Sunday, February 06, 2011

Super Bowl Sunday Paper: February 6, 2011

Carp River at Lake of the Clouds, Porcupine Mountains. 1000 px of summer goodness here.

Green picture, green bunch 'o links I need to get off my computer. Here is a renewable energy Super Bowl Sunday round-up:

  • The debate continues on whether or not we can get one million electric vehicles on the road by 2015. (And yes, he did say "electric" vehicles in the SotU address, although the Obama administration has also used the words "advanced technology" vehicles before as well - which can blur the line a bit). All depends on the manufacturers meeting the production targets, and those numbers seem to keep growing everyday. Keeping the tax credit will be a major factor as well. So, yeah, it's doable. Fred, what say you?

  • The infrastructure is slowly coming on line; Schoolcraft College in Livonia is one of the latest to have ChargePoint stations installed, and Westland is touting their new charging station along with other green efforts in the city. And no, Fred, electric cars do not pose a problem for the grid at this point. Car companies have been working with city officials and utility companies well in advance of production, and unless everyone in your immediate neighborhood gets an electric car (unlikely), utility companies don't foresee a lot of problems.

  • Off the cars and back to the communities: The city of Allegan has accepted the "Michigan Green Communities Challenge", and will contract an audit of their energy usage to see where "improvements can be made and where renewable energy systems can fit." The city is looking at the idea of using the Allegan Dam to generate electricity (again), generating electricity from biomass at its water treatment plant, and installing more solar panels at various sites.

  • Wyandotte is looking at a 10MW biomass generator for their electricity needs, provided they don't piss off the contractors who are installing it first. Go read to see. Or, don't. Local politics can get pretty messy. Holland is looking at a plant that will turn biomass waste into ethanol, and taking the waste from that and turning it into electricity. Cool stuff.

  • Dow reported a record year for sales for 2010; $6 billion with a net income of $866 million, and the polycrystalline silicon business through Hemlock Semiconductor played a substantial role in that. Polycrystalline silicon is used to produce wafers for solar modules, and apparently Dow is cashing in on the export side. The US controls 40 percent of the global polysilicon market - maybe we should qualify this stuff as a rare earth and slap the same export restrictions/taxes on it that the Chinese do with their materials...

  • President Obama is out pushing for those green energy jobs, making a stop in Pennsylvania last week to talk about the Better Buildings Initiative. The program calls for 20 percent improvement in energy efficiency by 2020, which would save the U.S. $40 billion a year. He would end "tax subsidies for oil, natural gas and other fossil fuels" to make it happen. Something tells me Fred won't like that. The President will be in Marquette this week to tout wireless internet technology at Northern, and all I can say is: Dude. February? OK. Check out the ice climbing in Munising. Have a good time.

  • "Winning the future" takes money - and the federal government's investment of $151 million in 37 clean energy ideas is starting to draw the private venture $$ into technology that might not have had a chance to get off the ground otherwise. Go read the NY Times article about the first round of ARPA-E projects, including two that have a direct connection to Michigan's lithium-ion car battery business.

  • And for our Yooper folks, who are all decked in their green and yellow Packer clothes by now, one last link. The Michigan Magnet Fund has promised $10 million to the Verso Paper Corp. renewable energy project at its Quinnesec Plant. The project, which got underway last year, will help the plant meet 95 percent of its energy needs using renewable biomass sources. That is expected to create an additional 50 jobs in the area, on top of the 475 already working there.

    Standing in solidarity with our UP citizens today - Let's go Packers!