BRILLIANT GRAPHIC SHOWS SURFACE AREA REQUIRED TO POWER CALIFORNIA WITH 100% RENEWABLES...

Sep 24, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Tafline Laylin  INHABITAT View Slideshow Cold hard science in the clean energy space has a wonderful way of debunking misinformation fueled by politics and corporate greed, and nobody does that better than the husband and wife team behind the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI). Elizabeth and Monoian and Robert Ferry have dished up an illuminating new infographic which demonstrates how much surface area is required to transition California away from energy sources that jeopardize planetary health to 100 percent renewables; take a closer look after the jump. LAGI writes: “Starting in 2009 with the Surface Area Required to Power the World with Solar, we have been making the case that the renewable energy transition, while a huge undertaking, is not any more ambitious in scale than previous human endeavors, and that the...

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LESSONS FROM A CITY BUILT WITHOUT LIGHT SWITCHES AND WATER TAPS...

Sep 24, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] The best way to future-proof cities is to let them innovate—and sometimes fail. Wind tower at Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in Masdar City, United Arab Emirates (left); Birmingham, England. (Photos: Iain Masterton/Getty Images; Loop Images/UIG via Getty Images) Sep 19, 2016 Katharine Gammon has written for Nature, Wired, Discover, and Popular Science. A new mom, she lives in Santa Monica.   For 2,000 residents living just outside Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, experiencing the city of the future is a kind of waking dream. Masdar City is designed to take advantage of renewable energy, with a goal of being the most sustainable city in the world. It doesn’t even have light switches or water taps. The 87,000 solar panels that power the city and the mostly recycled water running through its...

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WAVE POWER HAS FINALLY COME TO THE UNITED STATES...

Sep 21, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] GRIST Briefly Stuff that matters the motion of the ocean Shutterst Less than a mile off the shores of Hawaii, two buoys are hard at work, bobbing up and down as they turn energy from the ocean’s movement into electricity. That electricity travels ashore to Oahu’s power grid through an undersea cable. It’s a test project, producing only enough power for about a dozen households. But it’s the first successful wave-energy project in the United States so far (in the wake of an abandoned project off the Oregon coast), despite experiments that date all the way back to the 19th century. Though development lags decades behind wind and solar, wave power has huge potential. The U.S Department of Energy projects that waves off the U.S. coastline could power more than 200 million homes. But harvesting energy from...

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Signs That Wind Power Is Gaining Strength in the U.S. (Video)...

Sep 19, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   By Juan Cole TRUTHDIG The Iowa Utility Board has approved a $3 bn. MidAmerica wind farm project which will be the country’s largest, due to come on line in 2019, and which will generate enough electricity to power 800,000 homes! I looked this up, and there are only about 1.2 million households in Iowa!  This one project could power 2/3s of the state’s homes!  Of course, you still have commercial uses of power, and then the transportation sector includes 4.3 million registered vehicles, which are almost all fueled by carbon-emitting petroleum.  But still, you have to wonder if Iowa will be the first 100% green energy state.  (Iowa has the advantage of being a midwest wind corridor; some other areas of the country, like the Deep South, are much less well endowed...

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LOS ANGELES CITY COUNCIL BACKS PLANNING FOR 100 PERCENT RENEWABLE ENERGY...

Sep 16, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Samantha Page Climate Reporter at @ThinkProgress. Solar electrical panels are installed on the roof of a home in Glendale, CA. CREDIT: AP PHOTO/REED SAXON The Los Angeles City Council took a major step Friday toward making the city run on clean energy alone. The Council directed the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) to develop a plan for going 100 percent renewable, including looking at where, when, and how the city should allocate resources to achieve that goal. In the motion, Councilmembers Paul Krekorian and Mike Bonin wrote that “the city has an opportunity to re-create its utility in a way that recognizes the potential for a fossil-free future, demonstrates global leadership in its commitment to clean energy, and protects ratepayers from the increasing costs of carbon-based fuels.” It passed unanimously, 12–0,...

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WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO POWER 23 MILLION HOMES WITH OFFSHORE WIND?...

