Happy Friday! As usual, SmartPower presents your weekly #SmartReads with all the latest in clean energy, electric vehicle and general green news. Please share the stories we’ve missed with us on Twitter at @SmartPower_org using the hashtag #SmartReads.
Forbes: Coal-Fired Carbon Emissions Fall As Transition To Cleaner Energy Accelerates — It’s been a long hot summer of cataclysmic environmental events – drought, derecho, half of India in the dark – but here’s some good news: Thanks to cheap natural gas and a boom in renewable energy, the U.S. is accelerating a shift away from coal-fired power plants, resulting in falling emissions of carbon dioxide and other harmful pollutants, according to a report released Tuesday. [July 31, 2012]
WESTFAIR Online: As Conn. “solarizes,” N.J. reaches milestone — Under a new zero-emissions renewable energy credit (ZREC) program and companion low-emissions (LREC) program, Connecticut plans to parse out more than $1 billion in funding to promote renewable energy systems over two decades. [August 3, 2012]
Bloomberg Business Week: Facebook Says 23 Percent of Data-Center Power is Green — Facebook Inc. (FB) (FB), owner of the world’s largest online social network, derived almost one-fourth of its energy for data centers from clean and renewable sources last year. [August 1, 2012]
Science Daily: Renewable Energy Potential in Every U.S. State, Study Shows — A new study of renewable energy’s technical potential finds that every state in the United States has the space and resource to generate clean energy. [August 1, 2012]
CBS News: First Solar profit surges on construction activity — First Solar, one of the world’s biggest solar panel manufacturers and developers, reported an 82 percent jump in net income as the construction of major solar projects in the U.S. Southwest ramped up. [August 1, 2012]
Philadelphia Inquirer: ECOtality offers free electric-car-charging stations — A California company, infused with millions of federal dollars, is offering to install free charging stations in the homes of some Philadelphia-area owners of electric vehicles. [August 2, 2012]
San Francisco Chronicle: Green’s Sharp Design Move: Sunshades — Visual evidence of the quest for sustainable design can be seen on our landscape in more and more ways, from solar panels and rooftop vegetation to the lobby displays that tout a building’s “green” features. [July 31, 2012]
SmartPress: George Stephanopoulos Endorses Green Is Good — Good Morning America’s George Stephanopoulos has endorsed SmartPower President Brian F. Keane’s book, Green Is Good, giving it the editorial review, “Green is good—and Keane is Green!” [August 3, 2012]
We’re in the heat of summer and SmartReads is keeping it cool with the latest clean energy and energy efficiency news. Take a look at this week’s top energy stories and tweet your favorites to @SmartPower_org using the hashtag #SmartReads!
Fairfield Daily Voice: Program Offers Solar Power Discount To Fairfield - Fairfield homeowners now have the chance to add more solar-powered electricity to their homes for cheaper prices. Fairfield is one of four towns chosen to test-run Solarize Connecticut, a new green energy program. [July 24, 2012]
Westport News: Westport Chosen for Solar Program - ”This is to bear proof to the markets that aggregating customer demand for residential PV installation will result in real cost savings,” authority spokesman David Goldberg said. [July 26, 2012]
Department of Energy: All Eyes on Eastport: Tidal Energy Project Brings Change, Opportunity to Local Community - In Eastport, Maine, people are gathering to celebrate a project that will harness the power of the massive tides of Cobscook Bay to generate clean electricity. [July 24, 2012]
Knovel: Transparent Solar Cells Could Make Windows Into A Power Source - Over the past few years, the U.S. has already become a growing player in the solar energy industry, with states like New Jersey and California seeing solar panels cropping up on rooftops from houses to warehouses. [July 24, 2012]
POLITICO: Things Are Looking Up for EVs — “Plug-in electric vehicle sales continue to increase, with sales growth outpacing that of gasoline hybrid electric vehicles when they were first introduced. We expect to see this trend continue, as several new vehicle models were introduced earlier this year, providing additional choices for consumers considering electric drive vehicles.” [July 26, 2012]
The New York Times: Money Helps Miss. Colleges Cut Energy Usage - Three Mississippi universities will share in a $725,000 Department of Energy grant to develop programs to reduce energy consumption 20 percent by 2020. [July 26, 2012]
The Wall Street Journal: EU Solar Firms Seek Tariffs on China - European solar-panel makers on Tuesday filed a confidential complaint with European authorities seeking import tariffs on Chinese-made panels, opening a new front in the battle between the West and China over trade in renewable-energy products. [July 24, 2012]
The New York Times: Save Energy, Win a Prize - With temperatures hovering near a sweaty 100 degrees in recent weeks, the nation’s electric utilities have been taking to Facebook and Twitter, urging customers to conserve energy in the hopes of avoiding blackouts and other strains on the system. [July 23, 2012]
We know you can’t catch every article during your busy work schedule so we’ve consolidated the week’s top articles for you in one easy list. Share your favorite energy, environmental and efficiency news with us on Twitter using the hashtag #SmartReads.
