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.
POLITICO: Greens, automakers hail greenhouse gas ruling - In a surprisingly sweeping win for the Obama administration’s climate policies, a federal appeals court said Tuesday that the Environmental Protection Agency is “unambiguously correct” in the legal reasoning behind its regulation of greenhouse gases. [June 26, 2012]
The New York Times: Cities Get So Close To Recycling Ideal, They Can Smell It - Portland will be experiencing its first summer of biweekly garbage pickup. The change to every other week, introduced in cool weather last fall along with a weekly collection for food scraps, has reduced the amount of garbage that this progressive city is shipping to landfills by 44 percent. [June 27, 2012]
The Wall Street Journal: An Index Worth Laughing About - In what league does Iraq beat Britain, Haiti beat the United States and Afghanistan beat Denmark? Political corruption? Violent crime? Temperature? No, welcome to the weird and wonderful world of the Happy Planet Index. It is a little window into the way many environmentalists think. [June 26, 2012]
The Olympian: Feds announce 1st major solar plant on tribal land - Federal officials have approved a solar plant on an Indian reservation outside Las Vegas, marking the nation’s first commercial-grade solar energy project on tribal land and new territory for the Obama administration’s renewable energy agenda. [June 25, 2012]
Bloomberg: Tariffs On Solar-Gear Imports From China Raised By U.S. - The U.S. Commerce Department determined that Chinese solar-product imports should be subject to additional tariffs to offset government subsidies, according to an agency document. [June 26, 2012]
Earth Techling: Solar Energy’s Future To Be Found In Nano Technologies? - Researchers from North Carolina State University claim they’ve found a way of creating much slimmer thin-film solar cells, without compromising the cells’ performance. [June 28, 2012]
Reuters: Tesla CEO sees EVs being as popular as gas-powered cars - Tesla Motors Inc Chief Executive Elon Musk, an entrepreneur known for his outsized ambition, last Friday made a stunning forecast: battery-powered cars will likely match the internal combustion engine in popularity by the middle of the next decade. [June 23, 2012]
Fast Company: Inside the Tesla Model S - It’s here. The new Tesla—much more affordable than the electric vehicle startup’s first offering—made its debut Monday. Here’s a report from the test drive. [June 25, 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]
For stats on the country’s largest purchasers of clean energy, look no further than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s latest listing of Top Green Power Purchasers.
Once again, department store chain Kohl’s leads the Retail Top 20, with Wal-Mart, Whole Foods, Starbucks, and Staples rounding out the top five spots. Perhaps not surprisingly, the U.S. Department of Energy leads the federal government in green power purchasing, with the U.S. Air Force and U.S. EPA not far behind.
Among higher education institutions, the University of Pennsylvania takes first place, getting 48 percent of its energy from solar and wind (including a percentage of on-site generation). And the City of Houston, TX, leads the Top 20 Local Government pack, with 35 percent of its energy coming from wind.
More on the lists, from the EPA’s announcement:
EPA’s Green Power Partnership works with more than 1,300 partner organizations to voluntarily purchase green power to reduce the environmental impacts of conventional electricity use. Overall, EPA’s Green Power Partners are using more than 22 billion kWh of green power annually, equivalent to avoiding the CO2 emissions from the electricity use of more than 1.9 million average American homes.
Check out all the lists on the EPA website.
…Not as much as some would have you believe, according to EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.
In an op-ed in the Huffington Post, Jackson says the claims that her agency’s plans to regulate air pollution from dirty coal-fired power plants are an economic “train wreck” waiting to happen, leading to plant closure and job loss, are a bunch of nonsense:
On the issue of plant closures, I take the word of industry leaders like the Chairman and CEO of Exelon Corporation, who said “These regulations will not kill coal… up to 50% of retirements are due to the current economics of the plant due to natural gas and coal prices.” The Congressional Research Service report also found that EPA’s standards will primarily affect “coal-fired plants more than 40 years old that have not, until now, installed state-of-the-art pollution controls.” That echoed the remarks of the CEO of American Electric Power from April of this year: “We’ve been quite clear that we fully intend to retire the 5,480 megawatts of our overall coal fleet because they are less efficient and have not been retrofitted in any particular way.”
But there’s a bigger picture here.
Jackson points out that her agency’s goals - to protect Americans from pollution that causes asthma, cancer and other serious conditions - are being framed as job-killers by politicians with a hefty financial stake in the continued use of dirty energy. In other words: Consider the messenger.
As a senior official from the Bush EPA recently wrote, “Abolishing the EPA will not cause a revival of America’s economy, but it will certainly result in a major decline in public health and our quality of life.”
What do you think of the EPA’s efforts to regulate anachronistic coal-fired power plants? What about the political machinations that are hampering these efforts? Let us know in the comments.
Bad news for lovers of clean air and governmental stewardship of the environment, via the Associated Press:
In a sharp challenge to the Obama administration, House Republicans intend to unveil legislation Wednesday to ban the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act and expect to advance the bill quickly, officials disclosed Tuesday night.
