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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Your Green Energy News Center (Page 6)

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Author Topic: Your Green Energy News Center
Glenn Arnold
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I like the lights out San Francisco idea. I think we need a holiday of deprivation (similar to lent, Ramadan, Yom Kippur, etc) but dedicated to awareness of energy waste.

I proposed a couple of years ago that this should occur on August 14.

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Lyrhawn
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California joins others in asking EPA to regulate the CO2 emissions from ocean going vessels.

Server farms go solar, get smaller.

Silicon valley will miss their carbon reduction goals.

Oil execs tell world to ease off on consumption, bump ride ahead.

Denver prototype REI store will achieve Silver LEED status.

Ohio turns tobacco settlement money into a Greenification of schools.

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Another looming fight between states and the fed over the environment? Looks like it. The DOE just ruled that they can create energy corridors to fast-track transmission lines through areas states have ruled off limits. Result? The Federal Government is telling states they have to put up with high power transmission lines over historic sites, nature preserves, state parks, pretty much anything they deem necessary. And of course these means sending coal power further and wider than ever before, stunting renewable energy production. Wow, big surprise.

Alberta has lifted a self imposed 900MW limit on wind. Currently they are at 497, with 500 more planned for interconnection before the end of the year. That'll put them at 4% of total Albertan energy. But they have 5,000MW more in the planning stages now. Really speaks to the potential of Alberta for wind power.

Texas blows away the competition in wind power. They're creating renewable energy zones to help get transmission lines up for the wind power to reach the grid, and are looking at adding up to 22GW of power to the grid in the next few years. Now that's some serious power.

Australia in danger of being overrun by Asian refugees? Okay, not anytime soon, but that doesn't mean people aren't talking about it.

[ October 04, 2007, 04:20 PM: Message edited by: Lyrhawn ]

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Lyrhawn
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A look at the Auto X-Prize.

DOE passes out $2 billion in loans to alternative energy projects including Tesla. ....Second link from a different site has some more details. The loans will also include a 400MW solar power plant in CA.

Japanese researchers find hybrid larch tree that store 30% more carbon, grows faster, and provides better timber.

World's largest offshore wind farm gets a green light in Britain. When completed it will power 25% of London's homes.

San Francisco moves towards bike sharing.

Paris plans 30% carbon reduction by 2020.

In a decade, you could be traveling across the Atlantic in an airship. Problems? Well obviously the technology isn't proven yet, and they are much slower than conventional aircraft. Upsides? Might be powered solely by electric or solar panels, carries hundreds more passengers per trip (think Sky Cruise), and is much more efficient. Plus, with prices set to skyrocket for plane tickets, you could fly to London for $200.

TECO cancels a planned coal gasification power plant in Florida, fearing future CO2 regulations could make the cost untenable in the future.

New Jersey approves of studies to look into offshore wind.

Clemson University's Terry Tritt says billions of diesel could be saved every year by capturing heat from car engines.

Report from the Geothermal Energy Association trade show.

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Lyrhawn
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Small update today, as always, Green news mostly takes weekends off.

You may remember recently that a VA court ruled against carmakers when VA wanted to regulate CO2 emissions. Now the carmakers are appealing that decision.

Iowa and Texas are working on compressed air storage system for putting all that night time wind energy to good use. Good news? Construction will be over by 2011, and 85% of the US is situated on land that could be used for the same purpose. Bad news? Um...none? Well it's a little expensive, but the return on investment could potentially be extremely high. In other words, the price doesn't matter.

Duke Energy wants to reduce consumers' power consumption, to the benefit of both.

Today is Ecological Debt Day. In other words, today is the day in which we've officially, as a planet, used up one year's worth of resources. So where are the rest coming from? Well that's the problem with not living a sustainable lifestyle. The rest comes from future years. In other worse we're living on borrowed time and maxing out our ecological credit card.

V2Green has announced a deal by which they will test a smart grid near Seattle. They figure if everyone plugs their cars in at 6pm, they really don't all need to charge at the same time, they just need to be done by the next morning. This smart technology would regulate the flow of energy to keep the load constant and get all the cars charged by the morning. Great for efficiency.

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Lyrhawn
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Montreal races to become first North American city with bike sharing system.

Scientists paint a bleak picture for the American West. The problem? No water. Ironic that the midwest states, where all the water is, are losing population to the west, but I don't think that trend will last much longer.

Bill Richardson has mixed views on Water Conservation. On one hand, he seems to understand the problem, which is impressive for a politician, frankly they're mostly stupid or oblivious to natural threats. And his solutions, reusing water, recycling, reducing use, are all excellent and necessary fixes. But shipping water from the Great Lakes? Nope. There are already laws in place saying you can't even pump Great Lakes water out of the watershed area, let along all the way to the American West. You want it, come live here, otherwise, no supporting unsustainable Western living. Besides, with all the potential for sun power out west, I find it hard to believe they can't afford desalinization technology. I've heard mixed reports on it, some saying that too much use could increase the salt content of the oceans, but if the ice caps are melting, wouldn't that balance out?

Home hydrogen stations could be coming soon. Hydrogen fueled cars may not be as far off as we thought.

