Monday, October 17, 2011

Annapolis Boat Show - Part Deux - The Power Weekend

Can one expect Green initiatives at a power boat show? Well, yes, particularly on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. The US Powerboat Show held in Annapolis last weekend showcased a few enthusiastic vendors that offered sustainability as well as performance.

Greenline Hybrids
Most notable in the water was the Greenline Hybrid, two beautiful and comfortable boats made in Europe. What sets them apart is the company’s philosophy: “We want to keep our most beautiful boating spots in the same pristine condition as when we first discovered them. We want to enjoy the untouched beauties of the boating world for years to come and pass them on to our children and grandchildren.” To fulfill this vision, they have devised a hybrid engine that allows cruising on the sun’s energy supplemented by diesel power when needed. Running on solar electric power enables a quiet, pollution-free ride, much like the sailboat experience, at sailboat speed (up to 6 knots) – up to 20 miles at 4 knots. When it is necessary to get somewhere quickly, such as trying to outrun a storm, the diesel can be kicked in increasing the speed up to 15 knots. 

Greenline's 40 Hybrid

The charge from the six 1.3kW solar panels built into the hard top, and the hybrid drive that charges the lithium batteries when the diesel is running or the sun is shining, allows the boat to run for several days without the diesel. The solar panels have been built to operate in a marine environment and they can be walked upon. The manufacturer says that due to the design of the hull, the boat burns “…up to 4 times less fossil fuel per nautical mile than comparable planning hulls, reducing the pollution by 75%.” Both the 33-footer and the 40-footer are impressive vessels that make a very strong environmental statement (

On a smaller scale, the 23-foot ElectroCruise solar-assisted cruiser was in the water equipped with solar panels that power a Ray Electric 4HP outboard. The little lobster boat hulled cruiser has a hardtop covered in solar panels and depending on the number of batteries installed can cruise up to almost five hours at 7 knots. The full line of “e-boats” is designed for all-day electric power cruising with a range of up to 12 hours on a single charge, depending on the model. The electric outboards, ranging from 2.5 to 4HP are made in the USA. The Ray Electric is, according to the manufacturer, “the first electric outboard to be designed and patented as a primary source of power,” rather than just for trolling. Coupled with the charge from the sun, use of the electric outboard makes for a relaxing, non-polluting, quiet ride (
Ray Electric Motor

German-made, Torqeedo displayed its line of electric outboards, lithium batteries and distinctive propeller design. Models ranged from kayak motors to those that can take provide almost 10HP. The system includes a remote throttle information display that details battery charge status, remaining range, speed over ground, and input power (

Duffy Electric Boats
Locally, SJ Koch Electric Boat Rentals displayed its incredibly cute rental American-made Duffy Electric Boats, that are not solar powered, but electric plug-ins. These quiet little boats hold up to 10 people for a quiet day on the water and are rentable in three locations in Maryland (
Green on shore transportation was featured too with Bikes Go Green, a family-run business from Virginia. Their foldable Volto bikes, made in China, operate by traditional pedaling or electrically via a lithium-ion battery powered motor. Either way, they are emission free (

Bikes Go Green

Of course, there’s the other side of the coin too – the mega-motored muscle boats that probably use more fuel in one afternoon than the average neighborhood. There was one outboard that produced an astounding 537HP and looked to me like it was dressed in a Superman outfit. Even so, there was a lot of talk about fuel efficiency.

The boat show management is slowly moving toward recognition of the importance of sustainability. The show brochure marked off an area for green boating where several of the dealers mentioned above were located. The management is awaiting a waste audit of trash collected during the sailboat show the previous weekend, so we are hopeful that there will be some recycling stations available next year in and around the show.

