Record Month for Renewable Energy in the US

The latest Electric Power Monthly Report released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows net U.S. electrical generation from renewable sources (biomass, geothermal, solar, hydro, and wind) reached an all-time high in May of 2009, comprising 13% of the total electrical generation for the month. Renewable sources generated 40,395,000 Megawatt hours (Mwh), 7.7% higher than for May of 2008, and thus far the highest figure ever reported by the EIA.

The Future of Electric Vehicles = Batteries

Mike Tinskey, manager of Ford's sustainability activities, outlined what Ford sees as essential (controllable success factors) for electric vehicles and supporting infrastructure, during a presentation at the Plug-in 2009 conference in Long Beach this past week. During his talk, he suggested that migrating to battery commonality would be a huge win for the industry simply because it would support a more rapid achievement of the higher production volumes required to bring prices down. According to Tinskey, The biggest issue with batteries now is not necessarily the technology, it's the volume.  If the battery manufacturers could get north of 100,000 packs, annually prices come down drastically.

Orange County Choppers Builds an EV

Orange County Choppers, known for building machines as brutish as they are loud, has produced this paradoxical bike touted as the first custom electric American chopper. Siemens, unveiled the Smart Chopper it commissioned from the renowned custom motorcycle outfit. Siemens claims the bike has a 60-mile range and a 100 mph top speed. An onboard charging unit can be plugged into any 110-volt socket to charge the bike in five hours, and Siemens says it'll charge in as little as one hour when plugged into a higher-voltage station. A single-speed, clutch-less transmission delivers the power from a 27-hp electric motor.

US, Canada, Mexico get together on climate change

At a trilateral summit in Guadalajara, Mexico, Presidents Barack Obama and Felipe Calderon of Mexico, and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, committed their countries to develop policies and programmes to combat global warming. In a statement, the leaders said they supported a worldwide goal of reducing global emissions by at least 50% compared to 1990 or more recent years by 2050, with developed countries lowering emissions by at least 80% compared to that period by then. To help achieve agreed low-carbon development goals, the countries will develop comparable approaches to measuring, reporting and verifying emissions reductions, including cooperation in reporting greenhouse gas emissions throughout the region.

Tesla Turns Green into Profit

Tesla Motors turned profitable for the first time in July 2009, when the electric car manufacturer shipped a record 109 vehicles. A surge in sales and reduced manufacturing costs of Tesla's Roadster 2 sports car helped boost the company to $1 million in earnings and $20 million in revenue. The Roadster has a range of about 244 miles per charge -- the first production electric vehicle to cross the 200-mile mark, according to the press release. The Roadster is the only highway-capable electric vehicle for sale in North America or Europe, and the company says it is faster than a Porsche and twice as energy-efficient as a Toyota Prius.

Nissan Rolls Out Electric Car

Nissan Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn drove quietly out of the Japanese automaker's soon-to-open headquarters Sunday in the first public viewing of its new zero-emission vehicle. It was the first time the external design was shown of Nissan Motor Co.'s environmentally friendly electric automobile, set to go on sale in Japan, the U.S. and Europe next year. Nissan has promised that the Leaf, which goes into mass-production as a global model in 2012, will be about the same price as a gas-engine car such as the 1.5 million yen ($15,000) Tiida, which sells abroad as the Versa, starting at about $10,000.

Venture Capital Gets Back In The Cleantech Game

Venture capitalists increased investments in alternative energy by 73 percent over the past three months, according to a report issued Wednesday, an indication that the horrible market conditions from earlier this year may have abated. Investors are also be growing more confident because the government is making good on promises to try to shift the national energy policy more toward wind, solar and other renewable technologies. Venture capital investment totaled $572 million in the second quarter, according to Ernst & Young LLP.

China to subsidize 50% cost of Solar Projects

China's Ministry of Finance has unwrapped plans to subsidise half the cost of building independent solar-array projects in the country, including new power transmission and distribution systems to link projects to the grid. The subsidy will stretch to 70% for solar projects in remote regions with no current power supply, as the country continues searching for ways to create demand for its domestic PV industry.

Utility-scale, Zero-emissions Hydrogen Power Plant

Jetstream Wind Inc. officials said the $219 million plant would use electricity from wind, solar and other renewable energy sources to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen would then be burned in a turbine - similar to those used by natural gas-fired power plants - to generate enough electricity to power about 6,000 homes and businesses. The 10-megwatt plant also would be capable of capturing and storing oxygen in liquid and gaseous forms for use in the medical field or other secondary markets.

Malaga = Smart City

The Malaga SmartCity initiative has been launched introducing a new urban energy management model in a bid to improve energy efficiency, reduce CO2 emissions and shift consumption to renewable energies. The €31 million project involving eleven companies under the leadership of Spanish energy company Endesa, aims to provide a holistic response to the environmental challenges facing consumers.

CONTROL4 SECURES $17.3 MILLION TO FUND SMARTGRID PRODUCT INITIATIVES

"Our innovative home automation and energy management solutions provide exciting new energy monitoring and control capabilities that meet the needs of utilities and energy-conscious consumers," said Will West, CEO at Control4. "This funding will help us maximize this new market opportunity by advancing Control4's ability to control and integrate with other devices in any residence or business connected to a Smart Grid. With this financing, we can increase our resources to deliver products desired by homeowners, businesses and utility companies alike."

Alt Energy = $$$ in Rural China

In Meiquan Village near Lashi Lake, Zhang Chengui says he has been able to maximize profits by spending more time growing crops since installing a biogas digester-greenhouse, solar water heater, energy-efficient stove and rain-collecting cistern. He installed them with loans from the bank and grants from The Nature Conservancy, becoming in 2003 the first in his village to adopt alternative energy. Since then, his income has tripled to 40,000-50,000 yuan ($5,800-$7,300), he said.

UK could control 45% of global offshore wind market

The UK's offshore wind and wave generation industries could generate up to £70bn ($114.5bn)and up to 250,000 jobs if the country takes a "bold approach to commercialisation", says the Carbon Trust. To achieve this, the UK would need a comprehensive package of technology focused support including investment of up to £600 million in R&D, removal of regulatory barriers and new incentive mechanisms to accelerate deployment of offshore wind power around our coasts. According to the Trust's new study wind and wave generation alone could provide at least 15% of the total carbon savings required to meet our 2050 targets.

US JOINS INTERNATIONAL RENEWABLE ENERGY AGENCY

The United States today joined 130 other countries as members of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Ambassador Reno Harnish said: "The United States is extremely pleased to join IRENA. President Obama is committed to renewable energy to mitigate climate change, ensure energy security, create green jobs and lead a green recovery. Joining IRENA allows us to cooperate with 130 other nations to speed market adoption of renewable energy around the world."

ENERGY EFFICIENCY: THE HIDDEN, COST-SAVING, WIN-WIN STRATEGY IN HOUSE-PASSED ENERGY/CLIMATE BILL

Hidden in the voluminous American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (H.R. 2454) are cost-effective energy efficiency provisions that are the “golden keys” to addressing the nation’s most pressing economic and environmental concerns, the Alliance to Save Energy said today. The energy efficiency provisions are expected to save billions of dollars and create hundreds of thousands of jobs, greatly reducing any economic costs from other parts of the bill. According to the EPA, the energy efficiency provisions will save consumers 7 percent on their energy bills in 2020.

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