Grist: Some like it hot (or cold): How weather affects carbon emissions — We need more nuanced ways of figuring out which countries are doing well on carbon. A new paper offers emissions rankings that take local climate into account. [June 21, 2012]
Bloomberg: Chinese Silicon Makers Said To Seek Duties On U.S. Rivals — Chinese polysilicon makers are pressing their government to impose duties on U.S. imports, a move to drive up prices for competing supplies of the material used in solar panels, four people familiar with the issue said. [June 21, 2012]
The Wall Street Journal: Power To More People — Africa may be about to get a whole lot more power. Some of the world’s biggest energy companies are thinking on a much grander scale. They’re conducting projects to test the viability—and marketability—of solar-powered systems to provide electricity for lighting and other purposes in villages all over Africa. [June 18, 2012]
The Wall Street Journal: First the iPhone. Now renewables. — A Japanese telecommunications magnate has ambitious plans to remake the country’s energy production. [June 18, 2012]
The Wall Street Journal: The Enlightened Classroom — Solar power has long been touted for its environmental impact. But now it has a new role: saving teachers’ jobs. [June 18, 2012]
NREL: PV for All: Low-Income Housing Residents Going Solar — Low-income housing developments have historically avoided going solar due to the obvious difficulties of incorporating high-cost, discretionary photovoltaic (PV) systems into affordable housing. However, a unique mix of local, utility, and federal support combined with a little financial creativity allowed a community in Colorado to demonstrate the application of PV into a low-income housing program. [June 18, 2012]
The New York Times: EBay Plans Data Center That Will Run on Alternative Energy Fuel Cells — EBay plans to build a data center to handle its billions of dollars in retail transactions that will draw its power from alternative energy fuel cells rather than the national power grid, which is heavily dependent on coal plants. [June 20, 2012]
Solar Daily: Sunrise Global Solar Energy reached 19.65 percent cell efficiency — Sunrise Global Solar Energy (Sunrise) has recently achieved a breakthrough for industrial grade p-type Cz solar cells. A peak efficiency of 19.65% was achieved in pilot production by combining Sunrise’s advanced fabrication techniques and a special plating method. [June 21, 2012]
Forbes: An All-Electric Ford Mustang Shelby GT500? — Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford and other top executives flew into California Monday for the official launch of the automaker’s new Silicon Valley technology research lab. At an event at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View near the Googleplex, Ford rolled out more than a dozen electric, plug-in hybrid and hybrid cars that are hitting the market this year. [June 20, 2012]
Catch the latest in this week’s clean energy and energy efficiency news, and share your favorite energy articles with us on Twitter using the hashtag #SmartReads.
