Do-it-yourself solar power for your home

Imagine outfitting your house with small, affordable solar panels that plug into a socket and pump power into your electrical system instead of taking it out.  That's the promise of a Seattle, Washington-based start-up that is working to provide renewable energy options -- solar panels and wind turbines -- for homes and small businesses. The panels cost as little as $600 and plug directly into a power outlet. The company,  Clarian Power , aims to be the first to bring a plug-in solar power system to the market, in 2011. Clarian's president, Chad Maglaque, says the company's product is different from existing micro-inverters, which convert solar panels' power into AC current. Maglaque says his system has built-in circuit protection, doesn't require a dedicated electrical panel and plugs directly into a standard electrical outlet. Source: CNN

Whisky Powered Cars ...Yeah!

That's right, whisky. Scottish (where else?) researchers at Edinburgh Napier University have figured out a way to use the byproducts of their nation's most famous beverage as biofuel, capable of running in any normal engine. Like some other biofuels, no modifications to the car are needed, making it an easily adopted, if not easily made or found, alternative. During the making of whisky (in this case likely Scotch, rather than the more freedom-loving whisky of my own nation, the glorious amber elixir that is bourbon), two main byproducts are produced. "Pot ale" is the name for the leftover liquid in the stills, and "draff" is the leftover, used-up grains. Together, the pot ale and draff can be converted into butanol. Butanol can actually be burned in typical gas engines, but due to its higher cost and difficulty in producing, it's more likely to be added in smaller doses to regular gasoline-maybe 5% or 10%. Source - SmartPlanet.com

Largest U.S. Ocean Device is Generating Electricity

The ocean-current technology developer Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) has been working on a pilot version of its cross-flow turbine since 2004. Over the last six years, the company has learned a number of important lessons about the difficulties of deploying energy technologies in the marine environment. ORPC's 30-kw unit, which was installed in the Bay of Fundy off the coast of Maine, was battered by bad weather and did not function properly due to wrongly-sized parts. But the company announced today that the test of its 60-kW pre-commercial device, known as the TGU, was running smoothly and had delivered compatible electricity to the Maine grid at a consistent output. No word on how much electricity was actually generated. The machine was installed in Cobsook Bay in Eastport Maine last fall. Source - RenewableEnergyWorld

Atlantis Unveils The World's Largest Tidal Turbine - The AK1000™

Atlantis Resources Corporation (“Atlantis”) unveiled the largest and most powerful tidal power turbine ever built, the AK1000™, yesterday at Invergordon, Scotland. The AK1000™ is due for installation at a dedicated berth at the European Marine Energy Centre (“EMEC”), located in Orkney, Scotland later this summer.  Despatching 1MW of predictable power at a water velocity of 2.65m/s, the AK1000™ is capable of generating enough electricity for over 1000 homes. It is designed for harsh weather and rough, open ocean environments such as those found off the Scottish coast. The turbine incorporates cutting edge technology from suppliers across the globe, has an 18 meter rotor diameter, weighs 1300 tonnes and stands at a height of 22.5 meters. The giant turbine is expected to be environmentally benign due to a low rotation speed whilst in operation and will deliver predictable, sustainable power to the local Orkney grid.

Agreement to make home appliances smart grid ready in U.S.

An alliance of U.S. home appliance manufacturers, energy and water efficiency organizations, consumer groups and environmental organizations have agreed to improved efficiency standards and tax policies for refrigerators, freezers, clothes washers, clothes dryers, dishwashers and room air conditioners. The agreement could save enough energy to meet the total energy needs of 40 percent of American homes for one year and the amount of water necessary to meet the current water needs of every customer in the City of Los Angeles for 25 years, the partners believe. Further, global warming CO2 will be reduced by 550 million metric tons over the same time period, without considering the emissions reductions from smart appliances. The partners have called for new national minimum efficiency standards, production tax credits for super-efficient appliances, and the inclusion of smart grid readiness as a feature of future ENERGY STAR qualified appliances.

