Sunday, 31 May 2009

Building efficiency ~ energy-efficiency dollars work over time; they work double and triple time,

Building efficiency retrofits serve the triple benefits of mitigating global warming emissions, reducing energy bills, and creating good, local jobs. Residential buildings alone account for 21percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and substantial efficiency savings are obtainable through easy and proven techniques. Yet if energy-efficiency retrofits offer such obvious environmental, economic, and employment benefits, why have they been so slow to materialize? The answer lies in a host of market failures, and developing viable, scalable solutions has proven challenging—until now.

“Green Jobs/Green Homes New York” outlines a policy roadmap for New York State to achieve mass-scale energy-efficiency improvements—or retrofits—of 1 million housing units over the next five years. “We know from the past 30 years of weatherization that with a relatively small investment in changing an existing structure you can save 30 to 40 percent in home energy,” said Gelman. “In New York, that will amount to about $1 billion per year if 1 million homes are weatherized.”

The policies outlined in this report can help stimulate the economy and lay the foundation for long term growth, but not without leadership from government, as well as engagement from local community groups and other stakeholders. “Free markets are not going to fix these problems without strong policy and real leadership,” said Hendricks.

Encouragingly, clean-energy policies were part of the economic stimulus package passed earlier this year. President Barack Obama outlined a plan last March to invest $59 billion from the stimulus in direct spending and tax incentives to promote clean energy and energy efficiency. Over the next two years, this federal investment will pour into state energy-efficiency programs and expand their capacity. “Those humble, hard-working energy-efficiency dollars work over time; they work double and triple time,” said Jones. These dollars can help cut home energy bills and poverty by creating jobs; reducing emissions, pollution, and asthma; and even making homes more valuable.

Video

The Green Jobs/Green Homes NY program will make retrofits available to owners of any type of housing in New York State and at any level of income as long as owners are utility customers in good standing and live in targeted geographic areas. Retrofits can also be made available to renters of single-family homes who own the utility meter account and have sole physical control of the housing unit. The program plans to use an array of innovative financing, community outreach, and community partnership strategies to make it all happen. “New York has one of the largest weatherization programs in the country, retrofitting 25,000 to 26,000 homes per year. This report would increase the number of homes 12 times the current rate,” said Dyen.

The report estimates that the Green Jobs/Green Homes NY plan will directly create 60,000 job-years related to the expansion of retrofit work and another 60,000 job-years indirectly through additional economic activity. The program will employ 14,000 long-term, full-time skilled retrofit workers, providing an opportunity to reach out to groups that have been previously disenfranchised in the job market. “We need to consider not only how to make access to jobs for people who don’t have a lot of work experience or don’t come to it with a lot of skills, but also how to make good jobs,” said Donner. “We need to treat these as complimentary goals rather than contradictory.”

Organization on the community level will be crucial to educate local groups and homeowners about the importance of investing in retrofitting. Also, environmentalists and unions will jointly benefit from the report’s proposed policies. “If these groups can join together and replicate the New York model across the country,” said Chambers, “then ‘yes we can’ becomes more than a chant, it becomes a way of life.”

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

GE plans $1.5 billion in cleantech R and D by 2010

GE eyes $1.5 billion in cleantech research by 2010

General Electric Co aims to boost its investment in clean-tech research and development to $1.5 billion a year by 2010, the largest U.S. conglomerate said on Wednesday in its annual “Ecomagination” report.

The maker of products ranging from electricity-producing wind turbines to energy-efficient compact-fluorescent lights, wants to grow green-business revenues to what it called a “stretch” target of $25 billion next year, up from $17 billion in 2008 and $6 billion in 2004….

GE said it expects stimulus spending in the United States, China and elsewhere around the globe to create about $400 billion of new demand for green technologies and clean-energy products, including wind turbines and solar panels.

The company earlier this month said it was building a plant near Albany, New York to build a new generation of high-capacity batteries that would power its upcoming hybrid railroad locomotive. Last month, it said it was working with Florida utility company FPL Group on the roll out of a “smart grid” system intended to encourage homeowners to lower their electricity consumption during peak demand times.

Global CEOs back greenhouse gas cuts, carbon caps


Global business leaders added momentum to prospects for a new U.N. climate treaty by agreeing Tuesday that the world must cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by mid-century by setting specific limits on carbon.

Government officials reported little progress in setting such limits, however, showing how distant a new treaty remains.

Some 500 CEOs and other top business experts said at the conclusion of the three-day World Business Summit on Climate Change in Denmark that “immediate and substantial” emissions cuts were needed by 2020, followed by cuts of at least 50 percent of 1990 levels by 2050. They said governments should use the marketplace to set a global price on carbon instead of taxing it, according to a statement from conference organizers.


