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Archive for the 'Renewable Energy' Category

OBAMA’S STIMULUS PACKAGE REWARDS LONG SUFFERING GREENS

Posted in Alternative Energy, Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Clean Energy, Eco -Chic, Global Warming, News Brief, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Energy, Sustainable Living, Will Wonders Never Cease Department on February 16th, 2009

PACKAGE CONTAINS OVER 60 BILLION IN DIRECT SPENDING ON GREEN INITIATIVES AND ANOTHER 20 BILLION EARMARKED FOR GREEN TAX INCENTIVES

The final stimulus package which President Obama is expected to sign into law today, President’s Day, contains many victories for environmentalists with over $6o billion in direct spending on green initiatives and another $20 billion earmarked for green tax incentives.

While this package is by no means a cure-all, it is a vital he first step into a new green age and is necessary to combat the ever-worsening effects of Global Warming.

That being said, here in no particular order is the breakdown:

$11 billion for the construction of an advanced Digital Smart Grid and $7.5 billion for renewable energy and transmission-line construction, which will enable the renewable energy to be moved from the rural areas that best lend themselves to wind, solar and thermal installations, to the cities where the power is needed;

$2.5 billion for energy efficiency and renewable-energy research;

$6.3 billion for local government energy-efficiency grants;

$400 million for the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Project Agency for Energy for the development of alternative energy sources;

$500 million for green jobs programs through the Workforce Investment Act;

$5 billion to weatherize old buildings;

$4.5 billion to boost the energy efficiency of federal buildings;

$2.25 billion for the HOME Investment Partners Program to fund energy-efficiency retrofits for low-income housing;

$5 billion for the Weatherization Assistance Program to fund the retrofits of 1 million modest-income homes, saving the families living there an average $350 a year;

$6.3 billion to improve federally backed and public housing projects with new insulation, windows and furnaces. For every dollar spent, such programs are expected to produce about $3 in electricity savings. The legislation also provides tax breaks for higher-income households making similar improvements;

$1.2 billion to fund the Environmental Protection Agency’s environmental cleanup programs, including the long neglected Superfund;

$510 million for energy-efficiency retrofits for Native American housing programs;

$420 million for energy-efficiency improvements at the Department of Defense;

$300 million for Department of Defense research on energy efficiency at military installations;

$6 billion for cleaning up toxins on former military sites;

$6 billion for new loan guarantees for wind and solar;

The package also extends tax credits for wind-energy production for three years where previously they had to be renewed year to year. But more importantly, the legislation allows renewable-energy developers to get cash grants in exchange for the tax credits, which is crucial in light of the current economic downturn and the fact that many companies engaged in renewable-energy haven’t had the profits against which to take a tax credit;

Over $17 billion for public transportation;

$8.4 billion for transit capital assistance programs;

$9.3 billion for high-speed rail, intercity rail and Amtrak;

$27.5 billion for highways though some of that highway money could be redirected to fund public transit, if states and municipalities decide it should;

$300 million in grants and loans for technologies that reduce highly toxic diesel emissions;

$6 billion for improvements to drinking-water systems;

A tax credit of up to $7,500 for families that buy plug-in hybrids;

The new bill also allocates $300 million for a federal fleet of hybrid vehicles.

But perhaps the best of all is what was left out of the final draft of the stimulus package: the $50 billion in federal loan guarantees to the nuclear industry, as well as all money for coal and for the farce that is clean coal.

Denis

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COMMENTARY! WHAT THE WALL STREET MELTDOWN COULD MEAN TO THE GREEN ENERGY BUSINESS

Posted in Clean Energy, Renewable Energy on September 29th, 2008

TIGHTER CREDIT COULD MAKE IT MORE DIFFICULT TO FUND THE SOLAR AND WIND INSTALLATIONS THAT ARE THE BACKBONE OF THE GREEN ENERGY REVOLUTION

While Congress battles back and forth on the pluses and minuses of the Wall Street bailout, this is as good a time as any to ponder what this financial mess could mean to the survival and expansion of the wind and solar energy industry in this country.

