NewEnergyNews More: January 2009

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Every day is Earthday.

Some details about NewEnergyNews and the man behind the curtain: Herman K. Trabish, Agua Dulce, CA., Doctor with my hands, Writer with my head, Student of New Energy and Human Experience with my heart

email: herman@NewEnergyNews.net

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Your intrepid reporter

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  • Saturday, January 31, 2009

    INT'L NEW ENERGY GROUP FOUNDED

    International Renewable Energy Agency Launches
    29 January 2009 (Environmental France)

    "An international body to promote renewable power was founded in Berlin this week. Seventy-five countries signed the founding statute of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)

    "Originally an initiative of the German government, IRENA plans to offer policy advice to developed and developing countries, promote technology transfer, advise on financing renewable power and enhance capacity building…"

    click to enlarge

    "The US was not among the signatories to IRENA, but sent an observer from its embassy in Berlin. John Geesman, co-chairman of the board of directors at the American Council On Renewable Energy, urged Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to revisit the decision of the Bush administration to opt-out of joining the agency…

    "European energy commissioner Andris Piebalgs said he hoped the EU would be able to join IRENA in future, indicating that the European Commission plans to ask the Council of Ministers for a mandate to sign up.

    "The location of IRENA’s headquarters and the appointment of its first director-general are to be decided place in June 2009."

    Friday, January 30, 2009

    CHINA WANTS SUN

    China to step up solar energy research, development
    Yang Lina, January 26, 2009 (Xinhua)

    "The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) has launched an initiative to boost the development of solar energy technology, in a bid to turn it into a major energy source in China by 2050.

    "A CAS official said that the academy had organized academicians and experts to make an action plan and will set up a platform to support scientific innovations involving solar energy.

    "The plan will be carried out in three phases, including "distributed utilization" by 2015, "alternative utilization" by 2025 and "large-scale utilization" by 2035…"


    click to enlarge

    "This action plan aims to form value chain on technological innovation including basic studies, application studies and market research.

    "CAS experts said that China has a big potential for solar energy development. The duration of sunshine for two-thirds of its territory is more than 2,200 hours a year. It also has vast desert areas…the use of solar energy could effectively reduce the discharge of green-house gases…

    "CAS's advanced energy scientific and technological innovation center invited experts and scholars to carry out investigation and research on China's energy industry…lowering the costs for using solar energy would be the key…"

    EU WANTS WORLD IN GHG MARKET

    Europe to Ask Wealthy Nations to Adopt Carbon Trading System
    James Kanter, January 23, 2009 (NY Times)

    "The European Commission was preparing an appeal on Friday to wealthy countries — and to the United States in particular — to adopt carbon trading as one of the main mechanisms for curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

    "The Europeans are drafting their proposal as the United States enters a period of intense debate over the wisdom of adopting such market-based systems…[U.S. President] Obama endorsed…a cap and trade…system [that]…sets a limit on emissions, and those who exceed it must buy or trade permits to meet it…Many analysts say that [a tax on emissions] would be a more straightforward way of limiting planet-warming gases from industry…

    "…Europe has created the largest single market for trading permits to emit carbon dioxide, while Australia and some groups of American states have begun their own initiatives. But the European system has also come under fire for doing too little to stop pollution and for creating vast windfall profits for some industries…it has become more effective following a pilot phase, which ran from 2005 to 2007."


    World emissions markets, 1-30-2009 (click to enlarge)

    "European Union governments approved further measures late last year aimed at reducing the scope for lobbying by governments and industry that diluted the effectiveness of the system…

    "In the past, efforts at reaching global, coordinated action on climate change have been undermined in large part because the United States insisted on binding emissions limits for countries like India and China. Those countries resisted mandatory rules, saying they had the right to industrialize and improve their citizens’ standards of living.

    "Some of the businesses that regard emissions regulation favorably because it could promote new investment opportunities welcomed the latest proposals…"

    SPAIN & PORTUGAL PARTNER ON NEW ENERGY

    Spain, Portugal to set up renewable energy research center
    January 22, 2009 (AFP via Yahoo News)

    "Spain and Portugal will set up a joint renewable energy research centre, the leaders of both nations said…

    "The Iberian Renewable Energy Centre in the southern Spanish city of Badajoz near the Portuguese border will help the two nations improve their expertise in this area, Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates said…said at a joint news conference with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

    "The centre will be headed by Portugal's Antonio Sa da Costa, the current vice president of the European Reneable Energy Federation…"


    Wind is big - and getting bigger - on the Iberian Peninsula (click to enlarge)

    "Portugal, which is almost entirely dependent on imported energy, aims to collect 45 percent of its total power consumption from renewable sources like solar and wind power by 2010…Spain aims to triple the amount of energy it derives from renewable sources by 2020. It is already among the three biggest producers of wind power in the European Union along with Germany and Denmark.

    "…[B]both nations aim to have a high-speed rail link between Lisbon and Madrid, and another between the Portuguese capital and Vigo in northern Spain, completed by 2013…Portugal and Madrid have agreed that one of the stations along the high-speed rail link between Lisbon and Madrid will be between the border cities of Badajoz and Elvas in Portugal…

    "The Spanish government plans to have 10,000 kilometres (6,200 miles) of high-speed railway track in place by 2020, meaning 90 percent of Spain's population will live less than 50 kilometres from a bullet train station…"

    SUN-CHARGED PHONES IN NAMIBIA

    Solar Energy Powers Cellphones
    Wezi Tjaronda, 26 January 2009 (New Era of Namibia)

    "Solar cellphone chargers are proving to be worth investing in…Daniel Diogenius, proprietor of D Barber Shop and Cell Phone Charger in Otjomuise suburb made more than N$16 000 within nine months of starting his solar cellphone charging business.

    "In 2006, the
    Desert Research Foundation Namibia (DRFN) started investigating the viability of solar cellphone charging shops as an approach towards establishing Energy Shops in Namibia as specified in the Off Grid Energisation Master Plan.

    "Diogenius’ shop is one of the three shops operating in Windhoek…for the purpose of charging cellphones and cutting hair…Diogenius used to get between 20 and 30 clients a day when his businesses started early last year, a number that has risen to 80 clients a day."


    click to enlarge

    "Two cellphone charging shops that the DRFN monitored in 2007 generated N$2 723 and N$804 over 11 and five months respectively.

    "A solar cellphone charging system comprises 10 charging sockets and two lights. The system can charge about 20 cellphones per day and provide electricity for three hours for each light, replacing the need for candles or gas for lighting. The system can accommodate any type of cellphone DC charger.

    "DRFN is now looking for funding to establish a further 10 solar services shops in Namibia…
    DRFN’s objective is to determine how different small-scale renewable energy technologies can be used to create an income for small and medium enterprises in unelectrified areas and thereby encourage entrepreneurship and economic development…"

    click to enlarge

    "In Namibia, 30 percent of all households, or less than 11 percent of rural households, have access to electricity. The Rural Electrification Distribution Master Plan identified 5 858 unelectrified rural settlements, but of these only 1 543 are scheduled for electrification in the next 20 years.

    "The rest, which comprise more than 106 000 households, will not be electrified within the next 20 years and have been designated as off-grid areas…it was within the off-grid area that solar cellphone charging business offers the greatest scope.

    "With an investment capital of about N$5 000, an entrepreneur can earn about N$7 300 per year by charging five cellphones per day at a cost of N$4 per cellphone. Since it uses the sun, which is free of charge, the business accrues no power costs…the business can pay back its investment capital in about a year, with the return on investments being about 82 percent…"

    Thursday, January 29, 2009

    MORE JOBS IN WIND NOW THAN IN COAL

    Wind jobs outstrip the coal industry
    Todd Woody, January 28, 2009 (Fortune via CNNMoney)

    "…The wind industry now employs more people than coal mining in the United States.
    Wind industry jobs jumped to 85,000 in 2008, a 70% increase from the previous year…In contrast, the coal industry employs about 81,000 workers…coal employment has remained steady in recent years though it’s down by nearly 50% since 1986…Wind industry employment includes 13,000 manufacturing jobs concentrated in regions of the country hard hit by the deindustrialization of the past two decades.

