Thursday, July 8


First US EV Fast Charger Gets Installed in… Vacaville!
Lake Erie Non Profit LEEDCo Wins GE Turbines
ExxonMobil Shareholders Demand Natural Gas Fracking Risk Assessment
House/Senate Jump for Electric Vehicle Legislation in Climate Bill
Inventor Uses Biomimicry to Create Dew
First US State to Codify Law for Carbon Sequestration is Wyoming
Peak Day Pricing Begins for Large Commercial PG&E Customers
Republicans Having Second Thoughts About Dirty Energy

More Wind Farms Mean Cheaper Energy
Gamesa and Cannon Build One of The Largest Wind Farms In North America
Climate Change to Rob Your Grandchildren of Nutrients in Pies, Bread, Pizza or Spaghetti
53 Megawatt Ice Energy Storage Project Begins In Glendale, California
DOE Finalizes Environmental Review for Abengoa Solana Project in Arizona
Massive Offshore Waves Sink Australia’s Oceanlinx Wavepower Pilot
We’re No. 11! USA! USA! USA!
Tesla and Toyota to Collaborate on Building the Affordable Electric Car
The Key Votes We Need to Pass the Climate Bill
Border Dispute between Arizona and California Could Shut Down Power to LA
Top Utilities Added 66% More Solar in 2009
Why AB32 Goes After the Cement Industry
Oklahoma Sets a Renewable Energy Standard!
Coal Plant Troubles Free Up Proposed Transmission for South Dakota Wind
French Policy Expert to Advise California on Feed-in Tariff Design
1 in 5 to Take Foot off Gas After Gulf Gusher
Clever Photosynthetic Breathing Building “Skin” to Cut Need for Energy
Humans Won’t Survive on Half of Earth by 2300
Why California Has Nearly Quadrupled Solar Installations Since Last Year
California’s Early Actors on Clean Energy to Benefit Under Today’s Unveiled Fed Climate Bill
Bleeding Gulf Appears Unquenchable in Leaked Video
What Really Matters in Climate Policy
Unlikely California Electricity Hog Could Green the Grid in November
Mapping the Scale of the Oil Gushing From the Gulf Coast Ocean FloorListening to Rush Raises Your Utility Bills
Solé Power Tile to be CEC-Approved For California Roofs
Reagan’s Shultz Protecting California’s Clean Energy Law From Texas Oil Companies
Is BP’s Spill Like The ‘69 Santa Barbara Spill? Read more...

Saturday, October 17

How Fort Irwin Just Signed The Largest Solar Farm in Dept of Defense History: 1,000 MW

In a win-wIn move for the US Army and the USA, a mutually beneficial financing arrangement was signed this week between the US Army and a new partnership (”Irwin Energy Security Partners LLC”) comprising Clark Energy Group and multinational solar power giant Acciona. By using Enhanced Use Leasing they can now not only finance the solar project for Fort Irwin, but double the size to 1,000 megawatts.

The solution they came to this week provides a model for how to get around the difficulties encountered by utility scale solar companies in getting past NIMBY opposition and other roadblocks to developing big solar in the desert.

Read more at cleantechnica....

60% of US States Could Supply 100% of Their Own Power From Renewable Energy, New Rules Project Shows

Using just the resources that are currently commercially deployable; 31 of our 51 states, or 60% of US states could get 100% of their electricity from renewable sources in-state, and another 14 percent could generate 75 percent of their electricity in-state, according to a paper published by New Rules Project that focuses on the potential for local production.

In some ways, very local; which actually makes this a conservative estimate. For example:

Solar. The New Rules Project study looked only rooftop solar potential, and not the obviously far larger utility-scale solar potential as the idea was to see what could be done with existing resources only in each state, and not adding transmission lines.

(Strangely; the authors inexplicably omit waste biomass or waste fueled electricity, like from landfill gas, cow power and sewage sludge as sources for producing electricity, that has tremendous potential. There is no peak poop, after all. )

But it still has a wealth of detailed data (2007), well presented in these graphs showing the relative resource for each state for

Pg 2 Wind
Pg 3 Off-shore Wind
Pg 4 Micro Hydro
Pg 5 Combined Heat & Power
Pg 6 Geothermal
Pg 7 EGS
Pg 8 Negawatts
Pg 9 Transmission Potential (my notes)
Pg 10 Relative Costs

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Sunday, February 1

Prius Powers Home in Ice Storm

Ice Storm Victim Improvises Prius-to-Home Energy Generator

A Massachusetts man - faced with no power in the recent ice storm, powered up the family Prius to create electricity: The hybrid car made enough electricity to run the essentials; the fridge, the lights, the TV, the wood-stove fan. During the power outage, it supplied 17 Kilowatt hours of energy to his home for three days.