Sep 14, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] The Obama administration unveils a strategy to exploit a vast but untapped source of renewable energy. (Photo: AWEA) Taylor Hill is an associate editor at TakePart covering environment and wildlife.   For the first time, the United States government has outlined a strategy to tap an enormous source of renewable energy—offshore wind. How much? According to the report, titled The National Offshore Wind Strategy, as much as 86,000 megawatts of electricity could be generated by offshore wind by 2050—enough to power 23 million homes while reducing the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by 1.8 percent. Advertisement It won’t be easy. The plan envisions rows of giant turbines anchored off nearly every U.S. coastline within 30 years. So far, only one offshore project has made the leap from planning to construction—the Deepwater Wind project off...

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Giant paper boats use holographic photovoltaic cells to boost California coral growth...

Sep 7, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] 1 by Tafline Laylin  INHABITAT View Slideshow A team from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania envisions a bold new world where giant paper boats float off Santa Monica Pier, harnessing solar energy to revitalize California’s coastal ecology. Another finalist of LAGI 2016: Santa Monica, an international design competition that promotes renewable energy and public art, Paper Boats is designed to harness solar energy using concentrated photovoltaics (CPV), reflectors, and Holographic Planar Concentrator (HPC) technology. Unlike other energy and water-generating designs, this energy is redirected to accelerate coral growth. And if you are weary of designs that don’t yet exist, note that LAGI’s competition guidelines require all entries to be technologically and physically feasible. In this way, Paper Boats, The Pipe, and other LAGI designs symbolize potential applications of existing technology. “Throughout the years, over-hunting and over-fishing...

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The Tide Is Turning for a New Source of Green Energy...

Sep 3, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] The first underwater turbines are connected to Scotland’s power grid. A tidal energy turbine is loaded onto a barge in Invergordon, Scotland. (Photo: Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images) Taylor Hill is an associate editor at TakePart covering environment and wildlife.   Two turbines installed off Scotland’s coast aren’t harnessing the country’s winds to generate power. Instead, these blades are spinning underwater, using an even more predictable renewable power source in the region—tides. The offshore array is the world’s first network of tidal turbines to deliver electricity to the power grid, according to Nova Innovation, the company behind the development. Advertisement That’s a big step for green power generation, as it shows commercial viability for a marine-based power source to create renewable energy. Unlike solar and wind power, where power production stops when the sun...

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Is blue the new green? Wave power could revolutionize the renewable-energy game...

Aug 28, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] There’s enough wave energy in the oceans to power the world, and scientists are finally close to harnessing it. Diane Stopyra   SALON.COM   A 30 MegaWatt “wave farm” of Pelamis Wave Energy Converters (Credit: Business Wire)   Unless you’re a surfer, a sailor or the owner of beachfront property during hurricane season, you probably don’t spend much time thinking about the power of waves. That may be changing soon. Like a large, slowly building swell miles from shore, the wave-power revolution has quietly and gradually gained momentum. And this month it began the crest: The Department of Energy announced it would allocate as much as $40 million in funding to develop of the nation’s first open-water wave-energy-testing facility in a location to be determined. When it comes to tapping the commercial viability of this renewable resource,...

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The First U.S. Offshore Wind Farm Is Complete...

Aug 23, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] The 30-megawatt project is set to be operational in November. Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffery Grybowski stands on a boat during a media tour of Deepwater Wind’s project off Block Island, R.I., Monday, Aug. 15, 2016. Deepwater Wind’s $300 million five-turbine wind farm off Block Island is expected to be operational this fall. CREDIT: AP PHOTO/MICHAEL DWYER The country’s first offshore wind farm is complete and set to start putting electricity on the grid by November, the developer announced last week. The five-turbine, 30-megawatt Block Island Wind Farm — providing enough electricity to power roughly 18,000 homes for a year — is not going to overhaul the state’s electricity supply, but it is a powerful step forward for Rhode Island and for the country. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) photographs the first foundation jacket installed by Deepwater Wind in...

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TO GET TO NET ZERO, THINK BIGGER...

