Published on August 22nd, 2013 | by Zachary Shahan1
Cleantech Buffet (…Philips LED Recall, Al Gore Optimistic, List Of Global Warming Stocks…)
Enjoy today’s cleantech buffet. The best around. And just $0 for all you can read! Links are indeed on the article titles… even though it doesn’t look like it. (Note: don’t skip our own stories! In fact, read those first — we think they’re the most important.)
A leading solar market research firm, NPD Solarbuzz, projects that the booming solar markets in China and Japan are turning this ship around (the broader solar industry ship). In other words, solar corporate margins are shifting to positive thanks to a huge boom in solar PV growth in from the Asia Pacific region, led by China and Japan. I think those of us who follow the industry closely already had a pretty good sense of that, but nice to see it (almost) confirmed. Nonetheless, there’s still a lot of uncertainty that is based on uncertain solar and global warming policies in the region.
If anybody doubts that federal energy regulators are aware of rapidly changing electricity landscape, they should talk to Jon Wellinghoff, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
“Solar is growing so fast it is going to overtake everything,” Wellinghoff told GTM last week in a sideline conversation at the National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas.
If a single drop of water on the pitcher’s mound at Dodger Stadium is doubled every minute, Wellinghoff said, a person chained to the highest seat would be in danger of drowning in an hour.
“That’s what is happening in solar. It could double every two years,” he said.
Innovation is rare in the solar PV monitoring space, where the difference between competing products is often based on detailed features and functions, leaving the impression that all solutions are very similar.
But the latest product announcement from Locus Energy has made a big splash and may change the game in the U.S. residential PV monitoring market.
Next month, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) may rule that French feed-in tariffs for wind power violate EU law, apparently because of a technicality. Are feed-in tariffs throughout the continent at stake?
Solar + Wind
Northern futures, northern voices: It seems everyone has ideas about how Australia’s north could be better, but most of those ideas come from the south. In this six-part weekly series, developed by the Northern Research Futures Collaborative Research Network and The Conversation, northern researchers lay out their own plans for a feasible, sustainable future.
Given what I know from writing about renewable energy and global warming here, what stocks would I invest in? The main goal would not be to make a lot of money (though that would not be a problem if it happened). The goal would be to contribute with my money to the fight against global warming.
For one, I recall having read Warren Buffet’s autobiography (see my post “Warren Buffett and Energy from the Gobi Desert“).
I learned from reading that: When investing in stocks, you should take a long term view. Buy the stock with the intention of holding it for ten years or more. Never mind short term fluctuations and quarterly results.
Another point of the Warren Buffett school of investment is simplicity. Since one is trying to project ten years into the future, keeping things as simple as possible helps.
From the various topics discussed on this blog I will choose one stock each.
Small island states’ economies, societies and ecosystems have been burdened by the need to import oil, natural gas and coal since around the time the fossil fuel era began. Now threatened by the effects of climate change – rising sea levels and ocean acidification prominent among them – island states find themselves raising the risks that threaten the sustainability of their societies.
Now proven in the field and more affordable than ever, developing a diversified mix of renewable energy resources affords island nations a way out of the fossil fuel trap, as well as the means to do their part in mitigating global climate change.
Joining with ten Caribbean island nations, the Carbon War Room, in partnership with The Make Yourself Foundation, last week announced the launch of an Urgency Network Campaign crowdfunding drive to raise $1 million for the Ten Island Renewable Challenge, an initiative that aims to transition 10 Caribbean island nations to 100 percent renewable energy, and then move on to do the same for island nations in the Pacific.
Over the course of the last two winters, the Energiewende’s opponents have warned in the shrillest tones that relying so heavily on PV and onshore wind would cause blackouts and power outages, leaving German industry prostate and German citizens freezing in their homes. None of this came to bear, and Germany posted a new overall export record in 2012 and also exported more electricity than ever before.
While only a relatively small number of Germans already generate their own electricity, an overwhelming majority would like to – and only around a quarter of Germans think power supply should be left up to utilities.
Yikes, the bad news just keeps rolling in for ECOtality. One of the “leading” electric vehicle charging station companies just recently revealed that it’s at risk of going bankrupt. It has had some major EV charging station technical difficulties (see above) and its awarded DOE loan payments have been put on hold. Now, ECOtality is also being sued. It looks pretty nasty.
For Fiat 500e owners who decide to purchase a home EV charger (faster than their own electrical outlets) when they purchase the 500e, they will apparently be getting an AeroVironment charger. AeroVironment is happy to note that this is the 5th major car manufacturer to choose it for such a partnership. AeroVironment claims that its charger “will charge the Fiat 500e in four hours or less versus the approximate 20 hours it would take using a standard 120-volt charging cable.”