But before doing this, it might be good if we take a minute and define what sets wind and solar energy apart from more traditional energy sources such as oil, natural gas, coal and nuclear power, as there appears to be quite a bit of confusion on this matter.

For the record, wind and solar energy are renewable; meaning as long as the sun shines and the wind blows, the supply is limitless. They are also non-toxic, and can be harvested without destroying mountains, poisoning rivers and streams, or ruining the health of unsuspecting people and animals.

Even better, wind and solar energy are local, they’re ours and they are free. And after years of being screwed by Middle East oil despots, free is a good thing.

Lastly, wind and solar energy leave no carbon footprint. There are no tankers, trucks or trains for it to be loaded on. Simple transmission lines from the facility to the grid are all that is required.

Considering the positives that wind and solar energy bring to the table, you would think that Corporate America would be tripping over one another in the rush to take significant positions in this new and futuristic industry. But with the exception of a few mavericks, most notably oil billionaire, T. Boone Pickens, the investments have been few and far between.

This ho-hum, wait and see business model on the part of our nation’s energy companies is surprising behavior considering the public demand for clean renewable energy. And while many of these same companies have moved in and bought up the entire inventories of privately funded wind and solar operations, few have opted to invest in infrastructure.

If I had to speculate as to the reasons for the hesitancy, my best guess would be that it stems from a decision by many of the older, more established energy companies to see if they can ride out this whole renewable energy thing, until such time as the public moves on to something else, and they can go back to business as usual. To help move things along, many of these companies are sponsoring big-dollar television advertising campaigns hoping to confuse the public into thinking that older, dirtier fuel sources such as coal and the so-called clean coal, natural gas and nuclear power are clean and environmentally friendly. Here in Orange County, California, three such campaigns are currently running.

Now this would be laughable, if it wasn’t so damn sinister. But the sad truth is these campaigns are being effective. Part of this is the tenor of the times. It is very difficult to think clearly on such a (for now) non-important matter as to where your electricity comes from and if it is renewable, when you are worried about hanging onto your house and putting food on the table.

The energy companies know this and they are using it to their advantage. Where in better economic times, all but the most out of touch would see these obviously false ads linking nasty, toxic coal, highly explosive, natural gas and the most destructive element known to man, nuclear power to renewable energy, they would rise up and in one voice yell, Hell No!

Because everybody knows that coal is not clean, and while science may have taken steps in that direction, to date there is no such product. Nor has the nuclear industry developed a way of treating and safely disposing of spent nuclear material, or for that matter of preventing Chernobyl sized meltdowns.

It’s almost surreal to think of these energy sources as being anything other than what they are. But much about life today is surreal. Wall Street falling almost eight hundred points, yesterday, and loosing over a trillion with a “t” dollars is surreal. Our county having to come up with 700 billion dollars to cover the asses of a bunch of elitist, arrogant, well-connected, so-called financial experts is sure as hell surreal, as is the people in jail for stealing mere hundreds. Pondering the lesson that our children will take from this – - to steal billions and not hundreds – – is surreal. But the surrealist of all is the uncertainty, the not knowing what the future will bring and if, as a nation, we will have the money necessary to buy into it.

My big fear is that with the problems on Wall Street, the collapses in the banking industry, and tightening of the credit market, it will become difficult, if not impossible, to raise the massive amounts of capital that it takes to construct the solar and wind installations that form the backbone of the green energy revolution

To realistically compete with the older, more established energy sources, wind and solar installations require extensive land commitments. Significant sums must then be spent, not only on the hardware, which captures and converts the energy into electricity, but also on the feeder lines, which carry the power from the often remote locations of these installations to the electric grid. The good news is that once wind and solar installations come on line, their operational cost is minimal, perhaps pennies on the dollar.

