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Clean Energy Roundup: 11/23/11

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TESTING2012 Annual Fuel Economy Guide Released $7M to Cut Soft Costs of Solar Systems Innovative Energy Storage Technologies Enabling More Renewable Energy Top U.S. Green Power Programs Honored DOE, EPA Release the 2012 Annual Fuel Economy Guide The Dept of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have released the 2012 Fuel Economy Guide, which guides people toward choosing efficient vehicles. The 2012 electric Mitsubishi i-MiEV (see photo) topped the list at 112 miles per gallon (converting gas into electric costs to "fuel up"). The Nissan Leaf electric, Azure Dynamics Transit Connect Electric Van, plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt, and the Toyota Prius hybrid, rounded out the top five spots. The online rankings also include vehicles that get the worst gas mileage and estimates of annual fuel costs. The online version of the guide allows people to enter local gasoline prices and typical driving habits to receive personalized fuel cost estimates. See the DOE press release, the complete guide, and 2012 fuel economy leaders. DOE’s $7 Million to Help Trim ‘Soft’ Costs of Solar Energy Systems DOE announced $7 million in grants to reduce non-hardware costs of residential and commercial solar energy installations as part of its Sunshot Initiative. […]

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Clean Energy Roundup: 11/11/11

TESTINGDOE-MIT Search Engine Speeds Materials Research DOE Recognizes 2011 Sustainability Awards Winners NREL Wins 2011 GreenGov Presidential Award Ford, Chevy Introduce New Electric Cars Kansans Save $2.3 Million in Energy Challenge DOE-MIT Search Engine to Speed Materials Research "The Materials Project" is a new online tool developed by researchers at DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It operates like a "Google" of material properties, enabling scientists and engineers from universities, national labs, and private industry to accelerate development of new materials. Discovering new materials and strengthening the properties of existing materials are key to improving just about everything humans use. Wind turbines, solar panels, and a variety of clean technologies depend on roughly 14 elements (including nine rare earth elements). With about 90% of these currently coming from China, there are concerns about potential supply shortages and disruptions. With the Materials Project, researchers can use supercomputers to characterize properties of inorganic compounds, including their stability, voltage, capacity, and oxidation state, which had previously not been possible. The results are then organized into a database that gives all researchers at DOE’s national labs free access. The database currently contains properties of more than 15,000 inorganic […]

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World Population Hitting 7 Billion

TESTINGPlanet Earth will host 7 billion humans by the end of October 2011. Although that’s a daunting number, the rate of increase is slowing from its high point of over 2% in 1968. Still, this year’s 1.1% increase means some 78 million people will be added to the global population in 2011. The human population reached 1 billion in the early 19th century, and it took more than 100 years to reach 2 billion. After that, the intervals between billions grew even shorter: we added the third billion in 33 years, the fourth in 14 years, the fifth in 13 years, and the sixth and seventh in 12 years each. Anyone alive today who was born by 1940 has seen our numbers triple. The most widely cited United Nations projection shows world population hitting 8 billion in 2025 and 10 billion before the end of this century. With populations stabilizing in much of the industrial world, almost all population growth in the near future is expected to occur in developing countries. Of the 2.3 billion people to be added by 2050, more than a billion will live in sub-Saharan Africa. The Indian subcontinent will add some 630 million people. Global […]

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Clean Energy Roundup: 10/28/11

TESTING$60M for Concentrating Solar Research Financing Solar PV for Schools Japan Wins World Solar Challenge We Have to Replace the Whole Barrel National Lab Partnerships Brings Cutting-Edge Technology to Market $60 Million for Concentrating Solar DOE is investing $60 million over three years for applied scientific research to advance cutting-edge concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies. The effort is part of DOE’s SunShot Initiative, a collaborative national effort to reduce the cost of solar energy 75% by the end of the decade. SunShot investments encourage rapid, widespread adoption of solar systems across the country, help the U.S. solar industry overcome technical barriers and reduce costs, boost U.S. competitiveness in the worldwide market for solar technologies, and provide support for clean energy jobs for years to come. Through this solicitation, DOE seeks to support research in technologies that have the potential to dramatically increase efficiency, lower costs, and deliver more reliable performance than existing commercial and near-commercial CSP systems. DOE expects to fund 20-22 projects, and encourages industry, universities, and its national laboratories to apply. Pre-applications are due November 22, and full applications are due February 7, 2012. This SunShot CSP opportunity seeks to develop innovative concepts that could lead to performance […]

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The Perils of Investing In China

TESTINGby Andreas Schreyer In The Green Investor newsletter, which guides investors in developing green stock portfolios, we have been generally supportive of China, despite being the world’s largest polluter, for its progressive energy policies and its massive investment in renewable energy. We have been attracted to the growth prospects of Chinese renewable energy markets and have been cautiously selecting China-related investments, but sadly, we are now forced to downgrade Chinese and China-dependent investments to the speculative risk category. Cases of fraud, stock manipulations and intellectual property theft are not new in China, and our older subscribers painfully remember getting stopped out of RINO International Corp. when their false accounting scam was revealed. We are now finding out that the American Superconductor implosion earlier this year is the direct result of intellectual property theft. The American Superconductor Saga When we issued our sell recommendation for American Superconductor (AMSC) in June, the only information available was that the company was going to miss its quarterly and yearly financial expectations in a big way because its largest customer Sinovel, the leading Chinese wind turbine manufacturer, which overtook GE last year for the #2 rank in the world, was in breach of contract for […]

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Clean Energy Roundup: 10/5/11

