Renewables & Efficiency

India Mandates Solar Water Heaters

TESTINGA recently passed law in India requires all buildings to have solar-assisted water heating. The law affects all states, and includes hospitals, lodges, colleges, military barracks, railway terminals, community centers and other institutions, and in larger residential buildings.

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State-by-State: Where the Wind Energy Projects Are

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TESTINGWant to know where the wind energy projects are going up around the U.S.? Plug in your state on the American Wind Energy Association’s web site and you’ll find out current total MW, planned MW, wind energy potential, and the state’s U.S. ranking. It’s easy and very informative. [sorry this link is no longer available]

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Take a Guided Tour on Wind Energy

TESTINGWind energy novices and experts can benefit from the Danish Wind Turbine Manufacturers Association website tour. You can learn how a turbine works, how to calculate turbine energy output, how they are designed, the status of research and development in wind energy, environmental benefits and concerns, among other categories. It even shows potential investors how to determine whether wind makes sense for them. [sorry this link is no longer available]

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New Book by Joseph Romm: Cool Companies

TESTINGThe author of environmental business book classic, Lean and Clean Management, has released a new book, Cool Companies: How the Best Businesses Boost Profits & Productivity by Cutting Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Using 100 illustrative case studies, he documents that financial performance from energy efficiency and clean technology investments can surpass even Wall Street returns. Most business leaders assume emissions cuts will be expensive or are operating under the illusion that they maximized energy efficiency in the 1970s and 1980s. But tremendous recent advances in information technology and ubiquitous electro-mechanical devices offer the promise of billions of dollars to the bottom line. The book shows business leaders, step-by-step, how to exploit revolutionary advances in the design of motors, lighting, heating and cooling, and building space to save money while helping fight global warming. Look for a Feature abstract from this book soon in “Sustainable Business Insider”. [sorry this link is no longer available]

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BP Amoco Pushes Further Into Solar

TESTINGWith $45 million, BP Amoco is buying the remaining 50 percent of Solarex from Enron, creating the world’s largest solar company. BP Solarex projects annual revenues of more than $150 million, a 20 percent share of the global market. It will have manufacture 30 megawatts per year in the U.S., Spain, Australia and India. Solarex recently commissioned the largest solar electric system in the U.S. to Green Mountain Energy. 1,400 thin film modules will produce 43 kW in Pennsylvania for 20 years. In another widely publicized announcement, BP Amoco unveiled its $50 million investment to run 200 service stations world-wide partially on solar power. All new stations in the UK, Australia, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Japan, Portugal and Spain will incorporate solar. Pilot sites are also underway in France and the U.S. http://www.solarex.com

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Portland, Oregon Program Recognizes Sustainable Business Practices

TESTINGLooking for outstanding examples of sustainable business practices? This is the seventh year that Portland, Oregon’s Energy Office has awarded its BEST (Businesses for an Environmentally Sustainable Tomorrow) Awards to local companies. Some examples: Through a public-private partnership, Ash Grove Cement Company installed a 9,400 foot pipeline connecting its manufacturing plant to the landfill. Instead of flaring landfill gas into the atmosphere, it’s used as fuel for three of the company’s lime kilns, reducing Ash Grove’s reliance on fossil fuels to the tune of $2 million a year (equivalent to the gas used to heat 13,000 Portland-area homes for a year). By replacing a large, central facility with three smaller centers, Portland General Electric brought their utility crews closer to their work, speeding response time and cutting transportation costs. The new buildings incorporate energy saving features – daylighting, electronic dimming ballasts, dual-fuel heat pumps, higher levels of insulation, higher efficiency windows, and outside air economizers – cutting energy use by $50,000 per year, 43 percent lower than comparable buildings. They used low-toxicity building materials and water efficient fixtures, recycled construction debris, built in stormwater runoff retention ponds and constructed a wetland providing habitat for the Northern Red-Legged frog, a species […]

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Solar System Purchases Jump From Y2K Concerns

TESTINGNationwide, solar electric companies are experiencing a spike in sales attributed partly to Y2K jitters. Solar Electric Systems of Kansas City notes that Y2K has put solar on the radar screen for back-up power. Golden Genesis Co. of Scottsdale, AZ reports a 40 percent increase in sales for 1998 as several thousand more customers purchased solar systems; this year, sales are on track to increase another 70 percent. The company advertises 1,100-watt solar electric systems for $1,599 – enough to power lights, a refrigerator, entertainment systems, and a computer during short power outages.

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Chevron Shareholders Vote To Track Emissions

TESTINGIn a breakthrough shareholder action, 28 percent of Chevron shareholders voted in favor of requiring the company to track its greenhouse gas emissions and assess the resulting financial liabilities. Exxon, Ford, GM, Allegheny Power and Reynolds face similar actions. Last year, a comparable measure at Exxon carried 7.6 percent of shareholder vote. The resolution, sponsored by investors representing major religious groups, asked Chevron to document actions by the company or its trade associations “promoting the view that the issue of climate change is exaggerated, not real, or that global warming may be beneficial.” The Chevron vote indicates significant concern among investors but it is not legally binding. The vote constitutes 183 million of Chevron’s 650 million voting shares. “This vote should make companies like Exxon and others very nervous,” said Sister Patricia Daly, of the Sisters of St. Dominic of Caldwell, New Jersey. “Like Chevron, they must start factoring global warming into their long term plans or risk being outpaced by more forwarding-looking competitors.”

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Around the World – Wind is Picking Up Speed

TESTINGWhen the 70 employees of New Belgium Brewing (Colorado, U.S.) learned the CO2 the company creates from generating electricity is four times higher than the amount that can be recovered from beer fermentation, they voted unanimously to lower their bonuses and convert completely to wind power. Now the largest wind power purchaser in the U.S., the company will displace 1,000 tons of coal and four million pounds of CO2 emissions. A new wind turbine will be built in Wyoming to power the company. In Egypt, a 40 turbine windfarm will funnel wind through mountains along the Red Sea, with average speeds of 23 mph for 95 percent of the year (compared to speeds of 16 mph elsewhere). The extra velocity generates a three-fold increase in power and will generate electricity for the low price of $0.04 per kWh. The windfarm is being financed by German and Danish turbine manufacturers. Egyptian officials believe wind will generate 3% of demand by 2005, making it the world’s fifth biggest producer behind Germany, U.S., Denmark, and India. Egypt will soon be connected to Europe’s power grid, and can also export excess electricity. A 50-turbine windfarm in the desert of northern Chile will displace 3 […]

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Biofuels – A Solution for Climate Change

TESTINGThis 6-page paper from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory notes the U.S. has an annual resource base of about 200 million dry tons of various waste feedstocks available. Using a fraction of this would supply the equivalent of 3.6 percent of the projected light-duty vehicle energy demand in 2010. [sorry this link is no longer available]

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