Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Renewable Energy News, May 4, 2010

Peter Welch says Vermont would get job boom out of Home Star energy bill | The Burlington Free Press | Burlington, Vermont
Vermont's lone representative to the U.S. House says a bill designed to make homes more energy efficient would help create jobs. Democratic Rep. Peter Welch says the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act being considered by Congress would create 170,000 jobs nationally in construction, retail and manufacturing.
Official Google Blog: Not merely tilting at windmills — investing in them too
On Friday we made our first direct investment in a utility-scale renewable energy project — two wind farms that generate 169.5 megawatts of power, enough to power more than 55,000 homes. These wind farms, developed by NextEra Energy Resources, harness power from one of the world’s richest wind resources in the North Dakota plains and use existing transmission capacity to deliver clean energy to the region, reducing the use of fossil fuels. Through this $38.8 million investment, we’re aiming to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy — in a way that makes good business sense, too.
Solar Marketing Strategies: Smart Grid Standards Must Come First
Technology adoption is all about standards. To succeed with consumers, one firm's gadget often has to work with other gadgets from other firms. Technology moves so quickly that standards set by committees usually come too late. Instead, the industry organizes itself around de-facto standards championed by single firms with the clout to make them stick. For example, as Intel has done with microprocessors. Early adopters who are using Smart Grid Investment Grants (SGIG) are currently choosing hardware, software and communications technology well before most of the relevant standards have been settled. This creates enormous *risk* in the minds of the public. The possibility of selecting the wrong vendors or technologies is keeping a lot of people from participating, thereby delaying mainstream adoption of smart grid products and applications. Smart grid standards would help remove this barrier to adoption and open the door to mainstream markets. The only question is, who has the clout to establish a de-facto standard that the rest of the industry can follow and benefit from?
Op-Ed Columnist David Brooks - American Power Act - NYTimes.com
In 1860, Samuel Curtis, a Republican congressman of Iowa, sponsored a bill to create a transcontinental railroad. The debate over that public-private partnership was long and messy. Democrats said the proposal was unconstitutional. Others rightly argued that it meant huge giveaways to the rich. But the railroad effort, backed by Abraham Lincoln, swept forward. “Nations are never stationary,” Representative James Campbell told the House. “They advance or recede. We cannot remain inactive ... without the loss of trade, of commerce, and power.” After the legislation was approved in 1862, there were continual setbacks. The Union Pacific Railroad languished. Scandals mounted. Yet despite it all, the final spike was hammered into place at Promontory Point, Utah, in 1869, linking the nation and heralding a new burst of prosperity. When you read that history, you’re reminded that large efforts are generally plagued by stupidity, error and corruption. But by the sheer act of stumbling forward, it’s possible, sometimes, to achieve important things.
Energy innovation is the railroad legislation of today.
Connecticut energy overhaul debate is put on hold | News from southeastern Connecticut
Late Monday night, state Senate leaders postponed debate on a massive proposal to overhaul state energy policy, pushing a vote back at least until today and leaving its fate unclear. But any visitor wondering about the scope and import of the bill needed search no further than the crowds of lobbyists, activists and aides clustered in the marble hall outside the Senate chamber.

The attempt to make the most sweeping changes in Connecticut's electricity markets since their deregulation in 1998 has provoked an aggressive show of force by power companies, business interests, environmentalists and advocates for consumers, the elderly and the poor.
USDA Invites Applications for Renewable Energy Funding
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is seeking applications to increase the production and use of renewable energy sources. Funding is available from four USDA Rural Development renewable energy programs authorized by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Farm Bill).

"This funding will help spur investments in technologies that will reduce reliance on fossil fuels, conserve natural resources and help build a sustained renewable energy industry in rural America," Vilsack said. "Support provided by USDA through these programs will not only benefit the environment, it will create green jobs and help America become more energy self-sufficient."
NREL Releases Assessment of Green Power Programs| Solar Industry
The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has released its annual assessment of leading utility green power programs. Under these voluntary programs, consumers can choose to help support additional electricity production from renewable resources such as solar and wind.
Opinion: Oil Slick You Can't See Threatens the Entire Ocean - Bill McKibben
If you think that slick of oil spreading across the Gulf of Mexico is a nasty sight ... well, it is. And so we'll probably do something about it. Within hours of the crude reaching the coast, an aide to President Barack Obama said new offshore drilling would be put on hold. But here's the problem: An even bigger slick -- this one of acid -- is spreading across the entire ocean. It's doing damage far more profound than even the oil. But since you can't see it, nothing's happened.
Study outlines offshore energy prospects in Virginia | newsleader.com
The development of a turbine manufacturing industry along Virginia's coast is key to creating jobs and reducing the costs of offshore wind energy, according to the most detailed analysis yet of the state's offshore wind prospects. The report by the Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium concludes that the development of an offshore supply industry in Hampton Roads would generate thousands of jobs and reduce the estimated kilowatt hour cost of energy generated by wind turbines off the coast.

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