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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Your Green Energy News Center (Page 9)

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Author Topic: Your Green Energy News Center
Lyrhawn
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Saving Atlantic Salmon one net at a time.

Chinese biofuel plan could destroy last remaining natural forests and crush biodiversity.

Whirlpool's vision of an inerconnected, efficient kitchen of the future.

You may remember previous posts about returning to wind power? Well it worked! The first sailing of a kite powered ship from Germany to Venezuela is complete and was a smashing success. The ship now plans to replace their kite with another sail twice as large, possibly saving them as much as $2,000 a day as the sail replaces 20% of their fuel costs.

Seattle joins other cities in banning the purchase of bottled water through city funds.

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aspectre
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NewYorkCity intends to replace the town car limo-service fleets with 30mpg vehicles by the end of 2010.
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aspectre
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That Walmart fluid-cooling system is less wasteful and more efficient than your link's use of "evaporation" may imply. It isn't a swamp cooler. And dry air as found in desert and near-desert climes of the West are ideal for operating such systems.

Start at page74 for the HE.2 system being used in the LasVegas pilot project. Interesting stuff follows, though the pdf is basicly a powerpoint sales presentation so there's a lot less detail than might be desired.

[ March 21, 2008, 11:11 PM: Message edited by: aspectre ]

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The White Whale
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Al Gore et al. have launched a new marketing campaign to educate and activate the public on issues of global warming.

Here's a New York Times Article:
Gore Group Plans Ad Blitz on Global Warming

quote:
The first ad...compares the challenge of fighting global warming to the invasion of Normandy and the civil rights movement.

That advertisement will start appearing on television Wednesday, according to the Alliance for Climate Protection, a group created by Mr. Gore in 2006. It will be followed by ads tailored to particular audiences and media, including the Internet.

Here's a Link to said advertisement.

And a link to their website:
WE can solve the climate crisis

Good old Al Gore.

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DarkKnight
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The Clean Energy Scam
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Lyrhawn
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I've read the TIME article DK. I'd say it's 75% dead on. It leaves out a lot, like a real discussion on cellulosic ethanol, farming subsidies and ethanol tariffs that keep Brazilian sugarcane ethanol out of the US and keep us dependent on corn ethanol. It also leaves out that much of ethanol could be grown on land that is currently depleted to most other agriculture and isn't growing foodstuffs at the moment.

But mostly? It's right. Corn based ethanol biofuels are the DEVIL. EVIL! I've been saying that since this thread first started (I'll do a big post later tonight by the way, I haven't done an update in awhile, sorry). The US government is the main culprit as far as I am concerned. Their subsidies are what is screwing with the price of food and what is causing farmers to switch their crops in droves, and I think it is driving the destruction of the Amazon. I think they should cut subsidies, give a lot of funding to research of cellulosic ethanol so that one day a non food crop source of biofuel can become viable, and they need to stop forcing an untenable, wasteful, polluting fuel on us!

[/rant]

Thanks for the link DK. I just want to say that though corn based ethanol is the devil, not all biofuels are bad, and technology is really starting to hit home on some better forms of biofuel that'll be good for us. I expect in the future that biofuel will play a small but important role in our transportation infrastructure, but, in the near term? It's just evil.

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Enigmatic
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quote:
But mostly? It's right. Corn based ethanol biofuels are the DEVIL. EVIL! I've been saying that since this thread first started
Nuh-uh! It wasn't 'till like, the second day. I checked. [Wink]

--Enigmatic

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Lyrhawn
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Damned fact checkers! [Grumble]
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Lyrhawn
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This will come in two parts:

SoCal has a huge new solar movement starting soon. The idea is to cover thousands of roofs in three counties with thin film solar panels. The result? 250 MW of power that will provide energy for 162,000 homes. Thin-Film solar is actually pretty cheap, all things considered, and by putting the panels right on the roofs, you don't have to spend much extra on T&D lines like you sometimes do for renewables. Hopefully we'll see this replicated in more places. They plan to install a MW a week for five years until they reach 250MW.

New York City council approves measures similar to London's congestion plans. What this means? In some of the heavily traveled areas of Manhatten, you'll have to pay $8 for a regular car to drive there between 6am and 6pm. Parking rates and taxi fees will also be increased. $21 for trucks, though only $7 for LEVs. The estimated $491 million in revenue this will bring in will go to improve transit systems in New York, and trust me, they need it. The NYC subway system is crumbling in many places, and the reason it is so slow in many places is because it's too dangerous to have them go as fast as they COULD go. The other benefits should be easing congestion from people choosing to avoid these areas.

Big Florida utility invests in California's green power boom.

Study from Uni. of Wash. suggests algae and fast growing trees may be best biofuel crops.

More later...

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Lyrhawn
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There's a treasure trove of good news today!

Another cellulosic ethanol plant, this one I believe using wood chips and wood waste has gotten funding.

