Good morning, and welcome to this week’s special edition of SmartReads. We have an exciting spotlight on the solar industry this week, as photovoltaics shine in The New York Times Magazine, CNBC, The Hill and more. This week’s edition is also special as our team here celebrated SmartPower President Brian F. Keane’s birthday yesterday. In honor of him and his upcoming book, we have included the latest review of Green Is Good from Yoko Ono Lennon! Read on!
The New York Times Magazine: The Secret to Solar Power — Though the failure of Solyndra has dominated the political and social discourse around solar power, the reality of the industry — as evidenced by the enormous investments that companies like Google and Bank of America are making in residential solar power — is that it has rapidly become a smart, practical and profitable investment. [August 9, 2012]
CNBC: APS Seeks New Solar Energy Project Request for Proposal Issued — Arizona Public Service Co. announces a Request for Proposal (RFP) from solar developers and installers to construct a 32-megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic facility in Gila Bend, Ariz. This project will be financed by APS through the company’s AZ Sun Program. [August 8, 2012]
The Hill: White House to seek $7B in green energy contracts for military — The White House announced Tuesday it is inviting contract proposals from green energy firms to boost the Army’s use of renewable energy. The administration is making $7 billion available for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to spend on locally-generated biomass, geothermal, solar or wind energy for up to 30 years. [August 7, 2012]
Las Vegas Review Journal: Former President Clinton urges more cooperation in developing clean energy — “We need a bias for action, a bias for cooperation and a bias for thinking big, even if we have to act small,” Clinton said, speaking to the fifth annual Clean Energy Summit at Bellagio. [August 7, 2012]
Reuters: China hikes 2015 solar power target by 40 pct — China has hiked its 2015 target for solar power capacity by 40 percent to 21 gigawatts (GW), a government agency said on Wednesday, with falling costs and new regulations boosting growth in the sector. [August 8, 2012]
NPR: Mitt Romney’s Green-Jobs Criticism Carries Risks — A Gallup poll in March found Americans nearly twice as likely to favor wind and solar energy as coal or oil. The American Wind Energy Association released a poll last month showing that more than half of Iowa’s voters say they would not back a presidential candidate who did not support expanding wind power. A January poll by Colorado College found that a majority of voters in six Western states believe that expanding renewable energy will create more jobs. [August 7, 2012]
CNN: July average tops U.S. temperature record, NOAA says — The July heat wave that wilted crops, shriveled rivers and fueled wildfires officially went into the books Wednesday as the hottest single month on record for the continental United States. [August 9, 2012]
SmartPress: Yoko Ono Lennon Endorses Green Is Good — “The Imagine Peace Tower in Iceland uses geothermal power to send a beam through the universe. That beam represents love of each other and of mother earth. It’s an absolutely pure message! Brian Keane’s message about clean energy is as important, and it must travel as far. Love and Peace, Yoko Ono Lennon”
EarthTechling: Arizona Gains Its First Net Zero School — There’s the Lady Bird Johnson Middle School in Irving, Texas, and the offices of George V. Leyva Middle School in San Jose, Calif. Now Arizona has a net zero middle school building to call its own in the Colonel Smith Middle School in Fort Huachuca, currently the 12th certified net zero energy building in the nation. [August 6, 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]
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.
CLEAN & RENEWABLE ENERGY
Huffington Post: Top 10 Green Spring Cleaning Tips by SmartPower’s Brian F. Keane – Since we survived winter — if you can call it that — and have already begun the transition to spring, I wanted to share some of my favorite green, spring cleaning tips. And of course, with Saint Patrick’s Day just behind us… what better time to be green? [March 19, 2012]
AOL Energy: Wall Street Speaks On Renewable Energy: Focusing On Fundamentals – As some of the most tempting government financial incentives begin to fade from the renewable energy space ahead of deadlines at the end of 2012, bankers and project developers specializing in renewable energy projects are reworking their models. [March 20, 2012]
New York Times: Obama’s Energy Blitz – After taking heat over gasoline prices, President Obama visits a photovoltaic plant in Nevada and oil fields in New Mexico to underline his “all of the above” energy policy. [March 21, 2012]
Bloomberg: Solar 15% Returns Lure Investments From Google to Buffett – U.S. solar developers are luring cash at record rates from investors ranging from Warren Buffett to Google Inc. (GOOG) and KKR & Co. by offering returns on projects four times those available for Treasury securities. [March 19, 2012]
NPR: What’s Making Americans Less Hungry For Gasoline? - The price of gasoline keeps rising for Americans, but it’s not because of rising demand from consumers. [March 22, 2012]
Huffington Post: U.S. Oil Drilling May Not Improve Gas Prices, Study Says – It’s the political cure-all for high gas prices: Drill here, drill now. But more U.S. drilling has not changed how deeply the gas pump drills into your wallet, math and history show. [March 21, 2012]
Politico: ‘Global Warming’ Gets A Rebranding – Shhhh! Don’t talk about global warming! There’s been a change in climate for Washington’s greenhouse gang, and they’ve come to this conclusion: To win, they have to talk about other topics, like gas prices and kids choking on pollutants. [March 21, 2012]
MSNBC: Could This $30 Million Green Tower Be the Future of World Cities? – An office building that lasts 250 years with no monthly electricity or water bills? It may sound like an environmentalist’s pipe dream, but it will soon be a reality, say the builders of what they hope will be the biggest office tower in the nation that produces as much water and electricity as it consumes. [March 20, 2012]
Google is investing $168 million in an alternative power project that aims to produce enough solar energy to light 140,000 homes.
The commitment announced Monday is part of the financing that BrightSource Energy needs to build a solar power plant in California’s Mojave Desert. BrightSource also has lined up $1.6 billion in loans guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Energy and a $300 million investment from NRG Energy Inc.
Photo: Construction is underway at BrightSource’s Ivanpah solar generating system in the Mojave desert. The curved lines show where rows of mirror arrays will face a tower that will concentrate the reflected solar energy and use it to create steam and generate power by rotating a turbine.