At both the power and sail shows, there is a growing appetite for sustainability and stewardship of the Chesapeake Bay. We hope that boaters will support the manufacturers and dealers of these products thereby doing as we are at The Solar and Wind Expo – creating demand and building markets for green boating products. That is good for the economy, for clean air, clean water and healthy lives.

by Elvia Thompson

Friday, October 14, 2011

RECs should be divided into commercial and residential

Let’s take look at the use and intent of Renewable Energy Credits (REC). RECs are intended to make polluting energy producers pay a surcharge for continuing to operate in the manner that they do, the charge is undoubtedly passed on to the consumer of that energy. The money is later used to help pay down the cost of Solar panels, Wind Turbines and in some cases Geothermal and other clean energy methods. This is the most prevalent system in America.
SRECs in PA have crashed
over the last few years
( source -

Every time your Renewable Energy system makes 1,000 kilowatt hours, it makes 1 SREC (the “S” is for solar in this case). You then sell the REC to the polluter and everyone wins. That is if the price of the REC is high. The RECs are traded in an open market, which in turn make them unstable.

In Europe they prefer feed-in tariffs, a policy mechanism designed to accelerate investment in renewable energy technologies. It achieves this by offering long-term contracts to renewable energy producers, usually based on the cost of generation of each different technology.

The first form of feed-in tariff believe it or not, was implemented in the US in 1978 under President Jimmy Carter, who signed the National Energy Act. This Act included five separate Acts, one of which was the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act. The purpose of the National Energy Act was to encourage energy conservation and the development of new energy resources, including renewable energy such as wind, solar and geothermal power.

Which system is better depends on who you ask and maybe even what political flavor they enjoy. The feed-in tariff is a policy that says we are going to do this and we are going to pay for it, for the good of our society. Germany has taken this approach and no one can argue that they are doing a great job with this system.

The REC market is different in that depending on what the credit is worth at the time of the energy systems sale and installation has a direct bearing on the sale itself. In other words when the price of RECs is down, the renewable energy system becomes more expensive.

It also stands to reason that this unstable market system has the ability to delay the nations conversion to renewable energy, because by making the consumer pay a higher cost today than yesterday is never a good idea and sends the wrong message. This is what happened in Pennsylvania. Unless of course that is what the intent was from the start.

One big flaw with the REC market system as it exists is that it does not differentiate between residential and commercial installations. In a commercial installation the amount of RECs that are made available to the owner, be it a renewable energy plant or a large commercial application is higher and quickly floods the market with REC paper. This in turn brings the value of RECs down and hinders the ability to buy and sell residential installations. The residential market could account for the biggest amount of installations in the US and also in the amount of jobs that could be created if allowed to flourish.

So it would seem to make sense to split RECs into two or more categories or maybe make the residential RECs worth a set amount across the entire US and make the mandatory percentage higher or unlimited. Another way is to make residential credit worth two or more times that of its commercial counterpart or make it so the commercial credits do not go towards the quota but are worth the same amount as the residential. The renewable energy industry is new and it needs to get proper support to continue to grow. This support must come from strong leadership and this is one suggestion that could help sustain the industry.

by George Lopez

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Public Opinion seems to be oil and gas’ game

Last night I received an email from a friend asking my opinion of a graph that purportedly demonstrated that renewable energy is not worth the investment. This is not the first time that something like that has been sent to me. Why are so many people taking the time to produce such graphs and to rotate them around the net? What a waste of energy. Or is it?

It was a confusing graph with many curves and comments and made no sense whatsoever. But nevertheless, it was sure to make the over credulous think about keeping the status quo. However, the time for energy conversion is here and it is only a matter of time before we make the change. But it will take some work on our part. Sure we could make graphs that contend that renewable energy will make your hair grow back and that it will make the price of college education go down, but that is not necessary.

The tide has turned already. In watching the republican debates, it is refreshing to see the candidates speak about drilling, but staying away from falsehoods about renewable energy. They must know that tide of public opinion has turned in favor of renewable energy and to speak against would mean sudden political death.

Look around and you will see the change is happening. Spray insulation, low wattage bulbs such as LED, energy saving appliances and passive house standards are just a few of the things that are being implemented by those who want to be ahead of the curve. You have to believe that the cost of energy will always go up because historically that has been the way. Those who do not transition to renewable energy and electric transportation now will be the ones who feel the squeeze later.

That is the important message we should be giving to those who say renewable energy is not worth the investment.

Turn on the TV today and you get a confusing collage of clean natural gas, coal and gasoline efficient vehicles while some of the same companies are touting turbines and electric cars. The change is here and all of us should embrace it together and now.

