Thursday, January 21, 2010

Wind Energy Going Big in Eastern U.S.

Wind energy could generate 20 percent of the electricity needed by households and businesses in the eastern half of the United States by 2024, but it would require up to $90 billion in investment, according to a government report released on Wednesday.

For the 20 percent wind scenario to work, billions must be spent on installing wind towers on land and sea and about 22,000 miles of new high-tech power lines to carry the electricity to cities, according to the study from the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
"Twenty percent wind is an ambitious goal," said David Corbus, the project manager for the study. "We can bring more wind power online, but if we don't have the proper infrastructure to move that power around, it's like buying a hybrid car and leaving it in the garage,"
The private sector cannot fund all the needed spending, so a big chunk would have to come from the federal government through programs such as loan guarantees, Corbus said.
The Obama administration is already dedicating billions of dollars to double the amount of electricity produced by wind and other renewables energy sources by January 2012.
The amount of U.S. electricity generated by wind was up 29 percent during January-October of last year compared to the same period is 2008, according to the Energy Department.

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Bill Gate's Pledge for Renewable Energy

People often present two timeframes that we should have as goals for CO2 reduction -- 30% (off of some baseline) by 2025 and 80% by 2050.
I believe the key one to achieve is 80% by 2050.
But we tend to focus on the first one since it is much more concrete.
We don't distinguish properly between things that put you on a path to making the 80% goal by 2050 and things that don't really help.
To make the 80% goal by 2050 we are going to have to reduce emissions from transportation and electrical production in participating countries down to zero.
You will still have emissions from other activities including domestic animals, making fertilizer, and decay processes.
There will still be countries that are too poor to participate.
If the goal is to get the transportation and electrical sectors down to zero emissions you clearly need innovation that leads to entirely new approaches to generating power.
Should society spend a lot of time trying to insulate houses and telling people to turn off lights or should it spend time on accelerating innovation?
If addressing climate change only requires us to get to the 2025 goal, then efficiency would be the key thing.
But you can never insulate your way to anything close to zero no matter what advocates of resource efficiency say. You can never reduce consumerism to anything close to zero.
Because 2025 is too soon for innovation to be completed and widely deployed, behavior change still matters.
Still, the amount of CO2 avoided by these kinds of modest reduction efforts will not be the key to what happens with climate change in the long run.
In fact it is doubtful that any such efforts in the rich countries will even offset the increase coming from richer lifestyles in places like China, India, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, etc.
Innovation in transportation and electricity will be the key factor.
One of the reasons I bring this up is that I hear a lot of climate change experts focus totally on 2025 or talk about how great it is that there is so much low hanging fruit that will make a difference.
This mostly focuses on saving a little bit of energy, which by itself is simply not enough. The need to get to zero emissions in key sectors almost never gets mentioned. The danger is people will think they just need to do a little bit and things will be fine.
If CO2 reduction is important, we need to make it clear to people what really matters -- getting to zero.
With that kind of clarity, people will understand the need to get to zero and begin to grasp the scope and scale of innovation that is needed.
However all the talk about renewable portfolios, efficiency, and cap and trade tends to obscure the specific things that need to be done.
To achieve the kinds of innovations that will be required I think a distributed system of R&D with economic rewards for innovators and strong government encouragement is the key. There just isn't enough work going on today to get us to where we need to go.
The world is distracted from what counts on this issue in a big way.

Huffington Post

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ballard Fuel Cells Ordered for Phileas Articulated Buses.

Ballard Power Systems has announced that it has received a sales order for five FCvelocityTM-HD6 power modules from Advanced Public Transportation Systems bv (APTS), a specialty bus OEM in The Netherlands, part of the VDL Group. The 150- kilowatt power modules will be installed and integrated by Vossloh-Kiepe with hybrid electric drive systems in 18-meter (60-foot) articulated Phileas buses manufactured by APTS.
Phileas is a new concept for passenger transport on high frequency dedicated bus lanes. When running on a free bus lane and equipped with magnetic markers for electronic lane assistance and precision docking, Phileas buses can offer the advantages of rapid rail transport.
Ballard’s power module is a ‘plug-and-play’ fuel cell-based product that enables system integrators to build clean energy buses more easily and at lower cost. These power modules incorporate sub- system components addressing humidification, hydrogen pressure regulation, hydrogen recirculation, water management, ventilation and controls. Since these sub-system components and fuel cell stacks are optimized within a power module, they can be more readily integrated with the bus hybrid electric drive system.
All the power modules will be shipped to APTS by the second quarter of 2010 and the first APTS Phileas bus incorporating a Ballard power module will be produced this year. Two Phileas buses powered by Ballard fuel cell modules will be operating in Cologne, Germany and two will be operating in Amsterdam. APTS currently has 70 Phileas buses in operation worldwide.
Ruud Bouwman, Director of APTS said “We are certainly pleased to be working with Ballard on our Phileas buses. APTS sees a sizable potential European market for this fuel cell ‘tram on tires’ concept, with each fuel cell bus reducing CO2 emissions up to 155 tons per year.”
Ballard’s participation in demonstration programs through five generations of heavy duty fuel cell power modules has yielded over two million kilometers (1.2 million miles) of actual revenue service, transporting over seven million passengers on buses in various locations around the world. Ballard’s next generation heavy duty fuel cell power module, the FCvelocityTM-HD6, delivers enhanced fuel cell durability and improved efficiency at a reduced cost, while offering an industry leading 12,000-hour (5-year) warranty.
Ballard Power Systems, of Vancouver, British Columbia, provides clean energy fuel cell products enabling optimized power systems for a range of applications.

Green Energy News

E. Coli Recall: Huntington Meat Packing Recalls 864,000 Pounds Of Beef

MONTEBELLO, Calif. — A Southern California meat-packing firm has recalled some 864,000 pounds of ground-beef that might be contaminated with E. coli.
The Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service said Monday that no illnesses have been reported from the products sold by Montebello-based Huntington Meat Packing Inc. under the Huntington, Imperial Meat Co. and El Rancho brands.
The affected beef was sold to distribution centers, restaurants and hotels in California between Feb. 19 and May 15, 2008, and between Jan 5. and Jan. 15, 2010.
Huntington did not return a phone message.
Officials say department personnel discovered the problem during a food safety assessment.

Huffington Post

Monday, January 18, 2010

USGBC commits to helping rebuild Haiti

The U.S. Green Building Council, home of the LEED green building rating systems, has announced its commitment to help rebuild Haiti after the country was devastated by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake. Specific details are not yet available but the USGBC is encouraging those that can help to do so through the Clinton Foundation Haiti Relief Fund.
The USGBC has experience with rebuilding communities after natural disasters. The USGBC was involved in rebuilding efforts after a massive F5 tornado destroyed the entire town of Greensburg, Kansas as well as green rebuilding efforts in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and the levee breaks wreaked havoc on the city.
The green building organization is already familiar with the unique challenges that they will face when undertaking such a massive effort in the impoverished island nation. In the spring of 2009, USGBC CEO Rick Fedrizzi was part of a United Nations Special Envoy to Haiti that included President Bill Clinton. Fedrizzi’s knowledge of the country will be valuable as the focus switches from recovering from the earthquake to rebuilding the nation.
Rebuilding plans are already underway and as more details about the USGBC’s involvement in Haiti are released, I will be sure to provide updated information.
Huffington Post