Tag Archives for " clean energy "

Smart Street Lights: More than Just a Pretty Glow

smart streetlight

On the road, the concept of ‘smart street light’ probably doesn’t jump to mind for most of us.

But in the last 5 years, as the boring street light has gotten a smart facelift, that’s exactly what’s been going on.

You might be saying to yourself “Streetlights? They just light our streets at night! What else is there?” Smart street lights – which use bright white LEDs – provide light, of course, but they are much more than that. They’ve got motion sensors, they reduce energy usage and therefore emissions, and they send data back to the utility and city about their energy usage.Continue reading

Tribal Lands Adopting Solar Energy in Innovative Ways

solar-panels-tribal-land

In the last 10 years, hundreds of tribal groups across the US have adopted renewable energy like solar and wind as a way to serve their community needs better.

The type and size of the solar installation depends on the needs and goals of each community. Each group has adopted it in unique ways, from large utility-scale projects where the tribe leases land to a developer, to small solar-plus-storage systems designed to provide electricity to rural homes that are too distant to connect to the electric grid.

Reasons and goals vary among tribes. Some desire greater independence from the utility, while others want to set a higher standard of living for local residents through greater financial independence. Others want to bring electricity to rural households. But one goal is shared: to adopt an energy source that offers clean, renewable electricity.Continue reading

Trump vs. Clinton on Renewable Energy

Presidential candidates on renewable energy

It’s not surprising that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton don’t see eye-to-eye on dozens of issues, but the 2016 election presidential candidates have adopted completely opposite renewable energy strategies.

Perhaps the best way to approach this issue is to start with Trump’s now-infamous 2012 tweet stating that global warming was “created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive”.

When Clinton made mention of this during this year’s first presidential debate, Trump interjected (in a fashion that ruled the entire event) – “I did not, I do not say that.”Continue reading

South Africa: The Continent’s First Solar-Powered Airport

south africa seashore

With the launch of a clean energy project, Africa’s first solar-powered airport has opened up in the Western Cape Province of South Africa.

This is a first for the continent, following the launch of a solar-powered soccer field in Lagos, Nigeria, also the first of its kind in Africa, thanks to Pavegen– an innovative clean tech company headquartered in London, England.

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Concentrated Solar Power: 7 Mind-Blowing Facts

solar to replace fossil fuels

A new, revolutionary technology has emerged called Concentrated Solar Power (CSP), which intensifies sunlight with hundreds of thousands of mirrors.

The Sun has always been regarded as a powerful heavenly body, taking the form of deities dating all the way back to times of antiquity. It’s no surprise that today, technology has also evolved to conjure the power of our Solar System’s star in the form of solar power. Although we’ve dispensed of Egyptian legends surrounding Râ, the almighty Sun God, humans are now going beyond the simple basics of photovoltaics that convert electricity into solar power using the photovoltaic effect.

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Do clean energy projects have adverse effects?

There can always be adverse unintended consequences when we seek to make the world better. The trick is knowing the difference and proceed understanding the whole picture.

When Florida brought in thirsty melaleuca trees to deal with the swampy conditions they never dreamed they would snuff out native species and they would be impossible to eradicate. We need to learn from these lessons and consider the domino effect of what we do. It is great to institute clean energy projects, but we must be cognizant of the potential adverse effects when doing so.

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Future Fuel From Atmospheric CO2

factory_smoke

The global effort to slow carbon emissions may help prevent atmospheric CO2 levels from creeping ever higher, but what’s to be done about the CO2 that’s already in the air?

Stuart Licht and his team at George Washington University may have an answer: convert carbon dioxide into fuel.

Large chemical plants can convert natural gas into a mixture of carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrogen gas (H2), a product called “syngas.” The syngas can be made into methanol and used directly as liquid fuel or further converted into different chemicals and fuel products. The process Licht and his team are working on abandons non-renewable natural gas, and instead uses sunlight, air, and water to produce what he’s calling “sungas.” It sounds like making something from nothing, but the technology is under serious study these days, and Licht’s team at George Washington University in Washington DC is making significant improvements to the current process.

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GOP Excuse for Climate Inaction Ends as China Acts

Image credit: Greenpeace showing the growth in China’s green energy plans

How many times have we heard from the GOP that “We won’t act on climate till China does.”

Last year when the US President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping jointly announced their climate agreement under which China would peak CO2 emissions by 2030 by switching the country to 20% non-fossil energy, Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell was quick to complain that the agreement “requires the Chinese to do nothing at all for 16 years.”

Republican Senator James Inhofe said “It’s not believable for China to claim it will shift 20 percent of its energy to non-fossil fuels by 2030.”

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Why Solar is Surging in 2015

Solar Panels

Civilizations have been harnessing the power of the sun since the 7th Century B.C., when magnifying glasses were used to concentrate the sun’s rays and create fire. 

The modern solar collector was invented by William J. Bailey over a century ago. But in the past 15 years alone, solar power capacity and adoption has seen more leaps and bounds than in the past 2700 years combined. There’s no question that solar power is on the rise. Once regarded as an expensive option for those off the grid, solar power is now well on its way to mainstream adoption, seen everywhere from suburban neighborhoods to the White House. Since 2001, we’ve seen solar power adoption increase by over 700 percent. From 2010 to 2014 alone, U.S. solar capacity has grown by 418 percent—nearly 10 megawatts in just four years.
In reality, the growth we’ve seen is just the tip of the iceberg. Let’s explore four reasons why solar is surging in 2015.

Climate Change

In the past 15 years, climate change has gone from a liberal conspiracy to a very tangible problem. The rate of sea level rise over the last decade is double that of the last century. Global temperatures are on the rise. Oceans are warming and ice sheets are shrinking. The evidence is clear.
Carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions are largely to blame for these changes, with the majority of these emissions resulting from burning fossil fuels for energy production. Because of this, finding a renewable energy source has become a top priority in the fight against climate change. Solar power is a very attractive energy alternative. Not only is solar power emission free, it’s extremely sustainable—the sun produces enough energy in one minute to supply the world’s energy needs for one year. As we continue to look for climate change solutions, expect to see solar power investment near the top of the list.

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Commercial Solar is Back for 2015

While residential solar has been growing steadily, commercial solar hasn’t grown quite as much.

However, new projections state that commercial solar installations are expected to increase 40 percent over the total commercial solar installations from 2014.

The 2015 Solar Investment Index survey commissioned by financial services firm Wiser Capital shows commercial solar is on the up and up.

Survey Says: Solar!

Over 60 percent of the corporate investors who were surveyed said they plan to invest in solar, and are making a priority within the next five years. Another 20 percent said they’ve already invested in solar so far this year, which equals a total of 83 percent of investors expressing “strong interest” in going solar, according to Greentech Media.

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