General Motors will make another push into the realm of alternative vehicle technology through a joint venture with Segway Inc. to produce a two-wheeled upright personal transporter. The auto maker is targeting a 2012 launch for its electric-powered PUMA transporter, which would also employ wireless technology to allow users to navigate in urban areas and avoid traffic congestion. A prototype of the PUMA - which stands for Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility - will take to the streets of Manhattan this week during the New York auto show.
Italy installed a national smart grid before the term was even coined. The Italian utility Enel has installed 30 million smart meters since 2001, and it estimates savings at $6.74 million a year. The savings that come from smart grid technologies, however, aren't always easily predicted. In Italy, for instance, the money in homes saved doesn't come through demand response programs. Instead, it comes because the utility can deliver electricity at lower voltages to homes because of the meters and because of phase balancing, a process that better matches the output from the utility with the usage patterns of homes.
The Clean Tech Open, the innovation catalyst that helps great ideas become viable clean tech businesses has challenged entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, government agencies, universities, and non-government organizations (NGOs) to participate in the Clean Tech Open's 100K Jobs Challenge - to create 100,000 clean tech jobs in America over the next five years. The leading clean tech business competition has already helped more than 120 entrepreneurs launch companies-and subsequently raise over $125 million in external funding-since its inception in 2006.
As part of a market liberalization plan, 80% of European households will be outfitted with energy-saving 'smart' utility meters over the next decade. Some 80 percent of European consumers are set to have smart energy meters installed in their homes by 2020 as part of a deal on liberalising the EU's energy market. This will allow them not only to carefully screen and control energy consumption, but also to sell energy back to the network, for instance by installing solar panels on the roof.
U.S. homeowners might start seeing energy monitoring services being offered alongside "triple-play" TV, phone and Internet service as early as this year. Think of it as a "smart home" incentive to get people to buy telecom broadband services. The question, of course, is whether homeowners will want to pay what telecoms will want to charge to make it worth their while.
The European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) presented its annual market figures to its members on Friday 20 March 2009. The global solar photovoltaic (PV) market grew to at least 5.5 GW in 2008 compared to 2.4 GW in 2007. Spain ranks first, followed by Germany. This year, experts believe the market could reach up to 7 GW, each individual country's development influencing the final figure.
The Solar Energy Industries Association released its 2008 U.S. Solar Industry Year in Review, highlighting a third year of record growth. SEIA reports 1,265 megawatts of solar power of all types were installed in 2008, raising total capacity 17 percent to 8,775 MW. The 2008 figure included 342 MW of solar photovoltaic (PV), 139 MW of solar water heating, 762 MW of pool heating and an estimated 21 MW of solar space heating and cooling. SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch: "Despite economic pressures, solar energy demand grew tremendously in 2008. Solar is an emerging economic engine, creating thousands of jobs, unleashing billions in investment and building new factories nationwide.
On the second day of his tour of Southern California, President Obama highlighted his environmental jobs agenda with a visit to an electric-vehicle testing facility in Pomona, where he announced a $2.4-billion competitive grant program to make the electric vehicles more widely available. As a receptive audience of engineers and workers cheered his plans, Obama pledged to put a million plug-in hybrid vehicles on the road by 2015, and highlighted his offer of up to $7,500 in tax credits for Americans who purchase electric vehicles.
Consumers have heard for years that solar, wind, and geothermal power might soon cut their monthly energy bills. But things get exciting, even exotic, looking a decade or two ahead. Scientists envision that light bulbs will talk to switches, furnaces to windows, and everything to the Internet. Homes generate their own power in basement plants. Windows and paint change color to harvest sunlight or reject it. But ... cutting home energy use means changing consumer behavior and industry practice. That said, promising new technologies are emerging in labs, and some in commercial buildings, that in a decade or two could win over even the most skeptical builders and homeowners.
IBM is already staking claims in the smart grid industry to better manage electricity. Now it's doing the same for water, with a broad offering that will include developing sensor and intelligence networks for water utilities, smart water meters and a new technology for water filtration. IBM sees a role for information technology in the water world that's analogous to its role in smart grid projects according to Sharon Nunes, vice president of IBM's "Big Green Innovations" team. That includes sensor networks that can track water flow and quality, water meters that can give utilities and customers up-to-date information on water use and price, and complex "predictive" modeling to let water managers plan for the future.
An in depth look at the recent spate of investment in European thin film companies. The EU recently reinforced its commitment to renewable energy with an EU-wide directive that commits the EU to 20 percent renewable energy targets by 2020. Specifically from the solar industry perspective, a lot would depend upon Germany's continued support. Last month, the European Commission backed nearly €100 million euros ($129 million) in aid to two solar power projects in Germany.
America's electric power grid is subject to immense inefficiencies that arise from the interplay between centralized power generation, local power consumption and on demand utility service. The goal of the Smart Grid is to maximize the efficiency of existing generating facilities and accommodate the integration of renewable power resources. This article discusses manufactured energy storage devices; enabling technologies that will be the beating heart of the Smart Grid for the next 10 to 20 years.
A group of nine leading biomass companies has formed the Biomass Thermal Energy Council (BTEC), a non-profit association dedicated to advancing the use of biomass for heat and other thermal energy applications. The founding members of BTEC include biomass fuel producers, appliance manufacturers and distributors, and supply chain companies that represent the breadth of interests in the fast growing biomass thermal energy industry. Thermal energy accounts for roughly one-third of the energy used today in the United States. Renewable biomass resources can help meet this demand for thermal energy by providing heat for industrial processes as well as heating for businesses and homes.
BWEA, UK's leading renewable energy trade association, welcomed the Prime Minister's endorsement today of the enormous potential of renewable energy to create employment in the UK. Studies published by BWEA in October 2008, concluded that wind, wave and tidal energy projects could drive job creation and stimulate sectors of the economy crucial to delivering the country's 2020 renewable energy targets. The report commissioned by BWEA from Bain and Co. in late 2008 reiterated that "the wind industry is now established as one of the highest-growth industries in Europe, growing at an average rate of 12 percent over the last 5 years." Here is a link to the report.
If the energy efficiency across the United States was equivalent to that of the top performing states, the nation could save 1.2 million GWh, equivalent to 30 percent of its annual electricity use, according to a new report from the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI). The top five performing states, according to the report, are in order New York, Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware and California, all with an electric productivity greater than 6.2. The five worst performing states, with an electric productivity less than 2.3, are South Carolina, Alabama, Kentucky and Mississippi.
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