Detroit Auto Show Unveils Lots of Hybrids, Concepts and News

Toyota's FT-CH Hybrid Concept and Plans for a Prius Family --- Ford's New Plug-in Focus --- General Motors' Volt Roll out and Upcoming Plug-in Converj --- Honda's 2011 CR-Z Hybrid Debut --- PLUS --- Ford has announced that it plans to invest $450 million in Michigan for production of electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles . The company expects to create up to 1,000 new jobs through its electrification efforts, in part by moving battery pack production to Michigan from current facilities in Mexico.

43 billion dollar North Sea Green Energy Plan

Nine European countries have teamed up to plan a 30-billion-euro (43-billion-dollar) sustainable energy project in the North Sea as part of efforts to address climate change and expand renewable energy, officials said Wednesday. The plan is to connect up the alternative energy projects of the nine nations to create Europe's first renewable electricity grid through a 6,000-kilometer network. The network would link the wind turbines off from the northern coast of Scotland with Germany's solar power industry and include the wave power plants dotted along the Danish and Belgian coasts and hydroelectric dams in Norway. It is expected to take a decade to complete the building work for the network, with the nine nations to unveil a feasibility plan later this year.

The Next Generation of PV System Ownership: Moving from Passive Monitoring to Active Management

This article reviews the recent history of PV monitoring; the shift from single-meter systems to module-level control using highly reliable electronics, and future direction of the industry towards active system management from utility-scale solar farms down to the residential PV system.

Importing Clean Energy from Mexico

The alternative energy money-men dreaming of clean energy from Mexico see several factors that make the country perfect for power production aimed at the Southwest U.S. Baja California and other parts of Mexico have gusty winds similar to those found in the world's best wind farm areas. Much of Mexico also boasts the same excellent solar footprint as California, Nevada and Arizona with bright, clear weather the vast majority of the time. In terms of total energy potential, the hills and fields of Mexico could easily supply thousands of megawatts to the U.S. without breaking a sweat. Energy developers to the North see huge potential not only in the winds whipping across Mexico but also in the hot sun that bakes the land. Perhaps most important, they see an easier, quicker and cheaper route to getting big energy projects built compared to the multiple levels of permitting processes required north of the border.

Rope Workers Benefit from Alternative Energy Boom

Suspended by ropes from the top of a giant wind turbine, two men slowly descended down a long, silvery blade. Then they got to work, and from 150 feet above the ground, the hum of a sander filled the air. For Matt Touchette and Sequoia Haughey, it was another day at the office. Rope specialists like Mr. Touchette and Mr. Haughey have long filled a range of niche jobs, like inspecting big dams, cleaning Mount Rushmore and repairing offshore oil platforms. But as wind farms have sprouted across the nation, rope companies have quickly expanded into a new line of work - fixing turbines so they last longer in the elements. It's a dream job for rock-climbing types. Photograph by Jigar Mehta/The New York Times

Solar on a Stick: Bringing Solar to the Sun

One solar PV innovation has largely flown under the radar: pole mounted solar electric panels. That is, mounting solar PV panels on a steel pole anchored in cement, fully capable of adjusting to daily and seasonal sun positions.

Laser-Fusion - Nice Combination for Alternative Energy Source

Using laser-fusion technology, experts hope to add "clean, inexhaustible energy source" to the laser's distinguished resume. Using lasers in combination with nuclear fusion, scientists at the Department of Energy's National Ignition Facility (NIF) hope to mimic "the process that fuels the sun, stars and hydrogen bombs," Robert S. Boyd writes for McClatchy Newspapers. The researchers plan to combine 192 lasers in order to create the pressure and heat needed to force hydrogen atoms to fuse; the "combination loses a tiny bit of mass, which turns into a huge quantity of energy," Boyd explains. "It's Einstein's formula in action." According to NIF, a laser-fusion energy plant would never pose a threat of meltdown, as opposed to the traditional atomic energy plant. It would emit little radioactive fallout and zero greenhouse gases. Unlike solar or wind power, it wouldn't be dependent on weather conditions and could operate round-the-clock.

