Archive for Renewable Energies
e360.yale.edu 11th April 2012
Quoted from source:
‘NASA has developed a system capable of growing large amounts of algae for biofuel production within a network of floating plastic bags, an innovation its developers say could ultimately produce a new fuel source. By pumping wastewater and carbon dioxide into four nine-meter plastic bags at a demonstration plant in California, researchers have shown that the system can grow enough algae to produce nearly 2,000 gallons of fuel per year under ideal conditions, according to a report in MIT’s Technology Review. If built near wastewater plants, the technology would overcome two of the challenges associated with large-scale algae biofarms — access to huge amounts of fertilizer and large areas of land. One significant challenge, however, is that the technology currently would require an enormous amount of plastic. For instance, a scenario capable of producing 2.4 million gallons of algae per year would also require five square kilometers of plastic bags, which would likely have to be replaced annually.’
www.bbc.co.uk 8th April 2012
Denmark has long held ambitions to move away from fossil fuels, ever since the price fluctuations of the 1970s caused widespread economic difficulties in the country. Now a bold initiative, which has cross-party support, has been laid out that would see Denmark have a third of its energy needs from renewable energy by the end of this decade. By 2050, this could rise to 100%. The bold decision has been made for mostly economic reasons, which may explain the broad popularity of the idea throughout the political spectrum. Even the right of centre, pro-business politicians support it. Ms Lykke Friis, a front-bench spokeswoman for the opposition Liberal party, said, “No matter what we do, we will have an increase in the price of energy, simply because people in India and China want to have a car, want to travel. That is why we came out with a clear ambition to be independent of fossil fuels: so we are not vulnerable to great fluctuations in energy price.” Energy production will focus on wind power but will also make the use of solar energy and the burning of biomass. There are certain hurdles that need to be overcome (such as the storage of energy for when there is no sun-shine or wind) but for now Denmark has set out the most ambitious and progressive energy plan in modern history.
e360.yale.edu 23rd November 2011
Quoted from source:
‘Google Inc. says it is abandoning its ambitious program to drive down the cost of renewable energy, one of seven major initiatives canceled by the Internet giant this week as it looks to focus on its core projects. Launched four years ago through Google.org, the company’s philanthropic arm, the so-called Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal (RE < C) initiative included a team of engineers dedicated to researching renewable energy technologies, with a focus on solar energy technologies. The Google program invested in Brightsource Energy and eSolar, companies working on concentrated solar power projects, and also invested in potentially breakthrough technologies. “At this point, other institutions are better positioned than Google to take this research to the next level,” the company announced on its corporate blog. Google published the results of its energy research online, encouraging other companies to use it to advance the renewables industry. The changes come as Google, the world’s top search engine, faces increasing competition in mobile phone technology and social media.’
e360.yale.edu 1st April 2011
Quoted from source:
‘Five major U.S. companies, including shipping giants FedEx and United Parcel Service, have committed to partner with the Obama administration in support of a national effort to reduce fossil fuel consumption. As charter members of the so-called National Clean Fleets Partnership, the companies — along with AT&T, PepsiCo, and Verizon — have pledged to reduce their combined petroleum consumption by more than 7 million gallons annually through an increased commitment to renewable energy and electric vehicles. The announcement comes days after President Obama called for a one-third reduction in U.S. oil imports by 2025. The five participating companies operate some of the largest vehicle fleets in the nation, with a total of more than 275,000 trucks and vans. As part of the commitment, the companies have pledged to deploy 20,000 vehicles that use fossil fuel alternatives, including electric power and biofuels.’
