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Some more top cleantech news from around the interwebs!

Clean Cars

2014 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive Makes Official, Expensive Debut. “One of the most exciting cars in the electric vehicle world has been the Mercedes SLS AMG E-Cell concept. Well, the official version will be called the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive, and it retains the crazy horsepower, pure-electric power, and insane speeds of the concept.

“And you can only buy it if you live in Europe and can afford to shell out $434,000 $537,000. That ain’t cheap!”

Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo e-Hybrid Offers 416 Horsepower, 67 MPG. “If any luxury car maker has full-on embraced the potential for hybrid technology, it is Porsche. Their latest concept, the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo (which I assume is German for ‘kickass station wagon’), is propelled by a plug-in hybrid system that offers up to 67 mpg and 416 horsepower. In the words of George Takei, ‘Ohhh yessssss.'”

Looks pretty.

California Legalizes Self-Driving Cars. “Mankind has long dreamed about ‘self-driving’ cars, but oddly enough it may be an Internet company, rather than a car company, that makes self-driving cars a reality. Thanks to Google’s lobbying efforts, self-driving cars are now legal in the state of California. The ramifications are huge.”

“Huge,” as in, really, really, really big.

Two Teams Complete Round-The-World EV Journey Days Apart. “The Tesla Roadster driven by Rafael de Mestre managed to complete his round-the-world journey on September 16th. He drove over 16,000 miles in under 80 days, becoming the first person to drive around the world in an electric car.

“His competition meanwhile, two Frenchmen driving the Citroen C-Zero, a modified version of the Mitsubishi i, took 8 months to complete their own 16,000 mile journey.”

Audi Crosslane Concept Is A Sporty Hybrid Coupe Worth Building. “Once boring and easy to passover, hybrid concept cars now represent some of the most interesting machines on the show floor. The 2012 Paris Auto Show has its fair share of hybrids, though on of the most interesting is the Audi Crosslane Concept. Part coupe, part crossover, and part convertible, this stylish hybrid wants to be everything to everyone….

“The electric motor can power the Audi Crosslane Concept 53 miles on electrons only at speeds up to 80 mph for the mpg equivalent of up to 258 mpg, or so Audi claims.”


Solar Power

Communities Purchase Solar in Bulk and Drive Down Costs Together. “Think of it like Costco or Sam’s Club for purchasing solar photovolatics (PV). Some savvy folks in Oregon thought it would be a great idea to buy PV in bulk for their neighborhood to get a big volume discount and share the savings with neighbors.

“So they created the Solarize campaign, which over the last three years has helped Portland add “[more than] 1.7 MW of distributed PV and [establish] a strong, steady solar installation economy” [1]. In fact, so successful was the Portland model that several other communities started their own Solarize campaigns, including Washington State; Massachusetts; Vermont; San Diego, California; and multi-city campaigns from One Block Off the Grid and GroupEnergy.”

How to Build a Simple Solar Concentrator: SolarFlower Tutorials Now Online. “Just over a year ago, I wrote a post about the SolarFlower, ‘an open source solar energy device which can be made from recycled materials by anyone anywhere…’ At that point, the concept was largely, well, conceptual, as designer Daniel Connell had built several of these sun-tracking solar concentrators himself, but the designs weren’t readily available for someone wanting to either build his/her own, or contribute ideas to the project.

“That changed this month: Daniel’s published very detailed tutorials for building a Solarflower.”

The True Cost of Renewable Energy—Reality vs. the LA Times. “Yet again, the Los Angeles Times has published a hit piece on renewable energy masquerading as journalism in a front page article from Friday, ‘Taxpayers, Ratepayers Will Fund California Solar Plants.’

“The article cites a Stanford economist for the conclusion that contracts for new large-scale solar projects are locked in at prices three to four times the market price of power: ‘But outside experts, including Wolak, the Stanford economist, estimate that Ivanpah power (a large solar project currently under construction) is priced at $90 to $130 per megawatt-hour — three to four times the cost of electricity in the state last year.’

