Monday, April 25, 2011

State policies key to clean energy development, report says

States’ policies are important to solar and wind energy development and in reducing energy use says a new report from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The findings are in report, State of the States 2010: The Role of Policy in Clean Energy Market Transformation.

“This report shows the importance of the state and local policy in encouraging clean energy market development,” said Mike Pacheco, NREL vice president of Deployment & Market Transformation. “Specifically, state policymakers may be more effective at driving clean energy investment using a suite of policies and keeping the policies in place longer.”

Building on an emerging body of literature identifying connections between state policy and renewable energy, the State of States 2010 report quantifies the connection between state clean energy policies, renewable energy development and actual reductions in energy use. . Renewable energy use increased 3 percent across the United States in 2010, the report says.

It is the first time energy efficiency has been considered in this type of analysis, and the report shows significant connections between reduced energy use and building codes, electricity prices and, in some cases, energy efficiency resource standards. Even though state policies might apply to a wide variety of renewable energy resources, the analysis shows that most often there’s a relationship between policy and solar and wind development. So, if states tailor policy to other resources, it might help increase development of renewable energy sources in addition to solar and wind.

“State policy efforts can help sustain the good work started by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in creating economic development opportunities through clean energy,” said LeAnn M. Oliver, DOE Weatherization & Intergovernmental Program Manager. “State of the States 2010 offers practical information to policymakers on how to further promote those policies.”

To track the progress of the states and regions toward a clean energy economy, NREL also provided the analysis and findings for DOE’s 2009 U.S. State Clean Energy Data Book. The data book, published in October 2010, summarizes the status of state-level energy efficiency and renewable energy developments and supporting policy implementation, and can be accessed as a PDF and as an interactive data analysis tool. It identifies the states and regions leading in overall renewable energy capacity and energy efficiency policy. Key findings include:
  • In 2009, Maine had the largest percentage—23 percent—of non-hydro renewable generation, mostly from bioenergy.
  • Texas leads the country in total non-hydro installed renewable energy capacity.
  • California is the leader in solar energy installed capacity.
  • Oregon, California, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania have the strictest building codes, which require high efficiency in commercial and residential construction.
NREL provided the analysis for both the State of the States 2010 report and the U.S. State Clean Energy Data Book under its Clean Energy Policy Analyses project. To learn more about CEPA, visit

NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for DOE by the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.

Source: National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Maryland Public Television launches MotorWeek Car Raffle

Owings Mills, MD— To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the award-winning weekly automotive TV series MotorWeek, Maryland Public Television (MPT) is raffling off a stunning 2011 Honda hybrid vehicle. One lucky winner of MPT’s MotorWeek Car Raffle will drive off with a brand-new eco-friendly 2011 Honda Hybrid, their choice of either the CR-Z Hybrid Sport Coupe or the Insight Hybrid 5-door.

“As we continue to celebrate 30 unforgettable seasons that have helped to make MotorWeek a household name for so many, we’re pleased to offer a lucky driver out there the chance to win their choice of two incredible Honda hybrid vehicles,” said John Davis, executive-producer and host of MotorWeek. “We hope this will ultimately get the community thinking about the significant environmental impact we can all make by taking steps to reduce our dependence on the pump.”

Each chance to win is only $50: Purchase tickets online or download a mail-in order form. A limited number of only 2,000 tickets are available for the raffle benefiting MPT’s local programming initiatives and outreach efforts through the MPT Foundation, Inc. The grand prize drawing will be held June 21, 2011. Entrants need not be present to win.

About the Honda Insight Hybrid 5-door: The 2011 Insight’s sleek and sophisticated design makes this car one of the most aerodynamic hybrids on the market today. The front of the car is strong and lean with eye-catching projector-beam headlights. A highly efficient, 1.3-liter, 8-valve, i-VTEC® 4-cylinder engine and DC-brushless 13 kilowatt electric motor and continuously variable transmission (CVT) give the Insight plenty of zip. The taller rear helps this 5-door hybrid slip easily through the air, and unique LED brake lights complete the look. EPA: 40 mpg city/ 43 mpg highway. MSRP $18,950 with freight. Check out MotorWeek’s Road Test Review of the Insight.

