- Giant Solar Farm Capacity Doubling Inside 12 Months, Breaking 12 GW
- In California, Affordable Solar Power For The 99%
- China Announces Introduction Of Carbon Tax
- 100% Renewable Energy: Becoming the New Normal?
- Progress In The Big Apple — NYC Mayor Bloomberg Targets 1/3 Electric Taxi Fleet By 2020; Largest Bike Share In Country
- High-Efficiency Topload Washers Gain In Popularity
- Doing More With Less: Energy Efficiency Bolsters The US Economy
- Matt Damon Claims To Abstain From Toilet Use In Solidarity With Those Without Proper Sanitation
- JinkoSolar Signs Agreement For 600 MW Solar PV Panels
- Antelope Valley Solar Ranch One Achieves 100 Megawatt Milestone
- Navigating The Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Information Jungle (VIDEO)
Posted: 22 Feb 2013 07:00 AM PST
The 2012 Fisker Karma weighs a substantial 5,300 pounds, and that is reflected in its 20 mpg efficiency when burning gas (but the fact that it is a high performance car is also to blame). However, it becomes very efficient when operated in electric mode.
When it is operated in its hybrid mode, in which it consumes both electricity and gas, it achieves 50 mpg combined (however, that is still well below that of all the other plug-in hybrids on the market).
To be fair, none of the other plug-in hybrids on the market are this fast, and faster cars tend to be relatively inefficient, especially if they are equipped with larger gasoline combustion engines.
Plug-In Hybrids On The Market
For some comparison, check out this list of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles:
1. 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid: 115 MPGe.
2. Ford Fusion Energi: 100 MPGe.
3. Ford C-MAX Energi: 100 MPGe.
4. 2012 Chevrolet Volt: 98 MPGe.
5. 2013 Prius Plug-In Hybrid: 95 MPGe.
According to Henrik Fisker, the founder of Fisker Automotive, the average fuel economy of the Fisker Karma mentioned is 150 MPG, based on the amount of gasoline used, but not with grid electricity factored in. In other words, this is only the gasoline consumption of the vehicle — it does not include electricity consumption. That is where MPGe comes in.
MPGe is a converted unit to give you an idea of how efficient the electric propulsion system is, and it is also used to factor in the combined gasoline and electricity consumption of hybrids and extended range electric vehicles (EREVs).
“You can say what you want about how the Europeans or the EPA measures fuel economy, but we have the facts, the facts of how Fisker Karma owners drive the car. The average is 150 miles a gallon. That is a fact. And we have customers who drive 3,000 to 4,000 miles before they fill up,” said Henrik Fisker.
Source: Autoblog Green
Fisker Karma Drivers Achieved An Average Of 150 MPG was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just visit our homepage.
Posted: 22 Feb 2013 06:00 AM PST
A new update from analyst firm Wiki-Solar has concluded that by the end of February utility-scale solar farms will have reached 12.2 GW of capacity across 488 installations, a figure almost double that of 12 months ago.
The report found that 6 GW of new utility-scale capacity has been connected worldwide in the last 12 months, with China alone installing nearly 2 GW since last February, pipping Germany as the country for solar power plants.
“The rate of growth is breath-taking”, says industry expert Philip Wolfe. “These figures get out-of-date before they are even published. In the last quarter alone, over 70 utility-scale solar projects totalling 1.5GW were registered under the Clean Development Mechanism.”
The report defined ‘utility-scale’ as any solar farm over the 10 MW barrier, gathering its data from Wiki-Solar’s database of solar projects published on its website and shown on an interactive global map.
The news comes at the same time that First Solar announced that their Antelope Valley Solar Ranch One has achieved a peak generating capacity of 100 megawatts (MW) connected to the electrical grid.
“We expect the USA to overtake Germany this year, too,” said Wolfe. “It has an impressive pipeline of large projects under construction and should go to the top of the table, if these are delivered on time.”
The current line-up has United States in at third, following China and Germany. Filling out the top five are Spain with 64 sites and India, with 44, double the next best contender at number six.
