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Do Not Buy From James McKirdy; 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid Review; South Africa Solar & Wind Project Orders; High-Speed Rail For Georgia… (Cleantech & Climate Change News Roundup)

For some reason, there hasn’t been a lot of news in the past few days…? But there’s been a bit. Here’s a quick cleantech and climate change news roundup (head on over to our homepage for more news):

Solar Power

AE-AMD Renewable Energy And Tenesol/SunPower Begin Work On Two Solar Projects In South Africa: “AE-AMD Renewable Energy, a joint venture between the Spanish AMDA energia and the South African Alt-E Technologies, and Tenesol, a SunPower company (NASDAQ: SPWR), [last week] announced two South African ground-mounted solar power projects totaling 33 megawatts (MW).  Both projects, which Tenesol will construct, are located near Douglas, South Africa in the Northern Cape Province.”

Do Not Buy a Solar Panel (or Tesla Coil) From James McKirdy: “McKirdy now selling ‘Tesla Coils’ in addition to 50-percent-efficiency solar panels. Mug shot included.”

Wind Power

Vestas Receives 74 MW Order in South Africa: “Vestas has received a firm and unconditional order for 41 V100-1.8 MW turbines for South Africa.”

Energy Efficiency

On-Bill Repayment: A Way To Eliminate The Upfront Costs For Energy Efficiency Projects: “On-bill repayment (OBR) offers an opportunity for home and building owners to finance energy efficiency and renewable electricity generation projects through cost-saving loans from third-party investors. The loans are repaid through customer’s utility bills.  The money comes from private sector lenders at no cost to ratepayers or taxpayers.  OBR also allows for longer term loans with lower interest rates.”

Clean Transportation

Atlanta Mayor Wants High Speed Rail Connection With Savannah: “High speed rail in America is a hot button issue and politicians seem to fall into either love it or hate it camps. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed recently has solidified his place in the love it camp by proposing connecting Atlanta and Savannah with a high-speed rail line.”

One Sentence Review: The 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid: “Ten years ago, if you had asked me what I thought of Hyundai or Kia, I probably would have shuddered, chortled, and gone off on a rant regarding the wretched cheapness of this Korean car brand. My oh my, how things have changed, and no car showcases that better than the 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid. Read on to find out why.”

Chevy Volt: Q&A #4: Here’s the latest YouTube Q&A from Mr. Energy Czar:

Climate Change

Climate Story Of The Year: Extreme Weather From Superstorms To Drought Emerges As Political, Scientific Gamechanger: “This year brought staggering weather extremes, record loss of Arctic ice and a growing body of scientific analysis linking the two. Those extremes, plus Superstorm Sandy, raised public concern about the immediate threat posed by climate change, providing a palpable debunking of the (mistaken) belief that climate change will impact only future generations or people in faraway lands.”

Obama Says Climate Change Will be One of His Three Top Priorities in Second Term: “The president is dropping hints that he’s going to get more serious about climate change in his second term.”

It’s Been 27 Years: “It’s been 27 years since we had a month that was at or below the average temperature of the 20th century. Does that mean anything?”

Expanding Dust Bowls Worsening Food Prospects in China and Africa: “When most people hear the term ‘dust bowl,’ they think of the American heartland in the 1930s, when a homesteading wheat bonanza led to the plowing up of the Great Plains’ native grassland, culminating in the greatest environmental disaster in U.S. history.

“Despite warnings from researchers and some farmers, history repeated itself in the Soviet Virgin Lands Project in the 1950s to early 1960s. Some 100 million acres (40 million hectares) of grassland were plowed under in Russia, Kazakhstan, and western Siberia during Premier Nikita Khrushchev’s push to produce ever more food from the land. When drought hit, the topsoil started to blow away. By 1965, nearly half the newly planted area was degraded by wind erosion. Yields plummeted. Ultimately farmers staged a retreat, abandoning much of that land.”

Fossil Fuels

Ban Lifted On Fracking In The UK: “Fracking, the process of pumping water and chemicals into shale rock at high pressure to extract gas, is a very controversial topic here in America and it seems overseas as well.  United Kingdom (UK) news source The Independent wrote that more than 60% of the British countryside could be exploited for shale gas. Now, the Department of Energy and Climate Change in the UK say the 60% figure is nonsense.”


China to Provide $1.4 Billion Subsidies to Renewable Energy Buyers: “China is all set to deliver 8.6 billion yuan (US$1.4 billion) in subsidies for power generated from renewable sources this year, reveals the latest statement by the Ministry of Finance.

“The funds will be provided to the provincial power grid companies and independent local power grid enterprises which buy power generated from renewable sources at above-market tariffs.  Grid companies are entitled to pay a fixed amount, termed as subsidies, allocated above the benchmark tariffs for coal-fired power in each region.”

Germany releases monitoring report for Energiewende: Last week, “the German government released its own assessment of its success in the energy transition and announced a few policy changes along with a roadmap for future progress.”

“Power market design 2.0”: “In an interview conducted by our German colleagues at the Husum Wind Energy tradeshow in September, Hermann Albers and Thorsten Herdan – the heads of German wind power association BWE and VDME Power Systems, respectively – provide two different perspectives on how German energy policy needs to be revised going forward. Although the conversation is a few months old, it still reflects the discussion in Germany. We provide this text as background reading for the holidays.”

GM Bailout Will Cost Taxpayers as Much as $12 Billion: “‘Government Motors’ no more. The federal government is calling in its loans to General Motors, which received a taxpayer-funded injection of almost $50 billion at the height of the financial meltdown in 2008.

“Over the next 12 to 15 months, President Obama says the world’s largest automaker, which has been turning a healthy profit since 2010, must buy back its remaining 500 million shares from the government. But, unlike the bank bailouts, the government rescue of GM won’t result in a payout for its taxpaying saviors.”

WWF Awards for Innovative ‘Climate Solver’ Award To China Firms: “The World Wide Fund for Nature announced the four winners of its first Climate Solver China Awards in Beijing last week, the first time it selected winners outside Sweden where the initiative began.”

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