About the Honda CR-Z Hybrid Sport Coupe: Continuing a long tradition of sporty two-seat coupes from Honda, the 2011 CR-Z Hybrid Sport Coupe-CVT provides an athletic and aggressive compact design with an expansive cargo area perfect for active lifestyles. Powered by a 1.5-liter i-VTEC® 4-cylinder engine with Integrated Motor Assist IMA® ,10-kilowatt electric motor and 100-volt battery pack the CR-Z kicks out an impressive 122 horsepower while maximizing fuel economy. EPA: 31 mpg city/ 37 mpg highway. MSRP $20,745 with freight. Check out MotorWeek’s Road Test Review of the CR-Z.

All raffle proceeds support Maryland Public Television (MPT), through the MPT Foundation, Inc., a registered 501(c) (3) charitable organization, organized to support MPT’s mission, noncommercial programming and community outreach activities. Read the complete rules. Details: Watch a promo on YouTube.

For more information on MPT, visit and the MPT pressroom.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


The Solar and Wind Expo is coming to Valley Forge Convention Center in King of Prussia, Pa., on June 11 and 12. This Maryland-based indoor-outdoor consumer show is uniquely devoted to renewable energy and energy savings and was created to bring the manufacturer, installer, lender and consumer together under one roof. Extending the Expo to the Philadelphia area will reach more consumers in the region and give added exposure to local renewable energy businesses.

"The Philadelphia area's use and knowledge of renewable energy solutions is exemplary. After last year's success of the Solar and Wind Expo: Maryland, we were compelled by consumer demand to identify a second location,” said George Lopez, founder and executive director of Expo. "Bringing The Solar and Wind Expo to the Philadelphia area made the most sense from a renewable energy consumer perspective."

The keynote speaker at The Solar and Wind Expo Pennsylvania is Bob Dixson, Mayor of Greensburg, Ks. In 2007, this Midwestern town was decimated by an F5 tornado. The Mayor and township decided to make the best of a terrible situation and rebuild using all renewable and alternative energy practices. This resulted in more than LEED certification for a few buildings. Instead, but the majority of the town’s structures are now LEED Platinum, the highest rating granted by the United States Green Building Council.

Greensburg, the first city in the country to go entirely green, is a shining example of how becoming sustainable is both viable and economically beneficial. Mayor Dixson's presentation inspired last year's Maryland Expo attendees to make their own switch to renewable energy.

The Solar and Wind Expo: Pennsylvania also will feature respected companies and vendors knowledgeable in renewable energy solutions. Experts in this evolving field will conduct valuable educational seminars for Expo attendees.

“Never has there been a better time for this kind of show in Pennsylvania,” declares Lopez. “With all the continuing technological advances, government-sponsored incentives and so much interest on the part of many to save money on energy and reduce their carbon footprint, we created a place for all to connect and learn ... the Valley Forge Convention Center June 11 and 12!”

More information is available at

"Innovation Motorcade" to Parade Electric Drive Vehicles Through the Streets of Washington, D.C.

Secretary of Energy to Join Earth Week Kick-Off

WASHINGTON, April 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- With gas prices hitting $4 a gallon and the one-year anniversary of the Gulf oil disaster this week, on Tuesday Secretary of Energy Stephen Chu will headline a motorcade of battery, hybrid and fuel cell powered vehicles through Washington D.C. The parade takes place during Earth Week and is part of the Electric Drive Transportation Association's (EDTA) annual conference – in order to highlight alternatives to oil dependence.

The Honorable Steven Chu, Secretary, U.S. Department of Energy, will kick-off the "Innovation Motorcade" from L'Enfant Plaza Promenade at 10 a.m. with a press conference. He will be joined by EDTA President Brian Wynne, Congressman Ed Markey (D-MA) renowned explorer and environmentalist Fabien Cousteau. They will discuss what needs to happen to reach President Obama's goal of 1 million electric vehicles on the roads by 2015, how electric drive technology means clean American jobs, and our overreliance on oil in light of the Gulf oil disaster. After the press conference, the vehicles will tour our nation's capital and end at the EDTA Conference Ride, Drive and Charge event at the Washington Convention Center.

The following day, the Honorable Ray H. LaHood, Secretary, U.S. Department of Transportation, will be the keynote speaker at the opening plenary of the 2011 EDTA Conference, where leading government and industry experts will discuss the latest advances in electric drive technology and policies to accelerate the electrification of transportation.

"We are excited to show consumers and policymakers how many electric drive choices are available and how rapidly innovations are being brought to the market place," said Brian Wynne, the President of EDTA. "These cars and trucks, and the technology that supports them, are helping to reduce our nation's dependence on foreign oil, reducing driving costs and pollution, improving our national security and creating advanced energy jobs."

