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As I did in the middle of the month, sharing some stories with you that I never had the opportunity to get to but think you might like to check out. Hope you enjoy them…

Clean Transport

Can Streetcars Save America’s Cities?

In a down economy, pursuing the American dream can be challenging, but restaurant owner Todd Steele was willing to take a chance.

For nearly 20 years, Steele worked all levels of the restaurant game, from dishwasher to general manager, before partnering with his mom and opening his own eatery called Metrovino on Portland, Oregon’s, 11th Avenue streetcar line.

“I would not have picked this spot if it weren’t for the streetcar, and my business has certainly benefited from our location,” Steele said. “Streetcars are also a romantic way to travel, and they are fun to watch from inside Metrovino.”…

Light Rail & Streetcars Becoming More Popular, Transforming Cities

In my graduate studies in city and regional planning, one thing became very obvious to me: cities, by definition and at their best, are densely-populated places. However, with the rapid rise of automobile use, North American cities have been on a low-density trend. Think about it, big vehicles for every individual require tons of big roads, big parking spaces, etc.

One key way to increase density is to provide good mass transit that people will use instead of cars. Attractive, modern mass transit that follows a specific, dedicated line (e.g. streetcars and light rail) is actually as much of a development tool as a transportation option. Building such transit lines results in high-density development, especially near the transit stations, which, for many, means a better city and a better quality of life. (Of course, it is also important to coordinate such transportation planning with with land use planning, but that is a subject for another day.)…

UK Government to Unveil New High-Speed Rail Route

The preferred route for the government’s £17bn high-speed rail line, which promises to whisk passengers from London to Birmingham in just over half an hour, is to be revealed later today….

Wisconsinites Rally Against Governor’s Rejection of Rail Funds

It has become pretty clear by now that the Republican party has become the “party of No.” Can you think of anything the Republican party is actually for, other than tax cuts for the rich?

A few newly-elected Republicans even ran on an anti-high-speed-rail agenda this year. Seriously, what political leader opposes better transportation that creates hundreds of thousands of jobs, improves the economy, and aims to keep the U.S. from being the last country in the developed world without high-speed rail?

Governor-elects Scott Walker of Wisconsin and John Kasich of Ohio carried their anti-rail torches to the finish line this election season, vowing to send over one billion dollars of federal stimulus funds back to Washington. Wisconsin had been awarded $810 million for a 110-mph line connecting Milwaukee and Madison, and Ohio had been awarded $400 million to build a Cincinnati-Columbus-Cleveland route….

Paris to Introduce Self-Service Electric Car Scheme

First Parisians were urged to get on their bikes with an innovative self-service cycle scheme. Now residents of the French capital and tourists who embraced the Vélib bicycle hire scheme will soon be able to zip around town in environmentally friendly electric cars for less than the price of the average bottle of vin de table….

States Ignoring Link Between Transportation and Climate

Report suggests current transportation policy in most U.S. states will likely worsen greenhouse gas emission trends.

With federal policy action on climate and energy appearing unlikely for at least the next couple years, public policy and financial analysts are increasingly turning to state-level analyses to inform policymakers, business leaders about the policy and business landscapes for clean energyenergy efficiency, and in the case of a report released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the link between transportation and greenhouse gas emissions….

Clean Energy

UK Renewables Smash Output Records as Wind Capacity Soars

Government figures show renewable energy supplied 8.6 per cent of total electricity during the third quarter of the year….

‘Tis the season to manufacture: Why “Made in America” is the gift that keeps on giving

Clean energy technology represents a promising area for innovation-led investment where the United States has historically led in dramatic growth and technology-led productivity gains, in turn creating new, well-paying jobs….

San Francisco Pledges Astounding 100% Green Energy by 2020

While some U.S. cities have made substantial gains in clean energy, it’ll be hard to compete with San Francisco’s recently announced goal. Believe it or not, the City by the Bay plans to be 100% green-energy-powered by 2020….

One Person’s Cost, Another’s Opportunity

Transitioning into a new, low-carbon energy future costs money. No doubt about it. Yet the flip-side of cost is opportunity.

Pew just released a new study on Global Clean Power: A $2.3 Trillion Opportunity. Is this just a smart attempt at rebranding the inevitable, or is there more behind this?

Solar Energy

US Army Evaluating Solar Powered Tents

Advances in photovoltaic technology have led to the development of thin, flexible solar cells. It’s possible to build a tent out of them, and the US Army is considering acquiring and using such portable structures….

Solar Power to Cut Colossal Cruise Ship Emissions

Good news out of Los Angeles, where the completion of a 1-megawatt (MW) solar power system covering 71,500 square feet will now allow ships docked between cruises to access some 1.2 million kilowatt-hours of clean, renewable solar power instead of using their diesel generators for shore-side energy needs….

Solar company to hire 100-plus next year in recession ravaged Florida

Mustang Vacuum Systems of Bradenton, which has plans to expand operations over the next few years, will create and fill 125 jobs next year. The manufacturer of machines for solar cell equipment intends to hire about 10 employees by the end of March. After that, Mustang will created jobs for welders, fabricators, assemblers and mechanical engineers….

Cost of Solar Dips to All-Time Low in US, Texas Tops List as Cheapest

A complex mix of market forces and policy incentives contributed to a historic low for the average cost of installing solar panels in the U.S. in 2009, according to a new study by researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Perhaps the most important finding of the study, however, is that decreases in the cost of producing solar modules, which traditionally lag behind a few years before they are passed on to the consumer, are contributing to a “significant decline in average installed costs” for 2010….

NRG Energy to Buy Rights to World’s Largest Solar Project

A power company with headquarters in New Jersey agreed to acquire rights to the world’s largest operational solar project for $800 million, according to published reports.

When construction is completed in 2014, Agua Caliente of Yuma County, Arizona will be a 290-megawatt generator that will encompass 2,400 acres of land. The purchaser, NRG Energy of Princeton, New Jersey, is buying from First Solar, a Tempe, Arizona photovoltaic developer and manufacturer….

Wind Energy

Vestas confirms Fallago Rig deal

Vestas reveals it has won contract to supply 48 turbines to controversial borders wind farm….

Geothermal Energy

And if you’re interested in geothermal:

GEA Geothermal Energy Finance Forum 2011

Wednesday, February 9, 2011
8:30am-5:00pm Finance Forum
5:00pm-6:00pm Networking Reception
The Ritz-Carlton, Battery Park, New York, NY

Photo: Michael | Ruiz; US Army; Port of San Diego

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

Zachary Shahan has 7289 posts and counting. See all posts by Zachary Shahan