The Governator threatens to sue the EPA if they don't get a decision on GHG waivers by October, EPA says they'll do it by the end of the year, after two years of ignoring it.

But it's really hard to be surprised by that kind of action, when the EPA is allowing stuff like this to go on. Against the advice of their scientists yet again, they've allowed, with minor restrictions, a major toxin that causes problems for pregnant women and others, has been okayed for use in pesticides. This? From the EPA? Big surprise!

Cellolosic ethanol summit planned for next week. POET wants to win race to build first such plant, plans to add it onto a plant in Texas.

GE shutters plants and shuffles employees around as demand for incandescents plummets and CFLs are ramped up.

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Justice Department wins $4.6 BILLION dollar settlement against American Electric Power for violations of the Clean Air Act. They must make massive reductions in emissions, pay punitive penalties, and install a lot of pollution controls. Two things on this: 1. Don't give Bush any credit, this was started under Janet Reno. I have little doubt that Bush's Justice Department wouldn't have lifted a finger. 2. This is the sort of thing that the Bush Administration wanted to allow in the first place. The law is that whenever upgrades are made to power plants they MUST make upgrades to their pollution control equipment. Pres. Bush wanted to allow power plants to waive that requirement, and these coal plants under AEP did it without permission, for years, spewing massive amounts of pollution into the air.

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Tristan
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quote:
I've heard mixed reports on it, some saying that too much use could increase the salt content of the oceans, but if the ice caps are melting, wouldn't that balance out?
That desalination plants would measurably increase the salt content in the oceans seems on the face of it as an absolutely ridiculous idea. Do these people have any idea how much water there is in the oceans? And it's not as if any fresh water we take out of the oceans wouldn't return there eventually anyway.
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AvidReader
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The problem they ran into in Tampa was they couldn't keep mussels out of the filters. It's not done yet, but they're optimistic it'll be running by 2008. I swear, this thing has some kind of hex on it. 3 companies have gone bankrupt since taking it on and it's six years behind schedule.

At the same time, I hope they do get it working. Tampa has a tendancy to wander up to Citrus county and try to convince us to sell them our fresh water springs to pump back to them. We keep telling them no, but it would be nice to not have the pressure.

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Tristan:
quote:
I've heard mixed reports on it, some saying that too much use could increase the salt content of the oceans, but if the ice caps are melting, wouldn't that balance out?
That desalination plants would measurably increase the salt content in the oceans seems on the face of it as an absolutely ridiculous idea. Do these people have any idea how much water there is in the oceans? And it's not as if any fresh water we take out of the oceans wouldn't return there eventually anyway.
I'll try and dig up a report or two when I have a chance, I'm headed to the west coast (Michigan's [Smile] ) for a couple days, so I may or may not be around. But the only two concerns I ever hear about desalinization are: 1. It requires massive amounts of energy. 2. If every drought stricken area were to rely on it, it'd suck insane amounts of fresh water out of the ocean and raise the salt content, possibly harming fish.

I make no claims of support to the second point, though the first one is certainly a valid criticism. Fortunately for the West, their weakness is possibly cured by their strength. They are running out of water, but they could supply the entire nation with solar power if they wanted, so getting power for water shouldn't be out of the question, it just won't be cheap.

I'll let you know when I find a report on it.

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Lyrhawn
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Waste Management to spend billions on recycling and waste to energy plants.

The coming of LEDs...they're starting to find their way into mainstream life.

New Zealand declares 10 year moratoriam on coal.

Arctic ice disappearing faster than IPCC projected.

FERC looks to speed up licensing for tidal and wave power stations.

Some info you can use when arguing the value of SUVs...they aren't always safer.

Okay, what the hell is wrong with these people? Indiana issues yet another permit to allow massive increases in pollution to Lake Michigan.

How destroying the oceans will come back to haunt us - quote of the day.

Sorry I've gone a few days without updates. I'm back in the game now.

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Glenn Arnold
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I've never understood the "SUV's are safer" rhetoric. How is a massive vehicle with a high center of gravity safer than a light vehicle with good cornering ability and a short stopping distance?
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rollainm
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When that massive vehicle smashes into the side of the lighter one because the driver was too busy talking on his cell phone to pay attention to the light. (I witnessed this a few months ago while pumping gas)
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Glenn Arnold
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Which proves that larger vehicles are better at killing people than smaller vehicles. Consider the same collision between two large vehicles, and again between two small vehicles.
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rollainm
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Oh I agree. I should have specified that it was the driver of the larger vehicle, an SUV, who was not paying attention.
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Glenn Arnold
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Actually that was clear from your post, and I got the idea that we were in agreement about SUVs in general.
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rollainm
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Ah. Cool. [Smile]
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Lyrhawn
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New Yorkers get a taste of new microturbine hybrid bus.

What a gas tax might look like in the not so distant future.

Despite big obstacles, the cement industry tries its best to reduce pollution.

New faucet is fancy, user friendly, and above all, could drastically reduce water use.

Sorry it's a small update today, I don't know why but my computer is mind numbingly slow when it comes to the web lately. And I don't get why, as the web downloads as fast as it usually does, and my computer processes everything else just as fast as it normally does, but in the last week when it comes to actually juggling webpages and the net, switching from page to page has become infuriating, and the vein in my forehead can't take anymore tonight.