TESTINGMaryland Wins Solar Decathlon 2011 DOE: $156M for Groundbreaking Energy Research DOE Finalizes Last Loan Guarantees for Solar, Bioenergy DOE Backs University Clean Energy Business Competitions $12 Million i6 Green Investment Maryland Wins Solar Decathlon 2011 On October 1, the University of Maryland won the US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011. Purdue University took second place and New Zealand (Victoria University of Wellington) took third-place in the 19-team event. The event ran from September 23-October 2 on the National Mall’s West Potomac Park in Washington, D.C. Team Maryland, runner-up in 2007, entered WaterShed, which proposed water and energy efficiency solutions in addition to solar design, inspired by the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. Their team’s entry won for the best blend of affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency. It got 951 out of a possible 1,000 points. See the Solar Decathlon blog, the final scores and the Solar Decathlon website. $156 Million for Groundbreaking Energy Research On September 29, DOE awarded $156 million for 60 cutting-edge research projects under its Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) that are aimed at dramatically improving how the US produces and uses energy. Awardees will focus on accelerating cleantech […]

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Oversight Hearing: How Obama’s Green Energy Agenda is Killing Jobs!

TESTINGby Rona Fried How Obama’s Green Energy Agenda is Killing Jobs is the title of Darrell Issa’s (R-CA) Congressional oversight hearing, taking place today. Issa is Chief of Investigations for the House GOP and the lead investigator of what’s turning into the Solyndra scandal, named after the young solar company that had the nerve to go bankrupt after receiving a federal loan guarantee under the American Recovery Act (Stimulus Bill). Solyndra filed bankruptcy on Sept. 6 after receiving $535 million in US loan guarantees since 2009. Republicans pounced on the bankruptcy, says the Hill, arguing the Obama administration rushed to approve the loan guarantee without subjecting it to adequate oversight. The Dept of Energy (DOE) points out that although it’s inevitable that some companies that receive government support will fail, the reality is that out of the $2 billion the agency’s handed out, Solyndra is the only company to do so. What happened to Solyndra? Solyndra’s solar panels are installed at over 1000 facilities worldwide. It was widely lauded for its unique, cylindrically shaped CIGS solar modules designed for large commercial rooftop installations. Sales revenue rose 2000% in three years and venture capital firms invested $1 billion. Young solar companies […]

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Clean Energy Roundup: 9/21/11

TESTINGSolar Decathlon 2011 Set to Begin Installed Costs of US Solar PV Systems Drop Advanced Battery Plant Opens in Florida Green Racing Marks Its 25th Competition Solar Decathlon 2011 Set to Begin The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 is taking shape as teams work around the clock to assemble 19 solar homes on the National Mall’s West Potomac Park in Washington, D.C., in time for the 10 a.m. September 23 opening. The Solar Decathlon is an international DOE competition that offers university teams a chance to design and build homes that run entirely on solar energy. Teams ship their structures to the site, assemble them, and then compete in 10 contests. The biennial event, launched in 2002 and organized by DOE’s National Renewable Energy Lab, is free to the public. The Decathlon runs through October 2. See the kick-off Energy Blog post and the Solar Decathlon website. This year, 19 teams come from universities in California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia, as well as Belgium, Canada, China, and New Zealand. For this sixth Solar Decathlon, each home will once again be monitored for its performance in five […]

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Clean Energy Roundup: 8/17/11

TESTINGDOE: $175M for Advanced Vehicle Research A123 Gets GM Contract for Advanced EV Batteries Pres. Obama Announces Initiative to Spur Biofuels Industry DOE, USDA Fund Bioenergy Crop Research Billion-Ton Update on U.S. Homegrown Energy Resources DOE: $102M Loan Guarantee to Maine Wind Project Interior OKs 550 MW Solar Project in California Registration Begins for America’s Home Energy Challenge DOE Awards $175M for Advanced Vehicle Research DOE announced on August 10 that it will offer over $175 million over the next three to five years to accelerate development and deployment of advanced vehicle technologies. The funds will leverage additional investments by grantees for a total of over $300 million. 40 projects across 15 states will help improve the fuel efficiency of next generation vehicles. Targets include innovations throughout the vehicle, such as better fuels and lubricants, lighter-weight materials, longer-lasting and less-expensive electric vehicle (EV) batteries and components, and engine technologies that more efficient. DOE’s comprehensive approach to vehicle efficiency research and development will help ensure technologies are available to help automakers achieve recently announced fuel efficiency standards. For example, Ford Motor will get $1.5 million to identify fuel properties that enable novel low-emission combustion strategies. For another, US Automotive Materials Partnership […]

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Clean Energy Roundup: 6/15/11

TESTING5M Smart Meters Installed Nationwide $2B Loan Guarantees for Concentrating Solar Plants Drop-In Biofuels Get $36M $70M to Advance Geothermal Energy Nevada Geothermal Project Gets Conditional Loan Guarantee Energy Performance and Building Appraisals Partnership  High Energy Density Capacitor Has Potential for Clean Energy Applications Five Million Smart Meters are Installed Nationwide Over five million smart meters have been installed nationwide as part of Recovery Act-funded efforts to accelerate modernization of the U.S. electric grid, DOE reported on June 13. Nearly 90% of the meters installed to date are in Arizona, California, Florida, Idaho, Michigan, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Texas. Smart meters provide utility companies with greater information about how much electricity is being used throughout their service areas. The meters also give people  access to real-time information about their energy consumption, allowing them to make informed decisions about how they use their electricity. Transforming the current electric grid into a more intelligent system involves a wide range of advanced technologies, including smart meters, which will improve the reliability and security of the grid. Such meters will allow for the integration of renewable energy sources and help prevent blackouts and restore power more quickly when outages occur. Florida Power & Light is deploying an advanced […]

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