    "The big spike in wind jobs was a result of a record-setting 50% increase in installed wind capacity, with 8,358 megawatts coming online in 2008… a third of the nation’s total 25,170 megawatts of wind power generation. Wind farms generating more than 4,000 megawatts of electricity were completed in the last three months of 2008 alone."


    click through for work

    "Another sign that wind power is no longer a niche green energy play: Wind accounted for 42% of all new electricity generation installed last year in the U.S. Power, literally, is shifting from the east to west, to the wind belt of the Midwest, west Texas and the West Coast. Texas continues to lead the country, with 7,116 megawatts of wind capacity but Iowa in 2008 overtook California for the No. 2 spot, with 2,790 megawatts of wind generation. Other new wind powers include Oregon, Minnesota, Colorado and Washington state.

    "But last year’s record is unlikely to be repeated in 2009…The Obama administration’s $825 billion stimulus package includes a three-year extension of a key production tax credit that has spurred the wind industry’s expansion. But given the dearth of investors with tax liabilities willing to invest in wind projects in exchange for the credits, the stimulus is unlikely to be stimulating to the industry unless the tax credit is made refundable to developers…

    "The U.S. wind industry is dominated by European wind developers and turbine makers - General Electric (GE) and Clipper are the only two domestic turbine manufacturers - and those companies’ fortunes rise and fall with the global economy. As the U.S. market has boomed, European companies have been moving production close to their customers - the percentage of domestically manufactured wind turbine components rose from 30% to 50% between 2005 and 2008…"

    EV DEALERSHIPS COMING

    Findlay Automotive Signs Letter of Intent to Establish Xtreme Green Products Electric Vehicle Dealerships throughout the Southwest; Findlay Automotive Group will become the Exclusive Xtreme Green Products Eco-Vehicle Dealer in Las Vegas, Nevada, Northern Arizona and St. George, Utah
    January 22, 2009 (XtremeGreen)

    "Xtreme Green Products, Inc. (XGP), an eco-vehicle company specializing in the development of electric and environmentally friendly land and personal watercraft, has announced today that it has received a signed letter of intent from Findlay Automotive Group to establish Xtreme Green Products dealerships throughout Arizona, Utah and Nevada…"

    Electric motorcycle, coming to a showroom soon. (click to enlarge)

    "Xtreme Green Products is currently marketing its X Rider electric motorcycle and its line of Xtreme Green electric motor scooters. The X Rider can travel at speeds up to 65mph with a range of 95 miles on a single charge. The Xtreme Green electric motor scooter line includes two models, both of which can travel at speeds up to 50mph. The EM40 scooter has a range of 50 miles and the more powerful EM60 scooter has a range of 75 miles. The agreement with Findlay Automotive Group provides exclusive marketing and distribution rights for both the X Rider motorcycle and the motor scooters in Las Vegas, Nevada, Northern Arizona, and St. George, Utah…"

    BIG STIMULUS $$$ TO COAL

    Coal wins big in Senate stimulus package
    Ken Ward Jr., January 28, 2009 (The Charleston Gazette)

    "Coal supporters have managed to tuck more than $4.6 billion in money for the industry into a Senate version of the economic stimulus package…with several coal projects pushed by Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va…The Senate funding is nearly double the $2.6 billion included in a current House version of the legislation, meant to help boost the sagging economy across the country.

    "Details… outlined in a Byrd news release…$2 billion for "near-zero emissions" power plants designed to capture and sequester carbon dioxide…$1 billion for the Department of Energy's Clean Coal Power Initiative…$1.6 billion for carbon capture at industrial plants…"


    click to enlarge

    "Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., has also been working behind the scenes to get as much money as possible into the stimulus package for what supporters call "clean coal" programs.

    "Last year, Rockefeller managed to get $2.8 billion for the coal industry into the massive Wall Street bailout…aimed at encouraging power producers to limit greenhouse gas emissions…[and] to promote turning coal into liquid fuel, a move that could double greenhouse gas emissions from vehicle fuels.

    "During his campaign, President Barack Obama promised to invest $150 billion over 10 years on a variety of energy programs, and to launch public/private partnerships to build five commercial-scale coal-fired power plants that capture carbon dioxide emissions…environmental groups are concerned that Congress will not put tight enough restrictions on "clean coal" projects - requirements that they actually limit their greenhouse gas emissions and do so now, rather than much later. Also, some citizen groups, especially those opposing mountaintop removal in Appalachia, argue there is no such thing as 'clean coal'…"

    FIND WIND FAST

    FirstLook® Prospecting Tool covers the world; Most accurate, consistent, comprehensive global wind dataset just a click away at 3TIER Web site
    January 29, 2009 (3TIER)

    "3TIER…announced the expansion of its FirstLook® Prospecting Tool, now providing free access to average wind speed ranges anywhere in the world, through a dynamic 5 km resolution map. Using the most accurate, consistent and comprehensive dataset ever created, FirstLook provides a fast, Web-based assessment tool to globally prospect for viable wind energy generation locations…

    "As renewable energy developers identify promising wind resources, they can augment FirstLook’s initial wind assessment by purchasing more detailed reports that provide a more in-depth estimate of wind resources at specific locations.

    "Available in just minutes, a FirstLook Wind Assessment Report includes…Average annual wind speed for the area around your site (50 km by 50 km or 31 miles by 31 miles)…Average monthly wind speed and standard of error for each month of the year…The distribution of hourly wind speeds throughout the year…A wind rose for all hourly wind speeds during the year…The average hourly wind speed and standard of error for each hour of the day…Wind roses for each month of the year…Daily wind speed patterns for each month of the year…"


    click to enlarge

    "FirstLook Assessment Reports are currently available for the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Reports for additional regions will be made available throughout the year…

    "To produce the 5 km wind map and the underlying dataset, 3TIER implemented an innovative physical-statistical modeling approach…3TIER’s system integrates statistical methods with the power of physical-based models, which simulate the interaction between the atmosphere and the earth’s surface, to create a more robust and accurate wind climatology…the myriad processes responsible for wind – from jet level dynamics to surface level processes and everything in between – are accounted for…to create realistic wind fields throughout the world…

    "3TIER ran its model through a 10-year simulation across the world’s landmass at a 5 km resolution. The results then were calibrated and validated with observational data to create the final dataset and, ultimately, the world wind map…

    "3TIER also is mapping the world’s solar resources…In addition to FirstLook, 3TIER provides a full suite of assessment and forecasting products for wind, hydro and solar energy projects…"

    Wednesday, January 28, 2009

    2008 CALFORNIA SOLAR BOOM

    Solar panel installations in California through the roof in '08; Homeowners and businesses had a record 158 megawatts of photovoltaic panels put on despite the recession.
    Marla Dickerson, January 28, 2009 (LA Times)

    “Despite a credit freeze that's stunting renewable-energy projects throughout the country, 2008 was a hot year for solar power in California.

    ”Encouraged by state rebates, Golden State residents and businesses last year installed a record 158 megawatts of photovoltaic panels on their rooftops to turn the sun's rays into electricity, the California Public Utilities Commission said…That's more than double the 78 megawatts installed in 2007.

    “Residential demand appears to be hanging tough in the face of the shaky economy.”


    click to enlarge

    “December saw the largest volume of homeowner rebate requests since the state launched the California Solar Initiative program two years ago…

    ”Funded by utility ratepayers, the program offers rebates...[of] 20% to 50% of a system's cost.

    “Solar modules would seem a luxury in the current dismal economy. But experts said new federal tax breaks, on top of already generous state incentives, are encouraging some Californians to take the plunge. As of Jan. 1, homeowners are eligible for tax credits of up to 30% of the entire cost of their projects…

    ”Others have concluded that putting solar panels on their roofs and cutting their power bills is a safer bet than the stock market or real estate…”

    $$$ TO BETTER PLACE EV PLAN

    Plan unveiled for electric car charging network in Denmark
    January 27, 2009 (AFP)

    “California-based Better Place and Denmark utility operator DONG Energy said Tuesday they will build a charging network so the nation's motorists can switch to electric cars.

