Some more top cleantech news of the past couple weeks, to go along with the 60+ articles we’ve published.
1. Despite recent/upcoming solar feed-in tariff cuts, UK energy minister Greg Barker announced a ramp-up of the UK’s solar power ambitions last Thursday. Barker thinks the UK will have 4 million solar-powered homes by 2020.
3. Vestas’ chairman, deputy chief executive, deputy chairman, and chief financial officer (CFO) have announced they’re stepping down from their positions at Vestas, following a rough 2011.
4. China has now banned its airlines from participating in the EU’s emissions reduction scheme, continuing a long controversy over this issue (which we’ve written about many times)—it did so on the even of a big China-EU summit last week. Additionally, the U.S. Congress is moving a bill forward that expresses formal opposition to the EU requirement that non-EU airlines operating on the continent participate in the carbon emissions scheme.
5. SunRidge Farms, an organic and natural foods company, celebrated its 30th birthday recently by expanding its use of solar energy. (Full disclosure: I’m primarily including this in the roundup because I love some of their products.)
6. Burbank Water & Power (BWP) and AHBE Landscape Architects recently unveiled California’s 1st sustainable utility campus, the EcoCampus. “Never before have so many different sustainable landscape technologies been integrated into a single industrial campus,” Ron Davis, BWP’s general manager, notes. it really is completely full of progressive, environmentally friendly technologies—check out the link above for more.
7. Ecotech Institute, reportedly “the first and only college entirely focused on preparing America’s workforce for careers in renewable energy and sustainability,” has grown its student population to about 400 in its first year. Hopefully, it won’t take long for it to hit another 400.
8. GreenCharge, a new green iPhone app, offers a cool platform for viewing your driving patterns, checking out your charging costs, and seeing your environmental brownie points. The video above has more.
9. Scottish Enterprise has gotten a £50-boost to advance renewable energy in the UK. “The UK Government confirmed that the UK-wide consortium bid from Ocean Energy Innovation, Carbon Trust and the National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec), has been selected to set up the £50 million Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult project, funded by the technology strategy board.”
10. easyJet, the largest airline in the UK, “will be the first airline to support the development and trial of the innovative new electric green taxiing system (EGTS),” the company noted last week. Approximately 4% of all the fuel easyJet uses is used when taxiing. It is partnering with Honeywell and Safran on this trial.
11. The small wind sector is also to get hit hard by UK feed-in tariff cuts, industry leaders recently announced. “Household & business-scale wind turbines have been deployed in line with the Government’s predictions – if anything, deployment has not been as strong as we would have hoped because of the difficulty of securing planning permission for even small wind turbines,” RenewableUK’s Director of Policy, Dr Gordon Edge, said. “The Government points to capital costs for some turbines coming down – but overall project costs have been rising across the technology sizes and manufacturers will face real dangers with the proposed cuts – we want to work with Government to ensure lower costs for consumers and protection for our UK-wide industry.”
12. Palo Alto, California looks like it’s going to have a feed-in tariff for solar in place soon. If Palo Alto’s City Council passes the feed-in-tariff pilot program, it will go into place on March 5, 2012. “It’s a pilot program for the City of Palo Alto Utilities (CPAU) — the first year is capped at 4 megawatts and meant for medium-sized commercial rooftops with a minimum size of 50 kilowatts per installation,” Greentech Media reports. “The FIT is applicable to solar only, although other renewable energy sources could be considered later on. The city will pay $0.14 per kilowatt-hour for 20-year contracts.”
13. Solar Junction, which develops high-efficiency multi-junction cells for the concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) market and holds a world record in that arena, has secured $19.2 million more and a new partner for ramped up manufacturing of its solar cells, which have an efficiency of 43.5%.