Archive for the ‘Complete Digest’ Category
By Calvin Quek, Head of Sustainable Finance at Greenpeace East Asia
China’s long-awaited and much touted Air Pollution Plan was released on Sept 12th, in response to the country’s “airpocalypse.”
Air pollution and environmental issues are quickly becoming top concerns among the Chinese public, sparking thousands of protests or “mass incidents.” The dire environmental issues are, according to China’s official news agency Xinhua, undermining the new administration’s vision of realizing the “China Dream”.
The key goals of the September plan are as follows:
1.) Reduce PM 2.5 levels in the following regions, from 2012 levels by 2017. PM2.5 is a measure of fine particulate pollution. As PM2.5 levels rise, life expectancy drops.
a.) The “Jing-Jin-Ji” region (Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei): – 25% drop
b.) The Yangtze River Delta (Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang) – 20% drop
c.) The Pearl River Delta region (Guangdong) – 15% drop
By Calvin Quek, Head of Sustainable Finance at Greenpeace East Asia
For the last decade, conventional wisdom has been that Asia has an insatiable appetite for thermal coal, making new coal export terminals on the west coast a viable long-term investment. However, recent changes in the global coal market are quickly eroding the economic case for these projects, not to mention the serious environmental, public health, and climate impacts.
At the heart of these changes is China. Since 2007, China has driven nearly 100% of global coal demand growth.
By Jacob Sandry, Mosaic
The environmental movement has done a powerful job of bringing waste and electricity use to the forefront of public consciousness over the past few decades. Conservation actions like recycling, turning the lights off, taking shorter showers, keeping the heat down, biking or carpooling, and buying CFLs are routine actions in the lives of many Americans. In addition to conservation measures people can begin taking powerful actions to address climate change with their money. Here are four new opportunities to take powerful action right now and save money in the process.
1. New Financing Models for Low Cost Home Solar
Five years ago, you needed $30,000+ if you wanted a sizable solar installation on your home. Now, the major solar developers offer financing options that allow you to install solar for $0-1000 down and pay off the cost of the system over 10-20 years with the revenue generated by the electricity from the system. These financing models now account for the majority of solar installations in the United States. Unfortunately, 97% of Americans don’t realize how cheap solar can be. If electricity prices continue to rise at current rates, home solar will make economic sense for a growing portion of the population.
This RFP seeks proposals for the development of a comprehensive self-guided program, called the Cleantech Commercialization Toolkit. The toolkit will define the steps necessary for successful technology development and commercialization; will provide the resources, templates, and instructions necessary for cleantech companies to build the capabilities needed for commercialization; and will allow for progress tracking and document sharing through an interactive website that will be developed as part of this effort. The objectives of the toolkit are to help cleantech companies assess the state and maturity of their business, the business potential for their innovations, to identify and assess the intended market, build internal capabilities to protect the technology and prepare it for launch, and manage the product once commercialized.
Learn more here.
A new study reveals how pollution causes thunderstorms to leave behind larger, deeper, longer lasting clouds. Appearing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences November 26, the results solve a long-standing debate and reveal how pollution plays into climate warming. The work can also provide a gauge for the accuracy of weather and climate models.
Pollution makes clouds linger by decreasing the size and increasing the lifespan of cloud and ice particles. The difference affects how scientists represent clouds in climate models.
“This study reconciles what we see in real life to what computer models show us,” said Fan of the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. “Observations consistently show taller and bigger anvil-shaped clouds in storm systems with pollution, but the models don’t always show stronger convection. Now we know why.”
Read more at PNNL
Brief Abstract: Battery performance is limiting what consumers and mobile technology developers really want to do with their smart devices. In this presentation we’ll look not only at why, but also what might be the future of batteries for mobile applications. – From Dr. Norton, WSU
Mobile phones and tablets have become ever more powerful, but that power comes at the price of battery life. Consumer demands for bigger displays, faster processors and faster networks are outpacing battery evolution, and chemistry has no magic bullet handy to change that trend.
