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Weekly Clean Energy Roundup: December 2, 2009

TESTINGReports Catalogue Worsening Impacts of Climate Change Obama Sets a Target for US GHG Cuts US, India to Cooperate on Clean Energy NY Seeks RFPs for Offshore Wind in Great Lakes NREL Report Relates State Policies to Clean Energy Development Affordable Green Housing Gets Boost from Billion-Dollar Funds California Approves Television Efficiency Standards New Reports Catalogue Worsening Impacts of Climate Change Two recent compendiums of climate change science compiled by leading climate scientists show the impacts of climate change are happening sooner and at a greater magnitude than previously thought. The two reports are the latest attempts to update climate science since the last report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Fourth Assessment Report, released in 2007. The first new report, released in late September by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), is titled "Climate Change Science Compendium 2009," and the second, released in late November by 26 climate researchers, is called "The Copenhagen Diagnosis, 2009: Updating the World on the Latest Climate Science." Both are based on published, peer-reviewed climate science. Both reports reach the same conclusions – that Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are losing mass and contributing to sea level rise at an increasing […]

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Solar Industry Market Shines Through 2011

TESTINGA poll of 100 solar professionals concludes the U.S. solar industry will experience strong growth in 2010 and 2011, but other studies warn an increasingly saturated market will cause problems for the industry after that. The "2009 U.S. Solar Industry Monitor," conducted by management consulting firm Droege & Co., finds that 93% of solar professionals expect strong growth for their U.S. businesses in 2010 and 95% expect the same for 2011. After retracting by some 20% in 2009, respondents expect over 25% growth in 2010 (37%) and 2011 (55%). 65% say the recession hasn’t crushed the U.S. solar industry. The main obstacles to growth, according to the survey, are lack of financing (82%), little support from utilities (63%), lack of customer knowledge (61%) and insufficient incentives (59%). They see more favorable legislation and increased marketing efforts as the keys to expansion of their businesses. A full 83% say they plan to step up sales and marketing communications over the coming year. "The U.S. solar industry is positioning itself for a sales upswing in 2010 that could pave the way for aggressive expansion in the years beyond," says Sebastian Goeres, a renewable energy specialist with Droege. "Competition is fierce, and players […]

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Green Week in Review podcast – November 20, 2009

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TESTINGThe Green Week in Review is a podcast, hosted by SustainableBusiness.com News Editor Bart King. It’s posted every Friday morning and is about 15 minutes long. You can listen to it through your browser or download it to a portable MP3 player. Sign up for our General News RSS Feed and it will be automatically downloaded to your computer’s media player each week. In this week’s show… US President Obama’s visit to Asia this week has been eventful. I’ll highlight a few items of interest. (Climate treaty delay, US Senate) The UN World Population report published this week argues that women’s issues have been largely overlooked in discussions leading up to the UN climate talks in Copenhagen. Plus, a summary of the week’s top cleantech headlines. ++++ Email comments or questions to bart@sustainablebusiness.com

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Weekly Clean Energy Roundup: November 25, 2009

TESTINGDOE: $104M for Efficiency-Related Facilities at National Labs DOE: $45M for Wind Turbine Test Facility in South Carolina DOE: $18M for Small Businesses Focused on Clean Energy DOE: $620M for Smart Grid, Energy Storage Projects FTC Proposes Output-Based Label for Light Bulbs Fuel Economy Reverses Long Downward Trend DOE Awards $104M for Efficiency-Related Facilities at National Labs On November 18, DOE announced its selection of eight energy efficiency test facilities to be built at seven of its national labs with the help of $104.7 million in ARRA funds. The facilities will support the development and improvement of energy efficiency technologies of strategic national interest. Specifically, the funding will go toward reducing production costs of carbon fiber manufacturing by reducing vehicle weight; improving efficiency and lowering costs for car batteries; and exploring advanced technologies for net-zero-energy buildings. The effort will leverage the combined intellectual and technical resources of DOE’s national labs. The eight national labs are in California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, New Mexico, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Fuel efficient, advanced vehicles will benefit from both the carbon fiber and battery projects. Carbon fiber composites are extremely strong and lightweight and have the potential to increase fuel economy by drastically reducing the […]

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Weekly Clean Energy Roundup: November 18, 2009

TESTINGUS, China to Cooperate on Clean Energy Ex-Im Bank to Boost Renewable Exports with $250M DOE, USDA Award $24M in Biomass Grants DOE. USDA Offer $4M for Biomass Genomics Research DOE: $40M to Florida, Maine for Clean Energy Surge in Green Building Programs Climate Change Could Displace 150M People by 2050 United States and China to Cooperate on Clean Energy President Obama and China’s President Hu Jintao announced on November 17 a far-reaching package of measures to strengthen cooperation between the US and China on renewable energy. The presidents began by establishing a U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center to facilitate joint research and development of clean energy technologies by scientists from both countries. The center will be supported by $150 million in public and private funds over the next five years, split evenly between the partners. Initial research priorities will be building energy efficiency, clean vehicles, and carbon capture and storage. Also, building on the first-ever U.S.-China Electric Vehicle Forum in September 2009, the two leaders unveiled a U.S.-China Electric Vehicles Initiative, which will include developing joint standards, building demonstration projects in more than a dozen cities, creating technical roadmaps, and carrying out public education projects. Both nations said they […]

