- National Climate Assessment Repeats The Obvious: We Need Climate Action Now
- EIB Approves €500 Million Loan For German Wind Project
- California Achieves 1,000 MW Installed Capacity Under Solar Initiative
- Google To Invest $200 Million In EDF-Backed 161MW Wind Project In Texas
- Solar Frontier Achieves 19.7% CIGS Solar Cell Efficiency, Breaks 10-Year Record
- Electric Solar Sail Technology Moving Forward, “Impossible To Create” Electric Sail Tether Produced
- 3.1 GW Of New Solar Power Projects Approved By The Chilean Environmental Authority
- Electric Vehicles Selling Fast In Norway, Thanks To Strong Incentives
- Simple Way To Create Highly-Efficient Organic Solar Cells Discovered
- Electric Motorcycles And Scooters To Outsell Plug-In Cars? Not Likely!
- Sempra Completes 1st 150MW Phase Of 700MW Arizona Solar Farm
- Technology To Make Your Fleet Greener
Posted: 11 Jan 2013 04:14 PM PST
Daniel Lashof, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council's Climate and Clean Air Program, made these comments in response to the Climate Assessment findings:
"Climate chaos is sweeping our country, bringing more heat waves, floods, storms and drought, and faster than previously predicted. This report shows that every day we delay action on climate change the costs keep rising for our families, communities, economy and American way of life. Fortunately, the president has the tools at hand now to make big reductions in carbon emissions from largest source of climate-changing pollution: the nation’s existing power plants. And he can do so with lower costs and higher benefits than many would expect."
NRDC recently released a proposal that shows how the US Environmental Protection Agency can team up with the states and use the Clean Air Act to cut carbon pollution by 26 percent by 2020 from existing power plants. Read about it here.
And read Dan's blog about the most important actions President Obama can take to confront climate change: "Backing Away from the Climate Cliff"
National Climate Assessment Repeats The Obvious: We Need Climate Action Now was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just visit our homepage.
Posted: 11 Jan 2013 02:15 PM PST
This wind farm will consist of 80 turbines, and is to be constructed in the Baltic Sea. It will have an electricity generation capacity of 288 MW, and, in reality, is expected to generate 1.2 billion kWh of electricity annually.
EIB Approves €500 Million Loan For German Wind Project was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just visit our homepage.
Posted: 11 Jan 2013 01:29 PM PST
According to the state regulators, San Jose City has installed the greatest amount (54.6 MW) on homes and commercial buildings, with installations including those of eBay and the San Jose Unified School District. San Jose is followed by San Diego, Bakersfield, and Fresno, which installed capacities of 51.3 MW, 31.4 MW, and 28.9 MW, respectively.
California Solar Initiative (CSI) aims to install approximately 1,940 MW of new solar power capacity with a budget of $2.167 billion by the end of 2016. It is the solar rebate program for customers of three investor-owned utilities – Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E). The California Solar Initiative is funded by electric ratepayers, and the California Solar Initiative-Thermal portion of the program is funded by gas ratepayers.
California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has announced that CSI’s tally of new rooftop solar reached 1,066 megawatts at the end of December (i.e. 55% of the 1,940 MW goal).
“California has the most customer-side solar installations of any state in the nation,” said Michael Peevey, president of the California Public Utilities Commission. “This is a tremendous milestone for California and a testament to the success of the California Solar Initiative.”
In PG&E's Northern California territory alone, 558 MW have been installed. With 75,000 customers, PG&E has the highest number of solar customers of any utility in the world. Customers are provided with net metering, which allows homeowners and businesses to offset the cost of their electricity use with the energy generated from their rooftop solar power and sent back to the grid.
CSI offers financial incentives which are designed to decline with years as solar technology use becomes widespread. When the program was launched in 2007, consumers used to get rebates as high as $2.50 per watt from their solar power systems, but now with the widespread adoption of solar in the region, the incentives have declined considerably (i.e. just 20 cents a watt in PG&E territory).
“Incentives are falling quickly,” said Melicia Charles, solar program manager for the CPUC. “It’s happening much faster than many expected.”
Despite considerable decline in the rebates in the past few years, PG&E remains the most popular utility among customers. The utility adds approximately 1,000 new net metering customers every year and insists on revising the current net metering policy.
The California Solar Initiative program has been popular since the very beginning. In February 2009, PG&E received 11 Megawatts worth of “Non-Residential Reservation Requests” for installations from California businesses. This was the highest MW total in one day that PG&E had seen at that time. The program is currently reviewing proposals to set up 332 MW of solar power projects. The popularity of California Solar Initiative is possibly due to the significant benefits it brings to the generators and the utilities.
