- New Solar-Powered Clothes with Natural Fabrics
- Top 10 Transit Systems in U.S.
- Report: Stronger EU CO2 Target Would Benefit Country that Blocked It, & Cost EU Citizens a Few Cups of Coffee on Average
- 1,000 Nissan Leafs Sold in Norway 6 Months
- Earth Day Giveaway Winner!
- US Dept of Energy Wants You! (If You Can Create Energy Apps)
- SunPower & Giulio Barbieri Bringing Solar Carports to Italian Residents
- 3D Printed Lamp / Wind Turbine
- Mexico Going Wind
- Graphene Boosts Solar Cell Efficiency
- Scientists Report on Night-Warming Effect over Large Texas Wind Farms
- Nanosolar Looking at Grid Parity by 2015
- GOP’s Karl Rove & Democrat Robert Gibbs to “Seek Common Ground” at WindPower 2012
- May 5: Connect the Dots Between Extreme Weather & Climate Change
- Manitoba Announces Renewable Energy Jobs Fund
Posted: 01 May 2012 07:00 AM PDT
Solar-powered clothing has been talked about for years, probably decades. And there are options out there, but it obviously hasn’t hit the shelves of H&M yet,… and that’s not really its best market. Where it might genuinely make sense is on clothing for campers, hikers, and such.
“To try and come up with an ideal design for the outdoor person that is fashionable and functional both as clothing and an energy source is a lofty goal — but attainable,” Jaymi Heimbuch of TreeHugger writes. Let’s hope so! Apparently, 45 teams are now competing to design the most functional, good-looking, green, and affordable solar clothing as part of an EPA program to advance the idea.
Colorado State University (CSU), one of the teams receiving $15,000 in the first round of this solar clothing competition, writes:
"This project is unique in that there are no current apparel products that combine solar power with natural fibers," said Eulanda Sanders, a professor in the Department of Design and Merchandising who specializes in apparel design and production.
Will we see functional, attractive solar clothing with natural fabrics on the market soon? I hope so.
Read more on the Colorado State University website.
Image Credits: CSU
Posted: 01 May 2012 06:10 AM PDT
That’s right, if you said Los Angeles, you’re wrong — though, the city known for its sprawling character was just barely outside the top 10. More likely, you said New York which took the #1 spot, or San Francisco, which took #2.
The full list is below, but first, a quick reminder: on average, a U.S. citizen can save over $10,000 a year switching from driving to public transit! Likely, for this reason, trips on public transit went above 10 billion in 2011. Meanwhile, “the average annual number of vehicle miles traveled by young people (16 to 34-year-olds) in the U.S. decreased 23 percent between 2001 and 2009.”
The potential savings for residents of different cities actually match up quite well with the Walk Score ranking. Here’s the transit ranking from Walk Score:
And here’s the latest Transit Savings Report ranking from the American Public Transportation Association's (APTA):
Images: Grand Central Station in NYC via Shutterstock & San Francisco Transit Score Map via Walk Score
Posted: 01 May 2012 05:53 AM PDT
Research released by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) at the end of last week noted that, on average, stronger EU policies would cost “no more than the equivalent of a few cups of coffee.” Furthermore, some countries, including the country that blocked this stronger target, would actually see a net economic benefit. And this is all just in the short term, of course.
The point of the research was to try to determine exactly how much an increased EU CO2 reduction target of 30% by 2020 (from the current 20% by 2020) would cost — such a target was knocked down by Poland last month.
"Our analysis shows that increasing the 2020 target to 30% from the current 20% would result in an additional cost of €3.5bn on average per year for the EU as a whole, from 2011 to 2020,” Guy Turner, head of carbon and power research at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said. ”This is equivalent to 0.03-0.04% of EU GDP, or €7 to €9 per inhabitant per year. Clearly, a more ambitious policy would not be nearly as painful as some countries fear."
Notably, some of the less affluent countries (including Poland!) would benefit from such a policy. Here’s more info on that:
So, the country (where I live) that blocked this improved target would have actually benefited economically from the change. Irony?
Think Poland would change course on this with the new information? That would be nice, but I’m skeptical, given that Polish electricity predominantly comes from a rich and powerful coal industry.
For more detail, read the BNEF report [PDF].
Posted: 01 May 2012 05:27 AM PDT
Norway is already consistently ranked at the top of the list of ‘happiest’ countries and countries with the highest quality of life, but it seems that the country isn’t complacent about this and is working to continue keeping things nice. As one such example, its uptake of Nissan Leafs has been remarkably fast. In just 6 months, 1,000 Nissan Leafs have been sold in the Nordic nation.
