Saturday, September 22, 2012

Cleantech News from CleanTechnica

Cleantech News from CleanTechnica

Link to CleanTechnica

China to Create Emission Trading System, Link to European Union

Posted: 21 Sep 2012 11:35 AM PDT

China, the world's largest emitter of carbon dioxide, has signed a financing deal with the European Union to reduce greenhouse gases through a variety of projects, including developing an emission trading system to link with the EU's Emission Trading Scheme (ETS).

This agreement, announced yesterday at an EU–China summit, includes €25 million ($32 million) in financing and technical assistance for three sustainability and waste reduction pilot projects over four years.

Reducing Emissions, Pollution, Waste

The centerpiece of this deal is unquestionably the effort to design emissions trading systems across China, which could lead to a national program that would then be linked to the EU's existing ETS. China has already planned trial carbon trading projects in several of its provinces, and recently set targets to reduce CO2 emissions per unit of gross domestic product 17 percent by 2015 compared to 2005 levels.

In addition to technical assistance designing an emissions trading system, the EU will also help fund efforts by Chinese cities to improve their resource-use efficiency, reduce heavy-metal water pollution, and implement sustainable waste treatment systems.


A Win-Win Deal?

The deal appears to be a win-win outcome for two of the world's most important players on a global emissions treaty. China's CO2 emissions have spiked with economic growth, and it now has higher per-capita emissions than the EU and greater overall emissions than the US. The country also recently announced $372 billion in funding to reduce air pollution and lower energy consumption.

The EU's ETS, which China would ostensibly model its trading system after, has been attacked by China for including aviation emissions from foreign airlines. In turn, the EU has sought links to other international emissions trading systems to boost prices in its scheme, which have fallen to record lows, and recently agreed to link with Australia's carbon trading system by 2018.

International Implications

As the Kyoto Protocol approaches its conclusion and United Nations climate change negotiations stagnate while global emissions hit record highs, setting up a Chinese emissions trading system and including it in a growing international scheme could be a major step toward resolving opposition to a global greenhouse gas agreement.

"Needless to say, it makes a significant difference when China wants to use carbon markets to reduce emissions cost-effectively and boost low-carbon technologies," said Connie Hedegaard, EU Climate Action Commissioner. "It's an important step for an ever closer cooperation toward a robust international carbon market."

Main Source: Reuters
Image Credit: EU–China fist image via Shutterstock

California Public–Private Partnership Launches Nation’s Largest Commercial PACE Clean Energy/Energy & Water Efficiency Financing Program

Posted: 21 Sep 2012 11:14 AM PDT

14 California counties and 126 cities Sept. 20 launched the first state-wide and the nation’s largest PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) program. Aimed at reducing energy and water consumption on commercial properties, the California Statewide Communities Development Authority’s (CSCDA) CaliforniaFIRST program enables commercial property owners to raise capital for clean energy, energy efficiency, and water conservation projects.

California commercial property owners who qualify will be able to tap the municipal bond market to raise the capital necessary to carry projects through to fruition. The bonds will be repaid by levying a special assessment on participating commercial property owners’ annual property tax bills. Paying interest and repaying the principal of CaliforniaFIRST municipal bonds therefore won’t add to local governments’ debt or further strain their budgets, according to a CaliforniaFIRST press release.



PACE Programs: Financing Consumer Savings, Job Creation, and a Better Environment

Investing in clean energy, energy efficiency, and water conservation efforts holds huge potential benefits economically, socially, and environmentally. PACE programs are proving an effective means of financing them, CSCDA notes. Energy and water bill savings, local economic stimulus, job creation, reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and more efficient use of increasingly precious and variable water resources are some of the prominent benefits being generated.

“Commercial PACE gives businesses a great option for pursuing energy efficiency projects that may have previously been out of reach,” said San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob. “The County’s partnership with CaliforniaFIRST provides a mechanism for participants to start spending less money on energy bills and more back into the business.”

