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.


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.

Intersolar North America 2010 Showcased Positive Outlook For Solar Industry

Intersolar North America, an exhibition for solar professionals to exchange information and develop business opportunities in the U.S. solar market, continued to see strong growth for the third straight year with the 2010 exhibition and conference. The co-located Intersolar North America and SEMICON West events, which took place last week in San Francisco, presented more than 700 solar exhibitors to more than 20,000 trade visitors This year, Intersolar North America alone featured 580 exhibitors up from 444 exhibitors in 2009. Intersolar North America continued its long-standing international focus with trade visitors representing 66 countries and exhibiting companies from 26 countries, reflecting the global perspectives of the solar industry. Read the full release here.

Tesla to build electric Toyota Rav4

Tesla Motors will produce electric Rav4 crossover SUVs for Toyota Motor Co. beginning in 2012, the two companies announced Friday. Toyota announced in May that it planned to invest $50 million in Tesla Motors upon the completion of the electric car maker's initial public offering, which took place on June 29. A fleet of electric Rav4 prototypes will be delivered later this year, the two automakers said. The first prototype has already been built, the said, and is undergoing evaluation.

Nucleus - First Product in GE's Smart Energy Suite

GE's Nucleus brings the promise of the smart grid into consumers’ homes. As utilities deploy smart meters, the Nucleus will collect and store a consumer’s household electricity use and cost data for up to three years and present it to consumers in real-time using simple, intuitive PC and smart phone applications, helping consumers monitor and control their energy use. Nucleus is the first product in GE’s Brillion™ suite of smart home energy management solutions that will help consumers control their energy use and costs. In addition to Nucleus, GE’s Brillion suite will include a programmable thermostat, in-home display, a smart phone application, and smart appliances for the entire home.

GM Guarantees Volt Battery for 100,000 miles

General Motors will guarantee the lithium-ion battery in the Chevrolet Volt for 100,000 miles of driving or eight years, whichever comes first, the automaker announced Wednesday. Popular hybrid car models currently on the market, including the Toyota Prius and the Ford Escape Hybrid, have similar warrantees on their battery packs. The Volt, however, uses a different battery chemistry. Also, since the car runs purely on electricity from the battery for up to 40 miles, the Volt's battery is subjected to greater work loads than one in a gas/electric hybrid. Production of the Volt is still on schedule to begin in November, a GM spokesman said Wednesday. GM plans to produce 10,000 Volts, which will be sold in seven U.S. states, through the end of 2011. Production will expand to 30,000 cars in 2012.

GE Introduces Smart Grid-Compatible EV Charger

GE today introduced the GE WattStation, an easy-to use electric vehicle (EV) charger. Designed to help accelerate the adoption of plug-in electric vehicles, GE WattStation significantly decreases time needed for vehicle charging and, using smart grid technology, allows utility companies to manage the impact of electric vehicles on the local and regional grids. Steve Fludder, vice president of GE ecomagination, said, “Widespread electric vehicle adoption depends on having charging stations that integrate the need for quick charging with the personal need for easy functionality. GE WattStation will meet this challenge.” Combining functionality with consumer friendly form from renowned industrial designer Yves Behar, the GE WattStation on average decreases electric vehicle charging time from 12-18 hours to as little as four to eight hours compared to standard charging “level 1”, assuming a full-cycle charge for a 24 kWh battery. View Full News Release here

InterSolar North America in San Francisco, CA is happening this week.

The Intersolar North America conference gets underway at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California, Tuesday, running through Thursday July 15. The event will be focusing on solar photovoltaic and thermal technology and is one of the largest business to business solar events in North America. More than 570 U.S.-based and international exhibitors as well as 20,000 trade visitors are expected at the 130,000 square foot venue. sat down with InterSolar representative Dr. Eicke Weber who is one of the world's leading researchers in the field of renewable energy and energy efficiency. Read the full interview here.

The Zero-Emissions Dice Shaped House

The Dice House looks like part of a Monopoly set, but the design has real-world ambitions. The 30-by-30-by-30-foot concept home, designed by the British architecture firm Sybarite, improves on standard building tech to erase its carbon footprint. The centerpiece is a photovoltaic umbrella dome that collects roughly 90 percent of the house’s energy needs. Made of a common plastic, the pillowy dome traps heat like a greenhouse. That hot air warms water in a tank tucked under the roof, turning out a daily average of 80 bath-ready gallons, even on the darkest days of December. At the umbrella’s apex, a generator-equipped turbine produces electricity and, in chilly months, drives heat into the house. Photovoltaic cells studding the 484-square-foot dome floor create additional electricity. Generating an estimated average of 33 kilowatt-hours per day, the house can power itself and charge a Tesla Roadster.

Solar plane lands after completing 24-hour flight

PAYERNE, Switzerland – An experimental solar-powered plane completed its first 24-hour test flight successfully Thursday, proving that the aircraft can collect enough energy from the sun during the day to stay aloft all night. The test brings the Swiss-led project one step closer to its goal of circling the globe using only energy from the sun. Pilot Andre Borschberg eased the Solar Impulse out of the clear blue morning sky onto the runway at Payerne airfield about 30 miles (50 kilometers) southwest of the Swiss capital Bern at exactly 9 a.m. (0700 GMT; 3 a.m. EDT). Helpers rushed to stabilize the pioneering plane as it touched down, ensuring that its massive 207-foot (63-meter) wingspan didn't scrape the ground and topple the craft.

Solar plane cruises to historic flight

Confidence soared among the crew of an experimental solar-powered aircraft on Wednesday as it cruised above Switzerland in a historic bid to fly around the clock and prove the value of solar energy. The Swiss pilot's take-off run took barely 90 meters, testimony to the light weight and giant airliner-size wingspan of the single seater craft, which relies totally on 12,000 solar cells and nearly half a tonne of batteries.

University of Michigan wins American Solar Challenge

After outracing the competition over the course of a week and 1,100 miles, the University of Michigan has captured top honors at the American Solar Challenge 2010.  U-M's Solar Car Team cruised to victory in 28 hours, 14 minutes, and 44 seconds, crossing the finish line in Naperville, Illinois on Saturday with a time more than two hours better than that of the second place squad from the University of Minnesota. This was University of Michigan’s sixth North American title, having won the first race in 1990 in Sunrunner and third in a row.


Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego, Canadian Solar Inc and HelioPower announced a new 116kW roof-mount photovoltaic (PV) solar electric system at the Ronald McDonald House of San Diego at 2929 Children’s Way in San Diego. This is the first Ronald McDonald House in California to use solar energy to help power the House that supports families with seriously ill children in local hospitals. Ronald McDonald House of San Diego will serve more than 20,000 families this year alone, and the solar electric installation will help offset the electrical needs of the families with clean energy. This month, the House celebrates the one-year anniversary of its 47-bedroom House for overnight guests and its Family Care Center, which serves as a day-time refuge for anyone with a child in a San Diego hospital.

Why Tesla Succeeded With Its IPO And Solyndra Failed

Yuliya Chernova from the Wall Street Journal has an interesting article on why Tesla Motor's succeeded with yesterdays IPO while thin-film solar panel maker Solyndra Inc pulled its IPO just two weeks earlier.

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