Sunday, February 14th, 2010
This post comes from Rev. Canon Sally G. Bingham, the founder of the San Francisco-based Interfaith Power & Light, a national campaign with affiliates in 30 states. The group is organizing the Valentine’s Weekend Preach-In on Global Warming.
Valentine’s Day typically conjures up images of roses and sweets for our loved ones, a time when we recognize the many virtues of romantic love. Yet this coming Valentine’s Day, leaders of communities of faith throughout the United States will be bringing forth a different kind of love — a deep, abiding love for God’s creation and our neighbors now threatened by the calamity of global climate change.
Hundreds of congregations of many faiths have signed up for a National Preach-In on Global Warming on Valentine’s Day weekend. We are showing our love for the poor, disadvantaged and most at-risk peoples and creatures of the world on this traditional day of love.
Monday, February 8th, 2010
At a factory in Wuxi, China, workers lift solar panels onto conveyor belts, while others in white lab coats move between machines as they check on a process for etching and engraving silicon wafers to form solar cells.
This scene in itself isn’t remarkable. But there is a new sort of excitement about the work. China’s production of solar panels has grown quickly in the past two years; it is it now the world’s leading exporter. When Matt Lewis, a representative of the California-based nonprofit ClimateWorks, visited the factory in October, he said it reminded him of his native Silicon Valley: The workers, even ordinary line workers, had a sense that they were part of building the future, the hot new industry.
Saturday, February 6th, 2010
Hallowell International in Bangor, Maine, is the manufacturer of the Acadia, a combined heating and cooling system that can be combined with solar or wind installations to take users off the grid. The system can be installed in new buildings or can be retrofitted when consumers are considering green upgrades.
CleanTechies has three questions for president and founder Duane Hallowell.
CleanTechies: Acadia uses something called “boosted compression” technology. Tell us about that.
Duane Hallowell: Since the 1950s, heat pumps, which operate by exchanging air for heating and cooling, have been the most popular and environmentally-friendly heating ventilation and cooling (HVAC) application. However, because they absorb heat from the outside air, they are inefficient in cold-weather climates, requiring additional, costly heating elements in order to work correctly.
Monday, February 1st, 2010
Tom Friedman spent most of 2009 beating the China-is-winning-the-green-race-drum, and he has started 2010 with the same focus.
In Sunday’s New York Times, the news side of the house joined their editorial page colleague, writing in a front page story that Chinese “efforts to dominate renewable energy technologies raise the prospect that the West may someday trade its dependence on oil from the Mideast for a reliance on solar panels, wind turbines and other gear manufactured in China.”
To his credit, Friedman’s push has been all about policy. He wants the United States to go all-in in a space-race-like push to match Chinese innovation in energy technology (“E.T.,” as he has glossed it). But, what has eluded his attention – and is absent again in Sunday’s news piece – is the recognition that in order to match Chinese innovation, the policy changes that would be required in the U.S. electricity markets would necessarily have to go far beyond decoupling, one of Friedman’s personal causes.
Tuesday, January 26th, 2010
The U.S. wind power industry continued to grow in 2009 despite a global recession, adding 9,900 megawatts — a capacity increase of about 39 percent — according to a new report.
That growth, which was boosted by a federal stimulus package that extended the tax credit for wind energy production and offered other incentives, represents the largest single-year jump on record for the industry, according to the annual report released by the American Wind Energy Association.
The added capacity was 18 percent greater than the growth in 2008. But that momentum could slow in 2010, the report said, since the sluggish economy has slowed orders for new turbines and will likely mean fewer installations this year.
With the added capacity, wind energy contributes nearly 2 percent of the nation’s electricity. The U.S. continues to lag behind Europe, however, which gets about 5 percent of its electricity from wind energy.
Tuesday, January 26th, 2010
Windation Energy Systems has developed an urban-wind rooftop turbine designed for commercial and industrial buildings. Billed as “permit-ready” and “bird safe,” Windation’s 5 kW turbine resembles a commercial AC unit and leverages a proprietary vacuum system to purportedly amplify wind speed and boost energy output. The company’s first installation is expected this quarter in Palo Alto, CA.
CleanTechies aimed four questions at CEO and founder Mark Sheikhrezai.
Friday, January 22nd, 2010
Installing wind turbines or solar panels on homes that are not well-insulated or energy-efficient amounts to little more than “eco-bling” that makes owners feel good but does little to reduce carbon emissions, according to a study by the U.K.’s Royal Academy of Engineering.
To meet the U.K.’s goal of making all new homes and buildings carbon neutral by 2020 and slashing carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050, the report said, the government should focus on making new buildings highly energy-efficient, retrofitting older buildings to improve their energy efficiency, and investing in large-scale wind and solar projects.
Wednesday, January 20th, 2010
Wind energy could provide 20 percent of the electricity for the eastern half of the United States by 2024, but only if the nation makes a significant financial investment, according to new government report.
About $90 billion would be required to install a network of land- and sea-based wind turbines and about 22,000 miles of new power lines, according to the study published by U.S. Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
The report said that the government would have to provide a significant portion of that investment through programs such as loan guarantees.
Friday, January 15th, 2010
Nine years into a regulatory battle that has been fought in virtually every legal , political and bureaucratic venue imaginable, Secretary of State Ken Salazar said today that the stakeholders must come to a compromise by March 1 or he would intervene and make the final decision on the proposed offshore wind farm in the waters of Nantucket Sound near Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Salazar reiterated that if the timeline he laid down last week wasn’t met, he would consult with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, an independent party, to make a final decision.
In a series of meetings with about three dozen representatives of the commonwealth of Massachusetts, Native American groups, Cape Wind and the primary opposition group, the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, Secretary Salazar said “the public, the applicants and all the stakeholders deserve resolution,” calling the nine-year process an example of government failure. (more…)
Thursday, January 14th, 2010
A period of extremely cold, windless weather has brought home to the British the drawbacks of relying on wind power and the need to keep a supply of natural gas in reserve. While the cold spell has strained natural gas supplies, leading in some cases to cutoffs to industrial users, it also has highlighted the unpredictability of wind power. Although Britain’s wind farms are supposed to provide 5 percent of the country’s electricity, they were in fact only providing 0.2 percent during the recent run of frigid, still days.