The success of Riverside County’s new HERO (Home Energy Renovation Opportunity) PACE program demonstrates the economic growth opportunity PACE programs can open up and the multiple benefits they afford. More than $45.5 million in clean energy financing for 1,500 residential projects has already been approved.

Unlocking Clean Energy, Energy Efficiency, & Water Efficiency’s Potential

Initial, up-front costs and the lack of attractive financing have been hurdles for commercial and residential property owners looking to save on expenses by installing solar energy systems or carrying out energy efficiency and water conservation upgrades, CSCDA continued. PACE programs such as CaliforniaFIRST unlock the potential for them to do so.

“Building owners are very interested in saving money and energy,” commented Johnson Controls’ vice president of Commercial Energy Solutions Beau Engman. “What has been lacking up until now was affordable upfront capital to do the work. We see PACE as a promising means of financing deep commercial energy efficiency upgrades.”

A variety of financial institutions are participating in CaliforniaFirst. They include traditional banks, such as Wells Fargo, as well as San Rafael-based Clean Fund, which has financed PACE projects in both California and Minnesota.

“PACE financing has the potential not only to save energy and money, but to create nearly 25,000 jobs in California,” commented Clean Fund CEO John Kinney. “Clean Fund is excited to work in partnership with local governments throughout the state to offer low-cost capital to help commercial property owners finance clean energy upgrades on their buildings.”

Renewable Funding is the CaliforniaFIRST PACE program administrator. The Oakland–based renewable energy finance company launched the nation’s first PACE program in Berkeley in 2008 and advises the US Dept. of Energy on commercial PACE financing. It also operates commercial PACE programs for local governments from San Francisco to Melbourne, Australia.

Solar & Wind Energy Stabilize the Power Grid

Posted: 21 Sep 2012 10:27 AM PDT

Solar power, wind power, biogas, and other renewable energy sources are becoming increasingly important in the generation of electricity. As the quantity of wind turbines and photovoltaic systems feeding electrical energy to the grid increases, it makes the grid denser, and more widely distributed. Instead of only a small number of large power plants supplying all the electricity, the larger number of small, decentralized power plants create a much more reliable, more disaster-proof grid.

But there has previously been some talk that such a dense grid would be rather hard to synchronize. In contrast to that assumption, though, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization in Göttingen “have now discovered in model simulations that consumers and decentralized generators may rather easily self-synchronise. Their results also indicate that a failure of an individual supply line in the decentralized grid less likely implies an outage in the network as a whole, and that care must be taken when adding new links: paradoxically, additional links can reduce the transmission capacity of the network as a whole.”

In terms of the power grid, synchronization is the coordinated dynamics of power-usage and supply to the same timing. In nature, there are many systems that seemingly self-synchronize — neurons in the brain regularly fire simultaneously, the blinking lights of fireflies synchronize, and crickets share the same rhythm in their chirping. In a similar way, the grid filled with many different generators may “find its own shared rhythm of alternating current,” according to the new research.

The research also found “that decentralized grids are much more robust when single lines are cut. This is because a dense grid always more often has neighbouring lines that can take on the extra load of a downed line. Unlike the case of large-meshed networks, they have few indispensable main links with the potential to cripple the whole grid.”

“Until now, concerns rather centred on the possible collective impact that a large number of small generators could have in a dense grid,” says the physicist. The fear was more frequent power outages. “But our work shows that the opposite is the case and that collective effects can be very useful.”

So, aside from the clear global warming benefits of renewable energy, it seems they have important electric grid benefits as well. Notably, in the real world, we’ve already seen record grid reliability in Germany coincide with record renewable energy growth.

Image Credits: designergold, based on outlines provided by the MPI for Dynamics and Self-Organization

Trump Trashes Wind Power in Palm Springs

Posted: 21 Sep 2012 10:13 AM PDT

Donald Trump has posted some peculiar comments on Twitter criticizing wind power. You can see one of them here:

Apparently, he doesn’t like wind power at all. He also tweeted this on Sept. 19:

How likely is it that wind turbines would be located in someone’s back yard? Furthermore, there’s no evidence of them destroying property value. In fact, farmers who put them on their land get a huge financial boost.