The documentary film Revenge of the Electric Car premieres at the Tribeca Film Festival on Earth Day, April 22. This week also features the New York Auto Show, where new models of electric vehicles will be the buzz of the show.


■10:00 AM: Opening press conference (with Secretary Chu, Rep. Ed Markey, EDTA President Brian Wynne, EDTA co-chair Ted Craver, and Fabien Cousteau) followed by Q&A (approx 25 cars will be present); LOCATION: L'Enfant Promenade just south of the intersection of Independence Avenue and 10th Street SW

■11:00 AM – 11:45 PM: Cars and trucks depart for Innovation Motorcade through Washington, D.C.

■12:15 PM: Walter E. Washington Convention Center "Ride, Drive and Charge" event, where the public can interact with the vehicles and charging stations.

About EDTA

The Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA) is the trade association representing battery, plug-in, hybrid and fuel cell electric drive technologies and infrastructure companies. EDTA conducts public policy advocacy, education, industry networking, and international conferences. EDTA's membership includes vehicle and equipment manufacturers, energy companies, technology developers, component suppliers, and others. For more information about EDTA and its members, visit For consumer information about owning and operating electric vehicles, please visit

SOURCE The Electric Drive Transportation Association

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Electric Car companies and Energy providers will 'make smart grid a reality'

WASHINGTON -- Entire industries grew up around gasoline-powered cars, ranging from the ubiquitous filling stations to fast-food restaurants along highway exits. Similarly, the rise of electric cars probably will transform more than just the automobile.

"The moment you put a plug on a car, you've got these two titan industries coming together and supporting a customer," said Ed Kjaer, the director of electric transportation for Southern California Edison, a giant utility.

The alliance between utilities and carmakers will lead to numerous changes, he predicts, including a faster build of the "smart grid." This involves the use of digital technology by utilities to allow consumers real-time measures of their energy use.

Read more:

•Ford is working with cities and utility partners to identify key infrastructure building blocks that will enable metropolitan areas to be EV ready.

•Cities across the United States are and can take a variety of steps now to enhance the readiness of their communities for electric vehicle use and customer installation

•Ford considers infrastructure development an essential part of making EVs a viable option for consumers as more automotive companies release plug-in vehicles

While Ford is gearing up to launch the all-new Focus Electric later this year and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid in 2012, cities around the country also are preparing for the arrival of new electric vehicles. Some of the key actions Ford has identified in working with cities and utility partners include:

•Utility rate structure that encourages "off-peak" or nighttime EV charging to minimize demand on the existing electric grid

•Streamlined permitting and inspection process to support customer and commercial EV infrastructure installation

•Integrated advisory committees that include participation from electric utilities, vehicle manufacturers and dealers, municipalities, EV customers and local coalitions

•Urban planning approach to optimize public/commercial EV charge locations

•Infrastructure incentives to offset a portion of customer costs for hardware/installation

"As more and more electric vehicles come to market, it's incredibly important that cities develop action plans including infrastructure development and permitting solutions to ensure these vehicles are a viable solution for citizens," said Mike Tinskey, Ford's manager of Vehicle Electrification and Infrastructure. "Ford continues outreach with cities across the country to spread best practices and work with multiple partners including local utilities, auto manufacturers, technology companies and others to support a successful integration of electric vehicles."

Ford is working with a growing list of metropolitan areas that are stepping up their EV preparations and infrastructure, including:


◦Austin, Texas



◦Charlotte, N.C.





◦Hartford, Conn.




◦Los Angeles

◦New York

◦Orlando, Fla.


◦Portland, Ore.

◦Raleigh, N.C.

◦Richmond, Va.

◦Sacramento, Calif.

◦San Diego

◦San Francisco Bay Area


◦Washington, D.C.

"Our electric grid has plenty of capacity to support electric transportation. The key for local utilities is to offer incentives so EV customers are encouraged to charge during the nighttime hours when plenty of capacity is available," said Tinskey. "Additionally, at a local level, we are encouraged many cities are taking an urban planning approach to public charge station locations – which will result in locations that are used more often and an efficient use of investment dollars. The best cities are learning from others and taking a best practices approach."

