Saturday, December 31, 2011

10 Predictions for Cleantech and Sustainability in 2012

Happy New Year everyone. We can't wait to go on tour this year with you and our partners.

Here's a good article to contemplate as you walk into the new year:

By Michael Kanellos
Published December 28, 2011

Was 2011 good or bad for sustainability and green technology?

"First, the bad news. Three solar manufacturers trying to push the technological edge -- Solyndra, SpectraWatt and Evergreen Solar -- all went down in messy, public spectacles. Governments around the world, terrified about deficits, began to pull back on programs designed to promote renewable energy and sustainability. Electric cars like the FIsker Karma, Mitsubishi I and the sedan from Coda Automotive were delayed. The UN Talks in Durban, South Africa ended where they always do: with agreements to meet again.

Meanwhile, natural gas seemed to gain a reputation as the miracle fuel of the future. It's cheap! it's efficient! It's in your backyard!

But then there is the bright side. Environmental organizations won a battle to delay the Keystone XL pipeline: the fight isn't over, but this first round demonstrated that the environment remains a rallying cry for a large bloc of committed voters. Poll after poll shows that the public general supports renewable power and wants to reduce fossil fuels.
And guess what? Skeptics of hydraulic fracking have become more vociferous. If you had to put numbers on it, you could say renewables one, 52 to 48.

2012 will be another tight year. Here are ten trends and companies to watch:

1. Renewables Will Start to Win Over the Jobs Argument. The 2012 Presidential election will be only about one thing: jobs. In the energy and sustainability context, the debate boils down to whether you think more jobs can be created through by pipelines and offshore drilling or through erecting solar farms and retrofitting buildings. In the end, it's more of an emotional argument than a logical one: people tend to choose their side first and then build their argument around it.

But here is where renewables win: they don't take years. The U.S. will install 1.7 gigawatts worth of solar by the time 2011 ends, nearly double the 887 megawatts last year. Total new nuclear in the U.S. the past two years: zero megawatts. New York University and Yale professors have recently found that you're more likely to get solar if your neighbor does. SolarCity will hire veterans to install 160,000 rooftop installations for its SolarStrong project: you can't beat that photo op.

Many fossil projects, meanwhile, are bogged down in land use hearings.

Despite what you hear on talk radio, Americans vote pragmatically. If renewables get results quicker, they become the better solution.

2. Mom Becomes the Most Important Name in Green. This trend may only seem like simmer in 2012 but it will build. Judging from the dinner party conversations I've had over the last year, moms are paying attention to household chemicals and food ingredients and are they angry! The level of understanding about the dangers of BPA and other industrial chemicals in the modern suburban household is astounding. Women are going to insist on better products and men will go along.
So who wins? Biofuel and biochem companies -- LS9, Gevo, Genomatica, Solazyme, etc.--will see an uptick in business and partnerships with the Dows and DuPonts of the world. But more
immediately, expect to see companies like Revolution Foods (healthy school lunches), NuturMe (baby food) and Nest Collective (healthy snacks) to zoom. They can sell to customers directly.

3. Car Sharing Becomes the Future in Transportation. Lee Iacocca made a name for himself at Ford in the 60s with the Mustang. He saw a big wave of consumers coming to market that didn't want to drive stodgy cars and capitalized on it.
Car sharing plays off a similar demographic shift. Younger consumers don't have a love affair with the auto and want to live in cities. Young adults raised in suburbia moving to cities actually like trains. Car sharing gives them freedom without the hassles.
Just as important, it lets them taste test somewhat expensive options like EVs. The inevitability and implications of the trend may only emerge -- and the business models are far from established -- but 2012 in retrospect may look like 1978 or 1979 did in computing.

4. Commodity Prices Become An Ally. Thieves are swiping copper from train yards. Wheat and other cereal crops are undergoing wrenching price gyrations. In Iowa, farmland is bringing in premium prices at auction. Although natural gas sits an unnaturally low prices oil dances around $100 a barrel. Prolonged uncertainly will continue to unnerve people, and force them to think in a sustained fashion about sustainability.

5. Efficiency Pays For Itself. Efficiency: the Al Gore of green technology segments. It is good for you. It is logical. And it is near impossible to get excited about. Despite years of studies and commentaries from experts like Art Rosenfeld and Amory Lovins about the power of negawatts, businesses and homeowners still get more excited about fuel cells, solar panels and electric cars than cutting their utility bills..."

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Kudos to Alex and Anni

A local company, a very environmentally aware company, and a potential sponsor, for donating money to Bryant College to support their international business training.

