Oct 1, 14

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The Conventional Energy Trap: Hermann Scheer [1944-2010]

Hermann Scheer, pioneering German Parliamentarian and renewable energy advocate, died earlier this month. Scheer was the driving force behind Germany's Renewable Energy Act, thanks to which Germany last year accounted for half of all worldwide solar electricity installations. I recently came across one of his last ever interviews, done by Amy Goodman over at DemocracyNow.org. The interview covers everything from the Energy Act, to the impact of political corruption on the transition to...

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Solar Round-Up: World's Largest Solar Plants and Thinnest Cells

South Africa Unveils Plans for 'World's Biggest' Solar Power Plant: Giant Mirrors and Solar Panels in Northern Cape Would Reduce Carbon Emissions and Generate One-Tenth of the Country's Energy Needs Jonathan de Vries, the project manager, said today: "I'd hate to make a large claim but yes, this would be the biggest solar park in the world."...De Vries said the park, costing 150-200bn rand, would aim to be contributing to the national grid by the end of 2012. In the initial phase it would...

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Good News x2 for U.S. Offshore Wind

U.S. Offshore Wind Could Provide 20 Percent of Electricity by 2030 U.S. officials calculate that the total potential for offshore wind generation is more than 4,000 gigawatts — or about four times the generating capacity currently carried on the U.S. grid. That estimate assumes one 5-megawatt wind turbine could be placed on every square kilometer of water with an annual average wind speed above 7 meters-per-second. This map illustrates the offshore wind resources by region and depth....

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Harnessing the Kinetic Energy of Braking: A New Pilot Project in Philadelphia

The transit authority in metropolitan Philadelphia is launching a pilot project under which the energy created by braking subway trains will be transferred to a large battery that can then either use the electricity to help power the transit system or sell the power to the region’s electricity grid. The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), which is installing the battery in one of its 38 transit substations, said the power generated by harnessing the kinetic energy of...

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Clean Energy Market Emerges for India’s Rural Poor

The market for clean energy products is growing among India’s rural poor, a massive segment that consists of 114 million households and more than 60 percent of the nation’s population of 1.15 billion, according to a new report. Nearly half of India’s rural poor do not have reliable access to electricity and more than 85 percent largely rely on firewood or dung for cooking and heating. As a result, Indian companies are increasingly seeing a market opportunity in providing alternative...

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Defending PACE's Financial Magic (video)

One of the biggest barriers to home energy retrofits or installing solar is financial: the upfront costs are high and the savings take time to add up. The American PACE program (Property Assessed Clean Energy) solved that riddle by integrating the repayment of the energy retrofit into the property taxes on a home. That lets you pay them off slowly, and it means the financing stays with the house if you decide to move. It's a great system. But the program has been brought to a standstill by...

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New Solar Trees Light Up Angkor Wat, Cambodia

New solar powered street lights installed in Angkor Wat, Cambodia add much needed public lighting to the area, in a fun, low-energy design that increases night-time safety and facilitates greater earnings for local businesses. Nothing Design Group conceived of the tree-like design, and developed the lights in partnership with Asiana Airlines and Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). The project team wished to create lights that would both increase night-time safety and help elevate...

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An Interview with Christian Kjaer: A Growing Wind Industry Moves Europe Closer to Green Goals

For the past two years, 40 percent of all new electricity generating capacity in Europe came from wind turbines — more than any other source. And although only five percent of Europe’s electricity is now produced by wind turbines, that figure is expected to rise to 15 percent by 2020 and to 50 percent by 2050. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, Christian Kjaer, CEO of the European Wind Energy Association, describes the combination of government policies, entrepreneurial vision,...

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Heat Synergy: Paris Métro to Warm Flats

A zero-carbon heating initiative in Paris plans to harness hot air generated by underground travel to warm up nearby homes. by Shanta Barley Hot air generated by commuters on the Paris Métro could heat nearby homes. (Photograph: Dave Penman/Rex Features) Warmth generated by sweaty passengers as they commute on the Paris Métro may be used to heat a block of low-income flats located near the Pompidou Centre in the city centre. This could slash the building's energy bill and carbon...

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Land Art Generator Initiative and the Weather Field Project

The results of the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) have just begun to be made public. The LAGI is an open design competition for a land art intervention that can double as a renewable energy power plant, in the United Arab Emirates. From the initial postings of select entries on the competition's blog it would appear that many of the entrants have met the organizers' ambition of showing how large scale power generation could be done in a way that is both sympathetic to the surrounding...

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