- China to Create Emission Trading System, Link to European Union
- California Public–Private Partnership Launches Nation’s Largest Commercial PACE Clean Energy/Energy & Water Efficiency Financing Program
- Solar & Wind Energy Stabilize the Power Grid
- Trump Trashes Wind Power in Palm Springs
- Businesses Increasingly Using Renewable Energy Options to Cut Costs
- Kern and Santa Barbara Solar Projects Totalling 72 MW Will Help California Meet Renewable Energy Goals
- How to Solve the Climate Problem
- Solutions to Fixing the Gas Tax Crisis
- Condo Homeowners Break the Trend and Move with the Times
- German Green on Wind Energy Benefits & Nuclear Phaseout
- Infographic: Green Jobs in Canada
- Clean Tech Nation (Book Review)
- Google and LA Department of Water & Power Gain Wireless EV Charging
- No Mini Van for this Mega Mom (Video)
- Michigan’s Wind Farms: The Sound (of Crickets) and the Fury (of Crackpots)
Posted: 21 Sep 2012 11:35 AM PDT
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.
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."
Posted: 21 Sep 2012 11:14 AM PDT
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.
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.
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.
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.
Posted: 21 Sep 2012 10:27 AM PDT
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.”
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.
Posted: 21 Sep 2012 10:13 AM PDT
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.
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
Posted: 21 Sep 2012 10:00 AM PDT
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.
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.”
Posted: 21 Sep 2012 07:30 AM PDT
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.
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.
Posted: 21 Sep 2012 07:00 AM PDT
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…
Posted: 21 Sep 2012 06:30 AM PDT
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.
Posted: 21 Sep 2012 06:10 AM PDT
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.”
“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.”
“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.”
Posted: 21 Sep 2012 06:06 AM PDT
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.
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.
Posted: 21 Sep 2012 06:00 AM PDT
Here are some of the most interesting findings (in traditional, bullet-point format:
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: Talentegg.ca
Posted: 21 Sep 2012 05:30 AM PDT
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.
Posted: 21 Sep 2012 05:00 AM PDT
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.
"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.
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.
Posted: 21 Sep 2012 04:30 AM PDT
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
Posted: 21 Sep 2012 04:00 AM PDT
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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