    "Dong and the Palo Alto-based startup said they have signed a deal aimed at cutting the amount of Earth-warming carbon gas emissions by giving Danes access to environmentally-friendly electric vehicles 'at attractive prices.'

    “Better Place is to make available battery-powered electric vehicles offering "at least the same road-holding qualities as fuel-based cars" by the year 2011.

    “Better Place has procured 135 million dollars in private funding for the Denmark project…”


    Lots of places want to be a Better Place place. (click to enlarge)

    “Better Place struck a partnership a year ago with France-based Renault for electric cars that are expected to be powered by an advanced lithium-ion battery pack created by Nissan in a joint venture with NEC of Japan…

    “Project Better Place and DONG are members of the Copenhagen Climate Council, a forum devoted to establishing a global agreement at the climate summit in Copenhagen and developing innovative solutions to climate challenges.

    “Better Place is reportedly working on a similar project in Israel.”

    WORLD BANK TO PROP UP EMISSIONS TRADE

    World Bank Will Support Carbon, Former Official Says
    Matthew Carr, January 22, 2009 (Bloomberg News)

    “The World Bank and other development banks will support flagging carbon markets to prevent a slump in greenhouse-gas reduction projects and protect the climate…

    “European Union carbon dioxide allowances have slumped 61 percent since a July 2 peak on concern a recession will lower production and drive emissions below a cap set by regulators in the five years through 2012. That drop in the biggest carbon market reduces the incentive to build solar parks in China and curb industrial gases in India, which get revenue from selling emission credits that can be used in Europe…”


    World emissions markets, 1-28-2009 (click to enlarge)

    “Development banks and governments will want to ensure that the recession does not slow a movement away from high-emitting fossil fuels to protect the climate from the greenhouse gases they generate…

    “Spot EU carbon dioxide allowances…closed at a record low 11.08 euros on Jan. 20. United Nations certified emission reductions for December rose 2 cents from a record low to 10.05 euros a ton on the European Climate Exchange in London.

    “UN credits can be used as a cheaper alternative in the EU program, which covers about 11,000 factories and power stations in the region.

    “In July, the World Bank created two climate funds that will reach $5 billion for projects or programs in developing nations…”

    BIG SUN DEAL

    Suntech and Standard Solar Reach 5 Megawatt Solar Panel Supply Agreement; Agreement strengthens both companies' ability to respond to President Obama's call to 'harness the sun'
    January 27, 2009 (PR Newswire)

    “Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (NYSE: STP), the world's leading manufacturer of photovoltaic (PV) modules, and Standard Solar, Inc. are looking forward to powering cleaner energy solutions throughout the Mid-Atlantic U.S. under a new agreement by which Suntech will supply up to 5 megawatts of photovoltaic solar panels to the Maryland-based solar developer and installer during 2009…”

    1 megawatt solar facade, Suntech headquarters, Wuxi, China (click to enlarge)

    “Standard Solar looks forward to deploying Suntech's high-quality panels in solar solutions that deliver cost-effective power. Recently, Standard Solar helped Kelly & Sons Electrical Construction source its electricity supply through a power purchase agreement with Washington Gas Energy Services…

    “Suntech recently achieved 1 gigawatt of global solar panel production capacity. In doing so, it completed an 18,000 square meter, 1 megawatt solar facade -- the world's largest to date -- at its new world headquarters in Wuxi, China…”

    Tuesday, January 27, 2009

    THERE’S CLIMATE CHANGE. IT'S SERIOUS. REALLY.

    Long Droughts, Rising Seas Predicted Despite Future CO2 Curbs
    Juliet Eilperin, January 27, 2009 (Washington Post)
    and
    Global Warming Is Irreversible, Study Says
    Richard Harris, January 26, 2009 (NPR)

    LISTEN TO THE NPR REPORT

    "Greenhouse gas levels currently expected by mid-century will produce devastating long-term droughts and a sea-level rise that will persist for 1,000 years regardless of how well the world curbs future emissions of carbon dioxide…Top climate researchers from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Switzerland and France said…

    "…carbon dioxide will remain near peak levels in the atmosphere far longer than other greenhouse gases, which dissipate relatively quickly…carbon concentrations in the atmosphere stand at 385 parts per million…climate scientists and the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have set a goal of stabilizing atmospheric carbon at 450 ppm, but current projections put the world on track to hit 550 ppm by 2035, rising after that point by 4.5 percent a year…"


    click for more info on 350.org

    "…if carbon dioxide concentrations peak at 600 ppm, several regions of the world -- including southwestern North America, the Mediterranean and southern Africa -- will face major droughts as bad or worse than the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Global sea levels will rise by about three feet by the year 3000, a projection that does not factor in melting glaciers and polar ice sheets that would probably result in significant additional sea level rises.

    "Even if the world managed to halt the carbon dioxide buildup at 450 ppm, the researchers concluded, the subtropics would experience a 10 percent decrease in precipitation…That level is still akin to mega-droughts such as the Dust Bowl. The already parched U.S. Southwest would probably see a 5 percent drop in precipitation during its dry season…while societies can try to adapt to reduced precipitation with better farming techniques and other measures, there is a limit to the ability to cope with severe drought…"


    click to enlarge

    "The rising sea levels anticipated under a conservative projection…would cause "irreversible commitments to future changes in the geography of the Earth…"

    "…the world's oceans are already absorbing an enormous amount of carbon, but over time this will reach a limit and they will no longer absorb as much. As this happens, the atmospheric temperature will remain nearly constant.

    "Most previous scientific analyses…have assessed climate change impacts on a 100-year time scale. A few researchers…have argued that it makes more sense to look at a time scale of at least 500 years…Carbon dioxide emissions account only for about half of human-induced global warming, but the several other gases that play a role, including methane, dissipate more quickly…

    "A separate study in the same journal yesterday suggests that the iconic emperor penguins of the Antarctic could be headed to extinction by 2100 if the sea ice shrinks by the predicted amounts…Emperor penguins would have to migrate or change the timing of their growth stages to avoid extinction…"

    VENTURE $$$ GO TO SUN

    Solar energy startup companies raked in venture capital investments in 2008
    Victor Godinez, January 26, 2009 (Dallas Morning News)

    “The venture capital industry is getting a bit skittish -- investments in startup companies fell eight percent from 2007 to $28.3 billion in 2008, the National Venture Capital Association reported…

    “But even with VC firms tightening their belts in the face of the recession, there is still one type of technology that is scoring big investment bucks: solar energy…"clean tech" companies received 50 percent more venture money in 2008 than they did in 2007…"


    click to enlarge

    “… the list of 10 biggest venture investments of 2008 was dominated by solar startups…it eventually means cheaper energy that's not reliant on coal or some other petroleum product…

    “The 10 Largest Venture Capital Investments in the U.S. in 2008…

    “Nanosolar Inc…Produces solar electricity through solar-cell technology…Solyndra Inc…Designs and manufactures photovoltaic technology for solar energy…SolarReserve Inc…Develops utility-scale renewable energy solar power plants…OptiSolar Inc…Manufactures photovoltaic modules and produces power…Range Fuels Inc…Develops cellulosic ethanol production technology…BrightSource Energy Inc…Develops utility-scale solar power plants…AVA Solar Inc…Manufactures thin-film photovoltaic (PV) modules…Pocket Communications Northeast…Provides wireless communications services…Rearden Commerce…Provides on-demand assistants for business management…Pacific Biosciences of California…Develops a DNA sequencing platform.”

    DEFENSE GIANT PARTNERS ON WAVE ENERGY

    Lockheed, OPT partner on utility-scale wave energy; Power plant off Pacific Coast of North America is expected to be the pair's first joint effort in utility scale projects.
    January 26, 2009 (Cleantech Group)

    “Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) and Pennington, N.J.-based Ocean Power Technologies (Nasdaq: OPTT) said today they plan to co-develop a utility-scale wave power project in North America.

    “It's the first time the two companies have worked together on a utility-scale project, but Lockheed and OPT are already co-developing systems for the U.S. homeland security and maritime surveillance using OPT's wave energy system and Lockheed's acoustic sensors, signal processing and communications systems…

    “The utility-scale project is planned for the coasts of California or Oregon using OPT's PowerBuoy wave energy system. OPT plans to provide the technology, develop the site, and build the power take-off and control systems. Lockheed plans to build, deploy, operate and maintain the project, as well as integrating systems."