Carbon allowances — the glue in House energy package

A massive climate bill has taken its first step forward in the House, its path paved by the giveaway of allowances — free greenhouse gas emission permits designed to mute the economic impact of a carbon cap-and-trade program.

Free allowances — each conveying the right to pump a ton of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere — were the glue that held the sprawling bill together for Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and fellow Democrats on the Energy and Commerce Committee last week.

The “cap” of cap and trade would impose steadily tightening limits on greenhouse gas emissions. Companies covered by the bill whose emissions exceeded their caps would have to purchase emission allowances, or buy offsets — for example, by investing in rainforest preservation. Some allowances could be banked or borrowed to ease transitions. But the decisions would affect firms’ choices of fuels, introduction of new technologies, and decisions to hire, fire, expand, shrink or move operations overseas.

http://climateprogress.org/2009/05/27/energy-and-global-warming-news-ge-clean-energy-research/

Monday, 18 May 2009

US Solar sector rises on utility demand

Associated Press, 05.18.09, 03:46 PM EDT

The solar sector soared in Monday trading as last week's record-setting solar thermal contract from Pacific Gas & Electric signaled continued demand from utilities.

Shares also rose ahead of the much-anticipated energy bill, which investors expect will deliver generous provisions for solar energy once passed.

Last week, California utility Pacific Gas & Electric Co. signed new solar contracts with Oakland-based BrightSource Energy for a total of 1,310 megawatts of solar thermal power, the nation's largest solar deal.

Raymond James analyst Pavel Molchanov said the deal signals solar power's growing mainstream acceptance by utilities. Solar thermal power is economically viable only in areas of high-sunlight and is a utility-scale technology because it is used to power large, conventional turbines, Molchanov noted.

PG&E's "mega-deal" for solar thermal power boosts demand from utilities for photovoltaic products as well. As this trend builds momentum, utilities could offer the industry the most durable source of photovoltaic demand.

Molchanov rated GT Solar International Inc., JA Solar Holdings Co. and Real Goods Solar Inc. "Outperform." He also recommended buying shares of First Solar Inc., which he rated "Strong Buy."

Shares of GT Solar jumped 18 cents, or 3.4 percent, to $5.55 in afternoon trading. JA Solar shares rose 5 cents to $3.16. Real Goods Solar share rose 4 cents to $2.12. Shares of First Solar climbed $7.28, or 4.1 percent, to $184.71.

Elsewhere in the industry SunPower Corp. shares increased $1.35, or 5.4 percent, to $26.40. Trina Solar shares rose 62 cents, or 3.7 percent, to $17.53. Molchanov rated both these companies "Market Perform."

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Repost ~ 'Distributed power' to save Earth

By Jason Palmer
Science and technology reporter, BBC News, Prague

Economist Jeremy Rifkin galvanised the Research Connections 2009 conference in Prague with a roadmap to simultaneously solve the economic and energy crises.

He proposed a pan-European strategy of small-scale energy generation and smart energy grids that make everyone a partner in energy.

What is more, he said, the plan would create millions of jobs and foster investment that would see the end of the current economic crisis.

Mr Rifkin leads a roundtable of 100 top CEOs and government officials who have subscribed to the plan.

The roundtable is part of the Foundation on Economic Trends, which Mr Rifkin founded.

He said old economic models will not see humanity through, and the combination of the climatic, energy and economic woes of the planet created a "perfect storm" that will see in a new era for its inhabitants.

But such a revolution is not unique to human history, he said.

"The great economic revolutions in history occur when two things happen," he explained.

"First, we humans change the way we organise the energy of the Earth; we've done this frequently over the course of our history.

"Second, and equally important, we change the way we communicate to organise new energy regimes. When energy revolutions converge with communication revolutions, those are the pivotal points in human history."
" Your building becomes your power plant, just like your computer becomes your information vehicle to the world "
Jeremy Rifkin

The current renewable energy push, in common with the information and communication technology revolution that characterised the 1990s, is just such a pairing of regime changes.

But in Mr Rifkin's grand plan, every citizen of the EU would participate in order to revolutionise the way energy is generated, used, and monetised.

Four pillars

Although the sheer scope of the idea raised eyebrows throughout the room, Mr Rifkin laid out a cogent, four-part plan that he said could in one stroke dispel the perfect storm he described.

The first two pillars of the plan were a call to technological arms: further develop renewable energy technologies' efficiencies, amplify production to access "economies of scale", and develop means to store the intermittent energy they harvest.

The third pillar is a common idea writ very large indeed. He called for a pan-European commitment to microgeneration - small installations of renewable energy technology work in place of, for example, vast wind farms - but on every single building already up or yet to be built.

