- 10 New Cleantech.. Technologies
- Take Action: Help Create Tens of Thousands of Jobs, Help Extend 1603 Treasury Program
- 7 More Green Jobs Stories
- Tokyo’s Solar-Powered Christmas Lights
- First Electric Car Slated for Driver’s Ed
- 369-Member Coalition Calls on Congress to Save US Wind Jobs
- Different Green Jobs, Different Salaries (Infographic)
- GE To Power Mongolia’s First Wind Farm
- 2% of Global GDP Invested in 10 Sectors — Result: A ‘Green Global Economy’
Posted: 18 Nov 2011 04:52 PM PST
OK, one more roundup post here — following up on my 10 new cleantech projects, 10 new cleantech consumer products, and 7 green jobs stories roundups, this one is on 10 new cleantech technologies in the works or just out.
Posted: 18 Nov 2011 01:33 PM PST
I got this email yesterday from the Solar Energy Industries Association. Thought I should share with you all….
Last year, solar customers across the U.S. enjoyed a holiday miracle when Congress voted at the eleventh-hour to extend the hugely successful 1603 Treasury Program through 2011.
Now we're hoping for a repeat.
With Congress finishing work on several critical issues before the holiday season, now is our best opportunity to make sure they don't forget the fastest-growing sector of our economy. The best way to keep all renewable energy technologies growing and creating jobs is to extend the 1603 Treasury Program, which has helped create tens of thousands of jobs and spurred record levels of investment in renewable energy projects of every kind.This is THE policy ask for clean energy this year and we need every solar advocate in the country speaking with one voice to make it happen.
Why do we need the 1603 Treasury Program?
The bottom line is that the economy – in particular the tax equity markets – have not fully recovered. Financing is still the most critical issue for solar energy; an independent analysis by the U.S. Partnership for Renewable Energy Finance estimates that allowing 1603 to expire would shrink the available financing for renewable projects by more than 50-percent in 2012.
What has the program accomplished?
Last year the solar energy market in the U.S. grew by 69%, in large part due to 1603. The program has helped install over 22,000 new solar energy systems across the country, and has leveraged over $21 billion in private investment in renewable energy in all 50 states. You can find more info on 1603 on SEIA's website.
An independent analysis by the firm EuPD estimates that extending 1603 through 2012 would lead to an additional 37,000 jobs in solar energy next year, a 12% increase over normal expectations. By 2016, an extension would lead to enough additional solar power for 400,000 homes.
This is our best opportunity to make the case to Congress for extending the 1603 Treasury Program. Join thousands of your fellow solar advocates and tell them that now is the time to stand up for renewable energy!
Solar panel installation photo via senatorchriscoons
Posted: 18 Nov 2011 01:09 PM PST
Following in my new, daily trend of doing a roundup post on different cleantech matters, here are 7 recent green jobs stories you might have missed:
Have some more good green jobs stories to share? Drop them in the comments below (seriously)!
Posted: 18 Nov 2011 12:52 PM PST
Shinjuku Ward in Tokyo is well-known for its winter illuminations. However, Japan is still feeling a shortage of electricity due to two of its nuclear power plants all but exploding last spring and many of the rest being taken offline for maintenance. The clear solution is not to take the displays offline, but to power them with solar cells instead.
Two companies – Next Energy and Resource and Moriwakit Japan, which provide green energy and holiday display lights, respectively – provided the materials necessary to provide a massive green display on the west side of the Takashimaya Times Square building as one of Shinjuku's famous Southern Lights display.
Blue Lights Powered by Green Energy
The lights are arranged within the building windows in the shape of a giant Christmas tree made of 184' of blue LED lamps. The display uses 126 solar panels to charge 70 storage batteries, which then go to power the lights from 5pm to 9pm daily. This year is the first that one of the many displays is powered without electricity provided by a local utility. It's a fraction of the total cost of Tokyo's annual display – and a great first step toward making the holidays just a little greener.
Would you install solar panels to offset holiday electric bills? I just might – let us know what you think, in the comments below.
Source | Image: Kankyo Business
Posted: 18 Nov 2011 12:37 PM PST
One of the emerging target groups for electric vehicles is new drivers. Over the summer, for example, an EV company in Japan donated a number of plasma screens to driving schools specifically to advertise their product (seems legit, right?). Peugeot is going for this segment, too – only instead of advertising, they're providing EVs as practice vehicles.