Here's the story: "Local company donates $1M to Bryant U.
Donation to benefit International Business Program

By Shaun Towne
CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) - A local company has donated $1 million to Bryant University.

The gift from Cranston-based Alex and Ani, Inc. is to benefit the University's International Business (IB) Program.

According to a news release, Bryant will receive $100,000 a year over 10 years.

A working relationship between the company and the university began in 2010 when Alex and Ani were looking to expand into Spain, and sought guidance from Bryant faculty and students.

"Corporate partnerships like this one with Alex and Ani give our students opportunities to practice what they learn in the classroom as they prepare to lead in a global context," said Jose-Marie Griffiths, vice president for academic affairs in a statement. "In addition, the company is an especially relevant corporate role model. Its domestic success is turning into an international success in front of our students' eyes, and its commitment to corporate philanthropy offers Bryant students and example to follow..."

Let's hope Bryant's continuing training of kids focuses some attention on company's striking the right balance between ecological respect and economic growth.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

UK’s discarded Christmas paper and cards could fuel 20 moon trips

As we look to clean up from Christmas, and start fresh on 2012, here's a great story from Earth/ that will help us recycle this year and go electronic with our cards and letters next year:

The link:

Part of the story: "Don’t stop recycling just yet, but if the technology were more developed, your Christmas waste could become biofuel to power motor vehicles.
Scientists at Imperial College London have figured out that if all the UK’s discarded Christmas wrapping paper and cards were collected and fermented, they could make enough biofuel to run a double-decker bus the distance to the moon and back more than 20 times.

These scientists say this demonstrates that industrial quantities of waste paper could be turned into high grade biofuel, to power motor vehicles, by fermenting the paper using microorganisms..."

Clearly, the environmental impact is equally significant worldwide. Time to change.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Recycle Christmas Trees, Wreaths for Farm Project

From EcoRINews good article on recycling your Christmas Trees and Wreaths:

The story: By ecoRI News staff

"Bring us your Christmas tree Saturday, Jan. 7, at the Pawtucket Wintertime Farmers' Market from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
PAWTUCKET — Christmas tree or holiday tree, the name doesn’t matter. New Urban Farmers and ecoRI News will take your withering evergreen trees and wreaths for use as mulch in an urban garden.

Drop off your unneeded trees and wreaths at the Jan. 7 Wintertime Farmers’ Market, outside of Hope Artiste Village, 1005 Main St., from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Your old evergreens will be used for soil remediation for innovative agricultural projects going on right here in Pawtucket. New Urban Farmers is a community growing and garden project for inner-city families living in the Galego Court public housing facility.

For more information, call New Urban farmer Bleu Grijalva at 401-338-8163, or ecoRI News staffer Tim Faulkner at 401-330-6276."

For those of you in other states, please find similar site for recycling. Be a great way to start the New Year, and support local agricultural projects. The business side of green....

Monday, December 26, 2011

Good News for Companies that Support a Cause During the Holidays

Do you support a cause, specifically an environmental one? If not, know is the time to jump on board and enjoy not only the altruistic benefits, but, as per the below article, economic as well. Another good investment to think about over the holidays:

Link to story:

Some of the story and link to video: TWEET MEGood News for Companies that Support a #Cause During the #Holidays via @ConeLLC #causemarketing #coneresearch

Good news for companies that support a cause during the holidays! CBS WBZ Radio interviewed Cone Communications' own executive vice president of cause branding and nonprofit marketing, Craig Bida, to reveal that consumers are shopping with a cause in mind. In fact, 91 percent of consumers state they would buy a product associated with a cause, and 62 percent say they already have.
To listen to the full interview, click here.


Cone Communications
Whitney Dailey

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

10 shades of green Christmas trees

This will give everyone ideas for recycling this year and buying smarter next year. I love some of these choices, and by buying a tree and enjoying Christmas, you are adding to the local economy, supporting local businesses without further damaging the environment you live in:

"I’ve immersed myself in discussions about green Christmas trees over the past few days, and I’m amazed by the wide array of options. There’s no official green meter to gauge which one is the greenest. But here’s a quick list of the various shades of green, along with some of the environmental benefits and potential drawbacks:

A fake tree rescued from a dumpster or purchased from a thrift store (much of the environmental damage is done, but you can still keep it out of the landfill). One study found a new fake tree would have to be used for 20 years to match the environmental impacts of natural trees.

A living tree that you replant after the holiday (avoids killing a tree … as long as it survives the shift from indoors to outdoors).

