Sunday, April 22, 2012

Latest from: CleanTechnica

Latest from: CleanTechnica

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Gamesa Introduces Improved Wind Turbine (Especially for Low-Wind Sites)

Posted: 22 Apr 2012 11:42 AM PDT


Gamesa has released a new wind turbine, model G114, that it claims has some considerable improvements over older models, such as:

  • The best power density on the market: There are two units of power density — power-to-weight ratio (gravimetric energy density), and power-to-size ratio (volumetric energy density). Unfortunately, Gamesa didn’t state which power density unit it was referring to. If it was the former, that would mean that it is the most powerful turbine on the market of its weight. If it was the latter, then that would mean that it is the most powerful wind turbine on the market for its size.
  • A maximized return on investment in low-wind areas, compared to its predecessors: This is a step that makes it financially feasible to install wind turbines in more low-wind areas than previously thought. Improvements like this mean that wind farms can operate economically in more locations than ever before. This is because low-wind sites are typically ignored because the cost to generate wind power is too high there, but this turbine will make it economically viable to use wind turbines in some of those areas.

The new wind turbine can generate 2 megawatts (MW) of electricity. It features a rotor which is 114 meters (374 feet) in diameter, with a swept area of 10,207 square meters. Each blade spans 55.5 meters (182 feet).

If wind turbines could generate electricity cheaply in the most stagnant of areas, then they could be used everywhere. This is a step in that direction.

Source: Gamesa
Image: Gamesa

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Clean Transportation News

Posted: 22 Apr 2012 11:25 AM PDT

Aside from our 15 or so clean transportation stories from the past week, here are a few more from around the interwebs:

Green Cars

  • Ford has unveiled the cost of its Ford Focus Electric batteries — "$12,000 and $15,000" per battery pack. “That is up to $15,000 on top of the $22,000 or so that the Focus compact would normally cost rather well-equipped. That works out to a cost of up to $650 per kWh that Ford pays, which is still more than twice the "competitive" level of $200 per kWh that many analysts and companies are shooting for. Even so though, Ford has been able to eek out impressive ratings of 76 miles per charge and a combined MPGe of 105.”
  • GM’s Chevy Cruze Diesel has received a 72.4 Imperial MPG rating in the UK (which is about 50 MPG in the US). “The 1.7 liter turbodiesel in the UK Cruze is rated at 128 horsepower and 221 ft-lbs of torque, which is about the same horsepower but more than twice the torque of the Prius. That helps the Cruze diesel go from 0-60 mph in about 9.4 seconds and reach a top speed of 124 mph.”
  • Tesla has opened a new showroom in Norway’s largest city, Oslo. “Norway currently boasts a very enthusiastic community of over 75 Roadster owners,” the company writes.

EV Charging & Grid

  • Leviton has added a new project to its Evr-Green™ line of residential, commercial and public electric vehicle charging systems – the Evr-Green 320 Level 2 Home Charging Station. “The new device provides up to 32 amps at 240 volts AC (7.7 kW output) – reducing the charge time of any SAE J1772™ compatible electric vehicle by seven percent when compared to leading competitors. The charging station has been specifically designed to meet the needs of the next generation electric vehicles with larger on-board chargers, enabling consumers to ‘future-proof’ their charging needs.”
  • IBM, Honda, and PG&E have launched “a new pilot project that will allow communication between electric vehicles (EVs) and the power grid. This project will demonstrate and test an electric vehicle’s ability to receive and respond to charge instructions based on the grid condition and the vehicle’s battery state. With visibility into charging patterns, energy providers will have the ability to more effectively manage charging during peak hours and create consumer-friendly programs to encourage electric vehicle adoption.”