How did he do it?

The Harvard Press described how the hybrid’s battery ran the house essentials for electrical engineer John Sweeney and family. He dug up an inverter which made 120v AC from 12v DC current and he wired it into the hybrid electric Prius, creating V2G technology on the fly.

V2G; vehicle to grid technology - is what will make it possible to reduce the amount of new power that we would otherwise need to add to the grid, because electric cars can act as rolling storage batteries to supply emergency extra electric power.

As such, V2G is of great interest to utlities and state governors seeking to reduce expenses and NIMBY issues associated with building more power stations. Vehicle to Grid technology reduces the need to build more power stations, by evening out grid loads; by swapping power back and forth as needed between electric vehicles and the grid.

But we don't call it V2G when it's your electric Prius powering your home, of course; the correct technical acronym is P2H; Prius2Home.

Last year the NYT reported on a similar case of another disaster victim powering his home in the same way; but this one employed his P2H power during a hurricane.

Related stories:

Electric Car Plows 4 Feet of Snow!
Boring Electric Car Still Coming in 2010

Photo of electrical damage in an ice storm by WindsurfGirl
Via NYT Green Inc

Published at Gas 2.0

Saturday, January 31

Your Clothes Dryer could Make Electricity Too

Clothes dryers throw off waste heat that could be a useful form of energy --if it could just be harnessed.

Even enough energy to run half of all your household appliances.

Co-generation; sometimes called combined heat and power (CHP) is already starting to be used by factories and data centers to save energy by creating both heat and power.

But until now, low heat has not been harnessed in creating electricity. Most existing technologies are efficient only at temperatures above 400 °F, and a lot of waste heat just isn't that hot.

But Ener-G-Rotors has just developed an innovative new technology that one day might have your clothes dryer supplying half the electricity in your house as well, and cheaply enough to deliver a payback in two years.

They initially plan for commercial use but also hope to target consumers with a one-kilowatt system.

That would be enough to supply half their electricity. Check your utility bill to see your total kwh used in the month: if it is approximately 500 kwh per month, a two-kilowatt system is enough to supply your electricity needs.

Ener-G-Rotors says "Our technology is more efficient and simpler than anything else out there right now," he says. "There aren't many technologies that are going to work here. And we think we have the lowest cost of any of the technologies out there."

So imagine getting half your electricity from your dryer...with help maybe, from that other energy hog - your fridge.

From MIT
Photo by Olivia Megalis


Wednesday, January 7

Inventor Wants to Geo-Engineer a Planetwide "Refrigerator"

Bailing out the entire human race might turn out to be cheaper than bailing out Wall Street:

Spray gigatons of seawater into the air, mainly in the Northern Hemisphere, and let Mother Nature do the rest, suggests inventor Ron Acer in a patent petition for "a colossal refrigeration system with a 100,000-fold performance multiplier."

"The Earth has a giant air-conditioning problem," he said. "I'm proposing to put a thermostat on the planet."

He estimates that his design would cost only a few billion dollars to implement on a global scale. (Much less than $700 billion)
He suggests installing devices that spray seawater up to 200 feet into the air next to deserts and other arid or windy sites near seawater, such as the African, South American and Mediterranean coasts.

An internationally known climate scientist has roughly simulated Acer's idea on a model that's used extensively by top scientists to study global warming, and estimates that this could cool the world by nearly 1 degree Fahrenheit every 30 years, reducing the current warming rate.

In addition, it would be the cheapest way to transport water to drought-stricken regions, counteract desert expansions, increase natural irrigation for crops and boost the output of hydroelectric power plants.

The scientist, Stanford's Kenneth Caldeira at the Department of Global Ecology, says that Ron Acer's giant humidifier might just work. He will submit his computer findings for peer-reviewed publication this spring. Caldeira is among the scientists who met last year in a last-ditch effort to brainstorm geo-engineering climate change solutions.