Ford is also encouraged by specialized approaches some cities are taking to support electric vehicles. For example, Boston, New York City and Philadelphia are looking into opportunities to promote travel between the cities by electric vehicle. Additionally, each city is hiring an electric vehicle policy coordinator to help improve efficiency of the permitting processes.

The power of choice

Electrification is an important piece of Ford's overall product sustainability strategy. Ford's aggressive strategy includes the launch of five electrified vehicles in North America by 2012 and Europe by 2013. Ford launched the Transit Connect Electric small commercial van in 2010, will launch Focus Electric later this year and will introduce C-MAX Hybrid, a second next-generation lithium-ion battery hybrid and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid in 2012. The range of electrified vehicles allows Ford to meet a variety of consumer driving needs.

Monday, April 11, 2011

“Gary Sorrelle of Atech Energy Awarded MREA Site Assessor Certification”

Gary Sorrele always working
at the Solar and Wind Expo 2010
 Atech Energy is pleased to announce that on December 6th Gary Sorrelle became a Small Wind Certified Site Assessor from the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA). “I am very proud of this Certification. I am one of only 30 MREA Certified Site Assessors in the entire United States”, said Mr. Sorrelle. MREA Certified Site Assessors can help you determine if your home or small business site is appropriate for the installation of a wind turbine system. They are required to attend technology specific workshops, complete sample site assessments for approval by renewable energy professionals, pass a written exam, and sign a code of ethics. “It is extremely important for anyone considering the installation a wind turbine to work with a Certified assessor. There are important site factors that have to be considered before installing a wind turbine at any location” said Mr. Sorrelle.

Are you interested in getting an assessment of resources for your home or business? Gary Sorrelle of Atech Energy can meet with you in person to discuss your potential options. All site assessments begin with a load analysis to determine how much electricity your system will need to provide. Next Gary will complete an in-depth environmental survey to decide on the wind resource potential of your home or business. Finally, he will recommend site-specific systems, provide you with cost-estimates and inform you if any state or federal incentives exist to help cover costs.

If you are interested in learning more about getting a site assessment, please contact Gary Sorrelle at Atech Energy. You can reach him at 800-785-5420 or by email at For more information about the Midwest Renewable Energy Association visit their website at or call 715-592-6595.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Bullish on Renewables

Imaging a world dominated by renewable energy and clean transportation. It surely seems to be coming a reality. More and more our world is being dominated by clean energy.

Sunday when I visited PV America and discovered that even with the cancellation of last year’s event, the show had grown. I ran into so many of the folks that were there in 2009 and met some new ones. It was awesome to see how upbeat everyone is on renewable and all the different strategies being discussed.

Wednesday evening I visited a Greendrinks location in Philly and met with Mike Ditizio who runs the Standard Tap group, a great local eatery and bar that had no televisions, conversation was the only entertainment, and the place was lively with discussions about politics, the environment and just about everything. Mike introduced me to William Toffey a Sustainability Strategist from Effluential Synergies, Alex Fuller-Young the Outreach Coordinator for Center E3 an advocacy group in Pennsylvania. I met with Nic Darling of Post Green a green contractor in Philly. I first read about Nic on a train trip, Arrive magazine had a large article about a young company that builds green sustainable homes for about 100,000 dollars. They want to take affordability out of the equation.

Check out the following stories that were in the news this past week.

Solar Costs May Already Rival Coal, Spurring Boom in Panel Installations as reported by Bloomberg

Solar panel installations may surge in the next two years as the cost of generating electricity from the sun rivals coal-fueled plants, industry executives and analysts said. Read the rest of the story

BP Wind Energy begins construction of 150MW Texas wind farm as reported in New energy World Network

BP Wind Energy has begun construction of the Sherbino 2 Wind Farm in the US state of Texas, which will have a generating capacity of 150MW. Read the rest of the story.

GE sees the new U.S. solar plant running by 2013

General Electric Co aims to have its new U.S. solar-panel plant up and running by 2013, the head of the largest U.S. conglomerate's renewable energy unit said in an interview. The plant would be the largest in America. Read the rest of the story.

GM Says Electric Car Goes 1,000 Miles Between Fill-ups as reported in Bloomberg

General Motors Co. (GM), the biggest U.S. automaker, said drivers of its Volt electric cars were traveling 1,000 miles (1,610 kilometers) before they need to fill up, enough to make the vehicles more practical for daily use. Read the rest of the story here.

Things continue to get more and more exciting. Let's help make it happen.