Ohio red lights green energy

Ohio has joined Indiana, the only other state in the US to rollback or freeze its renewable energy targets. The legislature spiked Ohio’s green power goals at the urging of utilities that wanted to review them to make sure that onboarding green energy doesn’t raise electricity prices.

Texas A&M to build a ginormous solar testing facility

Texas — big and sunny — will be home to what could be the biggest, sunniest technology incubator in the world. Texas A&M University announced it was partnering with private industry to create the Center for Solar Energy, which aims to provide a photovoltaic testing ground for experts and manufacturers from around the world.

Coal museum goes solar

Coal. King Coal. The single dominant energy source powering our electricity grids, from the US to Great Britain to China and Australia. Because it’s plentiful. Cheaper. Politically connected. Easy. And yet, in a drizzly (good bet, that) hamlet in Wales, a historic switcheroo has taken place. The Wales’ National Coal Mining Museum in Big Pit, Blaenavon, Nr Abergavenny in south Wales, has adopted solar power.
The curators decided that installing solar panels on the….

Rooftop panels in Yonkers are among the largest solar installations in New York

Half Moon Ventures, a Chicago-based developer of solar and wind energy products, unveiled a rooftop solar installation the size of two pro football fields at i.Park Hudson, an office/industrial park in Yonkers, N.Y.

The solar project is expected to produce 1.2 million kilowatt hours of electricity a year, enough to power more than 120 homes and equivalent in reducing air pollution to taking 160 cars off the road.

The ‘sad green story’ is a fantasy; green energy is growing

To get back to some non-election topics…A couple weeks ago, New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote an op-ed entitled “A Sad Green Story” about the (supposed) travails of the green movement over the last 10 years. The idea that the clean technology sector is failing, or that it’s a bad investment, is common enough in the business world and pundit class. But it’s patently false. So what is Brooks talking about and what’s really true here?

Poll: Voters strongly support solar power

A survey of likely 2012 American voters has found that they overwhelmingly support solar power, with nine out of 10 saying the U.S. should develop more solar power.

The survey, conducted by Hart Research in early September, also found that 85 percent of voters view solar power “favorably” or “very favorably;” and 78 percent said that the government should support the growth of solar power with incentives.

Coal is plentiful, so let’s keep it that way

You know that argument about how the U.S. can’t really impact greenhouse gases because they’re spiraling out of control in other developing nations like China and India?
It’s illogical on its face, but that’s not stopping fossil fuel interests from pushing this idea.

More efficient, earth-friendly solar panels?

Solar panels may soon be able to rely on more abundant minerals and metals, than some of the rare elements used today, scientists meeting in Philadelphia this week said.

These advances could make solar energy more affordable and easier to integrate into buildings, and hasten the day when the U.S. could get 50-100 percent of its electricity for buildings from the sun, the researchers said during a panel at the American Chemical Society meeting.

“Sustainability involves developing technology that can be productive over the long-term, using resources in ways that meet today’s needs without jeopardizing the ability of future generations to meet their needs,” said Harry A. Atwater, Ph.D., a physicist at the California Institute of Technology, in a statement released by the ACS.

Five hopeful signs that we could save our planet if we really want to

Other than the 2012 Olympics, it’s been a discouraging hot, drought-y month this July. Greenland ice sheets are melting ominously. India plunged into darkness and panic amid two days of massive electrical outages. Cargill recalled about 15 tons of tainted hamburger in the Mid-Atlantic and the New England states. And there are disheartening reports about crop failures in the mighty U.S. “bread basket”.

How summer music festivals are playing it green

Musicians and concert events are increasingly finding ways to keep a greener profile.

Recently the Finger Lakes Grass Roots Festival organizers in Trumansburg, N.Y., (July 19-22) showed attendees how to sort their trash into recyclable, compostable and “utter trash” containers, something they’ve been doing for the last 14 years, according to promoters.

Help cool the Earth…with these two steps

It’s one of those cold, white-bright days of winter. We’ve not had many like it this January. Instead, we’ve been walking around outdoors in our shirt sleeves, sneezing from pollen allergies and having a lot of little conversations about the unusual warm “spell”.
We’re experiencing climate change, of course, and it’s not a spell, but a new norm. Nearly everyone recognizes that something’s going on. Sometimes I feel like a character in Twin Peaks, exchanging knowing glances with the neighbors over these changes we cannot speak of because it’s somehow become radical to openly declare that climate change is happening, even though people in all walks of life can see it plainly. I’m thinking about farmers, landscapers, urban planners, builders, utility managers, insurers, scientists, oceanographers, biologists, botanists, power plant operators….

