| Google continues to invest in companies and research with the goal of producing renewable energy cheaper than coal, according to its "green energy czar." Google has touted its environmental consciousness, with CEO Eric Schmidt even pushing a national energy plan designed to cut the country’s greenhouse gas emissions nearly in half by 2030.|
Google is aiming to produce renewable energy cheaper than coal, both through its own research and by investing in outside companies, with the goal of having such a system operational within a few years.
"In, you know, three years, we could have multiple megawatts of plants out there," Bill Weihl, green energy czar for Google, said in an interview with Reuters. "We’ll see whether we or us in combination with other people are prepared to fund much, much bigger facilities, or if we want to get a few more years’ experience before we really start to scale it up."
Google has invested in advanced geothermal, wind and solar thermal; the latter involves concentrating solar energy via mirrors in order to power steam-turbines.Read the Full Article Here:
Thursday, June 11, 2009
By: John Myers, Duluth News Tribune
Building and installing wind generators and solar panels, replacing inefficient windows and lighting and insulating homes are among the fastest-growing sectors of the U.S. economy, according to a report by the Pew Charitable Trusts.
The nonprofit group on Wednesday released the results from a national study that shows U.S. “clean-energy jobs’’ grew 9.1 percent between 1998 and 2007, much faster than the overall national job growth of 3.7 percent.
The study found that in 2007 there were 770,000 jobs at more than 68,200 businesses across the U.S. under the definition of clean energy. That compares to about 1.27 million people working in fossil fuel-related businesses such as coal mining and oil refining.
In Minnesota, the study found that clean-energy jobs grew 11.9 percent between 1998 and 2007, six times faster than the state’s overall job growth of 1.9 percent.
The report said green-energy job growth certainly slowed with the overall economy in 2008, for which employment statistics aren’t yet available, but probably kept its lead over other sectors.
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Monday, June 1, 2009
By Peter Pae
May 29, 2009
Just past Barstow on Interstate 15, Las Vegas-bound travelers can eye a tower resembling a lighthouse rising out of the desert encircled by more than 1,800 mirrors the size of billboards.
The complex is often mistaken for a science fiction movie set, but it is actually a power plant that once used molten salt, water and the sun's heat to produce electricity.
The Santa Monica-based energy firm SolarReserve has licensed the technology, developed by engineers at Rocketdyne.
"Molten salt is the secret sauce," said SolarReserve President Terry Murphy.
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The 30-kilowatt photovoltaic array was made possible by a combination of donated labor and materials, and a program created by the Nevada State Legislature to encourage Nevadans to use renewable energy.
A dedication ceremony took place Friday.
Labor and materials were donated by the nonprofit Black Rock Solar, and costs for the solar panels were offset by a $138,000 rebate from the SolarGenerations program, which is managed statewide by NV Energy.
The panels were installed on the ground in a fenced area next to the clinic and are expected to generate approximately 60,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year, or roughly half the clinic’s annual electricity consumption. This will reduce the clinic’s annual electric bill by approximately $7,200 or $180,000 over the expected 25-year life of the panels, said John Hargrove, project manager for SolarGenerations.
Since the start of the program six years ago, over 2 megawatts of solar energy have been installed statewide, and over $8 million in financial incentives has been paid out.
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Innovation is a quick way of getting an economy back on its feet, and a Bellingham company seems to be doing its part in Arizona.
A couple of weeks ago Alpha Technologies president Drew Zogby gave a presentation at a Technology Alliance Group of Northwest Washington monthly meeting. He focused his talk on Alpha Energy, which has been busy installing solar power projects in Arizona. Several of the company's projects include parking structures, as the company has been able to show how those structures can become a profit center for cities and businesses that build them.
Zogby showed pictures of some the parking structures, and it immediately became clear how his company's equipment would be helpful for the owner over the long term. In one project, the equipment was installed on the top of the structure, which is a good use of space because no one would even consider parking a car on the roof most of the year, baking in the Arizona sun.
Read Full Article Here:http://www.bellinghamherald.com/602/story/928834.html
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
By Tom Wilber • firstname.lastname@example.org • Staff Writer • May 25, 2009
After a gloomy start, the clouds are clearing over the state's solar energy industry.
Technological advances, a born-again green movement, and state and federal incentives have boosted the alternative energy market closer to the mainstream.