Al Gore Bashes Capitol Hill Cut to Renewable Energy Program

Al Gore is upset that Capitol Hill lawmakers are cutting $1.5 billion in renewable energy project loan guarantees to help fund state aid legislation aimed at preventing teacher layoffs and covering Medicaid costs.  Renewable-energy groups are furious over the latest raid on the Energy Department loan program, which was also the source of $2 billion in funding for the "Cash for Clunkers" rebates a year ago.  "These rescissions put into jeopardy the green jobs that the administration has touted as part of our clean-energy future and put us further behind the rest of the world," Gore said on his website Monday afternoon.  The House is slated to vote Tuesday on the $26 billion state aid package the Senate approved last week. Gore said the underlying state aid bill is important legislation, but believes the loan-guarantees cut is the “wrong way on renewables.” Source - E2Wire

Bio Bug: Car Runs on Human Waste

The Bio-Bug has been converted by a team of British engineers to be powered by biogas, which is produced from human waste at sewage works across the country. They believe the car is a viable alternative to electric vehicles. Excrement flushed down the lavatories of just 70 homes is enough to power the car for 10,000 miles - the equivalent of one average motoring year. This conversion technology has been used in the past but the Bio-Bug is Britain's first car to run on methane gas without its performance being reduced. It can power a conventional two litre VW Beetle convertible to 114mph. Mohammed Saddiq, of sustainable energy firm GENeco, which developed the prototype, claimed that drivers "won't know the difference". Source - Telegraph.co.uk

First Parking Area Solar Array that Incorporates EV Charging

Solectria Renewables, in partnership with Outpost Solar, provided two (2) 13kW PVI grid-tied inverters for the 20.16kW system installed at Richland, LLC in Pulaski, Tennessee. Outpost Solar's parking area solar arrays combine function and form by integrating electric vehicle (EV) charging. Outpost Solar strategically decided to incorporate the EV charging stations to accommodate the growing EV market. The solar array will generate over 24,000 kWh of electricity annually which will be used to charge the EVs. The parking area is 55' long and 32' wide and will accommodate 12 electric vehicles. The commissioning ceremony was attended by U.S. Congressman, Lincoln Davis, Pulaski Mayor, Dan Spear, and Pulaski Electric System President, Wes Kelly as well as representatives from Solectria Renewables and Outpost Solar. Congressman Davis is a strong supporter of renewable energy projects and was extremely proud to take part in the ceremony and activate the array. Source AltEnergyMag

China plans huge electricity and solar powered buses that can drive over cars

Instead of spending millions to widen roads, the Shenzhen Huashi Future Parking Equipment company is developing a "3D Express Coach" (also called a "three-dimensional fast bus") that will allow cars less than 2 meters high to travel underneath the upper level carrying passengers. According to China Hush, the 6-meter-wide 3D Express Coach will be powered by a combination of electricity and solar energy, and will be able to travel up to 60 kilometers per hour carrying some 1200 to 1400 passengers. The first 115 miles of track is set for construction in Beijing's Mentougou district starting in late 2010. The Chairman of the Huashi Future Parking Equipment company boasts it will take only a year and 500 million yuan (around $73 million) to build the futuristic transportation system. Source: Huffington Post

Panasonic buying Sanyo and other unit for $9.4 billion

Japan's Panasonic Corp plans to buy out subsidiaries Sanyo Electric and Panasonic Electric Works for up to 818.4 billion yen ($9.4 billion) to strengthen its push into greener businesses. The world's No.4 flat TV maker will raise up to 500 billion yen in a new share issue to help finance the buyouts, sending its shares down as much as 11 percent. Under President Fumio Ohtsubo, Panasonic has been shifting away from low-margin home electronics products and investing more aggressively in solar cells, batteries and other energy-related areas which offer promising growth prospects. Panasonic said making the two subsidiaries wholly-owned would allow it to more effectively allocate management resources across the group as well as speed up decision making amid growing competition from overseas rivals.

