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Escalating worldwide fuel prices and environmental concerns are helping to dramatically increase the demand for clean alternatives. It has become a global imperative that we break our addiction to oil. Providing for the ever increasing energy needs of the planet is going to take a wide range of alternate energy sources and green technologies are finally beginning to establish themselves in the energy mix.....a sector expected to grow tenfold within several years. The future is bright for renewable energy sources and a more sustainable world.




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Governors prod Washington on renewable energy

19 03 10 - 03:50 Governors prod Washington on renewable energy


By Mark Clayton




A group of 29 state governors has for the first time submitted to the White House and Congress a list of recommendations to implement renewable energy nationwide. The move reveals growing impatience with Washington's inability to put forward a new energy-climate bill to stimulate growth of solar and wind industry jobs. With the capitol still consumed with health care legislation and the likelihood of a national bill that combines climate and energy dimming rapidly, many states with renewable energy in their backyards are agitating for job creation from wind, solar, and biomass energy development.

In particular, they want a national renewable electricity standard in a new energy bill. Such a standard, the governors say, should set a minimum requirement for electric utilities to get at least 10 percent of their electricity from sources like solar, wind, and biopower by 2012 - that would put them on track to reach 20 percent by 2020, a target being weighed in Congress.

About half of states already have similar "portfolio standards," which vary widely. More uniform standards would, for instance, increase demand for wind, whose manufacturing base in the Midwest is substantial and growing, but still immature, according to the governors' report. Even if a new energy bill doesn't materialize, they still want their proposal considered and passed on its own merits.

"Congressional action on the energy bill seems to have stalled," said Rhode Island Gov. Donald Carcieri in a statement. "It is our hope that these recommendations - and the national bipartisan consensus they represent - will advance the energy deliberations now under way in Congress."

Other recommendations by the governors include:

Building new interstate transmission lines and infrastructure to bring renewable energy from large centralized facilities sited in remote but sunny deserts or the windy plains states to US population centers in the Midwest and East Coast.

Increasing explicit support for coastal, deep water, and offshore wind technology and transmission research and development at the Department of Energy, as well as streamlining the permitting process for locating wind farms.

Extending the Treasury Department's financing program that offers cash up front instead of the Investment Tax Credit, as well as a renewable energy production tax credit.

"To me what the governors are doing suggest there is real concern that any progress on climate and energy is getting snarled up in the notion of an all or nothing proposition," says Frank O'Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch, a Washington environmental group.

"They're saying we need to move ahead with something positive, rather than waiting for a magic solution that may not come."

Other energy experts agree that the governors' moves are timely. More than half the states now have renewable energy standards - none has ever repealed or reduced their level of commitment - and most have increased or even doubled it, says Reid Detchon, executive director of the Energy Future Coalition, a nonpartisan alliance of business, labor, and environmental groups.

"These governors coming forward like this is just one more indicator of public sentiment in favor of stronger requirements for renewable energy," he says. "People want more renewable energy. Congress can't ask for a clearer signal for what works politically than what's working at the state level." Used tags: , , , , , , ,
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Raging wildfires: Climate changes to blame for record season?

Saturday 16 July 2011 at 06:07 am Raging wildfires: Climate changes to blame for record season?


By Pete Spotts


The images are stark: soot-grimed firefighters steering bulldozers or wielding shovels to clear underbrush; curtains of orange flame tracing the contours of summits; aircraft dumping chemicals to slow a fire's progress.

Between Jan. 1 and early July of 2011, slightly more than 38,000 wildfires charred the landscape in the United States at a record pace. So far this year, wildfires have consumed just under 4.9 million acres of forest and grassland, a cumulative expanse the size of New Jersey.

That's 1 million more acres than fires consumed during the same period in 2006, which saw a record 9.9 million acres burned for the entire year.

Beyond the numbers, this year's fires may provide the first large-scale tests of the effectiveness of projects undertaken over the past decade to help forests survive wildfires, several specialists say.

The West's forests are adapted to deal with certain types of wildfires, researchers note. But since the mid-1980s, they add, some of these forests have experienced an increasing number of fires to which they are not well adapted.