As Caldeira put it: "Every brilliant innovation in the history of technology looked a little bit loony when first proposed." Ron Acer holds 70 patents worldwide but has had commercial success on fewer than 20 of them.

Related technology:
Seawater Greenhouse
Teatro Del Agua

From Greg Gordon at McClatchey Newspapers
Image Credit: fjny via on a Creative Commons license
the rest of it.

For Cleantechnica

Thursday, December 18

The Synergy of Solar Panels and Greenery

Solar panels don't have to fight for space on green roofs. Two experts suggest combining solar with green roofs works best.


If a solar roof is placed over plants, both the roof and the plants do better. The plants make the solar panels more efficient, because their evaporation cools the back of the exposed panels. Solar panels work better when they are cool.

Likewise, the dappled shade that the solar panels provide the plants below is similar to the canopy effect of taller trees protecting plants underneath from harsh direct sun.

That is the finding of Neubrandenburg Professor of Landscape Ecology Manfred Köhler, who has been involved with research on green roofs and façade greenery since 1981.

In his paper, Positive Interaction between PV-systems and Extensive Green roofs Dr. Köhler says

On some of these greened roofs a photovoltaic –research power plant (PV) was installed in 1999.

Results: Under the shade of the PV panels the vegetation is modified significantly. It changed from a Moss-Sedum roof to a vegetation stand dominated by higher taller plant species likArtemisia and other. The biomass of plant species increased through the years.

A green roof reduces the maximum temperature during the day time. This has a positive influence on the production of electricity by the PV-panels and makes them more efficient in the summer months.
The CEO of nanosolar has noticed the same thing. Solar panels can be arranged to drip condensation for plants underneath:

"In a municipal solar power plant, solar panels are mounted onto rails above the ground so that grass and flowers can continue to flourish in between and below the rows of panels. Care is taken that sufficient amounts of rainwater can drop through between adjoining panels so that the flowers and organisms below are not starved. In fact, in dry regions, the solar panels even benefit the ecosystem by increasing the moisture level in the soil.

This synergy is good news, not just for us as homeowners going green, but also for us as a nation:

Implications for Utility Scale Solar

The Solar Grand Plan published in Scientific American last December proposed that we could power 1/3 of the nations electricity with 30,000 square miles of photovoltaic arrays.

(That sounds like a lot of space, but that is actually less square miles than coal per gigawatt produced, when you include the mined areas, not merely coal power stations. It seems like a lot because its all in one place, unlike coal mines.)

The NREL has estimated that more than enough land in the Southwest is available without requiring use of environmentally sensitive areas, population centers or difficult terrain. More than 80 percent is not privately owned. Arizona is very interested in developing this solar potential because coal is water intensive. This could eliminate the need for more than half the nation's coal plants.

If the solar grand plan were designed to allow desert plant growth underneath in the dappled shade -- that could cool the panels in the hot Southwest sunshine.

If the installation were designed as recommended by the green roofing professor and the solar CEO, we might have the best of both worlds.

Photo from Green Roof Magazine

For Matter Network

Wednesday, December 17

Investors Demand Climate Risk Disclosure

Investors are becoming increasingly concerned about potential regulatory risks and economic dangers in a carbon-constrained world

A group of 65 leading US investors with collective assets totaling $7 trillion has teamed up with the European investment management firm, F&C Investment to put a halt to Wall Street financial regulators softening of the rules on tar sands reserves disclosed by oil and gas companies.

The Investor Network on Climate Risk and F&C Investment are concerned that the escalating risks posed by climate change have broad implications for oil and gas companies which could impact their future earnings, and that these risks fall into the category of known trends requiring company disclosure.

At a time when governments around the world are taking an increasingly hard line on carbon pollution, these investor groups feel it is essential that investors be able to assess accurately the risk profile of reported reserves.

As quoted in the UK Guardian, Elizabeth McGeveran, senior vice-president of F&C's governance and sustainable investment team said"Understanding climate risk will assist investors in understanding and evaluating reserves. Regulations already require the disclosure of known trends that companies can reasonably expect will have a material impact on net sales, revenues or income from continuing operations, and we believe that the disclosure of any estimated additional risks posed by the extraction and development of additional reserves will be important."

The SEC had been reviewing the regulations on the way reserves are calculated since 2004, when Shell fell foul of SEC rules and was forced to reallocate a quarter of the assets on its books. The move led to steep fines, the ouster of its chairman and a plunging share price.