Medium-duty electric truck manufacturer Smith Electric Vehicles has signed a letter of intent to form a joint venture with Taikang Technology Corporation in Taiwan. Taikang Technology Corporation, a leading commercial vehicle manufacturer in Taiwan, has twenty-five years of automotive experience and has expertise in upfitting specialized municipal commercial vehicles.
Smith Electric and Taikang Technology Corporation intend to enter into a definitive licensing agreement, which will cover the assembly and distribution of all-electric vehicles in Taiwan, opening up an important new market for Smith Electric.
The vehicles will be Smith Electric branded and the joint venture will help Smith Electric to strengthen and further build its global manufacturing presence. The JV’s first three years of production is anchored by a 5,000-vehicle commitment, including transformation of a significant portion of the country’s municipal garbage truck fleet.
We spoke with John Viera, Global Director of Sustainability at the Ford Motor Company to hear about the latest sustainable innovations.
Ford offers a range of electrified vehicles — hybrids, plug-in hybrids and fully electrified vehicles. For example, the C-Max and Fusion are offered as a hybrid and plug-in hybrid, while the Focus is pure battery electric.
Ford are interested in allowing people to broaden their sustainable lifestyle beyond vehicles. To that end, Ford partnered with Eaton, Whirlpool, SunPower, Nest, Infineon and Georgia Tech in an initiative called MyEnergi Lifestyle to allow home owners to link an electric car with smart appliances and solar panels to significantly reduce the amount of energy that they use by about 60%.
Here’s another case of a top company that sees safe streets for biking as talent recruitment tool. One of America’s largest retailers is chipping in to make cycling more appealing at its new headquarters in downtown Seattle.
Online giant Amazon will pay for the construction of a protected bike lane on Seventh Street along the two-block stretch by its new 3.3 million-square foot office complex. The agreement was negotiated by the city of Seattle in exchange for turning over some public alleyways within the development to the company. Amazon will also pay $250,000 to help study extending the protected bike lane to Pine Street.
Are you a design professional who marvels at the beauty and power of bicycling? An art student who rides to class? A bike enthusiast with graphic skills of any sort? Want to win a free registration to the 2014 National Women’s Bicycling Forum — and be published in the League’s national magazine?
With all the forms of media we come into contact with on a daily basis, the average American is absolutely awash in information from the second she opens her eyes to the moment she plugs her ever-buzzing iPhone in for the night.
Recent studies have found that we now receive 5 times the daily data we did in 1986, consuming more than 34 gigabytes (gigabytes!) of information or 100,500 words on an average day (and that’s just outside of work hours!).
And, honestly, most of that doesn’t stick — we only remember about 20% of what we read.
Three energy efficiency proponents interested in stronger and more cost-effective residential energy codes have reached an unprecedented agreement with the Leading Builders of America, which represents almost 40 percent of the new single-family home market, to support a proposal that could save homebuyers about $850 annually and give builders greater flexibility to meet energy-saving targets.
I just spent the last two minutes unscrewing two Philips LED bulbs from lamps in my home office. And then I came to my computer to write about it.
Why? Because the bulb has been recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission for posing an electrical shock danger.
“A lead wire in the bulb’s housing can have an improper fitting, which can electrify the entire lamp and pose a shock hazard,” reported the CPSC. (Hat tip to Energy Manager Today for catching the news.)
Reportedly, no one has been hurt yet. But the consumer agency recommended immediately taking out the bulbs and unplugging the fixture.
Don’t have any backups? Bulb owners can contact Philips for some free replacements.
As a vocal critic of the Keystone XL pipeline
fiasco proposal, Tom Steyer is hardly alone. Public opinion has definitively shifted against the pipeline, but the oil industry and its political allies are still rolling out an aggressive PR campaign to try to convince Americans that we somehow need the pipeline that will only create a negligible number of actual long term jobs, will almost certainly leak (and leak…), and will end up raising gas prices for Midwestern consumers, since the pipeline is just a way to take tar sands oil out to international (China) markets for higher prices.
Steyer, however, has something that most of us don’t: money to spend on a cause he believes in. We frequently lament the heavy influence of money in politics, but mostly because that money is used to put government programs in place that benefit only those who have the money to begin with. Steyer’s a different kind of political activist: he’s pulling a lot of weight in the argument against Keystone XL, and hopes to drive the economy toward cleaner energy.
Al Gore was vice president of the United States from 1993-2001. Since leaving politics, he’s been heavily involved in the campaign to fight global warming, even winning a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts. And he says he’s more optimistic than ever that the issue has reached “a tipping point.” In this lightly edited interview transcript, he explains why.