California’s Senate has just passed some important new renewable energy legislation that will, if approved in the Assembly and signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown, require utilities operating in the state to obtain one third of their electricity from renewable sources of energy such as wind, solar or geothermal. This is a big increase from the current 20% targets set by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in a 2009 executive order.
Steven Chu, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary has announced up to $338 million in Recovery Act funding for the exploration and development of new geothermal fields as well as for research into advanced geothermal technologies. The newly announced grants will be awarded to 123 projects in 39 states and will be matched more than one-for-one with an additional $353 million in private and non-Federal cost-share funds, for a total grant pool of $691 million. This is a pretty big number and represents a major investment in a promising and yet often overlooked renewable energy resource. Recipients of the new grant funding include private industry, academic institutions, tribal entities, local governments, and DOE’s National Laboratories.
Call for Papers: American Society of Mechanical Engineers 2010 4th International Conference on Energy Sustainability
The American Society of Mechanical Engineers will be hosting the 2010 4th International Conference on Energy Sustainability on May 17-22, 2010. This exciting event meant as a forum for exchange of innovative ideas, leading edge concepts, new technologies and devices, ongoing R&D efforts, prototype and demonstration projects, commercialization technologies and projects, and visions of the future related to the general theme of Energy Sustainability. The conference will consist of plenary talks, invited talks, panel discussions, workshops, tutorials, technical sessions, poster presentations, and exhibitions. The conference provides a unique opportunity for communication and collaboration between academia, industry and planners in the areas of Solar Energy, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy and Advanced Energy Technologies. Abstracts are invited in any relevant policy and technology areas.
The sun can help coal fired power plants burn less coal by pre-heating the water used to make high pressure high temperature steam during periods when the sun is shining. In other words the sun would do part of the work of producing high pressure/ high temperature steam and in this manner the overall hybrid solar/coal power plant would use less coal than a coal only power plant would need to produce the same amount of electric power.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) recently announced their list of the greenest cities in the United States and have released their findings on a new web site, called Smarter Cities. The survey includes all cities in the United States with populations larger than 50,000. Smarter Cities is considered to be one of the nation’s most comprehensive and robust database of U.S. urban progress toward sustainability. Seattle ranked number one and San Francisco ranked number 2 among the 67 large cities that were evaluated. Madison, Wisconsin placed firstand Santa Rosa, California came in second among the 176 medium cities that were surveyed. Among the 402 cities that were evaluated, Bellingham, Washington came in first place and Mountain View, California came in second.
The keystone of the green economy is a drastic increase in energy efficiency. Increasing our societies energy efficiency is the single most vital and important thing we need to do in order to have a green economy or in fact any kind of economy at all. It is also vitally important to throttle back the amounts of fossil fuel we burn in order to mitigate and diminish the rapid and potentially catastrophic climate change that is being driven by our fossil fuel habit.
Without much more energy efficient buildings and transportation systems nothing we do will be able to prevent an economic collapse brought about by the inevitable and rapidly approaching decline in the recoverable supplies of all forms of fossil energy. We cannot build out wind, geothermal, biofuel, or solar energy fast enough to sustain our civilization in the face of rapidly shrinking recoverable fossil energy reserves; unless we embark on an urgent and sustained drive to use energy (and other resources) with much higher efficiency.
The Obama administration announced $350 million in stimulus funds to help expand geothermal resources and break down technological barriers. This is a huge jump in funding, dwarfing all previous government commitments and is more than all the funding for geothermal energy put together over the last 20 years. It also represents a dramatic reversal of previous trends of diminishing funding for this often overlooked renewable energy sector.
Last week, MSNBC published a list of ten green job industries that show indications of tremendous growth. The article provides an overview about each industry trend, details about where most of the jobs are in these industries, the types of jobs available and resources to use for more information.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has introduced legislation to support president Obama’s vision of a green grid. The Clean Renewable Energy and Economic Development Act will promote investments in transmission to facilitate access to renewable power, and also establish a streamlined planning and siting process for transmission lines. This legislation will make it easier for renewable energy suppliers to deliver clean energy from the often remote areas where it is harnessed to major population centers across the country.