    OPT wave buoy. (click to enlarge)

    “It's not Lockheed's first foray into renewable energy projects. In November 2007, Lockheed and Starwood Energy Group announced plans for utility-scale solar projects…

    “In December 2008, Lockheed Martin broke ground for construction of a solar power test bed to support these efforts…”

    "In December, OPT said it was operating with an $8 million backlog of orders as it focuses efforts on bringing its 150 kilowatt PowerBuoy into production for the utility-scale power generation market during the next year…with components manufacturers expected to begin production before the end of 2009.

    "The company's 40 kW PowerBuoy is capable of providing autonomous power for deepwater use… "

    CCS VIABLE?

    Carbon-Capture Projects Are Viable at $50 a Ton, Stern Says
    Alex Morales, January 19, 2009 (Bloomberg)

    “Permits to release a ton of carbon dioxide into the sky need to cost about $50 each, or three times Europe’s current price, for companies to invest in experimental technology to trap the greenhouse gas, Nicholas Stern said.

    “Projects that capture and safely bury CO2 underground must be developed to play a role in controlling global emissions of the global-warming gas during the next 20 to 30 years, the London School of Economics professor said…

    “Power-plant operators, scientists and economists worldwide are investigating the unproven technology to determine whether it could safely and economically store the greenhouse gas below ground…"


    CCS: Capturing gas with a net. (click to enlarge

    “Under European laws that set emissions limits and carbon trading rules, industrial polluters are required to own permits to release each ton of CO2 they produce. European emissions permits for 2009 currently trade at about 12 euros ($15.) At that price it would be cheaper for a coal-burning plant to buy an allowance than invest in devices to bury CO2, the main global-warming gas…

    “Carbon capture and storage will be vital to the United Nation’s goal to halve global emissions by 2050, according to the Paris-based International Energy Agency…Stern backs a mix of renewable energy technologies as well as carbon capture…

    “The 27-nation European Union plans to subsidize as many as 12 demonstration plants for carbon capture to test the feasibility of catching emissions from power plants and pumping them underground.”

    Monday, January 26, 2009

    U.S. TO BE ‘VIGOROUS’ & ‘STRATEGIC’ – NEW CLIMATE ENVOY

    Clinton climate change envoy vows 'dramatic diplomacy'
    John Whitesides (w/Sue Pleming, Arshad Mohammed and Frances Kerry), January 26, 2009 (Reuters)

    “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton named a special envoy… to lead U.S. efforts to fight global warming and forge new international accords on reducing carbon emissions and developing clean energy…The appointment…signaled a break from the Bush administration's climate policies…

    “Todd Stern, a senior White House official under former President Bill Clinton, will be the administration's principal adviser on international climate policy and strategy and its chief climate negotiator.

    ”Stern's appointment came as Obama announced moves to force auto makers to produce more fuel-efficient and less polluting cars…”


    Secretary of State Clinton names a climate change special envoy. From SBARTSTV via YouTube.

    ”Stern coordinated climate change policy from 1997 to 1999…Bill Clinton's administration, acting as the senior White House negotiator in the Kyoto talks…190 countries are trying to craft a broader climate treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol…The new deal is supposed to be wrapped up in Copenhagen by December.

    “ ‘The time for denial, delay and dispute is over. The time for the United States to take up its rightful place at the negotiating table is here,’ Stern said…

    “From 1999 to 2001, Stern advised the U.S. Treasury secretary on economic and financial issues and supervised the department's anti-money laundering strategy. He is a partner in a Washington law firm and a senior fellow at Center for American Progress think tank…”

    SIEMENS STICKS WITH NEW ENERGY

    Siemens Renewable Energy Projects Are Going Ahead, Umlauft Says
    Anthony Dipaola, January 20, 2009 (Bloomberg)

    “Siemens AG hasn’t called off any renewable energy projects in light of the global financial crunch and falling oil prices."

    click to enlarge

    “ ‘We have had no cancellations of projects anywhere,’ Rene Umlauft, head of Siemens renewable energy division, said…

    “The renewable energy industry is suffering from the economic slowdown that has caused credit to dry up, leaving businesses with less money to invest in technologies producing power without polluting emissions, Vivienne Cox, chief executive officer of BP Plc’s Alternative Energy division said…”

    STEEL TOWN FIREFIGHTERS GET SUN

    Pittsburgh launching solar initiative
    January 26, 2009 (Pittsburgh Business Times)

    “…As part of [the Solar America Cities] initiative to find ways to use solar energy, Pittsburgh is planing to install a solar-powered hot water unit in a city firehouse…Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced the plan…

    “The U.S. Department of Energy selected Pittsburgh in 2007 as one of 13 inaugural Solar America Cities. Pittsburgh received a $200,000 grant and an additional $250,000 in technical assistance from the DOE."


    Schematic of a solar hot water system. (click to enlarge)

    “Using the DOE funds, a city task force investigated which city facilities would most benefit from a solar installation…

    “After energy audits, the task force recommended Firehouse 29 or Truck 34 as candidates for a solar hot water installation. The final decision will be made in the next several weeks…

    “Ravenstahl said he wanted the city to not just install solar panels, but to find long-term ways to use solar power in the city's infrastructure.”

    INSURANCE POLICY FOR EMISSIONS CAPTURE

    Zurich Creates Policies for Carbon Capture and Sequestration Needs
    January 20, 2009 (Insurance Journal)

    "Zurich now offers specialized products designed to meet the unique insurance needs of Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) projects from design over operational phases through to closure and post closure events at the geologic storage sites.

    "…it is anticipated that effective deployment of CCS systems will be a critical element of meeting long-term global carbon emission reduction…Zurich - in conjunction with customers, academic experts and government officials - has developed a deep expertise in the risk issues associated with these technologies, and now has identified a role the insurance mechanism can play…"


    And insuring sequestration costs. (click to enlarge)

    "…With the addition of these two new coverages -- Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) Liability Insurance and Geologic Sequestration Financial Assurance (GSFA) -- to the existing portfolio of climate-related insurance products, Zurich can now facilitate the deployment of and insurance of an innovative cleaner coal solution from design to closure…

    "CCS Liability Insurance Policy...[pollution event liability, business interruption, control of well, transmission liability, and geomechanical liability...]

    "GSFA Policy...[specified closure and post closure activities]...

    …Not all coverages are available in all jurisdictions."

    Sunday, January 25, 2009

    ELECTRIC CARMAKERS RACE FOR GOLD RING

    Startups charge into electric-car market; High-end vehicles may have trouble competing with major automakers
    Ken Thomas, January 24, 2009 (AP via Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

    "Several startup automakers are in hot pursuit of electric-powered vehicles, but they face an uphill road as they challenge major car companies…

    "California-based Tesla Motors Inc. and Fisker Automotive are displaying cars at the North American International Auto Show, grabbing attention with sleek electric-drive vehicles that combine environmentally friendly chic with sports car sex appeal."


    Tesla (click to enlarge)

    "Tesla, which started in 2004, showcased its $109,000 all-electric two-seat Roadster sports car…and hopes to unveil its Model S electric car in late February…

    "Fisker is showing off the production version of its $87,900 Karma plug-in luxury sports sedan, a four-seater with solar panels and the ability to drive gas-free for 50 miles. Fisker, which expects the cars to roll off the production line in October, also unveiled the Karma S, a convertible expected in 2011…"


    click to enlarge

    "…the startups have plenty of doubters…Many question whether the niche companies will be able to survive the contraction of the U.S. auto market and the recent difficulty obtaining credit that is key to financing growth…"

    SUN GOES WHERE WIRES DON’T IN INDIA

    'Solar energy can light up India's villages'
    Stuart Irvine, director, Centre for Solar Energy Research , 21 January 2009 (Times of India)

    "… efficient and affordable third generation [III-Gen] solar technology could help reduce [India’s] dependence on polluting fuels…

    "…I-Gen cells were of crystalline silicon, fairly high-cost, manufactured in relatively small volumes. The II-Gen cells had higher efficiency, whether made of thin wafers or silicon. The III-Gen has more complex, integrated devices that can reduce reflection and capture more of the solar spectrum…

    "…Cost components are photovoltaic (PV) modules, power electronics and installation. One-half of the total cost you pay would be the module cost. The rest is spread over the balance of the system…solar power is not the cheapest of options; as production increases, however, the costs tend to decrease…China and India are now becoming manufacturing centres. A company in Kolkata, for instance, is working on an innovative technique to make PV modules with thin film made with cheaper, compound material to increase conversion efficiency…

    click for Global Green's full report on India

    "…There are two kinds of storage as far as solar energy is concerned: on-grid and off-grid. In the UK, it's largely the on-grid that's important. The DC electricity produced by PV modules are converted to AC in the grid. There's two-way energy traffic. The building will supply electricity to the grid during the day and buy from it in the night…If you have large tracts of unproductive land that gets sunlight, it's attractive from a seller's viewpoint because you can feed energy to the grid and get paid for that without having to buy back.