Mitsubishi is beginning to promote their electric cars as is represented in the following video, joining the ranks of the LEAF and the VOLT. They will soon be joined by BMW, FORD and others, the future is here, don’t stay in the past.

 by George Lopez

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Vermont Aims for 90% Renewable Energy by 2050

The Vermont Department of Public Service released a draft Comprehensive Energy Plan, calling for 90% of the state's energy to come from renewables by 2050. The ambitious plan replaces a 2008 plan that called for 25% renewable energy by 2050. ...
Water and Renewables: What Are the Options?

One approach to reducing greenhouse gases has been more reliance on renewable energy. But energy projects, both conventional and renewable, typically require large amounts of water. That means the long-term physical and legal availability of water ...
POLL: Strong majority of Marylanders support offshore wind power
Delmarva Now

Meanwhile, a moderate-sized wind farm (500 megawatts) would create about 2000 manufacturing and construction jobs over five years and 400 long term operations jobs, according to the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA). The total economic impact of ...
Siting rules for wind farms in WI still stuck
Chicago Tribune

AP Hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in potential economic development are in limbo as Wisconsin officials continue to argue over new siting rules for wind farms. The Wisconsin State Journal reports ( ) the new rules were ...
Analysis: Solar installers thrive as panel costs slide

Solar panels are seen in the parking lot of 1929 building Walter J Towers, near downtown Los Angeles, California August 26, 2011. By Krishna Das (Reuters) - A steep drop in the price of solar panels has been a boon to the companies that install the ...

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Annapolis boat show exhibitors are embracing Green

I feel so blessed to live a stone's throw from Annapolis and to be able to visit the biggest and oldest sail boat show in America, now in its 42nd year. Some may say that sailboats are already green because they are not fuel intensive like motor boats. They are right. But they are not stopping there; the sailboat culture embraces conservation. A tour of the Annapolis Sailboat show on Saturday was not only fun but enlightening.

The emphasis on energy saving and conservation was everywhere. The first thing we noticed was the placement of "eco-stations," trash and recycling bins that had been set up in select locations by WasteStrategies of Annapolis, Md. in partnership with Annapolis Green. They were set up to help event goers separate recyclable trash from non-recyclable waste. It was very effective; we saw person after person look at the graphic instructions and then separate their waste. It was so effective that we found ourselves clapping a couple of times.

"Our containers have received broad acceptance, at Eastport Yacht Club's Boat Show Bash, at the boat show itself and at others locations since we debuted them last month. At the Boat Show Bash we were able to recycle 50% and that was a huge success; with proper planning we will get to 75% next year," said John Nicklin, Managing Member of WasteStrategies.

Beautiful boats abound, lots of them were demonstrating small wind turbines and/or solar panels or had them as an option. We ran into Meghan Mathews of Yacht 2 Be Green, whose entire booth was dedicated to greening your yacht.

They carried LED lighting, wind turbines and all types of energy saving products and "soon will carry a line of Solar Panels," according to Meghan.

Yacht 2 Be Green also has a charitable arm called Sailors Without Borders whose mission is to have cruising sailors transport school supplies and other materials to needy kids in out of the way places.

Oyster Marine 655
 We saw a 65 foot Oyster with one of the best layouts I've seen, with a hundred-foot mast, retractable sail, it was like a big playground that would look great with me as Captain, but I digress...

We met a man who was demonstrating a neat way of recycling waste plastic.

Rod Sato, Vice President of E-N-ergy was standing next to the Blest Be-h desktop unit that can convert plastic into oil that can run generators and other engines. He was converting the plastic into something useful as we watched! The unit uses 1 kilowatt of electricity to convert 1 kilogram of plastic into 1 liter of oil, at a cost of around US $0.25. The oil can then be further refined back through the machine into gasoline, kerosene, and diesel. A small amount of ash is left over, and the off-gasses are turned into CO2 and water with a catalytic converter, or can be used to run a generator." The process is called pyrolysis- or gasification, and is a tried and true method for converting almost any type of material into energy.

 Material is super heated in the absence of oxygen- so does not combust, but vaporizes into gas. Since there is no combustion, there are no toxic gasses released, so the process is relatively clean," said Sato.