Three months ago the SEC changed the rules to allow previously excluded resources such as tar sands to be classified as oil and gas reserves that, as with oil or gas, could be listed as probable, possible and proven reserves.

Previously, tar sands were defined as mining materials, and literally speaking they actually contain no oil in their natural state. Only by heating up the rock to boiling point, can any liquid be extracted. However, such large quantities of heat are required to obtain a usable fuel from the rock means that this is a far less efficient source of energy than conventional oil.

"The energy consumption required to extract a barrel from Canadian tar sands is very different to a barrel of crude from the Gulf of Mexico."said McGeveran. As oil prices rise, companies that use a lot of oil in ratio to the product they sell are obviously far more impacted by price rises. Tar sands mining has an input of 1 unit of fossil energy in for every 3.5 units of energy (their product) out. The lower this ratio, the more the cost of producing oil from shale will rise as fossil energy prices go up.

But mostly, this unusually high carbon method of extraction means that the climate impact of tar sands mining is much worse than that of regular oil and gas. So the move reflects changing attitudes among a very large group of mainstream investors about the impact of commercial activities that could worsen global warming. This group of institutional investors, among them the California Public Employees' Retirement System, Ceres and Parnassus Investments have signed a letter of concern about the tar sands proposals and called for the new carbon implications to be taken into account.

Ceres president Mindy Lubber says that there is a need for financial institutions to evaluate these kind of projects with carbon prices that reflect their true long-term costs once carbon-reducing regulations take hold around the world.

"Much of the problem is our reliance on outdated accounting systems. Our economy uses accounting systems that are precise in measuring capital goods and profits, but weak in measuring natural and human resource impacts. This narrowly-defined accounting system means that companies are often able to "externalize" natural resource costs. In other words, they can emit global warming pollution for free without paying for environmental damage. Society and taxpayers shoulders these costs instead."

We're now seeing the capital markets begin to incorporate the external costs of global warming, especially in Europe where government-supported trading systems and pricing mechanisms for every ton of carbon dioxide emitted have fostered a $30 billion a year carbon emissions trading program. "

Therefore, filers of reserves should be required to provide investors with information about the carbon content of proven, probable and potential oil reserves in their portfolio as well as the potential liabilities posed by their continued extraction and use.

Photo S. Jocz

For Matternetwork

Wednesday, December 10

I've Got Mine

It is well known of course that the rich and their descendants will be completely immune to climate change. Thus, many of them have been driving efficiency-challenged cars that carelessly drain the last of the world's oil, making their carbon footprint heavier than that of lesser beings.

So, from a climate-change point of view; who better to target with the security of their own driveway supply to power their gas guzzlers --from a carbon free fuel in place of oil? A secure supply.

Those who own bars, restaurants, breweries, micro breweries or are in the winery business could pump their own almost free fuel for life. Those who drive gas guzzlers could easily recoup the cost in a bit over a year.


Because this home ethanol distillation unit cum driveway pump invented by the California company E-Fueler can distill ethanol from a nearly free feed stock; waste alcohol from vineyards or restaurants.

Currently, waste alcohol is hardly ever recycled commercially. Wineries, breweries and distilled spirits refineries can easily discard over a million gallons of alcohol a year. Even bars and restaurants discard thousands of gallons of alcohol annually.

A CEO of a brewery, restaurant, bar or vineyard could recycle the business waste product right into the Rolls Royce instead of throwing it out; making him forever free of foreign oil.

While still pricey after Federal rebates at $7,000 it is no worse than spending for a year of gasoline in a pair of efficiency-challenged vehicles, at prices from just a few months ago (that will likely return, as we continue the bumpy ride down the other side of Hubbert's peak).

Assuming typical annual driving of 12,000 miles each; calculate two 13 mpg vehicles on $3.50 gas would run a household $6,462 annually. Distilling ethanol from liquor waste runs as little as $0.10 cents a gallon, so the same 24,000 miles on waste liquor would only cost around $7, 185 including the distiller. The break-even is somewhere under a year and a half:

1. A year and a half of emitting more carbon $9,692,
2. A year and a half; with distiller = $7,277 (And then its pretty darn cheap. Almost free fuel.)

