- Energy Management Apps that You Can Afford
- Public Transit Ridership Continues to Rise, 6th Consecutive Quarter of Growth
- UK’s Renewable Energy Capacity to Match Thermal Power Capacity by 2025
- Delhi Inaugurates Its First Solar-Powered Water Treatment Plant, Owned & Operated by Students
- WiFi LED Light Bulb Soars on Kickstarter
- German Solar Power Capacity Hits All-Time High… Again (More Solar than Rest of Europe)
- Solar Cells with High Efficiency & Significantly Reduced Production Cost within Grasp, Thanks to Newly Developed Solar Cell Production Processes
- Total Energy USA Hammers the “All of the Above” Message Home
- BBC Top Gear Test Track Has “Gone Solar”
- California’s High Speed Rail Gets Federal Approval for First Segment of 800-Mile System
- 23 Nuclear Plants Vulnerable to Tsunamis
- Denmark Reaches 2020 Goal for Solar Energy 8 Years in Advance
- 100% Green Power — An Option for Consumers under San Francisco Plan
- GridWeek 2012 on Its Way
Posted: 25 Sep 2012 12:00 AM PDT
As more technologies are introduced to oversee, manage, and assess energy management, more and more organizations are considering investing in systems and applications to help manage consumption. Additionally, many of these products not only assess performance, but also identify where operational inefficiencies may be occurring, providing a platform to boost performance and reduce energy costs.
In addition to full suites, many application developers and organizations are creating apps with specific functionality — and at very affordable prices. This is particularly useful to organizations who may be hesitant to invest in an entire energy management system.
1) Melon Power ($500 per building) — Assesses ENERGY STAR benchmarks and reports scores to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Portfolio Manager
2) ecoInsight Mobile Audit for iPad (free) — Performs energy audits and provides upgrade and improvement suggestions following online analysis of consumption
3) HVAC ASHRAE’s 62.1-2010 ($19.99) — Measures air quality and ventilation and assesses whether a commercial building is operating within LEED credit paramaters
These applications are great starting points for organizations considering investing in an energy management suite — or great as standalone solutions for specific needs like audits, ENERY STAR scores, or air quality measurements.
Read the original story on these apps here.
Posted: 24 Sep 2012 10:30 PM PDT
According to the report, all of the major forms of public transportation increased, especially light and heavy rail. With light rail increasing by 4.3 percent in the second quarter and heavy rail by 2.5 percent. In addition, some of the public transit systems throughout the United States had record ridership during the second quarter, including the cities: Ann Arbor (MI), Boston (MA), Fort Myers (FL), Grand Rapids (MI), Lewisville (TX), Oklahoma City (OK), Olympia (WA), Portland (OR), and San Carlos (CA).
"Since nearly 60 percent of the trips taken on public transportation are work commutes, public transit is a vital service for cities and towns nationwide," said APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy. "Public transportation not only enables people to get to work, but development around public transit helps to create an economically prosperous community.”
As the local economies of the San Francisco Bay area, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Salt Lake City, Denver, Boston, Chicago, and Phoenix, have improved, their public transit systems have been experiencing record growth in ridership.
And all this growth has been occuring even while gas prices were declining, in the second quarter, Melaniphy said. "Even though gas prices declined in the second quarter, more people decided to take public transportation. This goes to show that there is a growing public demand for public transportation services and the next Congress and President must address this issue."
On the national scale, ridership increased by 2.5 percent on heavy rail, and 11 out of 15 heavy rail systems recorded ridership increases in the second quarter of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011. The highest increases in heavy rail ridership for 2012 occurred in: Cleveland, OH (9.9%); San Francisco, CA (6.8%); and Chicago, IL (4.4%).
The report continues:
Bus ridership also rose substantially on the national level, by nearly one percent from April through June of 2012. The largest increases in bus ridership occurred in: Oakland, CA (9.5%); Providence, RI (9.3%); Saint Louis, MO (6.7%); Long Beach, CA (5.2%); Arlington Heights, IL (4.5%); and Denver, CO (4.5%).
Perhaps people are just seeing the many attractions of fun and exciting transit options.