Germany has been at the head of lists like this for several years now, and we reported just a few days ago that Germany was at the head of new wind energy installations for 2012. But with China’s ability to flood the market with industrial products at the drop of a hat, coupled with an ever increasing population and need for electricity generation, it won’t be long before we see China at the top of all of these lists.
Giant Solar Farm Capacity Doubling Inside 12 Months, Breaking 12 GW was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just visit our homepage.
Posted: 22 Feb 2013 05:16 AM PST
It wasn’t too long ago that rooftop solar panels were yet another expensive add-on for high end homes, but then again, it wasn’t too long ago that only the rich kids at your high school could afford pocket calculators, let alone mobile phones. Affordable solar power is starting to make its way down the income ladder, and a pair of statewide California solar programs show how that’s good news for utility customers and taxpayers, too.
Affordable Housing, Affordable Solar Power
One program is MASH, for Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing. That program qualifies eligible buildings for solar incentives. The basic aim of the program is to reduce electricity costs for low-income households, which can help ease the need to subsidize those expenses through utility rates or other public programs.
Included in the package is the goal of raising energy awareness among the occupants and property developers, too.
An even more interesting program is SASH, for Single-family Affordable Solar Homes, funded by multiple public and private sources. It is administered for California by the nonprofit group Grid Alternatives, which works one-on-one to engage low-income families in sustainable energy while promoting workforce development through the state’s booming solar industry.
One reason why rooftop solar panels are so expensive is the “soft costs” of installations including permitting, site design and grid connection. Under the SASH model, Grid Alternatives helps families through the entire process, including filing for rebates.
The SASH model also includes weatherization and energy efficiency upgrades to help the homeowner get the most bang out of the solar installation.
Grid Alternatives is a licensed solar installer as well as a nonprofit, which qualifies it to lead teams of solar industry trainees and other community members through the installation process.
That’s a win for households with lower energy bills and for underemployed workers with new experience that matches in-demand skills, while easing the need for public assistance.
Public Housing and Affordable Solar Power
SASH and MASH apply to privately owned low-income housing, and as it turns out there is a parallel movement afoot in government-owned housing as well.
Back in 2009, the San Francisco Housing Authority began installing solar panels on public housing. Solar projects in Chicagoand Portland took it up to the next level by treating solar panels as one element in the design of healthier, more sustainable public housing.
Solar Power for the 99%
What could really blow the lid off the affordable rooftop solar market, though, is the skyrocketing popularity of power purchase agreements (PPAs). Under a PPA, the property owner pays only for the solar power, typically at a rate far below grid-supplied electricity.
Just last summer the Baltimore Sun reported on a company called Skyline Innovations, which installed solar thermal hot water systems under a PPA for the “cash-strapped” housing authority in Annapolis, Maryland. With no money required up front, the new system is saving about 30 percent on hot water heating.
Another opportunity has been demonstrated by the Department of Defense. Back in the 1990?s, DoD privatized its on-base housing, which now serves as the launching pad for solar PPA projects including $1 billion in rooftop solar projects by solar industry leader SolarCity. Called SolarStrong, that PPA project alone will total up to 300 megawatts and cover up to 120,000 military housing units.
As for households that don’t fall into low-income or military brackets, PPA opportunities are beginning to dovetail with the Obama Administration’s public-private initiative to lower the cost of rooftop solar installations.
It seems that it won’t be long before solar power is just as accessible and ubiquitous as, say, heating and air conditioning systems.
In California, Affordable Solar Power For The 99% was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just visit our homepage.
Posted: 22 Feb 2013 05:00 AM PST
Only days after two US Senators proposed a tax on carbon emissions a senior official with the Chinese Ministry of Finance said that China plans to proactively introduce a series of new taxation policies that are designed to preserve the environment, including a tax on carbon dioxide emissions.
Writing on the incomprehensible Ministry of Finance website Jia Chen, head of the ministry’s tax policy division, said that the government will collect the environmental protection tax instead of pollutant discharge fees, as well as levy a tax on carbon dioxide emissions (at least, that’s what Xinhua News Agency says).
