Cleantech & Climate News Of The Day

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Yep, you should make sure you scroll down our home page for the hottest cleantech news and commentary, but for some “almost the hottest” cleantech news and commentary from the past day or so, here’s a curated list of goodies:

Solar Power 

Australia Solar PV Market – Contraction Seen in 2013: “Each year about this time, SunWiz sits down for a few days brainstorming with Nigel Morris (Solar Business Services) in which we gaze into a crystal ball and forecast how much solar power will be installed in Australia over the next five years. Last year the crystal ball was clouded by the inevitability of a roll-back of feed-in tariffs and a severe reduction in solar multiplier, which at one stage we feared could have crippled the solar industry…. Whether paradoxically or ironically, the reduction in government incentives unleashed a Solar Tsunami, to the point where SunWiz is confident that 1 GW has been installed in 2012. When held up to the sun, our crystal ball for 2013 reveals a mixed story, with hope for some and disappointment for others. Government incentives for solar PV can’t really get lower, but this doesn’t mean the worst is over.

“Foreign Sales Bigger than Domestic for the First Time:” “Our survey of executives in the solar sector continues today. The German solar power experts that our Heiko Schwarzburger spoke to believe that exports will exceed imports as the German market shrinks and focuses more on direct consumption.”

France Net Power Exporter Except to Germany: “Yesterday, French grid operator RTE released a slideshow, revealing that the country’s power consumption continues to grow – and that France remains the largest power exporter in Europe, though it continues to be a net importer to Germany.”

juwi Begins Construction on 48 MW in Thailand: “German photovoltaic developer juwi has announced that is has begun construction on a project that will see five solar parks, with a combined capacity of 48 MW, developed in Thailand. The power power plants will be equipped to deal with floods, such as those that took place in Thailand in 2011.”

Dow Corning and Crystal Solar to Partner on High-Efficiency Silicon Venture: “Silicon manufacturer Dow Corning and start-up Crystal Solar have announced a business relationship to develop high-performance silicon-based materials for PV cells and modules…. The two companies also plan to jointly develop new products for building-integrated PV applications.

Japan Considers FIT Reduction for PV Installations: “The Japanese Ministry of Economy has announced that Japan installed 1,398MW since April last year…. A committee was convened to consider possible changes to the current feed-in tariff for PV installations. The current rate of ¥42 (US$0.525) per kWh will end with the closing fiscal year…. The government document states that project proposals with a combined capacity of 3,262MW have already been submitted…. Furthermore, the government expects a total of 2GW of newly installed PV capacity for the fiscal year of 2012.

Jamaica Receives Strong Response to 115MW Renewable Energy Tender: “The Jamaican Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) has received a positive response to its call for renewable energy projects following the issuing of a 115MW renewable energy tender.”

Clean Transport

Obama Becomes First Prez to Walk Down a Bike Lane on Inauguration Day: “The networks were busy tripping over themselves trying to point out all the “firsts” during yesterday’s inauguration ceremonies. But when Barack and Michelle Obama stepped out of the presidential motorcade to greet well wishers on Pennsylvania Avenue, they missed a huge one: Obama is now the first U.S. president to walk down a bike lane during his inauguration.”

Road Diets Are Changing American Cities for the Better: “If it can work on Edgewater Drive in Orlando, it can work anywhere…. This road diet — or “street rightsizing” — removed one traffic lane on a four lane road through 1.5 miles of the city’s College Park neighborhood. Since then, traffic collisions are down 34 percent. Pedestrian activity increased 23 percent and cycling rose 30 percent.”

Echo Automotive Demonstrates New Fleet Vehicle Hybrid Technology: Echo Automotive, “a developer of technologies enabling the cost-effective conversion of existing fleet vehicles into fuel efficient hybrids,” just today launched “a multi-mode hybrid technology aimed directly at significantly improving the economic performance of fleet operations.”

Japan’s Sporty Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle is an Emissions Free Dream Car: “We recently had the opportunity not only to see this sporty fuel cell vehicle from Japan, but to actually get in and pretend to drive off into the Abu Dhabi sunset. Featured at the World Future Energy Summit last week, this dreamy sports car was designed by students at Osaka Sangyo University using parts taken from the open market. And we loved it. Browse through our gallery of this emissions-free diamond in the rough and learn more about what makes it tick.”

Consumer Reports Buys Tesla Model S. Yes, We’re Jealous: “Lucky them. That’s our opinion of Consumer Reports, which really took one for the team by taking delivery of its Tesla Model S last week. The organization is noted for purchasing most of the vehicles it tests rather than reviewing ones loaned to them by manufacturers…. The institute groused about waiting for more than two years after paying its $5,000 deposit to receive the goods. While the car’s base price is $57,400, Consumer Reports managed to jack that up to an $89,650 tab by opting for the largest 85-kwh battery pack (good for a 265-mile single-charge range) as well as leather interior, air suspension and other goodies. The publication also complimented Tesla for making the purchase possible without a dealer visit – the car, which won 2012 Car of the Year golden calipers from Motor Trend, was ultimately delivered on a flatbed.

