A Private Network for Recharging Cars

A utility with operations around Texas is planning a network of 50 to 150 charging stations for electric cars in the Houston metropolitan area to eliminate “range anxiety,” and is talking with Nissan, Toyota and others about offering auto buyers a package that includes network access and a home charger. The company, NRG, hopes to offer packages ranging from $49 a month, for cars with both electric motors and gasoline engines like the Chevy Volt that would not need access to the scattered charging stations, to $79 a month, for buyers of the Nissan Leaf. The network, called eVgo, will be the first private one for charging, said David Crane, the chief executive of NRG, which is based in Princeton, N.J. In a conference call with reporters, he said Thursday that a combination of home and public charging stations would “make the electric vehicle more affordable and practical, which we believe will significantly close the decision gap.” The plan is to have 50 charging stations installed by the middle of next year; these would deliver three or four miles of range for each minute of charging time.

Italy Goes Solar With First Sun-Powered Road

Most people will be surprised, but Italy was the first country in the world to build motorways. In fact, the A8 "Milano-Laghi" motorway ("Milan-Lakes", as it connects the city of Milan to Lake Como and Maggiore) was completed in 1926. Time has passed and all developed nations now boast wide motorway networks, a strategic infrastructure that helps interconnecting people, places and is ultimately essential to economic growth. But Italy will soon be able to claim a new "first": the A18 Catania-Siracusa motorway, a 30km addition to Sicily's 600km motorway network, will be a fully solar-powered motorway, the first in its kind. Work is well underway to complete commissioning of this cutting edge infrastructure, which will be the most advanced motorway in Europe, including many outstanding features in terms of control systems, surveillance apparatus, tarmac quality, safety features (one of its new tunnels has also been awarded for its levels of safety). Construction activities are concluded, and a quarter of its solar photovoltaic (PV) panels were already operational by the end of September.

GE Awards First Ecomagination Millions to Smart Grid Firms

GE handed out the first of what will be $200 million in awards from its  Ecomagination Challenge  to companies making windows that automatically tint to keep buildings cool, heating systems that run on solar-powered hot water and other energy-efficient technologies developed with the smart grid in mind. Out of nearly 4,000 ideas submitted to the challenge, GE selected 12 companies that will be on the receiving end of $55 million. The challenge, which was open for 10 weeks, is aimed at speeding up the development and use of power grid technology around the world. In addition to investing in ideas, GE will work with winners on technology development, validation and distribution. The 12 companies GE is partnering with work on energy storage, utility security, energy management software, electric vehicle charging and other technologies that connect with power grids.

Behold the Greenerator

Designed by Jonathan Globerson, the Greenerator is a green generator that produces clean energy without depending on external sources. It uses flexible thin-film solar cells that are cheaper, more efficient and require less material for manufacturing than conventional solar cells. All you have to do is install them in your balconies and enjoy the benefits of renewable energy. Each unit is estimated to save 6% of the electric bill and 2000 pounds CO2.

U.S. Green Building Council certifies 1 billion square feet

The U.S. Green Building Council, as it kicks off its annual Greenbuild conference this week, is announcing a major milestone: its certified commercial buildings now exceed 1 billion square feet. Another 6 billion or so square feet of projects are registered around the world under the private group's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program, one of the most comprehensive and best-known green building standards. "This traction demonstrates the transformation of the way we design, build and operate buildings," said Rick Fedrizzi, the group's president and CEO, in a statement. "Not only does green building contribute to saving energy, water and money, it also creates green jobs that will grow and energize our economy." LEED's rapid growth continued, albeit at a slower pace, during the recent U.S. economic downtown, according to the group's data. Since it was introduced in 2000, more than 36,000 commercial projects and 38,000 single-family homes have participated and of those, 7,194 commercial projects and 8,611 homes are complete and have met the criteria. LEED requires reductions in energy and water use as well as recyclable, locally sourced and non-toxic building materials.

$450M Solar-powered Neighborhood Is Coming To Boston

After a decade of wrangling, developer John Rosenthal will break ground today with his ambitious plan to build a solar-powered neighborhood near Fenway Park, filling several acres of parking lots with apartments, offices, stores, and a revamped transit station. The five-building complex, known as Fenway Center, will be unlike anything now standing in Boston, with solar panels to generate much of its electricity. The development will fill a large void between Brookline Avenue and Beacon Street, along and over the Massachusetts Turnpike, and result in the construction of new roads that will improve travel around the neighborhood. “This is going to turn ugly, underutilized parking lots into a world-class neighborhood,’’ Rosenthal said. He won city approval for the project in 2009 and has since been working to get state permits and secure financing in the down economy. While private funding for the $450 million project is not locked down, the groundbreaking kicks off the public transportation improvements that will help clear the way for the development.

