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Clean Energy & Transport News Roundup (Maine Solar Policy, Chernobyl Solar, 1889 EV Patent, Autopilot Issues, Self-Driving Mercedes…)

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In today’s clean energy and transport news roundup, we’ve got solar news from Brazil, Spain, Iran, Egypt, Chernobyl, and India, more on Tesla’s Autopilot, a so-called self-driving Mercedes, a 205 mph electric Corvette, Ford Fusion Energi sales, info on Formula E’s third season, and more.

[CleanTechnica isn’t the only Important Media site to cover clean energy & transport news, and if you’re looking for more stories on electric mobility, bicycles, solar and wind energy, and other related issues, we’ve got them at sites such as Solar Love, CleanTechies, Planetsave, Bikocity, Gas2, and EV Obsession.]

Money talks, sensible solar policy walks:

The state of Maine makes a good case study for trying to make sense of the tug of war going on across much of America when it comes to small scale solar power for homeowners and small businesses. A recent article in the Bangor Daily News lays out the arguments for all stake holders clearly and succinctly. As usual in the course of human affairs, it comes down to money, or as the Romans would say, “Qui bono?”

Brazil cancels first solar auction, delays second:

Solar has taken a back seat this year in the first scheduled Brazil solar auction. The event has been cancelled and will not occur until December.

Protected monuments in India may host solar projects:

Media reports quoting sources linked to the Archeological Society of India (ASI) state that a number of protected historical monuments may soon be powered by solar energy. The ASI has received initial clearance from the Ministry of Culture for setting up utility-scale solar power projects at historical sites where vacant unused land is available.

And India may harvest crops along with solar energy:

A government-owned company is looking to grow agricultural crops alongside solar modules. Gujarat Industries Power Company Limited (GIPCL) has partnered with various agricultural universities to grow crops at solar power plants.

Spain considers 3 GW renewable energy auction:

The Spanish authorities are mulling a new 3 gigawatt (3,000 megawatt) renewable energy auction in the country, according to recent reports. Until an actual government is formed in the country, though, nothing is certain.

Italian & Swiss investors to set up Iran’s largest solar project:

According to media reports, unnamed companies based in Italy and Switzerland will set up a 30 MW solar power project in Iran. The capacity will form the first phase of the project, which will expand to an undisclosed capacity in the near future.

Chernobyl could be home to a vast solar plant:

Ukraine is considering a daring new plan to transition to solar power. Thirty years after the worst nuclear accident in history, Chernobyl still strikes fear into the hearts of many. Today, the land around the crippled nuclear power plant — which will remain dangerously radioactive for centuries — is a wasteland unsuitable for human habitation or agriculture.

Chinese firm to build 1 GW solar project in Egypt:

The Chinese firm TBEA SunOasis has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with two Egyptian government agencies to build a 1 GW solar power plant. According to Dr. Sahar Nasr, Minister of International Cooperation, the project would be developed in two phases of 500 MW each.

Iran plans first renewable energy auction:

According to media reports, Iran is planning its first-ever renewable energy auction later this year. The country’s energy minister recently told Bloomberg in an interview that the government expects heavy participation from private sector companies, both in Iran was well as abroad.

Tesla Model S interactive infographic:

An interesting new interactive infographic detailing the Tesla Model S was recently brought to my attention, and seems very much worth sharing here. The interactive infographic was created by “Romtim” on the Tesla Motors Club forum.

The wild wild western history of EVs:

The July 27 edition of Scientific American in 1889 reported that a patent had been granted to one Harvey Dibble of Rapid City in the Dakota Territory for an electric car that drew power from electric wires mounted overhead. The invention was way ahead of its time. Even though electric street cars would become common in many cities shortly, this was the first time such an idea for an electric car had been published. 

The self-driving Mercedes that never was:

Despite the fact that the vehicle’s autonomous functions have been shown unable to compete with Tesla’s Autopilot, and may not even be particularly safe, Mercedes-Benz has decided to advertise the 2017 E-Class as a “self-driving car” … temporarily.

The 205 mph electric Corvette:

Genovation specializes in building electric versions of traditional high performance cars. Its GXE (which is some kind of shorthand for Genovation eXtreme Electric) is a repurposed Corvette Z06. The team removed the standard factory powertrain and crammed in two electric motors with a combined 660 horsepower and 600 ft-lbs of torque. Then it installed 44 kWh of batteries into the transmission tunnel and headed out to the race track.

Some Tesla employees speak out on Autopilot issues:

CNN says it has interviewed several Tesla employees who believe the company has pushed too hard and too fast to get its Autopilot suite of semi-autonomous driving software into the hands of customers. They say they felt the company did not pay enough attention to their concerns and brushed aside their objections — especially Elon Musk.

And the company still isn’t sure of cause of fatal Model S crash:

Tesla representatives have informed the staff of a Senate subcommittee that it is still trying to understand what led to the fatal crash that took the life of Joshua Brown on a Florida highway on May 7. It says either the radar and camera that make up the hardware portion of its semi-autonomous Autopilot system failed to detect a tractor trailer that was crossing the roadway or they saw the truck but misidentified it as an overpass or overhead road sign.

Bulk of Tesla Model X deliveries to Europe will begin when?

Going by a lively forum thread on the Tesla Motors Club forum, around late-September. Quite a number of comments in the thread — from those with confirmed reservations dating from the beginning of March to mid-April — stated that delivery specialists were placing the expected delivery dates between mid- and late-September.

Ford Fusion Energi sales are up:

The Fusion Energi is now the second best selling plug-in hybrid in America. When combined with sales of it sibling, the C-Max Energi, the pair outsells the Chevy Volt. That may be due in part to the Volt’s rather snug interior dimensions compared to the those of the Fusion and C-Max.

A new look for season 3 of Formula E:

This season, the cars will feature a new two tiered front wing that gives them a more aggressive look. The new wing will also be visible to the driver from the cockpit, making it easier to judge where the front corners of the car are during the cut and thrust of competition. The change marks an effort by race organizers to make Formula E stand apart from its fossil-fuel-powered Formula One cousin. Even seemingly small design changes count.

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Derek lives in southwestern New Mexico and digs bicycles, simple living, fungi, organic gardening, sustainable lifestyle design, bouldering, and permaculture. He loves fresh roasted chiles, peanut butter on everything, and buckets of coffee.


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