October 23 2014 - Who chooses to install solar panels on their roof? You might assume that the people who do so are probably fairly rich (an average installation can cost around $35,000, prior to tax credits or other incentives), and most assuredly, politically liberal. They can afford it, and it fits their values to boot.
According to a new study, though, politics and income may not be such important factors after all. Examining the spread of solar photovoltaic residential installations in Connecticut, two researchers at Yale and the University of Connecticut found instead that the single most important factor driving whether a given house installed solar was peer influence -- whether other houses nearby had recently done so. In other words, much like with buying a Prius, it looks like installing solar has a lot to do with how you want people around you to think of you. "People have called it green envy before, where you want to be green so that you can show off your greenness effectively," says Yale's Kenneth Gillingham, a professor at the School of Forestry and one of the study authors. read more>>>
Oct 22, 2014 - For years, the utilities responsible for providing electricity to the nation have treated residential solar systems as a threat. Now, they want a piece of the action, and they are having to fight for the chance.
If utilities embrace home solar, their deep pockets and access to customers could transform what has been a fast-growing, but niche industry. Solar powers only half a million U.S. homes and businesses, according to solar market research firm GTM Research.
But utility-owned rooftop systems represent a change the solar installation companies who dominate the market don't want, and whether the two sides can compromise may determine if residential solar truly goes mainstream. read more>>>
1 October 2014 - Boundary Dam held up as first commercial-scale CCS plant and proof that coal-burning is compatible with cutting emissions
Canada has switched on the first large-scale coal-fired power plant fitted with a technology that proponents say enables the burning of fossil fuels without tipping the world into a climate catastrophe.
The project, the first commercial-scale plant equipped with carbon capture and storage technology, was held up by the coal industry as a real life example that it is possible to go on burning the dirtiest of fossil fuels while avoiding dangerous global warming. read more>>>
10/24/2014 - There are more than 1 million miles of pipe that carry trillions of cubic feet of natural gas to America’s homes, businesses, factories and farms each year. We depend on the reliable delivery of natural gas, but too often in recent years we have had explosions and leaks that harm our communities, degrade the environment and contribute significantly to global warming.
Thirty-seven states have programs to speed up repairs and replacement of problem sections of the gas distribution system. Most recently, California enacted a leak mitigation approach from which the whole country can take a lesson.
Part of the climate change package signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last month is a law to require a significant reduction in pipeline leaks. read more>>>
10/28/14 - Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer is turning to actor Woody Harrelson and director Darren Aronofsky in a new ad urging voters to “take the fight against climate change to the ballot box.”
The 30-second ad buy, narrated by Harrelson, and directed by Aronofsky, declares the climate fight is one people “will win,” but voting on Election Day is key.
“They told us the world was flat and insisted it was the center of the universe,” Harrelson states in the ad as images of the earth in black and white flicker on the screen.
“[They] said that cigarettes were harmless.” read more>>>
10.27.2014 - The city of Ishpeming spent more than $200,000 on energy costs last year.
Now the city council is looking for ways to become more energy efficient.
The Ishpeming City Council approved a resolution that might set aside some land for the use of producing renewable energy.
"With that comes factories comes taxes, jobs, all of the good things that happen in a city. It's usually off of industries," said Mike Tall, Mayor.
The resolution is a way to let legislators and the state know their concerns about the need for reliable and affordable energy. It allows them to approach a number of power companies with hopes that they bring different sources of renewable energy to Ishpeming. read more>>>
October 22, 2014 - A new partnership has been formalized with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and Chattanooga's EPB, one of the largest publicly-owned electric power distributors in the country. The partnership will establish Chattanooga's smart grid as a living laboratory for testing new energy technologies.
Under the agreement, DOE and ORNL will apply their technical expertise in areas such as data analytics, control systems, cybersecurity and high-performance computer modeling to test new smart grid technologies and processes on the electric grid in Chattanooga. read more>>>
October 21, 2014 - In her opening speech at Solar Power International in Las Vegas this week, Julia Hamm asked attendees to Imagine a future in which solar energy and all the industry stakeholders -- from utilities to installers and manufacturers to customers -- were unhampered by existing regulatory and market structures, as well as the challenges and, at times, divisive debates they have created.
Hamm, president and CEO of the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA), threw out a challenge and invitation to the thousands of industry leaders to come up with their own ideas and visions of what this new market would look like and how it might work, forcing the audience to think about what it would be like if we could start over in a "hypothetical 51st state," building a fully diversified, integrated energy sector from the ground up. read more>>>
21 October 2014 - Sweden is the world’s greenest country – but Germany is taking the credit.
Iceland, Austria and Spain are greener than you think they are. Mongolia is not very green at all. Meanwhile, the US, Australia and Japan have received too much credit for too little action.
These are some of the findings from a new report from Dual Citizen, a US-based data consultancy. They have created a Global Green Economy Index, ranking countries on both how green they are perceived to be, and how well they perform in reality. read more>>>
October 21, 2014 - Combined heat and power (CHP) technologies are sometimes overlooked as important assets that can be deployed in Smart Grids and microgrids in North America. Also known as cogeneration, it is defined in the Smart Grid Dictionary as the production of electricity and useful thermal energy from a single fuel source, typically located at or near the point of consumption. The thermal energy is typically used for heating, cooling, or applied to specific processes. CHP deserves more consideration in microgrid designs and deployments. Ongoing technology advances in combustion turbines result in much more energy-efficient equipment, and that means that the solutions are more powerful and occupy smaller form factors than in the past. That opens up more possibilities for installations within microgrids that are strategically placed to build infrastructure resiliency. read more>>>
October 22nd, 2014 - In the Net Zero Zone at Greenbuild 2014, exhibitors will demonstrate a solar-powered microgrid by disconnecting from the energy utility.
“Two years ago at Greenbuild I predicted that in a few years you’ll come to this conference and the booths will be powered by renewable energy generated at the show,” says Brian Patterson, president of the nonprofit EMerge Alliance. “When I walked away from that conversation, I decided that was my goal.” read more>>>
October 21st, 2014 - The authors of the latest Global Green Economy Index have raised concerns about the “perceptions” of developed countries such as Australia, Japan, the Netherlands, and the United States, suggesting that “perceptions of their green economic performance dramatically exceed their actual performance on the [Global Green Economy Index].”
First published in 2010 by analytics company Dual Citizen, the GGEI provides an in-depth look at how 60 countries are performing in the global green economy. Countries are measured on four separate scales: leadership and climate change; efficiency sectors; markets and investment; and environment and natural capital. There is also a difference between the perception of a country and its actual performance, as seen below. read more>>>