Any potted tree that would already be indoors for the winter; maybe something aromatic like rosemary (You can keep it year-round and even use its branches in holiday dishes).
In Oregon and California, you can rent a live tree (That way trained professionals will make sure the tree lives after Christmas).

In Portland, you can have a tree delivered by bike (removing the carbon footprint of driving to get a tree).

Cut your own wild tree from a national forest with a $5 permit (I just gone mine from Mt. Hood, so I burned some gas in the process).

Cut a nearby invasive species (Be careful how you dispose of it so you don’t spread seeds).
A fresh-cut tree from a nearby farm (keeps a constant rotation of trees that absorb carbon dioxide, and you can recycle it to keep it out of the landfill).

A certified eco-friendly fresh-cut tree (So you know what the farmer is doing to minimize erosion, chemical inputs and other impacts).

An organic fresh-cut tree (pesticide and herbicide free, but still a rare commodity).

So … how green is your Christmas tree?"

Friday, December 23, 2011

Damon Claus for a Cause - Water.Org/Holiday Green notes

We hope everyone is enjoying a slow down for the holidays, and getting geared up for a great, green 2012. We will be running some simple, seasonal updates as we move towards a huge year for us, including our 12 city tour.

Enjoy today's update:

2011’s Water.Org campaign is raising awareness of the water crisis this holiday season with our 2nd annual “You’ve Got” featuring Matt Damon. Matt Damon co-founded this organization alongside Gary White.

The link to the story:

The link to the video:

Water conservation is one of our most critical, life-threatening issues. Please help conserve.

Our holiday cheers to Matt Damon.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Giving Voice to Poor, Minorities on Climate Change/New Show today

This is a great article from EcoRINews that makes the direct connection between good environmental policy tied with solid economics, in this case focused on one state's effort to craft an urban policy that benefits the underserved as well.

By DAVE FISHER/ecoRI News staff


Here's the opening: "PROVIDENCE — Rhode Island is one of a handful of states that is taking a proactive approach to climate change. The Rhode Island Climate Commission, a 28-member board consisting of representatives from a bevy of governmental and non-governmental organizations, recently convened for the first time and is tasked with developing a plan for adapting and mitigating the inevitable effects of climate change on the Ocean State..."

We love this part..."The project has already drafted several recommendations to the Climate Commission intended to protect marginalized communities:

Develop a master plan that ensures proper upgrades and maintenance to access roads, bridges, storm drains and public buildings within and near dense and low-income communities for disaster preparedness and response measures.

Promote green space, permeable surfaces and trees in all planning for future land use and roads in urban centers, especially those in watersheds and near the coast.

Implement a plan for the clean up of sites with high concentrations of toxics and waste, where flooding could exacerbate the problem to nearby properties.

Establish and improve access to cooling centers that can provide sanctuary and shelter to the indigent during extreme heat.

Promote urban and regional agriculture by making unused public land, including school grounds, city land and park land, accessible for long-term use for personal, nonprofit and micro-enterprise organic and sustainable food production, prioritizing projects that are culturally appropriate, create green-collar jobs for low-income residents and direct food produced to low-income communities through retail, food banks and schools. Require and supply assistance in soil testing and remediation.

Improve the accessibility of energy-efficiency programs for low-income residents, and allow tenants who receive Low Income Home Energy assistance (LIHEAP) to live in affordable housing and/or pay their own energy bills to make energy-efficiency upgrades with greater sovereignty from landlords.

Promote energy-efficiency upgrades with owners of property in urban centers.

“We believe that the communities that will be the most adversely affected by climate change will come up with the best solutions,” Roles said. “The conversation about climate change has been almost exclusively framed for the middle and upper class, but low-income communities need solutions that are not based on consumerism...”

We applaud this proposed plan that focuses on sound assets within an urban plan, including reducing toxins that sicken people and destroy our health care system, build an efficient infrastructure for sustaining growth, carving out green spaces to make a city more livable, bringing balance to citizen's lives, and allowing urban agriculture to bring food sources close by. All the while reducing the city's use of resources, and moving quickly to renewable energy.

This is the essence of our focus--the business side of green. The investments, production of those assets and a reasonable ROI to citizens, government and private enterprise. This is a well thought out plan.

Timing is great as their is clearly a renewed emphasis on building an economy that bridges the differences in income and wealth, not exasperates them. We'd welcome feedback and comparable plans from other cities around the world.