The views presented in the above article are author's personal views only
California Achieves 1,000 MW Installed Capacity Under Solar Initiative was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just visit our homepage.
Posted: 11 Jan 2013 01:03 PM PST
The Spinning Spur Wind project is located in the Oldham County about 35 miles from Amarillo in a windy area of Texas. The project has an installed capacity of 161 MW and was built by EDF Renewable Energy. The wind farm is expected to provide enough power for up to 60,000 average US homes.
The wind farm is comprised of 70 Siemens wind turbines with 2.3 MW of capacity each. The plant started operations in the end of December 2012, and the generated energy is being sold to Southwestern Public Service Company (a utility that serves Texas and New Mexico) through a 15-year power purchase agreement.
“We look for projects like Spinning Spur because, in addition to creating more renewable energy and strengthening the local economy, they also make for smart investments: they offer attractive returns relative to the risks and allow us to invest in a broad range of assets,” announced Kojo Ako-Asare, Google’s senior manager for corporate finance, on the company’s blog.
Google has claimed that its renewable energy investments are now capable of generating 2 gigawatts (GW) of power, or 2,000 MW.
Google's Renewable Energy Investments
This is not the first time Google has invested in renewable energy projects. Through the years, Google has been investing heavily in renewable energy technology, with a strong focus on supporting clean energy. Since 2010, it has invested in 10 renewable energy projects, including some of the biggest renewable energy projects in US.
The company has also invested $100 million in the Shepherds Flat wind farm in Oregon, known to be one of the world's largest wind farms, with an installed capacity of 845 MW capable of powering 235,000 homes. Another wind energy investment includes the Atlantic Wind Connection Project, which will span 350 miles of the coast from New Jersey to Virginia to connect 6,000 megawatts of offshore wind turbines.
Google's investment in solar energy projects also cannot be ignored. It has invested $168 million in the Ivanpah solar thermal plant in the Mojave Desert in California being developed by BrightSource Energy. The project is 75% complete and expected to start commercial operation this year.
Though Google may not be directly involved, it has long promoted renewable energy through investments. Last year, Google signed two power purchase agreements to buy renewable energy from specific facilities. The first is with a 114MW wind project at NextEra's Story County II facility in Iowa, and the second is with a 100.8MW wind project at Minco II facility in Oklahoma. The power generated from these wind farms is being used to power the company's data centers.
The views presented in the above article are author's personal views only
Google To Invest $200 Million In EDF-Backed 161MW Wind Project In Texas was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just visit our homepage.
Posted: 11 Jan 2013 12:19 PM PST
This new cell finally broke a previous record of 18.6%, which stood for 10 years. The 19.7% efficiency was measured by Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology.
This efficiency improvement was done through collaboration with Japan's New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization.
Efficiency improvements help make solar panels smaller (for the same output), which has both practical, convenience, and sometimes cost benefits, such as a reduction of installation cost.
CIGS is the acronym for Copper, Indium, Gallium, and Selenium — the components of the technology. Solar Frontier refers to its CIGS cells as CIS — however, they do contain gallium, so they are technically CIGS.
CIGS solar cells are thin-film and it may be possible for them to be deposited onto a substrate, rather than sawed from a solid material as silicon wafer cells are. However, this has been a challenge. Notably, CIGS solar panels can also be flexible, opening them up to a variety of useful applications.
“The CIS thin-film modules currently available from Solar Frontier have gained a reputation for high performance in actual power generation, as they are not easily affected by shadows or high temperatures,” said Satoru Kuriyagawa in a statement announcing the result. “Now, even higher real-world performance can be expected by applying this new basic technology.”
Solar Frontier is a Japanese solar cell manufacturer, and is currently manufacturing 900 MW of 13%-efficient solar cells annually.
Hopefully, it can mass produce these 19.7% efficient modules, because the world could certainly benefit from solar panels that are twice as powerful.
Source: PV Magazine
Solar Frontier Achieves 19.7% CIGS Solar Cell Efficiency, Breaks 10-Year Record was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just visit our homepage.
Posted: 11 Jan 2013 10:47 AM PST
The technology, which works by creating a electric field that deflects solar wind protons and takes momentum from them, offers the future possibility of fast, cheap, and fuel-less travel throughout the solar system. And perhaps more interestingly, an economically viable way to extract resources from asteroids.
Four years ago, it was the view of international experts in ultrasonic welding that it would be impossible to produce tethers made of extremely thin wires welded together every centimeter. (It’s necessary for the tethers to be created this way, though, so that micrometeoroids don’t cause debilitating damage to the structure.)
