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Ever volatile fuel prices, security of supply, renewable energy cost reductions and environmental-climate concerns are dramatically accelerating the demand for greener alternatives.

It has become a global imperative that we break our addiction to fossil fuels. Providing for the ever increasing energy and transportation needs of the planet is going to take a wide range of alternative energy sources, cleaner fuels, the smart grid and advanced storage solutions.

These technologies are finally establishing themselves in the energy mix and becoming mainstream .....an emerging multi trillion dollar market rapidly becoming one of the most significant industrial sectors this century. The future is bright for renewable energy sources and a greener sustainable world.

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Under Obama energy plan, cars would be cleaner but costlier

28 01 09 - 10:37 Under Obama energy plan, cars would be cleaner but costlier



By Mark Trumbull and Daniel B. Wood





Boston and Los Angeles - President Obama's first big push for US energy independence - centered on tougher fuel-efficiency standards - is likely to impose new costs on an already reeling auto industry, consumers, and probably taxpayers.

But his moves on Monday, which come amid a growing consensus that America needs to radically revamp the way it uses energy, may have an upside, too. For one, they may help Detroit drive faster down an inevitable road toward efficiency. The resulting retooling of factories, too, may have some stimulative effect on a struggling economy. But the moves will also take an economic toll, analysts say, as consumers face higher prices for cars and as taxpayers may be asked to spend additional dollars to transform an ailing but important US industry.

Mr. Obama called for prompt implementation of federal fuel-economy standards enacted under President Bush, so that improvements kick in with the 2011 model year. Carmaker fleets are slated to rise to an average fuel economy of 35 miles per gallon by 2020.

In an important reversal of Bush administration policy, he also said his administration will reconsider a waiver request by California and 13 other states to set their own standards on emissions - including greenhouse gases.

The president put the moves in a global context by pledging to work with other nations to secure the benefits that energy efficiency can bring to economies and the environment, as well as realize the advantages of reducing oil revenues to dictators and terrorists.

"The train has left the station. The debate isn't really whether this [push for clean energy] is going to happen or not," says Rebecca Lindland, an auto industry analyst at IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Mass. "The problem is ... the financial burden that it will put on consumers. It will make vehicles more expensive."

Obama himself cited concern that the auto industry, already in a precarious state, not be harmed by moves on behalf of energy security and the environment.

For all their avowals of interest in helping the environment, potential car buyers may not have several thousand dollars extra to spend on a more efficient vehicle, Ms. Lindland says. If sales aren't strong, this transformation of Detroit might hobble the industry instead of saving it.

Left unsaid by Obama, for now, was anything about the size and nature of more federal help for carmakers. Two of the three big Detroit-based carmakers, General Motors and Chrysler, recently received an emergency credit line of $17.4 billion to avoid bankruptcy. So far Ford has not sought federal aid.

The loans are contingent on the carmakers coming up with plans for long-term viability by March 31, with an interim report due in February. From its inception last month, this rescue bid was seen as merely the first step toward what will likely be more federal aid.

The industry has been battered by recession and volatile fuel prices, with sales plunging from a 16-million-vehicles-per-year pace to 10 million per year in recent months.

During the presidential campaign, Obama talked of a bargain between Washington and Detroit: If automakers shifted toward a green future, he said, government would help with the big costs they face, such as healthcare for workers.

Monday's initiatives by Obama come as Americans are still reeling from last summer's bout with $4-a-gallon gasoline, and when momentum to take significant action on global warming is rising. Both major-party presidential candidates called for bold new policies on energy and climate change.

Presidents going back to Richard Nixon have promised to wean America from imported oil - and failed. "America has arrived at a crossroads," Obama said Monday, and must act now even though the recession has caused oil prices to drop sharply from their 2008 highs.

The move, he said, would help pull America out of recession, as the administration's wider push for energy efficiency would create an expected 460,000 jobs.

David Yarnold, executive director of the Environmental Defense Fund, praised Obama's approach to the issue. "There is an emerging consensus that we need to build a new economy that creates jobs and protects our environment," he said.

Lindland notes that last year barely more than 2 percent of all vehicles sold were energy-efficient gas-electric hybrids.

That suggests it may be optimistic to see big changes in US fleets starting in 2011 model year, as Obama outlined. Obama said it is vital "to work with, not against, states" on automotive regulation.

The Clean Air Act gives California special authority to regulate vehicle pollution because the state began regulating such pollution before the federal government got into the act.

But a federal waiver is still required; if the waiver is granted, other states can choose to adopt California's standard or the federal one.

In 2007 the Bush administration's Environmental Protection Agency denied California's waiver request, gaining praise from the auto industry but touching off a storm of investigations and lawsuits from Democrats and environmental groups, who contended that the denial was based on political instead of scientific reasons.

In his executive order Monday, Obama directed the EPA to reexamine the decision. That does not yet overturn anything. But states that want their own power consider it a victory.

California estimates that by 2020, greenhouse emissions could be cut by 18 percent in the state through available engine technologies, cleaner fuels, and mitigation of air conditioning emissions, the Environmental Defense Fund says. Used tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Sandblasting is effective cost saving and messy.
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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

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

Outside Cancun climate conference, Caribbean Sea testifies to global warming

Monday 13 December 2010 at 03:09 am By Ezra Fieser,


Bayahibe, Dominican Republic - This summer's extreme heat may seem like a distant memory as winter approaches the United States.

But the summer that broke heat records across the Northern Hemisphere is still being felt below the surface of the Caribbean Sea: 2010 will likely be one of the most deadly years on record for coral reefs.

If diplomats attending the two-week global climate change talks that opened Monday in Cancun, Mexico, want more evidence of the negative and potentially devastating affects of warming temperatures, they need look no further than the blue sea outside their hotels. Researchers say that throughout the Caribbean coral reefs are "bleaching," a condition that occurs when they are under extreme stress due to warmer-than-normal sea temperatures. more