Without serious government subsidies, which may not be possible in the wake of our current financial woes, tougher to obtain credit could be a real game changer for the Green Energy industry, as it would force developers to turn to private and corporate entities for their financing, which when available usually comes with unwanted and unneeded encumbrances and partnerships.

The there is also the matter that neither of these sectors has shown any interest in participating in the green energy industry.

The expected credit crunch will also have serious effects on the companies building wind and solar apparatus. Many of these are smaller entities dependent on lines of credit and other financing vehicles for their survival. Tight or more expensive credit could force many of the smaller players out of the marketplace. All of which leaves the market wide open for the coal and nuclear industries with their deep pockets and government contacts to make even further inroads into the energy industry.

And the sad thing is there is probably not a damn thing we can do about it.

- – Denis Donovan

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NEWS WATCH! CALIFORNIA SAYS A BIG YES TO SOLAR ENERGY

Posted in Alternative Energy, Clean Energy, Eco -Chic, News Brief, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Living on August 15th, 2008

GOLDEN STATE WILL BUILD TWO SOLAR ARRAYS CAPABLE OF GENERATING AS MUCH ELECTRICITY AS A LARGE COAL-BURNING POWER PLANT OR A SMALL NUCLEAR PLANT

solarfarm2.jpegPlans have just been announced to build two solar power installations here in our home state of California, which during peak hours on a sunny day will generate more than 800 megawatts of power, or 12 times as much electricity as the largest solar farm does today.

The two solar farms, which will cover an estimated 12.5 square miles of San Luis Obispo County in Central California, are expected to generate enough electricity to supply 239,000 homes. Viewed another way, this is as much power as is generated by a large coal-burning plant or a small nuclear plant, without the obvious environmental devastation both of these energy sources creates.

Two California companies will split the task with Hayward, California-based OptiSolar Inc., building the larger of the two installations. Plans call for the privately held company’s Topaz Solar Farm to generate 550 MW of solar power when it is fully operational in 2013. The company plans to utilize amorphous silicon solar panels, which are less costly than the traditional silicon-based panels that dominate the market.

Joining OptiSolar Inc in the massive task is San Jose-based SunPower Inc., which will build a 250 MW solar ranch, also in Central California. SunPower’s silicon-based solar cells are among the most efficient in the industry at transforming sunlight into electricity. The latter project is expected to be fully operational in 2012.

Both deals, however, are contingent upon the extension of key federal tax credits the renewal of which is tied up in the congressional fight over offshore drilling.

Plans are for both companies to sell the electricity generated to Pacific Gas & Electric, to help the utility meet a state mandate that 20 percent of its electricity comes from renewable sources by 2010.

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NEWS WATCH! CLEAN GREEN RETRO MASS TRANSIT RE-EMERGES

Posted in Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Clean Energy, Conscious Actions, Eco -Chic, Global Warming, News Brief, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Transportation on August 15th, 2008

OVER 40 US CITIES CONSIDER RESTORING STREETCAR LINES AS SMOG -FREE MASS TRANSIT ALTERNATIVE.

seattle-streetcar-opening-d.jpgMost of us are too young to remember streetcars; those early twentieth century train/bus hybrid vehicles powered by overhead electric lines that ran on rails flush with the pavement, stopping frequently to pick up and disgorge passengers from entrance/exits on both sides.

Well it appears that this novel, fun means of early twentieth century transportation is just what the doctor ordered to help relieve deadlock in today’s overcrowded clean-energy conscious world.

Citing reasons including spurring economic development, easing traffic congestion and as a way to draw hip young professionals and empty-nest baby boomers back from the suburbs, over forty US cities are considering reactivating streetcars, which for the most part fell victim in the late 1940’s through mid 1950’s to aggressive automobile and oil industry lobbying.

