Friday, January 31, 2014

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 31 January 2014

Research rethinks the utility revenue model
January 27, 2014 - A long-term decline in electricity consumption growth, advances in energy efficiency, monitoring, control technologies, and the surprisingly rapid growth in rooftop solar and other renewable generation are all factors challenging the traditional volume-based utility revenue model, according to U.S. energy consulting firm ScottMadden Inc.

Utilities, regulators, and other players in the power ecosystem are discussing the implications of this changing industry environment and the evolution of the utility business model. read more>>>

One step closer to low cost solar cells
January 27, 2014 - The dwindling resources for conventional energy sources make renewable energy an exciting and increasingly important avenue of research. However, even seemingly new and green forms of energy production, like silicon-based solar cells, are not as cost effective as they could be. An OIST research team led by Yabing Qi is investigating solar cells based on organic materials that have electrodes both flexible and transparent, enabling the fabrication of these solar cells at a low cost.

In a recent paper published in the journal Organic Electronics, Qi and his research group characterized the electrodes made with new materials, including plastic, conductive material and zinc oxide. They also successfully identified methods by which to clean the electrodes to restore their conductivity and work function after an extended period of storage, thus contributing to the optimization of making these new solar cells. read more>>>

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Ozone-depleting substances 2012
Sep. 17, 2013 - In 1989 the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone layer entered into force. It has the objective of protecting the stratospheric ozone layer by phasing out the production of substances that contribute to ozone depletion. The Protocol covers over 200 individual substances with a high ozone.depleting potential, including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), halons, hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), hydrobromofluorocarbons (HBFCs), carbon tetrachloride (CTC), methylbromide (MB), bromochloromethane (BCM) and trichloroethane (TCA), all of which are referred to as 'controlled substances'.

Within the European Union (EU), the use and trade in controlled substances is regulated by EU regulation (EC) 1005/2009 (ODS Regulation) (EC, 2009). read more>>>

Top 10 Clean Energy Developments of 2013
Jan. 22, 2014 - 2013 was an exciting and inspiring year in many regards. And we’re not just talking the arrival of Prince George or the fact that the new Pope rides an electric bicycle. There were many remarkable clean energy developments that are helping to bring us closer to a clean, prosperous, and secure energy future. Here we list our top ten:

1. Renewables become cheapest option for many utilities

Multiple U.S. utilities added renewable energy to their mix in 2013, because it’s the cheapest option, with no state renewable portfolio standard (RPS) requirement calculated in. read more>>>

2nd Generation Wind Turbines
Jan. 16, 2014 - 2nd generation wind turbines are better, more effective, than its predecessor, and succeed in generating more electricity with smaller wind volumes. These wind turbines incorporate two newer technologies, that make them more efficient. Self starting vertical blades and magnetically suspended bearings, which makes them superior to any other.

The self starting vertical blades provide advantages over the horizontal blade wind turbines. These vertical blades are more aerodynamic and capture wind turbulence from any incoming direction, whereas the traditional horizontal propeller type of blades need to be facing the wind and cannot capture wind currents which are vertical in nature (up or down). read more>>>

U.S. Green Building Council Certifies 50,000th Green Housing Unit Under LEED for Homes
01/27/2014 - The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announces the 50,000th LEED-certified green housing unit.

"As one of the most rigorous green residential rating systems in the world, LEED for Homes is the standard against which all other such programs are measured," said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair, USGBC. "Despite its demanding technical aspects that set a high bar for green residential construction, LEED for Homes has also seen the broadest adoption among its peers -- indicative of its position as the rating system of choice to guide the design and construction of healthier, high-performance homes."

Since the launch of the LEED for Homes rating system in 2007, the growth trajectory of the world's most widely used residential green building program has been dramatic. read more>>>

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Solar jobs attracting industry veterans
January 27, 2014 - The Solar Foundation (TSF) has released its fourth annual National Solar Jobs Census, which found that the U.S. solar industry employed 142,698 Americans in 2013, including the addition of 23,682 solar jobs over the previous year -- a 19.9 percent growth in employment since September 2012.

