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Clean Economy Wire

April 16, 2014

(PV Tech)
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has said solar has the largest technical feasibility in mitigating harmful emissions from electricity production "by a large magnitude." The final draft of the IPCC's fifth report, Working Group III 'Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change' was published in full on Tuesday.
(International Business Times)
Australia's Great Barrier Reef is known as a World Heritage site and the worsening effects of climate change have sparked fears that it would soon be destroyed and die.   Recent scientific studies have shown a significant loss of coral cover in the past 27 years. The damage to corals is caused by climate change, storms and the increasing population of crown of thorns starfish. Reducing the number of the starfish species is the key factor to restore coral cover based on research studies.
(Think Progress)
The U.S. Army announced plans on Monday to begin construction on the Department of Defense's largest solar array on a military installation. Groundbreaking for the 20-megawatt project will take place on April 25, with commercial operations slated to begin late this year. It will provide about a quarter of the annual electricity use for Fort Huachuca in southeast Arizona.
(Environment News Service)
Last year, the U.S. wind energy industry chalked up a record number of projects and generating capacity under construction. By year end, private corporations invested billions of dollars, and new records for generation were set in many locations, according to the U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report Year Ending 2013, released Thursday by the American Wind Energy Association, AWEA.
(The Hill)
A top petroleum group is worried the Environmental Protection Agency will flip on the proposed levels it released late last year for the amount of ethanol and other biofuels refiners must blend into the nation's fuel supply. The EPA proposed its draft 2014 blending volumes under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard in November to cheers from oil companies, which called it a move in the right direction.
(Green Car Congress)
The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy announced up to $10 million in funding to advance the development, improvement and demonstration of integrated biological or chemical upgrading technology for the production of substitutes for petroleum‐based feedstocks, products and fuels.
(Business Green)
The European Parliament yesterday voted in favor of a series of new policies designed to cut emissions and mobilise investment in clean technologies across the bloc's transport industry. MEPs backed European Commission proposals for new rules designed to make heavy goods vehicles safer and more fuel efficient, primarily by imposing new standards on the industry that would tackle blind spots that can lead to accidents and improve the aerodynamic design of lorries.
(Clean Technica)
In 2013, China witnessed yet another year of impressive wind energy capacity addition. While the total capacity added was off the peak levels seen a couple of years ago, the Asian giant still managed to add 45% of all the wind energy capacity added in 2013. According to the latest data released by the Chinese Wind Energy Association, the country added a staggering 16,089 MW of wind energy capacity, pushing the cumulative installed wind energy capacity to 92,038 MW at the end of 2013.
Velocys Plc, partly funded by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, will help make jet fuel from landfill waste at the site of the Coryton oil refinery, formerly owned by BP Plc, in east London. British Airways Plc and its partner Solena Fuels will use Velocys's technology to convert 575,000 metric tons of trash into 120,000 tons of fuels a year once the facility is completed in 2017, the carrier said today in a statement.
(Wall Street Journal (sub. req'd))
On a remote plot of scrubland in the southwestern corner of Staten Island, the city is building a school unlike any other in New York. When P.S. 62 has its opening scheduled for the fall of 2015, it will be billed as a "net zero" school.

April 15, 2014

(Green Biz)
Commercial buildings are notorious energy hogs, making up 17 percent of the nation's greenhouse gas emissions. That's according to the EPA, which just released its latest list of the cities with the most Energy Star-certified buildings. As it has for six years, Los Angeles tops the list, now counting close to 450 certified buildings. It's followed by Washington, D.C., which held the No. 2 spot last year as well. Atlanta, New York City and San Francisco follow.
(Dallas Morning News)
Ranch land has been leased. Roads are being laid under the shadows of seabirds. And the $4 million wind turbines are on order. Wind developers from around the globe have rushed into the Texas Panhandle and Gulf Coast at a pace not seen since the industry's early days in the mid-2000s.
(Boston Globe)
At nearly 200 feet long, it is among the largest windmill blades in the world, so big it had to be brought in on a cargo ship to a testing center in Charlestown, where two hydraulic cranes were necessary to move the 13-ton fiberglass and balsa wood structure. Over the next year, the Wind Technology Testing Center will bend, oscillate, and ultimately break the massive, hollow blade, testing its strength and looking for flaws in its construction and design that could influence the future of wind power.
(Financial Times)
Britons would prefer to live near a wind farm over a "fracking" site by a majority of three to one, according to an opinion poll published on Monday. The findings appear at odds with the Conservative leadership, which is said to be mulling a moratorium on wind farms as part of its 2015 election manifesto.
(New York Times)
There is an old joke in the energy business that advanced biofuels are the fuel of the future, and always will be. A Spanish company, Abengoa Bioenergy, has bet $500 million on robbing that joke of its punch line. In the middle of a cornfield here it is building a 38-acre Erector set of electrical cable and pipe that will soon begin producing cellulosic ethanol, which it calls a low-polluting alternative to petroleum products.
(San Francisco Chronicle)
For years, Tesla Motors could get no love from the GOP. The electric automaker neatly embodied two things many Republicans hated: green technology and federal stimulus loans. Conservative commentators railed that Tesla used $465 million in taxpayer money to build novelty cars for the rich. Sarah Palin cited Tesla as an example of "crony capitalism."
These things are true, however recent research suggests that precisely how green hybrid vehicles are may depend on traffic levels, road design and, perhaps most intriguingly, national driving styles. It also shows these vehicles provide significantly greater environmental benefits in cities in India and China, where there are hardly any hybrids, than they do in places like Tokyo and Los Angeles, where they are most common.
(Autoblog Green)
When the best-selling U.S. truck sheds the equivalent weight of three football fullbacks by shifting to aluminum, folks start paying attention. Oak Ridge National Laboratory took a closer look at whether the reduced fuel consumption from a lighter aluminum body makes up for the fact that producing aluminum is far more energy intensive than steel. And the results of the study are pretty encouraging.
Japan Renewable Energy Co., a unit set up by Goldman Sachs Groups Inc. to invest in clean-energy projects, bought a 16-megawatt wind-power plant in Japan's northern Yamagata prefecture, marking its entry into the field. The company began wind-power operations after taking over the facility from Sumitomo Corp.'s Summit Energy Corp., Tokyo-based Japan Renewable said today in an e-mailed statement, without giving the value of the deal.