The tax would be collected by the local taxation authority rather than the environmental protection department, though when these new taxes are to be implemented is yet to be uttered.
Apparently, the Chinese government is also looking into whether to tax energy-intensive products such as batteries, as well as luxury goods like aircraft not used for public transportation.
The world is full of a variety of different carbon taxes — which simply put, is a tax on the carbon content of fuels. In Australia, that tax was originally set as $23 per tonne of carbon released into the atmosphere. It is a means of taxing “ activity that generates negative externalities” (Wikipedia: Pigovian tax).
Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard has come under flak for instituting a carbon tax, and it has become a central platform for opposition leader Tony Abbott’s 2013 election campaign.
Whereas, in the United States Senators Barbara Boxer and Bernie Sanders recently announced the Climate Protection Act proposal.
No doubt Boxer and Sanders will come under heavy fire for even proposing a tax, and sitting here from the comfort of my Australian desk I would be surprised if the proposal ever made it out of committee at all, let alone with any of the teeth necessary to be of any use.
Maybe there is something to be said for China’s style of governance, then.
China Announces Introduction Of Carbon Tax was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just visit our homepage.
Posted: 22 Feb 2013 04:30 AM PST
A decade ago, cities, regions, and businesses aiming for 20% renewable energy were on the cutting edge. Few believed that a higher target in a few decades was an achievable goal. Anyone even suggesting a target of 100% renewable energy was a radical. Fast forward to today and in much of Europe, and increasingly in the U.S. and the developing world, 100% renewable energy goals are becoming the new normal.
Entire countries like Denmark have passed laws requiring that the whole energy supply — electricity, heating/cooling, and transportation — be met by renewable resources.
The Pacific island of Tokelau, which risks disappearing as climate change raises sea levels, is one nation that has already met the goal of 100% renewable energy supply, throwing down the gauntlet to far larger polluters around the world who are truly causing the problem.
Iceland is almost there, with 100% renewable electricity and 81% renewable energy overall.
Scotland has a mandate to achieve 100% renewable power supply by 2020.
Whole regions in Germany are already meeting, if not surpassing, their power demand with renewables. Several have done the same for their heating requirements, and are busy working toward targets for integrating the transportation sector.
In the U.S, cities like San Francisco, Lancaster, and San José have set official goals to reach 100% renewable power within the next decade, and the state of Vermont has an energy plan in place to reach 90% renewable energy in all sectors by mid century. The heartland town of Greensburg, KS has already reached a 100% renewable power goal set after being destroyed by a tornado in 2007, and aims to achieve renewable energy for all sectors.
These are just a handful of examples in what amounts to the beginnings of a global movement. Go100Percent.org, a project launched to track 100% renewable energy projects around the world, has mapped more than 8 Countries, 41 Cities, 48 Regions, 8 Utilities, and 21 NonProfit/Educational/Public Institutions that have shifted or are committed to shifting within the next few decades to 100% renewable energy in at least one sector.
While a global shift to 100% renewable energy is often dismissed as a pipe dream, the fact is that it has never been a question of “if.” Basic logic says that non-renewable energy, by definition, is finite and will run out.
The real questions are “when” and “how” to shift to 100% renewable energy. Apparently, more and more people are saying the answer to the “when” question is sooner than later. Significant numbers of companies, cities, municipalities, and countries, such as the examples cited above, are pushing for what not long ago was deemed impossible to consider.
Underscoring the emerging evolution from vision to reality, world leaders in the 100% renewable energy movement will soon gather in San Francisco for the first international conference in North America to discuss the issues around how to make the change. On April 16, 2013, the Pathways to 100% Renewable Energy Conference, organized by Renewables 100 Policy Institute and itsPartners, will bring 180 people together from multiple fields, including finance, academia, government, policy, labor, and technology, for an intensive discussion about what is working and how to best overcome the current challenges to achieving the 100% renewable energy targets in all sectors and regions.