“This is a highly misleading apples-to-oranges comparison, and Wolak should know better….”

How solar PV is turning utilities against consumers. “It the solar industry ever harboured any illusions about the challenges it is facing in imposing itself on a sector that has been virtually unchallenged for more than half a century, then they were certainly shattered by a series of attacks on their industry from utilities and pricing regulators over the last few weeks.

“It is now clear – if it wasn’t before – that Australian energy utilities are moving decisively against the proliferation of solar PV in an attempt to protect their revenues and business models, as we predicted they would back in June. This is the claim of the solar industry, and they point to numerous examples of tariff changes, network impediments and the lobbying and influence over regulators.”

Wind Power

American Wind Manufacturers Lay Off 1,100 Workers In One Month, Citing Expiring Wind Tax Credit. “In just over one month, wind manufacturers in the U.S. have announced layoffs of more than 1,130 workers around the country. The layoffs come in states such as Colorado, Florida, and Iowa that are considered ‘battlegrounds’ in national elections.

“Every company shedding employees has blamed the looming expiration of the production tax credit for wind, which is set to lapse at the end of this year.”

Studies: Offshore Wind Potential is Huge. “The U.S. has lagged behind European countries in capturing offshore wind for electricity, but a spate of recent studies suggest that a bigger push might be in order.”

High-Tech Tools Tackle Wind Farm Performance. “From a distance, a wind farm can seem almost placid, turbines turning slowly, steadily, churning out electricity. But there’s more to it than meets the eye.

“The wind, though it can seem consistent, often has varying degrees of turbulence that impact wind turbine performance. Heating and cooling change the wind over the course of the day. A wind farm’s turbines interact in ways that reduce performance and add to structural loads on the turbines, increasing maintenance costs and the overall cost of wind energy.

“Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) are learning how to better understand these issues and are working toward effective solutions for the wind industry. Their goal is to maximize turbine performance and minimize structural loads, which will ultimately result in lower-cost wind energy. Toward that goal, NREL researchers are leveraging the lab’s supercomputing resources and have developed high-tech modeling and simulation capabilities.”

Election 2012

At the heart of Obama’s plan: Clean energy (Romney, not so much). “The two candidates are up with dueling ads today – both feature the candidate talking directly to the camera, and by extension to the American people. Both lay out their vision and their agenda for the next four years. But both couldn’t be more different.”


GridWeek Explores Smart Policy as Enabler of Smart Grid Value. “Empowered energy consumers. Renewable integration. Greater energy reliability. These Smart Grid value propositions are achieved with the right combination of technology, leadership and policy, which will be addressed at GridWeek, Oct. 2-4, 2012, in Washington, D.C.

“Next week, 100+ speakers will explore how to achieve Smart Grid value – for consumers, utilities, and the environment – from an increasingly complex industry landscape. Discussions will center on Smart Grid drivers, utility business issues and opportunities, and lessons from current projects.”

The Demonization Of Clean Tech: The Five Biggest Myths. “The case for technologies that harness renewable resources, improve efficiency, and reduce emissions has never been stronger, and the industry known as clean tech continues to grow at a staggering pace – global revenues for the ‘Big Three’ sectors of wind power, solar PV, and biofuels hit $246.1 billion in 2011 after a decade of annual growth averaging more than 30 percent. But such an all-encompassing classification – spanning clean energy, advanced transportation, advanced materials, and clean water technologies – has lately made the industry an easy target for opposition, especially in the U.S., where divisive national politics have made pragmatism a rare commodity.

“As a longtime analyst at clean-tech research firm Clean Edge and contributor to the recently published book Clean Tech Nation (coauthored by Clean Edge colleagues Ron Pernick and Clint Wilder), I should be on the front lines defending the clean-tech moniker. But given the noticeable intensifying of false debates surrounding clean tech in the last year, it’s worth taking a moment to examine ways in which the industry’s far-reaching identity has opened the door to some misplaced antagonism.”

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Written By

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.


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