Eestor, the fabled company that has a game changing energy storage system, has announced that they will provide batteries to ZENN Motors in Fall of 2009.

Petrosun announced that today they will commence opereations on their 4.4 million gallon per year Algae biofuel plant. This one is actually good news. Algae could prove to be a game changer in the long run. In similar news, Green Fuels Technology has begun construction of their own algae plant. The fuel source for these algae growers? CO2 derived directly from commercial power plants.

Want to see the SkySail on commercial shipping that I've been talking about in action? Click here for a video of how they work and see them in action.

GM's Bob Lutz says that to some degree, most vehicles will be hybrids by 2020. I think that might be an overexageration. Plenty of cars today get great MPG without being hybrids, but even if it's true, it's fine with me.

Tensions heat up over potentially vast oil reserves in the Arctic, which could be as much as twice what Saudi Arabia has. It ends with the following warning:

quote:
The EU report was just the latest in a string of recent warnings about potential clashes over Arctic resources - including a prediction from former U.S. Coast Guard Cmdr. Scott Borgerson of possible armed conflict between the U.S. and Canada over Arctic sovereignty.

"The United States should not underestimate Canadian passions on this issue," Borgerson, a fellow at the influential Council on Foreign Relations, wrote in an article in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs magazine. "Unless Washington leads the way toward a multilateral diplomatic solution, the Arctic could descend into armed conflict."

University of Maryland discovery could be revolutionary way to turn trash into ethanol.

Proposed "Clean Energy Tower" for Chicago is both beautiful and a potential big advancement in Green architecture. New integreated wind turbines and solar panels could power and ventilate the building without outside power.

Featured Article

Saving the best for last of this group of articles: New wind turbine design is based on jet engines. These turbines harvest three to four times as much power from the air, can operate at higher efficiency, are safer, can be placed closer together, and can work at much higher wind speeds than traditional prop turbines, and the good news doesn't end there. It's a new technology just in the beginning phases, but it shows a lot of promise, and could potentially change the wind industry entirely. I'll try and find more news about it as it comes out, I don't know if they've even built a test model yet, but I love news like this.

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Lyrhawn
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NYC could be first US city to get Bus Rapid Transit system, a system that may prove cheaper and more efficient than underground subways.

The great Pacific garbage vortex.

And why it might be our permanant reality.

Another Featured Article
Limited edition cabinet has a special glowing ecopaint that collects sunlight and glows at night. In this case? It's a glowing moon, and it's one of the coolest things I have ever seen. Annoying as this might be after awhile, I seriously want one.

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Lyrhawn
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Some great updates today. I've decided that from now on, for the most part, I'm going to leave out announcements of new solar plants starting up unless they are using some new technology to do so. I read three different announcements today on 500MW+ plants that are newly being planned for various parts of the US, and I think we might be at the point where announcements of plans and financing just isn't big news anymore, we may have reached the point where it's commonplace. We'll see how that works in practice.

Shedding light on thin film nanosolar efficiency research

NanoSolar, a company that makes thin film solar cells has gotten another huge boost in funding from a European energy provider.

After years of debate, the Department of Energy has implemented standards for Energy Star certification of water heaters. Water heaters, by percentage, are the biggest users of power in your home. It includes standards for tankless and tank water heaters.

And in honor of this announcement (or a skeptical person might say that they planned this with the DOE), GE has announced that they have two new water heaters coming out within the next year that will meet and beat these new standards, meaning big savings in money and energy. Given recent statements made by fellow Hatrackers, I'm still out to lunch on tankless water heaters. They look like an awesome idea, but I've yet to actually try one out myself. I like HOT water for my showers. I'm less concerned with capacity, it seems they have more than enough, than I am with how hot they get the water. But regardless, even the new hybrid tank heater has a 50% efficiency improvement. That's nothing to shake a stick at.

Democratic Senators Maria Cantrell and John Ensign have introduced new legislation to renew the Renewable Tax Credit in the Senate. This is another try after they failed to get it into the Energy Bill and failed to get it passed via funding from the oil tax breaks. It looks like it will get a straight up or down vote, and I think it will have broad support from a lot of states with Green sector jobs in them, especially out West. The Clean Energy Stimulus Act of 2008 is the name.

New commercialized version of MIT invention could bring the cost of solar down even further while retaining efficiency.

New study finds that forests certified by the Forest Stewardship Council have less deforestation and fewer wildfires.

Free Flow Power Corp. seeks to install hydrokinet turbines beneath Mississippi River to net 1.6GW of power from the river. This won't happen until an environmental study is done to see the effect such a net of turbines would have on the wildlife in the river, but, barring any problems, it could power 1.5 million homes!

Michigan struggles for Wind Power. This is about the hurdles in the way of bringing more wind power to Michigan, specifically to the Great Lakes.

To highlight and explain the goal and struggle for alternative power in Michigan right now, here is what Governor Jennifer Granholm had to say about it in her 2008 State of the State address:

quote:
Why alternative energy? Because - to borrow a line from Wayne Gretzky - if you want to win, "don't skate to where the puck is - skate to where the puck is going."

