Other than our own stories (and have a few more of those coming shortly), here’s some top cleantech and climate news from the past day or so:
Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems Selected to Lead U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Project: “The Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems (CSE) has been selected to receive project funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) SunShot Initiative, a collaborative national effort to make solar energy cost-competitive with other forms of energy by the end of the decade. CSE’s 5-year, $11.7M research project focuses on the development of “plug and play” solar photovoltaic (PV) systems that can be purchased, installed, and connected by homeowners without the need to engage outside consultants or contractors. This project is part of a larger $21M DOE investment aimed at developing technology solutions that reduce the “soft” costs of residential solar PV systems – the non-module hardware costs that now account for a majority of the total cost of residential systems, and represent a significant barrier to wider adoption of solar power in the United States.”
Ontario Opens Window For PV Rooftop Permit Applications: “The Ontario Power Authority (OPA) today ended a long period of uncertainty over its FIT plans when it opened the application window for small photovoltaic projects, with capacities of 10 to 500 kW.”
India Identifies 54 Solar Cities; Releases JNNSM Figures: “It has been announced that 54 cities in India will be designated ‘Solar Cities’. In related news, grid connected photovoltaic projects worth 1.04 GW are said to have been commissioned under the first phase of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM).”
WBHO Building Energy Sign Module And Inverter Deals For 81MW South African Project: “WBHO Building Energy, a construction firm in Southern Africa, has inked two separate module and inverter supply agreements for its 81MW Kathu Solar Facility.”
National Coal Mining Museum Fits Solar Panels: “If you had informed Arthur Scargill that solar panels were to be fitted to a building connected with the coal mining industry twenty eight years ago, at the height of the national miner’s strike, the former leader of the National Union of Mineworkers would have, at very least, probably laughed at you.
“Well, that is exactly what has happened and there has yet to be a mutter of indignation from Mr. Scargill.”
Japan Reaches 1.4GW Of PV Installed Capacity: “Japan’s renewable energy capacity has reached a total of 1.443GW, according to figures released by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI).
“From 1 April until 30 November 2012, solar PV accounted for 1.398GW, an increase of 272MW from the previous month.”
US & Australia Inject US$83 Million In Collaborative Solar Research: “The funding — which was announced by the Australian Solar Institute (ASI), the Australian Minister for Resources and Energy, and the US Ambassador to Australia — has been made available as part of the ASI’s United States-Australia Solar Energy Collaboration (USASEC).
“Commenting on the investment, ASI’s Chief Executive Mark Twidell said: ‘Our funding unites the complementary strengths of both nations to fast track the commercialisation of new solar technologies by lowering costs.'”
Solar Crowdfunding In California: Part 2, Everybody Solar: “Youness Scally founded Everybody Solar in 2011. Its mission is to help nonprofits go solar, thereby benefitting not only the environment but also the nonprofit’s budget. By reducing its power bills, a nonprofit can focus resources on its programs instead of on operating costs. And that helps the community the nonprofit serves. Everybody Solar focuses on local nonprofits that work to help the people with the greatest need in the community or who are doing environmental work.”
Solarcentury Gets Green Light For Eastleigh Solar Farm: “Solarcentury is racing to complete a 6.3MW solar farm near Southampton, after receiving planning permission for the project from the local council.
“The company confirmed late last week that it has received consent from Eastleigh Borough Council to install 25,632 photovoltaic panels at Chalcroft Farm, West End.”
Bikeyface Cartoon Illustrates Traffic Laws: “You know the rules of the road when you’re out riding. Maybe you even teach bike skills as a League Cycling Instructor. But do you know all the bicycling laws in your state?
“Since coming to the League in August, I’ve reviewed more than 2,000 laws related to bicycling. From planning and taxation to funding and traffic, I dusted off and dug in to statutes and administrative codes in each and every state. By researching those primary sources and tapping into great resources compiled by bicycling organizations and agencies, I was able to pull together a comprehensive database of laws. Click here to view bike laws in your state.
“So, while we’re all fans of the Bikeyface cartoon, I was particularly excited to see a recent post that does a great job of giving context to traffic laws.” [Click link(s) above to see cartoons]
The Bike-Sharing World — Mid-December 2012: “There’s a lot going on in the bike-sharing world in December. Read on [link above] for an update from around the world.”
Rinspeed Thinks THIS is the Future of Cars – It’s Not: “These aren’t the cars Gen-Y is asking for, these are the cars that a bunch of aging baby-boomers think kids want. They don’t really understand a youth that’s 2 or 3 generations removed from them, at this point, and that came of age in a credit-driven recession that saw many of their parents lose savings, pensions, homes, and (you guessed it) cars.”
