Wednesday, July 14th, 2010
While others talk about the need to change our nation’s energy habits, GE is committing resources to find the best ideas and build a better energy grid.
GE and its partners announce the GE ecomagination Challenge: Powering the Grid, a $200 million investment in finding the best technologies, processes and business models to bring our energy grid into the 21st century. It’s about making clean energy real, bringing to market what works, right now.
In looking for the best ideas, GE is asking you to get involved in finding the solution.
You can submit an idea or vote for the ideas that you think are the most promising and play a part in defining the future of our energy grid.
There are three separate challenges to address how we create, connect and use energy, focused on: renewable energy, grid efficiency and eco homes/eco buildings.
Tuesday, July 13th, 2010
General Electric and a number of leading venture capital firms announced today what some have already dubbed “the biggest quest for ideas in history.” GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt unveiled the “GE ecomagination Challenge: Powering the Grid,” an open innovation challenge that will give $200 million to smart grid ideas submitted through GE’s ecomagination website.
The challenge is global and targeted at technologists, entrepreneurs, and startups “to share their best ideas and come together to take on one of the world’s toughest challenges – building the next-generation power grid to meet the needs of the 21st century.”
GE and its partners – leading venture capital firms Emerald Technology Ventures, Foundation Capital, Kleiner Perkins, RockPort Capital as well as Wired magazine’s Chris Anderson – will evaluate the ideas and invest the $200 million capital into promising startups and ideas.
Friday, July 9th, 2010
While several clean energy technologies play an important role in reducing carbon dioxide emissions, none compare to energy efficiency, according to a new report by the International Energy Agency.
“Increasing energy efficiency, much of which can be achieved through low-cost options, offers the greatest potential for reducing CO2 emissions over the period to 2050,” says Energy Technology Perspectives 2010. “It should be the highest priority in the short term.”
The report offers a “Blue Map” that lays out least-cost (more…)
Thursday, July 8th, 2010
The Department of Energy has just completed the nation’s largest Net-Zero Energy Building. The 220,000 SF Research Support Facility (RSF) at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado will hold 800 employees when it officially opens in August along with its Net-Zero and LEED Platinum status.
Achieving the essence of a Net-Zero building the RSF will produce as much energy as is consumed by the building. This was done through an integrated design approach led by passive design strategies which targeted a 25,000 BTUs/SF/year energy budget, about 50% less than a typical office. Natural day lighting and ventilation along with a 3-layer pre-cast exterior wall system serving as a thermal mass lead the conservation strategies. Other methods include radiant floor heating/cooling, electrochromic windows on the West façade which change tint in direct sunlight (more…)
Wednesday, July 7th, 2010
For the last two months, energy auditors, energy efficiency experts, solar installers, and homeowners have been waiting and clamoring for more guidance from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It was in May that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac abruptly and without justification changed their policy on the treatment of property tax assessments made pursuant to Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs. Originally, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had decided to treat these assessments like any other assessment, but in May, decided to treat them as (more…)
Wednesday, July 7th, 2010
1. Solar Sugar Daddy: During his Saturday address, President Obama lavished an astonishing $2 billion in loan guarantees upon two solar companies. This upended the administration’s seedling strategy with renewables — a few million for algae research here, a few million for efficient buildings there — without choosing winners. No question, then, that Spanish firm Abengoa is a favorite horse, receiving $1.45 billion for its plans to build 250 megawatts of solar concentrators outside Phoenix, Arizona. (more…)
Wednesday, July 7th, 2010
Picture a neighborhood block somewhere in your town. It might have single-story homes for 10 families — complete with front porches, sidewalks and green lawns. Or instead that block might have a single apartment building that houses 50 families over five floors. What we know is that each of the families — whether they’re living in a detached house or a mid-rise apartment — pays away some of their hard-earned dollars to pay for energy. And for many low-income Americans, these energy bills absorb a significant amount of the family income.
Now imagine that teams of trained experts come down that block and install measures to help those families save energy. Insulation, caulking, weatherstripping, windows, better furnaces or water heaters. So families’ energy bills go down and their comfort goes up. We call this ‘weatherization’ — and it’s happening in more than 82,000 homes as part of the Recovery Summer. (more…)
Thursday, July 1st, 2010
While renewable energy often captures most of the cleantech headlines, if anyone doubts why energy efficiency must play a significant part in the cleantech effort – as significant, if not more so, than the role of renewable energy — just examine the energy flow graphic developed by McCall and Bassett and reprinted in the June edition of Technology Review. At least half of U.S. energy consumption goes to nothing more than creation of hot air through waste heat. And, when one realizes that much of the 13.9% of electricity output from power plants shown in the graphic also ends up as hot air from our computers, lights, etc., the portion of energy consumption going up in hot air is actually greater than 50%.
Couple this with the following facts… According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), on a worldwide basis renewable energy currently supplies roughly 10% of the energy consumed. (more…)
Thursday, July 1st, 2010
Investors Love Tesla: Observers were taken aback by the overwhelming success of Tesla’s IPO. But does $226 million amount to even a drop in the oil pan?
The Leaf Stampede: Nissan revealed that 90 percent of the U.S. presale orders for the all-electric Leaf are customers new to the Nissan brand. Perhaps there’s a lesson for other companies: Lead the way into green, and a whole new class of customers could follow.
Belkin Kills the Vampire: The company debuted a line of power (more…)
Wednesday, June 30th, 2010
Every home has unique energy efficiency needs, but there are a lot of universal energy saving projects that will help homeowners lower their utility bills and take advantage of incentives that are available now.
Too often, advice about how to make your home more efficient falls into one of three categories:
Costs a lot of money and has a big impact: Geothermal heating, for instance. Great project, but it’s a big upfront cost for a long-term payback. Not everyone is in a position to do something like that right now.
Doesn’t cost much, but doesn’t have much impact: Insulating your hot water heater tank in a basement that already has wall insulation. (more…)