Many researchers trace this shift in part to climate change. more

Hybrid Moves Into Housing

Sunday 22 May 2011 at 01:14 am Hybrid Moves Into Housing


By Brenda Krueger Huffman

(Chicago) – Recycling - Check. Conserving energy - Check. Hybrid car - Next car, check. Hybrid home system - What? Yes, it’s here. Hybrid has seamlessly, successfully moved into housing.

Safety Power, Inc. was initially started to provide homes with back up power. The company quickly grew to include renewable energy options and advising commercial and industrial clients with electrical conservation. Recently the company has come full circle and began marketing a new more capable type of renewable energy system for homes.

The award winning firm was voted one of the “Top 5 Sustainable Product Companies in Illinois” and continues to grow its residential client base in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Safety Power also serves larger firms on the national level.

Robert Brazzale, President of Safety Power, a master electrician turned entrepreneur, began Safety Power in 2007. An avid member of Local First Chicago, Rob believes in assisting sustaining local economies with green collar jobs and belongs to many green orientated groups in Chicago and around the country. more

Are electric car makers missing the trick?

Tuesday 29 March 2011 at 11:12 am Are electric car makers missing the trick?


by Martin Ott

I believe that electric car makers may be driving us all down the road that may result in the same sort of technology failures that we have seen in the past.
I'm not referring to the Sinclair scooter here but cast your mind back to the débâcle of Betamax v VHS home recording systems. The eventual winner was the technically inferior VHS but the battle was not resolved until innumerable consumers had paid out for worthless Betamax systems. Back in the 70's a similar conflict occurred over audio systems when America fell in love with the 8 track tape system that moved magnetic tape in a loop over the player head at a high speed resulting in a better sound. The world market finally dictated that the audio cassette was the way to go but not until millions of consumers had been lumbered with home and in-car systems that went down the technological cul de sac. more

Wind Turbine Manufacturer Acknowledges SGS´s Contribution towards Successful Project Completion

Tuesday 29 March 2011 at 10:57 am by Suresh Varma

The Theni Wind Farm project was developed by CLP India Pvt. Ltd., one of the major wind farm project developers in India. Located in the south western part of Tamilnadu, a southern state of the country, the facility consists of 60 Vestas V82 geared wind turbines. As recognition of its contribution towards the successful execution of this wind power project SGS received Vestas award.

Each turbine at the wind farm has a capacity of 1.65 MW IEC Class IIB machine with a blade diameter of 82 m. After a six-month long completion period, the Theni Wind Farm was officially opened in May, 2010.

Acting as contract engineer during project execution, SGS was responsible for ensuring that all activities were carried out at the site by the contractor in line with the final agreement. In doing so, SGS supervised the quality of construction works, the fulfillment of the technical parameters and kept the project within the scheduled time and contracted price. more

E.ON uses PPC's Broadband Powerline technology in smart grid project

Tuesday 29 March 2011 at 10:37 am E.ON uses PPC's Broadband Powerline technology in smart grid project

by Power Plus Communications

Mannheim - Power Plus Communications AG (PPC), the leading provider of Broadband Powerline Communication systems (BPL) for smart grids has taken on a key role within an E.ON smart grid project to facilitate an extension of Cisco's Connected Grid Solution.

E.ON Westfalen Weser AG is currently trialing smart grid technology within its network of 1.3 million inhabitants and PPC's proven medium voltage BPL solution has connected substations in the project using the existing power grid.

Using BPL technology, standard compliant and IP-based data transfer rates of 5-30 Mbit/s can easily be achieved via the medium voltage cable itself. Within E.ON’s smart grid project, PPC's medium voltage technology facilitated the extension of Cisco's Connected Grid Solution. The Cisco smart grid Router and Switches used in the project are highly compatible with BPL networks, providing a real cost advantage over fiber optic networks – which can be much more expensive where cables are not pre-existing.

By combining their technology at Westfalen Weser, PPC and Cisco have ensured the evolution of fast and efficient smart grids which are controlled on an IP basis. This increases the reliability of the power grid, fulfills regulations and drives down costs. At the same time this modern smart grids communications technology makes it possible to effectively integrate renewable energy into the grid. more

MIT Infrastructure "Life Cycle" Study is Progress Both Left & Right Can Embrace - Part 2, Fiscal Responsibility

Saturday 19 February 2011 at 09:02 am By Brenda Krueger Huffman


Chicago – Perhaps moving to the center is where we all need to be politically on the environment and effective spending compatibility. Not all green technology is crazy, and not all business profit or government expenditure is evil.

