Friday, August 27, 2010

Renewable Energy News, August 27, 2010

For Hurricane Katrina Victims, A Solar Restart
The rooftop of Robert Green’s home bears two unmistakable marks that it is part of the effort to rebuild New Orleans with a new resilience.

There is a safe exit to a secure area of the roof—a feature that needs no explanation for longtime Lower Ninth Ward residents like Green, who lost both his mother and his three-year-old granddaughter in 20-foot-high floodwaters after the Industrial Canal levee broke in the wake of Hurricane Katrina on August 29, 2005.

But in addition to that echo of the tragic past, there is an installation that points to a hopeful future: 15 solar photovoltaic panels.
U.S. energy use in record drop
Energy use in the United States fell nearly 5% last year, marking the largest annual drop on record, according to an analysis of federal data by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Total U.S. energy use fell in 2009 to an estimated 94.6 quadrillion British Thermal Units, down from 99.2 quadrillion BTUs in 2008. To put that in perspective, the average room air conditioner uses about 10,000 BTUs.

Despite the drop in overall energy use, Simon said the study also showed a substantial increase in alternative sources of energy, including gains in solar, hydro and wind power.
Vermont Public Service Board approves plan for smart grid
The Vermont Public Service Board has approved a $68 million plan by the state's largest electric utility for a smart grid program that can help save electricity and money.

The board, which regulates utilities in Vermont, says the plan by the Central Vermont Public Service Corp. will include automated metering, two-way communications systems and other strategies, such as reducing electric demand during peak usage times.
California moves to set up auction market for green energy
The goal is to accelerate the market for small-scale photovoltaic systems by requiring California's three big investor-owned utilities to hold auctions twice a year where developers bid on projects that can be built quickly -- within 18 months -- and plugged into the existing power grid.

By letting the market essentially determine electricity prices rather than the government setting a premium rate to be paid for renewable energy, California hopes to avoid the boom-and-bust cycles that have whipsawed the European solar industry when subsidies have been cut.
Unanimous support for NJ landfill energy bill
New Jersey lawmakers voted unanimously for legislation aimed at opening access to old landfills and quarries for use developing renewable energy facilities. The NJ State Senate passed a bill this week that permits development of solar photovoltaic arrays and wind turbines on dozens of uncapped landfills that are otherwise at risk of leaking into the environment.
Arizona set to become center for algae-based, biofuel industry
Arizonans have cleaned algae from cattle tanks, swimming pools and fish tanks for decades.

Now, Arizona researchers are developing algae as a promising 21st-century alternative fuel to power cars, trucks and planes and propel the state's economy into the future.

With its ideal climate and abundance of available land, Arizona is poised to become a major center of a multibillion-dollar, algae-based, biofuel industry.

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