“The surge in sales catapulted the LEAF to ninth on the list of the best-selling passenger cars in Norway in February this year, bagging a two per cent share of the car market, and making the LEAF Nissan’s second highest selling car nationally,” Business Green notes.
Can you imagine if 2% of cars sold in the U.S. were Leafs?
Part of the fast uptake is due to healthy incentives and tax breaks for residents who buy the Leaf, or other electric vehicles — it offers the most rewarding package of any European country, in fact.
“No VAT is charged on electric vehicle purchases in Norway, the new car tax is waived, and drivers are eligible for free parking, exemption from some tolls, and can use bus lanes in Oslo. There are also around 3,500 public charging points in the capital, many of which are free to use.”
That’s incentive! No wonder the country is sucking up that pretty blue machine!
No related posts.
Posted: 01 May 2012 05:00 AM PDT
If you participated in our Earth Day giveaway last week, perhaps you’ve been eagerly awaiting the results. The news is: all participants get the book, and V. Ramsey wins the grand prize of the Energy Saving Basket. Congratulations!
To redeem your prizes, email:
imarketing (at) drenergysaver (dot) com
Posted: 01 May 2012 04:30 AM PDT
US DOE: Calling Developers to Create Apps For Energy and Win Big! (via Ecopreneurist)
The Energy Department's first ever Apps for Energy competition challenges the American developers and the tech community to build apps that help consumers get the most out of their utility data, save money and energy. Cleanweb is booming and is a promising way to save energy at a scale that is pertinent…
Posted: 01 May 2012 04:00 AM PDT
“Under the terms of the agreement, Giulio Barbieri will deliver carports depending on customer specifications,” SunPower writes. “SunPower’s local partners will then install the complete system, including the aluminum structure, solar panels and inverters. The all-in-one solar carport system is built for durability and reliability, and is simple to install.”
Up to now, SunPower has been designing and installing commercial solar carport systems for schools and businesses in North America. This is the first time it has expanded this service to an international market.
“The SunPower Carport is available in four versions and can be installed in a number of configurations to accommodate either two or three cars. The flexible design incorporates 18, 24 or 32 of SunPower’s 96-cell, high-efficiency solar panels, delivering approximately 5.9 kilowatts to 10.5 kilowatts, depending on the system size. The system is tilted for maximum energy output and the attractive modular look blends in with any architectural context.”
Interested in a solar carport? You can now call 00800-786-76937 to schedule an appointment with an authorized SunPower partner to discuss the possibility.
Image Credit: SunPower
Posted: 01 May 2012 03:00 AM PDT
Say what? As you can see above, that’s a lamp. It was printing using 3D printing. And its design makes it produce electricity for its LEDs when it spins in the breeze. Nice? I thought so, too.
The lamp was created by Margot Krasojevic. Here are more details from Archello:
And from Ponoko:
“The lamp is functional a propeller that uses the wind's kinetic energy to turn it. The light is generated by the spinning of wire coils past magnets generating electrical current to power the LED bulbs. Appropriate to its shell form the design has been printed in a ceramic material that is lightweight and durable enough to spin in the wind.”
Posted: 01 May 2012 02:00 AM PDT
Wind: Mexico's Renewable Energy of Choice (via Ecopreneurist)
Some would associate Mexico with sun and beach, therefore fertile ground for a thriving solar energy sector. However, wind is Mexico's most mature renewable energy sector. Proof of this is the latest investment of $700 million in the Marena Renovables project in Mexico's Isthmus de Tehuantepec…
Posted: 01 May 2012 01:00 AM PDT
by Marcia Goodrich of Michigan Technological University
The coolest new nanomaterial of the 21st century could boost the efficiency of the next generation of solar panels, a team of Michigan Technological University materials scientists has discovered.
Graphene, a two-dimensional honeycomb of carbon atoms, is a rising star in the materials community for its radical properties. One of those properties is electrical conductivity, which could make it a key ingredient in the next generation of photovoltaic cells, says Yun Hang Hu, a professor of materials science and engineering.
Dye-sensitized solar cells don't rely on rare or expensive materials, so they could be more cost-effective than cells based on silicon and thin-film technologies. But they are not as good at converting light into electricity.
In dye-sensitized solar cells, photons knock electrons from the dye into a thin layer of titanium dioxide, which relays them to the anode. Hu's group found that adding graphene to the titanium dioxide increased its conductivity, bringing 52.4 percent more current into the circuit.