The rate of installations has nearly tripled in the last year, owing to several factors. They include a state law enabling commercial solar electric users to get credit on their utility bills for pumping surplus energy into the grid. The law has existed for residential solar customers for a decade or so. The practice, known as net metering, solves one of solar energy's biggest limitations - adapting to energy peaks and valleys out of sync with solar production.
Since the beginning of the year, 822 solar voltaic units have been installed statewide, most of them residential, according to figures from the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority. That has already exceeded 670 units installed for all of 2008.Maybe not a boom, but perhaps a boomlet.
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Taking the podium at Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, Arizona Public Service President and Chief Operating Officer Don Robinson said the giant solar plant will produce enough electricity to power more than 73,000 APS customer homes.
The event at ASU was the final stop on the utility's first solar tour of Arizona, staged to bring the message that APS is on the way to providing more solar electricity per customer than any other U.S. utility.
"It's always special to hit the road and get to meet the people in our state who are so committed to a better, sunnier, greener and cleaner Arizona," said Robinson, "We share a common passion for renewable energy here at APS."
Robinson said the utility wants to help make sunny Arizona the "solar capital of the world."
Scheduled for completion in 2013, the new solar power plant, dubbed Starwood Solar I, will be owned by an affiliate of Starwood Energy Group Global. All the electricity generated by the facility will be provided to Arizona Public Service through a long-term purchase power agreement.
Read The Full Article Here:http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/may2009/2009-05-25-091.asp
Many Redlanders turned out Wednesday to a Homeowner Solar Installation Seminar hosted by Southern California Edison.
"This turnout is unbelievable. You are breaking a record for a city of this size," said Edison representative Javier Burgos.
The more than 200 attendees can thank Mayor Jon Harrison for ensuring the seminar came to Redlands.
"He is the first mayor ever to approach me," said Edison public affairs representative Beverly Powell. "This information session was in the planning stages to go to another city and he wrestled it away."
Harrison is a member of the Climate Action Task Force, a green-visioning group. Already Redlands has more than one megawatt of solar installed. Nearly 800 kW were installed in 63 installations through the end of 2008. In 2009, the city broke the one megawatt mark with the installation of 533 kW on the headquarters of ESRI.
"We're already on our way," Harrison said.
Read Full Article Here:http://www.redlandsdailyfacts.com/business/ci_12448152
By 2020, Chinese government is committed to raising the share of renewable energy in the energy mix to 6%
China is to throw its economic might behind a national solar power plan that could result in it becoming one of the world's biggest harvesters of the sun's energy.
The government body responsible for overseeing energy policy has finalised a proposal for billions of pounds of incentives for solar farms and rooftop panels, which will come from the government's £400bn economic stimulus fund.
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Wednesday, April 1, 2009
The idea dates back to the 1970s when the Department of Energy was actively studying the feasibility of beaming solar power to earth from panels connected to satellites in space. The project uses huge orbiting panels or solar arrays that continuously remain in the path of the Sun’s rays and beam megawatt after megawatt of energy back to earth.
The SBSP project is set to launch by the government in 2016. Thereafter, the Pentagon is hopeful that it can lure the private sector into the market with the promise of profitability.One company, Solar Energy Inc., is already on board and plans to provide SBSP for commercial use within 10 years. One of the main reasons SBSP didn’t take off in the 1970’s was because it was assumed that the price tag for such a venture would be astronomical. But the sheer profitability of SBSP and the overwhelming need for alternative sources of energy has made the project worth the initial $10 billion price tag.
When the program is finally launched, large solar arrays will send their solar bounties via microwave beams back down to earth. Back on earth, mesh receivers placed over farmland and other designated locations will funnel the power into the nation’s electric grid and into people’s homes.
From the article:
Space-based solar power
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The first of these is a new program implemented by the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission available to all PNM and El Paso Electric customers. Currently, if an individual installs a solar system on their home, the electricity provider will pay the individual $0.13 per kilowatt hour (the unit used to measure electricity) for all energy produced by the solar system. These payments are not for the actual energy, but for a renewable energy certificate (REC), the vehicle by which the state is asking companies to incentivize the use of renewable energy. These REC payments are in addition to the benefit that customers already receive through net metering, the process by which the electric company credits the customer for the energy produced by their solar system. So, if you buy a solar system for your home, large electric companies will send you a check every month for the power your system is producing.