www.guardian.co.uk 14th February 2011
In his 2012 Budget Report, US President Barak Obama has proposed opening up funding for clean energy by reducing subsidies for fossil fuels. The report would see the Department of Energy receiving a budget of $29.5 billion for the fiscal year, which is a mark up of 4.2% from the proposed 2011 budget. Of this, around $8 billion would go towards renewable energy such as wind and solar. To help make up this amount, Obama has asked Congress to take away $3.6 billion in oil and gas subsidies in addition to cut government funding for oil and gas research and hydrogen fuel programmes. Predictably, most of the Republican party, who now have the majority in the House of Representatives, oppose the budget claiming that the cuts would cost jobs in a time of economic uncertainty. The party has also vocalised its intention to reduce funding for the Environmental Protection Agency’s programme to regulate greenhouse has emissions claiming that ‘Congress should be the one to decide whether to fight Climate Change, not the administration.’ Obama’s budget already slashes $1.3 billion of the EPA by reducing funds aimed at the Great Lakes Restoration and a clean diesel programme. According to analysts, the most likely condition in the budget to make it into law is extra funding for electric cars, as this could be paired with an opposing bill to increase money for natural gas fuelled cars.
www.telegraph.co.uk 10th February 2011
The 280ft wind turbine in a business park near Reading has received £600,000 from the government in subsidies since it began producing electricity in 2005. However, since then it has been running on an average of 17% capacity. Last year, the turbine produced £100,000 worth of energy put received £130,000 in subsidies (£48 for every MWh generated). A spokesman for the wind turbines owner Ecotricity said: ”The turbine is designed to power the business park and has been doing a good job. They are happy with it and we are happy with it.” The news comes amid an effort in government to make sure wind farms are only built in areas with enough wind for them to make economic sense.
www.boston.com 31st January 2011
A landfill near the Massachusetts town of Canton, near Boston, has been ear-marked for the largest solar power development in the New England area. Closed in 1989, the landfill has been subject to much speculation on its future use yet officials have turned down numerous other suggestions for the site including a baseball field and a public works facility. The protective layering on top of the landfill, which is designed to prevent pollution from leaking from the site, means no development can be constructed that requires deep-digging into the ground. However, solar panels do not require extensive excavation and the plan to build 24,000 solar panels would supply power for 750 homes. With a generative ability of 5.6 Megawatts, the site will be three times larger than any other in New England. “It’s a significant development and, we hope, a harbinger of things to come,’’ said Robert Keough, spokesman for the state’s Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. An extra bonus to the project is that the local authorities will receive revenue from the owner of the solar panels, Southern Sky Renewable Energy. In doing so, local officials believe that they will not have to lay of any police, teachers, or firemen due to economic cuts. The decision to develop the site comes soon after President Obama’s speech on encouraging green development in the country.
e360.yale.edu 4th January 2011
Quoted from source:
‘The European Union will exceed its target of meeting 20 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2020, according to a new report. Twenty-five of the 27 EU nations will meet or exceed their national targets, according to the analysis by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). About 14 percent of the total energy demand will be met through wind energy, more than any other renewable source, with Ireland projected to generate 36.4 percent of its energy from wind by 2020 and Denmark producing 31 percent, according to the analysis. The other top sources of renewable energy are hydropower (10.5 percent), biomass (6.6 percent), and solar photovoltaic (2.7 percent). Italy and Luxembourg, the only nations projected to not meet their national standards, plan to import renewable energy to make up for the shortfall.’
www.guardian.co.uk 10th December 2010
The first of seven hydrogen fuel-cell buses has been launched on a popular tourist route in London that takes in the sites of the Tower of London and Covent Garden. The rest will follow by mid-2011. The buses are the result of successful trials carried out in the city from 2003 to 2007. The buses only waste product is water, which drips from the tail-pipe, and they can go for 18 hours without need for refueling. Their arrival has also seen the opening of the UK’s largest hydrogen refueling station in Leyton, East London. The buses were designed by the same consortium of businesses that introduced 39 hydrogen buses to Vancouver, Canada, in 2009. London has now joined Madrid (the first city in the world to operate a regular hydrogen bus service), Hamburg, Reykjavik, and Perth as cities using the transport technology, which merges hydrogen with oxygen to generate power. It is estimated that around 4,300 deaths are caused in London by poor air quality every year, costing around £2bn a year.