The excellent electrical conductivity of graphene sheets allows them to act as bridges, accelerating electron transfer from the titanium dioxide to the photoelectrode," Hu said.
The team also developed a comparably foolproof method for creating sheets of titanium dioxide embedded with graphene. It first made graphite oxide powder, then mixed it with titanium dioxide to form a paste, spread it on a substrate (such as glass) and then baked it a high temperatures.
“It's low-cost and very easy to prepare," said Hu. But not just any recipe will do. "If you use too much graphene, it will absorb the light in the solar cell and reduce its efficiency," he said.
Their work was presented at the US-Egypt Joint Workshop on Solar Energy Systems, held March 12-14 in Cairo. It was funded by the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund and the National Science Foundation. Their paper "Promoting Effect of Graphene on Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells," authored by Hui Wang, Samantha Leonard and Hu, has been submitted to Industry and Engineering Chemistry Research. Wang is a PhD candidate and Leonard is an undergraduate, both in materials science and engineering.
Michigan Technological University (www.mtu.edu) is a leading public research university developing new technologies and preparing students to create the future for a prosperous and sustainable world. Michigan Tech offers more than 130 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering; forest resources; computing; technology; business; economics; natural, physical and environmental sciences; arts; humanities; and social sciences.
Posted: 30 Apr 2012 07:56 PM PDT
According to a recent press release from the National Science Foundation, large wind farms in certain areas in of this country appear to affect local land surface temperatures.
The news is based on a paper published today in the journal Nature Climate Change. Liming Zhou, an atmospheric scientist at the State University of New York (SUNY) Albany, oversaw the study.
“This study indicates that land surface temperatures have warmed in the vicinity of large wind farms in west-central Texas, especially at night,” says Anjuli Bamzai, program director in the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences, which funded the wind farm research. “The observations and analyses are for a relatively short period, but raise important issues that deserve attention as we move toward an era of rapid growth in wind farms in our quest for alternate energy sources.”
Notably, as American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) CEO Denise Bode states: “This study says nothing about wind energy and global climate, and casts no doubt on all the other studies that find wind power is one of the best ways to address climate change. The study merely examined the effect of local air mixing at the site of a wind farm, which has nothing to do with climate because no heat or heat-trapping gases are being added to the atmosphere.”
Nonetheless, there are things to be learned and more research to be done about the micro-climate impacts of wind turbines. Previously, a study from Iowa State University actually found that wind turbines benefit crops, because of the effects they have on air circulation.
“We need to better understand the system with observations, and better describe and model the complex processes involved, to predict how wind farms may affect future weather and climate,” said Zhou.
To understand the potential impact of wind farms on local weather and climate, Zhou’s team analyzed satellite-derived land surface temperatures from regions around large wind farms in Texas for the period 2003-2011. The researchers found a nighttime warming effect over wind farms of up to 0.72 degrees Celsius per decade over the nine-year-period in which data were collected.
A co-author of the paper, Somnath Baidya Roy of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, contends the warming effect is most likely caused by the turbulence in turbine wakes acting like fans to pull down warmer near-surface air from higher altitudes at night.
“The estimated warming trends only apply to the study region and to the study period, and thus should not be interpolated into other regions, globally or over longer periods,” Zhou said. “For a given wind farm, once there are no new wind turbines added, the warming effect may reach a stable level.”
Source: AAAS EurekAlert
Posted: 30 Apr 2012 06:26 PM PDT
Solar energy as cheap as grid-supplied electricity could be just a few years away, at least for large commercial facilities with flat rooftops or some acreage to spare. Six years ago the Department of Energy awarded a $42 million grant to a company called Nanosolar for the development of large-scale rooftop photovoltaic systems that cost no more per watt than conventional electricity, and earlier this month DOE certified that so far the company has passed its milestones on the way to achieving a 2015 deadline.
Cheap solar energy, with a little help
California-based Nanosolar has private investors and it has gotten clean energy tax breaks from its home state, but the real meat of its success so far comes from the kickoff grant of $42 million, which was awarded under the Bush Administration's 2006 Solar America Initiative.
A precursor to President Obama's 2011 SunShot Initiative, Solar America partnered the Department of Energy along with government and academic research institutions and the building industry in a drive to "make solar energy cost competitive" with fossil fuels by 2015.
The thin film solar advantage
Nanosolar specializes in printable solar cells using inks composed of nanoscale particles. These liquid solar cell inks are applied to a thin, flexible substrate in a roll-to-roll process that shares the basic characteristics of other relatively low cost, mass production printing methods.