One of the curious things about his Palm Springs wind power bashing, is that the area is home to many golf courses. Their construction often disrupts or damages natural habitats, so why doesn’t he mention that fact?

Trump is opposing the development of wind power in Scotland because he says it will spoil the views at his golf course there. It was reported the course’s construction destroyed habitat for local birds (a project fought by true environmentalists for years).

Image Credit: Public Domain

Businesses Increasingly Using Renewable Energy Options to Cut Costs

Posted: 21 Sep 2012 10:00 AM PDT

According to a new report from the Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) and Vestas, a growing number of green businesses are beginning to source their power exclusively from renewables instead of just making a small token purchase.


The new report, the 2012 Corporate Renewable Energy Index (CREX), is a ranking of over 300 global companies based on their voluntary sourcing of renewable energy, and the reasons for why they do it.

The companies ranked in the CREX have tended to fall into two extremes, but there is a newly emerging group that is choosing to get 100% of its energy from renewable sources.

“Previous CREX reports found most respondents buy a small amount of renewable energy, either by installing on-site generation such as wind turbines, or purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). In this year’s report nearly one third of respondents said they used less than five per cent renewable energy – but by contrast, 35 CREX companies said they used 100 per cent renewable energy, mostly through RECs, to cover all their power usage.”

Predictably, the companies sourcing the most from renewables tend to be companies with very public faces: the financial, telecommunication, and services sectors mostly.

Somewhat surprisingly, ‘high-energy-use sectors’ such as aluminum and paper production have also begun to purchase larger amounts of electricity from renewables, in order to save on costs. The majority of these companies directly invested in on-site wind turbines or biomass boilers, to help reduce their energy bills.

The most common form of on-site renewable energy according to the report was hydroelectric power – at 47% of the total share – next up was wind power at 29 percent. And biomass and waste-to-energy followed wind with a combined 23 percent.

“According to previous Bloomberg figures, global investment in new renewable capacity outpaced that of fossil fuel generation in 2011, with $257bn invested in renewables compared with $223bn for additional fossil fuel generation.”

“Data compiled for CREX over the past three years found that renewable electricity procurement as a percentage of the global total electricity mix increased from 14 per cent in 2009 to 16 per cent in 2011.”

Source: Business Green
Image Credits: Fenton Wind Park via Wikimedia Commons

Kern and Santa Barbara Solar Projects Totalling 72 MW Will Help California Meet Renewable Energy Goals

Posted: 21 Sep 2012 07:30 AM PDT

PG&E is to purchase 72 MW of electricity from two photovoltaic solar power plants which are being constructed in Central California.

One of the plants is the 32-MW Lost Hills project in Kern County, and the other is the 40-MW Cuyama project in Santa Barbara. These projects are expected to create 600 jobs at peak construction, and offset 45,000 metric tonnes (45 million kg) of carbon dioxide annually, which is the equivalent of removing approximately 8,900 cars from the road each year.

The construction of these projects could start in 2013, provided that the development process is complete. Each of the power purchase agreements have a delivery term beginning in 2019.

“We are very pleased to add these projects to PG&E’s solar portfolio, helping it and California reach their renewable energy goals,” said Brian Kunz, First Solar Vice President of Project Development. “Grid-friendly utility-scale power plants from First Solar are readily integrated into the electrical infrastructure.”

The power purchase agreements — each with a delivery term beginning in 2019 — are subject to approval by the California Public Utilities Commission, whose decision is expected in the first half of 2013.

First Solar both manufactures solar panels and builds solar power plants. PG&E (Pacific Gas and Electric) is a large utility company.

Source: First Solar
Image Credit: First Solar 

How to Solve the Climate Problem

Posted: 21 Sep 2012 07:00 AM PDT

Our friends over at Skeptical Science typically just tackle the issue of climate science, and spend their time tirelessly debunking global warming or climate change denier myths. As I think you all know, there are a lot of climate science myths out there.