Wheego Electric Cars Adds Nimnicht Family of Dealerships in Jacksonville, Florida: Wheego has announced that “the Nimnicht Family of Dealerships In Jacksonville, Florida will represent the Wheego line of electric vehicles.”

Toyota Prius Production Finally Coming To America? “Though the Toyota Prius may not be the sexiest green car, and it certainly isn’t the fastest, it is by far the most popular and best-known hybrid in the world. For years now, Toyota has been hinting that production of the Prius could move to America, where manufacturing costs are cheaper. Top executives are now hinting that Prius production will move to the places where they are “popular”; is an American-made Prius coming soon?”

A123 Expects Wanxiang Sale to be Finished by Feb. 1: “The bankruptcy proceedings for A123 Systems are moving relatively smoothly toward completion, and it looks like Wanxiang America Corp. and Navitas Systems LLC should complete the transactions within the guidelines of the court-ordered asset purchase agreements by February 1, 2013.”

Tata eMO Electric Vehicle Still on the Drawing Board: “A mystery still shrouds the presence of Tata Motors in the US auto market. The Tata eMO concept car received a lot of attention and praise a year ago at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show as an “electric mobility study.” Oh, and because it sported a $20,000 price tag and roomy interior. On the gasoline side of the ledger, the redesigned Tata Nano may or may not be available in the US within three years for under $10,000. But where does the eMO stand?”

Mitsubishi i for Just $69 a Month in this Outrageous Lease: “It has become readily apparent to automakers that consumers aren’t willing to pay much of a premium for pure electric vehicles. This has led to cost-cutting across the board, though an Illinois Mitsubishi dealer has undercut everybody with a $69-per-month lease deal on the Mitsubishi i electric vehicle. How is that even possible?

Nissan Lays Out Upcoming Hybrid Plans, Featuring Resonance Powertrain: “Alongside a continued strong push for all-electric vehicles, Nissan announced plans to introduce 15 new hybrids by 2016 at the recent Detroit Auto Show, including the Altima sedan, Murano crossover andPathfinder SUV. Neither the Pathfinder nor Murano are currently available as hybrids, and the Altima hybrid went out of production with the 2011 model year, so this would likely be a re-launch for 2014.”

Ford Says EPA May Revise Hybrid Efficiency Test Methods: “Ford received a lot negative attention and a federal class action lawsuit for advertising their new C-MAX hybrid and the Fusion hybrid’s 47 MPG efficiency. It all came to a head after Consumer Reports stated that the fuel efficiency ratings obtained from their own test results were 17% and 21% lower than the EPA fuel efficiency that Ford claimed. This backlash could lead to new hybrid vehicle testing methods from the EPA.”

Coda Circling The Drain With More Layoffs, Slashed Prices: “It always sucks to see an innovative company with great ideas go under, and the green energy movement has had its fair share of casualties. But in all honesty, we don’t think anybody is surprised to see electric car maker Coda struggling to make any headway with their Chinese-built EV. With news of more layoffs and dealers slashing prices by 40%, it seems as though the writing is on the wall for Coda.”

High-Performance Micro-Sized Si-C Composite for Li-ion Anodes Offers High Tap Density for High Volumetric Capacity: “A team at Penn State University has synthesized a micro-sized silicon-carbon (Si-C) composite consisting of interconnected Si and carbon nanoscale building blocks as anode materials for Li-ion batteries (LIBs). The Si-C composite, produced by a low-cost and large-scale approach, exhibits a reversible capacity of 1459 mAh/g after 200 cycles at 1 A/g with a capacity retention of 97.8%, with high-rate performance of 1100 and 700 mAh/g at current densities of 6.4 A/g and 12.8 A/g.”

Nikkei Reports Announcement Pending on Toyota Providing BMW with Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology; BMW Prototype by 2015: “The Nikkei reported that Toyota Motor Corp. is close to an agreement with BMW AG to provide that company with drivetrain and storage technology for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. In June 2012, the two companies had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at long-term strategic collaboration in four fields: joint development of a fuel cell system; joint development of architecture and components for a future sports vehicle; collaboration on powertrain electrification; and joint research and development on lightweight technologies.”

Climate Change

Lessons From Past Predictions: Ridley vs. IPCC and Hansen: “As we have now shown several times, the IPCC surface temperature projections have been exceptionally accurate (although they have under-predicted many other climate variables, such as Arctic sea ice extent and sea level rise).  Ridley would have been wise to simply argue that a linear 0.1°C warming prediction is not terribly wrong yet, rather than trying to incorrectly claim that his prediction has proven more accurate than those made by the IPCC and James Hansen.  In reality, his is not even close to the accuracy of the IPCC.”

The Onion2012 Was Once Considered Hottest Year On Record, Man In 2024 Remembers Wistfully: “NEW WASHINGTON—Marveling at how dire things seemed in the relatively stable days of 12 years ago, Alan Gibson, 41, a local man of the year 2024, wistfully recounted on Wednesday the then-record temperatures recorded in the United States in 2012. ‘To think that we were concerned about a 55.3-degree average is almost comical, but then, I guess at that point we must have still had some kind of perceivable ozone layer,’ Gibson said fondly while reapplying the full-body coat of UV-resistant resin he and his fellow citizens of the 43 contiguous United States wear at all times. ‘Today, you wouldn’t think twice about a 96-degree day in the middle of February, but a mere decade ago you would look up at the skies waiting for snow. Christ, those were the days, man.’ Gibson then recounted at length to reporters the story of how he and his family narrowly escaped the Eastern Seaboard during the abrupt and tragic events of March 2019.”