The officials said the bill would nullify all of the steps the EPA has taken to date on the issue, including a threshold finding that greenhouse gases constitute a danger to the public health and welfare.
It’s an unfortunate partisan development, apparently triggered by the House GOP’s stated desire to challenge Obama administration policies - and ongoing denial of global warming science. And it’s worth keeping a close eye on.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 26, 2010
CONTACT: Marissa N. Newhall
Communications Manager, SmartPower
U.S. EPA Awards America’s Greenest Campus 2010 Clean Air Excellence Award
Partnership Between SmartPower and Efficiency 2.0 Mobilizes 20,000 Students at 460 Schools in 2009; Campaign Re-Launches in Fall 2010
Washington, D.C. — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today awarded its coveted Clean Air Excellence Award to America’s Greenest Campus, the nation’s largest and most successful on-campus energy efficiency campaign.
America’s Greenest Campus is a partnership between SmartPower, the nation’s leading non-profit marketers of clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency, and Efficiency 2.0, the premier online energy efficiency software company for utilities and governments, with support from the U.S. Department of Energy. Launched in April 2009, America’s Greenest Campus quickly became the largest campus initiative of its kind. Over 20,000 students, faculty, and alumni at over 460 schools participated, cutting their collective carbon output by 19 million pounds.
“Innovation and commitment are the keys to environmental progress, and our Clean Air Excellence Award winners are tremendous examples,” said Gina McCarthy, EPA Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation. “As we look to the future, these winners will help lead the way toward cleaner air and a healthier environment.”
America’s Greenest Campus engages college students through social media and on-campus organizing, encouraging them to track their energy use and reduce their carbon footprints. Efficiency 2.0’s Climate Culture, an innovative online platform, provides robust, personalized energy saving recommendations, while SmartPower’s targeted outreach – using Facebook, Twitter, viral videos, and celebrity endorsements (hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons and Internet phenomenon Obama Girl were on board in 2009) – spreads the message that saving energy is hip, smart, and vital.
The top two institutions – the college with the greatest number of participants, and the college with the greatest per-person carbon reduction – were each awarded $5,000 for sustainability projects of their choosing. University of Maryland, College Park (with 2,257 participants) and Arizona’s Rio Salado College (with 4.4% carbon reduced per person) were the victors in 2009.
“Energy efficiency is really the ‘first renewable’ – the first step we can take to reduce our dependence on oil, save money on our energy bills, and address climate change in a meaningful way,” said Brian F. Keane, President of SmartPower. “We created America’s Greenest Campus because we believe that by giving young people the tools they need to reduce their carbon footprints, we are paving the way for a cleaner, more sustainable energy future.”
“The first step to being more efficient is to understand what your options are and what the benefit of each of them is to you. America’s Greenest Campus was the first initiative of its kind to engage young Americans on their energy use in a personalized and socially compelling manner,” said Tom Scaramellino, CEO of Efficiency 2.0. “That is one of the many reasons we are proud to have partnered with SmartPower and the U.S. Department of Energy on this program.”
Carbon output wasn’t all that college students reduced during America’s Greenest Campus. The results reflected $4.25 million in savings and significant energy/resource reductions across the board:
• 186,705 therms of gas
• 156,743 gallons of gasoline
• 154,838 tons of paper
• 28.41 million gallons of water
• 5,984 megawatt hours of electricity
"We’ll never stop climate change with young people on the sidelines," said Ruth Hennig, Executive Director of the John Merck Fund and Chair of SmartPower’s Board of Directors. "We’re proud that SmartPower’s groundbreaking social media outreach is making sure they get that message, giving the next generation of leaders and engaged citizens the tools they need to meet the climate challenge. With today’s college students involved, we can have hope that the ongoing oil disaster in the Gulf won’t be repeated."
America’s Greenest Campus will re-launch in fall 2010.
The Clean Air Excellence Awards Program, established in 2000 at the recommendation of the Clean Air Act Advisory Committee, annually recognizes and honors outstanding innovative efforts to help achieve cleaner air. Award-winning entries must directly or indirectly reduce pollutant emissions, demonstrate innovation, offer sustainable outcomes, and provide a model for others to follow.
For more information on America’s Greenest Campus and its 2010 Clean Air Excellence Award, please contact Marissa N. Newhall at (202) 775-2040 or email@example.com.
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About SmartPower: Created in 2002, SmartPower is the nation’s leading non-profit organization dedicated to promoting clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency. SmartPower’s award-winning, research-based campaigns have engaged people across the country, building the clean energy marketplace and helping Americans become smarter about their energy use. For more information, please visit www.smartpower.org.
About Efficiency 2.0: Efficiency 2.0 is a leading energy efficiency software and program administration company. We deliver efficiency and demand response benefits to our utility and government partners at unprecedented scale by maximizing household engagement. Our programs and software leverage consumer marketing tactics, sophisticated energy end-use algorithms, and personalized recommendation engines to help consumers and businesses across the country better manage their energy costs. Efficiency 2.0 is headquartered in New York City. For more information, visit www.efficiency20.com.