More than a dozen US cities already have existing streetcar lines, including New Orleans, Portland, Seattle, Tacoma and San Francisco, while Denver, Houston, Cincinnati, Salt Lake City and Charlotte, N.C., either have already introduced, or are planning to introduce streetcars.

At a cost of about $3 million dollars per streetcar and an average capacity of 130 passengers per car, it seems that this is a bargain that cities can not afford to let pass them by, particularly with all of the uncertainty surrounding future fuel prices and the crap that our country has to put up with from oil producing nations.

Now if we could only get the electricity to power the streetcars from clean renewable sources, it would be a win-win for everyone.

- – Denis

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COMMENTARY: ON AL GORE’S PROPOSAL TO TAX WHAT WE BURN, NOT (ON) WHAT WE EARN.

Posted in Clean Energy, Consciousness, Global Warming, News Brief, Renewable Energy on July 18th, 2008

FORMER VICE PRESIDENT CHALLENGES NATION TO PHASE OUT ALL NON-RENEWABLE, CARBON BASED SOURCES OF ENERGY GENERATION WITHIN TEN YEARS

AlGorerecent.jpgLess than a day after our nation’s poor excuse for a president taunted our equally lackluster Congress for failing to open up pristine costal areas and sacred animal sanctuaries for oil exploration, the man who should have been president, Al Gore, issued a challenge to the nation to phase out all non-renewable, carbon based sources of energy generation within ten years.

Mr. Gore made his pitch for the adoption of a new energy paradigm, yesterday, in a speech before a packed audience at Washington’s historic Constitution Hall. It was during this speech that Mr. Gore noted that eliminating fossil fuels would not only solve our nation’s ongoing problem with global warming, but would also eliminate the economic and national security crises that result from our nation’s dependence on fossil fuels.

Additionally, Mr. Gore stated that America’s switch to wind, solar and other carbon-free sources would boost the country’s economic position because, as it turns out, the “real solutions to the climate crisis are the very same measures needed to renew our economy and escape the trap of ever-rising energy prices.”

At present, renewable resources – specifically wind and solar power – generate about 8.6 percent of America’s power needs, currently in the area of 3.7 billion kilowatt hours, annually. A drop in the bucket by any standard.

Most of our power, better than fifty percent, still comes from coal, a highly toxic substance known to be responsible for more than a third of the United States’ carbon dioxide pollution.

What’s worse, if the carbon fuel companies are allowed to continue unregulated – and if Pappy McCain wins the White House, this will surely happen – it is estimated that coal’s share of the eclectic generation pie will continue to grow, particularly if the coal companies succeed in selling Congress on the fantasy of clean coal, something that at the present does not exist, and it is doubtful, ever will.

While Mr. Gore places the cost for such a radical transition in how we generate our power in the area of $1.5 trillion to $3 trillion dollars over thirty years, he believes that this is an obtainable goal. To that end he encouraged Republicans and Democrats to “overcome their partisanship” and to institute a policy change to where citizens and corporations are “taxed on what they burn, not (on) what they earn.”

I happen to agree with him on the need to take drastic action and feel that the money that he estimates such a transition will cost, would be money well spent. This is particularly true when you consider that by the time that the last shot has been fired, the last soldier brought home, and we have rebuilt all that we have destroyed and prepaid for the education and long term care for our people who fought in the conflict, we will have spent practically as much making the region safe for Texaco, Shell, Exxon and British Petroleum to do business, as it will cost us to guarantee the heath and wellbeing of future generations, with one major difference: No one, not a soul outside of the war profiteers and the aforementioned oil companies, and the corrupt politicians and lobbyists that they support will have anything to show for Mr. Bush’s illegal, immoral little war.

In a perfect world there would be repercussions for Mr. Bush and the men and women who lied us into war; repercussions including trials and prison sentences, and, perhaps, even extradition to the international court in the Hague for prosecution for their crimes against the Geneva Accord.