The puck is going to alternative energy.

Any time you pick up a newspaper from here on out and see the terms "climate change" or "global warming," just think: "jobs for Michigan."

Because of the need to reduce global warming and end our dependence on expensive foreign oil, the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries will create millions of good paying jobs.

There's no question that these jobs are coming to our nation. The only question is, where?

I say we will win these jobs for Michigan and replace the lost manufacturing jobs with a whole new, growing sector.

Why us? Because, no other state - indeed few places in the world - have what we have to offer: our wind, our water, our woods - and thanks to the working men and women of Michigan - our skilled workforce.

Look at each of these resources.

The unique geography of our peninsulas makes us windy. Experts have said that we have the second best potential for wind generation and production in the country. In fact, the wind turbines we'd use to capture that power can be built right here in Michigan, because we have what's needed: manufacturing infrastructure; available factory space; a skilled workforce. And water - the Great Lakes - are one of the best ways to ship these huge turbines.

That Pure Michigan water will do even more for us. The natural movement, the waves of our Great Lakes waters, creates enormous energy. We are talking with businesses right now about coming to Michigan to convert water currents into electric currents.

And wood! The wood waste from the pulp and paper industry is being used to produce the next generation of biofuels. Cutting-edge companies like Mascoma, Chemrec, NewPage, and others are turning wood waste into fuel for your vehicles, and they want to come here because of our vast sustainable forests.

Our automotive base is also a huge asset: we are the automotive research capital of the world, and we are building the engines of the future - hybrids, clean diesel, electric, fuel cells, flexfuel - all of that is being, and will continue to be, researched, designed, and produced right here in Michigan.

There may be one or two other states that are sunnier than we are, but we are already a huge player in the solar energy industry. We have in Michigan the world's largest producer of the stuff that makes solar panels work. Polycrystalline silicon. Made by Hemlock Semiconductor right here in Michigan. They are in the middle of a billion dollar expansion, hiring 500 people in the Saginaw area. They have even bigger plans. And just last week, Dow Solar Solutions announced it was locating a new $52 million manufacturing facility in Midland, focusing on solar energy generating building materials. Saginaw Valley can be the Silicon Valley for the alternative energy business!

Even waste is being used: companies are taking household trash in landfills and converting it to green energy - the Lansing Board of Water and Light is doing it right now. Farms are turning animal waste into methane gas. Opportunities are everywhere in Michigan to create green energy.

Michigan must do as any successful business does. To compete, we need to capitalize on our natural advantages. For us, it's our geography and our history. Auto ingenuity. And our solar edge. Wind. Woods. Water. Workforce. Even waste. If we do this right, Michigan can be the alternative energy capital of North America, and create thousands and thousands of jobs.

But, for Michigan to win the race for those high-paying jobs, we have to out-hustle the competition. How?

First, we must commit as a state to use alternative energy to meet our own energy needs.

To understand the connection between renewable energy and jobs, just look at Sweden - a country with striking resemblances to our state: the same size population, similar geography with two-thirds of their land covered by forests, a strong automotive sector. Sweden set high goals for their use of renewable energy. The result? They created over 2,000 businesses and 400,000 jobs in their renewable energy sector. 400,000 jobs!

Alternative energy companies have watched closely as 25 other states have set aggressive goals for their alternative energy use. We have to meet and beat other states' goals here in Michigan if we are going to attract those companies here. That's why I am asking the Legislature to set ambitious alternative energy goals for Michigan - produce 10 percent of our electrical energy from renewable sources by the year 2015 and a full 25 percent by the year 2025. Thank you Sen. Patterson and Representative Accavitti for working to craft the bipartisan legislation that will transform our state.

There is no way to overestimate the importance of setting state renewable energy use goals when it comes to creating jobs.

Tonight, I'm announcing that our state's largest utilities are poised to make one of the world's largest investments in alternative energy and energy efficiency, creating upwards of 17,000 jobs in Michigan.

As soon as this Legislature acts on a comprehensive energy package, Consumers Energy and DTE will begin to jointly invest up to $6 billion in Michigan - much of it to build wind turbines and wind farms to produce electricity and to help businesses and homeowners install energy saving technologies. $6 billion. 17,000 jobs.

It's not often the Legislature gets to cast a vote that will create that many jobs. But you have that opportunity right now. For the sake of our people, I urge you to get it done.

A renewable energy goal is a powerful tool to attract alternative energy jobs, but there are other tools, too. We are going to create Centers of Excellence across the state to bring alternative energy companies and Michigan universities together to create new products and new jobs. I'm also asking you to pass tax incentives for anchor companies in the alternative energy sector that get their suppliers to also locate in Michigan.

And to make sure that ethanol is made here and sold here and is competitive with gasoline, I'm asking you once again to eliminate the gas tax for fuel purchases of ethanol and biodiesel at gas stations.

