Monday, May 03, 2010

Renewable Energy News, May 3, 2010

VPR News: Advocates Say Vermont Lags In Wind Power
Renewable energy advocates say Vermont lags behind other New England states in supporting large-scale wind projects. They cite a recent decision by developers to postpone a controversial wind project in Ira as evidence that the state is an unfriendly place to do business. But those who question wind turbines on ridgelines say Vermont needs to maintain environmental standards for all development - including renewable energy. VPR's John Dillon reports.
Investing: Smart grid offers investment opportunity | The Burlington Free Press | by Ian Wyatt
Each summer rolling blackouts and disruptive power outages remind us that in spite of being the world's most developed country, the United States still faces the challenges of meeting increased energy demand with aging technology. There's a profit opportunity for astute investors to hop on board with what's known as "the smart grid" -- which is just a catchy way of saying upgrade our infrastructure.
Vermont State Parks announces renewable energy innovation challenge | Vermont Business Magazine
At the Sunward solar manufacturing facility in Winooski today, the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation (FPR) and Governor Jim Douglas kicked off a new initiative offering Vermont companies the opportunity to demonstrate their newest renewable energy and energy conservation products in the Vermont State Park system. The new initiative—dubbed the Vermont State Parks Innovation Challenge—is an opportunity for Vermont’s energy companies to connect with park visitors, and benefit from the Vermont State Parks brand, while making a contribution to an important state resource.
There Once Was a Wind Farm From Nantucket: Rethinking Energy Production
The state of Vermont is poised to shut down the Yankee nuclear power plant, after months of underground tritium leaks, and misleading statements from Entergy's local management team. A BP drilling rig explosion will lead to as much as 4 million gallons of crude oil leaking out into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening wide-scale coastal damage. 29 miners were killed this month in an explosion in a Massey Energy coal mine in West Virginia. You would think that these messes would have the public - and especially environmentalists - running towards wind power as a solution...without even factoring in the climate change benefits of renewable energy. Yet in Cape Cod, some environmental groups and residents are fighting hard to overturn approval of the nation’s first offshore wind farm.
Cyclists pedal a ride for green energy future: Times Argus Online
They may not be joining an energy-themed bike ride from the state's capitol to Burlington, but the five Democrats running for governor joined the send-off for dozens of college students hoping for a green energy future Friday. Calling themselves the Race to Replace, the college students have vowed to register 2,000 young Vermonters to vote this year with an eye to electing a new governor who would promise to replace all of Vermont Yankee's energy with green power.
Hydro plan in Pownal could face challenges - Bennington Banner
It remains unclear what challenges a proposed power generation facility at former Pownal Tanning Co.’s hydroelectric dam will face when it comes to getting state and federal permits. The dam, which once provided power to the tanning company, is owned by the town, which hopes to lease it. Recently, the Select Board signed a lease-option agreement with a Burlington company, Encore Redevelopment, which allowed the developer to get the project into a state program that subsidizes "green" and renewable energy projects.
U.S. Electrical Grid Undergoes Massive Transition to Connect to Renewables: Scientific American
The U.S. electrical grid is the largest interconnected machine on Earth: 200,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines and 5.5 million miles of local distribution lines, linking thousands of generating plants to factories, homes and businesses. The National Academy of Engineering ranks it as the greatest engineering achievement of the 20th century. What it cannot do is support the massive shift to low-carbon power that scientists warn will be needed to avoid catastrophic climate change impacts. To shrink the electricity sector's carbon footprint, experts say, the nation needs to build thousands of miles of new transmission lines over the next 20 years to connect more renewable resources to electricity demand centers.
Greenpeace lauds Cisco on climate, chides Google | Green Tech - CNET News
Despite Google's lobbying on clean-energy policy and investments in renewable energy, it was Cisco and Ericsson who received Greenpeace's top marks in its ranking of computing vendors' activity on climate change. The environmental watchdog group released its annual Cool IT Leaderboard on Thursday, which judges large IT and consumer electronics companies on a range of criteria related to climate change, including efforts to lower their environmental footprints and commercial efforts in energy and efficiency.
App can help fine-tune your electricity usage - The Boston Globe
The next meter your utility company installs will be a smart one, the industry tells us. (It’s all part of the government’s smart-grid plans, and a potentially a new threat to consumers’ privacy.) Your smart meter may have the ability able to tell you how much juice your dishwasher is using or how efficient your fridge is. But another system, developed by engineering students at Northeastern University, can do a better job of helping you trim your energy bill.
AGs for 5 states eye legal strategy for oil spill - Yahoo! News
The top law enforcement executives for five states will meet to talk about legal options for dealing with the effects of a massive oil spill threatening their Gulf of Mexico shores. The attorneys general from Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas will meet Sunday in Mobile, Ala. A statement said the meeting will discuss legal options, strategies, and preparations for the spill that erupted after a drill rig exploded April 20. Asked if the states may file lawsuits against oil company BP PLC and other firms, a spokeswoman for Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum said he is looking at all possibilities.
War Against a Wind-Rich Super Grid - Green Blog -
After several years of debate, a coalition has emerged around the idea of a strong national electric grid, centrally planned and broadly financed, that would promote renewable energy. The group includes giant investor-owned utilities, public power entities, influential elected officials of both parties and state energy officials, and they speak with a single voice. And they oppose it. The group, the Coalition for Fair Transmission Policy, founded in January, is trying to block the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission from approving a series of major transmission paths from wind-rich areas in the middle of the continent to load centers all over and then spreading the cost of the new lines around the whole country.
Engineers Tap Algae Cells for Electricity
Now researchers at Stanford are inspired by a new idea. They intercepted the electrons just after they had been excited by light and were at their highest energy levels. They put the gold electrodes inside the chloroplasts of algae cells, and tapped the electrons to create a tiny electrical current. It may be the beginning of the production of “high efficiency” bioelectricity. This will be a clean and green source of energy but minus carbon dioxide.
Regulating Small Hydro | Renewable Energy World
Developers of small hydropower projects are seeking big changes in the way their projects are permitted and licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Requests to build small hydro projects, facilities with a capacity of 5 MW or less, have been pouring into FERC, thanks to new tax credits, grants, and initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. "There's a definite increase in interest in the industry and FERC is feeling it in the number of preliminary permit applications and development proposals," said Nancy Skancke, an attorney with GKRSE and chair of the National Hydropower Association's (NHA) Small Hydro Council.
Gov. Ritter signs bill into law to expand geothermal energy production - KWGN
A new state law encourages geothermal energy projects by making it easier for government agencies to cooperate on studies and projects. The bill signed into law Friday by Gov. Bill Ritter also streamlines the process for obtaining geothermal drilling permits.

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