If you think 100% renewable energy will never happen, guess again. It already is. Tomorrow’s winners will likely be those figuring out how to do it today.
100% Renewable Energy: Becoming the New Normal? was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just visit our homepage.
Posted: 22 Feb 2013 04:00 AM PST
“[T]he biggest change to our transportation network in ages is coming this summer: the largest bike share program in the country. I know Marty can’t wait. Bike share has been successful and popular in every city it’s been tried — and here, it will offer New Yorkers more options to get around town faster.”
Electric Taxi Fleet
In addition to the bike-sharing program, Bloomberg is aiming to have one-third of the NYC taxi fleet be electric vehicles by 2020, the most ambitious such effort I’ve seen. To help that along, he has also announced 10,000 new EV charging spots in the Big Apple.
So, with the many urban efforts to abandon what does not work, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is working to implement what does work. Together with City Council, Bloomberg plans to amend the city’s building code so that up to 20% of all new public parking spaces in private developments will be wired and ready for electric vehicles, creating up to 10,000 parking spots for electric vehicles over the next seven years.
Like many, I have always been in love with NYC, and this affair just keeps getting better.
Progress In The Big Apple — NYC Mayor Bloomberg Targets 1/3 Electric Taxi Fleet By 2020; Largest Bike Share In Country was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just visit our homepage.
Posted: 22 Feb 2013 04:00 AM PST
Chores are no fun. But even no fun things can be improved upon enough to save you some cash and lessen your guilt about using energy-guzzling appliances. Enter high-efficiency topload washers, the washing machine gaining popularity over the last two years by a measure of 34 percent.
High-efficiency appliances carry a heavier price tag than their less efficient peers, but the annual operating costs is less than half of a traditional topload washer, according to Business Wire.
The lowly washing machine has come a long way over the years. Now the computerized washers can calculate the necessary energy needed depending on load weight and soil level. High-efficiency models can do a lot to save precious electricity, like crank up to higher spin speeds (read: less time in the dryer) and offer more load capacity to do more laundry in fewer loads, which makes for less energy used overall. They’re also about 60 percent more water-efficient than washers of yore.
What’s not to love about chores now?
Do yourself a favor: put away that ancient washboard and get a high-efficiency topload washer. No, chores won’t magically become fun, but at least they aren’t as costly to your pocketbook or the environment.
Source: Business Wire
High-Efficiency Topload Washers Gain In Popularity was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just visit our homepage.
Posted: 22 Feb 2013 03:30 AM PST
The adage “do more with less” has proven to be fruitful for the US economy. Even while energy demands have increased over the last decades, investment in efficiency improvements have overshadowed conventional energy supply by a lot — and by a lot we mean $300 to $500 billion.
And it doesn’t stop at the money. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy estimates that in 2010 (the last year with complete data) efficiency investments supported about 300,000 jobs. The Council says that ”the compound benefits of energy efficiency investments are now meeting 74 percent of growth since 1970 in energy-related demand.”
The ACEE approximates that in 2010, $479 to 670 billion was spent on energy efficiency goods and services like Energy Star products, building improvements, repairs, LEDs, and the sales of efficient vehicles.
For more, take a look at this heavy hitting infographic to see where we are failing in energy efficiency, what we are doing to increase efficiency, and what’s on the horizon for better efficiency.
Doing More With Less: Energy Efficiency Bolsters The US Economy was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just visit our homepage.
Posted: 22 Feb 2013 03:00 AM PST
Matt Damon is holding “it”. You know what I’m talking about. Damon has announced that he will not be going to the bathroom until everyone has access to clean water and proper sanitation.
Check out Damon’s faux press conference below to hear his toilet strike declaration and why he’s doing it. (Spoiler alert: Damon is staying out of the John in solidarity with the 2.5 — maybe 2.6 — billion people who lack access to clean water and toilets.)
No more potty jokes when you hear about imaginative toilets or a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation contest for reinventing the toilet.