If only I could vote for her again.
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Lyrhawn
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A few regular announcements, and then I'll close with an update on one of my favorite topics, the Chevy Volt.

Frito-lay uses sun power to make SunChips.

SeaGen installs world's largest tidal stream system, a 1.2MW dual rotor sytem, off the coast of Northern Ireland.

New nanomaterial turns radiation directly into energy. Could mean big things for nuclear power, space exploration and other areas.

Details on a couple of recent battery breakthroughs

New coal plant planned for Nevada could end up being a bad investment if taking future carbon costs into account.

Paris' Orly airport will install a geothermal power plant to reduce their emissions and energy use

Manufacturers cannot keep up with demand for wind turbines. There's a two year world wide backlog of people waiting. Lots of money is being dumped into construction of new factories to build the things. Maybe this will create room for some of the innovative new designs I've seen lately for wind power.

The world's first OLED lamp, and how the world as you know it could be totally relit.

I may give this one its own thread, but, many scientists are concerned that the CERN supercollider might destroy the universe, or at the very least, Earth.

How America wastes its energy.

The "Go Green School of the Week" (whatever the heck that is) is Kingwood Park High School in Kingwood, Texas. Significance? None to you maybe, but three of my cousins went to that school, and my aunt teaches there!

Recycling wasted energy from polluting power sources. Recycling "junk" energy from coal and other fossil fuel powered plants could supply 20% of the nation's power! The term coined for this non-green power source is "grey" power. Hey, it's available today and it could cut back on the need for more coal power plants, so I'm board as a temporary fix to our problems.

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Lyrhawn
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A small separate post for the Volt, if you please. This won't be quite as cool as I was hoping because apparently the audio links aren't working on autobloggreen, so you can't hear any of what I'm sure are very cool interviews with the tech people:

Here is some news on the development of the battery systems for the Volt.

Some descriptions of the planned interior and a stolen image of the interior with a description of how it starts.

It seems they are progressing on schedule with this thing, and we might actually see it for sale in two and a half years. I don't have a prayer of being able to afford one, even if they do come in at their $30,000 target, for several years, but as soon as I get the money I'd love to get one, assuming it's reasonably comfortable and performs to spec.

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AvidReader
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Ok, the lamp windows from your OLED link are really cool. I'd like some of those.
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Lyrhawn
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It's the wave of the future AR.

OLEDs are still a very, very new technology. They are a leap ahead of LEDs in technology, and LEDs aren't even close to being standard yet. I think we have a good 10 to 20 years before you start seeing houses and offices built with integrated OLED technology in mind. But you'll see them in use in smaller applications like computer and other screens very soon, because they can be wafer thin and use considerably less energy than traditional displays, and yet still offer HD quality.

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Tstorm
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(Bad) news out of Kansas:

The Kansas Senate has overridden Governor Sebelius's veto to block expansion of the Holcomb coal-power plant. The House has yet to do their political act, and I have no idea what that entails. Bets are on the side of the electric company, in this case. It's too bad...

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Lyrhawn
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It's not set in stone yet. The override vote in the House hasn't happened, and until recently no one thought they had the votes for it. But it might go through. The majority leader thinks he has the votes for the override later this week (tomorrow actually I think).

There were some competing compromises floating around. Sebelius said she would sign a bill for one power plant if the rest of the energy came from wind, but the Republicans said no. The utility originally said they'd capture half of the million tons of carbon by using algae to sequester it, but Republicans said that was too expensive, and that the technology was too new and nixed that too.

It looks like at this point it's likely to pass. It could end up costing them quite a bit in the long run if the worldwide price of coal goes up and the next Administration in the White House gets CO2 regulation legislation passed.

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Lyrhawn
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Little update today.

New type of motor oil could save almost 3 billion gallons of gas.

New York State Assembly quashes Bloomberg's plan to ease traffic congesion in NYC.

Book industry greatly increases amount of post consumer recycled content in new books. [/U [URL=http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/04/book-industry-environmental-trends.php]Germany adds nearly 90,000 renewable energy jobs in three years.

New algae biofuel process involves injecting sugar and growing in the dark.


Featured Article
New Toshiba bulb lasts 12,000 hours, 1.2 times that of a common CFL, and only uses 10 watts of power. They come in three colors and look exactly like a regular incandescent.

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aspectre
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Try http://www.mercurynews.com/raiders/ci_8479963 for the sugar-fed algae. Something's misfiring in the original address.
The article's gotta be a missing point or two. Feeding a (derivative from a) food crop to algae doesn't make sense.

And $6to$10 for one CFL? Been getting mine for less than $3 apiece in Costco 8packs, and that's including the sales tax.
Admittedly it's been a couple of years since I've bought any. Darn CFLs, won't burn out so I can stay current on prices.

Looking ahead vs what's wrong with American auto executives.