Technically, Peugeot is providing a single electric vehicle – an i0n – to the Saarland Association of Driving Instructors. The EV is meant to be used for instructional and learning purposes only. Its 93-mile range is more than sufficient to give students practice (how far did you go during driving school? Not that far).
The i0n also has a 49kW/67HP electric motor and can hit speeds of 80mph – which is way faster than I was ever allowed to go (the instructor jammed down on the brake pedal from the passenger seat every time I got above 40 – true story).
Don’t Worry, They Won’t Crash
The downside to using the i0n as a teaching tool is the same downside that most electric cars have – the six-hour charging time limits the amount of time it can be used during business hours. It does have the requisite safety features, in case an overzealous student misjudges something and wrecks it entirely – six airbags, child seat mountings in the back, electronic stability control with traction control, and emergency brake assist.
Peugeot hopes to familiarize new drivers with electric cars, which are uniquely suited for driving in the city and for short-distance commuters. The company also hopes to familiarize the instructors with the EV – familiarity breeds affinity, after all. If an electric car isn't some nebulous new device, people are more likely to buy. Right?
Source | Image: Motorvision.de
Posted: 18 Nov 2011 12:11 PM PST
WASHINGTON, DC, November 18, 2011– A broad, nonpartisan coalition of 369 members, including manufacturing, farm and business interests, today issued a letter endorsing a four year extension to wind energy's key federal tax incentive, the Production Tax Credit. Legislation recently introduced by Representatives Dave Reichert (R, WA-08) and Earl Blumenauer (D, OR-03) seeks to grant a four-year extension to the existing Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy (H.R. 3307, the "American Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit Extension Act").
Signatories to the letter include the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the Edison Electric Institute, the Western Governors' Association, the United Steelworkers and many members of the environmental community. Letter attached.
"Farmers and business people know a good deal when they see one, and that is exactly what clean, affordable, homegrown wind energy provides for the American people," said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. "With the support of a key federal tax incentive, wind energy is powering one of America's fastest growing manufacturing sectors. Over the last six years, U.S. domestic production of wind turbine components has grown 12-fold to more than 400 facilities in 43 states, shifting manufacturing jobs from overseas back to the U.S. By extending the PTC we will be able to continue growing U.S. wind energy manufacturing jobs rather than lose them to other countries."
Wind energy also powers rural economic development, providing farmers and ranchers with a new cash crop. Landowners can receive lease payments of up to $120,000 over 20 years for each turbine on their property, and rural counties are seeing substantial increases in property tax revenues.
Wind-generated electricity is also keeping consumer rates down all across the U.S. Reasons include stable tax policy, innovative technology, and a sharp increase in U.S.-based manufacturing — which is creating good jobs right here at home.
Wind is also an increasing part of the economic landscape and electric portfolio in many states across the U.S. Wind now generates 20% of the electricity in Iowa year-round, and at times has reliably supplied more than 25% of electricity on the main Texas grid and over 55% of electricity on the Public Service of Colorado power system. And wind energy is on track to provide 20% of America’s electricity — and support 500,000 American jobs — less than 20 years from now.
Today's coalition announcement also follows the recent endorsement of a four-year PTC extension from the 23 Governors in the bipartisan Governors' Wind Energy Coalition.
As Vice Chairman of the Governors' Wind Energy Coalition, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad (R), said this week at Politico's Energy and the Presidency event in Des Moines, "Obviously we see [wind energy] as another source of income and jobs for the state. I just today sent a letter with Gov. Chafee to encourage the production tax credit. We would like to see that done on a national level — the sooner the better — or we might see the drop off we've seen historically. I hope the others will see that this is good for energy independence, creating jobs and diversifying the economy."
Today's letter to Congressional leaders signed by the 369 members of the PTC coalition concludes:
"Now is not the time to increase taxes on wind energy. The PTC should be extended for at least another four years so that American know-how can keep producing domestic clean energy. When the PTC has expired in the past, installations have dropped between 73 and 93 percent, with corresponding job losses. An expiration at this time would jeopardize this new American manufacturing sector.
The next few years are critical to ensure that properly sited wind energy is a viable part of a balanced domestic electricity portfolio. We look forward to working with you to continue creating economic opportunities for American communities through clean, affordable, and homegrown wind energy."
About the PTC:
The PTC is a tax incentive that helps keep electricity rates low and encourages development of proven clean energy projects. Private investment generated over the last four years of relative PTC stability averages $17 billion a year.
