Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 14 October 2014

California leads on climate change, says 50-state tool
October 9, 2014 - California has completed the highest number of goals to prepare for climate change, followed by Massachusetts and New York, according to a first-of-its-kind 50-state tracking tool unveiled Thursday.

In the last five years, there's been a burst of state efforts to deal with already occurring climate impacts such as more frequent storms and rising sea levels. They've ranged from elevating wastewater treatment plants to insulating roads, building micro-grids for backup power or buying out homes in flood-prone areas.

California has been a leader, achieving 48 or 14% of its 345 self-described climate goals, says the new online tool developed by the Georgetown Climate Center, a nonpartisan research group based at Georgetown University Law School. It passed, for example, a "cool pavements" bill in 2012 to encourage lighter-colored paving materials that reduce the heat-island effect in urban areas . read more>>>

Report: Florida lags in clean-energy jobs
10/08/2014 - More than 130,000 Floridians work at about 14,000 clean energy businesses across the state. But that’s just 1.5 percent of all jobs in Florida, a small per-capita number when compared to other states studied, according to a Florida clean jobs census released Wednesday by a trio of business organizations.

While 130,000 is a big number, “we believe this is only a drop in the bucket to what this state can be,” said Bob Keefe, executive director of Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), which released “Clean Jobs Florida: Sizing Up Florida’s Clean Energy Jobs Base and its Potential” with the Florida Alliance for Renewable Energy and the Florida Chapter of the Energy Services Coalition. “Florida is a state that is not living up to its potential.” read more>>>

Sun Jack - world's most powerful solar charger!

Making lots of renewable energy equipment doesn’t boost pollution
Oct 8 2014 - While the use of renewable energy is booming, the boom started from a very low point. We're only now reaching the stage where renewable power is providing a substantial fraction of the energy used in some developed economies. Pushing things further and faster would require a lot of resources as, per unit of electricity produced, renewable power equipment takes more material than fossil fuel plants. Plus, at least initially, a lot of the manufacturing will be powered by fossil fuel plants.

How does all this balance out? An international team of researchers has looked at the material demands and pollution that would result from a push to get the globe to 40 percent renewables by the middle of the century. The analysis finds that despite the increased materials and energy demands, a push like this would result in a dramatic reduction in pollution. And for the most part, the material demands could be met, with the possible exception of copper. read more>>>

Seeing Is Believing: Creating a New Climate Economy in the United States
October 10, 2014 - A presentation and networking opportunity was held on Friday, October 10 in Washington, D.C. for the release of Seeing is Believing: Creating a New Climate Economy in the United States.

Building on the recently-released New Climate Economy report, this analysis provides evidence and real-world examples demonstrating how the United States is already seizing economic returns while reducing its greenhouse gas emissions—and outlines what can be done to further hasten these positive trends.

The New Climate Economy is the flagship report of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, led by former President of Mexico Felipe Calderon, with a group of world-leading economic advisors. read more>>>

Lincoln Center Turns to Solar Power to Provide Some of Its Bright Light
OCT. 9, 2014 - It is no longer a rooftop with open space and great views where music or ballet students could sunbathe, if they managed to sneak up there without setting off an alarm.

It still has the great views and the alarm. But in the last couple of weeks, the roof of the building at Lincoln Center that houses the Juilliard School and the School of American Ballet has had the look of a construction site. Heavy, slablike parts were hauled in. Electricians put in long hours running wires to control boxes.

And more than 900 square feet of what had been empty space was covered by solar panels that will convert sunlight to electrical current. read more>>>

Pacific Gas and Electric focusing on 'Grid of Things'
October 8, 2014 - Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is reporting on three years of smart grid success in its most recent third annual smart grid report, which outlines the utility's use and testing of advanced technology to improve the safety, reliability and resiliency of the power grid while giving customers new options for managing their energy and saving money.