Aug 20, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Allison Hibbs ROCKY MOUNTAIN INSTITUTE Guest Author The importance of implementing net zero at the district scale   The World Green Building Council (WGBC) just launched a revolutionary project calling for all buildings to reach net zero by 2050 in an action plan known as Advancing Net Zero. The announcement provides a shot in the arm to the net-zero design and construction industry at a global level, further increasing the impetus for governments, developers, and service providers to make ambitious net-zero commitments and action plans across the world. But it also requires the industry to confront a long-standing barrier—the assumption that net-zero buildings come at a significantly higher capital cost than business as usual. In fact, when approaching net-zero energy (NZE) at a district level and leveraging an integrative whole-systems design approach, the...

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U.K. Approves World’s Largest Wind Farm...

Aug 17, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] CREDIT: SHUTTERSTOCK The U.K. government on Tuesday approved phase two of the world’s largest wind farm, adding 300 turbines to a project 55 miles off England’s shore, in the North Sea. The Hornsea Two project will provide 1.8 gigawatts of generating power, in addition to the first phase’s 1.2 gigawatts. In all, the 3 gigawatts provided by Hornsea is enough to power 2.5 million average (U.S.) households. At that size, the combined project is roughly equivalent to a nuclear power plant. CREDIT: DONG ENERGY “Offshore wind is already on course to meet 10 percent of the U.K.’s electricity demand by 2020,” said Huub den Rooijen, Director of Energy, Minerals and Infrastructure at The Crown Estate, the government’s asset management firm. “Major developments of Hornsea Project Two’s scale will pave the way for its...

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Elon Musk’s new solar roofing plan isn’t so new after all...

Aug 15, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Dow Powerhouse shingle and ready to mingle By Heather Smith GRIST Now that Tesla’s buyout of Solar City is looking like a done deal, the man who turned boring electric cars into sexy hot rods wants to shake up the staid world of roofing. Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk has a vision of a new kind of roof made of solar panels, and he wants to sell it you. “It’s not something on the roof — it is the roof,” Musk told a group of Wall Street analysts during a call last week to discuss quarterly earnings. “Which is a quite difficult engineering challenge and not something that is available anywhere else.” The fact is, solar roofs have been around for more than a decade. Witness this news report, from three years ago: But...

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Oregon Finds Switching From Coal to Renewable Energy Is a Bargain...

Aug 14, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Replacing coal-fired electricity with ever-cheaper wind and solar power will raise utility rates just 0.1 percent by 2030. A solar array installed at a winery near McMinnville, Oregon. (Photo: George Rose/Getty Images) TAKE PART DAILY John R. Platt covers the environment, technology, philanthropy, and more for Scientific American, Conservation, Lion, and other publications.   Oregon may have a reputation for rainy weather, but the outlook for the renewable energy there is definitely sunny. Earlier this year the state passed legislation that requires utilities to stop generating electricity from coal by 2030. At the time, one of Oregon’s two main energy utilities, Pacific Power, predicted that the switch to renewables would come with a fairly high cost, hitting customers with a rate increase of 0.8 percent per year through 2030. That’s a cumulative increase...

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5 Inspiring Signs That Sustainability Is Gaining Traction in the U.S....

Aug 1, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Environment Since the Paris Climate Agreement was signed in December, there have been several environment-related developments that provide some hope for the future. By Rosaly Byrd, Laurèn DeMates / Huffington Post   VIA ALTERNET Macro of a green leaf cut out in the shape of the United States of America. Photo Credit: Myotis/Shutterstock The first half of 2016 saw devastating events that have left many—including us—feeling pessimistic about the future of the U.S. and the world. However, since December 2015’s Paris Climate Agreement, there have been various environment-related developments that provide us with some hope that, at least in regard to making sure our world is liveable in the future, we are starting to move forward Here are five inspiring signs that sustainability is gaining traction in the United States. 1. All about renewables. The...

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Democratic Platform Calls For WWII-Scale Mobilization To Solve Climate Crisis...