"We cannot build enough centralised wind and solar parks to run Europe," he said.

"If this energy is distributed over every square foot all over the world, why would we collect it only at a few points? The problem is we're using 20th century, centralised, top-down business models."

Instead, Mr Rifkin suggested overhauling the technology of infrastructure and architecture such that buildings have integral power generation: solar panels and small vertical wind turbines on roofs, heat pumps harvesting geothermal energy in basements.

In rural settings, agricultural waste could be used to generate methane and in coastal regions, tidal power could be harvested.

"Your building becomes your power plant, just like your computer becomes your information vehicle to the world. Every home, factory, industrial park, every building is converted," he explained.

While existing buildings could generate a sizeable fraction of their energy demands, new buildings would be "positive power" - generating more than they need through grand changes in building materials and architecture.

Jump-start

Such an idea is not new; in fact, installations are already underway. Mr Rifkin cited car maker GM's Opel factory in Zaragoza, Spain, which sports a $78m (£52m) solar panel array.

It produces some 10 Megawatts of power, which means the energy savings could pay for the installation in just nine years.

Elsewhere in Spain, Navarra and Aragon have, in the past 10 years, moved to generating 70% of their energy with renewables.

Using wind turbines in the Pyrenees, hydroelectric generation from snowmelt, and sun-tracking solar arrays, Aragon will be 100% self-sufficient in six months and be in energy surplus in six more.

"Everyone can do that tomorrow," Mr Rifkin emphasised. Moreover, it is a handy way out of an economic abyss.

"If you want to jump-start an economy it's always about construction. You jump-start not hundreds of thousands of jobs building solar collectors, but millions of jobs reconverting the entire infrastructure."

The scale of the proposed changeover is unconvincing for Paul Ekins, professor of energy and environment policy at King's College London.

"People tend to want power when they demand it and they tend to want it to be there all the time," he told BBC News.

"It's certainly possible that microgeneration has a role to play in the future energy system, but my view is that central generation is likely to be a very important part of satisfying that demand."

'Distributed capitalism'

The fourth pillar of the plan would make everyone a stakeholder in the scheme by overhauling the outdated power grid system.

"We're going to use the same tecnology that created the internet; we take the power grid of the EU and turn it into an 'intergrid' that works just like the internet.

"Say you're producing 30% of your energy need, it's peak period in the middle of the day and you don't need the electricity. If millions of people send just a little bit back to the grid, peer-to-peer just like we send information on the internet, that's distributed power."

But the distributed computing allowed by the revamped power grid could introduce a new economic paradigm - what Mr Rifkin calls "distributed capitalism".

"The main grid [will be] completely distributed, software connected to sensors connected to every appliance in your home: thermostat, washing machine, toaster, everything.

"At any one time the system will know what every washing machine is doing in Europe. If you have peak demand, not enough supply, software can say to two million washing machines 'forget the extra rinse'.

"If you bought the program - it's all voluntary - you get a cheque at the end of the month or a credit from the electricity company."

Like microgeneration, the idea of such "smart grids" has been circulating in the energy community for some time. But it is the sheer scope of all facets of Mr Rifkin's plan that makes it unique.

He has formed the "Third Industrial Revolution Roundtable" with 100 leaders from industry - big names such as IBM and BASF are on the list - as well as governments to further promote the idea.

And he is sure that the EU will continue to lead the way, citing the "golden goose" of the union: it is the largest internal market economy in the world, making it particularly poised to undertake such an ambitious plan.

Professor Ekins wonders about the likelihood that all the facets such a long-term, high-investment initiative is what the future holds.

"The world has room for visionaries," he said, "and one of the characteristics of visionaries is that their total vision very rarely comes true.

"Normally the future ends up having some aspect of different competing visions."
Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/8043397.stm

Published: 2009/05/11 13:27:29 GMT

Sunday, 10 May 2009

China Emerges as a Leader in Cleaner Coal Technology

China is making other efforts to reduce its global warming emissions. It has doubled its total wind energy capacity in each of the past four years, and is poised to pass the United States as soon as this year as the world’s largest market for wind power equipment. China is building considerably more nuclear power plants than the rest of the world combined, and these do not emit carbon dioxide after they are built.

But coal remains the cheapest energy source in China by a wide margin. China has the world’s third-largest coal reserves, after the United States and Russia.

“No matter how much renewable or nuclear is in the mix, coal will remain the dominant power source,” said Ashok Bhargava, a China energy expert at the Asian Development Bank in Manila.

Another problem is that China has finally developed the ability to build high-technology power plants only at the end of a national binge of building lower-tech coal-fired plants. Construction is now slowing because of the economic slump.