On top of these provisions, there are three solar tax incentives offered by both the federal and state governments. Effective at the beginning of 2009, you can count 30 percent of the total cost of any solar system as a credit against your federal taxes. Next, the New Mexico Legislature just passed a bill that provides a 10 percent state tax credit on top of the federal credit, bringing the total state tax credit up to 40 percent. Finally, if you purchase a solar system you will not pay any state gross receipts taxes on it.
From the article:
New programs make solar energy a good investment
Bill McCamley and Mark Westbrock
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Understanding the Cost of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Starts with the Cost of Doing Nothing
From the Article:
Understanding the Cost of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy Starts with the Cost of Doing Nothing
By James Fenton
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Ian Bowles, secretary of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, said more than 50 potential projects have been identified, including the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center and a waste-water treatment plant in Pittsfield. They would be built using money from several federal programs: the State Energy Program, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program, and the State Revolving Fund for Clean Water and Drinking Water. State officials estimate that anywhere from $40 million to $100 million could be made available.
"This is the solar big bang," Bowles said. "This procurement alone would more than double the amount of solar installed in the Commonwealth."
James W. Hunt III, Boston's chief of environmental and energy services, said anything that can be done to increase the use of solar energy is a good thing.
"The city, the state, the BCEC have all been targeting what's the most cost effective way to deploy large-scale solar installations to reduce energy cost, reduce carbon impact, and put people back to work," he said.
The state unveiled its plans the same day the US Department of Energy said Massachusetts communities will receive a combined $42.2 million for energy efficiency and conservation projects through the federal block grant program funded by the stimulus bill.
From the article:
Mass. seeks to increase solar power
By Erin Ailworth
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This question has long confused me because the facts seem so contradictory. To begin with, consider the following statement by the Department of Energy: Enough solar energy falls to the Earth every hour to meet human energy needs for an entire year. The DOE goes on to add that, "PV technology can meet electricity demand on any scale. The solar energy resource in a 100-mile-square area of Nevada could supply the United States with all its electricity about 800 gigawatts using modestly efficient 10 percent commercial PV modules."
That being said, the answer is still true. Recent assessments by the DOE state that the solar industry does not have the capacity to manufacture and install enough solar panels to satiate the world's desire for energy, predicting pre-Obama stimulus package that solar energy will provide 10 percent of U.S. electricity needs by the year 2030.
Brian Anderson, principal of Anderson Solar Controls, believes we can do better. A local energy services provider who focuses both on solar energy and efficiency solutions through smart-home control systems, Anderson supports Sen. Joe Simitian's call for 33 percent of our utilities to come from renewable sources by 2020.
According to Anderson, what may have seemed impossible just months ago, when large investor-based projects and an attractive overseas market led to a nationwide shortage of panels, now seems quite feasible. With solar manufacturers ramping up production to meet perceived increased demand after the new tax breaks for solar installation came into effect, there is a current glut of solar panels on the market -- solar panels that Anderson believes we should be putting to use to help solve the nation's energy issues.
From the article:
Go Green, Jennifer Parrish, March 29, 2009: Shedding light on solar panels
By Jennifer Parrish
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Sunday, March 22, 2009
BY Aaron Dohogne
For almost two weeks, solar energy has been sold by Columbia Water and Light to its electric customers willing to buy it at $48 yearly subscriptions. The city is selling solar-generated electricity to 32 households and about 125 additional households are on a waiting list.
Two solar collectors have been constructed in the city. One, located on city property off Bernadette Drive and Tiger Lane is generating electricity. Quaker Oats on Route B has also installed a solar collector on its roof, and hopes to begin producing electricity in five to seven days, said Ray Magruder, the health, safety and environmental manager at Quaker Oats.
The solar collectors are the result of a program, called Solar One, developed between Columbia and private businesses. The goals of the program are to help the city produce renewable energy, and by 2023, for 1 percent of Columbia’s electricity to be provided by solar energy, according to the Solar One Web site.
Every year, the city has planned to receive 70 100-kilowatt hour blocks from the Bernadette solar collector and the Quaker Oats solar collector, but some customers are buying more than one block, said Connie Kacprowicz, spokeswoman for Columbia Water and Light.
So far, the city has sold 51 of the 70 blocks available from the Bernadette station. The collector at Quaker Oats is expected to provide an additional 70 blocks.
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