Grist: The truth about renewable energy - Inexpensive, reliable, and inexhaustible – We’ve all heard the common myths about renewable energy: It’s expensive; it can’t be relied upon; there just isn’t enough of it to meet our energy needs. But as technological advances and plummeting costs drive explosive growth — U.S. installed wind capacity has grown sevenfold to nearly 47 gigawatts in the last seven years — real-world experience is shattering long-held assumptions every day. [May 29, 2012]
San Jose Mercury: California poised to require ‘solar ready roofs’ on new homes and buildings – State regulators with the California Energy Commission are expected to approve stringent energy efficiency standards for new residential and commercial buildings Thursday. [May 30, 2012]
Reuters: Germany sets new solar power record, institute says – German solar power plants produced a world record 22 gigawatts of electricity - equal to 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity - through the midday hours on Friday and Saturday, the head of a renewable energy think tank said. [May 28, 2012]
Boston.com: Solar energy industry is flourishing in Massachusetts – Massachusetts is no California when it comes to sun. But that isn’t stopping the solar energy industry from flourishing here. [May 27, 2012]
TreeHugger: Last Weekend, Half of Germany Was Running on Solar Power – Here’s how they did it, and how we can too [May 28, 2012]
Technology Review: In Pictures: The World’s Largest Solar Thermal Power Plant – The outlines of a massive solar thermal power plant—the largest ever—are starting to appear in the wilderness outside of Las Vegas. The $2.2 billion project, which is being built by Oakland, California-based BrightSource, stretches over 3,600 acres near Ivanpah, California. When it’s finished, it will generate 370 megawatts of electricity on sunny days. [May 28, 2012]
The Hill: Senate charges up electric cars, clears energy nominees – The Senate approved a plan late Thursday that would make it easier for lawmakers and staff to drive plug-in electric vehicles to work. [May 25, 2012]
Newsday: Nissan electric vehicles tested in New York – Nissan is supplying New York City with fuel-efficient cabs, including six electric cars for testing, but acknowledged uncertainties Tuesday about an ongoing “debate” over charging standards for electric vehicles. [May 29, 2012]
Nine MSN: Tesla to launch electric sedan in US – Tesla Motors says it will begin deliveries of “the world’s first premium electric sedan” on June 22, slightly ahead of schedule. [May 27, 2012]
Earth Techling: Nissan’s Next Electric Vehicle Frontier The e-NV200 – Nissan, looking to push further into the electric vehicle market it currently inhabits with its Leaf passenger vehicle, is next aiming for the light commercial vehicles space via its new e-NV200. It is being built in Barcelona, Spain, and will begin production there in the 2013 financial year. [May 25, 2012]
Mansfield-Storrs Patch: Mansfield Schools Take on Energy Challenge – Southeast Elementary and the Green Thumbs Club helped the Neighbor to Neighbor Energy Challenge celebrate Earth Month in April by hosting joint-assemblies with Vinton Elementary and Goodwin Elementary Schools. [May 30, 2012]
We know you can’t catch every article during your busy week, so we’ve consolidated the recent top energy news stories for you in one easy list. Share your favorite energy, environment and efficiency articles with us on Twitter using the hashtag #SmartReads.
Forbes: Solar Power More Competitive Than Decision-Makers Or Consumers Realize – Are the decision-makers entrusted with determining the future of energy infrastructure operating under an outdated understanding of the cost-competitiveness of solar power? In many cases, the answer is yes, according to a paper released last week by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). [May 24, 2012]
Boston.com: Connecticut subsidies seen spurring home solar power – Installing solar panels could cost, on average, $35,000, according to a state energy agency spokesman. [May 20, 2012]
TreeHugger: Solar Backpacks to Charge Marines in the Field – In an effort to reduce the energy supply needs and lessen the risks of U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) forward deployed forces, researchers at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) have prototyped and are field-testing one solution: A mobile solar power pack, with high efficiency, flexible solar cells coupled to a high capacity rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack. [May 24, 2012]
Boston Herald: Obama calls for keeping production tax credit to save clean-energy jobs – From a wind-power factory in this battleground state, President Barack Obama urged Congress to extend tax credits he said would save jobs in the field of clean-energy production. [May 24, 2012]
Huffington Post: Saudi Arabia Eyes Solar Power For Future – Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, may finally be getting serious about overcoming the technical and financial hurdles for tapping its other main resource: sunshine. [May 23, 2012]
Earth Techling: Robot To Wash Solar Panels Among Winning Student Inventions – Students took home $200,000 in prizes for green ideas at an awards ceremony recently held at California Institute of Technology for a Department of Energy competition. [May 19, 2012]
SmartPlanet: All-in-one ‘V-Pole’ charges electric cars, lights the street – Who says a street lamp should just light our city streets?… At the top of the pole there’s an LED street light, and built into the pole there’s Wi-Fi, technology to wirelessly charge your electric car, and cell phone infrastructure [May 25, 2012]