GE To Buy 25,000 Electric Cars

GE said on Thursday that it will buy 25,000 electric vehicles for its fleet through 2015 in the "largest-ever" purchase of electric cars. GE will begin with a purchase of 12,000 Chevy Volts from General Motors Co. The purchases will begin in 2011, said GE. GE says that because of its size and technology the company is uniquely positioned to bring the electric vehicles into the mainstream. GE Chief Executive Jeff Immelt said the purchase will help to "move electric vehicles from anticipation to action." "Wide-scale adoption of electric vehicles will also drive clean energy innovation, strengthen energy security and deliver economic value," he said. GM Chief Executive Daniel Akerson described the deal with GE as "a marriage made in heaven" for both corporations." "We're interested in [GE's] watt station, their charging stations," said Akerson. "It dovetails well with this electric vehicle [the Volt] and electric vehicle development across the automobile industry." GE has a current fleet of 30,000 vehicles which are used by GE employees to conduct their business. The conglomerate said it "will add other [electric] vehicles as manufacturers bring them to market." The Chevrolet Volt is expected to roll off production lines later this month.

Eco-fatigue? Green No Longer Red Hot Says One Media Study?

Green marketing, a movement so hot that not even a deep recession could kill it, is starting to show signs of consumer revolt. At the very least, it's a signal that green alone isn't enough of a marketing proposition; at most, it could signal consumers simply aren't buying the benefits of environmentally positioned products and brands. In recent months, sales have begun to slow in categories such as green cleaners and grow in not-so-sustainable ones like bottled water as shoppers decide they may not be worth the tradeoff. And a September study showed big swings in the number of consumers who believe environmentally friendly alternatives are too expensive, don't work as well as other products and aren't actually better for the environment — all of which seem to add up to what Timothy Kenyon, director of the GfK Roper Green Gauge study calls "green fatigue."

Increasing the Efficiency of Utility-Scale Solar Plants with Secure Wireless Technology

Solar plants can exist over a large geographical area and operators must be able to easily and quickly determine the ‘health,' status and performance of individual assets and the system as a whole.

Studies on Lignin Substitute for Diesel Fuels

Lignin as a substitute for diesel fuel is derivative waste from agricultural and forestry production, which does not need any dedicated cultivation and is regenerated at a rate of 50 billion tons per year on the Earth. Therefore, lignin does not have resource supplies constraint or cost concern. Taken into account cellulose pulp as a byproduct in lignin production, the actual cost of lignin is almost zero.

Sonelis Technologies: Custom Shape Solar Panels

As the market for solar powered devices matures, more and more consumers will demand aesthetics to play a bigger role in the overall design of the product. Adding a black rectangular solar panel on top of a device might not be good enough anymore.

Full Green Ahead In The Ontario Job Market

The Ontario Government's decision to promote clean renewable energy is now proving to be a catalyst for creating thousands of new green collar jobs in the province.

New feed in Tariff scheme approved in Italy

About 1,5 GW of power settled, an annual national grow rate of 100% and more than 800 MW installed in the last year: the Italian PV is one of the most interesting market of renewable energies in the world.

Non-Metallic Enclosures

Stahlin provides state-of-the-art electrical enclosures made from non-metal material for outdoor and indoor industrial use. All types of electrical junction boxes enclosures are manufactured with the highest attention to detail.

New OIL MARKET AND SUPPLY STUDY FROM UC DAVIS

At the current pace of research and development, global oil will run out 90 years before replacement technologies are ready, says a new University of California, Davis, study based on stock market expectations. The forecast was published online Monday (Nov. 8) in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. It is based on the theory that long-term investors are good predictors of whether and when new energy technologies will become commonplace. "Our results suggest it will take a long time before renewable replacement fuels can be self-sustaining, at least from a market perspective," said study author Debbie Niemeier, a UC Davis professor of civil and environmental engineering. Niemeier and co-author Nataliya Malyshkina, a UC Davis postdoctoral researcher, set out to create a new tool that would help policymakers set realistic targets for environmental sustainability and evaluate the progress made toward those goals. Two key elements of the new theory are market capitalizations (based on stock share prices) and dividends of publicly owned oil companies and alternative-energy companies. Other analysts have previously used similar equations to predict events in finance, politics and sports. "Sophisticated investors tend to put considerable effort into collecting, processing and understanding information relevant to the future cash flows paid by securities," said Malyshkina. "As a result, market forecasts of future events, representing consensus predictions of a large number of investors, tend to be relatively accurate." Niemeier said the new study's findings are a warning that current renewable-fuel targets are not ambitious enough to prevent harm to society, economic development and natural ecosystems. "We need stronger policy impetus to push the development of these alternative replacement technologies along," she said.

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