The wind energy PTC will expire in 2012 unless Congress takes action. Failure to extend the PTC will lead to job losses and will put the brakes on the progress we've made as a nation to include clean, affordable, homegrown energy as part of the U.S. electricity portfolio.
Facing the threat of the PTC expiring, wind project developers have become hesitant to plan future U.S. projects and American manufacturers have seen a marked decrease in orders. The wind industry is facing the recurrence of the boom-bust cycle it saw in previous years when the PTC was allowed to expire. In the years following expiration, installations dropped by between 73 and 93 percent, resulting in significant job losses.
AWEA is the national trade association of America's wind industry, with more than 2,500 member companies, including global leaders in wind power and energy development, wind turbine manufacturing, component and service suppliers, and the world's largest wind power trade show, the WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition, which takes place next in Atlanta, June 2-6, 2012. AWEA is the voice of wind energy in the U.S., promoting renewable energy to power a cleaner, stronger America. Look up information on wind energy at the AWEA website. Find insight on industry issues at AWEA's blog Into the Wind. Join AWEA on Facebook. Follow AWEA on Twitter.
Wind turbine photo via Duke Energy
Posted: 18 Nov 2011 12:00 PM PST
We keep hearing about the green collar job revolution, but exactly what are the green jobs out there, what do they pay, and what does it take to get one? A new infographic by One Block Off the Grid lists over 200 green jobs and their salaries, including many that don’t require a college degree.
Posted: 18 Nov 2011 05:53 AM PST
General Electric (GE) announced yesterday that it had signed an agreement with Newcom LLC to provide Mongolia with the technology and supplies to build its very first wind farm.
The $100-million project will be situated some 70 kilometres southeast of Mongolia's capital city, Ulaanbaatar, and is set to finish construction and open sometime in 2012.
Newcom is one of the leading investment companies in Mongolia, and it was only in 2010 that the two companies signed a 'memorandum of understanding' that would see GE and Newcom search for alliances in key areas such as energy, water, mining, aviation, railway, lighting, and healthcare.
"This is a milestone in the development of GE's relationship with Mongolia and our teaming with Newcom," said Vice Chairman and CEO of GE's Global Growth & Operations John Rice. "We are introducing advanced technology that paves the way for renewable energy projects and underscoring our commitment to grow in one of the most challenging yet fastest-growing emerging regions."
"Energy demand in Mongolia is increasing by 8-10 percent a year," said Bayanjargal Byambasaikhan, CEO of Newcom. "Salkhit will help support Mongolia's growing demand and also help facilitate further infrastructure development for railway, road and electrical infrastructure."
Mongolia is looking to expand its renewable energy share to 20 – 25 percent by 2020, increasing from its current capacity of approximately 800 megawatts (MW). Already one of the fastest growing economies in the world, recording the highest growth in the world at 17.3 percent year on year by the first half of 2011, according to the World Bank, Mongolia's energy demand is expected to double by 2015.
The Salkhit Wind Farm will, thus, supply 168 million kilowatt hours of clean power to the national grid each year. It is expected to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 185,000 tonnes and preserve 1.6 million tons of fresh water annually.
Home to some of the planet's largest coal and copper deposits, both of which Mongolia is exploiting for neighbouring countries such as China, Japan, South Korea and other growing Asian countries, Mongolia is also home to vast wind energy potential that the country hopes will protect its environmental assets and support its growing population.
The Salkhit Wind Farm will have an initial installed capacity of 50 MW and will feed into Mongolia's Central Energy System. GE will supply 1.6-MW wind turbines that will have an 82.5-meter rotor and 80-meter hub height for IEC class IIa wind conditions.
Posted: 17 Nov 2011 11:53 PM PST
International policies that would direct “just 2 percent of global GDP into 10 key sectors would kick-start” the global transition to a more sustainable, ‘Green Economy,’ according to a UN Environmental Program report.
All the elements to enact a transition to a “low-carbon, resource-efficient and socially inclusive global economic model” are here now, and businesses and governments are already promoting and fostering greater investments in 10 key sectors UNEP has singled out: agriculture, energy, buildings, water, forestry, fisheries, manufacturing, waste, tourism, and transport.
Investing 2 percent of global GDP in these sectors would not only “shift the global economy on to a more sustainable growth trajectory, but it would maintain or increase growth over time compared to the current business models,” according to UNEP’s “Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication.”