Jul 25, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Joe Romm CLIMATE PROGRESS CREDIT: Mark Stehle/Invision for NRG/AP Images Micro-wind turbines and solar panels installed at Lincoln Financial Field generate renewable energy during NRG Home’s 2nd Annual Media Charity Flag Football Game in Philadelphia Wednesday, November 19, 2014.   This month, the full Democratic Platform Committee approved the strongest statement about the urgent need for climate action ever issued by a major party in this country. The platform makes for the starkest possible contrast with a party that just nominated Donald Trump — a man who has called climate change a hoax invented by and for the Chinese, who has denied basic reality such as the drought in California, and who has vowed to (try to) scuttle the unanimous agreement by the world’s nations in Paris to take whatever measures are...

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Did An Entire Region Of The U.S. Just Disincentivize Renewables? This Lawsuit Says Yes....

Jul 17, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Samantha Page CLIMATE PROGRESS CREDIT: Shutterstock During the 2014 polar vortex, wind generation saved consumers $1 billion, according to industry estimates.   During the polar vortex of 2014, power companies struggled. There wasn’t enough natural gas power in the pipeline (pun intended), and prices skyrocketed. The shortage was expensive for homeowners — some saw their monthly bill go up five-fold from January to February — but for utilities, it was expensive, dangerous, and scary. No one wants to be on the hook for a bunch of families losing power in the middle of a -7°F night. Following the prolonged cold snap, PJM, the entity that oversees utilities in the Mid-Atlantic and parts of Appalachia and the Midwest, put a plan into action: It would help the local utilities ensure that power was...

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SANDERS AND CLINTON TEAMS FIGHT OVER CLIMATE LANGUAGE IN DEMOCRATIC PLATFORM...

Jun 29, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] REUTERS/Jim Young Walking the plank By Ben Adler GRIST The Democratic Party’s platform drafting committee has written a stronger climate change section than the platform had in 2012, but it also rejected a series of more ambitious climate and energy amendments on Friday. That’s raised the ire of Bernie Sanders and his appointees to the drafting committee, like climate activist and author Bill McKibben. The first draft of the platform, voted on by the 15-member drafting committee, is now complete, though it hasn’t been made publicly available. On July 8 and 9, in Orlando, the full 187-member platform committee will meet and debate further changes before approving and sending its draft on to the party convention, to be held in Philadelphia the last week of July. Sanders slammed Hillary Clinton’s committee appointees for...

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NATION’S FIRST SOLAR ROADWAY COMING TO HISTORIC ROUTE 66...

Jun 27, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT (Photo: US Bureau of Land Management)Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch Missouri’s Department of Transportation (MoDOT) has announced plans to install solar panels at a rest stop alongside the iconic Route 66 as part of the department’s “Road to Tomorrow Initiative.” The Historic Route 66 welcome center in Conway, Missouri will receive the nation’s first solar roadway panels on a public right of way. “… part of why we picked this location is because of the the historic Route 66 concept,” Laurel McKean, MoDot assistant district engineer, told KY3. “You know, here’s one of the main roadways that’s iconic for the United States, and being able to use the history to create potentially the future.” The panels were developed by Solar Roadways, an Idaho-based startup founded by Scott and Julie Brusaw. Their...

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A SOLAR POWERED PLANE JUST CROSSED THE ATLANTIC...

Jun 26, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Solar Impulse sunprecedented By Samantha Lee GRIST If you thought there was something solar power couldn’t do, think again, because the sun just carried an airplane across the Atlantic Ocean. Early Thursday morning, Swiss pilot Bertrand Piccard successfully landed the Solar Impulse 2 in Spain after a four-day journey that began in New York. All the while, the scrappy little plane, powered by 17,000 solar cells, emitted no pollution and guzzled no fuel. This flight was the latest leg in a round-the-world journey set to end in Abu Dhabi, and is particularly symbolic “because all the means of transportation have always tried to cross the Atlantic,” Piccard told the Guardian. With seating room for one, the Solar Impulse — which has a larger wingspan than a Boeing 747 but is lighter than a car...

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COMMUNITY-SUPPORTED DEVELOPMENT: A FIRST STEP TO COMMUNITY SOLAR FOR ALL...