By adopting “ultra-supercritical” technology, which uses extremely hot steam to achieve the highest efficiency, and by building many identical power plants at the same time, China has cut costs dramatically through economies of scale. It now can cost a third less to build an ultra-supercritical power plant in China than to build a less efficient coal-fired plant in the United States.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/11/world/asia/11coal.html

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Cap and Trade great for economy.... Krugman

So it’s important to understand that just as denials that climate change is happening are junk science, predictions of economic disaster if we try to do anything about climate change are junk economics.

Yes, limiting emissions would have its costs. As a card-carrying economist, I cringe when “green economy” enthusiasts insist that protecting the environment would be all gain, no pain.

But the best available estimates suggest that the costs of an emissions-limitation program would be modest, as long as it’s implemented gradually. And committing ourselves now might actually help the economy recover from its current slump.

nyt

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Opportunities for Dyesol in Low Carbon Society

KEY POINTS

Dyesol Limited was invited as a delegate to the recent G8 Environment Ministers meetings in Italy
International Energy Agency (IEA) identified that the built environment utilises over 40% of all global energy
World Bank stated that an Energy Revolution is needed to arrest climate change
IEA stated that the two preferred technical approaches to arresting growth of carbon intensity are energy efficiency and renewable energy
Dyesol DSC technology was presented as the opportunity to combine energy efficiency and renewable energy in building products

During April the G8 Environment Ministers have met in Siracusa in Italy to consider initiatives for protecting the environment including moves to create a low carbon society through reducing growth of carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere. Dyesol was invited to represent Australian industry and 3rd generation solar at the High Level Forum in Trieste from 2-4 April and at the industry session in Siracusa on 22 April. Dyesol was represented by Dr Gavin Tulloch, Managing Director Global.

As a panellist in Trieste and a delegate in Siracusa, Dr Tulloch had the opportunity to present the advantages of DSC technology in ameliorating global climate change as well as presenting Dyesol to the world forum. Other companies invited to Siracusa included GE, Westinghouse, Mitsubishi, ENEL, Areva, ERG, Shell, Edison, BMW, Tata, while leading first generation solar company, Sharp, and second generation solar leader, First Solar, were panellists with Dyesol in Trieste.

The meetings considered and commented on two key papers by IEA (‘Ensuring Green Growth in a Time of Economic Crisis: The Role of Energy Technology’) and World Bank (‘Financing Technology to support low-carbon and climate resilient growth’).

The emphasis of the claims and recommendations of these authoritative papers are:

Well over $200B must be invested per annum to ensure that atmospheric carbon concentration does not rise significantly above 550ppm by 2020.
The effects of climate change would be far more serious to the world economy than the current global financial crisis if unaddressed.
Current energy solutions are inadequate to the task and an ‘Energy Revolution’ is essential.
Major energy users include the built environment (>40% of global energy use) and transport (~16%).
In the next ten years the preferred methods for reducing carbon intensity are energy efficiency and renewable energy.
Developing nations will have to play an increasing role in technology led reduction of carbon intensity.
Governments must increase investment in R&D, Demonstration and Deployment to seed the introduction of new low carbon technologies at the pre-commercial stage.
Public/Private partnerships are a preferred means for government investment both in developed and developing countries.

During presentations and discussions, Dr Tulloch provided the following information about Dyesol’s DSC technology and products:

The credible means to address energy intensity in the built environment are energy efficiency and solar power.
DSC steel-based panels and glass fa├žade panels incorporate energy efficiency as an inherent feature of the product design.
DSC building products not only produce energy at the point of use but also save substantial energy and additional capital cost through avoiding distribution.
Regulation, using a model similar to that enforced for cigarette smoking, can create a common approach by different jurisdictions to energy management in the built environment.
Dyesol’s model of public/private partnerships, as evidenced, for example, by the partnership with Corus (Tata) and the Welsh Assembly Government is a very good model that assures access to technology and markets.
DSC technology has very low embodied energy compared to other sources of renewable energy, so implementation of DSC is a low carbon intensity commercially viable activity.
DSC technology has a low cost of implementation and can be modular so is affordable for developing countries as well as developed countries in which Dyesol operates.
Dyesol’s model for licensing/partnerships can provide manufacturing technology and hence economic growth to developing countries while maintaining materials technology under Dyesol’s control.
Dyesol’s DSC technology is directed to achieving grid parity for built environment products through combining energy efficiency with point of use renewable energy.

For further information contact Gavin Tulloch on +61 (0) 2 6299 1592.
In Europe contact Eva Reuter, Investor Relations, Dyesol Europe on +49 177 6058804


Note to editors
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