    "Off-grid needs battery storage. This is important in India where you have the rural electrification scheme; solar energy can light up India's villages. Solar energy would charge batteries that are then used to power lighting, television sets and refrigerators. Solar energy-charged batteries would be for high-efficiency lighting purposes and for other low-power domestic requirements."

    CANADA PROVINCE TO SPEND BIG ON WIND

    New wind energy projects could spur $72 billion in investment, 52,000 new jobs
    John Shmuel, January 23, 2009 (National Post)

    "The Ontario government announced…long-term contracts for six new wind energy projects in the province.

    "The announcement brings Ontario's installed wind energy capacity to 1,500 MW. Currently, the province sits at 782 MW of capacity, enough to power 230,000 homes…

    "The new wind energy projects are expected to total 492 MW in power output: in comparison, a CANDU 6 nuclear reactor produces 740 MW. Canada's total installed capacity sits at 2,369 MW — Ontario is currently the wind technology leader in the country…"


    click to enlarge

    "The announcement helps boost CanWEA's vision of wind energy providing 20% of Canada's electricity needs…Wind Vision 2025 says if the goal is met, it will result in $79-billion in new investment and 52,000 new jobs. It also highlights $165-million in new revenue can be created for rural municipalities hit by declining traditional resource industries."

    Friday, January 23, 2009

    BIOFUELS BOOM IS INDONESIA’S BANE

    The cost of the biofuel boom on Indonesia's forests; The clearing of Indonesia's rainforest for palm oil plantations is having profound effects – threatening endangered species, upending the lives of indigenous people, and releasing massive amounts of carbon dioxide
    Tom Knudson, January 21, 2009 (Yale Environment 360 via UK Guardian)

    "…The storybook forest of [Sumatran Matt Aman’s] youth, the great green riot of reeds and vines, the cathedral-like thickets of fruit and hardwood trees — all of it is gone. In its place, for mile after monotonous mile, is a rolling carpet of palm trees..the oil palm — that like corn and soybeans is rapidly becoming one of the world's major sources of biofuel…

    "…mounting evidence indicates that producing biofuels — particularly those derived from food crops such as corn and oil palm — may be doing considerably more harm to the planet than good, actually increasing greenhouse gas emissions and driving up food prices worldwide.

    "Some of the most devastating costs of the biofuel revolution are on display in Indonesia, where massive clearing of tropical forests for oil palm plantations has caused staggering environmental damage and tremendous loss of biodiversity. Only the Amazon and Africa's Congo basin harbor more tropical forests than Indonesia, but the reality today is that all three regions are seeing their rain forests disappear at an alarming rate. And in the Amazon and Indonesia, growing world demand for food and biofuel is now driving much of the damage."


    click to enlarge

    "A flurry of scientific field work and environmental reports have linked the spread of oil palm plantations in Indonesia to the decimation of rain forests, increased conflict between logging and oil palm interests and rural and indigenous people, and massive CO2 emissions through logging, burning, and the draining of carbon-rich peat lands…

    "According to Indonesia's own figures, 9.4 million acres of forest have been planted with oil palm since 1996, an area larger than New Hampshire and Connecticut combined. That works out to 2,000 acres a day, or about one football field a minute. Indonesia is the Kuwait of palm oil. Only Malaysia, which has less at stake biologically, produces more…

    "…Perhaps the right kind of biofuels can help slow carbon emissions. But scientists say that by rushing into biofuel production in recent years, we failed to look ahead. What would make the best biofuel? Switchgrass? Soybeans? Sunflower seeds? Algae? That's open to debate, but one thing is certain: Raw materials for biofuels should not be grown on plantations hacked out of tropical forests that are home to the richest concentrations of plant, insect, bird, and animal species on the planet."

    MEXICAN WIND

    Mexico turns toward alternative energy
    Mark Stevenson, January 22, 2009 (AP)

    "Mexico inaugurated one of the world's largest wind farm projects…Mexico is trying to exploit its rich wind and solar potential after relying almost exclusively on petroleum for decades. With oil production down by 9.2 percent in 2008, Mexico now is turning to foreign companies, mainly Spanish, to tap its renewable riches…

    "The new, $550 million project is in a region so breezy that the main town is named La Ventosa, or "Windy." It's on the narrow isthmus between the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean, where winds blow at 15 mph to 22 mph (25 to 36 kph), a near-ideal rate for turbines…"


    click to enlarge

    "Spanish energy company Acciona Energia says the 6,180-acre (2,500-hectare) farm should generate 250 megawatts of electricity with 167 turbines, 25 of which are already operating. The rest should be on line by the end of the year, making the project the largest of its kind in Latin America…[construction of the project created 850 jobs]…It will produce enough energy to power a city of 500,000 people…

    "The project is also a joint venture with Cemex Inc. and will provide 25 percent of the Mexican cement giant's energy needs…Mexico hopes to boost the nation's wind energy capacity, mainly at La Ventosa…Wind energy now accounts for less than 2 percent of electricity production…the government is planning a series of wind projects that by 2012 should generate 2,500 megawatts of electricity…"

    BIG GAS FIND FOR ISRAEL

    Israeli Gas Find Tips Energy Balance; The discovery of a major natural gas field off the coast of Israel could help make the country an energy exporter
    Neal Sandler, January 19, 2009 (BusinessWeek)

    "A popular quip in Israel's energy industry has it that when Moses left Egypt, he took a wrong turn on his way to the Promised Land: The Biblical figure should have veered right to Saudi Arabia…Now it appears Moses might have had a better nose for energy than previously thought…just hours after a cease-fire began in the Gaza Strip, Israel announced the discovery of a major natural gas field off its northern Mediterranean coast...The news sent the Tel Aviv stock market sharply higher…

    "…The find, located 90 kilometers due west of the port of Haifa, is the first large field discovered in the eastern Mediterranean and is significant even by global standards…The partners in the project—Noble, Delek Drilling, Avner Exploration, Isramco (ISRL), and Dorgas—will have to invest around $1 billion to develop the field, and gas could begin flowing within three to four years…[They] are hoping that Tamar-1 is only the tip of the iceberg…"


    There are already challenges over ownership of the field. (click to enlarge)

    "…the timing of the gas discovery couldn't have been better for Israel. The country is in the midst of switching its older oil-based power plants to cleaner natural gas, which is far more environmentally friendly. More than a dozen new gas-powered plants are in the works. But in the past year there has been growing concern that Israel would face a supply crunch within a few years…

    "A much smaller field off Israel's southern Mediterranean coast…is expected to run dry in 2012. In May, Israel began importing gas from Egypt, but technical problems with the marine pipeline have led to constant disruptions. Making matters worse, there has been growing opposition in Egypt to the sale of gas to Israel at prices agreed to…

    "…Unfortunately for the Israeli economy, the financial impact of the gas find won't likely trickle down for at least several years…The discovery is expected to sharply reduce Israel's expensive dependence on imported fuel…But in the short term, Israel's good fortune will do little to counter a deepening recession…"

    GREECE REFINES SOLAR POLICY

    Greece Amends Photovoltaic Law
    January 20, 2009 (SustainableBusiness.com)

    "A new law introduced in Greece…[amended] legislation originally approved in 2006 to regulate and incentivize the photovoltaic industry…

    "Although the country has tremendous solar potential, it has been criticized recently by some in the industry…for bureaucratic hurdles that may be holding back development of the renewable resource.