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Lyrhawn
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New 3D solar cells collect more energy, and can be put on windows without blocking light, making all windows potential sources of power.

Illinois inventor looks to make harnessing lightning strikes a viable power source.

New Dyson Airblade could save thousands of trees, and watts, by replacing something as simple as hand driers/paper towel in restrooms. New device is fast and efficient.

The National Security Space Office, a division of the United States' Department of Defense is pushing the US Gov. to get serious about space based solar power. India and China are already getting serious on the issue, and many in the government consider this a priority over asteroid defense and a manned Mars mission. They propose a 10MW starter program to spur private investment. Nice to see the government getting involved directly.

Finding money to Winterize your home. Energy efficiency upgrades that pay for themselves in the future can be discounted through special loans.

Paul Krugman talks about a carbon cap and trade system, and how past systems have helped solve environmental problems.

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South headed for a breakdown over water, and Atlanta in particular is in the crosshairs. Here's the question: Will they do something before they hit the danger zone? It appears that is unlikely.

Here's a little bit more on Atlanta's situation specifically. Lake Lanier, the main source of water for the city, could be dry in 90 days. What do you do when one of America's major metropolitan areas runs out of water?

Will this spark a major new discussion on water conservation in the United States? No. Will this spark an outcry over government inaction? Possibly. Why? Because as much as we decry government failures, and decry regulations and taxes, we still expect the government to ensure that when we flick a switch, the lights turn on, and water comes out of the spigot. What we don't expect, is that we'll have to do it by ourselves.

It's very simple, and I've been talking about it for awhile: We are using too much water, and we're less than a century away from some serious tipping points. Water is being drained at prodigious rates, and while some of it can be blamed on climate change, much of it is just us being stupid and consuming more than nature can replenish. And with the way America is going, we aren't going to get serious about it until we're literally dying of thirst.

[ October 16, 2007, 11:34 PM: Message edited by: Lyrhawn ]

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AvidReader
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When my mom moved to Beverly Hills, FL she was appalled by the water rates at her new utility. They charge different rates based on how much you use with the lower rates going to the high volumes. So folks who conserve pay just as much as the folks who water their lawns during a rainstorm. Seeing the golf course getting watered during the drought always made her mad, too. I realize it's a business expense, but it's still looks unfair to folks who get mandated watering days.

I love the idea of lightning power. Tampa would be the perfect place to try them out; it's the lightning capital of North America.

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Lyrhawn
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The White Whale, you might be interested in this: Nebraska opens a cellulosic ethanol plant that uses wood for a fuel source.

A look at leases for hybrids with gas only models shows that the hybrids lose value faster than their gas powered equivilants, with one exception, the Ford Escape Hybrid.

Norway considers banning all gas powered cars.

California decides against strict LEED based building codes, but passes almost a dozen other strong pro-environment bills. The Sierra Club is very happy.

Office Depot will make a 100 store recycling program nationwide. The 100 store program has already stopped 100,000 pounds of toxic chemicals, batteries, and similar electronics from making it into landfills.

The GAP embraces microgeneration.

A graphs tackles the comparison between nations who walk/take public transportation and nations who primarily drive and how it effects obesity levels. .

Chinese environmentalist jailed for outing pollution. Here's a good look at how two faced China is being. They are world's biggest polluter, yep, they passed up the US, and despite their rhetoric at the national level, there is zero follow up on the local level

Britian joins the Arctic claim game by laying claim to a 386,000 square mile chunk of seabed. Getting to resources in this particular area is technologically unfeasible at the present, but it's an interesting look at Britain planning for their future.

Massive bouy may provide up to 1MW per unit. There's a lot of different buoy designs out there in what is arguably the newest renewable energy format. Considering Wind, which has been around for well, centuries, is just now aspiring to 7.5MW, I think 1MW is pretty good for a wave powered buoy. Testing is still ongoing, but I have high hopes for wave power.

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Second Earth found, only 20 light years away.

British scientists double capacity for hydrogen storage, but still only halfway to goal to make it feasible for cars.

PG&E to bring their first wind farm online soon.

Pacificorp to start construction on a second wind farm after success of their first one.

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California to take solar water heating mainstream with huge new incentives bill.

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aspectre
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"Second Earth found" was news in April. Due to the greenhouse effect, it has since turned out that Gliese581d is more likely to be earthlike than Gliese581c

"Britain joins the Antarctic claim game." The link contains a useful map of territorial claims.

And FirstWorld biofuel crops causes more greenhouse gas emission than using the fossil fuel alterative due to fertilizer being converted into nitrous oxide.

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Lyrhawn
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The race for resources thing is ridiculous. No one in the north or the south rightly has a serious territorial claim, it's all a big land grab, and everyone knows it. Russia, Canada, the US, and parts of Scandinavia are carving up the seabed of the north, and now it appears Argentina, New Zealand (yeah right), Australia, Great Britain (are they kidding?) and Chile are carving up the south. I'm waiting for South Africa to jump in the game too, but I wonder how New Zealand will get away with their claims when they have a military the size of the Alabama National Guard and the area they are claiming is several times the size of the land the currently possess.
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Lyrhawn
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Very good set of articles today. Only set me off on a couple rants, forgive me in advance...

