Thursday, November 27, 2014

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 27 November 2014

UAE serious about green economy, says UN official
November 23, 2014 - The UAE is taking seriously the transition to a greener economy by setting targets to increase the use of renewable energy, said a spokesperson for the United Nations Development Programme.

Helen Clark, a UN undersecretary general and administrator for UNDP, said the UAE had made great progress in this area, including having sustainable plans for Expo2020 and the building of Masdar City.

“We have been associated with the Green Economy Conference in Dubai, the Carbon Centre of Excellence, Carbon Ambassadors, and many other initiatives, and I hope we can keep the strong collaboration going,” she said in an interview with state news agency Wam on Sunday, on the eve of the publication of the UAE State of Energy Report. read more>>>

High school Habitat builders learn about sustainable construction
November 22, 2014 - The students became the teachers at Virginia Tech’s Bishop-Favrao Hall, home to the building construction program.

“I’m just here to facilitate,” Tech wood engineering professor Dan Hindman said.

The event last week brought together juniors and seniors from Hindman’s green building systems class with local high school students from Christiansburg and Giles. The idea was to inspire not only career paths, but also work on a Habitat for Humanity project that will eventually house two needy families. read more>>>

Data centers considering renewable energy to control costs
November 24, 2014 - With energy costs weighing them down, data centers are considering renewable energy as one of the top emerging technologies to address power and cooling costs, according to a Mortenson survey. Of corporate data center executives, data center developers and operators, and information technology providers surveyed at the 2014 Data Center World conference, 84 percent said they needed to consider renewable forms of energy, such as wind and solar, to manage future needs.

Power and cooling considerations are the most important factors determining location, design and construction of data facilities. In fact, survey respondents said what they would most like to change about their facilities is energy efficiency. Nearly half of the participants also believe a better Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) rating is achievable through improved technologies. read more>>>

Two Years After Sandy, the Conversation Around Energy Resiliency Still Going Strong
November 22, 2014 - Last week, EDF co-hosted a successful first-of-its-kind Resilience Finance Symposium in New Jersey, attended by about 120 participants from a wide spectrum of public and private entities in the state, region, and country.

Held on November 12 with Governor Christie’s Administration and the New Jersey Institute of Technology’s College of Architecture + Design, the all-day Resilience Finance Symposium: Building Resilient and Sustainable Energy Solutions for New Jersey’s Key Infrastructure featured a series of panels on solutions that help keep the lights and heat on during critical times, like microgrids and energy storage, as well as innovative ways of financing resilient energy systems. read more>>>

U.S. Green Building Council, founded by Syracuse's Rick Fedrizzi, receives UN's top environmental award
November 21, 2014 - The United Nations has honored the U.S. Green Building Council, co-founded by Syracuse's Rick Fedrizzi, with its top environmental award.

The UN's Champions of the Earth award is usually given to an individual. However, it was given Wednesday to the Green Building Council for its contribution to sustainable building through its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system.

"We see it as a signal that the sustainability of buildings is increasingly being treated as a critical environmental and socio-economic issue, not just in the U.S. but across the world," said Fedrizzi, the council's CEO and founding chair. read more>>>

Microgrids and On-Site Power Offer Relief to an Aging Electricity Grid
November 24, 2014 - Most people remember the Northeast blackout of 2003 that affected some 55 million people in the United States and Ontario, Canada. In that case, a software issue in an alarm system in a control room of FirstEnergy Corp. FE, +0.57% was cited as the source of what could have been a localized blackout that cascaded for hundreds of square miles. There has also been the stark awareness of weakness in the power system through superstorms, such as Hurricane Sandy that bombarded the East Coast last year, signaling that the problem actually runs deeper and points to an aging national electricity grid system that can leave the U.S. susceptible to power outages. Greater recognition of potential outages, whether completely justified or not, of an overworked grid, cyberthreats, brutal weather and even things like squirrels (yes, squirrels) are helping spawn acceptance of new technologies and microgrids that give communities more control of power while reducing stress on the existing grid. As the grid evolves into being less centralized, conglomerates involved in utilities such as General Electric GE, -0.17% will certainly play a role, but a bigger upside may reside in smaller companies with green technologies, including solar plays SolarCity SCTY, -0.67% and First Solar FSLR, +1.14% and Combined Heat and Power firms like Tecogen TGEN, -3.78% in a multiple-win for more consistent power and reduced emissions. read more>>>