Investing $100 billion to $300 billion per year in sustainable agriculture between now and 2050, according to UNEP, “could lead to better soil quality and better yields for major crops, representing a 10% increase over the current strategies.”
"The elements of a transition to a Green Economy are clearly emerging across developing and developed countries alike," UNEP executive director Achim Steiner stated. "There are now some nations going further and faster than others, which is in many ways generating a 'pull factor' that, if maintained, may bring others along over the coming months and years."
Time is Ripe
The time is ripe, the UN points out, as UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiators, stakeholders, and participating observers prepare to convene in Durban, South Africa at the end of the month to try and negotiate an extension or a successor to the Kyoto Protocol.
"With the world looking ahead to the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development in June 2012, the UNEP Green Economy report challenges the myth that there is a trade-off between the economy and the environment," said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a statement issued on the release of the report.
"With smart public policies, governments can grow their economies, generate decent employment and accelerate social progress in a way that keeps humanity's ecological footprint within the planet's carrying capacity."
Accelerating Green Economy Investment
Few and far between the UNFCCC climate negotiations afford one of (if not the best) opportunity for governments to institute an inclusive, international process to tackle these issues and accelerate the transition to a global Green Economy in an integrated fashion.
"I am convinced that government policies and public private partnerships can serve as a lever for green industry," said Kandeh K. Yumkella, director-general of the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) at a conference to discuss progress towards green industry sponsored by the UN and the Japanese government.
"They are vital for supporting technology transfer and for utilizing proven environment, energy and resource conservation techniques, and for research and technology development. Collaboration between businesses, academia, providers of technology, financial institutions and civil society is a must if we want to see green growth,"
The UNEP report emphasizes that the support and earnest participation of the rapidly industrializing emerging market countries, such as China, India and Brazil, and developed world nations is critical to forging a framework climate accord that can serve as the foundation for making the transition.
China now leads the world when it comes to investing in renewable energy, overtaking an albeit much smaller Spain in 2009 and investing $49 billion in renewable energy in 2010. China has announced it will more than double its investments in renewable energy, clean technologies and waste management over that of the previous five years, investing some $468 billion over the next over the next five years, the report’s authors note.
Egypt’s renewable energy investments have increased 160%, from $300 million to $1.3 billion, as a result of the Kom Ombo solar thermal project and a 220-megawatt (MW) onshore wind farm in the Gulf of Zayt. Kenya’s renewable energy investments rose from practically zero in 2009 to $1.3 billion in 2010.
The Water-Food-Energy-Wealth & Income Nexus
Getting the world’s largest polluters and producers of greenhouse gas emissions on board is essential to making the transition to a Green Global Economy. Ensuring that the interests of indigenous peoples, local community, civic and environmental groups, as well as high-level government policymakers and business interests, are likewise critical to negotiating a climate accord that has teeth and will be enacted.
The elements of the transition are now in place and growing. Attention and efforts are now being focused on crafting the means to integrate government policy, business investment and broad public participation at the water-food-energy nexus.
Access to clean water, food, and energy are inextricably linked to issues of social, economic, and environmental equity and justice, which at the root are a result of the growing disparity of wealth and income in countries around the world that’s emerged in recent decades.
It’s a link that’s increasingly recognized in recent popular movements and public dissent, including the ‘Arab Spring’ and the ‘Occupy’ movement in the US. “Anyone who claims that the fate of the climate talks is bound to the fate of the Occupy movement better expect a bit of skepticism in return,” writes Tom Athanasiou as he delves into this linkage in a post on EcoEquity. “Now, if it were Occupy and the Climate Justice movement, that would be a different story! Both are complex social movements, and both are driving hard for economic justice. Their overlap is inevitable.”
“When people consider the green economy, they should think about social equity, human well-being and environmental justice,” Surveyor Efik, Civil Society Representative in Nigeria's National Inter-Ministerial Committee on Climate Change and National Technical Committee on REDD+, was quoted as saying in a UN Information Officer’s report from the 64th UN DPI (Dept. of Public Information)-NGO conference in Bonn in September.
“A green economy was a low-carbon economy, and a departure from the ‘business-as-usual’ approach was needed when building it,” the information officer reported Efik as saying. “A ‘global commons principle’ should be applied and the benefits reaped from the green economy shared by all, emphasizing that the green economy was not only about the environment, but about reducing poverty and must be approached with an understanding that those concepts were all interconnected.”
Photo courtesy: SunPower
For more on kick-starting the transition to a Green Global Economy, see:
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