Jun 17, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   ROCKY MOUNTAIN INSTITUTE photo credit: Boardman Hill Solar Farm Communities are a critical actor in the global effort to combat climate change. More than 1,000 locally elected officials from around the world were present at the Paris Climate Conference talks. Their voices, representing distant communities, were widely recognized as drivers of the international agreement. In the United States, communities and governments continue to drive toward more sustainable, inclusive economies by leveraging local solar power—most recently, in the form of community-scale solar. A unique benefit of community-scale solar projects is their very community orientation, which enables “community-supported development.” This concept describes the range of activities that can be taken to reduce the cost of, and drive local interest in, community-scale solar. The communities taking action can include constituent- or community-based organizations, nonprofits, municipalities,...

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IT’S TIME TO PLAN FOR ELECTRIC VEHICLES ON THE GRID...

Jun 17, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] ROCKY MOUNTAIN INSTITUTE (RMI) New report identifies important best practices for utilities, regulators, and other stakeholders If you think electric vehicles are still a niche technology, think again. The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that more than 1 million electric vehicles (EVs) were on the road in 2015, including 400,000 in the United States. In order to limit global warming to 2°C or less, the agency says the world will need 150 million EVs by 2030 and 1 billion by 2050, implying a 21 percent compound annual growth rate from now until 2050. India is considering a state-financed plan that would let drivers buy EVs for zero money down, then pay for the vehicles out of gasoline savings. The plan aims to transition India’s entire fleet to electric vehicles by 2030. China is...

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THE SECOND-LARGEST CITY IN THE U.S. IS ON THE VERGE OF BEING 100% RENEWABLE...

Jun 10, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Samantha Page CLIMATE PROGRESS CREDIT: Shutterstock It takes a lot of energy to run all those lights. But could it all be green?   Los Angeles is a city born of Thomas Edison’s inventions. The movie camera, obviously, helped propel it to become the second-largest city in the United States, but the light bulb, too, is integral to the city’s heritage. Unlike many of the country’s older cities, Los Angeles barely knew a time without electricity. There is even a hip bar called The Edison paying homage to the city’s history in a former power plant in the heart of downtown. Cities have a very unique ability to be at once visionary and pragmatic Growing up alongside the car and electricity industries, Los Angeles has long been seen as one of the...

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RAINY U.K. GETS MORE POWER FROM SOLAR THAN COAL FOR THE FIRST TIME IN OVER A CENTURY...

Jun 9, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Samantha Page CLIMATE PROGRESS CREDIT: Shutterstock Renewable sources such as solar, wind, and geothermal, produced more electricity for the UK in May 2016 than coal did.   As the world hits ever-increasing records for heat and CO2 concentrations, sometimes it’s good to look at the bright side. In May, for the first time ever, solar produced more electricity than coal in the United Kingdom. Shares of total U.K. electricity generation met by solar and coal during January to May 2016 (%). Sources: Sheffield Solar and Gridwatch. CREDIT: Carbon Brief During last month, coal generation fell to zero on several days — possibly the first time that has happened since the country introduced widespread electrification in the late 1800s, according to analysis from Carbon Brief, a U.K.-based energy tracker. This is not a...

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ENERGY INDEPENDENCE WON’T CURE CLIMATE ILLS...

Jun 8, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   By Paul Brown / Climate News Network   VIA TRUTHDIG     Governments are anxious not to have to rely on oil imported from fields such as South Pars in the Persian Gulf. (Hamed Malekpour via Wikimedia Commons) This piece first appeared at Climate News Network. LONDON—For many governments aiming to reduce their import bills and avoid being reliant for fuel on potentially hostile or unstable foreign powers, energy independence is the ultimate goal. But international economists have published a report warning that it is false to believe the policy will also help to stave off climate change. New research by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) shows that there is no real link between the two issues, despite the fact that politicians in many countries have claimed otherwise while trying to...

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6 TOUGH CLIMATE QUESTIONS THE DEMOCRATIC PLATFORM COMMITTEE WILL HAVE TO ANSWER...