Even if you do not believe in man caused climate change, we can all agree leaving a cleaner planet and a more fiscally responsible government for the next generation is preferable to not doing so.

Perhaps green technology can be cost effective, and government fiscal responsibility may realistically include affordable green initiatives. Honest “life cycle analysis” and “life cycle cost analysis” study considerations should be a political compromise starting point both the left and the right can embrace. more

MIT Infrastructure "Life Cycle" Study is Progress Both Left & Right Can Embrace - Part 1, Green Responsibility

Saturday 19 February 2011 at 08:45 am MIT Infrastructure "Life Cycle" Study is Progress Both Left & Right Can Embrace - Part 1, Green Responsibility

By Brenda Krueger Huffman

Chicago - It’s not too often hot topics green technology and government fiscal responsibility are necessarily put together in the same sentence regarding infrastructure progress.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) formed the Concrete Sustainability Hub (CSH) in 2009 as a research center for advancing technology transfer from concrete science into the engineering practice by translating the synergy of three fields of study - economic, engineering and architecture - into a hub for concrete sustainability studies relevant to industry and decision makers.

In a December, 2010 press release, MIT announced the groundbreaking research will set a new standard for life cost analysis (LCA) with its ongoing studies producing the most comprehensive LCA model on record.

According to MIT professor and research team leader John Ochsendorf, “The life-cycle model we are developing will combine the best data on the full range of costs – construction, maintenance, reconstruction, user, direct, and indirect – with a time frame that reflects the real world life of pavements and building materials.” more

Global warming: Impact of receding snow and ice surprises scientists

Thursday 27 January 2011 at 11:05 am Global warming: Impact of receding snow and ice surprises scientists

By Pete Spotts


Washington - A long-term retreat in snow and ice cover in the Northern Hemisphere is weakening the ability of these seasonal cloaks of white to reflect sunlight back into space and cool global climate, according to a study published this week.

Indeed, over the past 30 years, the cooling effect from this so-called cryosphere – essentially areas covered by snow and ice at least part of the year – appears to have weakened at more than twice the pace projected by global climate models, the research team conducting the work estimates.

The study, which appeared online Sunday in the journal Nature Geoscience, represents a first cut at trying to calculate from direct measurements the impact of climate change on the Northern Hemisphere's cryosphere. The study was conducted by a team of federal and university scientists who examined data gathered between 1979 and 2008. more

EPA presents plan on greenhouse gases

Wednesday 05 January 2011 at 10:38 pm By Mark Clayton


Washington - Setting the stage for a New Year battle royal between Congress and the White House over greenhouse gas emissions, the US Environmental Protection Agency Thursday laid out a timetable for the nation's largest carbon emitters – power plants and refineries – to begin curbing those pollutants.

Republicans have said all year that they plan to pull out all the stops to keep the EPA from phasing in greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations beginning in 2011, saying they would damage the energy industry, raise prices, and cost jobs.

Rep. Fred Upton (R) of Michigan, the incoming chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has said he opposes the regulations on greenhouse gases and indicated he would lead efforts to revoke EPA regulations in the next Congress. The new regulations, he says, will likely lead to the shut down of coal-fired power plants.

"To protect jobs and fortify our energy security, we should be working to bring more power online, not shutting plants down," Mr. Upton said in a statement. "We are woefully unprepared to meet our nation's growing energy demands, yet this administration's 'none of the above' energy policy will do nothing but cost jobs, make energy more expensive, and increase our dependence on foreign sources of energy."

Environmentalists lauded the EPA's move. more

Supreme Court takes global warming case that targets power companies

Monday 13 December 2010 at 03:21 am By Warren Richey,


Washington - The US Supreme Court on Monday agreed to examine a major environmental lawsuit that seeks to force six electric power companies to cap and reduce their carbon-dioxide emissions to fight global warming.

The lawsuit - filed in 2004 by eight states, the City of New York, and three land trusts - targets what it claims are the largest emitters of carbon dioxide in the United States and among the largest in the world.

It seeks a judicial order declaring that the fossil-fueled power plants are a "public nuisance." It also seeks a judicial order capping the plants' greenhouse gas emissions and requiring the plants to adopt a schedule of reduced emissions in future years. more