Los Angeles Times: Nissan Leaf’s U.S. sales may jump after production starts here – Nissan sold just 370 Leaf electric vehicles in the U.S. last month and only 2,103 so far this year. To put this in perspective, the U.S. auto industry has sold almost 4.7-million vehicles this year. But as Andy Palmer, executive vice president of Nissan’s Yokohama, Japan-based global operations, notes, the U.S. sales numbers don’t provide much of a marker for the success of the first mass-market electric car in several generations. [May 24, 2012]
New York Times: Cramming for Degrees in Hybrids – LIKE many college students, Katherine Bovee, a master’s degree candidate at Ohio State University in Columbus, struggled to find a focus for her undergraduate studies. Wanting to sample a broad range of possibilities, she enrolled in a mechanical engineering program. [May 18, 2012]
Los Angeles Times: Consumer Reports: Car buyers care most about fuel economy – Fuel economy is the top feature buyers consider when shopping for a new car, according to a recent survey by Consumer Reports. [May 22, 2012]
East Hampton-Portland Patch: Neighbor to Neighbor Energy Challenge Rewards Resident for Early Action – Last week, the Neighbor to Neighbor Energy Challenge performed a free LED lighting upgrade — worth more than $1,000 — for raffle winner and East Hampton resident Jamie Owen. [May 21, 2012]
In this week’s SmartReads, read about the countries, companies and entrepreneurs continuing to advance clean energy projects across the world. Share your favorite energy, environment and efficiency stories with us on Twitter using the hashtag #SmartReads.
Bloomberg: Solar Power Prices More Competitive Than Thought – Power from solar panels is much closer to price competitiveness with fossil fuel-generated electricity than many policy-makers and investors realize, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. [May 16, 2012]
Reuters: Asia to overtake Europe as global solar power grows – The world’s solar power generating capacity will grow by between 200 and 400 percent over the next five years, with Asia and other emerging markets overtaking leadership from Europe, a European industry association said on Monday. [May 7, 2012]
Forbes: Saudi Arabia Plans $109 Billion Boost for Solar Power – Saudi Arabia is seeking investors for a $109 billion plan to create a solar industry that generates a third of the nation’s electricity by 2032, according to officials at the agency developing the plan. [May 11, 2012]
Reuters: Mexican wind energy boom plays out on gusty shores – On an arid plain where sudden gusts of wind can rip roofs off buildings and knock over tractor trailers, Mexico is building a new engine for its energy future. [May 14, 2012]
Forbes: Sean Tufts: Ex-NFL Linebacker now Tackling Wind Energy Projects – Remote sites for potential wind farms are not exactly the types of fields you picture a retired NFL linebacker scouting. But Sean Tufts is not your typical retired football player. Nor is he your classic promoter of wind energy as the nation’s primary source of renewable energy. [May 15, 2012]
AOL Energy: Geothermal, Solar Power Unite In First Of Its Kind Facility – U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu earlier this month heralded the creation of a new geothermal-solar power plant in Fallon, Nevada, which he said was “the first of its kind in the world.” [May 16, 2012]
Boston.com: Walmart to install solar panels on 27 stores in Mass. – Retail giant Walmart said it plans to install solar panels on top of about half of its roughly 50 Massachusetts stores as early as August as part of an expansion of solar power in the state. [May 15, 2012]
Forbes: The Global Electric Vehicle Movement: Best Practices From 16 Cities – Global leaders want to have 20 million electric vehicles (EVs) on the road worldwide by 2020. Last year, some 40,000 EVs and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) were sold around the world. [May 11, 2012]
Bloomberg: Ferrari Plans to Replace Iconic Enzo With Super Hybrid –Ferrari SpA will turn to fuel-saving hybrid technology to create its most powerful and expensive model, showing that even elite performance cars are under pressure to get greener. [May 14, 2012]
Business Insider via Houston Chronicle: Ford Is Finally Putting A Focus On Electric Cars – After test-driving the soon-to-go-on-sale Ford Focus Electric at a promotional event downtown on Thursday, Matt Hrna was impressed with its quick acceleration. [May 15, 2012]
Daily Pound Ridge: Program Aims to Make Pound Ridge a Little Greener – Homeowners in Pound Ridge now have opportunity to make their houses more energy-efficient and save some money on their utility bills, all while making the town a little greener. [May 13, 2012]
Fox Business: Gadgets that Zap Energy Wasters in Your Home – Common problems like leaky windows, drafty doors and power-hogging appliances can waste energy in your home and lead to unnecessarily-high utility bills. [May 16, 2012]
TBD: Washington, D.C. now sports 1,360 LED street lights in its alleyways – Mayor Vince Gray will venture into a Columbia Heights alleyway to replace the last of about 1,360 old alley street lights with newer energy-efficient LED lights expected to save 591,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a year as well as reduce carbon-dioxide emissions by 719 tons. [May 14, 2012]
FRIENDS OF SMARTPOWER
Hartford Courant: Keri Marries Kerry After A Long, Adventurous Friendship – Check out this story about Former SmartPower employee Keri Enright! [May 13, 2012]
We know you can’t catch every article during your busy work week, so we’ve consolidated the week’s top articles for you in one easy list. Share your favorite energy, environmental and efficiency related articles with us on Twitter using the hashtag #SmartReads.