Posted: 24 Sep 2012 10:10 PM PDT
The report determines that the renewable energy industry is the fastest-growing segment in the UK's power sector, and is expected to climb significantly from 11,000 MW of installed capacity recorded last year.
The report predicted that, by 2025, cumulative installed capacity of renewable energy will reach up to 79,000 MW, which is just 2,000 MW less than the anticipated capacity of thermal power capacity at that time.
According to the report, the wind energy sector is expected to grow at the fastest pace — from 6,000 MW in 2011, to 53,000 MW in 2025. Solar photovoltaics is also expected to show strong growth — from just 1,000 MW in 2011, to 13,338 MW in 2025.
UK has announced significant investments in wind energy and ocean energy. The country has massive offshore wind energy resources in the North Sea. Several companies may be looking to invest in this region in the near future, as they may have the option to export electricity to other countries, as well. As the emissions reduction targets in the UK and EU increase, the importance of renewable energy will only increase.
The views presented in the above article are author's personal views only.
Posted: 24 Sep 2012 10:00 PM PDT
The plant, which will cost around $45,000 to set up, will use solar panels to power the micro-ionising water purification equipment. The water produced from the plant meets the potable water standards of the World Health Organization.
The plant has been implemented by an NGO — Social Awareness, Newer Alternatives (SANA) — which has transferred the ownership and maintenance of the plant to the students of the school. Senior students of the school have been trained in special workshops to help them understand the operation of the plant.
Such a model can be and should be implemented in other parts of the country as well, especially in the rural areas where people have to travel for several kilometres to get drinking water. Such a project in the rural areas would also provide employment to local people. The technology can also be used for coastal cities at a large-scale reducing dependence on limited freshwater and depleting groundwater resources.
The cost of such plant is still very high, as a result its development is currently restricted to the development sector. Hopefully, private companies will soon realize the potential of this technology and implement such projects at large-scale in a more cost-efficient manner.
Photo Credit: Roger McLassus / CC
The views presented in the above article are author's personal views only
Posted: 24 Sep 2012 04:00 AM PDT
Apparently not, given the supremely exciting level of participation in the Kickstarter effort for the LIFX, a WiFi-enabled, multi-colored, energy-efficient LED light bulb that you can control with your iPhone or Android phone.
As of writing this, there were 51 days to go on the project, and already 8,732 backers totalling a whopping $1,309,901.
The creators of the project were only hoping for $100,000.
Self-proclaimed as “the smartest light bulb you’ve ever experienced,” the LIFX is set to deliver you 25 years of lighting, reduce your energy costs, and give you the novelty — and most likely the functionality — of a light bulb you can control from your phone.
There is a sheer plethora of features that will be available if you install an LIFX in your home:
I’m sure the last point there is relevant to someone, but ….
Naturally, the LIFX App will be available for free on the iOS App Store and Google Play, and the developers also have hopes to make apps for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
If you are at all interested in finding out more about this fantastic light bulb, head on over to the Kickstarter project where the inventors — Phil Bosua, Andrew Birt, Andy Gelme, John Bosua, Ben Hamey, Dave Evans and Guy King — have laid out the entire project for anyone to read and understand.
Posted: 24 Sep 2012 03:44 AM PDT
Here’s a quickie from sunny Germany, which in short order has become the world’s leading solar power market:
Initial reports say that Germans installed roughly 320-megawatts peak (MWp) of additional solar power capacity in August.
There’s now more solar power installed in Germany than the rest of Europe combined, note industry watchers from Germany Trade & Invest, the national foreign trade and inward investment promotion agency. They’ll be sharing their insights on latest trends in the German and other solar power markets around the world at this week’s EUPVSEC in Frankfurt September 24-28.
Solar power installations have continued to increase in Germany even as legislators have haggled over larger-than-expected reductions in Germany’s Feed-in Tariff (FiT), via which power consumers subsidize the cost of solar power installations.
Of course, solar power costs in Germany are much lower than elsewhere (i.e. the US), largely due economies of scale and its much lower soft costs there.
Germany Trade & Invest this month put out a new report on Germany’s solar photovoltaic (PV) market that’s free for download.
