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]
SmartReads is a weekly summary of all the latest clean energy and energy efficiency news. Be sure to stay on top of what’s green and clean this Earth Day by reading this week’s Earth Day edition!
As always, send us your tips on Twitter using the hashtag #SmartReads.
New York Times: Lead By Example, Clinton Tells Sustainability Forum – “Chill out – sometimes this stuff takes years.” That was Bill Clinton’s wry observation on Thursday as he addressed a sustainability conference in New York City, expressing frustration over how long it is taking for the country to move forward on clean energy and energy efficiency. [April 19, 2012]
New York Times: U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Headed Up Again – After dropping for two years during the recession, emissions of the gases blamed for global warming rose in 2010 as the economy heated up, the Environmental Protection Agency reports. [April 16, 2012]
USA Today: New energy-efficient light bulb goes on sale Sunday – How much would you pay for an amazing, state-of-the-art light bulb? Shoppers will be asking themselves that very question at Home Depot and other outlets starting Sunday – Earth Day – when the bulb that won a $10 million government contest goes on sale. [April 16, 2012]
The Bay Citizen: Berkeley Couple Create Lifesaving ‘Solar Suitcase’ for Hospitals – The week before last, the city of Berkeley took time to honor two of its citizens. Laura Stachel and her husband Hal Aronson were issued with a proclamation and words of praise from Mayor Tom Bates…because they are literally helping to save people’s lives on a regular basis, and are doing so through a combination of smarts and sheer determination. [April 16, 2012]
Bloomberg: Electric Cars Cost $1,200 a Year Less to Run, Study Says – Drivers of electric vehicles such as General Motors Co.’s Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Motor Co.’s Leaf may save as much as $1,200 a year compared with operating a new gasoline-powered compact car, scientists studying improved fuel economy found. [April 16, 2012]
Arizona Daily Sun: Hybrid, electric cars see record sales in March – Americans are buying record numbers of hybrid and electric cars as gas prices climb and new models arrive in showrooms, giving the vehicles their greatest share yet of the U.S. auto market. [April 15, 2012]
POLITICO: Opinion: Stop bashing electric cars – It’s not often that you hear national elected officials and media pundits rooting against a growing American industry — especially when it’s reducing U.S. dependence on imported oil. It’s also unusual for them to argue against job creation, global competitiveness, even against innovation. [April 19, 2012]
Washington Post: $4 gas reinforces trend toward lower U.S. fuel consumption – Are American motorists finally changing their gas-guzzling ways? As prices have neared and in some cases topped $4 a gallon, drivers have cut their consumption of gasoline to its lowest levels in a decade, driving less and buying cars that are more fuel-efficient. [April 17, 2012]
POLITICO: Political races run hot on energy – Soaring gasoline prices have members of Congress and their opponents running scared all across the country — and trying to seize the advantage. [April 15, 2012]
Forbes: Hive Lighting: Energy-Efficiency For Hollywood – Lights set mood. Moviemakers know this. Hence the painstaking efforts that are made to ensure that the right tonality is chosen for each picture. That said, movie and TV sets can use thousands of kilowatts per production. [April 16, 2012]
SmartReads is a weekly summary of all the latest clean energy and energy efficiency news. Send us your tips on Twitter using the hashtag #SmartReads.