CLEAN & RENEWABLE ENERGY
Huffington Post: Earth Day Energy Quiz Yields Alarming Results – Rather than telling people how to be more energy efficient this Earth Day, SmartPower decided to test consumers’ knowledge of energy efficiency with a 10-question quiz. Instead of receiving the varied results we expected, we noticed that there were some surprisingly common incorrect answers. [April 25, 2012]
Market Watch: New Data Shows 97% of Americans Overestimate the Cost of Installing Solar Panels – Sunrun, the nation’s largest home solar company, today announced results of a nationwide poll assessing Americans’ beliefs about the desirability and costs of installing a home solar system. Among the results is data indicating 97% of Americans overestimate the cost of going solar, while nearly 8 out of 10 of those who do not already have solar panels say they would install solar if cost were not a factor. [April 25, 2012]
CNN: Turning up the heat to drive down carbon emissions and energy bills – It’s an illuminating idea which its creators hope will help drive up energy efficiency and bring down buildings’ carbon emissions. Mixing the idea of Google’s Street View with multi-spectral thermal camera technology, Massachusetts-based startup Essess is building a giant database mapping residential and commercial properties in the U.S. [April 24, 2012]
Phoenix Business Journal: APS listed as top solar energy developer – Arizona Public Service Co. landed third on a list of the nation’s top ten utility developers of solar power in 2011, according to a report by the Solar Electric Power Association. [April 22, 2012]
Yahoo!: NRG Energy, MidAmerican Solar and First Solar Celebrate 100 MW Milestone for 290 MW Agua Caliente Solar Project – Representatives from NRG Energy, Inc. (NRG - News), MidAmerican Solar and First Solar, Inc. (FSLR - News) gathered with federal and local officials today at the 290 megawatt (AC) Agua Caliente solar project in Yuma County, Ariz., to celebrate the project’s first 100 megawatts (MW) being delivered to the grid, making it North America’s largest photovoltaic (PV) power plant in operation. [April 25, 2012]
POLITICO: Chevy Volt a charged issue – About 15 months after the Volt and Nissan Leaf hit the market, dealers have reported selling about 23,300 cars of both models. By comparison, it took Toyota five years to reach the same figure with its Prius in the U.S. [April 24, 2012]
The Atlantic Cities: Green Infrastructure Could Save Cities Billions – Compared to canvas grocery bags or CFL light bulbs or even solar panels, larger “green infrastructure” projects such as roof gardens or permeable streets can be hugely expensive. It turns out, however, that they’re actually not that expensive when compared to the costs of building more traditional infrastructure, and can even save money. [April 24, 2012]
Earth Techling: eBay Adds More Renewable Energy To Power Data Center – You probably don’t think about all that email you have saved in your inbox. But all of those correspondences, not to mention documents, pictures and videos are being saved thanks to the help of data centers located all over the United States. And those data centers are energy hogs. [April 21, 2012]
USA Today: Family takes long, winding road to their ‘green’ house – Some people love cars, the faster the better. Others indulge in food, fashion or football. I like houses, always have. And lucky me, I got the chance to build my dream home. [April 23, 2012]
Los Angeles Times: Public split over elimination of U.S. energy subsidies, poll finds – The American public is divided about whether to eliminate federal subsidies for any form of energy and is giving less support to nuclear power and U.S. funding of renewable energy, a new poll has found. [April 26, 2012]
USA Today: ‘Green’ schools that go beyond basics: One Indiana school is not only drilling its students on academics, but it’s also drilling holes in its campus to tap geothermal energy. A Vermont college is into burning wood chips as a way to save money. [April 20, 2012]
SmartPower visited the Newseum on Tuesday, March 13, for a conversation about electric vehicles. The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES), formerly the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, hosted the Plug-in Electric Vehicles (PEV) Dialogue featuring a dynamic panel of energy experts, each with their own unique perspectives. Participants at the event discussed the many barriers consumers face as electric vehicles seek a stable position in the marketplace.
