Monday, January 28, 2013

Cleantech News from CleanTechnica

Cleantech News from CleanTechnica

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Honda To Install Wind Turbines At Its Russels Point Plant

Posted: 28 Jan 2013 12:00 AM PST

Honda intends to obtain 10% of the electricity its Russells Point transmission factory requires from a pair of wind turbines.

Image Source: gocarts from Flickr

These wind turbines stand two-hundred and sixty feet tall, the blades will be one hundred and sixty feet long, and will be visible when driving through Logan County.

They are to generate 10,000 MWh per year, which is enough to power an estimated eight hundred houses.

Honda came to an agreement under which Juhl Wind of Pipestone, Minnesota would install and operate the wind turbines for a cost of $8 million, and Honda agreed to buy the electricity that it generates.

The company got permission from Washington Township officials last June to carry out this project.

"We appreciate the support we have received from the township and our neighbors that will help Honda reduce (carbon) emissions," Gary Hand, vice president of Honda Transmission, said in a statement.

The Russells Point manufacturing plant employs 1,150 people and constructs transmissions for most of Honda’s assembly plants in North America.

Honda would be one of five companies that use wind power on this scale, according to Bill Spratley, executive director of Green Energy Ohio, a renewable-energy advocacy group, and the only car manufacturer to power a US based factory with wind turbines.

The site is close to ideal, he said. "They are over there by the windiest part of the state, as you get over near Bellefontaine.”

Source: The Columbus Dispatch

Honda To Install Wind Turbines At Its Russels Point Plant 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.

Solar Industry Shakeout — What It Really Means

Posted: 27 Jan 2013 12:00 PM PST

There’s a lot in the news these days about solar manufacturers going bankrupt. This news is often disheartening, and sometimes used to discredit solar technology and the industry itself. Based on a study I just recently completed, I can tell you that the global industry shakeout is just beginning. Many others have noted, however, that this does not spell bad news for solar technology, its adoption in mainstream society, or the future of solar installation companies. In fact, solar energy is just beginning to take off.

Up until 2011, the industry was still growing in the number of manufacturers.  In 2011, the industry saw its first year of negative net entry. If the solar industry continues to follow the path of evolution that other industries have followed, it seems that 2013 will be another difficult year for solar module manufacturers.

Industry shakeouts, however, are a very healthy part of industry evolution and growth. The solar industry is following the same patterns as previously studied industries, such as the automobile industry, the colored television industry, and the penicillin industry. Even though these industries do differ, they’ve evolved in very similar ways.

Graphs of industry shakeouts. These graphs are not ment to be completely exhaustive. There are likely manufacturers missing due to lack of available information and resources of the author. But they’re a good representation of the overall story. (Source: Keppler, 2001)

A basic tenet of industry evolution is that as the number of manufacturers grows, the increased competition and economies of scale bring down the overall prices.  The solar industry saw this from 2007 to 2011, when average module prices of the largest solar manufacturers decreased by 57%. Many times, the prices will fall faster than companies can lower their costs. This “margin squeeze” drives less efficient manufacturers out of business.

The goal of many manufacturers in a shakeout will be to “out survive” their competitors. Key drivers of survival in past industries has been date of entry and ability to grow. Those who entered into the industry early, gained the valuable experience needed to fully understand their costs. This understanding gave them a more realistic chance of surviving off of low margins. Experience is also important because it allows companies to make process innovations that make their companies more efficient.

This shakeout period should be a time when the larger and more experienced solar companies will begin to dominate innovation that was previously done by research institutes, inventors, colleges, government institutions, and non-solar companies. The companies who can dominate innovation will survive the shakeout. The shakeout of the solar industry can, of course, be subject to changes in technology, politics, and the economy.

Overall, the evolution of the solar industry will be an interesting addition to previous studies because of its international and subsidized nature. The shakeout will undoubtedly claim many more companies, but the future of solar still remain bright.

Reference: Keppler, K. S. (2001). Industry Shakeouts and Technological Change. International Journal of Industrial Organization, pg. 1-30.

Solar Industry Shakeout — What It Really Means 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.

2013 Zayed Future Energy Prize Award Winners

Posted: 27 Jan 2013 11:18 AM PST

As a part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, CleanTechnica was invited to attend the 2013 Zayed Future Energy Prize awards ceremony held at the Emirates Palace on January 15, 2013.

The Zayed Future Energy Prize, managed by Masdar, reflects the great vision of the late founding father and former president of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan, who instilled a passion for sustainable development and environmental conservation into the national strategy and history of the UAE.

Marika at Zayed Future Energy Prize Awards (Photo Credit: Zachary Shahan / CleanTechnica)

Awaiting the 2013 Zayed Future Energy Prize Awards (Photo Credit: Zachary Shahan / CleanTechnica)

Zayed Future Energy Prize Introduction (Photo Credit: Zachary Shahan / CleanTechnica)

The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, regarding the Zayed Future Energy Prize, this year stated: "We believe that investing in people is the future of our collective prosperity. Through the Prize, we are not only recognising tremendous achievement, but also providing support to help accelerate promising technologies and fund organisations, schools, and individuals committed to impacting communities around the world."