Raleigh, NC Becomes 1st US City To Adopt Wireless EV Charging Project: “Raleigh, NC has become the first US municipality to join the Apollo Program, which tests wireless electric vehicle chargers made by Evatran. The Virginia-based company’s Plugless Power chargers were, as of September, being tested by entities such as Google and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, in addition to Hertz, Duke Energy and the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research.”
The City of Sacremento Brings Evatran’s Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging Trial to the West Coast: “Evatran™, the developer of Plugless Power wireless electric vehicle charging technology, announced today that the City of Sacramento has joined its Apollo Trial Program to test wireless charging technology on its own electric vehicles (EVs). Sacramento will round out the previously announced list of Apollo participants including industry leaders such as Bosch Automotive Service Solutions, Duke Energy, Google, DTE Energy, and The Hertz Corporation.”
Ford’s Math On Hybrid Fuel Economy: Standing By The C-MAX EPA Ratings, Acknowledging Large Real-World Variance: “Basically, Ford is standing by the ratings as determined by the current testing protocols, Nair said, but added that ‘we absolutely agree with EPA that hybrids are far more variable in the test cycle compared to real world driving conditions in conventional vehicles. We are working closely with the agency to determine if any changes are needed for the industry relative to hybrid vehicle testing.'”
Kansas City Says It’s More Than Ready For Plug-In Cars: “San Francisco, Boston, Austin, Los Angeles and the Raleigh-Durham region are among the US metropolitan areas most often cited to be the most electric-vehicle ready in terms of charging infrastructure. Now, Kansas City wants to be added to that list.
“The Kansas City metropolitan area, whose 14 counties straddle the Kansas-Missouri border and have about 2.7 million people, has both enough EV charging stations in operations and in the pipeline to meet any type of forecasted growth for electric-drive vehicles, says Electrify Heartland, an advocate for vehicle electrification in the Kansas City area.”
Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo Hybrid Gets Driven (w/ Video): “I’m a writer, which means I’m also kind of a jerk. It’s true – I actually believe that my opinions are so valid, so compelling, and so correct that you, dear reader, absolutely need to be exposed to them. I’m willing to accept that I’m kind of a jerk, but you have to give me this: the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo Hybrid is the sexxxiest luxo-barge in the automotive universe, green or not.
“The Pana Sport Turismo (which, by the way, should be an espresso drink of some kind) is the latest in Porsche’s increasingly green line-up of sporting cars, following in the footsteps of the high-mpg Cayenne Diesel SUV, the flywheel-hybrid GT3 R racer, and the upcoming 918 uber-exotik speedster; and, with more than 400 combined horsepower available from its multiple powerplants (about the same as a first-gen Dodge Viper), this sleek, Teutonic wagon has more than enough “go” to wear the Porsche badge proudly.”
Renault Delivers 1st ZOE EV: “Renault has presented the keys of the first ZOE electric vehicle to Arnaud Montebourg, French Minister of Industrial Recovery. The first delivery of ZOE comes ahead of further deliveries set for between now and the end of 2012 and mass launch in the Renault network in first-quarter 2013.”
Wind Power Sells at World’s Lowest Rate in Brazil Auction: “Four energy developers agreed to sell power from 10 proposed wind farms in Brazil at the cheapest rates ever.
“Enerfin Sociedad de Energia SA, Renova Energia SA (RNEW11), EGP- Serra Azul and Bioenergy Geradora de Energia Ltda. won contracts to sell electricity to distributors for an average price of 87.94 reais ($42.16) a megawatt-hour, Brazil’s national energy agency Empresa de Pesquisa Energetica said in an e-mail [last week].”
Climate Science Research From Last Week: Over a dozen climate science papers published in the last week.
Can The Oyster Industry Survive Ocean Acidification? “For four frustrating months in 2007, Mark Wiegardt and his wife, Sue Cudd, witnessed something unsettling at their Oregon oyster hatchery: tank bottoms littered with dead baby oysters. Usually, the larvae are grown until they’re three weeks old and a quarter of a millimeter in size — 10 million bunched together are roughly the size of a tennis ball. Then they are shipped to 50-some growers in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. But that summer, the oysters died before they were ready to ship. Whiskey Creek Shellfish Hatchery struggled to fill a third of its orders.”
Climate Change Taken Seriously By Insurance Industry, Study Says: “Paying out billions of dollars here and billions of dollars there has made the global insurance industry a believer in climate change, according to a new study that shows insurance companies are staunch advocates for reducing carbon emissions and minimizing the risk posed by increasingly severe weather events.”
The Water Gap: Interior Department Warns Of Water Shortages In The Colorado River Basin Due To Climate Change: “Climate change and population growth will have serious effects on the water supply in the Colorado River Basin over the next 50 years, according to a newly-released federal study.”
Drivers In The UK Are Sleeping In Their Cars To Cut Fuel Costs: “In a bid to cut back on fuel costs in an economy that seems more and more people finding lower-paying jobs, many people in the UK have taken to sleeping in their cars between shifts.”