The development of such a technology would allow for extremely cheap, large-scale gathering of the abundant resources available in space, primarily those available in asteroids and comets.
In fact, all of the “gold, cobalt, iron, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, osmium, palladium, platinum, rhenium, rhodium, ruthenium, and tungsten” that we mine from the Earth’s crust was deposited by asteroid impacts well after the crust on the planet cooled. It’s been estimated that these and many more elements that are used by modern civilization in large quantities may run out within 50-60 years.
The ESAIL also would allow the large-scale mining of water, oxygen, hydrogen, and construction metals; to be used in space. This would completely bypass the currently extremely expensive process of sending objects into space — simply build it there first if it’s possible to do so.
Image Credits: Timo Rauhala; Henri Seppänen & Sergiy Kiprich; Eros via Wikimedia Commons
Electric Solar Sail Technology Moving Forward, “Impossible To Create” Electric Sail Tether Produced was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just visit our homepage.
Posted: 11 Jan 2013 07:48 AM PST
The new report also mentions that there’s a further 908 MW of solar energy projects currently under review by Chilean environmental authority Servicio de Evaluación Ambiental (SEA).
These projects represent what will be an enormous increase in the amount of solar power in the country. Currently, there are only 2.4 MW of installed solar power capacity in the country — though, a further 2.5 MW are also under construction right now.
“Chile is set to become a solar hotspot and has been identified by NPD Solarbuzz as a key emerging market in Latin America. According to the market research firm, Chile along with Mexico and Brazil are set to become mainstream markets, absorbing nearly 70% of demand in the region,” PV Tech writes.
Chile has a very high level of solar power potential. The region could receive a substantial amount of its electricity from solar energy installations. Hopefully, these newly approved projects will move the country towards that goal.
Notably, the country just installed a large, 10MW solar thermal power plant in the Antofagasta region of Chile.
3.1 GW Of New Solar Power Projects Approved By The Chilean Environmental Authority was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just visit our homepage.
Posted: 11 Jan 2013 07:26 AM PST
Total sales for EVs reached 50,000 for all of 2012 in the US, with its large population of 315 million. While Norway, with its population of only 5 million, sold over 10,000 EVs in the same time period.
Electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf are very popular in Norway, and there are more reservations for Tesla’s Model S there than anywhere else in the European market.
The simple reason for the popularity of EVs in Norway is price. Typically, EVs are a good bit more expensive than conventional cars. “But, in a nation where high car taxes are the norm, the Norwegian government doesn’t levy import taxes on EVs,” Autoblog Green writes. “The competitive pricing has helped the Nissan Leaf become 13th best selling vehicle in Norway. The country also has a long history with EVs, and it’s common to see Revas, Kewet Buddies and many other EVs on the streets of Oslo, the capitol.”
The fast rate of change in Norway shows what could be possible in the US, or at the very least some regions of it, if similar incentives were adopted. With such a high percentage of CO2 emissions coming from the internal combustion engines of cars, a rapid switch over to electric and hybrid vehicles would be very valuable in limiting the most negative effects of future climate change.
Electric Vehicles Selling Fast In Norway, Thanks To Strong Incentives was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just visit our homepage.
Posted: 11 Jan 2013 07:02 AM PST
“We’ve shown that impure domains if made sufficiently small can also lead to improved performances in polymer-based organic photovoltaic cells,” says Harald Ade, a physicist at North Carolina State University, who led this research. “There seems to be a happy medium, a sweet-spot of sorts, between purity and domain size that should be much easier to achieve than ultra-high purity.”
The conversion efficiency of polymer/organic photovoltaic cells is extremely dependent upon excitons, which are electron/hole pairs that are energized by light, making their way quickly to the interfaces of the donor and acceptor domains, and losing less energy in the form of heat. It was assumed that the primary way to increase the speed at which this occurs was by increasing the purity of the domains, leaving less to slow down the excitons. But the new research clearly shows that it can also be increased by making the domain size smaller.
By using a solvent to shrink down the dominant acceptor domain size from 177 nanometers to 34 nanometers, the researchers were able to increase the efficiency of the material by a substantial amount, 42%.
Simple Way To Create Highly-Efficient Organic Solar Cells Discovered was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just visit our homepage.
Posted: 11 Jan 2013 05:17 AM PST
Not bloody likely!
Sales of Electric Scooters and Motorcycles Skyrocket
First off, we have the report from Pike Research which looks at electric motorcycles and scooters. The main statistic that has been drawing so much attention is the prediction that “annual sales of e-motorcycles and e-scooters will reach 18.6 million by 2018.”
Pike Research point primarily to industries such as delivery companies, police and security forces, and even taxi services in some locations as the prime mover for the increase in sales of electric motorcycles and scooters.