Major investments in the US electrical grid needed to prevent nationwide outages in the very near future. This is one of those things we can fix if we start now, but knowing us, we'll wait until it's too late. Why? Infrastructure upgrades isn't a very sexy topic. It's expensive and no one wants to pay for it, but everyone expects it all to work.

Kaiser Permanante looks to Green hospitals around the US.

Ann Arbor, Michigan to intall 1,000 LED streelights. They expect to save $100,000 a year and expect a payback of almost four years, after which it's pure profit, plus a couple hundred tons of carbon out of the air.

A-maize-ing crop the silver bullet for biofuels? New science suggests that Maize, around since the day before forever, may be the best crop because it can be harvested easily with farm tools already owned, already is made up of sugar which simplifies the refining process, and can be easily switched out with beans or corn (plus it requires less fertilizer). I'd still need to see what the yields per hectare are, but it looks on the surface like a good bet.

What the future of water conservation en masse in the US South might look like...

How global warming could threaten US oil production

Solar Decathalon entry from Maryland shows how you can heat/cool your house...and have a great excuse to put a waterfall in your kitchen!

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Possible landmark legislation has been introduced with a bipartisan bill to protect animals in the US that are endangered by global warming. This could be as powerful and incredible as the Endangered Species Act, and it's very impressive to them taking the initiative.

Utah sets goal of reducing power consumption 20% by 2015 through efficiency upgrades. Ambitious.

Scientists fear the ocean's will fail to suck up as much CO2 as they did after the last ice age...in other words? We may be in more trouble than we though (which is amazing considering how much trouble we think we're in).

So how does Georgia want to solve their drought problems? Well your first answer would probably be: Conservation right? Use less water and there's more to go around. Sure that's sensible. Well what about changing price controls to hammer away at the big users of water so those who use more pay more, to encourage, again, conservation? Yeah that probably sounds good too. OR! You could SUSPEND THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT!? Yes, that's their brilliant idea. Don't use less water, don't adapt to the NEW REALITY OF WHERE YOU LIVE, instead you should not release water from resevoirs to help endangered species and instead hold that water back for personal consumption. And of course when THAT water runs out, and nuclear power plants stop working (yeah I've brought that up before too), Georgia will have no water, no power, and no one to blame but themselves.

[/Georgia drought rant]

Now this one is REALLY cool. The US has forgiven just over $20 million in debt to Costa Rica with the provision that Costa Rica spend that same amount of money on rainforest conservation! I LOVE this idea. It basically amounts to us paying for rainforest conservation, but I think this is a great way to protect the environment AND foster better international relations. Top notch idea Congress! The US US Tropical Forest Conservation Act is my friend.

US recycling industry is on the verge of a boom. Is it because we're all of a sudden all Treehuggers? NO! As always, it's because it is economically feasible to do so. The added side effect is that this is TREMENDOUSLY beneficial to the environment, keeping toxic materials out of landfills and stemming need to mine more from the Earth, but these materials are starting to become mighty scarce, and it makes sense to reuse what we've already got. Recycling isn't just for Mama Earth anymore, it's for Papa Wallet, because it's just good business.

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Lyrhawn
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Forbes names the top 5 Greenest states.

Motel 6 to retrofit over 7,000 hotel rooms to make them more energy efficient.

Gridpoint, a founder of Smart Grid technology has closed an almost $50 million deal financing deal with Goldman Sachs.

Canadian company convinces Home Depot to start carrying a heat recovery system that'll reduce your hot water heating costs.

And the Solar Decathalon winner is....

Early studies into ocean acidification show it's possible the ocean is becoming more acidic due to increased CO2 absorption, which may devastate coral growth, with potentially far reaching ecological impact.

A reminder: Tomorrow is "Lights Out San Francisco." If you live in or will be in the city tomorrow, you are asked to turn off all non-essential lighting between 8-9pm. Restaurants will be offering candlelight dinners in the city. Also, a national "Lights Out" day is being suggested for March 29th, 2008.

Chicago's mayor has endorsed a proposed 10 cent tax on all bottled water sold in the city. I've long been mixed on the idea, but I think it's a much better idea to have a bottle deposit, the same way all other bottles and cans are "taxed." If the idea is conservation, taxing won't do anything, but if people can recover that money, they'll start saving and recycling those bottles in greater numbers.

You may remember the post I made awhile back about a seaside pier for the 21st century, well the winner of that competition has been announced, and it looks pretty cool.

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So what American state is the greenest? It's Vermont. The worst? West Virginia. The full ranking of all 50 states is here.
And here is where they talk about methodology and some explanations of this ranking.

An interesting finding I think, is that generally looking at this list, states that politicos would call blue are largely the greenest, and red are largely the pollut..iest. I guess Treehuggers are putting their efforts where their mouths are.

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aspectre
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And once again GM management proves that it's interested only in wrecking the environment.
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Lyrhawn
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First of all, I don't think that's a fair assessment. The problem isn't with GM, the problem is with the biofuels industry. Fuel from plants isn't evil by nature, we just need to be sure we're doing it the best way possible until all electric all the time cars are feasible and have the infrastructure support they need.

