and one federal program) that can inform other capitals and industry about successful approaches.

States have done more to modernize energy than the federal government. They have spurred renewable energy and energy-efficiency programs that improve the economy and reduce emissions at minimal cost. Says George Schulz, coauthor of the cookbook, former Secretary of both State and Treasury, and chair of the Hoover Institution’s Shultz-Stephenson Task Force on Energy Policy: read more>>>

Keep Kansas’ renewable energy mandate and the benefits of wind power
09/13/2014 - Despite Gov. Sam Brownback’s sudden lack of support for it, the renewable energy mandate in Kansas deserves to be kept in place.

The Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requires the state to get at least 20 percent of its electric power from sources such as the sun and wind by 2020. It has created thousands of jobs in the wind industry, provided new income to farmers and kept electricity prices in check for utility customers since bipartisan approval by the Kansas Legislature in 2009.

Unfortunately, its few enemies are rich and influential in the strong-arm kind of way when it comes to lavishing campaign contributions on lawmakers.

Opponents include special interest groups that financially benefit from the dominance of coal and other polluting fossil fuels (hello, Koch Industries) as well as conservative lobbying groups such as the American Legislative Exchange Council, Americans for Prosperity (a Koch-funded group) and the Kansas Chamber of Commerce. read more>>>

Barnes & Noble

Ethiopia: Fast Track Project for Green Economy
8 September 2014 - The Ministry of Forest and Environment said the Fast Track Project will facilitate the implementation of the Ethiopian Climate Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) Strategy.

State Minister Kebede Yimam said, on a consultative meeting held at Adama town, that the Fast Track Project Implementation has a great role for scientific forest development in the country.

The project also helps to balance the ecology of an environment where it is being implemented, he added. read more>>>

New ‘Green Growth’ Report Shows How the U.S. Can Cut Carbon Pollution by 40 Percent While Creating 2.7 Million New Jobs
Summary of Report Co-Authored by the UMass Amherst Political Economy Research Institute and the Center for American Progress Now Available Online

8-Sep-2014 - The University of Massachusetts Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) and the Center for American Progress have announced a groundbreaking report that quantifies the investment and technology deployment needed for the United States to do its part to avoid the worst consequences of climate change. Released as climate leaders and policymakers meet in Nevada for the seventh annual National Clean Energy Summit, the executive summary for “Green Growth: A U.S. Program for Controlling Climate Change and Expanding Job Opportunities” shows that the United States can cut its carbon pollution by 40 percent from 2005 levels and create a net increase of 2.7 million clean energy jobs in the process, reducing the unemployment rate by 1.5 percentage points.

The complete report, which is scheduled for release in the coming weeks, also provides analysis showing the need for a substantial new wave of mostly private investment in advanced energy technology and higher performing buildings, as well as public and private investment in efficient infrastructure. read more>>>

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