However, as clean energy grows and threatens the existence of dirty energy industries (which is where a lot of those climate science myths originate), more and more of that negative spin is directed at clean energy sources rather than just global warming and climate change. And, the bottom line is, we need to shut down dirty energy and light up clean energy in order to tackle our climate crisis. Thus, Skeptical Science has been discussing these important solutions to the greatest threats facing human civilization more and more. Here’s a great post from Dana on “How to Solve the Climate Problem,” with a brief summary of some of the key actions needed to encourage clean energy and curtail dirty energy production:

How to Solve the Climate Problem: a Step-by-Step Guide (via Skeptical Science)

Posted on 14 September 2012 by dana1981 Recently we have seen that if we fail to take serious action very soon to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, the future climate will be much less hospitable than today’s, with potentially catastrophic results.  We have also seen that our political leaders…

Solutions to Fixing the Gas Tax Crisis

Posted: 21 Sep 2012 06:30 AM PDT

According to a Wall Street Journal publication, the gas tax in the United States is not capable of paying for the country’s transportation system any longer. Despite increasing vehicle ownership due to population growth, gas demand won’t increase enough to generate adequate revenue.

oil tax

Image: oil barrel on $100 via Shutterstock

According to the CBO, gasoline tax revenue is projected to fall by $57 million over the next 11 years due to a scheduled federal fuel economy standard increase.

“The idea that gets the broadest support is to take the user-fee piece of the gas tax to its logical conclusion: tax motorists on the miles they drive. Many economists argue that such a tax—known as a vehicle-miles-traveled tax or mileage-based user fee—is the fairest, most sustainable replacement for the gasoline tax. The problem is how to track the miles.” And then there is the cost of collecting the fee.

“Mileage-based fees can also be adjusted to discourage motorists from driving on the most congested roads or at the busiest times of day. Mileage-based fees ‘let us kill two birds with one stone,’ says Randal O’Toole, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank. ‘Short of privatization, it really is the free-market solution.’”

Source: Planetizen

Condo Homeowners Break the Trend and Move with the Times

Posted: 21 Sep 2012 06:10 AM PDT

Homeowners associations are not viewed as the world’s most flexible institutions, often taking many years longer than even the most tight-fisted company before making changes. But not so with Remington Post, one of Boulder, Colorado’s largest and most established condominium communities, which has voted forward Phase 1 of a solar-powered electricity system on its 17-acre campus.

While the logic of the decision included environmental goals, as can be expected from any renewable energy installation, the promise of significant and long-term cost savings for residents was another important bonus for the condo association.

“Our challenge was to find a provider capable of adding solar at this scale,” said Jason Potter, Remington Post HOA president. “When we settled on Syndicated Solar, Inc., to provide the turnkey installation, we made a big step in pursuing the green lifestyle our homeowners prefer. Completion of Phase 1 confirms the wisdom of our decision to go with this firm.”

Remington Post faced several challenges in finding just the right sort of solar power solution for such a large complex and so many residents.

“We almost gave up,” said Barney Moran, Manager at Remington. “Many people think getting a solar installation up and running is easy, and it may be for a single family home. But not for a large HOA. Fortunately, Syndicated Solar had the depth of understanding, know-how, and tenacity to help us make our rooftop solar project a reality.”

Rooftop Solar Phase 1 provides solar arrays on four of Remington Post’s 12 residence flat roofs and two of its carport roofs. Together, these arrays will generate over 100 kW of electricity, and are designed to provide the community with electricity at a fixed rate for the next 20 years, and probably far beyond. Based on historical Xcel Energy’s rate increases, the Remington Community anticipates energy savings of well over $300,000 in that 20-year time period alone.

“And this is much more than dollar savings,” Moran said. “This solar installation provides a cushion against higher electric utility costs, and it sends a positive, green message to both the Remington Community and our larger Boulder public. We’re demonstrating to other communities what this technology can achieve.”