Listen to use today on WARL 1320, live, as we discuss solutions to a stinky landfill in RI.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Seattle officials vote to ban plastic bags

This is great news from the Seattle Times. It is a simple, tangible step towards using less energy, fossil fuel and reducing dangerous waste. Coupled with adding an additional fee for paper, and promoting people bringing their own bags, Seattle jumps into the lead in transforming retail into a cleaner future without adversely impacting the retailers ability to sell and make money.

We applaud Seatle and other cities who have banned the harmful use of plastic bags. We will do a show on this, and help lead the charge to implement the same changes across the nation.

Send us your comments.

Please listen in tomorrow (WARL 1320AM), 12-1p, as we tackle the stink coming out of a local landfill and bring on the experts who can help solve the problem.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Controversy in RI/Thanks to Greg Gerritt

Lots of talk, meetings, unrest in RI about the stench floating across the State from the Landfill.

We are going to focus on this issue the next couple of shows (and there are some good, possible solutions which would benefit our local ecological system, too), but here's a good starting point on an essay sent to us by the head of the RI Environment Council, Greg Gerritt:

"The smell from the landfill is primarily the result of the decay of organic matter buried in it. If we stopped burying food scrap and other organics, and instead composted them, the smell from the landfill would be greatly diminished over time, and we would be producing compost that can be used to revitalize agricultural soils in Rhode Island, improve the economy in our communities, and increase our community resilience in the face of climate change. More and more communities all over the world are composting every day.

Unfortunately in Rhode Island it is so cheap to just pick up everything and dump it on the hill at the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation’s Central Landfill in Johnston. The legislature has artifically set a very low tip fee, which totally skews the conomics of trash and recycling. Now they are holding hearings and pounding tables about the inability of RIRRC to fix the problem without looking at themselves in the mirror and realizing they are the ones who caused the problem in the first place by setting up such an off balance system. The report in the paper on the legislative hearing reminds me of the hearings in Providence by the City Council after the City started the no bin, no barrel policy of mandatory recycling. There was a three week shakeout period in which there were some problems. There is always a shakeout period, but the City Council, knowing in advance there were problems with the roll out, did nothing until the stench rose. Then they pounded on tables yelling pick up the garbage. I went to the hearing, and some of the Councillorsx acknowledged it was all for show. They knew the problems were getting solved, but they had to look good, partly to make up for the fact that they did nothing at the times when they could actually have made a difference.

"Reading about the legislative hearing about the stench I saw nothing about anyone pointing out the real long term solutions. Yes there is a need for short term resolution of the stench, but ultimately we have to stop burying food scrap and use it as the valuable resource it is. Taking proper care of the materials we are disposing of, including those that are critical to growing food, costs a little more than just tossing trash on the hill and burying it. But if we take proper care, we dramatically over time reduce the smells and the high emissions of greenhouse gases such as methane that are 21 times as effective at reflecting heat waves back to earth as carbon dioxide. Yes, in these hard times no one can afford to pay more to dispose of things, but we can not afford to keep throwing valuable resources away and polluting at the same time.

Landfills are one of the largest sources of methane emissions in the United States and the simple solution is the one that creates the most value for the community. Compost all food scrap instead of burying it.

For many years I lived near paper mills, and when the weather was right, it was enough to make you gag, so I have some idea what the folks near the landfill are experiencing. In fact the releases are mostly the same sulfur containing compounds. We need some short term solutions to reduce the smell today, but we also need the long term solution of collecting and composting food scrap. I am asking all of our policy leaders to join in the discussion of how best to remove the structural impediments that prevent us from taking advantage of a valuable resource and fully develop our compost industry. We will all breathe and eat better."

Greg Gerritt
Coordinator RI Compost Initiative A project of the Environment Council of RI and the Greater Providence Urban Agriculture Task Force

Let us know your thoughts on this, and we'd love to get comments from people living in other states who are either dealing with the same or have fixed this same problem.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Good news from Ford

This in from Environmental Leader:

Ford Focus Electric to Boast 100 Mpg Equivalency

"Ford says that its Ford Focus Electric is to be the first five-passenger electric vehicle to achieve a 100 mpg equivalent rating. The automaker announced this week that production of the car is to begin at a Michigan assembly plant.

The Focus Electric (pictured) should also be able to fully recharge in three-to-four hours – half the time of Nissan Leaf, according to Ford. This technology can help double the car’s range during a busy day of driving and recharging multiple times, Ford says. Ford announced a solar powered home charging option for the car in August.

The company began taking orders for the 2012 Focus Electric in November through dealers in the California and New York/New Jersey markets. Deliveries to other U.S. markets are expected later in the year as production ramps up."

