Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tesla unveils electric sedan with sky-high hopes
March 26, 2009 Camille Ricketts

Tesla Motors, still one of the major players in the electric vehicle game despite recent financial woes, has finally unveiled its hotly anticipated Model S sedan, slated to go on sale in late 2011. With a price tag of $50,000, the car is certainly more practical for prospective buyers than Tesla’s first submission — its $109,000 roadster (beautiful, but unrealistic in today’s economy). The San Carlos, Calif. company has clearly pinned its hopes on this new car to stabilize its finances and catapult it over its growing competition.

With Fisker Automotive countering it in the electric luxury car market (and just sealing a deal to sell cars on Tesla’s turf in Sunnyvale), and General Motors, Toyota, Nissan and other industry big boys planning to roll out everyday driving machines of their own, Tesla is finding itself surrounded on all sides after once leading the pack. In the next couple of years, the landscape will probably change radically, with all of these companies’ success depending on the development of electric car infrastructure, gas prices and the state of the economy.

Make green a reality!

Friday, August 14, 2009

WBAL has partnered with The Solar and Wind Expo

The Solar and Wind Expo is proud to officially annouce that it has partnered with WBAL TV in Baltimore, which is the top ranked local television outlet (Nielsen), to serve as the media sponsor. As part of the partnership, WBAL will be promoting the Solar and Wind Expo utilizing a combination of commercials and mentions on daily news programming months preceding the event.

This news takes the Solar and Wind Expo to one step closer to it mission of "making green a reality". WBAL will also be an exhibitor at the show. We are all very excited about the news.

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Friday, August 7, 2009

The U.S. renewable energy industry collectively tallied its future deliverable energy capacity at 550 to 700 gigawatts (GW) in Washington, DC yesterday. At such a GW-production rate, the U.S. could produce, at a minimum, 25% of the country's electrical energy requirement with renewable energy by 2025.

According to Michael Eckhart, American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) president whose organization hosted the 5th annual national policy conference "Renewable Energy in America: Phase II Market Forecasts and Policy Requirements" in DC yesterday, this is the first time a panel of renewable energy experts has assembled such a combined production capacity forecast.

"We have today put real numbers on America's renewable energy future that we have for years felt in our gut," said Eckhart. "This is a huge tipping point that will guide the public policy support required for renewable energy to help lower CO2 emissions and reduce our nation's dependence on foreign fossil fuels."

"There is a convergence of issues and opportunities that make this a perfect time to let mainstream America and our policy leaders know we are here to help -- 'here is what renewable can provide capacity-wise and here are the policies that will lead to solutions,'" he said.

"The industry panel identified 550GW - 700GW of renewable energy potential that can be built within the next 10-20 years -- even at a 50% discount -- this makes the "25X25" proposal feasible, reasonable, and doable," added Eckhart.

The 25X25 is a popularly touted policy goal of 25% renewable production by 2025, yet the estimate coming from the conference could potentially double that production. Eckhart noted these new estimates would help to galvanize the renewable energy community in proposing its policy recommendations to Congressional leaders, many newly elected by mandate to change, among other things, the way energy is produced in America for both the near and long term future.

Phase II, the fifth policy conference sponsored by ACORE and held annually in Washington, attracted 450 renewable energy policy, financial and technology leaders. In a full day of presentations by industry leaders from many disciplines, the capacity estimate made by the panel comprised of renewable energy industry organizational leaders, was but one of the conference highlights.Following a moving keynote address, Thomas Freidman, a New York Times columnist and author of "The World is Flat", left the podium to a rousing standing ovation for delivering a poignant message for a new energy future and energy's role in the Iraq war. Equally eloquent as his best-selling writing, Freidman peppered his talk with such positive language as "Green is the new red, white and blue" and "Energy independence is the moonshot of our generation".

But Freidman wasted no time on Capitol Hill being critical of the Bush administration's role in the war and its connection to a lack of a comprehensive energy policy. "It makes no sense," said Freidman. "We are financing both sides of the war," referring to the purchase of oil by the U.S. as a funding mechanism for our enemies and also paying for our own military operations.