www.telegraph.co.uk 11th December 2010
Quoted from source:
‘The cause of the major political story of last week – the row over tuition fees, students rioting and all – was, as we all know, “public spending cuts”. But how much money does the Government actually hope to save on tuition fees? If the immediate problem is our massive state deficit, it seems odd that the Government should risk such unpopularity, not for any immediate saving, but in the hope that it will get the money back over the next 30 years, as students can afford to repay it. In the short term, the Government’s own projection as to how much it will save is that the funding of university tuition will be cut by £2.9 billion by 2014. As it happens, £2.9 billion is the sum ring-fenced, by the same public spending review, to be given to developing countries to help them fight global warming with windmills and solar panels. It is also slightly less than the £3 billion by which our public debt is rising every week. These much-vaunted “cuts” are not all we are led to believe.’
www.nytimes.com 10th December 2010
Ten years ago the city of Kristiangrad in Sweden vowed to shove off its dependence on fossil fuels completely. Today, with a population of 80,000, the city and its surrounding county effectively uses no oil, gas, or coal for heating and electricity, even during the chilly winters. This has not been achieved by renewable energies such as solar or wind though, but through the burning of bio-gas generated from waste. Everything from food waste to manure, cooking oil, and wood waste is converted to a form of methane in a plant outside of the city, which can then be used to generate energy, whether it be for heating or bio-fuels for cars. Gas is also collected from sewage ponds and old landfills. Although bio-gas generators are not uncommon in Europe, with 5,000 in Germany alone, most are used on a small-scale, particularly on farms. Kristiangrad is one of the first efforts for an ‘across-the-board regional energy makeover’ and it has succeeded on reducing CO2 emissions by a quarter in a decade.
www.boston.com 26th November 2010
The non-profit organisation Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, one of the foremost opposition groups to the USA’s first offshore windfarm, has fallen into debt. After raising, on average, $3.6 million a year from 2003-5 to campaign against the renewable energy farm and its owners Cape Wind. However, by last year funding was down to $1.4 million following the groups defeat in Washington and this year, according to December tax returns, the Alliance was $500,000 in the red. The Alliance president Audra Parker claims that the lack of funding is due to both the length of the fight (almost a decade now) and the recession. Ms. Parker has insisted that the Alliance will continue to protest against the windfarm, which, they claim, will destroy the Nantucket Sound in Massachusetts and cost more for the tax-payer. In reality the windfarm will only add less than $2 to the average monthly energy bills on nearby residents but in comparative terms Cape Wind power will double the cost of electricity from fossil fuels. Although the group has around 5,000 members in the Massachusetts area, when funding dipped it relied upon just nine wealthy donors who contributed about $1 million. One of these is William I. Koch, the fossil fuel magnate, who donated $100,000 to cover the cost of the former Alliance president Glenn G. Wattley. Mr Koch also gave $1 million to a lobbying firm to persuade government officials to drop the Cape Wind plans.
www.nationalgeographic.com 19th November 2010
Quoted from source:
‘When the Navy F/A-18 jet called the Green Hornet takes off over the Chesapeake Bay on Earth Day, it will aim to break a barrier that has proven far more durable than the speed of sound. The twin-engine tactical aircraft is prepared on April 22 to make a supersonic flight on biofuel—its tanks filled 50 percent with oil refined from the crushed seeds of the flowering Camelina sativa plant. The test flight at the Naval Air Station at Patuxent River, Maryland will be a milestone in the Navy’s efforts to reduce its reliance on petroleum, and perhaps, in the elusive search for an alternative fuel for aviation. The event is meant to showcase the Pentagon’s efforts to increase use of renewable energy, not only as a climate change initiative but to protect the military from energy price fluctuations and dependence on foreign oil. When President Obama announced his offshore drilling and energy security plan last month at Andrews Air Force Base, he used the Green Hornet as a backdrop. As naval aviation’s biggest fuel consumer, the F/A-18 Super Hornet is a fitting test aircraft. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus has set a that half of naval energy consumption will come from alternative sources by 2020. A “Great Green Fleet,” to sail by 2016, will include nuclear ships, as well as surface combatants with hybrid electric power systems using biofuel and biofuel-powered aircraft. But for now, the Navy is seeking only to certify its first blend of biofuel and petroleum, by showing it can be used for the Super Hornet’s full range of flight operations. That includes demonstrating that the alternative fuel can deliver the power needed to fly faster than the speed of sound (343 meters per second).’