But my friends, unfortunately, this is not a perfect world. This being the case, I would settle for our nation never again trusting ANY leader, regardless of ideology, political party or theological belief, coming to us, armed with mountains of unsustainable aka confidential data, with the goal of convincing our proud, honorable nation to go to war.

In my lifetime, we as a nation have misled along these lines two times: now and in Vietnam. I do not think that we could sustain another such instance, and retain our identity as a nation.

-Denis

Watch Al Gore’s speech on YouTube

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NEWS WATCH! GREEN CAR UPDATE

Posted in Alternative Energy, Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Clean Energy, Corporate Responsibility, Global Warming, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Living on July 1st, 2008

GLOBAL AUTO INDUSTRY RUSHES TO MARKET ALTERNATIVE FUEL VEHICLES

vwtwindriveunderhood.jpgAfter years of stalling hoping to wait out the Environmental fringe’s calls for cleaner, less-toxic automobiles, the global auto industry – well, most of it, anyway – appears to have gotten the message that the public is serious in its desire for greener vehicles.

The result of the automakers newfound environmental evangelism is that rarely a week goes by without one announcement or another from a former proud polluter – oops, I mean conscientious, environmentally responsible auto manufacturer – about their latest green product either in development or about to be released to an impatiently waiting world.

These new products take many forms from tiny two passenger run-abouts all the way through larger 8 passenger SUV’s. Variety is the name of the game where power sources are involved as well with some of the new vehicles being designed to run on biodiesel, while others derive their power from electricity or from hydrogen fuel cell technology. Then there are the hybrids with gasoline electric, diesel/electric and hydrogen/electric the most popular.

Here at Libsearthwatch.com, we have made it a priority to keep you up to date on the latest products headed to your driveway in the months and years to come. Prior to now, this was an easy task to accomplish as the product announcements were few and far between. I am happy to say that this is no longer the case. Information announcing new products now floods our in-box on a consistent basis. To attempt to accommodate this wealth of new info, we are debuting the GREEN CAR UPDATE as a regular feature of the site. Hope you enjoy it.

-Denis

BATTERY COMPANIES READY TO ROLL OUT KITS TO CONVERT HYBRDS INTO PLUG-IN ELECTRIC CARS

For those hybrid owners longing to take the next step and make their cars totally electric comes the news that several battery manufacturers are preparing to roll out conversion kits that in some instances will make it possible for their hybrid to get upwards of 100 miles on a gallon of gas.

Read more about this great new development

Speaking of Plug-In Hybrids…

VW TO ROLL OUT PLUG-IN HYBRID NEXT YEAR

Veritable German auto maker, VW, has announced that it too will have a plug-in hybrid rolling off the assembly lines sometime in 2010. Helping VW fund this new entry is
the German government, which has agreed to kick in 15 million euros. The new VW will have an estimated all-electric range of 31 miles. Power supplies include an 82-hp electric motor and a 2.0L turbodiesel producing 122 hp.

Read more about this exciting new advancement

Let’s not forget fuel cell cars…

HONDA ROLLS OUT ZERO EMISSION CAR

hondafcxx-large.jpgAlways a leader in alternative technology, Honda motors has announced that it has shipped the first of their new zero-emission, hydrogen fuel cell cars which should be showing up at out local dealers in the not too distant future.

The FCX Clarity, which runs on hydrogen and electricity, emits only water and none of the noxious fumes believed to induce global warming. It is also two times more energy efficient than a gas-electric hybrid and three times that of a standard gasoline-powered car, the company says.

Read more about this exciting new advancement

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STUDY SUGGESTS TODAY’S ENERGY LESSONS WILL LAST LONGER THAN HIGH OIL PRICES

Posted in Alternative Energy, Clean Energy, News Brief, Renewable Energy on February 5th, 2008

CITES MULTIPLE FACTORS THAT WILL CONTINUE PUSHING THE WORLD TOWARD GREATER USE OF ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SOURCES LIKE SUN AND WIND

windturbin1.jpg“The focus today on clean energy is not a bubble or passing phenomenon,” according to a report issued today by
Cambridge Energy Research Associates. This contention conflicts with those who worry that the focus on alternative energy sources will end once oil becomes more affordable, as happened in the 1970’s.