Justin Pentelute, CEO of Syndicated Solar Inc., saw Remington Post’s Rooftop Solar Project as an opportunity to maximize the solar potential of the campus and its buildings: ”We knew that when we structured the system and the financing correctly, the owners would get their long-awaited solar project underway. Now we’re looking forward to beginning Phase 2 as soon as possible.”

Source: Syndicated Solar via PR Newswire
Image Source: Remington Post

German Green on Wind Energy Benefits & Nuclear Phaseout

Posted: 21 Sep 2012 06:06 AM PDT

Here’s a nice bit of a Guardian interview with Cem Özdemir, Chair of the German Green party, that was just published yesterday:

Cem Özdemir by boellstiftung

by Philip Oltermann

How would you sell the benefits of wind energy to the Brits?

That’s easy. It’s not about ecology: there are pragmatic economic reasons for taking wind energy seriously. Onshore wind energy is cheaper and faster; offshore is more expensive and takes longer to build. It’s that simple. For those who think it spoils their view of the landscape: would you rather have a nuclear power station plonked in the middle of the countryside? I find that logic strange. And of course no one in the Green party thinks you should just put windfarms anywhere – there are parts of the countryside that should be off limits.

In the past, the energy market in Germany used to be run by four big players. Since the shift to renewables that we helped to bring about, regional authorities and cities council have become empowered to act as players in their own right, buying back the networks that they sold to private companies in the past. In Germany, a large number of windfarms are regionally owned: that helps to decentralise power and encourages competition.

What do you say to critics of Germany’s nuclear phaseout, who argue that it will merely end up having to import more dirty coal energy from abroad?

We are looking at a third industrial revolution, and just as there were once those who opposed the invention of the steam engine, there are now those who hark back to nuclear energy. In Germany we now have just over 20% of our energy coming from renewable sources. All predictions from the past have turned out not to be true: when I went to school, my teachers used to say that maybe, just maybe we might have 3% of renewable energy one day. Angela Merkel says we’ll have 35% by 2020; we at the Green party say it’ll be 45%. My guess is: we’ll both be wrong, because it’ll be even more than that.

And at any rate, don’t listen to what Cem Özdemir has to say on this, don’t listen to what the Greens have to say, listen to what Siemens is doing. Siemens are not switching from nuclear to clean energy because they want to lose money: they want to make profit. And I’d warn anyone who questions whether they’ll manage: industrial policy, that’s one thing the Germans know how to get right. If the Brits would rather hand the first mover advantage down to us, then so be it – as a German, I thank them for it. We already cater for many of the markets for renewable energy around the globe, and our future competitors are more likely to come from China than from the other side of the Channel.

In Germany, industry is now starting to thank us for pestering in the past, because it forced them to go through the kind of innovations that the rest of the world is now catching up with. The Brits are still discussing whether they should insulate their houses better in the future, and we insulate them.

Infographic: Green Jobs in Canada

Posted: 21 Sep 2012 06:00 AM PDT

Below is an interesting infographic I found from about the green jobs market in Canada.

Here are some of the most interesting findings (in traditional, bullet-point format:

  • 44% of Canadian environmental employers in the next two years plan to hire in order to boost their workforce or replace outgoing employees.
  • Within the next ten years, 100,000 environmental employees will retire.
  • 24% of green workers are under the age of 30.
  • Ontario has 37% of all the Canadian green jobs. Second is Quebec with 23%. Sorry, my home province of Manitoba did not make the cut.
  • The highest growth potential are in the following fields: carbon emission and climate change mitigation, energy efficiency and heat savings, renewable energy sources, and alternative fuels for vehicles.

green jobs infographic

It will be interesting to see whether this comes to fruition or not. However, considering tremendous growth in environmental post-secondary educations programs, like the environmental studies program at the University of Winnipeg, which has seen 60% increased enrollment since 2009, it seems there is a lot of room for green jobs to advance in the True North Strong and Free.