Second of all, why are you singling GM out? Toyota, the most greenwashed car company on Earth has thrown millions in advertising and on their washington representatives to make sure the weakest possible measures are taken to incrase vehicle efficiency, to say nothing of the fact that they too build massive SUVs and trucks.

Third, GM is staking their future mostly on hybrids and PHEVs, you aren't representing the full truth, and I think you're just smearing them for the heck of it. Present the full truth and then your arguments if you want to be fair.

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Lyrhawn
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Preservationists struggle with sustainability advocates when they should join forces.

Invertebrates, an overlooked and much maligned group of species.

Study finds link between Green business and increased profits, but is wary of the lack of environmental reporting from many companies.

California draws a line in the sand with the EPA. Sierra Club and many other states jump on board. October 26th is showdown day.

Well you've seen links on here before that coal fired plants are being put back on the drawing board as energy companies are wary of new regulations. But for the first time, a government entity has denied a coal fired plant air permit citing CO2 as the reason. Kansas has this honor.

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Lyrhawn
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Funding for nanosolar skyrockets. (I should add, that's private investment). In this case it's $101 million for Heliostat, earned since August.

Sun Microsystems saves money and trees by posting reports online instead of printing endless reports. 90% of clients woudl rather view reports online.

More on California's solar boom. They hope to add 3GW of solar power to residential and commerical areas (that is, microgeneration) by the time their small scale solar program ends in 2016.

Some details on where the 2007 Energy Bill currently stands. It looks like Pelosi is dead set on pushing this through this year, but she faces opposition from Republicans and the White House. Pres. Bush wants them to sign off on dozens of new coal powered plants, but the burdgeoning renewable energy industry is exercising some clout and are pushing Congress to get a bill passed this year. The article highlights some sticking points, in that Democrats want rebates for home solar installation and tax breaks for renewable power. They also want to close tax breaks for oil companies.

quote:
Solar Power to Reach Parity with Fossil Fuels in Sunny Countries in Five Years, Most Countries by 2020
Solar power could be the world's number one electricity source by the end of the century . . . production of solar panels will double both next year and in 2009, according to U.S. investment bank Jefferies Group Inc, driven by government support especially in Germany and Japan. . . . costs are dropping by around 5 percent a year and "grid parity", without subsidies, is already a reality in parts of California. Very sunny countries could reach that breakeven in five years or so, and even cloudy Britain by 2020. . . . General Electric Co's Chief Engineer Jim Lyons told the Jefferies conference in London; "The solar industry will eventually be bigger than wind." . . . But all the growth is from a tiny base. The sun supplies just 0.3 percent of electricity even in market leader Germany, says Jefferies. "It doesn't even register statistically outside Germany," said Jefferies analyst Michael McNamara.


More later.....
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Tstorm
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I'm still reading this thread.

Yay Kansas! It's long since time we blocked construction of more coal-fired power plants. Now, if we could just stop building more ethanol plants. <sigh>

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Lyrhawn
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Higher temperatures ruining the annual blossoming of fall color.

CO2 levels rising faster than even the most pessimistic guesses thought before, new study shows.

Wal-Mart hits goal early of selling 100 million CFLs in 2007.

Atlanta: A look at the future of natural disasters in the US. The point of this article is that even with an environmental disaster staring us in the face, chances are Americans will keep the status quo until it's too late, and then complain afterwards that no one did anything to solve the problem.

Good news for Lake Superior, 100 year record rainfall allays fears of a prolonged drought.

For your entertainment...
Remember popping bubble wrap as a kid (or adult)? Well, bubble wrap is bad for the environment, so here's your replacement. It's not as much fun as the real thing, but it's still fun.

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AvidReader
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The Lake Lanier thing scares me. Even if the Army Corps of Engineers doesn't turn the water flow off to Apalachicola, the lake is going to run out. Then what happens to all this?

quote:
The region features 1,162 species of plants, and includes the largest natural stand of tupelo trees in the world. The area is also home to 308 species of birds, 186 species of fish, 57 species of mammals, and boasts the highest species density of amphibians and reptiles in all of North America, north of Mexico stated by the Apalachicola Reserve, 2002.
If the tupelo trees can't take the saltier water, it will cost beekeepers nearly a million dollars a year in lost honey revenue. The paper has also been saying the shellfish that are just starting to restabilize will be wiped out. This isn't just bad for Atlanta but everyone south of them, too.
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Lyrhawn
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AR -

Where'd you get that from? Can you link us to more information? I've yet to read in detail about the effects the drought is having in indigenous wildlife, most of what I read deals with the missteps of the Georgian government and basically the politics of the situation.

Update for today:

DoD looks to spend big defense bucks on contracts to develop hybrids and all electric vehicles. I've posted on this before, but the military is ramping up spending on battery tech, to make war clean, efficient, and deadly silent. Of course the upside for us, is that this is the same technology that many private companies are already working on, which means the DoD will help subsidize battery technology for the US, making EVs and PHEVs much more realistic in the near term, mass produced.

GE spends $1 billion on R&D for green energy tech. Investments are expected to top one and a half billion every year from 2008-2010.

On the heels of that comes this: GE has sold $1 billion worth of their turbines this year. Personally I'd like to see the 7.5MW turbines sold, but hopefully some of those big R&D dollars will help get them there soon.