    "The new PV law abolishes the unofficial cap of 0.8 (gigawatts) GW…It also sets a deadline for issuing permits. By the end of 2009, all applications that have been submitted--more than 3 GWp--must be dealt with and approved or rejected."


    Greece wants to do better. (click to enlarge)

    "The new law also separates a program for rooftop PV with different feed-in-tariffs (FIT) guaranteed for 20 years. Details of this program will be announced later this year.

    "The law also sets new feed-in-tariffs, guaranteed for 20 years. FITs will be adjusted annually for inflation, though they will remain unchanged for the next two years.

    "There will be a regression of FITs as of August 2010. However, one can sign a grid connection agreement thus locking the FIT before this deadline, and then get another 18 months to finalize installation. In practice, this means that FITs remain unchanged till early 2012.

    "The new tariffs will start at EUR 400 per megawatt-hour (MWh) in February for 100 kilowatt peak systems and EUR 450 per MWh for systems less and equal to 100 kilowatt peak on the mainland."

    Thursday, January 22, 2009

    WORLD’S FASTEST EV

    Shelby SuperCars announces world’s fastest electric production car
    Dave Freeman, January 21, 2009 (CrunchGear)
    and
    SSC Announces Green Technologies Revealing Revolutionary Battery and Electric Powertrain Technology
    Dave Freeman, January 19, 2009 (CrunchGear)

    "Not content to just make the world’s fastest production car, Shelby SuperCars announced today that they plan on expanding that platform to include the world’s fastest electric production car too. Something they are calling the Ultimate Aero EV [to be unveiled in the second quarter of this year].

    "…the Ultimate Aero EV [the Guinness Certified “Fastest Production Car in the World”] will charge up in 10 minutes off a standard 110v outlet, and then run for 200 miles off that one charge. That’s quite an improvement from what Tesla or Fisker has been capable of. And of course it goes very fast."


    From tecnoblix via YouTube

    "…While other auto manufacturers focus on producing Green technology for specific cars, SSC’s focus is on producing Green technologies for a wide range of applications for an even wider range of vehicles. SSC’s electric powertrain package, named AESP (All-Electric Scalable Powertrain) is unique due to its scalable horsepower, light weight, compact size, quick recharge time and liquid cooling.

    "SSC’s Nanotechnology Rechargeable Lithium Battery pack is rechargeable in only 10 minutes on a standard 110 outlet and has a 150-200 mile range on a single charge…

    "The AESP is scalable from 200 horsepower for economy and midsize cars, to 500 horsepower for light trucks and SUVs, and up to 1200 horsepower for delivery trucks, heavy duty equipment, buses and military vehicles…

    "…SSC will wholesale the AESP to mass production car companies, governments, and to public, private, and niche businesses [at] $5K-$6K per unit for 1000 to 10,000 units (with further reduction in unit cost for increased production.)…"

    GULF WIND WINS TEXAS RANGE WAR

    Energy in the wind; Ribbon-cutting celebrates Gulf Wind turbines' start this week in Kenedy County
    Michael Zamora, January 8, 2009 (Corpus Christi Caller)

    "…After three years of studies, development, lawsuits and environmental problem solving, the Gulf Wind project, a $740 million wind farm on 7,851 acres of the Kenedy Ranch, is all but complete.

    "Project leaders, Kenedy Foundation members and guests celebrated…with a ribbon-cutting …

    "Only a handful of turbines were spinning, but [John Calaway, chief development officer with project developer Babcock & Brown] expects 100 of the 118 [2.4 megawatt] turbines to be producing electricity by the end of the month."


    from the Corpus Christi Caller (click to enlarge)

    "The other 18 turbines won't be ready until March. Parts for those turbines were at the port in Galveston during Hurricane Ike, so they were sent back to the Mitsubishi company in Japan to check for possible damage.

    "An additional 200 megawatts of power will be produced by the end of 2009…when more than 80 additional turbines are completed.

    "Part of the farm's delay came from several area groups who protested its construction, citing potential environmental concerns and attempting to halt the project late last year. Those efforts were unsuccessful [because] the project's developers challenged the concerns…royalties from the project will be used by the foundation to continue giving back to the South Texas community…"

    WAVE ENERGY OFF CALIFORNIA COAST

    One step closer to harnessing wave energy for electricity off coast of Montaña de Oro; Company completes the comment period for renewable energy project off Montaña de Oro
    Bill Morem, January 19, 2009 (McClatchy via SanLuis Obispo Tribune)

    "A potential project for harnessing Central Coast waves for electricity recently cleared a key hurdle, but it may be years before any such system is installed.

    "Green Wave Energy Solutions LLC earlier this month completed a 60-day comment period on its proposal to harvest wave energy in 17 square miles of ocean a couple miles off Montaña de Oro State Park…

    "The company — which filed for permits [with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission] 1½ years ago — has a similar proposal for a section of ocean off the Mendocino County coast…"


    click to enlarge

    "According to the company’s application, about 100 megawatts of power would be generated — enough to power 90,000 homes…Prototype wave harvesters off Oregon, Washington, Hawaii and Portugal are currently producing two to three megawatts of power…

    "…the company is planning on spending $2 million during the feasibility study stages and perhaps as much as $40 million to install a structure…Green Wave chose the Montaña de Oro location for three reasons: wave production, access to a safe harbor for maintenance and the proximity of Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s power grid.

    "Once a system is identified, impacts on the environment, fishing and navigation — among dozens of other concerns — will be aired and discussed by more regulatory agencies and in town hall meetings…"

    SPAIN WANTS NEW ENERGY, REJECTS NUCLEAR

    Spain insists on energy saving, not nuclear plants
    Martin Roberts (w/Anthony Barker), January 21, 2009 (Reuters)

    “Spain…reaffirmed its policy of not commissioning new nuclear power plants a day after its biggest utility unveiled plans to build them in Britain, while repeating pledges to boost renewables and save energy…

    “…Industry Minister Miguel Sebastian told journalists…Spanish energy consumption per head was 20 percent above the European average…'Saving 20 percent would be the equivalent of doubling the number of nuclear power plants. It seems easier and cheaper to me…Furthermore, it (saving) is immediate, whereas nuclear plants take 15 years. There is no controversy, no waste or security problems, nothing…'"


    Spain wisely chooses the latter. (click to enlarge)

    “Spain's government has said it may extend the working lives of the country's eight ageing nuclear power plants, but has urged operators to invest more in safety after a controversial radioactive leak was discovered last year.

    “Operating permits for seven of the plants are up for renewal between this year and 2011…Spain's nuclear power plants supply about 7,300 megawatts when all are working normally, or enough to meet about 20 percent of demand for power…Wind farms now have the capacity to generate more than 16,000 MW…”



    January 21, 2009


    The Honorable Charles B. Rangel
    Chairman
    House Committee on Ways and Means
    1102 Longworth House Office Building
    Washington, D.C. 20510

    Dear Chairman Rangel:

    I am writing on behalf of the more than 1,800 companies in the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) to express our strong support for the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009”and to thank you for including critically important provisions in this bill to ensure that renewable energy continues to grow through the economic downtown, creating tens of thousands of American jobs, even as we strengthen our energy security and help protect our planet’s climate.

    As you know, the financial and credit crisis has hit the wind energy industry hard. Wind energy developers have announced plans to cut back projects by 25-50% in 2009 and several manufacturers of turbines and towers have announced layoffs. Your leadership and the Committee’s effort to help the renewable sector monetize tax incentives even in a down economy are critically important for the wind industry, as is the effort to provide stable long-term policies to support renewable energy.

    We are, in particular, grateful for the Committee’s proposal to restructure the tax incentives for renewable generators, including the ability for wind energy generators to elect an investment tax credit in lieu of the production tax credit and to participate in a grant program administered by the Department of Energy. AWEA is also deeply appreciative of the three-year extension of the production tax credit through 2012. This longer term commitment will serve to provide growth and stability to the wind energy sector.