Arizona Republic: APS to use state land for solar plant - The Arizona State Land Department will earn $10 million during a 35-year lease for its first solar power plant, a Yuma project that will power Arizona Public Service Co. [April 4, 2012]
NREL: Solar Leases Attracting New Demographic – The sun is shining on homeowners in less affluent neighborhoods who are discovering they can afford solar energy after all — by leasing rather than buying the panels on their roofs. [April 3, 2012]
Grist: Blown away: Wind power growing faster than other top electricity sources – A new picture is emerging in the U.S. power sector. In 2007, electricity generation from coal peaked, dropping by close to 4 percent annually between 2007 and 2011. Meanwhile, wind-generated electricity grew by a whopping 36 percent each year. [April 4, 2012]
Bedford-Katonah Patch: 66 Local Leaders Take Action to Reduce Emissions and Save Homeowners Money – The Northern Westchester Energy Action Consortium (NWEAC) hosted the 2012 Regional Leadership Summit, bringing together an influential group of more than 200 municipal and community leaders for an evening dedicated to advancing regional sustainability initiatives. [March 31, 2012]
Green Car Reports: Plug-In Car Sales Soar In March, Led by Chevrolet Volt - Car sales overall continued their upward trend last month, but sales of plug-in cars soared in March to more than 3,800 units. The bulk of those sales came from a resurging Chevy Volt, which logged its highest-ever single-month sales figure. [April 3, 2012]
NPR: Oil Scare Turns FedEx On To Energy Efficiency – The rising cost of oil isn’t just a hit to the family budget. Businesses are hurt, too. Few are more affected than firms like FedEx. [April 2, 2012]
POLITICO: Gas prices fuel congressional campaign rhetoric – President Barack Obama isn’t the only candidate who has to worry about gasoline price spikes. Take a look at members of Congress and their challengers, who are going all out to express concern about the plight of American motorists — often with personal stories of their own sticker shock. [March 30, 2012]
Huffington Post College: Green Lethargy Among College Students? Not So Fast! by SmartPower’s Brian F. Keane - As we begin Earth Month, it would seem that we’re seeing conventional wisdom turned on its head. I’m talking, of course, about the widespread assumption that college students are spearheading the renewed green movement across our nation. [April 6, 2012]
Bloomberg: Buffett Says Shortcuts on Environment Can Risk Profits – Warren Buffett, the billionaire chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., said companies won’t last if they fail to consider the impact of their businesses on the environment. [April 2, 2012]
Southern California Public Radio: NBA tips off Green Week 2012 – NBA Green Week is the latest initiative in the NBA’s ongoing push for sustainable lifestyle changes. [April 3, 2012]
GreenBiz: Just Undo It: Nike, NASA partner on waste innovation challenge – Nike is joining with NASA, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Department of State to identify 10 “game changing” innovations that transform waste systems in both developed and developing countries. [April 2, 2012]
The New York Times: On Facebook, Some Friendly Energy Rivalry – So, would you stop washing your clothes in warm water if your best friend tried doing it in cold and said her jeans were coming out clean? Would you be more likely to weatherize your house if your college roommate said that it had cut her heating bill by 30 percent? And if your mom got one of those power strips that turn off devices that suck electricity in the middle of the night, would you do the same? [April 3, 2012]
It’s been a good week for electric cars — a pleasant break from all the fretful talk of low sales. While consumers may be having a difficult time making the leap from fuel-efficient cars to all-electric plug-ins, it appears manufacturers — and even the rental car companies — are full speed ahead.
Volkswagen will unveil a one-seat experimental electric car this September in Berlin. And CEO Martin Winterkorn said VW is aiming for their battery-powered vehicles to account for 3 percent of sales by 2018.
Three percent doesn’t seem like much, but when you consider that VW plans to sell more than 10 million cars in 2018 alone, that’s more than 300,000 electric cars entering the market from one single manufacturer.
Ford and Toyota also announced this week plans for a line of hybrid trucks and SUV’s to compete among the next generation of green cars. These heavy lifters won’t be rearing their cleaner engines anytime soon, but the step reflects the auto industry’s acceptance of their role as leaders and playmakers in the clean energy marketplace.
“This is the kind of collaborative effort that is required to address the big global challenges of energy independence and environmental sustainability,” said Ford Chief Executive Alan Mulally.
With Ford’s reputation in pickup trucks and Toyota’s leadership in hybrids, we can expect some high-selling, high-energy-saving vehicles from this automotive matrimony.
As all of these car companies are gearing up for the next era of green four wheelers, many are concerned that demand will not be able to keep up with supply — especially once you consider that fuel efficiency and electric more often than not = $$$.
Our friends Hertz, Avis and Budget may have the answers.
Hertz will begin renting electric cars in China as soon as tomorrow, and the Avis Budget Group has started renting several hundred electric cars to drivers in France, England and other European countries.
We’re not too sure what it is with U.S. drivers that has rental car companies withholding the goods from us, but we’re glad to see that some of the excess EVs can be put to good use.