The company's ink-based solar technology won the Innovation of the Year award from Popular Science in 2007.
Roll-to-roll printing is less expensive than fabrication methods used to make conventional silicon solar cells, partly because it is a less energy intensive process. Thin film technology also results in reduced shipping and installation costs due to its light weight and durability.
Call out the National Guard for low cost solar power
As it turns out, if Nanosolar is ultimately successful the National Guard will have played a key role. The company achieved one of its major milestones last fall, when it completed the installation of a 538 kWp thin film array comprised of 2,750 solar panels for Camp Perry, an Ohio National Guard base (kWp refers to the peak output of a photovoltaic system).
The Camp Perry installation was designed to demonstrate how the roll-to-roll process combines with a highly efficient installation system to lower the overall cost of the array.
The installation system involved pre-assembling the solar panels into cartridges, which were fitted into prepared "piers." According to Nanosolar, along with reduced labor and equipment costs the system also reduces the risk of breakage, which bedevils conventional silicon solar cell installations.
Low cost solar power for California National Guard
Earlier this year Nanosolar also began installing a 1 megawatt ground-mounted array at the California National Guard's Camp Roberts, with the goal of achieving an installed cost equal to or less than the average price that the base was paying for grid-supplied electricity.
SERDP, the Department of Defense's Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program, is the umbrella agency for that installation in partnership with the EPA and Department of Energy.
Aside from showcasing the technology for the civilian sector, that installation will serve as a template for replication across scores of U.S. military facilities, according to SERDP:
"…military installations throughout the United States can benefit from competitive electricity costs and a low carbon footprint through on-site, distributed solar generation. This demonstration will showcase that U.S.-manufactured solar technology and U.S.-generated solar power can provide energy security and independence to the U.S. military. Similar projects ranging from 1 to 20 MW enable power to be produced within distribution voltage, which avoids expensive transmission step-ups and tie-ins. This range of power plant outputs could be readily constructed at DoD installations nationwide."
SERDP's emphasis on cutting costs by designing projects within the 1 to 20 MW range is noteworthy in the context of the SunShot initiative. Though part of SunShot focuses on reducing the cost of solar power through new technological breakthroughs in solar cell efficiency, the initiative also takes into consideration the overall, installed cost of solar energy.
"Soft" costs including installation and permitting already account for at least half the price of a typical solar array, according to the Department of Energy, so the push is on to make those costs start trending downwards.
In addition to working on reducing soft costs at the utility-scale level, the Department of Energy also recently announced a "Plug-and-Play" solar initiative designed to lower the cost of installing small-scale solar arrays for homes and other small properties.
Image: Courtesy of Nanosolar.
Follow Tina Casey on Twitter: @TinaMCasey.
Posted: 30 Apr 2012 04:57 PM PDT
WASHINGTON – In a year of partisan politics, two leading partisans will seek common ground at the biggest annual gathering of the wind industry – which is counting on bipartisan support to continue its rapid growth in the United States.
Karl Rove and Robert Gibbs will address thousands of attendees together June 5 in Atlanta at WINDPOWER® 2012, announced the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) today.
Rove, former deputy chief of staff and senior advisor to President George W. Bush, and Robert Gibbs, former White House press secretary and longtime senior advisor to President Barack Obama, will jointly keynote in the Tuesday morning General Session of the annual conference and exposition.
Their conversation will touch on many sides of the energy policy debate, and point out where party perspectives overlap — highlighting the opportunity for bipartisan solidarity in support of wind power, one of the fastest-growing sources of manufacturing jobs in America, which draws over $15 billion a year of private investment in the U.S. economy.
Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, welcomed Rove and Gibbs' agreement to appear on stage together, saying they symbolize the politicians across the political spectrum who are willing to oppose what would be felt as a crushing tax increase on wind energy.
"These are major opinion-leaders," Bode said, "and a goal of AWEA and WINDPOWER is to get the amazing wind success story in front of every opinion-leader in the country, whatever their position, to help inform the national debate on energy and secure broad support for wind energy."
WINDPOWER is being held in the Southeast for the first time this year in recognition of the fact that it has emerged as a hot spot for wind energy manufacturing. The theme of the overall conference is "Manufacturing the Future Today." Factories in the wind supply chain now employ 30,000 Americans, out of 75,000 currently working in wind energy. But those jobs are now in jeopardy because of uncertainty over the Production Tax Credit, due to expire at the end of this year unless Congress extends it.