California on the verge of making it easier for smaller renewable start ups to get onto the grid by helping with T&D funding.

CO2 growth in the atmosphere is happening 30% faster than scientists guessed it would in 2000. Blame is on human contributions and the Earth being less efficient. I think I might have posted this yesterday, so if I did, sorry for the repeat.

FedEx brings diesel/electric hybrid vans to Europe.

Alabaman and Georgian governors fight over water. I bet you all know what I'm going to say, but I'm with Alabama here. Georgia was irresponsible with their suburban planning and their water resources, and now they are paying the price for it. Or rather, they are trying to make local wildlife pay the price for it. They should have planned ahead but they didn't, and this is what happens. I think they should get help, but a total bailout will just ensure that this happens again.

Teaching kids about how climate change makes for wild weather (plus it just looks cool!)

Quote of the day: Science fiction comes to life: How our chemically laden society is causing fewer boys to be born.

Denmark and Sweden go to war!...over who is the most eco-friendly.

In pictures: California wildfires.

More later...

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Lyrhawn
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Part 2:

CA Wildfires pose serious health threat from soot as air quality plummets past already horrible levels.

More than just animals downstream of Atlanta to keep in mind when discussing whether or not to discharge water from dams. While I don't have a ton of sympathy for water intensive industries, everyone should be working together to reduce water consumption. There's also a nuclear plant that might not be able to run due to lack of water (something I've warned about before).

A little style for your green world: A beautiful backgammon set made of recycled glass.

How NOT to save the planet.

Earth could lose half of its species to global warming (on the bright side, when the planet cools again we'll get more diverse).

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AvidReader
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The local paper wants to make me pay for their online version, but I found this at News Herald. It's the same info.

quote:
En route, the flow is used by numerous communities, two power plants and three endangered species.
quote:
The three biggest roadblocks to dropping the rate of flow are the fat three-ridge mussel, purple bankclimber mussel and gulf sturgeon, a fish. All three are endangered species and carry a federal mandate that the water release rate be maintained.
The Florida DEP were the ones worried about the oysters, further down on the page.

The power plants are a bit sticky, too. There's nothing to protect them. The coal plant in Sneads is a surge protector that powers about 15,000 homes regularly. The nuclear plant in Alabama is a 600 MW facility, but they don't think Atlanta can drop the flow lower than what they need to operate. I notice they don't mention a contingency in case the water runs out completely.

The Gainesville Times has a whole different take. They think the ACoE is releasing too much water for the drought and should scale it back. Unfortunately for them, the flow was decided back in 2003 under Jeb until 2040. From the State Website. I don't know that they can actually do anything about it.

[Edit to fix link.]

[ October 25, 2007, 06:48 AM: Message edited by: AvidReader ]

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AvidReader
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Oh, the original stats for the Apalachicola Bay I got from Wiki.
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Lyrhawn
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You've seen my links recently for skyscrapers with farms, but Mumbai is taking it to way, way higher heights.

Investment in the Green sector jumps to $1.7 trillion just in the third quarter of 2007.

France's new president remake his nation's green image and calls for "Green revolution."

Featured Article
New technology turns regular water into powerful cleaning agent without the chemicals. This thing looks amazing, though I fear many will perceive it as a gimmick (which I hope it isn't).

Looking to nature to improve solar power efficiency.

New windows promise big boon in effiency for homes.

New industry report expects market for green homes to explode from $2 billion to $20 billion in five years.

More science news than Green news, but it's still cool: new telescope being tasked to take pictures of the surface of the sun.

On preparing for the worst.

American National Forests "OK" for the most part.

Prince Charles on Deforestation.

Another article on airships. Frankly I'm warming to the idea. I wouldn't mind flying somewhere, slow and easy, but Greenly, in one of those.
Hey look at that, the president is editing science to fit his policies again! Shocker!

The War over Water is heating up in several states, not just Georgia.

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AvidReader
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3.7 billion gallons of water are "lost" by power plants every day. But the water doesn't really go anywhere. It evaporates, condenses, and comes back as rain.

I can't find how much of that is fresh water vs. salt. Cause evaporating salt water and getting fresh rain water seems like a good thing to me. I would think the power plants are only hurting the water supply if they're evaporating fresh drinking water that isn't falling back in the same area.

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aspectre
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As mentioned in the comment upon the article, that 27floors in 60stories-of-height Mumbai skyscraper is the opposite of Green.

It doesn't make a whole heck of a lot of sense to build blimps and dirigibles when there ain't gonna be enough helium to lift them. Thing is helium leaks through everything, so ya hafta replenish it on a regular basis. And when helium supplies become low, the resulting high price of a fillup would ground the fleet.

And an interesting link from the War over Water,
"Progress Energy on Tuesday resumed operating the Shearon Harris nuclear plant in Wake County after a 24-day outage for routine refueling. The outage coincidentally turned out to be a much-needed water conservation measure, saving about 375 million gallons of water that would have evaporated if the power plant had been using water for cooling during normal operations."
ie The nuclear plant directly evaporates 15.6million gallons per day out of its intake of "...33 million gallons of water daily..."
So 17.4million gallons of heated "Water that doesn't evaporate is released back into Harris Lake." raising the lake temperature, and thereby increasing the lake's overall rate of evaporation.
"By comparison, customers of the city of Durham water system use an average of 28 million gallons a day."
Like TreeHugger says: ...trolls constantly complain that 'solar power only works when the sun shines,' or remind us that 'wind power is only good when the wind blows.' Here's the positive...solar and wind power don't need cooling water.