Currently, China is the biggest market for the sale of these electric vehicles, accounting for 81% of the global electric motorcycle and scooter market. Not surprising in a country which has only recently started manufacturing cars and where the average wage doesn’t really cut it for those wanting to own their own four-wheeled vehicle.
Sales of Electric Vehicles
Another Pike Research report released earlier this year predicted that annual worldwide sales of electric vehicles will reach 3.8 million by 2020. This includes plug-in electric vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles selling in the Asia Pacific, North America, and Western Europe.
"Sales of EVs have not lived up to automakers' expectations and politicians' proclamations, but the market is expanding steadily as fuel prices remain high and consumers increasingly seek alternatives to internal combustion engines," says senior research analyst Dave Hurst. "Indeed, sales of plug-in EVs will grow at a compound annual growth rate of nearly 40 percent over the remainder of the decade, while the overall auto market will expand by only two percent a year."
So there we have it: electric motorcycles and scooters are going to outsell electric cars.
What an uninspired attempt at sensational journalism. The logic is faulty — or at least, the logic making up the perceived understandings behind the headlines is faulty.
The reality of the situation is that, yes, in all likelihood, we might see that by the end of this decade electric motorcycles and scooters have sold more than electric cars. We have to remember, however, that electric cars have already invaded the same markets that Pike Research is predicting will soon purchase all these electric motorcycles and scooters. Fleets of police cars, delivery vehicles, and taxis all over the world contain hybrids and plug-in electrics, and for one car you’ll need two motorcycles or scooters to do the same job.
In other words, the focus of the report has very little to do with consumer purchases. The figures for consumer purchases between cars and bikes is likely to be widely different.
Understandably, the motorcycles and scooters won’t necessarily be doing the same job as a Prius or Leaf, but in this day and age it would have been nice to see a little more attention given to the reality of this news and not the hyperactive headline grabs. In short, they might outsell thanks to industry purchases, but by 2023, I would posit that electric cars would once again be back on top.
Source: Pike Research
Electric Motorcycles And Scooters To Outsell Plug-In Cars? Not Likely! was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just visit our homepage.
Posted: 11 Jan 2013 05:09 AM PST
“We are pleased to continue the momentum of our solar program with the completion of Mesquite Solar 1 and will now focus on the development of the remaining 4,000-acre complex,” said Jeffrey W. Martin, president and chief executive officer of Sempra US Gas & Power.
Mesquite Solar 1 is currently operational and subsequently ranks amongst the largest solar farms currently operational in the US.
Located on 4,000 acres 40 miles west of Phoenix, Mesquite Solar 1 is currently has a capacity of 150 megawatts (MW) in phase 1, but will eventually measure in at 700 MW further down the line. Construction began in mid-2011 and has since created an estimated 300 local construction jobs and up to 10 long-term positions.
The large solar power plant is “generating enough clean electricity to power about 56,000 homes,” as well as reducing greenhouse gases by around 190,000 tonnes annually. That’s the equivalent of taking 33,000 cars off the road.
“This accomplishment puts us solidly on track to own and operate more than 1,000 megawatts of renewable energy capacity by the end of this year,” Martin added. “We are excited about the future. This milestone would not have been possible without the strong support of neighboring communities, regulators and local and state elected officials.”
“Arizona continues to lead the nation in the production of clean, renewable solar energy,” said Ariz. Gov. Jan Brewer. “Projects like Sempra U.S. Gas & Power’s Mesquite Solar 1 not only create clean energy, they also generate quality jobs for Arizonans. I am thrilled to see our great state at the forefront of this promising industry and I look forward to Arizona continuing to establish itself as our nation’s solar capital.”
The electricity generated at Mesquite Solar 1 is sold to California’s Pacific Gas & Electric under a 20-year contract.
Source: Sempra Energy
Sempra Completes 1st 150MW Phase Of 700MW Arizona Solar Farm was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just visit our homepage.
Posted: 11 Jan 2013 12:30 AM PST
Retrofitting your fleet to run on hybrid electric technology is not only a great way to do your bit for the environment; it will also reduce the expenditure your company pays out on fuel. The price of diesel and petrol is constantly fluctuating, but it is still quite high, so saving money on fuel is an extra advantage.
Retrofitting your vehicles so that they run on a hybrid electric engine is not the only way to reduce your carbon footprint, there are numerous other possibilities, especially if the bulk of your fleet currently run on diesel:
Author Bio: Simon Howarth is writing on behalf of Remote Asset Management, suppliers of vehicle tracking systems for fleets across the UK.
Technology To Make Your Fleet Greener was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just visit our homepage.
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