Source: PR Newswire
Matt Damon Claims To Abstain From Toilet Use In Solidarity With Those Without Proper Sanitation was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just visit our homepage.
Posted: 22 Feb 2013 02:00 AM PST
JinkoSolar announced this week that it has signed an agreement with China Three Gorges New Energy Corporation to deliver a total of 600 megawatts (MW) of high-efficiency solar panels.
The three-year strategic cooperation agreement between the two companies will run from 2013 to 2015, and make use of JinkoSolar’s solar panels in an installation in western China.
“We are very pleased to sign this long term large contract and to further extend our cooperation with CTGNE, one of the largest and fastest growing developers of renewable energy projects in China, following our previous 50MW contract with CTGNE we announced in October 2012,” commented Mr. Xiande Li, Chairman of JinkoSolar.
“China is becoming a major and fast growing market for solar PV modules, and we believe that our strategic cooperation with CTGNE reflects CTGNE’s confidence in the advanced technology, high quality, and reliability of our products.”
JinkoSolar describe itself as “a leading solar power product manufacturer” and operation production installations in Jiangxi and Zhejiang Provinces in China. China Three Gorges New Energy Corporation, on the other hand, is the first state-owned enterprise to enter into the field of wind power.
JinkoSolar has often been in the news of late, having provided solar panels for numerous large installations.
§ In September of 2012 they were awarded the contract to provide 30 MW of PV modules for a PV power plant project planned for Hami city in the Xinjiang Province of China.
§ In the same month JinkoSolar announced they would be partnering with Solea Renewables to develop the first ever off-grid utility scale photovoltaic system in South Africa for a Limpopo province chrome mine.
§ While in October of last year they were awarded the contract to build a 50 MW project for Three Gorges New Energy Corporation in the Gansu Province in China.
All in all, JinkoSolar is definitely one of the big names in the current solar industry but – with the current glut of solar panels from China flooding western markets, one wonders whether the Chinese solar industry will be able to break the negative feelings currently flooding their way.
JinkoSolar Signs Agreement For 600 MW Solar PV Panels was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just visit our homepage.
Posted: 22 Feb 2013 01:00 AM PST
First Solar announced Wednesday that its Antelope Valley Solar Ranch One has achieved a peak generating capacity of 100 megawatts (MW) connected to the electrical grid.
But that’s only half of the end goal. When construction is completed later this year, the ranch, located in northern Los Angeles County, will have a generating capacity of 230 MW.
Construction of Antelope Valley Solar Ranch One was initiated in September of 2011, with module installation taking place in June 2012. As a result, the project has provided an average of 400 jobs during the construction phase.
The project has a fantastic interactive website which keeps users up to date on the construction process, with videos and images of the installation, and easy-to-understand statistics and savings.
“We are proud to achieve this important clean energy milestone for California, which was made possible by the tireless efforts of hundreds of individuals working together. We especially appreciate the support of LA County’s Fifth Supervisorial District staff and the departments of Regional Planning and Public Works for their contributions to making this project a success,” said Lou Moore, First Solar Senior Vice President of Engineering, Procurement and Construction.
“Unlike traditional power plants, the modular nature of PV power projects enables us to quickly add substantial volumes of clean energy to the grid throughout the construction process. This shorter ‘time to energy’ is another key advantage of PV solar electricity.”
Dennis Hunter, Deputy Director of Los Angeles County Public Works, congratulated First Solar on its achievement at Antelope Valley Solar Ranch One. “We appreciated the opportunity to work with the First Solar team to reach this operational milestone,” he said.
Upon completion the facility will generate enough power for 75,000 average California homes and displace an approximate 140,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year. That’s the equivalent of seeing 30,000 cars disappear from the roads each year!
The power the plant is generating is being purchased by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) under a 25-year contract.
Source: First Solar
Antelope Valley Solar Ranch One Achieves 100 Megawatt Milestone was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just visit our homepage.
Posted: 22 Feb 2013 12:10 AM PST
Navigating The Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Information Jungle (VIDEO) was originally published on:CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just visit our homepage.