Solar employment grew 10 times faster than the national average employment growth rate of 1.9 percent in the same period.

"The solar industry's job-creating power is clear," said Andrea Luecke, executive director and president of The Solar Foundation. read more>>>

SunPower Announces Program with Bank of America Merrill Lynch to Finance $220 Million in Residential Solar Lease Projects
Jan. 28, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- SunPower Corp. SPWR +1.02% today announced a new program with Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofA Merrill) that will provide financing to support approximately $220 million of residential solar lease projects. The program will assist thousands of homeowners in financing solar power systems through SunPower solar leases, joining approximately 20,000 Americans currently enrolled in the program.

"The SunPower Lease program allows customers to have best-in-class, high efficiency solar on their rooftops with highly competitive terms. This, coupled with our unprecedented level of energy assurance, results in more value to the homeowner and increased retained value to SunPower," said the company's CFO, Chuck Boynton. "More than 20,000 customers are already experiencing our lease program, and our partnership with Bank of America Merrill Lynch will continue to grow this popular financing option." read more>>>

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DOE, Sprint partner on rooftop hydrogen fuel cells
January 28, 2014 - With financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Sprint will deploy hydrogen fuel cell technology as backup power to rooftop network sites, allowing for lower network site maintenance and cleaner network energy sources and increasing network survivability during power outages.

This is not the first time Sprint and the DOE have come together to deploy hydrogen fuel cells. Sprint pioneered the introduction of fuel cell technology to ground-based networks in 2005. In 2009, the DOE provided a $7.3 million grant for Sprint to support fuel cell technology advances. Rooftop cell sites comprise almost 25 percent of Sprint's total network locations for which fuel cells have not been an option for fuel cell deployment until now. As much as 30 percent of total network cell sites are located on rooftops in some major metropolitan areas. read more>>>

Construction begins on the UK's first eco town
29 Jan, 2014 - Construction of the UK’s first eco town, North West Bicester (NW Bicester), in Oxfordshire has begun. Lead developer A2Dominion has started preparing the site for building works to commence for the initial phase, which will form part of the long-term vision to provide up to 6,000 sustainable new homes for Bicester.

The first phase of this pioneering development, known as the Exemplar, will see the construction of 393 highly energy efficient, zero carbon homes, creating the UK’s first true zero carbon community. read more>>>

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 30 January 2014

IRENA maps out path to double the global share of renewable energy
20 January 2014 - A new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency suggests the global renewable energy share can reach and perhaps even exceed 30 per cent by 2030 at no extra cost.

The rest of the power system's resources have traditionally been adjusted around wind to support a reliable and efficient system. The research that led to this report challenges that concept.

The study, "Active Power Controls from Wind Power: Bridging the Gaps", finds that wind power can support the power system by adjusting its power output to enhance system reliability. read more>>>

Engineer develops micro hybrid power unit wedding solar and biomass
22 January 2014 - An electrical engineer in India has developed a conceptual model for a micro hybrid power producing unit out of an amalgam of biomass, biogas with solar power, the Hindustan Times reports.

In an interview with the newspaper, Bulwant Singh Brar, of the Punjab Mandi Board, predicted that if his 250 kilowatt concept came to fruition it would have ample feedstock given northern India's abundance of agricultural waste, trash and sunshine.

Speaking with reporters earlier today, Brar said a proliferation of micro hybrid plants could also provide an additional source of income to the small and marginal farmers. read more>>>


Trade group: NC’s green economy jobs grew 20 percent last year
January 23, 2014 - Jobs in North Carolina’s clean tech sector grew by 20 percent in 2013 according to an annual census issued this week by the N.C. Sustainable Energy Association, a Raleigh trade and lobbying organization.

The group reported 18,404 full-time equivalent positions in North Carolina in the sector, which includes solar, wind, biomass, hydroelectric, goethermal, smart grid, energy efficiency, building sciences, energy storage and alternate fuels.