[ April 15, 2008, 11:57 PM: Message edited by: aspectre ]

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Lyrhawn
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Tsk tsk! First off, at least GM and Ford have serious hydrogen fuel cell cars ready to go. I haven't been posting them, but I've read articles lately about some American auto execs pushing for a hyrdogen infrastructure because they want to be selling these cars in ten years. But even more so, plucking a random excessively wasteful American car out of a large lineup of cars, and plucking a randomly futuristic hydrogen Japanese car out of a large lineup of cars is vastly unfair. Japanese car companies make big trucks and SUVs that are wasteful and old school, and American car companies are scrapping plans to make V8's in favor of smaller sedans and all of them are bringing over subcompacts from Europe to the American market. And despite Japanese reluctance and naysaying, GM is still surging forth with Plug in Electric technology, even with Honda and Toyota badmouthing them the whole way. You paint a one sided picture.

Chance television show leads Malaysian researcher to discover vastly cheaper process to produce advanced aerogels. Aerogels are a great insulater and have a lot of advantages over others like fiberglass (mostly air, great sound supressers, etc.)

Wal-Mart to meet with Chinese suppliers in an attempt to Green their global supply chain.

Marriott committs $2 million to protecting Amazonian rainforest, cutting water use and Greening their supply chain as well.

A long, bad year for coal.

LEDs and OLEDs nearing readiness for mass market home use.

Smart grid planned for US city, plans made in Europe

Wall Street bankers and businesses call on Congress to pass renewable tax credit.

Seven selling points for solar.

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Lyrhawn
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NYC and Boston take baby steps towards solar.

New Sylvania CFL has only 1.5 miligrams of mercury.

Zenn Motors promises 250 mile range EV that can charge in five minutes...Eestor, in 2009.

Solar power ITC being tacked onto the Housing Bill.

LEDs hit prime time. New bulb will fit in regular sockets, last 10 to 15 years, produce 100W illumination for 13W of power, and no mercury. It comes with some sticker shock, but it's a new technology, and even at what they cost, they're STILL more cost effective than even CFLs are, because they last 50,000+ hours and produce so much light at such low wattage.

New process cuts cost of solar panel home installation in half. The savings aren't totally realized yet, but, in the future they could drop a lot more.

Senate passes the Housing Bill with the solar ITC in it.

ERCOT (Texas' regional energy authority) says that wind power in Texas is well worth the cost, even necessary.

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aspectre
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"Tsk tsk!"

The point wasn't the fuel cell cars: the page contained a link specificly citing US automakers participation in developing the technology. The point was how problems are approached.

Not enough hydrogen refilling stations to make mass auto sales feasible? Honda develops home-based hydrogen generators. Not a particularly good idea -- unless in conjunction of cogeneration -- but nonetheless a way to get over the hump of "...there ain't enough refilling stations to sell cars cuz there ain't enough cars to financially justify the building of refilling stations cuz..."

GM has problems selling a Cadillac model cuz it's fuddy duddy. Instead of going the "luxury means cutting edge engineering" route, GM executives decide to waste the same amount of money to fake luxury by splashing on a few random gew gaws.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Meanwhile, the InternationalMonetaryFund furthers its mission to destroy the ThirdWorld for few more quick bucks into the pockets of the wealthy-and-worthless.

[ April 16, 2008, 03:44 AM: Message edited by: aspectre ]

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aspectre
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BTW: Honda's hydrogen-powered FCX Clarity is going to become available to the public this summer.
Betcha that people will be buying homes in the test region just to get their hands on the car.

And the WorldBank is pretending that it cares about famine. Conveniently ignoring the fact that it has spent the entirety of its existence encouraging governments to kick subsistance farmers off their land so that the land could be "better" used to produce cash crops such as cotton, cocoa, coffee, flowers, shrimp, cocaine, heroin, etc for the FirstWorld instead of food for the ThirdWorld.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

In a demonstration of their faith in magic, the Greens are screwing up Germany's ability to meet Kyoto goals by replacing nuclear powerplants with coal-fired powerplants to produce even more power for increased future demand.
What's funny about this is that Japan, Germany, the UK, etc are all vastly increasing and/or intending to vastly increase the amount of coal they are burning to produce electricity. And are condemning the US for failure to sign the KyotoAccords.....while the US has been decreasing its use of coal.

Nice thing about magic: all ya hafta do is mutter a few words, and reality ceases to be a barrier to achieving ones desires.

Showing solidarity with that belief in magic, EuropeanUnion ministers are insisting that EU members must go ahead with their plans to make biofuel out of food to meet the Kyoto carbon emissions goals.....even though such biofuel production will cause greater greenhouse gas production through destruction of carbon-storing forests/etc to create more farmland. Then again, knowing European history, they might just be counting on a die-off of ThirdWorlders through artificially induced famine.

[ April 16, 2008, 12:37 AM: Message edited by: aspectre ]

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Tstorm
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Interesting tidbit from the Kansas Executive branch of government...