    Thank you, again, for your continued support for renewable energy. We look forward to working with you to see this important legislation signed into law by President Obama.

    Sincerely,

    Gregory Wetstone
    Senior Director of Government and Public Affairs

    Cc: United States House Committee on Ways and Means

    Wednesday, January 21, 2009

    THE NEW ENERGY IN-CROWD

    The New In-Crowd in Obama's Washington: the Renewable Energy Folks
    Kent Garber, January 21, 2009 (U.S. News & World Report)

    “…in President Barack Obama's Washington…the CEOs of the nation's top wind and solar trade organizations pass for celebrities…it was on display Monday night at the Green Inaugural Ball, hosted by former Vice President Al Gore…

    “Standing on the red—or rather, green—carpet alongside musicians like John Legend, Maroon 5, and will.i.am were Denise Bode, the CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, and Rhone Resch, the Solar Energy Industries Association's president and CEO…"


    Highlights of the 2009 Green Inaugural Ball. From Washingtonian via blip-tv.

    “Inside the ballroom, though, the talk was mostly wonky…lobbyists, environmentalists, and trade association officials… sat at small tables (with green tablecloths) or stood around in small groups, discussing topics like the nuances of carbon cap-and-trade legislation…references to Sen. Barbara Boxer and Rep. Henry Waxman, the California Democrats who now chair major committees on energy or the environment and…the fate of bills, dealing with everything from conservation of public lands to tax incentives for the wind and solar industries, were a prime topic…

    “For these renewable energy proponents, Obama's presidency comes at a critical time… the economic downturn is taking a toll…

    “Still, the event was something of a coming-out party for renewable energy, which has evolved over the past decade from a group of niche industries into serious forces on Capitol Hill with sophisticated lobbying operations…Gore told the crowd, ‘We have everything we need now, save perhaps political will. But...tomorrow at high noon, political will is a renewable resource…We have to get out there and help [Obama] pass his program.’”

    "…advocates say that Congress and the new president should continue to work on extending tax credits for wind, solar, and other renewable energy sources, help developers get access to financing for renewable projects, and find ways to improve electricity transmission from resource-rich areas—the windy Midwest, the sunny Southwest—to populous coastal regions…"

    THE RIGHT NEW ENERGY INCENTIVE?

    Clean Energy: How Do You Jumpstart It?
    Keith Johnson, January 21, 2009 (Wall Street Journal)

    "...economics are not working in favor of clean energy. That puts even more pressure on President Obama’s clean-energy plans…One of the biggest challenges facing the administration isn’t summoning support for clean energy; the stimulus package alone shows the breadth of support for throwing money at new energy solutions. The real challenge will be the shape that support takes.

    "Since 1992, clean energy in the U.S., such as wind and solar power, has been promoted by tax credits…

    "Tax credits work when businesses have taxable income they need to offset. The recent credit crunch and economic slowdown highlighted the shortcomings...the number of financial players willing and able to help finance clean-energy development shrank dramatically. That’s the main reason that the wind and solar lobbies called for “refundable tax credits” that would give companies credit even if they aren’t in the black...

    "The bigger problem with tax credits is that even when they work, they don’t always work. That is, they can actually distort the electricity market..."


    click to enlarge

    "…Europe loves feed-in tariffs, where renewable-energy projects simply get a cash premium over traditional power…[But] clean-energy pioneers like Germany and Spain have had to throttle back their generous subsidy programs after the lucrative schemes led to an avalanche of new installations that raised electricity prices for consumers.

    "And a national, renewable-energy standard? State-level mandates to generate a certain percent of electricity from renewable energy were a big driver behind America’s recent clean-energy push…a national renewable-energy standard is apparently at the top of the Obama administration’s energy wishlist.

    "The problem…is that not all states have sun or wind in equal measure. A one-size-fits-all national standard would face stiff opposition…especially in the South…as with so much of energy policy, turning support on the Hill into wind turbines on the hills will mean tackling the devil in the details."

    GREAT LAKES WIND – FEASIBLE & CHALLENGING

    PSC: Great Lakes wind energy likely part of Wisconsin future
    January 15, 2009 (Fond du Lac Reporter)

    “…a final report on the feasibility, economic potential and environmental impacts of developing wind energy on the Great Lakes [Harnessing Wisconsin’s Energy Resources: An Initial Investigation into Great Lakes Wind Development] was issued by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC). The study found that off-shore wind projects in the Great Lakes are feasible, and could likely be a part of Wisconsin’s energy future.

    "The report, which is the result of an initial investigation into Great Lakes wind development, identifies options for addressing the most significant barriers to the development of off-shore wind should the State of Wisconsin decide to pursue this alternative energy source…"


    click to enlarge

    “The Study Group that prepared the report is comprised of a diverse member roster representing utilities, environmental organizations, customer and community groups, Indian tribes and state agencies such as the Department of Natural Resources, Department of Administration and Board of Commissioners of Public Lands. The group began its work investigating the potential for off-shore wind generation in April of last year in response to a recommendation by Governor Jim Doyle’s Task Force on Global Warming…

    “All three Commissioners agreed that the next likely steps would be to collect wind resource, wildlife, and other ecological data, and further study research and development on deep water foundations; initiate discussions with other states and Canada on procuring a construction vessel for the Great Lakes; and begin working with the Wisconsin Legislature to consider legislative changes that would facilitate the development of off-shore wind on the Great Lakes…"

    PERSIAN GULF NOT SEEING ITS SUN

    Sun 'could supply Gulf's day-time energy needs'
    January 20, 2009 (AFP)

    “Oil-rich Gulf Arab states enjoy year-round sunshine but they remain slow in adopting environmental technologies to let them harvest their abundant solar power…

    “Conergy is building a two megawatt roof-top solar power system in a Saudi university in the Red Sea city of Jeddah…Although the environment-friendly system is not enough to power the campus, it is the largest so far in the region…

    “Abu Dhabi's renewable energy company, Masdar, is building a 10 mw solar farm…to power the construction of its carbon neutral development, the Masdar City.

    “The 22-billion-dollar city which is planned to spread over 6.5 square kilometres (2.5 square miles) is expected to house 55,000 people when ready in 2015, and will run totally on renewable energy."


    click to enlarge

    “But apart from those two projects, the drive to introduce solar power in the Gulf region remains negligible. Even at household level, solar water heaters which are popular in Mediterranean countries, are rarely seen in the Gulf.
    “…the low use of such units in Gulf countries, despite the potential to recover their cost within four years, is because it has not been made mandatory by the governments…

    The United Arab Emirates tops the World Wide Fund chart of countries' per capita ecological footprint, while Kuwait comes third.

    “…government incentives have helped enormously in promoting households' switch to cleaner energy in Germany…”

    “Despite their huge wealth of oil and gas, Gulf countries are bound to join the bandwagon of environmental countries…[but] the huge drop in oil prices due to the global economic crisis might reduce the momentum in switching to renewables as conventional power becomes cheaper…”

    Tuesday, January 20, 2009

    SARAH PALIN BOOSTS NEW ENERGY

    Meanwhile, Sarah Palin Embraces Renewable Energy
    Kate Galbraith, January 20, 2009 (NY Times)

    “In his inaugural speech, delivered in Washington on Tuesday afternoon, Barack Obama revisited energy and environmental themes…in keeping with Mr. Obama’s recently announced goal of doubling renewable energy in three years.

    “They also put him in rare concert with his campaign opponent, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, who just announced her own wind, geothermal, tidal and wave energy push. Momentarily parting ways with “drill, baby, drill,” the pro-oil refrain made popular during the Republican presidential campaign, Ms. Palin said last week that her oil- and gas-producing state will endeavor to get half its electricity from renewables by 2025…

    “The move is part of the Alaska Energy Authority’s …
    Alaska Energy: A First Step Toward Energy Independence..."

    click to enlarge

    “Renewable energy advocates were nonetheless pleased by the governor’s plan…Alaska already gets about 25 percent of its electricity from dams.

    “Experts say that Alaska probably has the country’s best geothermal, wind, tidal and wave resources. But many of these energy sources are hard to tap effectively because they are far from population centers. Still, energy costs in many Alaskan villages are high, providing long-term incentives to switch.