PG&E is working on emerging and future smart grid projects that will benefit customers, including "self-healing" circuits that automatically restore customers in the wake of an outage, and advanced support for customer-owned clean energy installations. read more>>>

Study: Knowledge is power when it comes to water conservation
October 8, 2014 - Despite being often sensationalized and alarmist, water-related news coverage of droughts, chemical spills, and burst pipelines may have a positive impact on water conservation, as demonstrated by the results of a national poll by EnviroMedia. If nothing else, the headlines get people talking.

The poll revealed that 44 percent of U.S. homeowners know where their water comes from -- up 12 percent from 32 percent in 2007. Unfortunately, homeowners' understanding about how the many ways they can get their electricity hasn't evolved at all, staying at 35 percent since 2007.

"That increase is good news to us, because our research for 10 years has shown a strong connection between knowledge of water and energy sources and willingness to conserve them. read more>>>

London's red phone boxes go green
Iconic symbols become charging stations to stay relevant

Oct 07, 2014 - Next time you're on the go and your phone is running out of juice, try a phone box. No, not for calling. To charge your phone.

One of London's famous red telephone boxes has been painted green and transformed into a solar-powered charging station, as part of a design competition.

The so-called "Solarbox" can be found in central London's Tottenham Court Road, and there are plans for more to be opened by early 2015.

The Solarbox has chargers for Samsung, BlackBerry and the iPhones 4, 5 and 6. It can power an estimated 100 devices a day through its roof-mounted solar panel. read more>>>

Cut the red tape to unleash our green future
October 07, 2014 - From Riverside to Silicon Valley to San Diego, clean economy businesses are hiring local workers, growing California’s economy, and reducing our carbon footprint all at once. Often they’re doing it despite cumbersome regulations that were designed for the fossil fuel economy of the twentieth century.

A new study by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate clearly states that transitioning to a clean economy - with all the accompanying climate, security and health benefits - will be cheaper than continuing to invest in the fossil fuel economy. By modernizing regulations and cutting red tape, local, state, and federal governments can stimulate the clean economy at little to no cost.

In California, we’ve started doing just that.

Large battery successfully tested at Fraunhofer IFF
08.10.2014 - Fraunhofer IFF has demonstrated the functionality of a mobile 1 MW storage system by temporarily disconnecting a building from the grid in Magdeburg, Germany. The battery will be used to compensate the fluctuations in the supply of energy from renewable sources.

Electricity from wind and sun is becoming less expensive and therefore economically attractive for businesses, especially at peak load. If clouds and a lack of wind coincide, then high-performance energy storage systems can help by feeding previously-stored excess electricity back into the grid. At the Fraunhofer Institute IFF, researchers have now shown in an experiment that this is feasible: A building with approximately 150 employees as well as various offices and laboratories was temporarily fully dependent on the supply of energy from a large battery with a capacity of 1 MW. As the institute reported, research operations continued without interruption during the test phase. read more>>>

Low-carbon energy future is clean, feasible
October 6, 2014 - A future where electricity comes mostly from low-carbon sources is not only feasible in terms of material demand, but will significantly reduce air pollution, a study published in the 6 October Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says.

An international team led by Edgar Hertwich and Thomas Gibon from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology conducted the first-ever global comprehensive life cycle assessment of the long-term, wide-scale implementation of electricity generation from renewable resources.

"This is the first study that has assembled and scaled up the assessment of individual technologies to the whole world and assessed technology implementation to 2050, taking the environmental impacts of production into account," Hertwich said. read more>>>

Little solar communities: Australia's looming micro-grid moment
9 Oct 2014 - Australian society is made up of a strong sense of independence, can-do attitude, and healthy scepticism for authority, which is understandable given its geography and history. Therefore, it’s little wonder that household-owned, rooftop solar is the major force in the Australian solar market.

Australia is also home to massive youth unemployment, which is sapping the potential of a generation of kids. According to the Clean Energy Council, and referenced by The Australia Institute in its recent report on the subject, employment in the solar industry has overtaken coal-fired power, and is expected to increase by 8000 more jobs by 2018 (assuming we still have a RET). That’s more jobs created in the next four years than existed in the entire electricity sector, including renewables, in 2007. All people, and particularly young people hungry to learn new skills, have brighter employment prospects with a healthy solar market. read more>>>

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