From Romney running against the wind in Iowa to a solar opponent’s lost election in Florida, clean energy has overcome some heated political battles this week. Send us your favorite stories on Twitter using the hashtag #SmartReads.
NPR: Obama Backs Wind Energy, Romney Favors Coal — President Obama was in Iowa Tuesday, touting the electric potential of wind power. Republican rival Mitt Romney was in Ohio, talking up coal. Each candidate accused the other of standing in the way of the rival energy source. [August 15, 2012]
POLITICO: Cliff Stearns Concedes in GOP Primary — The outcome in Tuesday’s election was an unexpected fall from power for Stearns, who had used his chairmanship of a key House Energy and Commerce subcommittee to put the White House on the hot seat over Solyndra and help trigger this year’s Komen-Planned Parenthood blow-up. [August 15, 2012]
The New York Times: Mine Plan Puts Two Kentucky Fixtures on Collision Course — The signs begin around Girl Scout Road, yellow placards dotting yards and affixed to trees along Route 231 here. “No Coal Trucks” they say, or, more to the point, “Stop Strip Mining.” [August 14, 2012]
Bloomberg: Solar Company to Create More Than 300 Jobs in NC — A designer and manufacturer of solar power mounting systems plans will set up its U.S. headquarters in Shelby, N.C. and create more than 300 jobs at a production and distribution facility.[August 14, 2012]
PhillyBurbs.com: Unemployed Get Chance at Green Energy Industry — Through a $306,265 grant from the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development and the state Energy Sector Partnership, BCC’s corporate college is offering qualified residents a tuition-free green-energy technology training program. [August 13, 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.
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]
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]
This was a big week in general news, but it was just as big of a week in green news! This is our longest SmartReads to date, so we hope you’ll find plenty of great reads, from improvements in solar financing to the top green gifts for Mother’s Day. Share your favorite green articles with us on Twitter using the hashtag #SmartReads.
New York Times: Solar Installers Offer Deals, Gaining Converts – Jay Nuzzi, a New Jersey state trooper, had put off installing solar panels on his home here for years, deterred by the $70,000 it could cost. Then on a trip to Home Depot, he stumbled across a booth for Roof Diagnostics, which offered him a solar system at a price he couldn’t refuse: free. [May 9, 2012]
AOL Energy: Shining a Light on the Cost of Solar Installations – As the number of US solar installations soars, installers and developers are seeking opportunities to provide the clean power to institutional clients at rates that will attract financing, supply electricity at below retail rates, and still make a profit. [May 10, 2012]
New York Times: Few Seize on a U.S. Bond Program Backing Green Energy – With the country reeling in 2008 from the financial crisis, Congress created a special program to help struggling local governments finance clean energy projects. Under the initiative, cities and counties could sell bonds to pay for a new wind farm or energy efficient windows at City Hall, and the federal government would help pick up the tab. [May 7, 2012]
Washington Post: U.S., India glimpse a bright future together in solar power – There are few places in the world where the opportunity for solar power is more blindingly obvious than India. There are also few industries where the possibility of collaboration between India and the United States is more tantalizing. [May 10, 2012]
Department of the Interior: Salazar ‘Flips the Switch’ on First Large-Scale Solar Energy Project on Public Lands to Provide Power to the Grid – As part of President Obama’s all-of-the-above approach to energy, today Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar “flipped the switch” on the Enbridge Silver State North solar project, the first large-scale solar energy facility on U.S. public lands to deliver power to American consumers. [May 7, 2012]
Baltimore Business Journal: Johns Hopkins University adds solar panels on seven buildings – Johns Hopkins University has launched its first solar energy initiative, adding about 2,900 solar panels on seven buildings across its Baltimore campuses. [May 7, 2012]
The Hill: Republican to revive lightbulb war – A House Republican is planning in the coming weeks to revive the GOP offensive against federal lightbulb efficiency standards. [May 7, 2012]
USA Today: U.S., German makers agree on electric-car charging – Major U.S. and German automakers have agreed on a common electric-car charging standard that will speed the recharging of batteries in as little as 20 minutes. [May 7, 2012]
The Detroit News: Tesla to deliver first Model S electric by June – Tesla Motors Inc. said Wednesday it is on schedule to deliver its first Model S electric vehicle by next month — and disclosed it will exhaust its $465 million Energy Department loan within six months. [May 9, 2012]
New York Times: The Battery-Driven Car Just Got a Lot More Normal – CRITICS of electric vehicles say they are too expensive and lack sufficient driving range. But I wonder if those gripes would disappear if the E.V.’s on sale weren’t so — let’s not mince words — homely. I adore my all-electric Nissan Leaf, but its wide rear end, bulging headlights and odd proportions evoke a Japanese gizmo aesthetic that doesn’t necessarily appeal to mainstream American car buyers. [May 6, 2012]
New York Times: Thoughts From a Week in the Ford Focus Electric – Driving the 2012 Ford Focus Electric for a week gave me an opportunity to mull some questions about how a purely electric vehicle ought to behave and look. [May 4, 2012]
SmartPress: Green Green Gifts For Mother’s Day – Since we did Green Gadgets For Dad on Father’s Day, we thought it only fair to provide some green gift ideas for Mom this Mother’s Day. Share your own green gift ideas with us on Facebook! [May 8, 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]
President Obama’s State of the Union address included several strong statements on America’s energy future. The president didn’t shy away from the opportunity to tout his successes and ask for more.
"Because of federal investments, renewable energy use has nearly doubled, and thousands of Americans have jobs because of it," Obama said.
