Saturday, June 2, 2012

Latest from: CleanTechnica

Latest from: CleanTechnica

Link to CleanTechnica

Military Vets Train for Wind Power Employment

Posted: 02 Jun 2012 07:16 AM PDT

DOE workforce grants train veterans for wind technician jobsThe wind power industry is looking for a few good people to work as wind technicians, through an Energy Department job training program aimed at military veterans. Wind technician is a rather dry term to describe an occupation that entails traveling around the country to work at dizzying heights outdoors in all kinds of weather, and that goes a long way to explain why it takes the right stuff to fill those shoes.

Turbine Cowboys and Military Training

Just this year, the Weather Channel featured wind technicians – aka “turbine cowboys” – in a new series on extreme occupations, and if you check out some of the comments in the production company’s Facebook page it’s pretty clear that military training is a good preparation for this kind of work.

According to one comment (typos corrected):

"To say they are not dangerous is ignorant. The amount of safety classes, first aid and rescue training, OSHA certs, ect. is never ending. I work on turbines every day and find new risks every day. I’m constantly reminded of how a simple slip at any point in my day can harm/kill myself or a co-worker.”

Service in an active combat zone is not a prerequisite, as day-to-day safety in many military occupations requires a certain degree of physical stamina and a state of alertness to potential hazards.

Training for Wind Power

The Department of Energy has focused on the training aspect of the work, one example being a 2010 veterans’ workforce development grant to a California wind turbine servicing company called Gemini Energy Services, in support of the company’s training courses.

Gemini is one wind services company that recognizes the value of a military background as preparation for a successful (and safe) career in the industry, so much so that it features veteran hiring practices  as a promotional tool.

As stated on the company’s home page:

“Our unique workforce of turbine technicians is primarily comprised of former military professionals who have the proven background, training and tools and have received wind-specific training to excel in the wind industry.”

The Wind Industry is Still Hiring

Speaking of Gemini’s home page, the company apparently is still hiring, despite the industry-wide uncertainty over continued federal support for the wind sector. Specifically, it is “looking for experienced Traveling Field Technicians with a track record of success.”

President Obama has been a staunch supporter of tax credits for wind and other alternative energy, but without action from Congress all he can do is – well – show support (that’s called “separation of powers”).

The action end of the equation has to come from Congress, which has been dithering over extending a vital federal tax credit for the wind industry.

Perhaps some of those legislators who are so fond of blowing the “support our troops” horn could put their words into action by supporting an industry that is aggressively seeking to hire veterans.

Or perhaps not, as the case may be.

For more information on Gemini’s current hiring, check out their Careers page.

Image: Claudia Trevizo via energy.gov.

Follow me on Twitter: @TinaMCasey.

 


Cleantech News: Gyro-Stabilized, Enclosed Electric Motorcycle; Romney Forgets the Solar Company He Supported; EU Emissions Cuts & Aviation Policy…

Posted: 01 Jun 2012 06:35 PM PDT

 
Top cleantech news from the past day or so:

Solar

Solar Business Jumps from 2% to 18% of Lanco Infrastructure’s Revenue: Lanco Infrastructure Limited’s solar energy subsidiary pulled in 18.4% of the company’s total revenue in FY2011-12, a dramatic increase from its 2.2% share in FY2010-11.

Solar Company Used In Crossroads Anti-Obama Attack Ad Received Taxpayer Dollars From Governor Romney: Yes, it’s getting that ridiculous.

Ads from Mitt Romney and American Crossroads earlier this week disparaged solar energy, leading up to Romney's surprise visit to Solyndra today.

The Crossroads ad targets the Obama administration for green energy investments, but features a company that once received taxpayer support from Governor Romney's administration. Washington Post's Greg Sargent points out that one company featured in Crossroads' ad — Evergreen Solar — received $2.5 million during Romney's term

Wind

German Wind Industry Anticipates Breakthroughs: “Last week an initial breakthrough was made to further accelerate Germany’s shift to renewable energy. The country’s four major grid operators provided the German government with a new plan for a major grid expansion. The government is reviewing the plan and has recently intensified high-level meetings among national and state-level players.”

Transportation

Lit Motors And The Gyro-Stabilized, Enclosed Electric Motorcycle: Lit Motors of California “is developing a two-wheeled enclosed electric motorcycle with a gyro-stabilizer. This stabilizer keeps the vehicle, called the C1, upright even at a complete stop. It would supposedly take the force of a small elephant to knock the prototype over.”

Green Lane Project Kicks Off in Chicago: “There's no denying that separated facilities, like buffered bike lanes in Los Angeles, are getting more folks riding. Yesterday in Chicago, our partners at Bikes Belong officially launched their new and exciting Green Lane Project to propel the development of such innovative facilities across the country,” the League of American Bicyclists writes.

