Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Clean Energy- Climate Bill of Obama

Today I got the most expected e-mail from the Environmental Defence Action Fund Activists from the United States. The mail was very much interesting and it describes their battle and their achievement for the Green Bill.

"Mark the date on your calendar: We made history on June 26.House passage of the American Clean Energy and Security Act is a truly momentous achievement in our efforts to cap America's global warming pollution and begin transforming our energy economy.

The vote was a close one, a stark reminder of how difficult this fight is. Powerful special interests are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to defend the status quo and defeat our efforts.

But, last week's victory proved that we can overcome the odds, and we now carry momentum to the Senate where we'll need your continued support to pass the strongest possible bill.Our National Climate Campaign team wanted to share this moment of celebration with you".
The mail continued....
"Let's use this moment to celebrate and have some laughs. But, keep in mind we're not even half way home.We face Senate action over the next few months. Then the bill will go to conference committee before a final version is passed and signed into law.
We’ll need you every step of the way".....

Anyways, the mood is changing. This e-mail is the clear indication of that.

Environmental Action Fund Authorities cleared their first hurdle.

All the best for your fights for the sake of humanity!!

The House of Representatives cleared a big hurdle late Friday by passing a bill that set goals for reducing the United States' greenhouse gas emissions, a first in Congressional history.

The passage nevertheless drew praises from folks in the solar industry and some major environmental groups. Opposition came from organizations such as Greenpeace and the National Association of Homebuilders.

The centerpiece of the legislation, often called the Waxman-Markey bill because of its sponsors, is a program that would cap the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that many industries could emit in the next few decades and what how much they might have to pay to meet the emissions requirements.

The bill also sets mandates for the amount of renewable electricity that must be consumed over time. Roughly 30 states already have similar requirements, which have driven their utilities to sign long-term power purchase agreements for solar and wind electricity or build and operate solar and wind farms themselves.

"This bill will give more Americans the opportunity to install solar on their homes and businesses, spur deployment of utility-scale solar while creating tens of thousands of high-paying domestic jobs and stable careers," said Rhone Resch, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), in a statement.

The legislation also would allow federal agencies to enter into 20-year contracts to buy renewable electricity (see SEIA's summary of the bill)
An industry group representing companies in the smart grid business also applauded the passage of the Waxman-Markey bill.

The alliance said the legislation contains provisions that would encourage the use of smart-grid technologies, such as hardware and software that measure energy consumption and make sure the electricity grid doesn't crash during peak hours.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency also would consider appliances with devices to gauge energy use in deciding whether to include them in the Energy Star program.

The Waxman-Markey bill would require new homes to be 30 percent more energy efficient than what's required by the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code. New homes will have to be 50 percent more efficient by 2014.

With the bill, the federal lawmakers are setting greenhouse gas reduction goals . The bill would require the country to cut emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050.

The government would give most of the permits for emitting greenhouse gases to key polluting industries initially and auction off the rest. Businesses that emit above limits would have to buy permits from those who pollute less.
This cap-and-trade program would begin in 2012, and each permit for emitting a ton of carbon dioxide would cost $13 initially. The prices should go up while the caps on emissions should go down over time.

The details of how this program would still have to be worked out by the EPA and other agencies, and only after the bill bellows law.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Renewables Global Status Report - Remarkable growth for Renewable Energy despite recession

The REN21 Renewables Global Status Report released today shows that the fundamental transition of the world’s energy markets continues.

“This fourth edition of REN21’s renewable energy report comes in the midst of an historic and global economic crisis,” says Mohamed El-Ashry, chairman of REN21. Although the future is unclear, he says, “there is much in the report for optimism.”

Global power capacity from new renewable energy sources (excluding large hydro) reached 280,000 megawatts (MW) in 2008 – a 16 percent rise from the 240,000 MW in 2007 and nearly three times the capacity of the United States nuclear sector.
Solar heating capacity increased by 15 percent to 145 gigawatts-thermal (GWth), while biodiesel and ethanol production both increased by 34 percent. More renewable energy than conventional power capacity was added in both the European Union and United States for the first time ever.
“The recent growth of the sector has surpassed all predictions, even those made by the industry itself,” says El-Ashry, adding that much of this growth was due to more favourable policies amidst increasing concerns about climate change and energy security.
During 2008, a number of governments enacted new policies, and many countries set ambitious targets. Today, at least 73 countries have renewable energy policy targets, up from 66 at the end of 2007. In response to the financial crisis, several governments have directed economic stimulus funding towards the new green jobs the renewable energy sector can provide, including the U.S. package that will invest $150 billion over ten years in renewable energy.

Developing countries – particularly China and India – are increasingly playing major roles in both the manufacture and installation of renewable energy. For example, China’s total wind power capacity doubled in 2008 for the fourth year running.