Read more on the US military’s attempts to move away from fossil fuels in LMV’s published editorial ‘The Army of the Sun: the US Military’s Move Away from Fossil Fuels’.
www.guardian.co.uk 23rd November 2010
Indonesia has found a cunning way of felling its remaining areas of forest, replacing it with palm oil and biofuel crops, and then claiming $1 billion from the UN in climate aid, according to papers discovered by Greenpeace. The island nation is able to do this due to ambiguous terminology used in the UN’s ambitious forestry reform program REDD (Reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation). Terms such as ‘degraded’ and ‘forest’ are not clearly defined meaning the Indonesian government can claim natural forest is ‘degraded’ and the replacement plantations are ‘forests’. Internal government documentation from Jakarta states that 60 million hectares, or an area five times the size of England, of forest are earmarked for development in the next 20 years. This includes 50% of the country’s Orangutan habitat and 80% of its carbon-rich peat land. Such development would lead to a trebling of paper pulp production by 2015 and a doubling of palm oil production by 2020. This comes despite Indonesia’s promise to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 26%. REDD is an ambitious policy that would pay countries to replant trees and restore land.
Read Greenpeace’s report here and please spread the word.
www.guardian.co.uk 19th November 2010
Quoted from source:
‘Until recently she was best known for her international best-seller Wetlands, a frank debut novel about the sex life of an 18-year-old that has been described as everything from literary eroticism to undiluted pornography. Now Charlotte Roche, a 32-year-old, British-born German TV presenter, has found further fame after sending an invitation to the German president. “I’m offering to go to bed with him if he refuses to sign into law the extension of the country’s nuclear power stations,” she told Der Spiegel. Whether or not she is now embarrassed by her own daring – perhaps unlikely given her well-documented record of thriving on provocation – Roche refused a request to talk further on the topic, saying she had said all that needed to be said. In a statement, however, she explained that her overture to Christian Wulff was a matter of life and death, driven by fear for her own future and that of her children. “My husband is in agreement. Now it’s just up to the first lady to agree to it,” she said, offering an added incentive: “I am tattooed.” At stake is the future of nuclear energy in Germany, which has become the source of furious debate following the recent announcement by the government of Angela Merkel that it was planning to extend the lifespan of the country’s 17 nuclear power stations by a further 12 years. Merkel was accused of kowtowing to the powerful energy sector, which is set to make billions from the deal, and of threatening the future of the renewable energy industry.’
www.telegraph.co.uk 19th November 2010
Quoted from source:
‘Andrew Mitchell, the International Development Secretary, said aid money will be used in a new way to tackle climate change, as well as funding health and education. In a controversial move, the Coalition Government will be using tax-payer’s money to encourage private investors to put further funds towards ‘green’ development projects. However aid agencies and charities argue it is dangerous to involve big business in aid because they will only help people while there is the potential for profit. Mr Mitchell announced two public-private partnership projects in Africa and Asia to stimulate investment in renewable energy schemes. The UK Government has already put aside £2.9 billion of the aid budget to tackle climate change over the next four years. From this grants will be put in a central pot and then matched by private investors, renewable energy projects can then dip into the fund to develop hydro-electric plants and other schemes. Once the money is flowing private investors will see that there is profit to be made from investing in solar panels and other technologies for poor people. A ‘green market’ will be created for the first time in some of the most ‘energy poor’ areas of the world. Initial modelling of the fund estimates £9 of private investment could be raised for every £1 put in by the UK Government. DfID estimates that, over 25 years, the project could generate energy for millions of rural homes, create 60,000 jobs and save 150 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. The project is all part of international efforts to fight climate change by making sure that developing countries, which will produce the most carbon in the future, grow in a green way.’
www.nytimes.com 9th November 2010
Departing New York governor David Paterson has left his successors an ambitious plan of reducing the city’s carbon emissions 80% by the middle of the century. The plan follows on from a ten month consultation with ‘more than 100 experts from energy companies, utilities and labor and environmental groups’. It includes ‘doubling the state’s sources of renewable energy by 2030, setting stricter efficiency standards for all buildings, shifting private transportation toward electric vehicles and supporting the creation of jobs in research on energy technology and in clean energy industries.’ Although not legally binding, aides to Mr. Paterson hope that his successor Andrew Cuomo will use the plan it as a guide in developing shift to clean energy. Fortunately, the details of the plan are broadly in line with Mr. Cuomo’s energy policy during his campaign and both men are democrats. Mr. Paterson has not always been seen as a particular pro-Green politician however. He cut the budget to the NY Department of Environmental Conservation and then fired its head, Alexander Grannis, when he protested. The governor has also dipped into environmental funds to fill in the state’s budget deficit.
