USDA reveals $168 billion cost of 2022 biofuels target

America will need to build 527 biorefineries at a cost of $168 billion to meet the 2022 target of the Renewable Fuels Standard. That is according to the US Department of Agriculture, which said yesterday that it expects the biofuels market to react to the need for more renewable fuels infrastructure. It is expecting the cost of new advanced biofuels plants to be equivalent to $8 per gallon, although as more and more plants are built the costs would come down. And, in a new USDA report on the road ahead under the Renewable Fuels Standard, other costs to be met include at least $12 billion for fuel distribution infrastructure.

SEIA: U.S. Solar Industry on Track to Install 10 Gigawatts of Solar Annually by 2015

Rhone Resch, President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), released the following statement today after announcing an industry-wide goal of installing 10 gigawatts of solar capacity annually by 2015. Resch made the announcement during a presentation at the 35th IEEE Photovoltaics Specialist Conference in Honolulu, Hawaii: “Over the last few months, we have seen disaster after disaster caused by the fossil fuel industries and Americans are calling for a new direction for our energy future. And in communities across America, people are asking for an energy source that is clean, reliable, safe and creates economic opportunity. That energy source is solar.” Read the Full Release here.

Wind energy industry foresees 250,000 new jobs in Europe by 2020

The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), announced today that it expects the European wind energy sector to create over 250,000 new jobs in Europe in the next decade.  "The European Wind Energy Association expects strong growth in wind energy employment in Europe over the coming years to 280,000 by 2015 and 450,000 by 2020. That's on average, 450 new European wind energy jobs per week over the next decade" said Christian Kjaer, Chief executive of the European Wind Energy Association.  Three key areas - offshore wind, electricity grids, and the training and education of more engineers and technical staff - were identified as critical to creating those new jobs.  "Only if we continue to install large amounts of renewable energy in the EU and support pilot projects of new technologies, will European renewable energy companies be able to compete", said Rasmussen, "Offshore wind has the largest growth potential and needs to receive stronger public support from and within the European Union".

Mississippi State University Wins Top Honors in Year Two of EcoCAR Competition

Students from Mississippi State University placed first in the 2010 EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge finals in San Diego, Calif. after designing and building an exceptional biodiesel extended-range electric vehicle (EREV). Virginia Tech earned second place with an ethanol EREV design and Penn State came in third place building a biodiesel EREV vehicle. Mississippi State University competed against 15 other universities to win first place in Year Two Finals of the three-year competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors (GM). The competition challenges university engineering students from across North America to re-engineer a GM-donated vehicle to minimize the vehicle's fuel consumption and emissions, while maintaining its utility, safety and performance. Read about how the contest works here.


With a total of just over 7,000 participants from 55 countries; and over 450 exhibiting companies from 16 countries All-Energy 2010 (Aberdeen, 19-20 May 2010), the UK's largest renewable energy exhibition and conference, has proved to be a true record-breaker. The conference boasted more than 270 speakers and chairs taking part in over 50 sessions over the two days. "Total attendance was up by 25%, and incredibly the exhibition was 25% larger than the 2009 show," explains Event Director, Jamie Thompson of Media Generation Events Ltd.

USW, AWEA Announce Plan to Make U.S.A. Leader in Wind Energy

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and the United Steelworkers (USW) today released a joint ‘Framework Agreement' to create a ‘Partnership for Progress' in accelerating the development and deployment of wind energy production in the U.S. In the coming days, AWEA and the USW will release a cooperative action agenda they intend to jointly pursue and advocate for adoption by Congress and the Obama Administration. That agenda will include policies such as a federal Renewable Electricity Standard and the extension of necessary tax incentives. The USW's Leo W. Gerard expanded on the Framework Agreement by explaining it has four components. "First the agreement calls for an initial assessment of exactly where we are. On any journey, it's vital that you know where you're starting from. Second, it calls for results-oriented targets that identify the destination. Third, to get us from here to there, it creates a partnership on a public policy agenda with the goal of enhancing the expansion of domestic supply chains and ensuring that we have the qualified and skilled workers we need. During the journey, it lastly calls for periodic assessments to ensure that the effort stays on track."

Inventor of Photosynthesis-Based Solar Cells Wins Millennium Tech Prize

Professor Michael Gratzel The inventor of a low-cost solar cell that could be used to build electricity generating windows has been awarded this year's Millennium Technology Prize. He received the €800,000 prize at a ceremony in Helsinki. Explaining his inspiration, he said: "I was always intrigued by the way plants capture sunlight and turn it into fuels like sugar. Gratzel says "Natural photosynthesis was the inspiration, and our solar cell is the only one that mimics the natural photosynthetic process." Gratzel cells rely on nanotechnology to produce power from sunlight. "We are using nanocrystal films in which the particles are so small, they don't scatter light," said Professor Gratzel. "You can imagine using those cells as electricity producing windows. What's very exciting is that you collect light from all sides, so can capture electricity from the inside as well as the outside. You could think that the glass of all high-rises in New York would be electricity generating panels."