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UK pledges to help hardest hit by climate change
20 November 2014 - The UK has committed up to £720 million to the Green Climate Fund, joining other major economies to help developing countries adapt to climate change and go low-carbon.

The funds will target developing countries, including the most vulnerable, to help them adapt to the adverse effects of climate change and limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The UK contribution is drawn from existing funds earmarked for international climate work under the UK’s commitment for 0.7 percent of gross national income to overseas development assistance. The climate fund now stands at around $9 billion, including $3 billion from the US, $1.5billion from Japan, $1billion from Germany, and $1billion from France. read more>>>

CT community combines ancient Greek and modern hydropower technology
November 21, 2014 - Meriden, Connecticut has taken an interesting approach to shaving its electric bills by generating power from water that normally would spill over a dam. A project is underway to take advantage of technology commonly attributed to Archimedes.

Referred to as screw generator technology, it involves sinking a large screw underground adjacent to the dam. Water that would normally spill over the top of the dam is channeled to the screw which propels it to turn and generate electricity.

The community anticipates that the screw generator-equipped Hanover dam will generate up to 900,000 kilowatts (.9 megawatts) of power and save almost $20,000 every year in electricity costs and associated property taxes over 20 years, according to the Record Journal. The electricity will be sent to the Connecticut Light & Power electric grid and the city will buy it back. read more>>>

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More than 2,250 new jobs in British wind industry
21.11.2014 - New figures, revealed in RenewableUK (link is external)’s annual report Wind Energy in the UK (link is external), show that the number of people directly employed in the wind energy industry in the UK – excluded small wind – has increased by more than 6,300 in four years, rising from 9,100 in 2010 to 15,400 in 2014. The report also shows that the number of indirect jobs (for example supplying components) has increased by 8 % since September 2013 to nearly 15,000 jobs. This means that more than 30,400 people owe their livelihoods to wind in the UK, mainly in STEM careers (based on qualifications in science, technology, engineering and maths). More than 2,250 direct and indirect jobs in onshore and offshore wind have been created in just over 12 months.

To coincide with the new report, the Energy Secretary Edward Davey helped RenewableUK to launch a new campaign, Faces of Wind Energy (link is external), at its annual conference in Manchester. read more>>>

Nigeria: 'Green Economy, an Inclusive Means to Sustainable National Development
20 November 2014 - Green economy policies have been identified by experts as the nation's power of transition as it is capable of eradicating poverty as well as sustained economic growth, enhancing social inclusion, improving human welfare, creating opportunities for employment and decent work for all, while maintaining the healthy functioning of the earths ecosystems.

The Guest lecturer at the 14th Memorial Lecture in honour of Prof. Anthony Adegbola and National President, Nigerian Association of Agricultural Economists, Prof. Peter Okuneye noted that the adoption of the green economy has the potential to take Nigeria out of rising poverty in the face of bourgeoning population, increasing risk of food insecurity and environmental degradation thereby urging governments at all levels to incentivise such policies by providing enabling conditions, setting high standards across all sectors as well as running its own operations in a consistent, green and ethical manner. read more>>>

BMW i3 wins Green Car of the Year award
November 20, 2014 - BMW's i3 on Thursday became the first electric car to be named Green Car of the Year, the top honor among automakers developing eco-friendly cars gathered here at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

It wasn't just the car itself that led to the victory, but BMW's entire strategy around sustainable transportation, says Ron Cogan, publisher of the Green Car Journal, which sponsors the award, in a statement. BMW used innovative technologies, materials and construction methods in the making of the i3, not just the fact that it is electric.