To justify it’s contention, the report cites “growing apprehension about global warming as a threat to political security and the environment”, as the principle reason that countries will remain focused on alternative energy sources even after the price of oil drops to more affordable levels.

-LIB

READ MORE…

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GREEN ENERGY INDUSTRY TAKES ROOT IN CALIFORNIA

Posted in Alternative Energy, Cool Products, Eco -Chic, Ethical Business, Ethical Living, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Business, Sustainable Living on February 2nd, 2008

IN RECENT MONTHS, THE INDUSTRY HAS ADDED SEVERAL THOUSAND JOBS IN THE PRODUCTION OF SOLAR ENERGY CELLS AND INSTALLATION OF SOLAR PANELS ON ROOFS

solarmodul1.JPGAs of this writing, three-quarters of the nations demand for solar energy and equiptment comes from residents and companies in California. This is not all that surprising considering that California has among the most warm, sunny days of any of the continental states.

But will it continue a grow to be a mainstream industry, or will it be doomed to fall by the wayside the way it did during the last solar boom in the 1970’s?

To be successful and more than a passing fad, solar energy needs to pass through to the mainstream and not be limited to the elite fringes of California society, as it is today.

In the posting linked below, MATT RICHTEL and JOHN MARKOFF of the New York Times take a closer look at this and other questions facing this fledging industry as it attempts to transition into the west coast’s go-to employer for the twenty -first century.

-LIB

READ MORE

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FRUSTRATED BY STATE AND FEDERAL INACTIVITY, US TOWNS AND CITIES OFFER INCENTIVES TO GO GREEN

Posted in Alternative Energy, Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Conscious Actions, Eco -Chic, News Brief, Renewable Energy on December 30th, 2007

INCENTIVES INCLUDE FREE HYBRID-CAR PARKING. CASH REBATES FOR INSTALLING SOLAR PANELS. LOW-INTEREST LOANS FOR ENERGY-SAVING HOME RENOVATIONS. MONEY TO TEAR UP DESERT LAWNS AND REPLACE THEM WITH DROUGHT-RESISTANT LANDSCAPING

pluginhybrid.jpgFrustrated by what they see as insufficient action by state and federal government, municipalities around the country are offering financial incentives to get people to go green.

“A lot of localities recognize they’re going to get a lot more done using carrots and incentives rather than regulatory means,” said Jason Hartke, director of advocacy for the U.S. Green Building Council.

In Parkland, Florida, where the motto is “Environmentally Proud,” the city plans next year to begin dispensing cash rebates to its 25,000 residents for being more environmentally friendly.

“We will literally issue them a check,” said Vice Mayor Jared Moskowitz. “We’re sick of waiting for the federal government to do something, so we’ve got to do what we can.”

Residents who install low-flow toilets or shower heads will get $150. Replacing an old air conditioner with a more energy-efficient one brings $100. Buying a hybrid car? An additional $200 cash back. And the list goes on.

READ MORE…

Source: The Associated Press

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NYPD GOES GREEN WITH ELECTRIC SCOOTERS

Posted in Alternative Energy, Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Clean Energy, Eco -Chic, News Brief, Renewable Energy on December 22nd, 2007

POLICE WORKING TO KEEP THE CITY SAFER WILL BE TRYING TO KEEP IT GREENER TOO

nypdpatch.jpg Four plug-in Vectrix scooters will be road tested starting early next month as the New York Police Department tries to become more environmentally friendly and reduce gasoline use in its massive motor fleet.

The nation’s largest police department already uses a handful of hybrid cars and so-called flex-fuel vehicles, which can run on both gasoline and ethanol.

MORE…

Source: Associated Press / Raw Story

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