Mike Robinson, Vice President for Environmental, Energy and Safety Policy at General Motors, alluded to the Chevy Volt’s initial struggles, comparing them to those the Toyota Prius faced back when the hybrid car was introduced in 2001. The Prius has since bounced back, last year eclipsing the one million sales mark. Robinson expects the same to happen with the Volt, as soon as consumers recognize its potential to save drivers big bucks at the pump.
Though gridlock in Congress has slowed momentum for electric vehicles, it doesn’t mean we have to stall our engines waiting for the answers, at least not according to expert panelist Ed Kjaer, Director of Plug In Electric Vehicle Readiness at Southern California Edison. Kjaer and the other panelists stressed the importance of expanding public-private partnerships to ensure charging stations move beyond consumer’s homes — something Arizona SmartPower is already pursuing with its Electric Vehicle Stakeholder Meetings.
Using tactics discussed by panelists and attendees at the C2ES PEV Dialogue, American drivers will soon witness the vast opportunities created by the transformation of the automotive industry. And with more Chevy Volts and Nissan Leafs on the road, the U.S. can enter a post-petroleum economy — one that’s cleaner, safer and smarter.
For more information on the group’s findings, visit the C2ES website or read the report, An Action Plan to Integrate Plug-in Electric Vehicles with the U.S. Electrical Grid.
On September 7, Arizona SmartPower hosted its third Electric Vehicle Stakeholder Meeting at Arizona State University. We were joined by 40 people from diverse sectors and industries, all brought together with one common goal: advancing understanding of electric vehicles and how they will impact the state of Arizona.
SmartPower President Brian F. Keane introduced the first speaker of the day: George Bellino of General Motors, who discussed the new Chevrolet Volt and the status of GM’s electric vehicle program. Next up was Mark Duvall from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), who shed some light on the various electric vehicles being tested and driven. After Mark’s informational presentation, Karen Smith from Salt River Project (SRP) spoke about her utility’s effort to support electric vehicles.
Our next electric vehicle stakeholder meeting is planned for the week of October 10 (location TBD). If you or your organization would be interested in hosting our dynamic group, contact Toni Bouchard at tbouchard [at] smartpower [dot] org.
ABOVE: Russell Vare of Nissan North America addresses stakeholders at the July 26 meeting.
Arizona SmartPower held its second electric vehicle (EV) stakeholder meeting on July 26. Fifty people participated in this follow-up meeting, launching even more constructive discussions about EVs and their potential in Arizona. (Read about our first meeting here.)
The meeting, facilitated by Arizona SmartPower State Director Toni Bouchard, began with a review of survey results from the previous meeting. The group then discussed tentative topics for future meeting agendas and drafted the charter and mission for the stakeholder group. The meeting also had two special guest presenters: Russell Vare, EV Regional Manager for Nissan North America, whose presentation covered all of the important aspects of the 100% electric Nissan LEAF; and Robert Yuhnke from the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP), whose presentation highlighted the economic analysis of EVs in Arizona.
Arizona SmartPower worked closely with APS, Governor Jan Brewer’s Office of Energy, and a diverse group of stakeholders – including utilities, car dealerships, state government departments, non-profit organizations and educational institutions – to highlight issues covering policy infrastructure and community collaboration. The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 7, 2011 at ASU Sky Song.