How cool that they are introducing a solar powered home charging option for the car. What a perfect combination: Clean renewable energy powering clean-burning cars. Now if we can get the public recharging units to work off of renewable energy sources....

Have a good weekend. We will be back with a story Sat or Sunday.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Show yesterday

Good shows yesterday on radio station WARL 1320.

Our special thanks to our special guest, Leland from: Boston Green Realty, LLC.
229 Berkeley Street
Suite 201
Boston, Ma. 02116
office: 617.262.3075
fax: 617.249.0434
mobile: 617.966.2475

Great job, Leland. We will have you on again.

Brown University/Arpin Group

Through one of our companies, Arpin Renewable Energy Company, we have been testing solar applications to trucks and transportation. We've outfitted some of our trucks, and had spectacular results with eliminating conventional use of energy and reducing emissions.

Through our partnership with TransSolar company, we are about to significantly expand our testing to many fleets, and should be launching new, solar products next year.

Concurrently, we've mentored students at Brown University to not only help with this effort, but expand the potential use of solar on trucks. The results are award winning as you can see from this story: Congratulations to the Arpin team at Brown for a job well done:

Arpin Renewable Energy Mentors Brown University Students to Shape Future of Transportation Industry

December 13, 2011
Arpin Renewable Energy has formed a partnership with Brown University’s entrepreneurship program to expand the use of solar energy in the transportation industry.

“I am very excited to be mentoring Brown University student entrepreneurs to shape the future of energy in the moving and transportation industry,” said Peter Arpin, president and CEO of Arpin Renewable Energy. “So far, their presentations on the subject of lowering costs and reducing our impact on the environment have demonstrated exceptional promise and I’m looking forward to seeing the students’ conclusions at the end of the semester.”

Three Brown students from this year's Entrepreneurship I class (ENGN1930G) are working with their class mentor, Peter Arpin, to lower operating costs at Arpin Van Lines by applying green technologies which also will reduce the company’s impact on the environment. Arpin Renewable Energy is currently engaged in a project to retrofit a moving truck with solar technology.

The Brown student team is also looking to increase revenues per truck by applying solar powered electronic advertising displays on a select number of trucks to help offset the costs of the solar retrofit. The student team is in the process of identifying appropriate technologies and developing a business plan for these applications.

To satisfy the requirements of the class, students must create a credible business plan based on the best solution that evolves from the mentor-posed problem. This business plan must take into account sales and marketing, patents, and opportunities to protect novel product features as well as a product requirements document. Students must present this plan to Peter Arpin at the end of the semester.

The Arpin entrepreneur team recently competed and placed in the finals of the RICIE 90-second elevator pitch competition. There were 58 individuals/teams in competition and nine finalists were chosen. Both the Arpin (Han Lee of GLS Mobile) and Hall (JCD Wind Energy) teams from Entrepreneurship I (ENGN1930G) finished in the top nine, winning $50 each.
About Renewable Energy:

Arpin Renewable Energy is a research and development company, which explores and produces green alternatives that can be applied to the moving industry. It is also responsible for the implementation and management of “Green Initiatives” across all Arpin Group subsidiaries to help reduce their carbon footprint. Learn more about these green initiatives at

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Canada to withdraw from Kyoto Protocol

Some interesting and disappointing news delivered by the BBC. Here it is:

"Canada will formally withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, the minister of the environment has said.

Peter Kent said the protocol "does not represent a way forward for Canada" and the country would face crippling fines for failing to meet its targets.

The move, which is legal and was expected, makes it the first nation to pull out of the global treaty.

The protocol, initially adopted in Kyoto, Japan, in 1997, is aimed at fighting global warming.

"Kyoto, for Canada, is in the past, and as such we are invoking our legal right to withdraw from Kyoto," Mr Kent said in Toronto.

He said he would be formally advising the United Nations of his country's intention to pull out.

He said meeting Canada's obligations under Kyoto would cost $13.6bn (10.3bn euros; £8.7bn): "That's $1,600 from every Canadian family - that's the Kyoto cost to Canadians, that was the legacy of an incompetent Liberal government..."

Here is the link to read more:

Here is the kicker on the deal: "He said that despite this cost, greenhouse emissions would continue to rise as two of the world's largest polluters - the US and China - were not covered by the Kyoto agreement.

"We believe that a new agreement that will allow us to generate jobs and economic growth represents the way forward," he said."