Source & Image Credit:

Clean Tech Nation (Book Review)

Posted: 21 Sep 2012 05:30 AM PDT

While there have been many books written about renewable energy and clean technology in recent years, no book provides a clear, concise gameplan for clean technology and renewable energy moving forward like Clean Tech Nation does.

Image Credit: Harper Collins

Authors Ron Pernick and Clint Wilder, who head up the clean tech research firm Clean Edge, use their various years of experience in the sector to give a clear understanding of not only the importance of this sector for the global economy, but also how the United States can lead the way in the 21st century economy.

Setting the Clean Tech Stage

The introduction, The Birth of Clean Tech, is very well written. It talks about clean tech’s deep roots in the telecommunications and information technology sectors. The intro provides excellent examples on just how much the clean energy sector has grown this decade, including how the global wind and solar PV markets grew more than 20 times from 2000 to 2010 ($6.5 billion to $131.6 billion). Pernick and Wilder, in the intro, describe seven C's (Costs, Capital, Competition, China, Consumers, Climate, and Connectivity) that are driving the global market for the rapid deployment of clean energy and technologies around the world.

I tend to agree with all seven of the C's pushing renewable energy's growth since 2000, especially the newest C, Connectivity.  With connectivity, the authors refer both to the clearcut examples of smart grids, as well as to interconnection between information technology and clean technology companies. However, they also see connectivity much deeper as "the capability of instantaneous collaboration across the globe" (page 17). It could be as simple as writers like ours here at CleanTechnica working together from across the globe to write about renewable energy and clean transportation, or as in one of the examples in the book of a similar (but albeit larger) global initiative — GE's Ecomagination campaign. I can understand how mass collaboration through Internet communication will be especially vital for this sector to flourish and create new economic opportunities for those in both developed and developing nations. It’s an imperative in this fast-growing industry and our fast-changing world.

Top Clean Tech Countries

The first chapter looks at the current global market place for clean technology, listing the top ten countries for clean technology, with China leading the way, the US second, and Germany third. Pernick and Wilder also highlight other emerging market countries in the top ten, including India and Brazil, thanks to their investments in solar and biofuels, respectively, and their efforts to entice global companies to come and invest there. The authors note in this chapter that this should be a wakeup call for US citizens and leaders to move towards clean technology as a key to its economic future.

Top Clean Tech States & US Cities

Chapter two looks at the top ten US states for clean tech: California, Oregon, Massachusetts, New York, and Colorado are the top five. All of the top ten states had strong characteristics that made them unique: including specializing in certain renewable energies or technologies, solid policy, or a strong green manufacturing base. For example, take Minnesota, which placed eighth — it is ranked fifth overall in installed wind capacity, has the most biofuel stations in the US (with 350), and the state mandates 25% of all its electricity comes from renewable sources by 2025. The state, according to the book, also makes hybrid buses (New Flyer), wind turbine parts, and solar panels, something that would make a jurisdiction strong in the clean tech economy.

Chapter three talks about the strongest US cities leading the way, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston and New York, which are not surprising leaders, of course.


Clean Tech Trends & Plans

However, the meat and potatoes come in the last three chapters. Chapter Four goes into the some of the more interesting global developments in clean technology, and how they are advancing. These include: smart grids, electric vehicles, green buildings, and waste-to-resource technologies. Both Pernick and Wilder here do an excellent job explaining the importance on how these trends will affect the economy, specifically laying timeframes to carry out these technologies from today to ten years time.

Chapter Five, called The Clean-Tech Imperative, goes right into the heart on clean tech's importance, and takes a knife through political divide in order to create some bipartisanship for clean energy. I especially like how the authors highlight the security need for renewable energy. As the authors say, "to military leaders its increasingly a matter of life and death" (page 205). Examples like this give it such an authentic appeal outside of the normal environmental crowd. They also highlight 25 key shakers in the sector, ranging from former politicians (Jennifer Granholm) to entrepreneurs (Elon Musk) who will all play an important role in advancing clean energy in a hostile environment.