The Zayed Future Energy Prize Jury included:

  • President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson (President of the Republic of Iceland)
  • Mohamed Nasheed (former President of the Republic of Maldives)
  • Dr. Han Seung-soo (former Prime Minister of Korea)
  • Elizabeth Dipuo Peters (Minister of Energy for South Africa)
  • Adnan Z. Amin (Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency/ IRENA)
  • Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh (Chairman of Masdar)
  • Dr. Susan Hockfield (President, Emeritus and Professor of Neuroscience, Massachusetts Institute of Technology/ MIT)
  • Leonardo Di Caprio (Actor and Environmental Activist)

The President of the Republic of Iceland and Chairman of the Zayed Future Energy Prize Jury, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, said: "The winners tonight show that change is possible, that vision and innovative thinking hold great promise for us all through practical endeavours. These winners are indeed the true heirs to the legacy of Sheikh Zayed."

The Zayed Future Energy Prize was awarded in five categories:

  • Large Corporation — Recognition Award
  • Small and Medium Sized Enterprise (SME) — $1.5 million
  • Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) — $1.5 million
  • Lifetime Achievement Award — $500,000
  • Global High School Prize — $500,000, divided amongst four schools from different regions of the world, with each school awarded up to $100,000.

The Spirit of The Zayed Future Energy Prize

The awards ceremony was a great culmination of a year-long, four-stage evaluation process. Nominations were activated in January 2012 through a global campaign. Nominations were then closed in July 2012 with a record 579 applications from 88 countries, which was a remarkable increase of 36% compared to last year. From 579 entries, 50 were selected in the 2nd stage. In the 3rd stage, the list of candidates were narrowed down to 24 finalists. In the final round, the prominent jury selected 8 winners. 

And Here Are the Winners of the 2013 ZFEP!

In the Large Corporation category, Siemens (a German multinational electronics and engineering company) was recognised for its continuous presence in the Middle East region providing and implementing sustainable solutions, and for its great efforts in raising environmental awareness and advancing renewable energy.

US-based d.light won the award in the SME category, for manufacturing and distributing solar lighting and power products to the developing world, particularly Africa. The company provides households and small businesses with safe and affordable access to off-grid light and power in Africa.

In the NGO category, Ceres (a US-based non-profit organisation) was the winner. The enterprise encourages companies to reduce their carbon emissions and take actions towards creating and expanding the clean energy economy.

Dr Jose Goldemberg, a professor of Physical Sciences at the University of Sao Paulo and a former Brazilian Secretary for the Environment, was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr Goldemberg introduced the Brazilian Energy Initiative, which called for 10% renewable energy worldwide by 2010. He was a co-author of one of the first papers on sugarcane ethanol and its energy life-cycle analysis, as well as co-author of the book Energy for a Sustainable World. He's also known for coming up with the term "technology leapfrogging" — in particular, when it comes to economic development.

CleanTechnica Director Zachary Shahan talking with Dr Jose Goldemberg, a professor of Physical Sciences at the University of Sao Paulo and a former Brazilian Secretary for the Environment, who was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award. (Photo Credit: Marika Krakowiak / CleanTechnica)

President of Iceland, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, talking with Dr Jose Goldemberg, a professor of Physical Sciences at the University of Sao Paulo and a former Brazilian Secretary for the Environment, who was awarded the 2013 Zayed Future Energy Prize Lifetime Achievement Award. (Photo Credit: Marika Krakowiak / CleanTechnica)

This year, the Global High School Prize category was introduced to recognize and encourage young people to include sustainability and energy initiatives into their schools. Schools from four regions were honoured for their projects on renewable energy, energy access, and energy efficiency.

We were really touched by the stories of all the schools, because it's really heartwarming and inspiring to see how some of those in the younger generations think so passionately and proactively about global environmental issues as well as their surrounding environment. The schools/students that made it to the final were impressively focused on addressing global climate and energy issues by improving their own actions and technologies. It must have been hard choosing the winners.

Secundaria Tecnica 120 School (Cuernavaca, Mexico), representing the Americas region, was honoured for its project on using renewable sources, such as a biogas digester, solar panels, and energy efficient bulbs to upgrade the school's water, power, and heating.

From Europe, Okehampton College (UK) was selected for its plan to install two wind turbines and a biomass heating unit, which will lead the school to becoming energy self-sufficient.

From the Asian region, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Bangladesh Islamia School (Abu Dhabi, UAE) was honoured for its proposal to introduce rooftop solar panels and batteries in order to provide continuous solar power for the school. Moreover, the school plans to become carbon neutral through innovative methods, such as passive cooling.

Kirya Secondary School (Tanzania) was recognised in the African region for its proposal to raise awareness in environmental learning centers and reduce the school's ecological footprint by using wind, solar, and biogas power.