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Glenn Arnold
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quote:
It doesn't make a whole heck of a lot of sense to build blimps and dirigibles when there ain't gonna be enough helium to lift them. Thing is helium leaks through everything, so ya hafta replenish it on a regular basis. And when helium supplies become low, the resulting high price of a fillup would ground the fleet.
When I worked for Praxair, I heard a number of people discussing the idea of returning to the use of hydrogen to lift dirigibles. At the time the "rocket fuel dirigible skin" hypothesis was newer, and sounded pretty reasonable, given that it was assumed that all the ingredients were applied in the same coat.

Anyway, the discussion revolved around the idea that hydrogen was cheaper, and also has greater lift than helium. I proposed that if you mixed helium with hydrogen, you could reduce or eliminate the flamability of the hydrogen, and gain lift overall.

Several years later, in a discussion of helium asphyxiation, I suggested that helium for balloons should be mixed with 21% oxygen, so that if people inhaled helium to make their voice sound funny, they wouldn't be inhaling a dangerously inert gas. I also pointed out that helium is way more expensive than oxygen, so it would reduce the overall cost of the gas, and people wouldn't notice the loss of lift in a balloon, since all they care about is whether the balloon floats or not.

Later on in the discussion, I discovered that the greatest single use for helium is for balloons, which seemed like a tremendous waste of such an important gas.

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Glenn Arnold
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quote:
I can't find how much of that is fresh water vs. salt. Cause evaporating salt water and getting fresh rain water seems like a good thing to me. I would think the power plants are only hurting the water supply if they're evaporating fresh drinking water that isn't falling back in the same area.
I'm not aware of any utility using salt water for cooling. It would be very complex and expensive, because salt is highly corrosive, and would not only damage equipment, but it would also accumulate as a solid as the water evaporated, which would require clean up and maintentance.
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Lyrhawn
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First off -

The Mumbai tower isn't the opposite of green. Compared to urban sprawl, it's a paragon of green, but I haven't seen the details of it's construction and what sort of technologies they are using. It could be wasteful, or it could be extremely efficient. A city full of 60 story tall 27 story skyscrapers is still vastly more efficient and green than a city full of single family 1,200 square foot homes.

On helium -

Yeah, I heard that story on NPR the other day. I had no idea helium came from such a limited number of places...basically one, and that it was running out so fast. But I've no fear of not being able to find SOMETHING to lift those ships with. Science will find a way.

On water -

Amen to that.

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AvidReader
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The plant where my dad worked in Crystal River drew its water from the Gulf of Mexico. Manatee live in our outake canal in the winter because its warm. I believe the other two nuke plants down near Miami draw theirs from the Atlantic. And while that warm water is bad for many species, it's great for shrimp. My dad used to joke that you could cut a steak from the shrimp at the Turkey Point plant.

If I remember the process right, the water turned into steam is seperate from both the coolant water and the water in the containment pool. The coolant water circulates through pipes that never come into contact with radioactive material. I'm guessing if the salt is bad, it must just move through quickly so it doesn't accumulate anywhere. I'll have to ask my dad.

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Glenn Arnold
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quote:
Yeah, I heard that story on NPR the other day. I had no idea helium came from such a limited number of places...basically one, and that it was running out so fast. But I've no fear of not being able to find SOMETHING to lift those ships with. Science will find a way.

There is a simple solution to the dirigible problem: hydrogen. After all, the Hindenberg operated for a fairly long time without blowing up. It's just a matter of solving few safety problems.

The real problem is for uses where there is no substitute for helium, such as processes that require near zero absolute temperature, or nuclear fusion, and so forth.

There are other sources of helium outside the U.S. and it isn't well known how abundant it is in those locations. Algeria currently produces a fair amount of helium, and there may be significant reserves in untapped natural gas fields in Siberia, but we don't know. Also, helium that's separated from natural gas in the U.S. is stored underground in a natural salt dome. That's an awfully convenient geological feature. We actually separate it and then pump it underground for storage. In other locations, once it comes up, it may have to stay up or be stored in man made containers until it's used.

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Lyrhawn
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Update for the day:

GM announces there will be virtually no price premium for their new Yukon hybrid. Looks like they were serious about eating the sticker shock.

Honda's answer to the Prius: Their dedicated hybrid.

PG&E soon to boast over a gigawatt of wind power.

Silicon Valley's newest electric car startup focuses on infrastructure, not vehicles.

Arizona's untapped renewable potential.

USDA to create new regulations for labels on meat that can be called "grass fed." Better for you, better for the cows, and better for the environment.

China claims they will spend $14 billion to clean up one of their most polluted sites. It also happens to be their third largest fresh water lake and a source of water for millions.

Designers lured to LEDs, see CFLs as an interim technology until prices become friendly. Either way, incandescents are a thing of the past.

