Sunday, June 26, 2011

Polar Bear Goes to the Beach

From The 30th Annual Sand Sculpture contest at Grand Haven State Park Saturday.

Some green stories, in honor of seeing my first Volt-in-everyday-life yesterday:

  • Joe Nocera of the NYT writes a very nice, must-read op-ed on his experience with driving the Volt over Memorial Day weekend. "The Volt has made a believer out of me", he says, and it shows. Great column.

  • Carl Levin loves his Volt. Took a reporter for a ride around DC. "Watch this", as he floors it to show the power. He's going to challenge Lamar Alexander to a race with the Leaf. I'm not making this up.

  • Will you someday be able to get cash back for using your electric car battery for frequency regulation service to the grid? It's in the works, according to a vehicle-to-grid project from Dr. Willett Kempton at the University of Delaware. Check out this Forbes article for details. And BTW, Denmark is already paying their EV owners, so it's definitely doable once we engineer all electric cars to have the capability.

  • Bill Clinton: "It's the Green Jobs, Stupid". Or, at least that's part of the answer. His piece in Newsweek has more.

  • The mother of all ironies - guess who is getting into the solar business big time. Give up? The answer should be obvious. Yup, it's the Saudis. The world's leader in oil exports certainly has the sun and the money to invest, so they are going to pump $100 billion in clean energy in the next decade. Increased domestic consumption of energy is driving the demand, although the country hopes to export the electricity to neighboring countries - and perhaps globally. Ha ha.... ha. OEEC here we come.

  • Solar-power laptop? Samsung's got one. Affordable too. It's the first sun-powered laptop sold in the US.

  • A report from Ernst & Young (commissioned by the Solar Trade Association) predicts that, due to efficiencies and the price drop in materials, solar energy per watt will cost $1 by 2013, falling from $2 per watt as recently as 2009. We are at $1.50 right now. And the DOE just loaned 1366 Technologies of Massachusetts $150 million to invest in a "radical new way to make the silicon wafers" that will cut the price of a solar cell by 40%. Yes, we will get there. If the Saudis don't beat us to it.

  • Or Indiana, for that matter. Paul Egan of the DNews has been doing a great job on the follow-up on the story about solar company Fronius USA moving from Brighton to Indiana - and check out the answer from the folks at MEDC. Seems they did put an offer on the table. So, give them credit for trying, I guess.

  • Think Progress brings us some nifty charts on the levelized cost of electricity of renewables versus fossil resources, courtesy of the Institute for Local Self Reliance. "The takeaway? While renewables have higher upfront capital costs per MW of capacity, the actual cost of electricity over time is very competitive."

  • Sure wish President Obama would hurry up and get those solar panels on the White House so I don't have to read about it anymore. Yeah, yeah, I know, regulations. Good grief man, don't prove the Republicans right, k?

  • Enbridge has 450 people working on the Kalamazoo River oil spill clean-up; this phase is attacking submerged pools of oil. "Of the 240 surface cleanup sites identified, 151 had been completed". Good to know they are still at it.

    That's it for now, have a great week...