Climate Change and the Cult of the Presidency: A summary of this story doesn’t quite do it. Just click through and go read the whole thing.

President Obama, Consider this Your ‘Need-to-Do’ List: Greenpeace’s 5-point list for Obama. (Yes, if you read the post just above this one, I recognize the irony — I think there’s value in both.)

White House: ‘We Are Going To Achieve The President’s Goal Of Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions By 17 Percent By 2020′: “I attended the Environmental and Clean Energy Inaugural Ball in DC Monday night. That is the smaller, wonkier ball, the one without…. A number of White House and Cabinet officials made clear that Obama meant it when he emphasized action on climate and clean energy in his second inaugural. For instance, Heather Zichal, Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, told the crowd, ‘Energy and climate policy are going to be a top priority’ in Obama’s second term.

Obama Wins Praise Abroad for Climate Change Goals: “U.S. President Barack Obama won praise abroad on Tuesday for his pledge to lead the fight against climate change, which has faltered as nations argue over who should foot the bill to lower carbon emissions.”

Looking at History and Seeing a Grim Future for the World’s Coastal Cities: “Justin Gillis tags along with researchers who are trying to pinpoint just how much of the world’s coastlines will be inundated by dramatically rising sea levels. By looking at historical records scientists are beginning to paint a grim picture.”

Climate Patriotism: Sierra Club Endorses Civil Disobedience For First Time In Its History: “For civil disobedience to be justified, something must be so wrong that it compels the strongest defensible protest. Such a protest, if rendered thoughtfully and peacefully, is in fact a profound act of patriotism…. For us, [the wrong] is the possibility that the United States might surrender any hope of stabilizing our planet’s climate.”

History Shows U.S. Can Tackle Pollution And Climate Change: “President Obama’s strong remarks on climate change yesterday left the environmental community hopeful that actions will soon follow his words. The Center for American Progress has laid out a blue print for how the President can move forward on climate change and energy, and most of those recommended actions can be taken now through executive orders, including setting carbon-pollution standards for existing power plants, oil refineries, and other major industrial sources under the federal Clean Air Act.”

Uncertainty about Climate Change is Reason for More Aggressive Action: “I’ve done some writing about uncertainty and the role it plays in climate change analysis. (See: herehere.) I continue to think that it’s one of the most widely misunderstood aspects of the mess we’re in. Insofar as uncertainty enters climate discussions, it’s usually in dopey arguments over whether ‘the science is settled.’ In fact, it’s true both that the basic science is settled and that we face enormous uncertainties about climate impacts and their cost. We need to start dealing with those uncertainties in a more sophisticated way.”

Incoming! New Report Notes 14 “Carbon Bombs” Threatening To Blow The Global Carbon Budget: “The general scientific consensus is that the average global temperature cannot be allowed to warm more than two degrees Celsius [3.6°F] in order to avoid catastrophic climate change. In fact, a two degree rise alone would threaten the water supplies of hundreds of millions of people, lead to global crop declines, bleach coral reefs around the world, and drive up ocean acidification.” (Yep, this one could very well go into the next section.)

Fossil Fuels

Nebraska Governor Approves Revised Keystone XL Pipeline Route through State: “Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman approved the revised route of the Keystone XL pipeline through his state. The governor sent a letter to President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, notifying them of the accepted Nebraska route.”

Two Hopeful Signs The Obama Administration Will Not Approve Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline: “50-50. Those were the odds you could get in DC for a bet on whether or not Obama would ultimately approve the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline…. But this week I think the odds turned against the pipeline, for two reason.”

Governor Inslee Calls Coal Exports ‘The Largest Decision We Will Be Making As A State From A Carbon Pollution Standpoint’: “Newly-minted Washington Governor Jay Inslee has been lauded for his impassioned views on environmental issues from climate change to renewable energy.  Indeed, his first official act as governor was to write a letter to a clean energy company inviting it to relocate to the state…. In his first press conference as governor last week, Inslee addressed another aspect of the climate change fight in the Pacific Northwest:  proposed coal export terminals that would allow for the shipping of 150 million of tons of coal every year from public lands in Wyoming and Montana’s Powder River Basin abroad.”

Climate Change At Fault For Massive Andes Glacier Melting: “New research into the continued decline of glaciers around the planet is not new, yet nevertheless these studies remain critically important to understanding our impact upon the environment and the sort of world we will be living in ten years from now.”

State Department Receives New Report On Climate Effects Of Keystone Pipeline: “Four days before President Obama promised, during his second inauguration address, to combat climate change, officials at the US State Department received a new report by scientists which details how a particular byproduct of the Keystone XL pipeline — ‘Petroleum Coke’ — renders the project even more dangerous to the climate than previously estimated.”

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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.

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