Public comments on the document, at nyclimatechange.us/InterimReport.cfm, are being accepted for 90 days.
The coalition government in the UK has come under fire for its apparent failure to live up to its grandiose claims of being the ‘greenest government ever’. With the latest budget cuts affecting DEFRA more than any other government department apart from the treasury it seems that the Con-Lib coalition is, in fact, doing the opposite. In order to make up the shortfall of funds, DEFRA may be forced to sell off as much as half of the nation’s forests. The government has also dropped its promise to reduce illegal timber imports, has refused to stop drilling in the North Sea following the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, plans to reduce the number of environmental quangos from 92 to 39, and has cut funding on the ‘Warm Front Scheme’ that provides grants for insulation for the less well-off. However, steps are being taken to radically overhaul the UK’s energy use. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, Energy and Climate Minister Greg Parker is asked about the details of the plan and how it essential for the nation’s future. Read the full interview here at e360.yale.edu.
e360.yale.edu 5th November 2010
Quoted from source:
‘A U.S. startup is working on a plan to install hundreds of 40-kilowatt hydrokinetic turbines, each the size of a large jet engine, along the bottom of the Mississippi River, an ambitious renewable energy project developers say could someday produce more than one gigawatt of electricity — enough to power 250,000 homes. While the technology remains relatively unproven, the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission recently granted the company, Free Flow Power, preliminary rights to explore the potential for dozens of turbine locations along the 2,320-mile river. Although most efforts to develop hydrokinetic energy projects so far have focused on tidal or wave energy, the company says river installations have significant advantages. “The water flows in one direction, it doesn’t have salt in it, and, in the case of the Mississippi, people have spent 100 years tracking water flows and velocities,” said Henry Dormitzer, the company’s chief financial officer. The challenges, however, will be to show that the turbines will not impact marine life or the massive volume of traffic on the river. The only commercial hydrokinetic river project currently in use is a single turbine installed on the Mississippi by Texas-based Hydro Green Energy near Hastings, Minn.’
www.telegraph.co.uk 2nd November 2010
Quoted from source:
‘Chris Huhne, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, will set out radical plans to upgrade all 26 million homes in the country over the next decade. Under the ‘New Green Deal’, households will be able to take out ‘pay-as-you-save loans’ from the local council , supermarket or chain store like B&Q. The loans of up to £10,000 will pay for double glazing, solar panels or other energy efficiency measures and will be paid pack over time through savings on fuel bills. Mr Huhne said the initiative will create more than 100,000 jobs over the next five years as home owners demand ‘green makeovers’. However there is little incentive for private landlords to take advantage of the scheme because they are not paying the bills. As a consequence many privately rented homes are badly insulated. At the moment about 670,000 homes, more than a fifth of the total 3.2 million in the private rented sector, are rated G or F, meaning they have some of the worst efficiency ratings in the country. To force landlords to act the new legislation will “create powers allowing any tenant asking for reasonable energy efficiency improvements to receive them from 2015 onwards”. It will also allow local authorities to insist that landlords improve the worst performing homes by installing insulation. Let Insurance Services, a specialist insurance provider to the private rented sector, said it could cause problems for landlords and tenants. “Anything that uses less energy and improves running costs for tenants is to be welcomed but the danger is that unneccessary costs of installations can be passed onto tenants and end up costing them more,” said a spokesman.’