Here at SmartPower, we support the president’s message that a diversified approach toward a clean economy is both ideal and achievable. Environmentalists may have cringed at Obama’s remarks about oil and natural gas development, but if we are to ever get to the point where we can rely only on cheap, clean and renewable sources, we must acknowledge that it requires a thoughtful transition with a varied approach.
The following is a list of our top 5 energy quotes from last night’s State of the Union address, starting with this “all-of-the-above strategy”:
1. ”With only 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves, oil isn’t enough. This country needs an all-out, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy. A strategy that’s cleaner, cheaper, and full of new jobs.”
This is important. In order to make the smoothest transition possible to a clean economy, we must be aware of prices and jobs. Renewables are already seeing victories in both of these regards — the falling price of solar indicates a promising future for cost-competitiveness and increased development (JOBS). But we must not be distracted by industry blunders like Solyndra. Just as the president said, “some companies fail”:
2. “Some technologies don’t pan out; some companies fail. But I will not walk away from the promise of clean energy. … I will not cede the wind or solar or battery industry to China or Germany because we refuse to make the same commitment here.”
If the United States is to become an industry leader, it has to step up and lead. Right now, we are in the race, but we are feeling the heat from China and Germany — both with strong innovation and manufacturing in clean energy resources. If we are not going to cede the wind, solar or battery industries to either of these countries, then we must learn from them. We must commit ourselves to the promise of clean energy.
3. We’ve subsidized oil companies for a century. That’s long enough. It’s time to end the taxpayer giveaways to an industry that rarely has been more profitable, and double-down on a clean energy industry that never has been more promising. Pass clean energy tax credits. Create these jobs.
This is the commitment to the promise of clean energy that we must make. We must even the playing field and invest as much in the clean energy industry as we do in fossil fuels. As Obama makes clear, it’s not about the politics. It’s about this country’s future as an innovator and leader:
4. The differences in this chamber may be too deep right now to pass a comprehensive plan to fight climate change. But there’s no reason why Congress shouldn’t at least set a clean energy standard that creates a market for innovation. So far, you haven’t acted. Well, tonight, I will. I’m directing my administration to allow the development of clean energy on enough public land to power 3 million homes. And I’m proud to announce that the Department of Defense, working with us, the world’s largest consumer of energy, will make one of the largest commitments to clean energy in history - with the Navy purchasing enough capacity to power a quarter of a million homes a year.
This administration is willing to act. In fact, it already has. The Department of Defense isn’t wasting any time developing a renewable energy strategy that addresses issues of cost and security. Because when it comes down to it, it’s all about costs:
5. The easiest way to save money is to waste less energy.
We’ve saved the best for last. President Obama used this remark to make a point about cutting businesses’ energy costs by making building efficiency upgrades. Yes, it’s true that we can lower businesses’ energy bills by more that $100 billion with simple upgrades, but it’s also true that homeowners have just as much, if not more to save.
Clean energy and energy efficiency haven’t moved to the forefront of the global energy discussion because they are expensive. It’s just the opposite.
In the not-so-far future, the day will arrive when we have an energy portfolio comprised of renewable, reliable, clean and cheap energy. If we act now, we will see this day sooner than later.
President Obama recently launched a nationwide television ad campaign highlighting steps taken to make the U.S. energy independent and create an economy that’s built to last.
Despite critics’ efforts to knock him down, Obama has a lot to be proud of when it comes to energy policy. He has been a strong proponent of domestic energy production, supporting technology investments that have spurred historic clean energy developments, particularly for solar power. In addition, he has nearly doubled fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks, making today’s fleets much cleaner than those introduced before 2008. Because of the progress Obama has made, the United States’ dependence on foreign oil is the lowest it’s been in 16 years.
That’s why the President isn’t giving up. He is surging ahead with his clean energy agenda because it’s working. Let’s continue to create jobs and a better, cleaner future.
Watch the campaign ad here.
Back in April, President Obama announced the National Clean Fleet Partnership to get major corporate fleets aligned in their commitment to reduce oil consumption. The original partners included AT&T, FedEx, PepsiCo/Frito-Lay, UPS and Verizon. Five months later, the fleet has expanded to incorporate Coca-Cola, Enterprise Holdings, General Electric, Staples and more — collectively operating nearly one million commercial vehicles nationwide.
The companies have collectively committed to deploy more than 20,000 advanced technology vehicles in an effort to save more than 7 million gallons of fuel per year, resulting in improved fuel efficiency and cost-savings.
But the newcomers are hardly arriving late to the game.
Coca-Cola had previously established the largest hybrid delivery fleet in North America while Enterprise Holdings have expanded their rental car offerings to include Chevy Volts and Nissan Leafs. Staples has curbed its fleet’s oil consumption by more than 20 percent since 2007 — no small amount of energy savings.
We can expect these new partnerships to foster even greater energy savings, along with improved fuel economy technology, in the near future, and we congratulate the National Clean Fleet Partnership for embracing energy efficiency, reducing our dependency on foreign oil and spurring new innovation.
From SmartPower President Brian F. Keane’s latest Huffington Post column:
Former Vice President Al Gore dipped into today’s news cycle to trash President Obama’s approach toward global warming. “[Obama’s] election was accompanied by intense hope that many things in need of change would change,” Gore writes in an upcoming essay for Rolling Stone. “Some things have, but others have not. Climate policy, unfortunately, falls into the second category.”
Al Gore is wrong. President Obama has done quite a bit to advance sensible energy policies and, by proxy, mitigate climate change. Not only will Obama’s efforts put us on track to emit fewer greenhouse gasses, they will help advance Gore’s own agenda.
Read more on the Huffington Post.