More than 10,000 of these “green collar” jobs are in the Triangle, the group’s report said. The second-highest concentration is in the Charlotte region, which has just under 2,300 clean tech jobs. read more>>>

UN backed website aims to aid green economic growth
Jan 23 2014 - As the international community lays the groundwork for sustainable development goals after 2015, the United Nations environment agency on Wednesday backed a new website that compiles hundreds of technical and policy resources to help decision-makers transition to green economic growth.

“The Green Growth Knowledge Platform provides a much needed tool to bridge knowledge gaps, exchange information and deliver policy guidance to accelerate and support the transition towards green economic development,” said Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

“A transformation towards a green economy is not just about the environment. It must be a priority across all facets of the post-2015 development agenda in order to deliver growth and prosperity and improved livelihoods,” he added, stressing the need for “a holistic and far-sighted approach.” read more>>>

Global waste-to-energy market to proliferate through 2016
January 24, 2014 - Due to higher population densities, more waste-to-energy (WTE) plants are likely to be created in China, the United Kingdom, Central and Eastern Europe (especially Poland), and India, according to Frost & Sullivan.

The global shift from coal and nuclear power to renewable energy in order to lower carbon dioxide emission and ensure energy security is also giving a boost to the WTE plant market. While WTE plants in some geographies are already well-developed and in the process of being modernized to comply with local emission standards, other regions have only just begun installing WTE plants and gaining investor interest. read more>>>

Water shortages slow energy production worldwide
20 January 2014 - The World Bank is launching a new initiative at the World Future Energy Summit and International Water Summit in Abu Dhabi that will help developing countries better plan and manage scaling-up energy capacity to meet rising demand, in tandem with water resource management.

Producing energy requires a lot of water. Yet, the availability of and access to water is negatively impacting energy production around the world.

Last year alone, water shortages shut down thermal power plants in India, decreased energy production in power plants in the United States and threatened hydropower generation in many countries, including Sri Lanka, China and Brazil. read more>>>

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Dubai's World Green Economy Summit stirs global interest
26 January 2014, Dubai, United Arab Emirates: The two days "World Green Economy Summit" planned to be held in Dubai next year in April 15 and 16th, has stirred global interest according to HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer , MD & CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA). "Over the past three weeks we have signed partnership agreements to support the organization of the summit in Dubai with the United Nations Development Programme at the UN HQ in New York and with "State Of Green" the national green brand of Denmark, on the sidelines of COP19 in Warsaw" stated Al Tayer during the second Higher Organizing Committee meeting held in Dubai to review the progress of the summit global partnerships and program development. read more>>>

UN Seeks Business Sector Help To Tackle Climate Change At Davos
1/26/2014 - U.N Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the business sector to play its full part in tackling climate change and promoting sustainable development, telling the World Economic Forum in Davos that investments now will generate major savings for tomorrow.

"The finance community is a key player. We need trillions of dollars of investment to move from the brown to the green economy," the United Nations chief told a session on Climate, Growth and Development, citing four areas for action.

"First, we need investors, banks and other financial service providers to increase finance flows into low-carbon energy and climate-resilient infrastructure, including through setting portfolio targets and increasing the deployment of climate bonds. read more>>>

Learning the ropes of sustainable construction
27th January 2014 - Individuals from both the public and private sector attended a two-day course last week run by the Green Register on sustainable building and services.

Green Register is a not-for-profit membership organisation offering training on sustainable building practices to everyone involved in the construction industry.

Approximately 53 people attended the various workshops at the Caleta Hotel, which were given by trainers Green Register founder Lucy Pedler, Cath Hassell and Rob Borruso. The course itself was organised by Catherine Walsh and Jonathan Kay from Department of the Environment. read more>>>

Winners and Losers in the Trillion Dollar Green Economic Revolution
January 27th, 2014 - In the six years since I published my initial research predicting a disruptive and distinctively green economic shift that I labeled the green economic revolution, the global sale of sustainable goods and services is measured in the trillions of dollars. The question is no longer whether a sustainable economy is developing. In 2014, the question is: Which companies will be the revenue growth winners?

The 20th century commodity economy, built upon commoditizing products and people, has hit a revenue growth wall. The information age has now raised consumer awareness to levels in which they expect products to cost less and mean more. read more>>>