Trains, Streetcars

  • Ferrari is getting into the private high-speed trains business in Europe. “On Friday, one of 25 luxurious, red, high speed models named Italo, widely dubbed the ‘Ferrari train’, made its maiden voyage out of Rome’s Tiburtina station.”
  • California’s Legislative Analyst Office has recommended little to no funding go towards CA’s $68-billion high-speed rail project primarily due to ”highly speculative funding” from other private and federal sources.
  • Tucson, Arizona has broken ground on tracks for the the Sun Link Streetcar. “The $200 million, 3.9-mile project will connect downtown Tucson with the University of Arizona and the university's medical center…. That investment appears to be paying off already. The project has already led to $400 million worth of spending commitments along the corridor, according to a report from US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who was in Tucson for a groundbreaking ceremony earlier this week.”


  • Zipcar has expanded into the city of San Jose, California. “The Zipcar program will launch with 12 vehicles located in pods of two, in six locations throughout San Jose. All of the vehicles will be located in private, off-street lots within the downtown footprint and will be easily accessible by the VTA Light Rail and public transit. Pods will be located near City Hall at East Santa Clara Street and North 4th Street and on South Market Street at West San Carlos Street, amongst others, for drivers ages 21 and up. Zipcar is also placing a pod of two Ford Focus vehicles near San Jose State University at 4th Street and Passeo de San Antonio, which will be available to student drivers ages 18 and older.”


  • Oklahoma City is trying to help ween its citizens off cars with three new clean transportation projects — the revival of an Oklahoma City streetcar, a new electric vehicle charging network, and a new bike-sharing program.
  • NASA “has developed a system capable of growing large amounts of algae for biofuel production within a network of floating plastic bags, an innovation its developers say could ultimately produce a new fuel source,” Yale Environment 360 and Technology Review report.

Image Credit: Treno Italo (CC BY 2.0 license)

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Energy Efficiency News

Posted: 22 Apr 2012 11:14 AM PDT

Aside from our own energy efficiency stories from the past week, here are a few more from around:


  • Cree has introduced the XSP Series LED Street Light. This new street light series is “the most affordable and efficient Cree® LED street light designed to speed payback to municipalities. Using nearly 50 percent less energy and designed to last over three times longer than wasteful, traditional high-pressure sodium street lighting, the XSP Series can double the lumens per dollar compared to previous generations of Cree LED street lights and is the ideal choice for cities and municipalities looking to save money and resources.”
  • Cree has also developed the first “254 lumen-per-watt white R&D power LED” — not my field of expertise, but seems noteworthy.
  • Lighting Science Group has announced “the production launch of a revolutionary high output 8-watt LED MR16 bulb that is a direct replacement for traditional MR16 50-watt halogen bulbs. Suited to a variety of applications that require directional lighting—such as track lighting, recessed ceiling lights, desk lamps, pendant fixtures and retail display lighting—the DEFINITY™ MR16 HO LED bulb will be the first of its kind introduced to the marketplace, and considered the best of its breed when evaluated by metrics of efficiency, lumen output and form factor.” (Picture of bulb below.)

Credit: PRNewsFoto/Lighting Science Group

Energy Management

  • Nest, which has been sued by Honeywell on several counts of patent infringement, has “countered in court what it believes are meritless allegations by Honeywell of patent infringement in relation to the innovative Nest® Learning Thermostat™.” The home thermostat company has also brought on former Apple Chief Intellectual Property Officer Richard "Chip" Lutton, Jr. as vice president and general counsel.

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Wind News

Posted: 22 Apr 2012 11:01 AM PDT

Other than our 15 or so wind energy stories from the past week, here’s some more top wind energy news from around:

Wind Power Projects

  • EDF Energies Nouvelles and Mitsui of Japan have announced a 150-MW wind power project in northern Morocco. Morocco intends to have 2 GW of wind power and 2 GW of solar power up by 2020.
  • Iberdrola has commissioned the 178-MW Messina-Agrigento wind power complex on the island of Sicily in Italy. “This project, developed jointly (50/50) with Italy's API Nova Energía, part of the API business group, encompasses four wind farms: Nebrodi (64.6 MW), Alcántara (47.6 MW), Lago Arancio (44 MW) and Rocca Ficuzza (22.1 MW).”
  • Polish utility Enea has bought a 50-MW wind farm in northwestern Poland from leading wind power company Vestas. The capacity of the wind farm is supposed to expand to 60 MW.
  • First Wind “has obtained $76 million in construction financing for its 34 megawatt (MW) Bull Hill Wind project in Hancock County, Maine.”
  • Chinese subsidiary Jade Werke is “outsourcing wind production to Germany” — it will begin production of steel fundaments for offshore wind farms at a €50-million production plant in Germany as early as 2013. Construction of the new plant is expected to begin this summer. ”Germany’s decision to abandon nuclear power is having profound effects on the wind energy industry. Growth rates in the onshore segment were strong last year, the policy framework has been improved, and the offshore market ready to take off,” said Anne Braeutigam, wind energy expert at Berlin-based Germany Trade & Invest.
  • The largest wind farm in the US, the Alta Wind Energy Center (“AWEC”) located in Tehachapi, CA, is projected to reach a capacity of 1,320 MW (wow, that’s big) with $650 million of financing now secured for the 168-MW Alta Wind VII and 132-MW Alta Wind IX projects. Other news related to the project is that “Terra-Gen recently sold the Alta Wind VIII (150 MW) phase to Brookfield and has entered into an agreement to sell the Alta Wind VI phase (150 MW) to Everpower.”

Wind Power Market Trends

  • Asia is expected to drive the global wind market forward in coming years, yet another report finds. “Danish consulting firms BTM and Make have published analyses on global wind power market trends. In 2011, nearly 42 gigawatts – some 23,640 turbines in 50 countries – was installed, bringing the global total up to around 241 gigawatts. Vestas managed to defend its market leadership…. Asia now makes up 52.1 percent of the global wind power pie, growing by 34.1 percent from 63.6 gigawatts in 2010 to 85.3 gigawatts last year.”

Other Wind News

  • Illinois students of 6 middle and senior high schools will soon learn about wind energy as part of their curriculum, under a new Illinois Wind for Schools program.
  • TriEagle Energy and Citizen Power have teamed up “to offer a 100% renewable wind electricity plan to residential customers in the Duquesne Light service territory, which covers most of Allegheny and Beaver counties” in Pennsylvania, with similar plans now also being offered in the PECO and PPL service territories. “According to Executive Director Titus North, Citizen Power knew that wind power generation technology had developed to the point where it had become competitive in price, but saw that there were no low-priced wind alternatives available to consumers. Citizen Power has a long history of fighting on behalf of electricity consumers and the environment, and felt that it was well positioned to present a low-cost wind product to the public. TriEagle Energy agreed to create a product that would be 100% backed by certified wind RECs (renewable energy certificates) from Pennsylvania and neighboring states, and by utilizing Citizen Power’s marketing services, offered the lowest price for customers.”
  • Scottish people love or like wind power, well 7 out of 10 of them do. A recent YouGov survey commissioned by the trade group Scottish Renewables “found that 39 per cent of respondents ‘strongly agreed’ with the statement ‘I support the continuing development of wind power as part of a mix of renewables and conventional forms of electricity generation’, while a further 33 per cent ‘tended to agree’.”
  • In the UK as a whole, approximately 66% of people support wind energy and only 8% are against it when asked ”to what extent are you in favour of or opposed to the use of wind power in the UK?” according to a recent Ipsos Mori poll, commissioned by wind trade body RenewableUK.
  • The UK’s Guardian has a new, short video on Denmark’s wonderful wind leadership. “[Over] 28% of the country’s energy is now provided by wind, with an aim of 50% by 2020 – and 100% renewable energy provision by 2050.”
  • In Ontario, a couple claiming that their home’s value has been devalued from nearby wind turbines has had the claim rejected by MPAC, the Municipal Property Assessment Corp.