“Top transportation officials, including Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez, headlined the launch of a new initiative to bring protected bikeways to six U.S. cities — Austin, Chicago, Memphis, Portland (Ore.), San Francisco and Washington, D.C. — over the next two years.”

EU Carbon Emissions Policy

EU Aviation Carbon Policy Dispute Not Likely to Reach WTO: “Countries that oppose the European Union’s move to include airlines in its scheme to control carbon emissions would find it difficult to bring a dispute to the World Trade Organization (WTO), an official with the global trade body said on Friday.”

EU Ministers to Discuss Stronger Carbon Cuts Again: “European environment ministers are expected to reopen a difficult debate later this month on deeper EU carbon emissions cuts, but a draft text ahead of the meeting stops short of any firm targets.”

Energy Efficiency

New Compound Could Become ‘Cool Blue’ for Energy Efficiency in Buildings: “A new type of durable, environmentally-benign blue pigment discovered at Oregon State University has also been found to have unusual characteristics in reflecting heat – it's a ‘cool blue’ compound that could become important in new approaches to saving energy in buildings.”

Warburg House: Building an Energy Efficient Home for Under $100,000:



Warburg House: Building an Energy Efficient Home for Under $100,000 (via http://greenbuildingelements.com)

This is a nice study of an energy efficient home that was built for less than $100,000. Enjoy the view. "Seeking to architecturally balance the functional, the handsome, the efficient, and the economical is not an easy task; but this was the brief provided for the Warburg house. The question posed…



Canadian Solar Sets New Solar Cell Efficiency Record

Posted: 01 Jun 2012 05:57 PM PDT

 

I think I need to start a page of solar records and just keep it updated as each new announcement comes out. The latest solar record, after a spurt of other solar record announcements, reportedly sets “the highest performance reached to date for a P-type mono-crystalline cell.”

It was no independently confirmed, but was set in-house by Canadian Solar just before Intersolar Europe (next week).

“In-house tests found that its proprietary mono ELPS solar cell efficiency reached 21.1 percent,” the company wrote in a news release yesterday.

“Canadian Solar’s ELPS cells feature a Metal Wrap Through (MWT) design, which moves the front busbars to the back of the cells allowing 3% more light absorption per cell. As a result, ELPS modules deliver up to 7% more electricity than similar configuration conventional solar modules. The ELPS module is nominated for the Intersolar Award 2012 in photovoltaics category.”

If you are interested, read more on Canadian Solar’s website.

Some of the other recent records I was mentioning above are discussed here:


Green Home Building Booming, Could Be $114 Billion Market By 2016

Posted: 01 Jun 2012 01:37 PM PDT

The confluence of a stagnant housing market and consumer desire to save money is creating a green home building boom that could be worth up to $114 billion by 2016, according to a new report from McGraw Hill Construction.

Green homes represented $17 billion, or 17 percent of the overall construction market in 2011. This figure is double 2008's 8-percent market share (valued at $10 billion) and has been a "bright spot in an otherwise dismal market." But green building's market share is expected to sharply rise to 29-38 percent across a five-year forecast for overall residential construction – potentially an $87-114 billion opportunity.

416 National Association of Home Builders builder and remodeler member companies were surveyed in Q4 2011 on their green building practices to compile the report, "New and Remodeled Green Homes: Transforming the Residential Marketplace," which focused on single-family home building and remodeling.

According to the report, the two key factors driving market growth are the facts that green homes are seen as higher quality, and that they save consumers money on utility bills. "Home that are not only green, but also offer the combination of higher quality and better value have a major competitive edge over traditional homes," said Harvey Bernstein, vice president of industry insights and alliances at McGraw-Hill.

The report shows that green building projects are largely value-driven for consumers. Two-thirds of builders and remodelers say consumer request green projects to lower energy use and save money, 80 percent say energy efficiency measures are "pervasive" in the market, and more than half consider durable materials one of the most important features in homes today.

Greater environmental value brings greater monetary value for buyers, according to McGraw-Hill. 46 percent of builders with more than $1 million in revenue said green building features make it easier to market homes, and 61 percent of builders/66 percent of remodelers report home buyers are willing to pay more for green homes.

Homebuilders are taking note of the trend. One-third of all builders say they will be dedicated to green building by 2015, meaning more than 90 percent of their projects will be built using green standards. This focus is returning dividends – 77 percent of firms dedicated to green building say it helps their bottom line.

Interestingly, this green building boom is happening even though most builders and remodelers report increased costs for green measures. Builders report a seven-percent cost increase, and remodelers report an eight-percent cost increase. However, dedicated green builders reported only a five-percent increase, suggesting experience with green building techniques reduces project costs.


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