While the company also does offer a sugar/yeast feedstock of disputed cost-effectiveness to make the ethanol --and you hate to think of some greedy person pouring somebody else's sugar into their car -- any free/waste on-site feedstock is what will make an ethanol distiller sustainable. The key to making planet-friendly ethanol is to find a waste feedstock close to you and make that work. And although sugar is far more efficient than corn, it has many carbon miles to travel in most of this country.

Waste alcohol liquids like beer, wine, fermented juice and liquor are the perfect feed stock for distilling into ethanol. But whatever is close is best. Ethanol distilleries in Midwestern states make use of leftover wood chips and tree parts to produce ethanol. If you live on a farm, you can use leftover straw, husks and grain.

There are more spartan looking ethanol distillers for homemade-fuel mavens of a more down-home sensibility, but this one is designed to be simple and no bother. It has dials and gages to show whats going on, and how much fuel is left.

So this would be a fancy recycling bin. But a recycling bin that can dispense a very eco-friendly fuel for a fleet of vehicles. Indefinitely.

Published at Gas 2.0


A $50 Billion CalCars Plan to Save Detroit

As the age of oil ends we have stopped buying the cars Detroit makes, so now they don't have the money to build the fuel efficient vehicles we do need.

Yet many near-term solutions such as the Volt (which had been on track for 2010) could have driven us out of the age of oil. We have come to an impasse.

An interesting idea CalCars founder Felix Kramer is proposing would be a way to generate $50 billion for the auto industry and just get us the low carbon driving options America needs.

Put together 5 million deposits on EVs and PHEV orders at $10,000 each.
Give the $50 billion that that would generate to automakers to build the orders.
Refund $7,500 to the buyers within a year via the EV tax credits passed in October.
Allow orders placed up till next April to count towards the 2008 tax year for tax credits.

Between public and private fleets, those buyers could account for nearly a million orders alone. Private fleet orders would come from car share and taxi companies and universities. Some construction companies are paying to convert truck fleets to electric. The Federal government alone buys 75,000 cars a year. There is pent-up demand for the post oil age vehicles.

The genius of the CalCars plan is that it addresses that demand, and utilizes its force in a judo - like move.
WHY ARE CAR SALES FALLING? Not just because of the economic crisis. The more Americans hear that better cars are on the way, the more individuals and fleets will be reluctant to commit to inefficient vehicles whose resale value may fall quickly because they run only on price-volatile, polluting fossil fuels. We can harness these impulses.
As taxpayers, we have already invested in all the R&D that created these vehicles; last year's Energy bill had $25 billion for EV development under Section 136 of the 2007 Energy bill --almost $800 million of that went into the Volt alone. However, getting from the design room to the factory floor has been like pulling teeth.

Ford, for example, has now successfully test-driven its PHEV for over a year with Southern California Edison. Yet, despite a year of real-world driving success, Ford has no plans to produce their PHEV before 2015.

But $10,000 deposits on particular models would enforce specific action, and not waste autocompanies precious financial resources making more of what customers do not want. For small companies, deposits help focus precious resources where they can generate a certain return. Big companies need to have the same focus.

The automakers would not be able to start collecting deposits on the orders till they issue a maximum price estimate and specs. They would be given till Dec. 31, 2012 to fill the orders.

It is a novel idea but not untried. SmartForTwo and Tesla both took deposits to help them fund their production and gage the level of customer interest. But are there five million customers in the country who care enough? I think so.

The extraordinary number of people who were willing to donate their hard-earned money this election season to ensure that the country gets safely out of the Bush Error might suggest that there are more of these idealistic and altruistic people willing to put down hard money on a better future for the planet than the economic news would suggest.

WHY NOT ENLIST THE AMERICAN PUBLIC'S BUYING POWER? We're inspired by how Americans rose to past challenges: We raised $17 billion Liberty Bonds in two years in World War I. And 85 million Americans bought $185 billion in War Bonds during World War II. Especially since dollars back then were worth over ten times more than now, our proposal is small in comparison.
Here's the kicker. Any automaker that wants to receive federal loan guarantees beginning in January 2009 would have to commit by the end of this month to have at least one eligible plug-in vehicle for sale by the end of 2010 in volumes greater than 10,000.

The other funding ideas, such as robbing the Section 136 Innovation funding that jumpstarted the EV and PHEV industries, are counterproductive. So, if you think the CalCars idea is workable, you might want to spread it around.

Photo by Flikr user joshmeister