The coming climate change could have devastating effects on crops. It might not be that bad, it depends entirely on how we act over the next 100 years. But it's a warning that change is needed.

The future of the war over water: The South and Southwest vs. The Great Lakes States. You all know how I feel about this one, so I'll save the lecture this time around.

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Morbo
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Well, this is depressing.
quote:
"There are no major issues," the report's authors write of the period since their first report in 1987, "for which the foreseeable trends are favorable."
The report is the United Nation's Environmental Program's (UNEP) Global Environment Outlook
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Lyrhawn
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Wal-Mart's claimed commitment to change. I don't disbelieve them, considering the efforts they've made recently to reduce use, but greening their supply chain, which is the biggest evil, will be a monumental task, maybe even impossible.

The next big things in Green tech. (the up and coming companies in the biz)

"In the absence of Federal leadership..." Individual US States are joining with the international community (Western Europe and parts of Oceana) to create a global GHG cap and trade system.

Berkley California comes up with new system of paying for home solar power systems. Frankly I don't get how this works, so I'd be thrilled if someone could read this article and explain it to me:

quote:
The City of Berkeley, California is set to become the first city in the U.S. to allow property owners to pay for solar system installation and energy efficiency improvements as a long-term assessment on their individual property tax bill.
Deal between MEMC and Conenergy could be boon for both in solar wafers, and could mean grid parity for solar power by 2014 in some places.

This one will sound a bit weird...but Canada is building a pyrolosis plant that will turn diapers into two valuable byproducts and one inert one (gas, oil, and char). Now that's thinking outside the box.

California's Vampire Slayers Act aims to combat a growing US problem: Electronics on standby that suck power from the grid.

660,430: the amount in gallon of water that every person in the US uses per year. Pretty ridiculous isn't it? Gets worse when you look at what other nations are using, and what our water future looks like.

On the heels of that, I'll give you this article on grey water recycling systems.

Major source of methane emissions discovered near Arctic lake. May explain the sharp spike in emissions detected this year. The blame? Melting permafrost due to higher temperatures.

A New Jersey university shows off its fancy new composting system. It highlights a problem coming in NJ: In a couple decades they will have no undeveloped space left, making each new landfill created by wasteful practices all the more important.

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Morbo
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IBM has developed a process for scrubbing waste silicon wafers clean then reusing them and eventually recycling the chips into solar panels. These are internal scrap chips at manufacturing plants--hopefully old chips can be/already are recycled into solar panels.
Via slashdot

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Lyrhawn
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Short form entry today, I need to sleep:

Trash into waste

First batteries arrive for testing at Chevy for the Volt.

More details on Berkley plan

GE helps people monitor their water and power use (read this one)

Citigroup says automakers can profit from new CAFE

More articles on that silicon recycling that's mentioned above.
And here.

Tidal power for Nova Scotia

London 2012 Olympics

Dangers of food to fuel

First LEED Platinum office building in New York City, Hooray!

Uh oh. Peak Coal? I don't know if I buy it or not, there's so many other factors, and this is only for Appalachia I think, but still, interesting.

Featured Article
The New Era of water conservation.

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aspectre
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http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-toyota1nov01,1,2401844.story?ctrack=1&cset=true
http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/News/articleId=123049
http://www.economist.com/business/displaystory.cfm?story_id=10097827

Then http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2006-01/05/content_509576.htm
Now http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-garage3nov03,1,5177308.story?coll=la-headlines-business

Cached for later discussion

[ November 11, 2007, 02:21 AM: Message edited by: aspectre ]

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AvidReader
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I talked to my dad today. Apparently, there's two different water systems in the plant he works at. The salt water runs through the pipes very quickly and only heats up a little bit. It is corrosive, but they have a team of a hundred or so maintence folks who keep an eye on the pipes. The water that turns into steam is ultra-purified fresh water. A plant out in Arizona actually uses gray water from Pheonix for its steam power.

It is the fresh water that's lost to leaks and bleeding off the excess steam, but I'm not sure how much of that comes from drinking water sources. They're probably not evaporating much of the water that other people need.

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Lyrhawn
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aspectre -

It's not a surprise. Internationally GM is doing just fine. Their only losing market is the US, but they're doing big business in Europe and Asia.

Small update -

Ford Fusion and Mercury Milano hybrids coming.

Big Solar passes it's first hurdle in California.

And on that note, yet another company has announced a plan to build a big solar plant in CA. Thankfully, this one will be built very close to already built transmission lines, and not in the middle of nowhere.

GE to add jobs and big investments in their renewable sector.

Major production advance achieved in silicone production for solar cells.

Wave of Green investments spurred by Wall Street confidence in Green Sector.

GM's Bob Lutz sees 60,000 to 100,000 Volts in 2010.

New US Gov website unveiled to give information on drought conditions.

Excessive CO2 dissolved in oceans may spell the end for shellfish by the century's end.

Neither here nor there, but I thought this was clever.

Bad news for the Great Lakes.

A sneak peak at what power in drought ridden states might cause in the future, and another small piece of the EPA's ineptitude.

Featured Article
A list of 50 different companies and how they've made money by helping the environment.

A bigger article on the subject.

[ November 05, 2007, 12:18 AM: Message edited by: Lyrhawn ]

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