Xcel Energy, which sells electricity and gas in eight western and mid-western states, says its SmartGridCity Project in Boulder, Colo. is now live. At least the smart distribution piece is up and running. That includes the network infrastructure and software for routing power to automated substations and around impacted power lines, and Xcel says the deployed technology is already enabling the company to anticipate network failures and fix broken gear before a major outage occurs. The milestone is important because it shows how quickly utilities are now moving to get smart grid projects deployed. The utility started construction on the project last year, and SmartGridCity is now one of the projects that is the farthest along in the U.S. and one of the first that can claim to have a distribution piece up and running.
Canadian Solar , a vertically integrated photovoltaics manufacturer, will develop a 500 megawatt (MW) solar power plant in the Inner Mongolian city of Baotou. The project will be broken into three chunks, beginning with a 100MW phase to run from September 2009 through December 2011. It will be followed by two 200MW phases. To have a solar project of such magnitude in Baotou demonstrates our determination to develop the PV end-user market in China, as well as our commitment to cleaner and more sustainable economic development in Baotou.
Chinese auto company Build Your Dream (BYD) plans to bring an all-electric sedan in small numbers to the U.S. next year. The company chairman Wang Chuanfu told the Wall Street Journal that the company, which is part-owned by investor Warren Buffet, is now gearing up for a U.S. push. It plans to raise money by offering shares in the company in China to help finance the expansion. BYD plans to offer a few hundred of one of its most advanced cars in the U.S., the five-seat e6, which takes seven to nine hours to fully charge and has a 250-mile range.
At the OshKosh AirVenture show a few weeks ago, Beijing startup Yuneec International took the wraps off the world's first commercially produced electric aircraft, the E430. Powered by lithium polymer batteries, weighing close to a thousand pounds, and sipping about $2.50 worth of electricity per hour of flight, the E430 has completed more than 20 hours in test runs during the last couple months, including one in Camarillo, CA. Little more has been revealed about the E430, other than some technical specifications and that it can operate for up to three hours without a charge.
The latest Electric Power Monthly Report released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows net U.S. electrical generation from renewable sources (biomass, geothermal, solar, hydro, and wind) reached an all-time high in May of 2009, comprising 13% of the total electrical generation for the month. Renewable sources generated 40,395,000 Megawatt hours (Mwh) , 7.7% higher than for May of 2008, and thus far the highest figure ever reported by the EIA.
Mike Tinskey, manager of Ford's sustainability activities, outlined what Ford sees as essential ( controllable success factors ) for electric vehicles and supporting infrastructure, during a presentation at the Plug-in 2009 conference in Long Beach this past week. During his talk, he suggested that migrating to battery commonality would be a huge win for the industry simply because it would support a more rapid achievement of the higher production volumes required to bring prices down. According to Tinskey, The biggest issue with batteries now is not necessarily the technology, it's the volume. If the battery manufacturers could get north of 100,000 packs, annually prices come down drastically.
Orange County Choppers, known for building machines as brutish as they are loud, has produced this paradoxical bike touted as the first custom electric American chopper. Siemens, unveiled the Smart Chopper it commissioned from the renowned custom motorcycle outfit. Siemens claims the bike has a 60-mile range and a 100 mph top speed. An onboard charging unit can be plugged into any 110-volt socket to charge the bike in five hours, and Siemens says it'll charge in as little as one hour when plugged into a higher-voltage station. A single-speed, clutch-less transmission delivers the power from a 27-hp electric motor.
At a trilateral summit in Guadalajara, Mexico, Presidents Barack Obama and Felipe Calderon of Mexico, and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, committed their countries to develop policies and programmes to combat global warming . In a statement, the leaders said they supported a worldwide goal of reducing global emissions by at least 50% compared to 1990 or more recent years by 2050, with developed countries lowering emissions by at least 80% compared to that period by then. To help achieve agreed low-carbon development goals, the countries will develop comparable approaches to measuring, reporting and verifying emissions reductions, including cooperation in reporting greenhouse gas emissions throughout the region.
Tesla Motors turned profitable for the first time in July 2009 , when the electric car manufacturer shipped a record 109 vehicles. A surge in sales and reduced manufacturing costs of Tesla's Roadster 2 sports car helped boost the company to $1 million in earnings and $20 million in revenue. The Roadster has a range of about 244 miles per charge -- the first production electric vehicle to cross the 200-mile mark, according to the press release. The Roadster is the only highway-capable electric vehicle for sale in North America or Europe, and the company says it is faster than a Porsche and twice as energy-efficient as a Toyota Prius.
Nissan Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn drove quietly out of the Japanese automaker's soon-to-open headquarters Sunday in the first public viewing of its new zero-emission vehicle. It was the first time the external design was shown of Nissan Motor Co.'s environmentally friendly electric automobile, set to go on sale in Japan, the U.S. and Europe next year. Nissan has promised that the Leaf, which goes into mass-production as a global model in 2012, will be about the same price as a gas-engine car such as the 1.5 million yen ($15,000) Tiida, which sells abroad as the Versa, starting at about $10,000.
Venture capitalists increased investments in alternative energy by 73 percent over the past three months, according to a report issued Wednesday , an indication that the horrible market conditions from earlier this year may have abated. Investors are also be growing more confident because the government is making good on promises to try to shift the national energy policy more toward wind, solar and other renewable technologies. Venture capital investment totaled $572 million in the second quarter, according to Ernst & Young LLP.
China's Ministry of Finance has unwrapped plans to subsidise half the cost of building independent solar-array projects in the country , including new power transmission and distribution systems to link projects to the grid. The subsidy will stretch to 70% for solar projects in remote regions with no current power supply, as the country continues searching for ways to create demand for its domestic PV industry.
Jetstream Wind Inc. officials said the $219 million plant would use electricity from wind, solar and other renewable energy sources to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen would then be burned in a turbine - similar to those used by natural gas-fired power plants - to generate enough electricity to power about 6,000 homes and businesses. The 10-megwatt plant also would be capable of capturing and storing oxygen in liquid and gaseous forms for use in the medical field or other secondary markets.
The Malaga SmartCity initiative has been launched introducing a new urban energy management model in a bid to improve energy efficiency, reduce CO2 emissions and shift consumption to renewable energies. The €31 million project involving eleven companies under the leadership of Spanish energy company Endesa, aims to provide a holistic response to the environmental challenges facing consumers.
"Our innovative home automation and energy management solutions provide exciting new energy monitoring and control capabilities that meet the needs of utilities and energy-conscious consumers," said Will West, CEO at Control4 . "This funding will help us maximize this new market opportunity by advancing Control4's ability to control and integrate with other devices in any residence or business connected to a Smart Grid. With this financing, we can increase our resources to deliver products desired by homeowners, businesses and utility companies alike."
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