Jim Callihan is the president of RenewableEnergyAccess.com
by Jim Callihan, RenewableEnergyAccess.com
Washington, DC [RenewableEnergyAccess.com]

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

IREC has just released its annual report, U.S. Solar Market Trends 2008

The report, authored by Larry Sherwood, provides public data on U.S. solar installations by technology, state, and market sector. Both PV and solar thermal installations grew rapidly in 2008. This work was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy through the Solar Energy Technologies Program.
Download the report
Annual U.S. PV installed capacity grew by 63% in 2008 compared with installations in 2007 to 335 MWDC (including both grid-connected and off-grid markets), bringing the cumulative installed capacity to 792 MWDC. Although PV installation growth had been steady and impressive for many years, the annual growth rate doubled when the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) increased in 2006.
“By 2008, the capacity of PV installed each year was triple the annual amount installed in 2005,” said Sherwood. “More than 33,500 sites installed PV in 2008, with 62% of these sites and 87% of the installed capacity connected to the grid. Most of these installations are mounted on buildings, but some are ground-mounted installations.”
Early indicators point to market growth in 2009, though likely at a slower rate than during the last several years. The market should return to high growth rates in 2010. The long-term extension of the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC), new rules that allow utilities to take advantage of the ITC, and the establishment of a grant program alternative to the commercial ITC will all help solar installations.
Since these policies were just recently enacted (in October 2008 and February 2009 respectively), the market will take some time to respond to these new policies. Companies have announced plans for many large solar electric projects, including solar thermal electric projects, utility-owned projects, and third-party owned projects. A few of these projects will be completed in 2009, but most will come on-line in 2010 and beyond.
Many states are offering incentives, and system installation growth more than doubled in Arizona, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Each of these states has one or more significant financial incentive and/or a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) program with a mandate for solar installations.
“For all solar technologies,” said Sherwood, “the United States is only a small part of a robust world solar market. Product availability and pricing generally reflect this status. Germany and Spain are the top markets for PV and China is the largest market for solar thermal collectors. However, this report does not analyze markets outside the United States.”
Solar hot water installations have boomed since the federal investment tax credit (ITC) was extended to residential installations in 2006. In the continental 48 states, the annual installed capacity has more than quintupled since 2005 and residential sector installations dominate the market. Hawaii continues to be the largest market for solar hot water.
For more information about this report, contact Larry Sherwood.

Make green a reality!
From the Baltimore Sun:

Looking to offset rising electricity bills, Marsha Vitow has a modern solution: installing Baltimore's first residential wind turbine on the roof of her Federal Hill rowhouse.It's a logical move in a city whose mayor has pushed extra tree plantings, recycling and other issues on a "cleaner, greener" agenda, but Vitow has run into some old-fashioned problems. Decades-old zoning laws don't account for a wind turbine, and some of her neighbors say the eight-foot-tall contraption will hurt their rooftop views and their property values."This is about doing something good.

See the entire story here http://www.baltimoresun.com/features/green/bal-md.gr.wind04aug04,0,3974860.story

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Monday, August 3, 2009

The latest renewable energy statistics for the US are out, and there is lots of good news!

Renewable energy consumption grew by 7 percent between
2007 and 2008, despite a 2 percent decline in total U.S. energy
consumption (Table 1). Total renewable energy consumption
increased by 487 trillion Btu to 7,301 trillion Btu. This is the highest
level attained based on EIA estimates of renewable energy
back to 1949, and is due to substantial increases in the use
of biofuels, wind and solar energy. Renewable energy’s share of
total U.S. energy consumption was over 7 percent in 2008, c
ompared to 6 percent in 2004

Renewable energy is consumed across all 5 energy use sectors.
The two largest consuming sectors are electric power and industrial,
though patterns are changing. In 2008, the electric power sector
accounted for 51 percent of renewable energy consumption and
the industrial sector 28 percent, down from 56 and 30 percent,
respectively, in 2004. This was due in some measure to the substantial change
in the transportation sector, whose share rose from 5 to 11
percent between 2004 and 2008. The gain was due to increased
consumption of biofuels, primarily ethanol derived from corn,
but also to a lesser extent biodiesel. Both are fuels needed to
meet the Federal Renewable Fuel Standard, which requires
an increasing supply of renewable fuels through 2022.

While total U.S. generation declined slightly to 4,110 billion
kilowatthours in 2008, renewable generation increased by
5 percent compared to 2007 to 372 billion kilowatthours.
The biggest increase in renewable generation was the 51
percent, or 18 billion kilowatthours, increase for wind. By
the end of 2008, wind provided 1.3 percent of total U.S.
generation (from all energy sources), up from 0.4 percent
in 2004. This is largely attributed to dramatic expansion
in wind capacity in the
last few years.

Check the entire report here http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/alternate/page/renew_energy_consump/pretrends08.pdf
Make green a reality!