This came to me via an instructor, who received it from someone in the Kansas Department of Education. Most of us are following the wind energy saga in Kansas with unique interest. After months of preparation, preceeded by years of planning and conniving, the Meridian Way wind farm held it's symbolic ground-breaking.

Once completed, this farm will have the largest wind turbines in the United States (or perhaps North America...) and it will also be the largest collection of these turbines. There's rumor and discussion of possible expansion. With plenty of land, community support, and (maybe) some government incentive, that could happen. [Smile]

I *might* be able to provide pictures of this, eventually, given that it's happening practically in my backyard. [Smile]

On to the news!

quote:

The following is by Lieutenant Governor Mark Parkinson:

The New Harvest

Scientists have long debated climate change. Now the debate has shifted course. Whether or not climate change is real is no longer the question.

The question we now face is: what can we do to combat it?

Farmers have always relied on the sun for the energy to grow their crop. Now farmers can rely on wind. Wind energy is lucrative, accessible and can bring an economic renaissance for rural America.

With growing concerns over climate change and the Environmental Protection Agency’s forthcoming greenhouse gas regulation, states have been setting their sights on the future through cleaner natural resources for power.

In fact, of all the renewable resources, wind has proven to be the clear breadwinner. And it’s only getting better.

Several Midwest states have already taken advantage of wind resources. In the past, Kansas has lagged behind other states – but we’re catching up. When Governor Kathleen Sebelius and I teamed up two years ago only 3% of our state’s energy came from wind. By the end of this year we will be only the seventh state in the nation with over 1,000 megawatts (MW) of wind online - 10% of the total electricity produced in Kansas.

We’ll be the only state to have accomplished this without a government mandate. The Governor has accomplished this with voluntary agreements from utilities.

Like every emerging industry, realizing the economic benefits takes time. In Kansas, the time for wind has come. National wind mapping estimates show that Kansas has the potential to be a leader in wind production as the third windiest state in America.

Landowners with wind turbines on their property receive lease payments in the thousands, millions of construction dollars energize local economies, and hundreds of new skilled jobs have emerged. Roads are revitalized and new transmission lines are built to support future growth.

This is Kansas wind, clean and plentiful, and we are already on our way.


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Lyrhawn
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Good stuff Tstorm! Hopefully Kansas can be a great model for what other nearby plains states, and states with high wind potential in general can accomplish if they want to.

We'll start with auto related news.

EU says no to reviewing biofuel policy.

McCain calls for summer break from gas tax. I'm sure you all know how I feel about this. It's a tiny bit of money, and the result will be that more people will drive instead of cutting back on their summer driving. It's an irresponsible move that will raise the deficit cause more oil to be used.

GM has give the Volt team a blank check in their rush to bring the car to market.

Waste Management breaks ground on second trash to energy plant.

Highly successful Recycle Bank raises $30 million, expands US services and heads to Europe. I just have to repeat how much I love this program.

Refined "power shirt" could be boon for soldiers, hikers, and more.

Comparing emissions on hybrids, electric gas, and conventional cars.

British professor hopes to make chemical solar cheaper than silicon solar some day.

Chrysler plans Dodge Ram hybrid in 2010.

GE wind turbine sales up 40%, mostly to Europe, but is $12 billion behind in deliveries due to incredibly high demand. GE may have to stop taking orders.

University of Washington sets record for efficiency with new "popcorn ball" design for cheap solar cells. Increases efficiency 258%.

Solar walls save energy at Fort Drum

Arise Tech to build silicon plant in Canada for high efficiency panels.

The Lieberman-Warner bipartisan Climate Change bill is expected to hit the Senate floor in June, and be more aggressive than McCain's attempt. The EPA has analyzed the bill and has released a 189 page report on it. I plan to read it in my free time, but it's the size of a small book so, it'll be awhile.

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aspectre
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Bipartisan? Anything with Lieberman's name on it is a reflection of Dubya's fondest dreams, like Lieberman's "compromise" on SupremeCourt nominees.
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Lyrhawn
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Yeah I saw that article on The Hill yesterday.

But S2191 is still the toughest measure to date, it has mandatory caps, a trade system, will result in a massive reduction in carbon in emissions and a huge boost to renewable energy production.

It seems to focus pretty heavily on the changeover from regular coal to "advance coal with carbon capture" but it takes into account that this tech won't be read for 20 years. I've read some of the document above in the last day. Frankly I think it's too progressive to get passed by the Republicans in Congress, but it was written by a solid Conservative and a Conservative pseudo Democrat. But this is the first cap & trade bill that will make it out of Committee in the Senate. That alone is pretty amazing. It's pretty comprehensive too, though I don't really get all the details, the language is too much and the analysis leaves out some details that makes the other details understandable.