April 14, 2014

David Cameron's commitment to the green agenda will come under the fiercest scrutiny yet this week when top climate-change experts will warn that only greater use of renewable energy – including windfarms – can prevent a global catastrophe. A report by the world's leading authorities will expose a growing gulf between a Tory party intent on halting construction of more onshore windfarms and the world's leading scientists, who see them as one of the cheapest ways to provide energy while at the same time saving the environment.
(Think Progress)
On Friday evening, Maine Governor Paul LePage vetoed a bill to expand solar power in Maine that had passed the legislature with broad bipartisan support last month. The bill aimed to restore a $2,000 solar energy rebate program that ended last year that helped Maine homes and businesses install solar and hot water projects.
(The Oklahoman)
Despite continued uncertainty over a key federal tax credit and a steep drop in wind farms reaching production, the wind industry ended 2013 with a record number of projects under construction. The United States had 61,110 megawatts of wind capacity by the end of the year, the American Wind Energy Association said in its annual report released Thursday. Wind capacity was 3,134 megawatts in Oklahoma as the state remained in sixth place.
(Wall Street Journal (sub. req'd))
The Senate will take up an $85 billion tax-extenders bill and an energy-efficiency measure after lawmakers return April 28 from a two-week recess, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) said Friday. The extenders bill, whose price tag covers 10 years, includes about 50 different tax breaks for businesses, including those in the energy industry, as well as for individuals. All are temporary and most last two years.
(Sustainable Business)
If you follow our news you know we're big boosters of biogas - a renewable form of natural gas made from methane waste from wastewater treatment plants, dairies and landfills. The American Biogas Council selected a New Jersey wastewater treatment plant for its "Biogas Project of the Year" award.
(The Journal Sentinel)
A report released Friday highlights the work of Milwaukee's solar initiative, noting the city has a way to go to catch up to cities that are aggressively adding solar power. The report, by the conservation group Wisconsin Environment, says the 20 leading cities across the country in solar power generation today have more solar installed than the entire nation did six years ago, said Megan Severson, state advocate for the group.
(Houston Chronicle)
A new study from a Texas-based environmentalist group finds that Houston is lagging behind other cities in its use of solar power. Though the city touts itself as the largest municipal purchase of renewable energy in the country, Houston's solar capacity ranks third in Texas—behind San Antonio and Austin—and 32nd in the country.
(Chicago Tribune)
Home goods giant Ikea is building a wind farm in downstate Illinois large enough to ensure that its stores will never have to buy a single kilowatt of power again. "It's about taking care of the environment and living within our means," said Rob Olson, chief financial officer of Ikea U.S.
(The Irish Times)
A negotiated agreement to facilitate green energy exports from the midlands by a 2020 EU timeframe has not been reached, Minister for Energy Pat Rabbitte has said, meaning the midlands energy export project will not proceed. The deal had envisaged 2,300 wind turbines being built across the midlands between now and 2020 to supply 5,000 megawatts to the British market.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is pushing Japan's coal industry to expand sales at home and abroad, undermining hopes among environmentalists that he'd use the Fukushima nuclear accident to switch the nation to renewables. A new energy plan approved by Japan's cabinet on April 11 designates coal an important long-term electricity source while falling short of setting specific targets for cleaner energy from wind, solar and geothermal.

April 11, 2014

(Los Angeles Times)
Los Angeles has outstripped San Diego as the city with the most solar installations in the nation, one report says. By the end of 2013, Angelenos installed a cumulative total of 132 megawatts of solar power, according to a report from the Environment California Research & Policy Center. That is about one-third more than San Diego, which previously held the No. 1 spot.