"Affordable" Plug-in Prius in 2011

Today Toyota both nailed down a time frame and hinted at a price for launching the plug-in hybrid versions of the Prius in 2011, initially at a scale of several tens of thousands of vehicles per year. The hybrid leader's plans to go ahead with the plug-in Prius in 2011 with a price tag that Uchiyamada suggested today could be as low as $35,000 marks a milestone for lithium-ion battery technology. Toyota Executive Vice President Takeshi Uchiyamada also reiterated to Bloomberg reporters in Tokyo on Monday that the automaker plans to start selling an all-electric vehicle designed for short distances by 2012.

Solar Power coming to a store near you

Lowe's has begun stocking solar panels at its California stores and plans to roll them out across the country next year. Solar power is now accessible to anyone with a ladder, a power drill, and the gumption to climb up on a roof and install the panels themselves. Buyer be warned, however. The DIY part of solar goes beyond installation. Professional installers typically handle all the necessary paperwork, like clearance from the local utility and applications for a bevy of government subsidies that can make the system a whole lot cheaper.

America's First Renewable Energy Transmission Hub

Tres Amigas, LLC today announced that it has submitted filings with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) requesting regulatory approvals needed to move forward with the Tres Amigas SuperStation, America's first renewable energy transmission hub. The SuperStation will be located in Clovis, New Mexico and will for the first time provide the capability to transfer thousands of megawatts of power between the three U.S. power grids - or "Interconnections" - known as the Eastern Interconnection, the Western Interconnection and the Texas Interconnection. By enabling the exchange of wind, solar and geothermal power between all three grids, the Tres Amigas SuperStation will help break our nation's transmission bottleneck.

Obama Calls for Green Jobs

More than 7.2 million jobs have been lost in the U.S. since the start of the recession, and President Obama sees home retrofits for boosting energy efficiency and the expansion of highly competitive stimulus programs for green energy projects as two of the keys for turning that trend around. Today's speech comes on the heels of reports that the White House has been considering a 2-year, $23 billion program to encourage homeowners to undertake weatherization projects such as adding air sealing, insulation and energy-saving lightbulbs — dubbed the "cash for caulkers" program — widely cheered, unsurprisingly, by the home energy retrofit industry. Overall, the U.S. home energy retrofit market is poised to grow about 15 percent per year to $35 billion by 2013, up from $20.7 billion last year, according to a recent report from SBI Energy.

Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Plans for Los Angeles

By this time next year, electric vehicles could be popping up all around Los Angeles, and the "quintessential city of sprawl" plans to be ready, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Tuesday. Along with a network of partners, the city plans to update 400 existing charging stations around the region while adding 100, Villaraigosa said. Electric vehicle owners also probably would receive tax rebates to construct home chargers and would have access to high-occupancy-vehicle lanes and preferential or free parking. Villaraigosa painted a rosy portrait in which the new electric vehicle infrastructure would lure battery and charging station manufacturers to Los Angeles, create masses of green jobs and reduce reliance on foreign oil.

"Ecology and Environment" Achieves an 80-Percent Carbon Reduction at Net Cost Savings

Ecology and Environment Sets the Sustainability Bar Even Higher in Achieving an 80-Percent Carbon Reduction at Net Cost Savings.

Ask The Fuel Expert #10

How can you invest the time and money necessary to make our planet greener while your company is struggling? It's no secret that many "green" initiatives require massive capital expenditures and changes in policies by government, but is there a green solution that actually saves you money.

Condition Monitoring for Wind Turbines

Condition Monitoring involves a set of activities wherein various components of the wind turbine are regularly inspected and monitored. The process gathers condition parameters of the machinery, such as lubricant condition, temperatures, vibration data and visual inspection results, on a regular or permanent basis. A minor failure in a key component of the wind turbine can cause down-time and severe losses

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