For several previous years, the modern renewable energy industry has been viewed as a “guaranteed-growth” sector, and even “crisis-proof” due to the global trends underlying its formidable growth throughout the past decade. In 2008, renewable energy resisted the credit crunch more successfully than many other sectors for much of the year and new investment reached $120 billion, up 16 percent over 2007. However, by the end of the year, the impact of the crisis was beginning to show.
time to relax policies that support a global, expanding renewable energy sector. By maintaining – and expanding – these policies, governments, industry and society will reap substantial economic and environmental rewards when the economic rebound requires energy markets to meet rapidly increasing demand”.
Climate change and energy security, two of the main drivers of the renewable energy sector, are still at work. As the REN21 report shows, the renewable energy sector offers an essential path for growth that can stimulate economic recovery and job creation without the burden of increasing carbon emissions.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Samsung Launches Solar Powered Phone

Leading white goods and mobile handset manufacturer Samsung Wednesday launched a low-cost solar-powered mobile phone, and said it was planning to introduce about 20 more models by year-end.

The new handset, launched under its low-cost line of products - 'Guru' - at a price of Rs.2,799, has a solar panel on the back, which can be used to charge the battery anywhere the sun is shining.

'We have developed this phone keeping in minds the needs of the consumers, especially for people in areas where the electric supply is unstable,' said J.S. Shin, president and chief executive of Samsung, Southwest Asia.
The phone, christened the 'Guru E1107', can provide around 5-10 minutes of talk-time with one-hour of solar charging when the handset is turned off and sunlight has adequate intensity.

'Solar charging can give you enough time to make few important calls when there is no electricity or you are not close to a plug point,' said Sunil Dutt, country head of Samsung India.

The battery will attain full power with about 40 hours of solar charging.

'But that is really not the intention behind the launch of this phone. It is to enable customers to make a call when there is no electricity,' said Dutt.

The handset, the 11th model in the Guru series, will be in shops by month-end. The first few batches of Guru E1107 will be imported from South Korea.

Saumsung has already launched about 20 models this year and plans to take this number to about 40 across categories. Asked whether the company would consider introducing solar charging features in high-end phones, Dutt said: 'We would definitely consider doing so.' Samsung, which has invested about $44 million in developing its mobile manufacturing facility in Noida, also has ambitious plans for the huge Indian mobile market.

'Our market share is in the early double digits currently. We plan to increase it by about 5-6 percent this year,' said a company official.

The company is also planning to introduce in India its solar-powered touchscreen mobile handset, Blue Earth - unveiled at a technology conference in Barcelona, Spain early this year.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Asia's first fully Solar Powered Stadium in Taiwan

It’s official now. Taiwan will hold the World Games 2009 in July. This international sporting event will include games like korfball, billiards, dragon boat racing and women’s tug-of-war. But why are we discussing World Games 2009 in an alternative energy spectrum? Actually Taiwan can boast of Asia’s first fully solar-powered stadium. The stadium gives a dragon-like impression if you happen to view it from the sky. In their culture dragon is associated with good fortune. If you happen to spot the dragon scales, look carefully again. These dragon scales are actually 8,844 solar panels. These solar panels are enough to meet the stadium’s energy needs. The roof covers an area of 14,155m2 . They can produce about 1.14 gigawatt hours of electricity every year. This amount of electricity is enough to power 80% of the stadium’s surrounding neighborhood when it’s not in use. The stadium has 3,300 lights and two giant TV screens.

The person who is responsible to give this abstract idea a concrete form is a Japanese architect Toyo Ito. This project cost around $150 million to build and can accommodate 55,000 spectators.

This stadium is situated in the city of Kaohsiung. Switzerland too has a somewhat similar high-profile Stade de Suisse that is located in Bern. It can accommodate 32,000 spectators and produce 700,000kWh annually. Beijing National Indoor Stadium too can absorb 19,000 spectators and has 1,124 solar panels. But Taiwan till date can be proud owner of the largest solar powered stadium in the world. Taiwanese officials claim the stadium’s energy production output will save 660 tons of carbon dioxide each year.

This is not the whole story. The stadium’s designers have also put lots of effort to curtail the environmental impact of the stadium. They utilized only those raw materials that have been procured from Taiwan and are 100 per cent reusable. The site is surrounded by a 19 hectare open space, with around 7 hectares exclusively kept aside as integrated public green spaces, bike paths, sports parks and even an ecological pond. To further make the entire project environmental friendly, all of the plants occupying the area before construction were transplanted.

The stadium will be utilized for rugby and other athletic events, including home matches for the football team after the World Games 2009 will be over.
We all know what it takes to build a new stadium. It is always a massive undertaking that consumes millions of dollars, sizable number of laborers and huge amount of power supply while the construction is underway. It is amazing to think that it took a mere two years to finish the construction process on this unique eco-friendly stadium. In order to generate the massive amount of energy the stadium utilizes it 14,155 sq meter solar roof to capture the sun rays, and the consequent power generation can power the stadium’s 3,300 lights and two jumbo vision screens. The test run has already been carried out and to everybody’s pleasant surprise, it merely took 6 minutes to power up the stadium’s entire lighting system.

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