The bill won't get passed until after Pres. Bush is out of office either way, because there isn't a snowball's chance in hell of him signing it, but that kind of opposition is part of what makes me like it.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
McCain calls for summer break from gas tax. I'm sure you all know how I feel about this. It's a tiny bit of money, and the result will be that more people will drive instead of cutting back on their summer driving. It's an irresponsible move that will raise the deficit cause more oil to be used.
Not to mention that the gas tax is arguably the fairest tax in our system. Gas taxes go exclusively to paying for roads. Cutting the gas tax will either mean neglecting maintenance of roads that are already in serious trouble (remember the bridge in MN last summer), or passing the cost of driving on to someone else.

This is just one of those election year "bribes" for the voters that shows you exactly how wrong it is to think of the current incarnation of the republican party as fiscally responsible.

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Lyrhawn
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I would say that now is the time to come out with more funding for battery research for electric cars and more funding for non-food crop biofuels, but I've been reading a lot of news lately out of the NREL and the DOE and DOA that says we're actually doing fairly well on that front recently. I guess more money never hurts, but, I can't say the government is doing nothing on that front. Plus the Senate passed the RTC. Gas prices being high is the best time to introduce all those things, but it looks like McCain got beat to the punch every time. I still wonder why he thinks oil companies need billions in tax breaks though.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
I still wonder why he thinks oil companies need billions in tax breaks though.
It seems like this must be a requirement for registration in the republican party.
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Lyrhawn
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Probably more like the expectation that a piece of those billions will make it back to their own campaign coffers. Don't get me wrong, Democrats take money from oil companies too, but you can hardly say they seriously represent oil interests, or that their oil money will make or break their campaign.
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Dagonee
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On oil contributions:

quote:
"As of Feb. 29, Obama's presidential campaign had received nearly $214,000 from oil and gas industry employees and their families, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. Clinton had received nearly $307,000 from industry workers and their families and Republican Sen. John McCain, the likely GOP presidential nominee, received nearly $394,000, according to the center's totals."
And two of Obama's fundraisers are oil company executives: Robert Cavnar, the chairman and chief executive of Houston-based Mission Resources Corp., and George Kaiser, the president and CEO of Tulsa-based Kaiser-Francis Oil Co.


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Enigmatic
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I think the second part, having oil company executives as fundraisers, is potentially a matter of influence and seems a bit hypocritical. But the first part I just don't get what the issue is - individual donations from people who work in a certain industry are not the same as taking money from lobbyists or a PAC. I donated money to Obama's campaign, so by that standard he's accepted money from bed industry employees.

I see a huge difference between that and when I worked for a certain long distance company that had a PAC they strongly encouraged employees to give money to, and they flat-out told us the funds were given to politicians who supported regulation or deregulation that benefited the company. If I gave money through the PAC it definitely had strings attached, but if I donated individually to a candidate it was not on behalf of the phone company.

--Enigmatic

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Lyrhawn
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No offense Dag but, what's your point?
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Lyrhawn
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Solar City offers residents chance to get solar panels installed on homes with no money down. This is a residential version of a commercial idea. They install and own the panels on your home, and you pay a greatly reduced electricity bill, the difference of which pays the lease on your system, and you get a small kickback for yourself. The installer gets to sell excess energy to the grid (sometimes) but otherwise they become your primary energy distributor at a locked in lower rate, and they get to collect some nice tax incentives from the state and federal government.

Oil and Gas prices hit news highs as President Bush's attempts to get Saudi Arabia to increase production are rebuffed.

America's most endangered rivers.

Potatoes on the rise.

Canada may be first country to label Bisphenol A as a toxic substance. BPA is a product used in water bottles, baby bottles, and hundreds of other products. The fear stems from recent studies that show that chemicals leech from the plastics, and BPA, one of these chemicals, can cause severe developmental issues in youth and possibly cancer in older people. I heard a report about it on NPR today, and it appears the jury is still out, but many aren't taking the risk.

DyeSol invents solar windows, which use regular clear windows to generate power. Some are calling it the biggest thing in solar since the invention of the silicon wafer. They'll be available in two years says the maker, and could turn all buildings installed with them into net energy producers.

EcoGeek scored an interview with the CEO of the company that makes those new jet engine inspired wind turbines I posted about last week. FloDesign says they hope to have them to market in two years, and could easily scale up production rapidly, which only adds to their other amazing potential benefits and advantages.

President Bush today gave a big speech on climate change and his plans to fight it. I won't comment much or break it down, as frankly I don't think it's worth my time. Suffice to say he isn't going to get the job done. You can find the text yourself and read it if you want.

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AvidReader
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I think Dag had a pretty good point. Sure, McCain got twice as much oil money as Obama, but we're still only talking hundreds of thousands out of their multiple millions of dollars. That can't be a very tight string around the candidates.