e360.yale.edu 29th October 2010
Quoted from source:
‘The Chinese auto industry will make development and production of electric and hybrid vehicles its top priority over the next five years, according to its latest Five-year Plan. By 2015, China aims to sell 1 million “new-energy” automobiles, according to a report in People’s Daily. China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has already announced that the government will invest more than 100 billion yuan ($14.5 billion) over the next decade to make China the world leader in green car production. Meanwhile, in the UK, where a government subsidy next year will shave £5,000 ($7,960) off the cost of new electric cars, a company predicts that the next generation of green cars could be charged wirelessly with the same technology that charges electric toothbrushes. The company, HaloIPT, this week demonstrated how electric cars can be charged wirelessly by parking over a transmitter pad, and predicted that one day vehicles might be able to re-charge by using roads outfitted with electrical systems that charge cars as they travel.’
www.nytimes.com 25th October 2010
The native American group of the Navajo have announced their intention to move away from their reliance on coal power and align themselves with technology that is more suited to their traditional values. The Navajo Nation spreads for 17million acres across the states of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah and is they are the largest native American group in the States today. Coal mining and power plants currently make up about a third of the group’s annual operating budget but only employs around 1,500 of the 300,000 Navajos in the area. The fundamental reasons behind the decision seems to be the environmental degradation and health problems caused by coal mining. Navajo tradition, as explained by local medicine men, regards the extraction of natural resources such as coal and uranium (mined until health issues caused a ban in 2005) as tantamount to cutting through skin. Furthermore, the decision to make the most of solar and wind power in the Nation is an economic one. Income from coal has dwindled 15-20% in the past years and this is partly due to coal companies shutting down factories rather than paying hefty refurbishment fees to meet reduced pollution targets imposed on them by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Earlier this month the EPA told one company to install $717million in emission controls, labelling the factory in question the worst emitter of nitrous oxide in the country. Although progress is slow in the change, the Navajo have already given the go ahead for one wind farm that will generate power for 20,000 homes and have set up the ‘Navajo Green Economy Commission’ to help with the process.
www.independent.co.uk 20th October 2010
The UK has topped a recent survey by Australia’s Climate Institute thinktank that lists countries on the value of their incentives to cut pollution from electricity generation. The Vivid Economics report estimate that the UK’s efforts were equivalent to 29.30 US dollars per tonne of CO2. Surprisingly, China came in second with $14.20 per tonne due to their title as the world’s leader in clean energy investment. The USA came next with $5.10, then Japan at $3.10, Australia $1.70, and finally just 70 US cents per tonne for South Korea. The six countries make up about half of global carbon emissions. The great success in the list is China, who has been long considered as a heavy polluter. Erwin Jackson, director of the Climate Institute, said that the country’s investment in clean energy stood at US$35billion in 2009 alone compared to $18bill. in the USA and $11bill. in the UK. This figure is expected to increase tenfold over the next decade. Subsidies and the closure of dirty coal plants are all being used in an attempt to produce 15% of China’s energy by 2020. However, the report also warned that none of the countries in the list were in line to meet global reduction targets set at the Copenhagen Summit last year, with Japan lagging furthest behind ‘in relative terms’. Australia, as the world’s worst per capita polluter due to its heavy reliance on coal, is also far off target.
www.independent.co.uk 17th October 2010
What would have been the world’s largest tidal energy project is to be scrapped as the British government puts more importance on addressing the nation’s deficit. The idea for the project dates back to the 1920s and would have seen a 10 mile barrage stretching from Weston-super-Mare in Somerset to Cardiff in south Wales. Chris Huhne, the Secretary of State for Energy, is due tomorrow to publicly declare the government’s abandonment of the project citing that the estimated bill of between £10 and £30 billion for an untested technology is just too much. As the project would have powered 1 in 20 homes in Britain, or 5%, the government now have to find alternative means to meet their aim of reducing carbon emissions 80% by 2050. Mr. Huhne is to give his approval in principle to the construction of 8 nuclear power stations in England and Wales as well as investing in Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) schemes that may be able to reduce carbon emissions from fossil fuel plants by 90%. Wildlife campaigners have welcomed the decision as the construction of a Severn barrage would have damaged the marshes and mudflats of the region. These areas are vital for wading bird communities and migrating fish populations.