California's clean energy future threatened by federal delays, state officials say

Plans for a massive expansion of clean energy in California are being jeopardized by federal foot-dragging, according to state officials who say that more than 20 nearly shovel-ready solar and wind projects are being held up by the U.S. Department of Energy. The projects are valued at as much as $30 billion, according to estimates by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's office. But the Department of Energy's laborious procedures to guarantee loans threaten to stymie construction financing for many of the projects, and builders could lose out on more than $10 billion in federal stimulus funding if they can't start digging by the end of the year. At stake are more than 12,000 new, high-paying construction and manufacturing jobs and the opportunity to replace a large portion of the state's fossil fuel-powered electric generation with nonpolluting energy. Source: LATimes

Chevy Volt MSRP is $41,000, But Will Lease For Same Price as Nissan LEAF

GM used the stage at Plugin 2010 this morning to let the long-awaited cat out of the bag: the Chevrolet Volt will start at a base price of $41,000 when it goes on sale at the end of this year. Starting today, consumers will be able to go to GetMyVolt.com and pre-order their Volts . The pre-order process is unlike the Nissan LEAF 's in that it is going to be conducted in a traditional manner, with dealers setting their own pre-order and deposit terms.  And, although most of the world will surely report on how the Volt MSRP of $41,000 puts it out of the reach of the average consumer, and that the Nissan LEAF, at a base MSRP of $32,780, is clearly the hands down winner of the pricing wars... that's not the real story here. No, the real story is the fact that, if you lease the Volt, it will cost you the same as leasing a LEAF: $350 a month for 3 years. Source: Nick Chambers / Plugincars

Navy Adding Green to Haze-gray Arsenal

An experimental “Green Hornet” fighter jet that uses biofuel. The “Prius” warship running on a hybrid engine. The Navy is increasingly going green thanks largely to a desire to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels that come from hostile places in the world. The Navy, the Pentagon’s second-largest user of oil, also sees it as an expensive bill to pay as budgets get leaner. And in the San Diego region, the results are easy to see: Rooftops full of solar panels at San Diego naval bases. Electric carts. Biodiesel bulldozers. Even windmills off the coast on San Clemente Island. “The Navy is a complex animal, but in some areas of environmental protection, they are moving forward as fast as any agency,” said Michael Jasny of the Natural Resources Defense Council, which has long fought the Navy over the effect of military sonar on whales.

AWEA STATEMENT ON SENATOR REID'S ENERGY BILL

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) today issued the following statement from AWEA CEO Denise Bode in response to reports that a Senate energy bill will not contain a Renewable Electricity Standard: "A bipartisan bill with a national renewable electricity standard (RES) passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee over a year ago. It is beyond comprehension that we are now hearing that the bill may never be brought to the Senate floor. Only about 700 megawatts (MW) of wind power were added in the second quarter of 2010 and wind power installations to date this year have dropped by 54% and 69% from 2008 and 2009 levels, respectively. Manufacturing investment also continues to lag below 2008 and 2009 levels. A refusal to pass an RES is an attack on every American worker and consumer. Not passing an RES endangers at least 360,000 jobs: 85,000 currently employed in the wind industry and the potential 274,000 additional jobs created by an RES. Workers, families, and our country demand a new energy future. That future must emphasize new strategies that embrace clean, renewable sources of energy that reduce costs, create jobs, and enhance our national security."

Record year for European offshore wind, UK leads the sector

Renewable UK, the trade association for wind and marine energy - Britain’s fastest growing green energy sectors – welcomed today’s announcement from the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) that European offshore wind capacity in 2010 has grown faster than in the same period in 2009. RenewableUK has also drawn attention to the fact that 50% of new wind farms installed are in UK waters. During the first half of 2010, the UK hit 1GW of installed offshore wind capacity accounting for around 40% of pan-European installed capacity. It also has a total development pipeline of 49GW, with a potential do deliver 150 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity per annum, out of the UK’s total net consumption of around 315 TWh. The European installed total stands at 2,396 installed megawatts (MW), with another 4,071MW in construction and with planning consent in UK alone. Read full news release here.

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