This week of Halloween, I thought we’d settle on a creepy, nay terrifying, topic – the topic of how far we actually are from preventing runaway climate change. In a Time Magazine article I read this morning, it was noted that even some of the most well-educated and prestigious young minds in America don’t really understand what level of effort is required to prevent catastrophic climate change. These are MIT students, strong in math and science, and yet 84% of the respondents got the question wrong. Before you read any further take a moment to answer these two questions: (1) How much do we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to stabilize their concentration in the atmosphere at safe levels? (2) How much time do we have to do it?Click to continue reading »
In a recent interview on Green Talk Radio, I was asked, “How do you know who’s green and who’s not?” My answer was that it was a moving target, and that for the most part there isn’t one overarching yardstick for what is and isn’t green, or as green as they claim to be. Or even what being green means. A few, like the USDA’s National Organic Program are widely seen as credible and authoritative. But what about every day things you buy in the store? Office supplies? Clothing? There at this point doesn’t appear to be a flag bearer helping people make green choices with assurance, that covers all aspects of a broad range of products.
But that may change.
BuyGreen, an online purveyor of everything from sporting goods to building supplies, decided they wanted to create a transparent set of standards for what they sold by which to judge for yourself if you think what you’re considering buying meets your standards for being green enough.
What they didn’t expect was to have a companies they carry start asking them if they could apply a BuyGreen certification sticker on their products. Sticker? What sticker? Then they recently had a Fortune 50 company that’s working on a new retail offering ask if the BuyGreen standard could be incorporated into it. So it would appear they’re on to something here.
This is a guest post by John Simonetta, owner of Proforma Green, an eco-friendly promotional items consultancy. John’s blogs are designed to keep us up to date on the “greening” of his industry.
OK, the name is a little cheesy but these signs are a great idea for businesses that need eco-friendly signage which still shows a professional edge.
Primarily constructed of bamboo, the Panda Stand is an environmentally friendly retractable banner stand for the exhibit, display and graphics markets. The unit is made from 90% renewable resources (bamboo casing and pole) and designed to maximize visual impact.
Click to continue reading »
A recently released Greenpeace report stated that coal fuel would create extra costs from now until 2030 of around $15.9, but renewable sources will produce power without extra fuel costs and save $18.7 trillion.
A May 2007 report by the University of California, Berkeley stated that the renewable energy sector “generates more jobs per megawatt of power installed, per unit of energy produced, and per dollar of investment than the fossil-fuel-based energy sector.” Every $100 million invested in the renewable sector creates 2,700 new jobs. The report estimated that additional investment between 2007 and 2010 will be between $14 billion and $19 billion, which will create between 400,000 and 500,000 new jobs.
Hydraulic Hybrid is “Ready for Prime Time”
I had a short ride through the streets of Atlanta yesterday in the prototype UPS HHV delivery vehicle (package car). We haven’t heard much about HHV technology, but after yesterday’s press conference in Atlanta, that is likely to change. How does the HHV vehicle work? How can you move a truck around just using hydraulics and a small diesel engine? This short video and illustration offers a good introduction (more detailed information to follow in subsequent posts).Click to continue reading »
The American Southwest has some of the best solar resources in the world. Nevada, with abundant land and sunshine is becoming a hot bed for the solar industry. The result is green jobs and billions of investment dollars that are boosting this desert economy.
Solar Panel Manufacturing
The opening of Ausra’s solar thermal power factory a few months ago in Las Vegas is a prime example. As the largest plant of its kind in the world, it employs 50 factory workers. At full capacity, the plant can generate 700 MW of solar panels, which could produce enough power for 500,000 homes. This quantity of panels would create an estimated 1,400 solar plant construction jobs.
In this time of economic volatility, it’s no surprise to hear that even the experts disagree about the impact that the financial meltdown will have on renewable energy development. Rarely do we get to hear them frankly discuss their thoughts, expectations, fears, and disagreements. Enter the National Journal’s Expert Blog.
The National Journal has brought together a panel of experts from government, industry, and non-profits and asked them to post about their thoughts on the impact of the economic volatility on renewable energy development. Obviously, they don’t all agree, which is part of what makes this such a compelling read.
Some choice nuggets include:
Carl Pope, President of the Sierra Club, who lays it on the line:
First, anyone who really claims to know that this market is going to do to ANYTHING is either going to be very rich or look very foolish — and I’m pretty sure I’m not going to get rich, so we really don’t know.
Only the internet can bring on that blatant honesty.
Skip Bowman, President of the Nuclear Energy Institute, a lobbying body for the nuclear industry, is very optimistic about the impact of the current volatility in the market on his members, stating,
Today’s conditions in the financial markets largely are irrelevant to the issue of new nuclear plant financing.
Jon Wellinghoff, Commissioner, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission sees things quite differently:
There is unlikely to be funding available in the foreseeable future for [coals plants or new nuclear plants] regardless of the condition of the economy given the costs and risks associated such ideas, unless there are substantial federal subsidies and some certainty regarding carbon regulation.Click to continue reading »
We’ve talked about UPS a lot recently on 3P in terms of their highly successful efforts to reduce energy and fuel consumption. From reducing the number of left-turns on a route to various experiments in hybrid and alternative vehicles, UPS has done a lot to earn our accolades. What’s next up their sleeve?