"BMW's i3 is a milestone vehicle in many respects and illustrates the automaker's expansive vision of future motoring," says Cogan in a statement. read more>>>

Sustainable buildings good for today and future generations
November 21 2014 - Awareness of sustainable construction among developers remains low but efforts continue to promote the advantages of green buildings.

Indonesia is witnessing rapid urban development, with residential buildings mushrooming, as residents are eager to live better and more comfortably.

However, the development activities are frequently conducted at the expense of the environment as buildings are known as the source of carbon emissions.

Uncontrolled urban development activities that produce carbon emissions will lead to severe environmental degradation, which will affect future generations. read more>>>

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 25 November 2014

Congress must not let wind energy jobs blow away
November 20, 2014 - The winds that froze Americans a week after the midterm elections could help solve the problems voters told pollsters most concerned them – jobs and the economy.

Those winds that whipped snow across the country’s midsection could be harnessed to create clean electrical power and family-supporting jobs across the country.

Wind energy provides a powerful success story. In 2012, wind was our nation’s fastest-growing source of new electrical capacity. Wind power is a clean, renewable energy source that produces no greenhouse gases or air pollution and consumes virtually no water. As its share of our nation’s energy mix increases, we’re also protecting our planet. read more>>>

10 Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint This Thanksgiving
11/20/2014 - Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday for many. It's a time to eat, indulge and spend uninterrupted time with family.

It's also a time for reflection. A time to think about what we're thankful for and a time to think about how the choices we make impact our families and the planet.

Although every day provides an opportunity for reflection and change, Thanksgiving stands out as the perfect day to kick off a few new habits that will effect the longevity of our planet. If each of us revamped our consumption and waste habits by slightly adjusting what's already in place, the overall impact could be huge.

Here are a few tips for the Thanksgiving holiday that will reduce our carbon footprint and help keep the planet healthy for generations to come. read more>>>

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Obama's Climate Deal in Beijing Makes a Global Agreement in Paris Likelier
November 20, 2014 - When Presidents Barack Obama and Xi Jinping announced a pact on Nov. 11 to control their nations’ pollution, they answered long-standing calls from other countries for leadership in global warming diplomacy. Obama pledged that the U.S. will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to at least 26 percent below its 2005 levels by 2025. China said it expects its emissions to peak by 2030, and it will increase the share of power produced from noncarbon sources such as nuclear and solar to 20 percent. Critics were quick to call their actions insufficient or superficial, but the move signaled each nation’s commitment to steps they’ve already taken on their own—and trust that each will continue to make progress.

Both leaders had more than their own emissions in mind. read more>>>

The Ohio green-energy jobs report that, shamefully, stayed buried until now: editorial
November 20, 2014 - If you believe coincidence explains how the Statehouse works, there's no mystery about the bureaucratic stall given to a $435,000 report on green energy jobs in Ohio. But you also have no sense of smell.

The Columbus Dispatch revealed Sunday that a report commissioned in 2012 by the state's Development Services Agency, finished early in 2013, found Ohio had more than 31,000 "alternative energy economy jobs." That's 25 percent more than the 25,000 jobs that clean-energy proponents cited last spring in a losing fight to keep clean-energy standards on schedule. read more>>>

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Wind energy provides more than 2/3 of US capacity in October
November 24, 2014 - According to the latest "Energy Infrastructure Update" report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) Office of Energy Projects, wind power provided over two-thirds (68.41%) of new U.S. electrical generating capacity in October 2014. Specifically, five wind farms in Colorado, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, and Texas came on line last month, accounting for 574MW of new capacity.

In addition, seven "units" of biomass (102MW) and five units of solar (31MW) came into service accounting for 12.16% and 3.69% of new capacity respectively. The balance came from three units of natural gas (132MW - 15.73%). read more>>>

Podesta: Next president could make or break US climate plans
21 November 2014 - The next US president needs to be an Obama-style climate hawk for the country to have any hope of controlling its carbon emissions.