Kirya Secondary School Teacher, 2013 Zayed Future Energy Prize Award Winner (Photo Credit: Marika Krakowiak / CleanTechnica)

Overall, the awards ceremony was a tremendous experience. It was held in a luxury hotel incomparable to any we've ever seen, the Emirates Palace Hotel. In particular, the ceremony was in the theater-style auditorium. It felt like the Academy Awards of renewable energy. It was an impressive event that I think instilled in us all a greater reverence for the environment, a greater understanding of the UAE and its environmental heritage, and appreciation for the companies and people leading the way in renewable energy. One key theme throughout the event was that change is possible, and innovation is a critical component of that. I think that is something CleanTechnica fully agrees with and promotes.

For more content from CleanTechnica's trip to Abu Dhabi, check out our archive pages for Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, the World Future Energy Summit, and/or the International Renewable Energy Conference.

Full Disclosure: my trip to Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week was partially funded by Masdar. That said, I was completely free to cover what I wanted throughout the week, and at no point did I feel under pressure to cover any specific events or Masdar in any particular way.

2013 Zayed Future Energy Prize Award Winners 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.

San Francisco 49ers Dig For Gold With Pro Football’s First LEED Stadium

Posted: 27 Jan 2013 08:06 AM PST

The new Santa Clara stadium, home of football’s juggernaut San Francisco 49ers, is making a run for LEED certification when it opens for next year’s football season. No word yet on whether it’s going to hit silver, gold or platinum status (team owner Jed York is hoping for gold), but it will be the first pro football venue to get LEED certified, and it will feature enough on site solar power to offset all of the energy used during home games.

As for the stadium’s eventual certification status, it might not come close to the LEED platinum standard achieved by the University of Texas for Apogee Stadium, but it still has plenty of green goodies to show off.

NRG helps 49ers get LEED status for new Santa Clara stadiumA LEED Football Stadium for the 49ers

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a rating system administered by the U.S. Green Building Council, which covers a wide range of sustainability factors including interior elements, water conservation and land use.

For the energy-related elements, Santa Clara Stadium relied on guidance and planning from founding partner NRG, the nation’s largest electricity generator. The company has been transitioning to green tech through projects like a massive EV charging station project in California and wind farms in Texas, and at 900 megawatts of capacity it is currently the largest solar generator in the U.S.

Though Santa Clara Stadium’s LEED elements may seem relatively modest, some of them are striking features that represent firsts for pro football. Because of their high visibility they could help familiarize millions of stadium visitors and television viewers with LEED concepts that they otherwise might not encounter.

That includes pro football’s first green roof, a 27,000 square foot installation that will help insulate the stadium’s luxury suites. The roof features about 2,000 tons of dirt and will be landscaped with native plants to reduce stormwater runoff.

Another first is a set of three “solar bridges” which create a high-profile, walk-through renewable energy experience for fans coming from the main parking area to the stadium. Combined with a solar canopy above the stadium’s green roof and a solar installation on the 49ers training center, the panels will have a peak capacity of 400 kilowatts.

More Green Goodies for Santa Clara Stadium

Another LEED-qualifying element is alternative transportation, which the stadium will provide through access to public transit, convenient parking for bicycles and a connection to a popular bike route from Santa Clara, which describes as “a mostly straight line and about the easiest ride imaginable.”

In case you’re wondering how many fans will actually bike to a football game, Santa Clara Stadium is a multi-purpose venue for concerts and civic events as well as sports, so you never know, that bike connection might end up getting a good workout.

Aforementioned team owner Jed York also has ambitious plans to extend sustainability to the stadium’s gigantic food service operations, partly by taking advantage of the year-round availability of fresh produce in the region. Apparently that will extend right down to the hot dogs. In a recent interview with the Santa Clara Weekly, York said:

“We've been working on food more than any sports team in history. We want to make sure that when you get a hot dog it's all natural, locally sourced, and something you can feel good about your kids eating.”

What LEED Platinum Looks Like

Gold may end up being Santa Clara’s personal best in terms of LEED certification, but it’s worth taking a look over at Apogee Stadium to see the potential for a major sports venue to achieve the top level of platinum.

The 31,000 seat multi-purpose stadium is the first new collegiate stadium in the U.S. to achieve platinum, and its three wind turbines also make it the first collegiate stadium to generate wind power on site (several pro stadiums have already dipped into wind power, including the homes of the Buffalo Bills and the Philadelphia Eagles). The turbines are grid-connected and will double as an education and research tool for the University of North Texas.

High efficiency HVAC and plumbing systems will reduce energy consumption by about 25 percent and water use by more than 52 percent, with additional savings from optimizing natural daylight for indoor spaces.

Site preservation was an important LEED factor for Apogee, with more than half the overall space devoted to a park-like setting with native plantings. For paved areas, permeable pavers were used to reduce stormwater runoff and mitigate the “heat island” effect.

Other familiar LEED elements include recycling construction debris, using materials and products made with locally sourced or recycled content, and using low-VOC paint, flooring and other interior finishes. The university also established a “green” policy for operating and maintaining the stadium.

Image: San Francisco 49ers by ankarino

Follow me on Twitter: @TinaMCasey


San Francisco 49ers Dig For Gold With Pro Football’s First LEED Stadium 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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