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Clean Energy Policy News

Posted: 22 Apr 2012 10:53 AM PDT

Aside from the 20 or so clean energy policy and politics stories we’ve published in the past week, here are a few more from around the interwebs. Enjoy! (or not, depending on the story.)

solar panels money investment

UK Solar Subsidies

  • The UK government is being urged to delay deep solar subsidy cuts as new figures reveal that only 2 MW of solar were installed last week, less than half the amount installed at that time a year before. “Weekly government figures revealed that solar firms installed an average of 2MW each week since the start of April, marking a sharp decline from the 4.8MW average capacity installed in the same weeks last year.”



  • The “Green Economy” could be the solution to Europe’s current jobs crisis, EU leaders are proposing. “Over 20 million new jobs could be created in Europe’s green economy over the next decade if EU member states adopt Brussels’ new jobs package and make low-carbon industries central to their national employment plans.”

Carbon Taxes & Trading

  • Guangzhou is expected to launch its Carbon Emissions Exchange this June, the President of Guangzhou Exchange has announced. “The group is currently making preparations to launch a voluntary emissions trading mechanism which will be launch this year. The voluntary emissions trading will be replaced by mandatory quota-based trading from next year.”
  • China is set to start taxing air travel. The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has said that revenue from this “will be used for aviation fuel efficiency and to cut CO2 emissions from aviation.” The EU is investigating whether it thinks this is sufficient to exempt China’s airlines from the EU’s carbon reduction laws for airlines.

Image: solar panels & money via Shutterstock

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Solar News

Posted: 22 Apr 2012 10:26 AM PDT

We’ve published about 24 solar energy stories in the past week. In addition to those, here are some other top solar stories from around the interwebs (be sure to catch the picture at the bottom):

Solar Market Research

  • McKinsey & Company projects that solar is entering a period of maturation in its new report "Solar power: Darkest before dawn." The report “finds that underlying PV costs are likely to continue to drop as manufacturing capacity doubles over the next three to five years. Indeed, the cost of a typical commercial system could fall 40 percent by 2015 and an additional 30 percent by 2020, permitting companies to capture attractive margins while vigorously installing new capacity.” And this is all with big projected cuts to solar subsidies.
  • Solar power is expected to explode in the coming 5 years, as solar becomes cheaper than grid electricity for consumers in more and more places. ”The awakening of the US solar market will be driven by grid parity within each region. Federal incentives provide a good foundation for the expansion of the solar industry but state-level incentives are still needed to truly make solar energy competitive in each regional market. Over the next five years we believe that solar power will reach grid parity in a large portion of the US market, thus opening up the opportunity for significant expansion of the industry in the years to come,” says renewable energy advisor Eric Graber-Lopez of BlueWave Capital.

Solar Power Projects

  • SPI Solar has signed an MOU with two fund management companies in Greece to build 23 MW of utility-scale solar projects in Greece. “Thermi-Taneo Venture Capital Fund and AIMS-Taneo Fund are part of the New Economic Development Fund known as the Taneo Fund. The Taneo Fund is a Greek-state sponsored, privately funded and independently managed fund-of-funds which makes venture-capital investments in Greece and Europe. The agreement establishes a minimum commitment for Taneo to provide 23 megawatts of SEF projects for SPI to design and build, and sets as a goal for Taneo and SPI to potentially develop a total of 100 megawatts in SEF projects across Greece.”
  • Canadian Solar and SkyPower have teamed up “to jointly develop solar projects internationally in select emerging markets…. Under the agreement, Canadian Solar will acquire a majority interest in 16 solar projects representing approximately 190-200MW DC from SkyPower.  Each of these projects was awarded a 20-year power purchase contract by the Ontario Power Authority. Fifteen of these contracts were issued under Ontario’s Feed-In-Tariff Program, and one was issued as part ofOntario’s Renewable Energy Standard Offer Program.  These projects are in the advanced permitting stage and are expected to commence construction in 2013 and be fully operational in 2014. They are expected to generate over C$ 800 million (US$ 800 million) in revenue for Canadian Solar.”
  • PG&E has been ranked the #1 utility in the US for solar power capacity, according to a new survey by the Solar Electric Power Association. “PG&E is first in the Annual Solar Megawatts category of the more than 240 utilities that participated in SEPA’s 2011 Utility Solar Rankings survey…. PG&E helped more than 12,000 customers in Northern and Central California connect 162 megawatts (MW) of solar at their homes and business in 2011, bringing the total number of customer solar installations to more than 63,000. It also connected 135 MW of new large solar projects for the benefit of all customers. This includes PG&E’s own expanding solar facilities, which when completed will deliver 250 MW of clean energy — enough to power about 150,000 average customer homes.”
  • Coca-Cola has unveiled a program to get power from a number of solar projects in the UK, including one at Europe’s largest soft drinks plant. The effort is part of a “£300,000 venture to help reduce its energy bills and environmental impacts.”
  • Solar-powered ATMs are coming to India. Vortex Engineering, a start-up incubated at Chennai's Indian Institute of Technology, is behind the installations. “To date, 450 Gramatellers have been installed, most in small towns between 30 and 60 kilometers from bank headquarters. Vortex marketing manager, Sabarinath Nair, estimates that 10,000 more are slated to be in place within the next two years, with international expansion — Bangladesh, Madagascar, Nepal, and Djibouti — already underway.”