I'm going to gripe a moment about the potato article.

quote:
As we move toward a reality where there simply isn't enough food to feed the world,
If I learned anything in Archaeology, it's that mankind only innovates when it has a need. Folks in marginal zones are the most likely to come up with something new because they have enough that they don't spend all their time subsistance farming but they aren't so well off that they don't need more. As we use more food, someone is going to come up with a breakthrough new farming technique, crop hybrid, miracle fertilizer, something. I seriously doubt we're going to run out of food.
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Lyrhawn
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Great River Energy HQ seeks LEED platinum certification on newly constructed building.

High price of food leads to food rationing?

Britain to be home to biggest wind turbined yet, a 7.5MW monster offshore turbine. I guess if they hope to power the whole country with these things in 20 or 30 years, they'll need something that big.

Silicon shortage may end next year, leading to lower PV system prices.

Oil man commences action on building world's largest, 4GW wind farm.

Another big breakthrough in solar silicon efficiency, this one from the Netherlands.

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Lyrhawn
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Deal of the day on Amazon is for CFLs.
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aspectre
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More on Europe's turn toward greater coal use and on America's increasing coal exports.
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aspectre
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http://www.latimes.com/news/science/environment/la-fi-fuel23apr23,1,1124725.story
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Lyrhawn
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Small scale wind gets more attention. Even presidential attention.

What living "off grid" looks like.

LA considers congestion pricing for drivers.

Oil prices could continue to soar.

XunLight, another thin film solar start up, hits it big with R&D money.

DoD's new solar plane will fly 5 years before landing.

Featured Article Sunrgi claims to have reached cost parity with coal via solar concentrators and high efficiency cells.

More later...

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Lyrhawn
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MO City becomes the first US city to power whole city from wind power.

Efficiency increaes at power plants could reduce demand by 7-11%

EPA staffers say Administrators playing politics with science and decisions.

Maryland passes first in the nation energy efficiency law.

New Ohio law could create big market for wind.

US to begin serious research and implementation of ocean bed turbines.

Oklahoma Bioenergy is planting a giant switchgrass farm.

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aspectre
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http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Mukesh_Ambanis_home_worlds_costliest/articleshow/3002586.cms
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Glenn Arnold
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One thing I wish would happen: fuel companies should be required to compute an efficiency number based on the square feet of a residence, the amount of fuel used, and the number of degree days in a year. Then homeowners would have a number they could compare, like comparing gas mileage and such.

This in partly in response to the fact that several of my neighbors are only just now realizing that their houses were built in the 1950's without a shred of insulation. I can't understand how they made it through the 1970's without insulating.

It's also partly in response to my recent discovery that gas and electric companies have apparently stopped performing energy audits on homes. It's not really worth doing, because it's expensive, and you don't come out with any more information than you could get by asking someone if their house is insulated over the phone.

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Lyrhawn
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I haven't seen anything specific, but, you might see something like that in the next 10 years. If we do get emissions legislation with the next Congress, they'll need to eke out every percent of emissions reduction they can get through efficiency, and with the rise in heating costs, they'll have stickers on them the way cars do with efficiency ratings and estimated energy costs per year. I'm betting that as the cost of energy rises more and more, such a regulation, after a couple years of haggling over the formula they'd use to actually produce it, might become something you see so home buyers have a real gauge to compare with. I'm betting that is still a ways off though.
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Lyrhawn
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Earth losing dirt (top soil) at alarming rate.
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Enigmatic
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I have a question for the green news watchers. The other day on NPR I heard a brief story about "feed-in tariffs" in some european countries and the push to do something similar here. Basically it's a law saying that if you're producing solar or wind power in your home and feeding it into the grid, the power company has to pay you for the electricity. Opponents to passing that kind of law here say that it results in higher energy prices for everyone else because the power company pays the micro-producer far more than it costs to generate the power at the power plant. In Germany they said it was seven times more.

So the question is, why not pass the feed-in tariff but just have the amount paid for feed-in power be the same or nearly the same as what the power company charges consumers for the power? Why would it have to be paying home producers more than what the end consumer is paying for it?

--Enigmatic

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Tstorm
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Greensburg rebuilding "Green" (www.cnn.com)

quote:

GREENSBURG, Kansas (CNN) -- There are still piles of bricks and rubble on countless streets in Greensburg, Kansas, a year after a tornado demolished more than 90 percent of the town.

Yet what is happening in the city's rebuilding process may not only re-invent Greensburg but provide a model for "green" building everywhere.


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Glenn Arnold
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quote:
So the question is, why not pass the feed-in tariff but just have the amount paid for feed-in power be the same or nearly the same as what the power company charges consumers for the power? Why would it have to be paying home producers more than what the end consumer is paying for it?

As I understand it, when you feed into the grid, your electric meter runs backwards. The electric company can't distinguish between someone who consumes 80% from the grid and feeds in 20%, from someone who feeds in 80% and consumes 20%. In order to do so, you'd have to feed out on one set of lines, and in on another, with two different meters.

Consequently, if you feed in to the grid, the power company only charges you for the consumption that shows on the meter, which means that when the meter runs backwards, you are actually being paid at the same rate the power company charges its regular customers.

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