Posted: 24 Sep 2012 03:40 AM PDT
The researchers, from the Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films IST in Braunschweig, will showcase some of these new processes at the EU PVSEC trade show in Frankfurt from September 25 to 28.
Commercial high-efficiency solar cells that can reach efficiencies of up to 23 percent have been the goal of the solar industry for awhile now, but until now the production has been somewhat wasteful of the expensive silane gas that it uses, with solar cells reaching above 40% efficiency but being quite costly.
So, to rectify this, researchers at IST have completely replaced this process: using hot wires to activate the gas rather than plasma.
“This way, we can use almost all of the silane gas, so we actually recover 85 to 90 percent of the costly gas. This reduces the overall manufacturing costs of the layers by over 50 percent. The price of the wire that we need for this process is negligible when compared to the price of the silane,” explains Dr. Lothar Schäfer, department head at IST. “In this respect, our system is the only one that coats the substrate continously during the movement — this is also referred to as an in-line process.”
This happens because the silicon film “grows up at the surface about five times faster than with plasma CVD,” but still with the same quality of layering. Another major advantage of this process is that the system technology is much easier than with plasma CVD, making the system considerably less expensive. As an example, the generator used to produce the electric current that heats the wires costs only about one-tenth of the cost of its counterpart used in the plasma CVD process.
The press release from Fraunhofer continues:
The researchers are intending for both processes to be combined over the long term, ultimately making thin-coated solar cells more cost-effective and more profitable.
“You can produce all silicon layers using the hot-wire CVD, and all transparent conductive layers through sputtering with metal tiles. In principle, these processes should also be suitable for large formats,” states Sittinger.
The processes aren’t production-ready quite yet, though. The researchers estimate that it will take around three to five years for them to become usable in the production of solar cells.
Posted: 24 Sep 2012 03:09 AM PDT
Total Energy USA and Alternative Energy
Realistically speaking, fossil fuels will continue to play a significant role in the foreseeable future, and it is unlikely that they will ever disappear altogether in the manner of, say, whale oil.
However, the grip of fossil fuels on the U.S. energy supply is weakening. The transition to renewable energy is well under way, and it’s already becoming hard to travel anywhere without seeing the evidence in the form of solar power installations and wind turbines on street poles and buildings.
That transition is fully reflected in the Total Energy USA event, which features the whole gamut of emerging renewable energy technologies alongside conventional energy. Though it is partly sponsored by two petroleum industry giants, Shell and Halliburton, the stated goal of Total Energy USA is “to mirror the more current/ progressive thinking about achieving a sustainable energy future.”
That doesn’t appear to leave much room for conventional fossil fuels, since the event planners have also stated that “Total Energy USA is based on the principle that addressing our nation's energy challenges will be achieved through a comprehensive strategy in which energy efficiency and clean energy work together. ”
More Power to the People
Another critical aspect of Total Energy USA is the interplay between clean energy, energy conservation, advanced communications technology and a new distributed energy model, in which individuals, businesses, and other entities can leverage their property for energy generation as well as energy consumption.
That’s reflected in the choice of topic for the first keynote session, titled “A New Energy System: The Internet, Renewable Energy, Distributed Generation, Power Plant Buildings and New Vehicles.”
As envisioned by Total Energy USA, the new energy system will create “a new era of ‘distributed capitalism’ in which millions of existing and new businesses and homeowners become energy players.”
This is a stark contrast to the conventional model of central power plants and a hub-and-spokes distribution system. The impact of distributed energy technology is also going to ripple out from its hosts sites, and perhaps the most significant manifestation will occur in transportation fuels.
In contrast to the virtual monopoly that petroleum fuel has had on vehicles, the distributed energy model enables electric vehicles powered by solar energy, wind, geothermal, and any number of other renewable sources. The energy stored in electric vehicle batteries will also interact with distributed energy sites and with the grid.
Democratic Energy for the World’s Leading Democracy
By teasing out the relationship between clean energy and “distributed capitalism,” Total Energy USA also recasts energy consumption as a form of energy voting, in which more consumers have more opportunities to exercise more power and more responsibility over a broader range of very different choices. In this regard, the new energy landscape will promote a healthier balance between capitalism and consumerism, which is essential to a healthy democracy.