Other Solar News

  • A “Cycling Nomad” has spotted a pretty sweet bike touring setup that includes solar power. More info and pictures are available on the Bike Shop Hub.
  • Solar3D has announced its path to commercialization and could enter the market in 2013.
  • Solar Junction, a developer of high efficiency multi-junction solar cells for the concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) market that we’ve written about several times, has received a SUNPATH award from the US Department of Energy (DOE) as part of a $21.5 million program to increase its CPV cell manufacturing capacity. “Through this program, Solar Junction is targeting a median cell efficiency of 42% on 150mm substrates. These factors will make a substantial impact on reducing CPVʼs $/W module costs by driving down the cost of the cell, while increasing the CPV module power output with increased cell efficiency.”

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Earth Day Giveaway & Earth Day Pledges: Save Energy, Help the Planet!

Posted: 22 Apr 2012 06:44 AM PDT

earth day giveawayTo commemorate Earth Day 2012, is asking people all over the world to commit to a single, simple “Act of Green.” A small, environmentally conscious choice everyone can make that will have a positive impact on the planet. If everyone commits to even the smallest things, like riding a bike to work, taking reusable bags to the grocery store, planting a tree, changing out lightbulbs, eating vegetarian, or supporting your community by buying food locally grown, the sum of these act can go a long way in helping the environment.

Have you made your pledge yet?

To help you get started, Dr. Energy Saver and CleanTechnica are giving away an Energy Saving Basket that will help you save energy and learn more about home energy conservation. The basket contains energy saving gifts such as an LED bulb and weatherstrip kit, a copy of the Saving Energy at Home book — a comprehensive illustrated guide to home energy savings with 80 pages full of energy saving tips and ideas, plus $200 worth of referral vouchers, so that you and your friends can enjoy the benefits of a greener and more energy efficient home every day. That is a potential $450 value!

Just by replacing one incandescent light bulb by the LED offered in the basket, you will keep 300 lbs of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere, keep about 25 conventional replacement light bulbs from being dumped into landfills, and save about $200 over the lifespan of the LED bulb. How is that for a small step?

The winner of the Energy Saver Basket will be selected randomly among the first readers to complete at least five of the following tasks (and lets us know by dropping a comment on this post):

Drop us a note on this post to let us know which 5 (or more) you’ve done! You have to do so to be entered into the drawing.

In addition to the winner, ten additional readers will be randomly chosen to receive a free copy of the book Saving Energy at Home.

A leading cause of global warming pollution comes from energy generation and use. In the US, approximately 40% of the energy used to power homes is produced by coal power plants. Coal plants not only release an enormous amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere; they also release tons of mercury and other hazardous pollutants. Taking even small steps to save energy and get off coal is one of the “greenest” things you can do to help the planet.

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