And there were several other booths featuring eco-friendly products. Another thing we noticed was that boaters embrace non-toxic stainless steel cookware rather than non-stick cookware that was so prevalent just a few years ago.

What a great event this was, with so much promise. The oceans may soon see benefits from all the good people working together to find solutions to the waste problem that we face in the world. Next weekend we get to see the power boaters at the same venue and we will report on their achievements.

Bon Voyage!

by George Lopez

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Annapolis boat show is here

Sylvia Earle
Years ago when the Googleplex proudly debuted Google Earth, renown American oceanographer Sylvia Earle told Google execs that they had a great product but that it wasn’t really Google Earth, but “Google Dirt” because there was no mapping of ¾ of the planet – that is, the oceans. Red-faced, probably, they set to work with Dr. Earle and completed mapping of the oceans too. Dr. Earle was right on point when she said, “Without blue, there is no green.” Our planet is regulated by the oceans. Our people are fed by the oceans. Even deep inland the effect is profound.

The production of energy from fossil fuels affects the oceans and the land. We know how oil spills from drilling and cargo tanker accidents affects nature, but there is a big negative effect from air pollution as well. Too much carbon dioxide and shrinking amounts of ozone high in the atmosphere kill phytoplankton – the basis of life in the ocean. When we think of renewable energy we need to expand our thoughts to the ocean, the Earth’s mother, who feeds us and brings us weather regulating the pulse of the Earth and humankind.

For the next two weeks my hometown of Annapolis, Maryland, will be awash in boats – even more than usual. Two of the nation’s biggest boat shows, one each for sail and power, brings many visitors and locals into our charming downtown to see the latest and greatest in vessels and accessories. The enthusiasm for boating and enjoying the Chesapeake Bay, which is evident in Annapolis all-year long anyway, is magnified. There is a movement toward Green Boating, using eco-friendly products and being very careful to put no trash in the waters. There also are entrepreneurs who are taking it a step further. Last year a hybrid solar powerboat was introduced – the Greenline. It has solar panels on the top and on the deck and can go all day at a reasonable speed powered by the sun. If needed, an auxiliary diesel engine can kick in, but is usually not needed.

The point of this is that we need to think of new ways of living, working and playing if we are to have a habitable planet in the future. Whether our passions are mountain biking or sailing, we need make every decision as if our lives depend on it… because they do.

by Elvia Thompson

Thursday, October 6, 2011

University of Maryland Finishes in First Place Overall & Appalachian State Wins People’s Choice Award at DOE Solar Decathlon 2011

Seven of the 19 Houses Built by Student Competitors Produced More Energy Than They Consumed Under Mostly Cloudy Skies

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 concluded this weekend on the National Mall’s West Potomac Park in Washington, D.C. Approximately 4,000 collegiate students from five countries on four continents invested countless hours of time and tireless effort to participate in this prestigious, clean energy competition. In spite of the cloudy and rainy weather during a majority of the contest days, seven out of the 19 highly energy efficient solar-powered houses designed by the student competitors still produced more energy than they consumed. Additionally, student team members led more than 357,000 tours to share the energy-saving features of their houses with the public. In the end, the University of Maryland was crowned the overall winner. At Saturday evening’s Victory Reception, Appalachian State University won the People’s Choice Award for the public’s favorite Solar Decathlon house, a poll in which more than 92,000 votes were cast by visitors, fans and consumers.

The Solar Decathlon is an award-winning competition that challenges collegiate teams from around the world to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are affordable, highly energy efficient, attractive, and easy to live in. The 2011 teams and their houses represented a broad range of design solutions, geographic locations and climates, and were targeted toward urban, suburban and rural settings. The houses were intended for different housing markets, including lower-income, disaster relief, retirement, and single family.

“The Solar Decathlon’s impact is threefold,” said Richard King, director of the Solar Decathlon for the U.S. Department of Energy. “Over the last two years, the student competitors have received unique training that prepares them to enter our nation’s clean energy workforce. Visitors and consumers learned firsthand that affordable, energy-efficient features in these innovative houses can help them save money today. And this year’s competition houses will become teaching tools for industry professionals and students around the world.”