www.guardian.co.uk 15th October 2010
A bubble-maker has been awarded the £250,000 Brian Mercer award for innovation from the Royal Society for its ability “to transform the cost and effectiveness of growing algae for biofuel, treating sewage and cooling computers.” It was invented by Professor Will Zimmerman of the University of Sheffield and is currently undergoing field trials in the chimneys of the steel manufacturer Corus. The smaller bubbles made by the Y-shaped device feed algal blooms with CO2. The advantage of the smaller bubbles is that they take away the waste product oxygen allowing 100% of the algae to survive. Prof. Zimmerman’s creation requires ’80% less energy than existing methods of creating bubbles for chemical processes.’ The reduced cost has caught the attention of Anglican Water and Yorkshire Water who are working with the Professor in speeding up the process of bacteria breaking down sewage. Shell and ExxonMobil have invested heavily in this technology with the latter company putting up $600 million and the hiring of human genome decoder Craig Venter to produce an algae that makes oil. However Ben Graziano of the Carbon Trust has stated that this technology is a decade away from being commercialised.
www.latimes.com 13th October 2010
The Republican Party’s candidate for the state governorship of California, Meg Whitman, has stated that she intends to ‘fix’ the state’s 2006 Global Warming Law, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Ms. Whitman first brought up the subject during a debate with Democratic candidate Jerry Brown on Tuesday when she said she not only wanted to delay the law, known as AB32, by a year but also ‘fix’ it. Her logic behind such a statement was that currently only 3% of jobs in California are ‘green’ and the law “is going to do real damage to the rest of the jobs in the economy.” Despite her remarks, Ms. Whitman, like Mr. Brown, has rejected Proposition 23, ‘a ballot measure to suspend the law until California’s jobless rate drops to 5.5% for a year’. This bill is heavily backed by the fossil fuel companies with trade interests in the state. Ms. Whitman’s rejection of the bill followed from heavy pressure put on her by fellow Silicone Valley executives (Whitman is the former Chief Executive of EBay) who are trying to push California’s economy towards renewable energies. 7 out of 10 of the USA’s largest clean technology companies are based in California. The Republican governor of the state Arnold Schwarzenegger, who brought AB23 into existence, has ‘pointedly’ not endorsed Ms. Whitman.
www.nytimes.com 4th October 2010
The United States military is experimenting with renewable energies due to the vulnerability of fossil fuel transportation on the battlefield. With the military frequently in operation in remote parts of the world with limited access to fuel, military officials have come to see a reliance on fossil fuels as a liability to combat effectiveness. As a result, whereas many businesses in the USA have put renewable energy projects on hold due to the recession, the US army has pushed ahead with energy reform. Current fuel convoys have drawn the attention of insurgent attacks and new statistics show that for every 24 convoys that set out, one soldier or civilian engaged in fuel transport is killed. No where in the problem more acute than in the Khyber Pass in Afghanistan where parked convoys are regularly attacked and torched by Taliban fighters. However, the change in attitude to fossil fuels is not just for increased fuel reliability. It would also free up troops set aside to guard fuel depots and convoys and make units more mobile and independent. The US navy alone (including the marines) intends to have 50% of its energy needs met by renewables by 2020 including power for military bases and electric transport. An electric vessel called USS Makin Island is already in use and saved 900,000 gallons of fuel on its maiden voyage from Mississippi to San Diego. The US airforce has also stated that its entire fleet will be able to run on bio-fuels by 2011 allowing the military to grow crops wherever their airfields are.
e360.yale.edu 11th October 2010
Quoted from source:
‘The U.S. could generate 20 percent of its electricity from wind energy by 2030 if it develops offshore wind farms in the coastal waters of 26 states, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab. Developing the nation’s offshore wind potential would also create $200 billion in “new economic activity” and 43,000 jobs, according to the report. While the U.S. currently leads the world in installed land-based wind capacity, the nation has no major offshore wind farms. Last week, however, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar signed a 28-year offshore lease for the nation’s first offshore wind project off the coast of Cape Cod, Mass., which would produce an average of 182 megawatts. State and federal officials are now considering other major offshore wind farm proposals. The Department of Energy report said that if offshore wind farms are densely developed along the U.S. coastline, such installations could theoretically provide four times the electricity capacity that now exists in the U.S.’