Jun 5, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] THE NATION Democrats have a chance to set a bold agenda for dealing with global warming. By Zoë Carpenter Colstrip coal plant A coal-fired power plant in Colstrip, southeastern Montana. (James Woodcock / Billings Gazette via AP, File) When it comes to energy and environmental policy, it doesn’t take an oracle to predict what the Republican Party platform will look like. Donald Trump gave a preview last week in North Dakota, where he called for rolling back environmental regulations and the international climate agreement reached in Paris last year; for a resurrection of the Keystone XL pipeline and the coal industry; and for a heck of a lot more drilling for “very, very pure, sweet, beautiful oil.” Trump’s vision hewed to Republican orthodoxy, and there’s little reason to think the platform will include...

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Chile Producing So Much Solar Energy It’s Giving Electricity Away for Free...

Jun 4, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Environment The country’s central grid has increased four-fold to 770 megawatts since 2013. By Lorraine Chow / Eco Watch   VIA ALTERNET   Photo Credit: via Wikimedia Thanks to Chile’s major investments in renewables, the Latin American country is seeing an incredible solar boom.In a new Bloomberg report, Chile Has So Much Solar Energy It’s Giving It Away for Free, solar capacity from the country’s central grid has increased four fold to 770 megawatts since 2013. Another 1.4 gigawatts will be added this year with many solar power projects under development. Thanks to an economic boost from increased mining production, Chile now has 29 solar farms and another 15 in the pipeline. Enel Green Power Chile Ltda. recently commissioned Chile’s largest solar PV project connected to the grid. The 160-megawatt facility will be located in the northern part of the country in the municipality of María Elena, about 1,300 kilometers north of Santiago.With so much clean power...

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LIBERLAND MAY BE THE WORLD’S FIRST SOVEREIGN NATION POWERED BY ALGAE...

Jun 2, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Tafline Laylin  INHABITAT View Slideshow A proposal for an algae-powered city has won the design competition for Liberland, the world’s newest sovereign nation in Europe. A 2.7 square mile patch of land located in a floodplain on the Danube River between Croatia and Serbia, Liberland presents a unique challenge for architects and urbanists tasked with designing a self-governing micro-nation that guarantees its citizens economic and personal freedom. RAW-NYC tackled the challenge with a deep green mixed-use city design that stacks horizontal layers vertically to accommodate population expansion. The winning proposal is a pedestrian-friendly design that supports a growing populace with stackable horizontal structures. Called Inverted Archeology, this groundbreaking technique constructs the city-state in consecutive temporal layers to form a self-sufficient, compact, dense, integrated and resilient urban fabric. Algae, strains of which don’t...

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FANNIE MAE’S FINANCING FOR SOLAR: A GAME CHANGER FOR THE SOLAR INDUSTRY...

Jun 2, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Authors Jamie Johnson Guest Author Laurie Guevara-​Stone Writer / Editor ROCKY MOUNTAIN INSTITUTE Mortgage companies play an important role in making solar photovoltaics (PV) more affordable and accessible for homeowners, which is a key component to unlocking the economic opportunities of home energy upgrades. Learn more about how this complements RMI’s Residential Energy+ initiative, which is working with top industry representatives to make better energy performance more accessible, affordable, and desirable for U.S. homeowners. Mortgage giant Fannie Mae just unlocked the lowest cost of capital for new solar installations to date. This follows the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) recent decision to finance new solar installations within a first mortgage transaction, a potential game changer for the solar industry with the ability to bring about the next order of magnitude increase...

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MAJOR OIL COMPANIES TREAD CAUTIOUSLY TOWARD RENEWABLES...

May 23, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   By Kieran Cooke / Climate News Network   VIA TRUTHDIG     Nigeria’s Niger Delta has suffered severe damage from gas flaring and oil spills. (Chebyshev 1983 via Wikimedia Commons) This piece first appeared at Climate News Network. LONDON—The big oil companies’ on-off affair with renewable energies seems to be back on track. Recent reports say Shell, the Anglo-Dutch oil conglomerate, is to invest $1.7 billion in forming a new company division aimed specifically at developing renewable energy and low carbon power.  This follows on the heels of an announcement by the  French oil company Total, another of the oil giants, that it is stepping up its investments in clean energy, spending more than $1 bn buying Saft, a major battery manufacturer. Total has also purchased  a majority share in SunPower,  a leading solar...

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