That’s the warning of John Podesta, one of Obama’s senior advisors and likely manager of Hilary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Podesta, who is widely believed to be the brains behind White House plans to cap greenhouse gas emissions of power plants, made the warning in an interview on Bloomberg TV. read more>>>

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Report: Wind power saves $1.2 billion each year
November 22, 2014 - A trade association says that wind power saved electricity customers in Oklahoma and surrounding states more than $1.2 billion last year.

The American Wind Energy Association analyzed hourly data from the Southwest Power Pool in 2013 and calculated when wind turbines were used to generate electricity, The Oklahoman reported. The pool operates the electric grid and plans transmission for 6.2 million households in parts of nine states.

Since wind is free after the turbines are installed, most of the consumer savings came from avoided fuel costs at coal or natural gas plants. But the association says wind power also saved water and reduced emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. read more>>>

Solar and Wind Energy Start to Win on Price vs. Conventional Fuels
NOV. 23, 2014 - For the solar and wind industries in the United States, it has been a long-held dream: to produce energy at a cost equal to conventional sources like coal and natural gas.

That day appears to be dawning.

The cost of providing electricity from wind and solar power plants has plummeted over the last five years, so much so that in some markets renewable generation is now cheaper than coal or natural gas.

Utility executives say the trend has accelerated this year, with several companies signing contracts, known as power purchase agreements, for solar or wind at prices below that of natural gas, especially in the Great Plains and Southwest, where wind and sunlight are abundant. read more>>>

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Smart grid technology business booming
November 19, 2014 - The smart grid is becoming big business, driven by the need for a more responsive, automated global power grid. With the past two years seeing rapid technological advancements and shifting priorities among industry players, as well as a clearer picture of the quantifiable benefits of smart grid technology like improved grid reliability and economics, business is booming.

In fact, Navigant Research predicts that worldwide revenue from smart grid technologies is expected to grow from $44.1 billion in 2014 to $70.2 billion in 2023. read more>>>

Energy storage clusters driving CA clean tech sector
November 19, 2014 - Northern California is leveraging its forward-looking policies and innovative clean tech entrepreneurs to drive clean tech innovation and build the state's clean economy, with certain regions carving out specialized niches in the global clean tech sector, according to research from nonpartisan nonprofit Next 10.

For example, the San Francisco Bay region's culture of innovation and entrepreneurship is sparking a revolution in clean transportation and energy storage, with the area leading the nation in electric vehicles and cutting-edge energy storage technologies, according to the group. read more>>>

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Renewable Energy Helps Older Adults Live a Better Life
12 November 2014 - I used to think about aging as something that happened to other people, but it would never happen to me, at least not for a long time. But time passes so quickly when you are raising a family and establishing a career, and now I suddenly find myself in my 60s and eligible for social security payments. Where did the time go?

As a bona fide older adult, I have taken a new interest in the challenges facing retired people and whether renewable energy can help us live a better life. One difficulty facing older adults is the high cost of maintaining a household, including utility bills. This is a particular problem in the U.S., where nearly 10 percent of adults age 65 and older live below the poverty level, and many others have incomes not much higher. read more>>>

Smoke and Mirrors
September 2014 - We've all passed them on the highway: towering oil refineries, their smokestacks billowing gray smoke, looking both majestic and ominous against the sky. With his recent series Land Scape, artist and commercial photographer David LaChapelle departs from his trademark portraits of celebrities and models to focus on our national dependence on oil, featuring representations of these mammoth structures in his signature glossy, color-saturated style. "The refineries are these things—these symbols of our use of fossil fuels—that have allowed the population and the planet to grow, but to a point where we are not really sustainable," says LaChapelle.

Land Scape grew out of an earlier series focusing on gas stations. For that project, the artist hand built models of the structures and photographed them in the Maui jungle. read more>>>