In the last chapter, authors provide a seven-point plan to "Repower America" (yep, we’ve posted that), which includes a national renewable electricity standard of 30% by 2030, a national smart infrastructure bank, using military innovation to advance renewable energy, open-source collaboration to set standards, a federally supported clean tech innovation prize, phasing out all energy subsidies within ten years, and using proven investment tools from the oil, gas, and real estate sectors.

All of the suggestions given by the authors are realistic, especially the US national standard of 30% by 2030 and continued military innovation. Both authors are optimistic (yet realistic) about moving policy forward, which is important to get bi-partisan support from both Republicans (namely in Midwestern states) and Democrats.

An anti-thesis to Ozzie Gehner's Green Illusions, which was released this year and claimed renewable energy is overhyped, Clean Tech Nation is a must read by politicians of all political stripes, businesses people, investors, policymakers, and environmentalists who believe clean technology and renewables are society's best way forward for a sustainable economy this century.

Google and LA Department of Water & Power Gain Wireless EV Charging

Posted: 21 Sep 2012 05:00 AM PDT

Plugless Power is the wireless electric vehicle charging system developed by Evatran and currently being trialled at a variety of locations in the US, including two new installations at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) and at Google headquarters in Mountain View, California.

Evatran announced the completed installations on Monday, bringing the total number of locations with Plugless Power wireless charging up to five. The installations provide wireless charging technology for Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf vehicles. Some systems have been in place for over five months now, as part of the Apollo Launch Program which was kicked off earlier this year.

Google Gets Wireless EV Charging Stations

"This is another exciting milestone for our Company,” said Rebecca Hough, Evatran's Chief Operating Officer. ”Our team has worked tirelessly for the past year to develop the current prototypes being installed in the field through our Apollo Program. We've received invaluable and candid feedback from our partners, and armed with that feedback, we have now set our sights on releasing an upgraded and refined production product as early as January 2013."

The Google installation upgrades previous first generation technology already installed at the Google Campus, and the LADWP installation is part of the Garage of the Future initiative, showcased alongside solar panels, energy storage batteries, and other types of EV charging equipment in downtown LA.

Feedback from the various companies involved in this initial trial period has led to “increased system reliability, enhanced visual driver communication, and improved communications between vehicle and charging station components,” according to Evatran.

Evatran is now working to incorporate these enhancements into its Plugless Power residential charging station, which will be the focus of the second phase of the Apollo Launch Program, set to kick off early 2013.

Source: Evatran

No Mini Van for this Mega Mom (Video)

Posted: 21 Sep 2012 04:30 AM PDT

Move over, Sarah Palin — Emily Finch is a real mama grizzly. Finch has forsaken her mini van and SUV for a life lived on a bicycle. Finch runs all her errands, including hauling groceries, by bicycle. Sounds reasonable enough, no?

One small detail: She has six kids.

That’s right, Finch is a mother of six and has abandoned a car-centric life for pedal power. I imagine you’re a bit more impressed with this lifestyle choice now.

Check out the video below to see how and why she does it (it’s her powerpoint presentation for the recent 2012 Women’s Bicycling Summit in Long Beach, CA).

Source: League of American Bicyclists 

Michigan’s Wind Farms: The Sound (of Crickets) and the Fury (of Crackpots)

Posted: 21 Sep 2012 04:00 AM PDT

Complaining about the noise of windmills falls in that whole ‘not in my backyard‘ phenomenon. Truth be told, wind turbines aren’t very loud, and crickets (and cars) are deafening compared to wind turbines. Check out this video below to see/hear:

In November, our friends in Michigan are going to vote on a big ballot initiative – proposal 3 — that requires 25 percent of the state’s energy usage come from renewable sources. Here’s to hoping voters take advantage of Michigan’s local power sources, including its abundant off-shore wind farm sites.

Source: Climate Crocks

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