Better battery life for mobile devices comes from technologies that reduce smartphone power consumption, such as smarter software. Attempts at this can be found in the way apps suspend themselves in the background and exactly what location services they use and for how long. Some of the “cheats” smartphone producers use to extend battery life vary from rearranging battery arrays, tweaking voltages and redesigning energy-preserving processors but people still have to be stingy with their usage. Read More…
Moses Lake’s SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers, which makes the materials used in BMW’s electric cars, will expand production. The firm plans to add two new productions lines at a cost of $100 million.
“The SGL project aligns perfectly with Washington economic development comprehensive plan,” says Brian Bonlender. “It is an ideal example of the cutting-edge industries that we must compete for in order to secure our state’s long-term prosperity in the global innovation economy.” Bonlender is Director of the Washington State Department of Commerce, a WCTA Gold Member.
Source: Puget Sound Business Journal, November 22-28, 2013.
Originally published on Clean Technica.
Energy storage fans are rejoicing all across the country on the heels of a new ruling by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which opens the floodgates to connecting more solar arrays and wind farms to the power grid. FERC adopted the new ruling, Order 792, in order to bring its existing rules for small generators up to speed with new developments in the energy storage field.
As FERC explained when issuing Order 792:
…the Commission finds it necessary under section 206 of the Federal Power Act to revise the pro forma SGIP [Small Generator Interconnection Procedures] and pro forma SGIA [Small Generator Interconnection Agreement] to ensure that the rates, terms and conditions under which public utilities provide interconnection service to Small Generating Facilities remain just and reasonable and not unduly discriminatory.
In a nutshell, Rule 792 adds energy storage as a power source that is eligible to connect to the grid. It effectively puts energy storage in the same category as the existing Small Generator Interconnection Procedures and makes it eligible for the existing Fast Track process.
What are the implications and how long will we have to wait for it to become mainstream? Find out at Clean Technica.
By Yoni Binstock, Originally published on Mosaic
The U.S. Department of Energy has set a goal of reaching less than $1 a watt for complete installed solar systems by 2020. Reaching $1/watt would bring the cost of solar power to 6 cents/ kWh, which is cheaper than the average cost per kWh from natural gas power plants and would allow solar to grow without any subsidies. Scientists and entrepreneurs around the world are developing new solar technologies ranging from improvements to existing technologies to completely transformative innovations. Here’s a list of several new technologies that we’re most excited about.
1) Solar Paint | Researchers at the University of Notre Dame have developed low-cost solar paint using nano-sized particles of titanium dioxide, coated with cadmium sulfide or cadmium selenide. Once brushed onto any conducting materials and exposed to the sunlight, the paint will create electricity with a light-to-energy conversion efficiency of 1%. Its efficiency is not high enough for current market use, but hopefully with continued development, we can imagine a day that any surface could generate solar power.
2) Solar Fabric | Pvillion is making fabric with solar power capabilities for use in commercial applications. The company’s fabric, which is as efficient as standard solar panels, could be used to cover structures such as the US embassy in London, which will have a generation capacity of 124MW.
At the 2013 Vision Awards the Seattle 2030 District released the 2013 Annual Report – A Community Leading Change. The report illustrates how much Seattle 2030 members have achieved since it launched the in September 2011. To read the report click the image above or visit the website www.2030district.org/seattle
The Vision Awards honored members for their achievements over the last year, and highlighted current and future Seattle 2030 District programs. The following members received awards for their exemplary contributions:
- JSH Properties were awarded the Largest Organizational Transformation
- Skanska USA Commercial Development – New Construction Development
- Seattle Steam – On-Bill Utility Innovation
- Bullitt Center – Most Innovative New Construction Project
- General Services Administration – Best Performing Portfolio
- Peter Dobrovolny – Lifetime Achievement Award
To read more about the award winners please visit their website http://www.2030district.org/seattle/news