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Green Week in Review podcast – November 13, 2009

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TESTINGThe Green Week in Review is a podcast, hosted by SustainableBusiness.com News Editor Bart King. It’s posted every Friday morning and is about 15 minutes long. You can listen to it through your browser or download it to a portable MP3 player. Sign up for our General News RSS Feed and it will be automatically downloaded to your computer’s media player each week. In this week’s show… The International Energy Agency published its yearly World Energy Outlook report this week. The report puts a steep price on delaying global climate change measures. Several interesting greenbuilding reports came out this week in conjunction with the Greenbuild International Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. The Sustainable Environmental Solutions for Emerging Countries symposium, or SESEC, met this week in Lausanne, Switzerland to facilitate projects aimed at solving localized environmental issue. Plus, a summary of the week’s top cleantech headlines. ++++ Email comments or questions to bart@sustainablebusiness.com

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U.S. on Edge of Massive Reduction in CO2 Emissions

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TESTINGby Lester Brown For years now, many members of Congress have insisted that cutting carbon emissions was difficult, if not impossible. It is not. During the two years since 2007, carbon emissions have dropped 9%. While part of this drop is from the recession, part of it is also from efficiency gains and from replacing coal with natural gas, wind, solar, and geothermal energy. The U.S. has ended a century of rising carbon emissions and has now entered a new energy era, one of declining emissions. Peak carbon is now history. What had appeared to be hopelessly difficult is happening at amazing speed. For a country where oil and coal use have been growing for more than a century, the fall since 2007 is startling. In 2008, oil use dropped 5%, coal 1%, and carbon emissions 3%. Estimates for 2009, based on U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) data for the first nine months, show oil use down by another 5%. Coal is set to fall 10%. Carbon emissions from burning all fossil fuels dropped 9% over the two years. Beyond the cuts already made, there are further massive reductions in the policy pipeline. Prominent among them are stronger automobile fuel-economy […]

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Weekly Clean Energy Roundup: November 11, 2009

TESTING400 MW Ivanpah Solar Project Draft EIS Released Report Charts Path for U.S. Offshore Wind Development Japan’s Tokai University Solar Car Wins Global Green Challenge ACEEE: California Leads US in Energy Efficiency Policies $30.6M for Fish-Friendly Hydropower Upgrades Oil, Fuel Prices on Their Way Up as Economy Recovers 400 MW Ivanpah Solar Project Draft Released The U.S. Department of the Interior and the California Energy Commission (CEC) completed a joint draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System Project. The project, to be located on 4,000 acres of federal land in Southern California’s Ivanpah Valley, will draw on solar tower technology to generate 400 MW of electricity. Proposed by BrightSource Energy Inc., the Ivanpah project will be built in three phases, two 100 MW plants followed by a 200 MW plant. According to the CEC Web page for the project, each 100 MW plant will use three towers to deliver steam to a central plant, which will also have its own power tower. The 200 MW plant will have four power towers around a central plant. The project would be located on land managed by Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and will provide power […]

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The Next Phase for Solar

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TESTINGIt had to happen sooner or later. The combination of drastically lower prices for solar panels and the huge potential for industry growth is attracting the next level of industry players – the consolidators. It’s a familiar trajectory: as an "immature" industry becomes more established, larger companies with greater marketing and financial muscle roll-up the many "mom and pops" into fewer larger firms. That’s beginning to happen with solar installation firms. A handful of solar integrators are buying small U.S. installers, and that’s bound to increase. Akeena Solar (Nasdaq: AKNS), Real Goods Solar (Nasdaq: RSOL), Renewable Energy Corp (REC.OL) and now Acro Energy Technologies (ART.V) are the most active consolidators. Acro Energy is positioning itself to become a national brand in the Solar Integration Business. CEO Harry Fleming told me solar installers are ripe for roll-up – there are over 750 in California alone – which comprises 80% of the US solar market. Most are former electricians, not businesspeople, he says, an indication of an immature market. Mom and pops still own 60% of the market, but the top 10 installers in California are gaining ground – they now have a 40% market share. "As the market matures and consolidates," […]

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Weekly Clean Energy Roundup: November 4, 2009

TESTINGEERE Funding Up 3% to $2.24B for FY 2010 DOE: $338M to Speed Geothermal Development DOE: $155M for 41 Industrial Energy Efficiency Projects DOE: $5.5M for Automotive X Prize Competition Treasury Dept Allocates $2.2B in Renewable Energy Bonds 9 Federal Agencies Expedite Transmission Lines on Federal Lands AEP, Alstrom Trap Carbon Emissions from Coal Plant EERE Funding Up 3% to $2.24 Billion for Fiscal Year 2010 President Obama approved fiscal year (FY) 2010 appropriations for DOE on October 28, including $2.24 billion for the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). The funds represent a modest 3% increase in funding for EERE, which received $2.18 billion in annual appropriations in FY 2009 (not counting special one-time appropriations under the Recovery Act). The funding is about 3% lower than DOE requested, and Congress earmarked more than $292 million in EERE funds for congressionally directed projects, effectively lowering EERE’s budget to $1.95 billion. See the full history, texts, and related documents on the appropriations act, H.R. 3183, on the Library of Congress’ Thomas Web site, as well as the White House press release on the act’s approval. Among the big winners under the new budget is EERE’s Building Technologies Program, […]

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