The top environmental story of 2011 — and probably 2012 too

If you’re wondering what to worry about in the coming year, look no further than the eco-landscape.
Climate change, species extinctions, ocean acidification, forestry losses, soil erosion and air pollution. We humans, now 7 billion strong, are pushing the planet hard, creating a brew of intractable environmental issues that threaten our way of life, and ultimately our survival.
Grim? It doesn’t get much more so.
There were bright moments in 2011. A sampling:

The case for keeping renewable energy tax credits

In recent days, both the wind power and solar power advocates have been protesting the potential expiration of three key tax incentives that have helped drive the expansion of renewable energy in the US, even amid the economic stall out. With Congress and President Obama both seeking ways to trim the federal budget deficit, and the tug of oil and coal money ever-present on Capital Hill, these incentives for clean energy are being considered for the axe.

Chinese solar panel maker Suntech wins Gigaton Prize for driving down carbon emissions

Suntech, the Chinese solar panel maker with operations in the US and Europe, has won the Gigaton Prize for helping reduce carbon emissions worldwide through its solar installations.
Suntech, the world’s largest producer of silicon solar modules, was recognized for helping its customers and business partners save on carbon-pollution by using solar power. In October, the company reached a benchmark of 5 Gigawatts of cumulative installed solar power.

350.org captures Earth’s woes and hopes from space

Climate action group 350.org wants us to see, really see, what’s happening as the result of climate change here on Earth.
So it’s taken to space to get a better view. Satellites began snapping photos of giant art installations, many involving humans forming pictures, last Friday and will continue through this week. The photos include one of a giant eagle in Los Angeles, created to represent the “Earth to Sky” solutions to climate change; a mural in New York City that shows how the area would look after the seas rise; a picture of a girl on a delta in Spain and a flash flood in New Mexico created by humans with blue posters.

Let the sun shine on! Obama will put solar panels on the White House

The first family’s residence will soon be partially powered by the sun, Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced today.

The rooftop solar installation will heat hot water for the first family’s residence and supplement power for America’s most famous house. It is expected to be up and operating by the spring of 2011, showing that “American solar technologies are available, reliable and ready for installation in homes throughout the country,’’ according to the administration.

Campaign to put solar panels on the White House gets hazy reception

A group of environmentalists who wanted solar panels installed on the White House were able to meet with administration staffers today, but they did not get a commitment for a solar array at the first family’s residence.
The team representing people who’d signed a “Put Solar On The White House” petition included students from Unity College in Maine which has been using a solar array installed on the White House during the Carter Administration. The panels Jimmy Carter had installed were dismantled, and ultimately relocated to Unity College, during the Reagan Administration. The Put Solar On It group carried a remnant of that array to the White House to help make their point that President Obama could again light the way.

Wind Energy Association dissatisfied with Senate energy bill

Wind, solar, geothermal and other alternative energy industry groups have been lined up in support of a Renewable Electricity Standard or RES in which the U.S. would pledge to get 25 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2015. The RES, they maintain, would provide an incentive for utilities, providers and cities and states to find ways to increase renewable electricity sources, even in the absence of a carbon cap-and-trade system, which seems to be a non-starter in Congress.

J.R.’s back and he’s not promoting oil

Solar World AG, one of the largest solar PV manufacturers in the world with factories in California, Oregon and Washington, has scored a dream advocate for its products: J.R. Ewing. Actually, the spokesman is Larry Hagman, who played the oilman on the long-running Dallas series. Hagman reprises his oil baron role in an ad for Bonn-based Solar World, where someone obviously decided the possibilities were too rich to leave untapped.

California’s solar rooftops program reports bright early results

California’s ambitious solar incentive program is basking in early success, despite the poor economy, according to a hopeful mid-course report.
Three years into a 10-year roll out, the California Solar Initiative (CSI), a component of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Million Solar Roofs” plan, is already 42 percent of the way toward its state goals, according to a July 9 report to the legislature. That’s counting projects that are installed, holding reservations and in progress, according to collected data.
All told, California has more than 600 Megawatts of installed solar power connected to the grid at nearly 65,000 customer sites.

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