The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency. The top three overall finishers of the Solar Decathlon 2011 were the University of Maryland, Purdue University, and New Zealand (Victoria University of Wellington). The complete list of final results and team scores may be found below and on

Teams have begun to disassemble their houses and will depart Washington, D.C. later this week. Over the coming months, the houses will travel across the country and the globe on educational tours and to their final destinations. Some of the houses are sold to recover costs or raise money for future teams. Many of the houses are used for continued research and are on display for public tours at their respective universities.

Statistics from the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011:

• Even though a majority of the competition days were cloudy, seven out of the 19 houses produced more energy than they consumed
• 357,000 house visits were provided to the public during 10 days
• 92,000 votes were cast for the People’s Choice Award, more than five times the number of votes cast during the previous competition
• A new Affordability Contest was featured, demonstrating the reasonable cost of many energy-saving home improvement products and design solutions available today
• Approximately 4,000 collegiate students earned valuable experience by building an energy efficient house with peers in other disciplines, helping them prepare to enter the clean energy workforce
• Collegiate teams from five countries and four continents participated

This year’s university-led teams were chosen nearly two years ago through a competitive process. The application process for the sixth Solar Decathlon, to be held in fall 2013, has already begun with applications available online for student teams at

For full event information and high-resolution photos and videos, visit To view final scores and standings for the overall competition and individual contests, see below or visit B-roll footage of individual teams, houses and the overall competition is available for download copyright-free at You also may join the conversation on Facebook at and Twitter at@Solar_Decathlon.

Solar Decathlon 2011 teams that competed on the National Mall’s West Potomac Park:

• Appalachian State University
• Canada (University of Calgary)
• Florida International University
• University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
• University of Maryland
• Middlebury College
• New Zealand (Victoria University of Wellington)
• The Ohio State University
• Parsons NS Stevens (Parsons The New School for Design and Stevens Institute of Technology, a team that also includes Milano School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy at The New School)
• Purdue University
• The Southern California Institute of Architecture and California Institute of Technology
• Team Belgium (Ghent University)
• Team China (Tongji University)
• Team Florida (The University of South Florida, Florida State University, the University of Central Florida, and the University of Florida)
• Team Massachusetts (Massachusetts College of Art and Design and University of Massachusetts at Lowell)
• Team New Jersey (Rutgers – The State University of New Jersey and New Jersey Institute of Technology)
• Team New York (The City College of New York)
• The University of Tennessee
• Tidewater Virginia (Old Dominion University and Hampton University

Solar Decathlon 2011 Final Scores and Standings

1. Maryland 951.151
2. Purdue 931.390
3. New Zealand 919.058
4. Middlebury College 914.809
5. Ohio State 903.938
6. SCI-Arc/Caltech 899.490
7. Illinois 875.715
8. Tennessee 859.132
9. Team Massachusetts 856.351
10. Canada 836.423
11. Florida Int'l 833.159
12. Appalachian State 832.499
13. Parsons NS Stevens 828.816
14. Tidewater Virginia 774.910
15. Team China 765.471
16. Team Belgium 709.843
17. Team New York 677.356
18. Team New Jersey 669.352
19. Team Florida 619.006

Solar Decathlon 2011 Individual Contest Winners

Affordability (Awarded Tuesday, September 27, 2011)
Parsons NS Stevens and Team Belgium tied for first and earned the full 100 points in the contest by constructing houses estimated to cost $229,890 and $249,568, respectively. New for the Solar Decathlon 2011, the Affordability contest encouraged teams to design and build affordable houses that combine energy efficient construction and appliances with renewable energy systems. A professional estimator determined the
construction cost of each house. Teams earned 100 points for achieving a target construction cost of $250,000 or less. A sliding point scale was applied to houses with estimated construction costs between $250,001 and $600,000.

Appliances (Awarded Saturday, October 1, 2011)
The University of Illinois took first place and earned 99.955 out of 100 possible points by outperforming the other 18 houses in keeping its refrigerator and freezer cold, washing and drying loads of laundry during the contest week, and running a dishwasher during the competition. The Appliances Contest is designed to mimic the appliance use of an average U.S. house.