Cisco wires 'city in a box' for fast-growing Asia

Cisco Systems is helping build a prototype in South Korea for what one developer describes as an instant "city in a box." Cisco, which has more than 4,400 employees and contractors in Research Triangle Park, is wiring every tech nook and cranny of the new city, making it one of the most technologically sophisticated urban centers on the planet. New Songdo City, a soon-to-be-completed metropolis about the size of downtown Boston that serves as a showroom model for what is expected to be the first of many assembly-line cities. In addition to state-of-the-art information technology, Songdo will emit just one-third of the greenhouse gases of a typical city of similar size. "Everything will be connected - buildings, cars, energy - everything," said Wim Elfrink, Cisco's Bangalore-based chief globalization officer. "This is the tipping point. When we start building cities with technology in the infrastructure, it's beyond my imagination what that will enable."

Coulomb Technologies to install 4,600 electric vehicle charging stations

LA Times - Coulomb Technologies plans to install 4,600 electric vehicle charging stations for free around the country. The installations are part of a $37-million project called ChargePoint America, funded partly by a $15-million stimulus grant administered by the Department of Energy through the Transportation Electrification Initiative. Once the stations are in place, Purdue University and Idaho National Labs will analyze data about vehicle use and charging patterns. The company, based in Campbell, Calif., will immediately start setting up public and private stations in Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Jose and San Francisco Bay Area. The stations will also go up in Austin, Texas; Detroit; New York; Orlando, Fla.; Redmond, Wash.; and Washington, D.C. Once installation launches in the coming weeks, more than 1,000 stations are scheduled to be put in by December, with the rest to be in place by September 2011.

ZigBee Alliance & SunSpec Alliance Collaborate on Renewable Energy Management

Today ZigBee Alliance, a global ecosystem of companies creating wireless solutions for use in energy management, residential, commercial and consumer electronics applications announced an agreement to collaborate with SunSpec Alliance to define standards for renewable energy and microgrid management using ZigBee Smart Energy Version 2.0. The collaboration between the two Alliances will address the existing gap between the growing use of distributed generation via renewable energy resources and the Smart Grid, in order to take advantage of the energy management efficiencies of the Smart Grid.

Kyocera Solar's New Solar Plant Opens In San Diego

Initially, it will produce 30 megawatts of solar modules a year for the US market. But the plant's capacity is expected to expand as Japanese-owned Kyocera seeks to produce one gigawatt (1,000MW) of solar cells worldwide by March 2013. Kyocera's 210-watt and 235W modules are being produced at the San Diego facility, the company's most powerful and efficient solar power products. Tatsumi Maeda, vice president and general manager of Kyocera Corporation's Solar Energy Group, said: "High-quality, high-efficiency solar modules from Kyocera's San Diego plant fulfill the ‘Buy American' provisions enacted by the U.S. government, while meeting the rising demand for renewable energy that has accompanied the current administration's ‘Green New Deal' measures."

Smart House Developed Through ASHRAE Grant

From smart home controls to solar powered gas refrigeration, undergraduate HVAC&R students in their senior year are able to gain hands-on experience in their field thanks to the 2010-2011 ASHRAE Undergraduate Senior Project Grant. "Purdue University is designing and building a net zero energy home that will showcase a variety of new technologies for residential construction" Bill Hutzel, faculty advisor of the project, said. The ASHRAE grant will provide the crucial infrastructure for monitoring and controlling the mechanical, electrical, lighting and other systems in the smart house by developing the controls schematic; developing the sequence of operation; developing the control code; installing the controls and sensors; and commissioning the building systems. The smart house will become a multidisciplinary living laboratory for large numbers of university students interested in low energy residential construction.

Transforming waste plastic into an alternative fuel

Student researchers at Northeastern University have designed an apparatus to convert plastic waste into clean energy while minimizing the release of harmful emissions. Self-sustainability is the key to the double-tank combustor design. Plastic waste is first processed in an upper tank through pyrolysis, which converts solid plastic into gas. Next, the gas flows to a lower tank, where it is burned with oxidants to generate heat and steam. The heat sustains the combustor while the steam can be used to generate electric power.


Despite an uneven economic recovery and the lingering effects of the global recession on virtually every industry around the world, Leon (Lee) M. Pierhal, Chief Executive Officer of OPEL Solar, Inc., a leading global supplier of high concentration photovoltaic ("HCPV") solar panels and other solar products, including utility scale ground-based tracker systems and unique light weight rooftop tracker systems, is reporting a sharp uptick in requests for quotes on industrial scale solar power systems in North America and abroad. In commenting on the dramatic growth in quoting on utility scale solar installations, Pierhal also noted an especially sharp and recent focus in the marketplace on solar power installations of at least 1 MW in size.

China to Subsidize Alternative Energy Cars

China is subsidizing alternative- energy cars in five cities to increase their attractiveness for buyers to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and improve air quality. The government will provide as much as 50,000 yuan ($7,320) for purchases of plug-in hybrid models, which run partly on gasoline, and as much as 60,000 yuan for cars powered only by batteries, a statement on the Ministry of Finance's website said today. China, which became the world's biggest car market last year, aims to increase the annual production capacity of alternative-energy vehicles to half a million units by 2011 as part of efforts to cut oil imports and rein in pollution.

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