We’re excited that UPS has asked 3P’s Tom Schueneman to be present at their latest Alternative-Fuel Vehicle Press Conference and will broadcast the conference here on this page. Representatives of UPS, the EPA, Eaton, and Navistar will be present as the next phase in UPS’ commercial fleet strategy is announced.
The Press Conference is Archived Below. Please enjoy! As always, leave your comments and reactions
Some of our past coverage of UPS:
- UPS Stays In the Driver’s Seat With Alternative Fuel Technology
- Blazing a Trail in Data Center Efficiency: UPS Windward Data Center Wins Green IT
- UPS launches a small zero emissions fleet
And more from our partner, GreenBiz
Solar Energy experienced huge growth in 2008 and that was clearly reflected in the attendance at Solar Power International 2008. The number of manufactures, installers, and investors in attendance doubled from 2007, to 20,000. This rise in attendance and growth in the solar power industry was coupled with a high level of optimism, despite current turmoil in our financial markets. From the outside, people were being told to beware the looming, global economic distress, but the walls of Solar Power International acted like a fortress and generally shielded the Solar Power populous from thoughts economic weariness weighing so heavily on the average America.
As trade shows go, this was one of the best I’ve experienced. The parties were great, stocked with more free food and drink than one could wish for. The historical waterfront Gaslamp district was fabulous and the conference hall was comfortable and relaxing. Not a single person came to the Tioga Energy booth and asked what a PPA is, revealing a more educated industry than in prior years. This high market acceptance means future interactions between clients and investors may go smoother and faster, and there just might be more of them.
Building out infrastructure for recharging is central to hastening large-scale adoption of plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles. Two promising pieces of news indicate that momentum continues to build.
Palo Alto plug-in vehicle infrastructure group Better Place announced agreements with AGL Energy and the banking Macquarie Group to begin deploying a network for recharging electric vehicles in Australia. AGL is to load the network with power from renewable sources; Macquarie is to raise AUD 1 billion to finance the project while Better Place is to build out the recharging point infrastructure.
Back home in Colorado, Xcel is carrying out the first and largest test in the country of two-way, grid-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-grid plug-in electric vehicle charging. Part of the regional energy utility’s SmartGridCity project, four converted vehicles are being used in first phase testing, all of which is taking place in the university and Rocky Mountain foothills town of Boulder, Colorado.
Electronics giants have various options to produce devices that are less damaging for the environment. Among the easier options is to design products that are less energy consuming. But the companies are increasingly devoting their talent and know how to the creation of proprietary power generating systems for their own manufacturing plants to run on wind or solar energy.
Many of the larger electronics companies have announced intentions to this end. The latest manufacturer to reveal details to the public of plans to ‘green’ their internal energy consumption is Hewlett Packard. The computer producer which recently concluded its conversion to solar energy for its San Diego research center, said it will now get into wind energy for its Austin operations.
Last week marked the 60th anniversary of the World Conservation Congress. The Congress is a ten-day forum for leaders in academia, business, government, NGO’s and the UN. Led by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), this year’s event in Barcelona drew over 8,000 participants. Julia Marton-Lef√®vre, Director General of the IUCN, declared, “The clear message coming out of this meeting is that biodiversity underpins the well-being of human societies and their economies.”
The World Conservation Congress has played a historic role in shaping global environmental treaties, the substance of which are first considered before the Congress. The ICUN often continues by working on draft materials, contributing to treaty law, including the International Covenant on Environment and Development. Accordingly, private sector participation is crucial at the early stages and business is playing an increasing role in the Congress, with over 70 companies now represented.
The idea of Better Place is to provide a network of wind-powered recharging and “switching” stations for electrics cars – building an “electric car infrastructure”. That infrastructure consists of three key components other than the electric cars themselves (which will be manufactured by Renault-Nissan):
- “Charging spots” to keep batteries topped off so cars will always have a 100 mile range
- Battery switching stations for longer distance trips (drivers simply pull in and the battery is swapped out in about the time it takes to fill a tank of gas – no need to even get out of the car)
- Software to automate the process
With successful partnerships reached earlier this year to launch the program in Denmark and Israel (for cars on the market by 2011), Better Place CEO Shai Agassi has announced a deal with Australia’s AGL Energy Ltd. and Macquarie Capital Group to raise A$1 billion ($670 million US) to develop the program in Australia, with the first mass-market cars expected to be available for the 2012 model year.Click to continue reading »
The Europeans are serious about nanotechnology to wean countries off using fossil fuels in the next century. There¬¥s considerable interest in setting up a solar grid that is global because the sun consistently shines on some part of the planet.
The technologies European scientists say are going to dominate the sustainable energy sector include Dye Sensitized solar Cells (DSCs) and biomimetics. These two technologies are popular because they show great promise for capturing or storing solar energy. At the same time, nanocatalysis already has begun to churn out efficient methods for energy-saving industrial processes convincingly.