Architecture (Awarded Wednesday, September 28, 2011)
Maryland took first place in the Architecture Contest and earned 96 points out of a possible 100. A jury of architects judged homes on the aesthetic and functional elements of the home’s design; integration and energy
efficiency of electrical and natural light; inspiration and delight to Solar Decathlon visitors; and documentation including drawings, a project manual, and an audiovisual architecture presentation that accurately reflect the constructed project on the competition site.

Comfort Zone (Awarded Saturday, October 1, 2011)
Ohio State University topped the contestants in the Comfort Zone Contest, with 98.652 out of 100 points for maintaining indoor temperatures between 71 and 76 degrees Fahrenheit and relative humidity below 60 percent.

Communications (Awarded Friday, September 30, 2011)
Middlebury College’s communications efforts, including communications plans, student-led tours, and team
website, were judged by a jury of website and public relations experts, and won the contest with a score of 90 points out of a possible 100 points.

Engineering (Awarded Thursday, September 29, 2011)
New Zealand won the Engineering contest, which was evaluated by a group of prominent engineers, who
determined which solar home best exemplified excellence in functionality, efficiency, innovation, reliability and documentation of its energy systems. New Zealand scored 93 out of a possible 100 points.

Home Entertainment (Awarded Saturday, October 1, 2011)
Middlebury College earned 98.560 out of a possible 100 points in this contest, which required students to use electricity generated by their solar houses to run interior and exterior lights, a TV, a computer, and a kitchen appliance to boil water. Teams were also required to hold two dinner parties and a movie night for neighbors.

Hot Water (Awarded Saturday, October 1, 2011)
Seven teams tied for first and earned the full 100 points in the Hot Water contest’s “shower tests,” which aimed to deliver 15 gallons of hot water in ten minutes or less. Of course, the water was heated by the sun. Tying for top honors in this contest were: Appalachian State, Maryland, New Zealand, Ohio State, Parsons NS Stevens, SCI-Arc/Caltech, and Tennessee.

Energy Balance (Awarded Saturday, October 1, 2011)
Seven teams tied for first and earned the full 100 points in the Energy Balance contest. Teams earned points for producing at least as much energy as their houses needed during the contest week. The teams accomplished this by balancing production and consumption. Tying for top honors in this contest were: Florida International, Illinois, Maryland, New Zealand, Purdue, SCI-Arc/Caltech, and Tennessee.

Market Appeal (Awarded Saturday, October 1, 2011)
Middlebury College won the Market Appeal contest, which evaluated whether the cost-effective construction and solar technology in a team’s design would create a viable product on the open market. Judges gauged market appeal based on three criteria: livability, marketability and constructability. Middlebury earned 95 points out of a possible 100 as judged by the professional jury.

More about the Solar Decathlon
The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 is an award-winning program that challenges collegiate students from around the world to design, build and operate solar-powered houses that are affordable, highly energy efficient, attractive, and easy to live in. The competition shows consumers how to save money and energy with affordable clean energy products that are available today. The nearly two-year projects culminated in an unprecedented display of affordable green living and design on the National Mall’s West Potomac Park from September 23 – October 2, 2011. The Solar Decathlon also provides participating students with hands-on experience and unique training that prepares them to enter our nation’s clean energy workforce, supporting the Obama Administration’s goal of transitioning to a clean energy economy while saving families and businesses money.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Headline-Westinghouse Seeks to Block Imports of Rival Solar-Power Systems

US firm to 'mine' lithium from geothermal plant brines
Chemistry World

A US company is looking to geothermal power plants as a source of valuable metals such as lithium which is crucial for manufacturing electric vehicles and portable electronics like smartphones. Its success could better position the US in the fast ...
SMU Geothermal Map Updated, National Geothermal Data System Underway

By Leslie Blodgett, GEA Southern Methodist University Geothermal Lab has recently completed research updating the US portion of the 2004 Geothermal Map of North America. “This multi-year effort, supported by a generous grant from, ...
Apricus Solar Hot Water Systems Receive OG-300 Certification
AltEnergyMag (press release)

Apricus has received OG-300 System Certification for 54 new residential solar hot water system packages with 10 tank options from some of the top manufacturers in the industry. Apricus, a leading designer and manufacturer of solar hot water and ...
Vestas secures wind turbine supply order from Eolus Vind in Sweden
Energy Business Review