Leaders of a bipartisan effort on Capitol Hill to extend the PTC yesterday joined the U.S. industry at a press conference in calling on Congress to find a legislative vehicle soon — and avert thousands of layoffs now beginning in factories across America. The House Ways and Means Committee meets today to hear testimony from Republicans and Democrats alike who support an early extension of the PTC to continue the U.S. industry's rapid growth in jobs and manufacturing.
"Timing is everything," Bode said. "Our situation is urgent because we're already starting to lose over $15 billion-a-year in private investment in American, and 37,000 U.S. jobs depend on early extension of the Production Tax Credit, according to a recent study by Navigant Consulting. Our message to Congress is simple: Don't raise taxes on wind. We'll be fascinated to hear how both Mr. Rove and Mr. Gibbs tackle this topic."
Nearly nine out of 10 voters—Republicans, Democrats and Independents—have repeatedly told pollsters that increasing the amount of energy the nation gets from wind power is a wise choice.
Registration for WINDPOWER 2012, June 3-6 at the Georgia World Congress Center in downtown Atlanta, is now open, at www.windpowerexpo.org. Additional information:
· This event is the world's largest annual gathering of wind industry players.
· For photos and video of the co-chairs, visit http://www.windpowerexpo.org/
· Reporters can register by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted: 30 Apr 2012 03:08 PM PDT
Climate advocacy group 350.org is planning nearly 1,000 events in over 100 countries on May 5th to help people "connect the dots" between extreme weather and climate change on the first ever Climate Impacts Day.
The group, named for 350 parts-per-million (the level of atmospheric carbon scientists say we must achieve in order to stave off the worst effects of climate change), is aiming to give people an opportunity to highlight the effects of global warming on their local communities.
Firefighters in New Mexico plan to highlight forests burned in recent wildfires, while climbers will hang banners on melting glaciers in the Alps, Andes, and Sierras, and Brazilians will show where mudslides from heavier-than-usual rains destroyed neighborhoods.
"We just celebrated Earth Day. May 5 is more like Broken Earth Day, a worldwide witness to the destruction global warming is already causing," said Bill McKibben, 350.org founder. "People everywhere are saying the same thing: our tragedy is not some isolated trauma, it's part of a pattern."
America set a record for most billion-dollar weather disasters in 2011, with 12 events, and the March 2012 heat wave broke over 15,000 temperature records.
A recent poll from Yale University found 82 percent of Americans say they have personally experienced extreme weather in the past year, and 35 percent say they were personally harmed by extreme weather in the past year.
The same poll also showed large majorities believe global warming made high-profile extreme weather events worse, including the warm 2011-2012 winter (72%), 2011 summer heat extremes (70%), 2011 Midwest droughts (69%), and 2010/2011 record snowfall (61%).
Ironically, the Yale poll was released one day after a Media Matters study that found network broadcast media coverage of climate change has fallen more than 70 percent since 2009. Pew Research's 2012 State of the News Media report found four times as many Americans watched network evening newscasts than cable news.
Posted: 30 Apr 2012 02:01 PM PDT
"Manitoba is a leader in renewable energy, with major investments in hydro, wind, geothermal heating and bio-energy," Selinger said.
The C$30 million fund will be used to promote renewable energy businesses across Manitoba, Selinger said. The fund will support companies that create manufacturing equipment for hydro dams. The program also intends to help with the further expansion of made-in-Manitoba equipment used for wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass, along with smart grid technologies and other renewable energy enterprises, Selinger said.
The new loan program gives companies within the province of Manitoba another tool besides various tax credits, training, and grant programs for manufacturers to further Manitoba's upward renewable energy potential, Selinger said.
The news of the new fund will be a boon to companies that look to create further renewable energy business within the Keystone province.
"CG Power Systems Canada Inc. (CG) is encouraged by the establishment of the Energy Jobs Fund and Energy Opportunities office, especially at a time when CG is planning to increase its market presence in North America," said Ian Harrison, vice-president of sales and development for Canada and the northern United States for CG Power Systems Canada Incorporated.
The New Energy Jobs Fund act will go through the Manitoba legislature during the session. The legislation will offer the administrative framework that will allow for an Energy Opportunities office to be created that will allow businesses access to the new fund, Selinger said in the press release.
The New Energy Jobs Fund announcement is the second major renewable energy announcement within the province of Manitoba this year, besides the Manitoba Biomass Energy Support Program (MBESP) announced in January.
Photo Source: 50by30.org
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