That balance between consumption and production has become a particularly important issue in this election season, when one presidential candidate and his party have been determined to split American citizens into two distinct classes, the “makers” and “takers.” Total Energy USA is a reminder that, in a modern democratic society, making and taking are embodied in the same individual far more often than not, and it’s high time for our nation’s power systems to catch up to that reality.
Follow me on Twitter: @TinaMCasey.
Posted: 24 Sep 2012 03:03 AM PDT
2 MW of solar panels is capable of powering almost 670 households, assuming that the households would consume an average of 3 kW.
The show host, Jeremy Clarkson, has a reputation for marginalizing environmental issues such as global warming, and for hating electric vehicles. This doesn’t mean that the BBC is that way, because it has shown that they do care about global warming and electric vehicle development in other shows, but it isn’t the greenest of media outlets.
Posted: 24 Sep 2012 02:52 AM PDT
The first section is to be 65 miles. This project has been drawn out for years, since 2008, and it has significant financial obstacles. Construction costs exploded in the past (up to $118 billion), so the design was altered to bring it back down to $63 billion.
This railway is to run from San Francisco, to Sacramento, to Los Angeles.
Governor Jerry Brown advocates this project for the sake of job creation and greater mass transportation.
Construction is slated to begin in 2013.
Posted: 24 Sep 2012 02:03 AM PDT
The study outlines 23 nuclear power plants with 74 reactors in high-risk areas. Not all of the reactors are active; some reactors are under construction or shutdown.
Areas considered at risk for tsunamis are the western coast of the North American continent, the Spanish and Portuguese Atlantic Coast, the North African Coast, the Eastern Mediterranean, and Southeast Asia, as reported in Science Daily.
Researchers based large scale tsunami risk factors on archaeological and geographical records.
Source: Science Daily
Posted: 24 Sep 2012 01:54 AM PDT
Why the Demand for Solar PV Panels in Denmark Exploded
Regarding reaching this milestone so early, Kim Schultz, the project manager of Invest in Denmark, said:
"The demand for solar cells has increased dramatically since net metering was implemented in 2010. Net metering gives private households and public institutions the possibility of 'storing' surplus production in the public grid, which makes solar panels considerably more attractive."
"Last but not least, Denmark has a unique energy system with a very high share of renewable energy. This makes the energy system very suitable as a platform for Smart Grid technologies, which are a key element to fully exploit renewable energy sources like solar panels and wind energy."
Denmark has a much larger wind energy target set for 2020 — to obtain 50% of its electricity from the wind. Denmark has also been a world leader in low-cost green transportation – in particular, regarding bicycles. Copenhagen (Denmark) and Amsterdam (in the Netherlands, of course) are well known as the best large cities in the world for bicycling.
Posted: 24 Sep 2012 01:50 AM PDT
California is at the forefront of combating climate change, by using innovative new policy solutions; creating a cap-and-trade system; mandating more zero-emission vehicles; and now offering consumers the option of sourcing electricity entirely from renewable sources.
“If approved, city officials say, the program would slash carbon emissions during the first year by nearly 10 times the amount already achieved by the city's green energy initiatives. According to the proposal, which is subject to a vote by the city's Board of Supervisors, the program would increase utility bills for average customers by about $9 per month.”
Posted: 24 Sep 2012 01:47 AM PDT
“When GridWeek started six years ago, we were just defining ‘what Smart Grid could be’; four years ago, we were discussing ‘what we’re going to do’; and today, we’re at the point where we can discuss ‘what value we’re now realizing,’” said Lee Krevat, San Diego Gas & Electric’s director of smart grid. “GridWeek gathers the right individuals to engage in these conversations that will keep the industry moving forward towards a better energy future for all.”
|You are subscribed to email updates from CleanTechnica |
To stop receiving these emails, you may unsubscribe now.
|Email delivery powered by Google|
|Google Inc., 20 West Kinzie, Chicago IL USA 60610|