Vestas has secured an order from Eolus Vind to deliver wind turbines for the 36MW of power projects in Sweden. As part of the order, Vestas has agreed to supply and install 18 units of the V90-2MW wind turbine for the seven different projects. ...
Westinghouse Seeks to Block Imports of Rival Solar-Power Systems

By Susan Decker Oct. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Westinghouse Solar Inc. said it filed a patent-infringement complaint at the US International Trade Commission seeking to block imports of solar-power systems made by Zep Solar and Canadian Solar Inc. Westinghouse ...
Inflatable Wind Turbine from the Segway Guy

By EarthTechling at EarthTechling by Pete Danko The inventor who gave the world the Segway - you know, that upright-riding, personal-transportation thing - is now seeking a patent for an inflatable wind turbine. Although the patent application talks ...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

NIssan LEAF Sales are Strong

The Nissan LEAF has taken a ready crowd by storm and maybe proving to be the ideal vehicle for certain folks. Certainly the sales success enjoyed by Nissan LEAF in the United States seems to be proving that. The Nissan LEAF has been outselling the Chevrolet Volt 2-1 in the US as this graphic from shows:

Even more interesting from the website the LEAF beat some other popular vehicles: "the Nissan LEAF's relatively small sales totals still stand up higher than the totals put up by cars you wouldn't have labelled unpopular. The Audi A5 is a sought after coupe, but the LEAF beat the A5 in August 2011. The Land Rover Range Rover Sport was America's 29th-best-selling luxury vehicle last month and 12th-best-selling luxury SUV. The LEAF beat the Range Rover Sport in August. The LEAF also crushed the currently-undergoing-renovations Toyota Yaris, fought off the perfect-for-family-hauling Mazda 5, whipped the failure-on-all-levels Honda Insight, and nipped the completely-opposite-to-the-LEAF Nissan Armada." See this interesting story here.
The website reported that the Chevy Volt will not be able to beat the LEAF in sales for at least the foreseeable future: "Don Johnson, GM's U.S. sales chief, told Ward's Auto that since dealers must stock a demo Volt before receiving salable units, retail sales of the plug-in sedan won't increase significantly anytime soon. During a conference call on Friday, Johnson added, "It's going to take us a month or two to really fill up the retail inventory for those dealers." It looks like our prediction that the Nissan Leaf will continue its electrifying reign over the Volt for the next couple of months will hold true." Read more here.
The LEAf with it's limitations is proving to be exactly what we needed and now to make it more user friendly the company has introduce a phone app for the Blackberry and the Droid that will make managing the car a little easier. The application will make it easier to remotely:
  • Check the state of the battery charge
  • Begin charging
  • Check when battery charge is complete
  • See estimated driving range
  • Turn the climate control system on or off
“Nissan understands that telematics and other communication services are important for consumers,” said Trisha Jung, director, Vehicle Connected Services, Nissan North America. “By providing accessibility and functionality to the Nissan LEAF through all major smartphone platforms, we are truly delivering ‘Innovation for All.’”

The Chevrolet Volt is an awesome car and with it's great milage and range will continue to gain momentum with a range worried crowd. But the Nissan LEAF is proving that a true electric is very much in demand.

Monday, October 3, 2011


GE, Nissan Announce Collaboration For Electric Vehicle Technologies - Update

RTT News

(RTTNews) - General Electric Co. (GE: News ) Friday signed a research agreement with Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. (NSANY.PK: News ) to focus on technologies for electric vehicles and its integration into everyday living. Through the two-year research deal, ...
Energy Secretary Chu defends loan program for solar, renewable energy projects

Washington Post

... Obama administration's energy chief, facing increased pressure over the failure of solar panel maker Solyndra, defended on Saturday a loan guarantee program that has provided billions of dollars for solar energy and other renewable energy projects. ...

The Baltimore Sun - Solar home business shining in Maryland

"We've seen tremendous growth," says Kevin Lucas, director of energy market strategies for the Maryland Energy Administration. It's a big jump for a state that ...
U. of Maryland Team Wins Solar Decathalon

NBC Washington

AP Visitors tour WaterShed, the University of Maryland's entry in the Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon competition on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011 in Washington, DC. University teams from across the globe have constructed solar-powered homes on the ...