College students have long been at the forefront of political and environmental change. The bright young minds at the Oregon Institute of Technology are no different, demanding sustainability efforts put into place by their school.
The Oregon Tech administration finally complied, accommodating their students’ wishes by outlining a plan to build a $7.6 million geothermal power plant on campus.
The plant will become the sole power source for the school in a few years, making Oregon Tech the only university to be powered completely by geothermal energy.
Since Klamath Falls, the home of Oregon Tech, sits near a fault line, heat and energy can be easily extracted from the earth.
In addition, the city of Klamath Falls operates a geothermal heating utility, using the energy to heat buildings, melt snow on the streets, and more.
Read more from cleantechnica.com
As the world shifts its ideological views from cheaper to greener, how do the folks running the coal industry, possibly the dirtiest business in the world, react? Do they clean up their product? Do they produce cleaner energies? Or maybe even donate money to an environmental foundation? Of course not.
Instead, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) spent a staggering $45 million last year on their “America’s Power” campaign, which many believe is a deception touting the benefits of so-called “clean coal.” And if that weren’t enough, the coal and electric industries spent a jaw-dropping $125 million lobbying against federal legislation promoting clean energy and a cap on global warming pollution.
As these industries spend millions running ads implying that carbon capture and storage (CCS) is here or just around the corner, the industry refuses to spend much of anything to turn its overheated rhetoric into reality. And it’s not for lack of funds. The 48 companies that make up the ACCCE front group earned a combined $57 billion in profits in 2007 alone, yet over a period of several years they have invested just $3.5 billion in research into CCS.
Find out more at alternet.org
The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Department of Energy on Thursday announced that an estimated US $3 billion will be made available for the development of renewable energy projects around the country and made issued the guidance businesses will need to submit a successful application.
Funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act), the program will provide direct payments in lieu of tax credits in support of an estimated 5,000 bio-mass, solar, wind, and other types of renewable energy production facilities.
The San Jose Mercury News reports: After two sharp quarterly declines, worldwide venture funding for clean technologies rebounded in the second quarter of 2009 amid rising confidence — particularly in Silicon Valley and throughout California.
From April to June, venture investments in clean tech totaled $1.2 billion across 94 companies, according to preliminary results released Wednesday by The Cleantech Group, a San Francisco research and strategy firm, and Deloitte & Touche.
The Breakthrough Institute reports: While the US mires itself in controversy over the weakened cap-and-trade bill working its way through Congress, China and India have begun to look ahead with new government investment policies that rapidly expand solar power capacity in each country.
China recently announced a dramatic increase in its expected solar capacity target for 2011, planning to reach 2 GW within the next two years. Already, China’s new renewable energy stimulus plan has expanded the nation’s 2020 target from 1.8 GW to 20 GW–that’s more than triple the amount of PV solar power installed in the entire world during 2008, the industry’s best year ever.
The higher targets will be met by enhancing government subsidies and other deployment incentives, which currently stand at US $2.93/watt capacity for roof-mounted systems greater than 50 kW. Government officials have suggested that the current US $.16 per kWH feed-in tariff for ground-mounted PV systems may be adjusted in order to make solar power production profitable.
Last month, India also signaled that it sees solar as a crucial component of a future clean energy economy, when its New and Renewable Energy Committee announced a massive National Solar Mission. In what one Greenpeace India representative called “the most ambitious solar plan that any country has laid out so far,” the National Solar Mission matches China by setting a new target of 20 GW solar capacity by 2020. What’s more, India estimates that the plan could bring the now-prohibitive cost of solar down to US $.08-.10 per kWh by 2017-2020, making it cost-competitive with fossil fuels.
Eco-Safe Systems USA(OTC: ESFS), a leader in the development and installation of ozonated water systems for the restaurant and food processing industries, is now developing ozonated water systems for golf courses.
They’ve just announced excellent results from independent testing of soil samples from a Los Angeles Golf Course utilizing Eco-Safe Ozone Turf Treatment.
Michael Elliot, President of Eco-Safe, stated, “Golf courses are a perfect fit for ozonated water treatment due to the wide range of benefits provided by ozone and the ease of application. Fundamentally, ozonated water percolates more deeply and rapidly, providing up to a 15% reduction in water usage, and the extra oxygen dissolved in the water is tremendously beneficial to the grass. Turf irrigated with ozonated water develops better color and a deeper root system.”
Elliot continued, “The need for chemicals and fertilizer is reduced, and ozone kills fungi and bacteria dangerous to grass. The ability of ozone to remediate low quality water also benefits those golf courses forced to use reclaimed water for irrigation. We feel the final tests will provide us with superb marketing material to develop this huge market for our Eco-Safe Systems.”
What once was the world’s tallest building, the Empire State Building is undergoing a $500 million eco-friendly makeover that will cut energy consumption nearly 40% in the next three years. The famous New York City landmark is the test case for a new process of analyzing and retrofitting existing structures for environmental sustainability, which will provide a replicable model for similar projects around the world.
“In this distressed economic climate, there is a tremendous opportunity for cities and building owners to retrofit existing buildings to save money and save energy,” Mr. Clinton said today.
On the outside, the building will get 6,500 windows refurbished into triple-glazed insulated modules, dramatically improving summer and winter efficiency. On the inside, the 78 year-old building is getting upgraded lighting, lighting controls and lighting design; upgraded or overhauled furnaces, chillers, and air-handlers. There will also be an emphasis put on demand-side management systems, allowing tenants to use their energy efficiently.
“Commercial and residential buildings account for the majority of the total carbon footprint of cities around the world – over 70 percent in New York City,” said Anthony E. Malkin of building owner, Empire State Building Company. “Most new buildings are built with the environment in mind, but the real key to substantial progress is reducing existing building energy consumption and carbon footprint.”
Read more at cleantechnica.com
The United States Interior Department has found a use for 670,000 acres of previously considered worthless sunny deserts and wind-swept plains: solar energy production.
As part of President Obama’s pledge to move away from reliance on fossil fuels and to double renewable energy in three years, the plan has identified 24 solar energy zones spanning six states that could generate nearly 100,000 megawatts of solar electricity.
At the same time, it has become a controversy as environmentalists and politicians, including U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, have decried federal plans to open ecologically sensitive land to development.
“This environmentally sensitive plan will identify appropriate Interior-managed lands that have excellent solar energy potential and limited conflicts with wildlife, other natural resources or land users,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said, hoping to appease doubts about the plan.
The department says the objective is to provide landscape-style planning and zoning for solar projects on Bureau of Land Management lands in the West, allowing a more efficient process for permitting and sitting responsible solar development .
Read more on Reuters.
It turns out that Green Policies are good not only for the environment, but for the California economy as well, according to a study that will be released Monday by UC-Berkeley professor David Roland-Holst.
The study shows that since 1977, energy-efficient policies have created nearly 1.5 million jobs while eliminating fewer than 25,000, improving employee compensation over all by $44.6 billion. “Consumers were able to reduce energy spending,” said Prof. Roland-Holst, adding that “these savings were diverted to other demand.”
“When consumers shift one dollar of demand from electricity to groceries,” he added, they create jobs among retailers, wholesalers, food processors and other businesses.
Read more from the New York Times