    “The Alaska legislature has already authorized a $100 million fund for renewable energy projects. None of the money has yet been dispersed, but…77 projects, ranging from wind farms to landfill gas recovery, are about to begin receiving funding…”

    CAPE WIND GETS ANOTHER ‘GO’

    Cape Wind project gets favorable U.S. govt review
    Tom Doggett (w/Marguerita Choy), January 16, 2009 (Reuters)

    “A proposal to build the first massive U.S. offshore wind energy project, opposed by influential residents of nearby resorts, got a favorable environmental review on Friday…

    “The Interior Department's Minerals Management Service found there would be little negative impact from the Cape Wind energy project off the Massachusetts coast aimed at providing power for 400,000 homes…

    “With an estimated price tag of more than $1 billion, Cape Wind would consist of 130 wind turbines over 24 square miles (62 sq km) in Nantucket Sound, within view of popular Cape Cod resorts."


    click to enlarge

    “Opponents include U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy and other residents of nearby Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, along with some environmental groups and local fishermen.

    “Jim Gordon, president of developer Energy Management Inc., said construction could begin by early next year and Cape Wind could begin producing electricity in 2011 or 2012…

    “The incoming Obama administration will decide whether to grant final government approval…

    4TH BIGGEST EU ELECTRIC CO BUYS INTO WAVES

    Vattenfall prepares for ocean energy farms in Ireland
    January 14, 2009 (Vattenfall via)

    “Vattenfall has acquired 51 % of the Irish site development company for ocean energy, Pandion Ltd, for EUR 500,000 (around SEK 5 million). The ocean energy developer Wavebob Ltd will hold the remaining 49 % of Pandion…

    “Pandion has applied for ocean energy sites on the west coast of Ireland, which will be developed for dem-onstration to a commercial size, over 250 MW electricity, when it is technically and economically viable. For Vattenfall the investment in Pandion is a first step towards a leading position on the emerging ocean energy market…“Ocean energy has large potential to contribute to the implementation of Vattenfall’s climate vision to be climate neutral by 2050. It is important for us to reach our growth targets, which are based on renewables, nuclear power and coal with CCS technology,” says Lars G Josefsson, President and CEO of Vattenfall…”


    click to enlarge

    “Helmar Rendez, senior vice president Vattenfall AB, explains: “Ireland’s exceptional wave climate, extensive support schemes, strong political support and appointed areas for exploitation of ocean energy makes establishment there favourable. Quick consent processes are foreseen and Vattenfall has an interest to stimulate the development of the market as well as the technical development…The technologies must be further developed and optimised…Establishment of sites with a potential to grow to commercial sites is important for us to support such a development.” …Further ventures to establish ocean energy business in the UK and Ireland are therefore very probable. However, both markets need new investments in transmission capacity before large investments in ocean energy can be realized.”

    Monday, January 19, 2009

    CALL THE WHITEHOUSE

    A message to the Whitehouse
    (TheClean.org)

    “What are we doing? … On January 21, thousands of people from all walks of life are coming together to call the White House to ask President Obama to support our call to action.

    “When are we making the calls? … Starting at 9:00 AM Eastern Time on January 21, 2009

    “What's the phone number? … +1 (202) 456-1111 ... (TTY/TDD +1 (202) 456-6213)"


    click to enlarge

    “What should I say? … Hi, my name is ________ and I'm calling as a member of CLEAN, a collaborative movement of grassroots organizations and individuals with the common goal of implementing a new energy future through safe and clean renewable energy and energy efficiency.

    “I wanted to let President Obama know I believe our federal government must invest in renewable energy such as wind, solar and geothermal and create true incentives to drive energy efficiency, because these are the cleanest cheapest and fastest options we have. I want to see the economic stimulus package include $500 billion over three years for energy efficiency and renewable energy and not a dime in subsidies to the coal and nuclear industries…Thank you.”

    GREEN BALL

    The 2009 Green Ball
    January 19, 2009 (AIM 168 Real Estate)

    “The 2009 Green Inaugural Ball celebrates the new green economy that will advance clean and efficient energy, create new jobs, reduce global warming and protect America’s natural heritage.

    ”The 2009 Green Inaugural Ball celebrates the inauguration of Barack Obama and Joseph Biden and the opportunity to work with the new Administration and new Congress to grow the clean economy that will create shared prosperity for all. The Host Committee includes more than more than 75 environmental, labor, civil justice, youth, and business groups who are promoting clean energy policies, bringing the technologies to market, and creating the green jobs that will be at the heart of America’s economic recovery…

    “100% of the carbon footprint of the event is being offset with high quality carbon offsets from Native Energy…"


    e-vite for last night's ball. (click to enlarge)

    “…Honorary Chair Former Vice President Al Gore; Van Jones, Founder & President, Green for All; Rev. Jim Ball, President, Evangelical Environmental Network; Frances Beinecke, President, Natural Resources Defense Counsel Rosina Bierbaum, Dean of the School of Natural Resources and Environment, Univ. of Michigan; Denise Bode, CEO, American Wind Energy Association; Chris Chafe, Executive Director, Change to Win; Aimee Christensen, National Co-Chair, Clean Tech & Green Business for Obama; Gene Karpinski, CEO, League of Conservation Voters; Carl Pope, Executive Director, Sierra Club, Rhone Resch, President, Solar Energy Industries Association; Jerome Ringo, President, Apollo Alliance; Roger Rivera, President National Hispanic Council, Larry Schweiger, President and CEO, National Wildlife Federation; Bill Stetson, Energy and Environment Rapid Response Team, Obama for America/DNC National Advisory Board; Jessy Tolkan, Executive Director of Programs, Energy Action Coalition.

    Executive Produced by Kevin Wall and Live Earth, the event will feature performances by world-renowned artists will.i.am., Melissa Etheridge, Maroon 5, John Legend, and Michael Franti…

    “The 2009 Green Inaugural Ball Host Committee [and] 2009 Green Inaugural Ball…sponsors…[listed in the article]…”

    BEST GREEN JOBS

    Ten Best Green Jobs for the Next Decade
    Anya Kamenetz, January 15, 2009 (Fast Company)

    “Massive investments in clean energy promise to keep farmers, urban planners, and green-tech entrepreneurs in business for the next decade. This guide to sustainability focused career paths will help…retrofit and solar-charge your work life…

    “Farmer…Since sustainable agriculture requires small-scale, local, organic methods rather than petroleum-based machines and fertilizers, there is a huge need for more farmers -- up to tens of millions of them…[See article for] Schools…degree…Related careers…

    “Forester…According to the World Bank, a staggering 1.6 billion people depend on the forest for their livelihoods…[See article for] Schools…Companies/organizations…

    “Solar Power Installer…Making and installing solar power systems…is a relatively high-paying job--$15 to $35 an hour--for those with construction skills. And opportunities are available all over…[See article for] Companies…Schools…

    “Wind Turbine Fabricator…Turbines are 90% metal by weight, creating an opportunity for autoworkers and other manufacturers to repurpose their skills…[See article for] Companies…"


    Illustration by Erika Schneider in Fast Company (click to enlarge)

    “Conservation Biologist…The urgent quest to preserve the integrity of ecosystems around the world -- and to quantify the value of -- ecosystems services -- leads to opportunities in teaching, research and fieldwork for government, nonprofits, and private companies…[See article for] Schools…

    Green MBA and Entrepreneur…business services like legal, research and consulting account for the majority of all green jobs…[See article for] Schools…

    “Recycler…The total number of recycling jobs in the United States is at more than 1 million… recycling remains the economical alternative to high disposal fees…[See article for] Companies…

    “Sustainability Systems Developer…a cadre of specialized software developers and engineers who design, build, and maintain the networks of sensors and stochastic modeling that underpin wind farms, smart energy grids, congestion pricing and other systems substituting intelligence for natural resources…[See article for] Companies…

    “Urban Planner…a linchpin of the quest to lower America's carbon footprint. Strengthening mass transit systems, limiting sprawl, encouraging use of bicycles and deemphasizing cars…[and] contingency planning…projected to grow 15 percent by 2016, and the jobs are mainly in local governments…[See article for] Schools…”