An independent journalist, researcher and writer, my work roams across the nexus where ecology, technology, political economy and sociology intersect and overlap. The lifelong quest for knowledge of the world and self -- not to mention gainful employment -- has led me near and far afield, from Europe, across the Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa and back home to the Americas. Twitter: @mightysparrow LinkedIn: andrew burger Google+: Andrew B Email: huginn.muggin@gmail.com

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South Africa Fights Blackouts with Concentrating Solar Power

Having tripled its national renewable energy targets, South Africa has awarded a contract to build a 100-MW concentrating solar power-molten salts energy storage facility. Spain’s Abengoa is leading the project development group, which has secured $1 billion of financing from a consortium of multilateral and South African banks.

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PG&E Smart Grid Lab Tests Battery Storage

Leading private- and public-sector energy players are joining to install and test a grid-scale battery storage system at PG&E’s Smart Grid Lab. Eos Energy Storage’s Aurora advanced battery storage technology will be at the test system’s core.

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President Bans Oil and Gas Drilling in Bristol Bay Indefinitely

President Obama took executive action Dec. 16 to protect Bristol Bay’s iconic, $2 billion wild-caught fishery and local communities from oil and gas drilling. Another existential threat to Bristol Bay ecosystems and watershed remains, however.

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Upsolar Promotes Energy Freedom with New Home Solar Loans

Upsolar is offering homeowners a path to “Energy Freedom” with a comprehensive, lifelong solar loan program. For zero-down, homeowners can take out a 20-year, 5.99 percent fixed rate loan that covers installation, operations and maintenance over a home PV system’s entire life.

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Utilities Roll Out Home Energy Analytics to Over 1.5 Million

TXU Energy and London Hydro are the latest utilities that will deploy Bidgely’s cloud-based energy analytics throughout their customer bases. Offering apps and a platform to monitor energy usage is seen as a way to enhance customer engagement, as well as energy efficiency and building a 21st century smart grid.

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Renewable Energy: “Development as Freedom” in Haiti and Beyond

Rapid development of distributed renewable energy resources offers much more than a means of addressing climate change, particularly in impoverished nations. It can be a keystone in enhancing individual liberty and freedom and the establishment of open, inclusive market economies and democratic forms of government.

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EPA Proposes to Tighten Ozone Emissions Standard

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy announced new, more stringent ozone emissions standards in a bid to reduce smog and improve human and environmental health. EPA is proposing to tighten the national ozone emissions standard to between 65-70 parts per billion from 75 ppb, which was set in 2008 in the wake of EPA’s previous five-year review.

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VW on Track to Meet 2018 ‘Think Blue. Factory.’ Sustainability Goals

The world’s fourth largest auto manufacturer has been at the forefront of the industry’s drive to enhance its ecological sustainability of its operations. Having carried out more than 2,700 environmental sustainability projects at its factories, VW’s production processes are 17 percent “more environmentally compatible” than they were four years ago, according to a team of more than 250 environmental experts that conducted an interim evaluation of VW’s ecological sustainability program.

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Chevrolet Invests in Grasslands Conservation Carbon Credits

The first-of-its-kind grasslands conservation project brought the USDA together with ranchers, Ducks Unlimited and others in a public-private partnership that will avoid carbon dioxide emissions the equivalent of taking more than 5,000 cars off the road.