Can you blame Canada for pulling out of an ineffective agreement that fails to halt emissions yet costs them billions. As we've been saying, the only programs that will sustain long-term are those that have a reasonable ROI on investments. This one, at least for Canada, does not.

We'd love to hear your comments as well.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Geen economies: UNEP praises efforts to shift to green economies

Great story today from the United Nation's Conference on Sustainable Development. Take a look:

"Nairobi, Kenya - Poor countries across the world are engaging with the rich countries to reduce emissions from forests and fast track transitions to a low carbon, resource efficient Green Economy, the UN Environmental Programme (UNEPP) said Thursday. The multiple benefits of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD ) were discussed at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP17) in Durban, South Africa.

“In the same way that the Green Economy promotes sustainable, low carbon and resource-efficient economic growth, REDD also explicitly addresses the need for a balance between income growth, jobs and social equity,” UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said.

“With just over six months until the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio 20) in Brazil, countries ranging from Indonesia to Brazil and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are recognizing that REDD investments can offer myriad opportunities to boost green development,' Steiner said.

He said utilising the investments and enhancing ecosystem services, tackling climate change, improving water security and promoting green jobs is important.

'Mobilizing more partnerships such as that between Norway and Indonesia, or private sector funding is vital if the full potential of forests to contribute to a Green Economy is to be realized,” Steiner said.

“A green economy transition is worth pursuing, not only because it is the best way forward but also for what it does to bring millions of people out of poverty, while conserving their ecosystems, improving their lives and enhancing their livelihood opportunities,” said Dr. Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, Head of the Indonesian President’s Delivery Unit for Development Monitoring and Oversight."

What a perfect last paragraph. With your help, we will pursue "bringing millions of people out of poverty, while conserving their ecosystems, improving their lives and enhancing their livelihood opportunities". The green economy, the global green economy, is alive and well.

Let's make 2012 a great year.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Solar City/CA/Weekend Edition

Nice USA Today story on Solar City's huge expansion in CA:

$1B-plus solar power project gets private funding

"A California-based solar company announced Wednesday that it has lined up enough private financing to begin what it says will be the largest residential solar photovoltaic project in U.S. history -- powering as many as 120,000 military housing units.

SolarCity sought a loan guarantee last year from the U.S. Department of Energy to finance part of its five-year, $1 billion-plus plan to install, own and operate rooftop solar panels for privatized U.S. military housing communities nationwide. DOE offered a conditional commitment Sept. 7 but couldn't finalize the loan before its 1705 program expired Sept. 30. The DOE program has been scrutinized after lending a half-billion dollars to now bankrupt solar manufacturer Solyndra.

SolarCity, based in San Mateo, Calif., didn't give up. It continued to work with the Bank of America Merrill Lynch to attract private investors for its SolarStrong project, receiving advice from equity firm US Renewables Group.

"This is uncharted territory for residential solar. The fact that SolarStrong can move forward without a federal loan guarantee is a clear indication that long-term incentives such as the investment tax credit are working," said Lyndon Rive, CEO of SolarCity, in co-announcing the terms of the financing with BofA Merrill."

Very important the statement that "this project can move forward without a federal loan guarantee". Big renewable energy projects should not depend solely on credits and grants. The economics need to work on purely a commercial model. We are glad this one does.

Friday, December 9, 2011

New Shows/Late Post

We shot 4 great new shows today, all of which should premier in January. Then, of course, we go on the road with our 12-City tour and film everything the rest of the year on location. It will be a great year for the show.

Also, we've reported a lot of good things about the Chevy Volt, including the overwhelming praise when we set up daylong test drives at a recent Farmer's Market. However, since then, the news has not been great, including this update:

Second Chevy Volt fire sparks official investigation

Safety administrators to examine lithium ion battery packs after another plug-in hybrid catches fire during crash testing

By BusinessGreen staff 29 Nov 2011

"The US road safety authority has announced an official investigation into the risk of fires breaking out in General Motors' flagship plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt car.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it decided to take the action after a Volt burst into flames in a repeat of an incident earlier this year, which saw the car's lithium ion battery catch fire three weeks after a side-impact test."

"While the NHTSA said it is not aware of any crashes involving lithium ion batteries that have resulted in fires outside of testing, its experiment on three battery packs saw one emit sparks and smoke shortly after it was crash tested while another caught fire seven days afterwards.

"The agency is concerned that damage to the Volt's batteries as part of three tests that are explicitly designed to replicate real-world crash scenarios have resulted in fire," said a statement on the NHTSA website. "NHTSA is therefore opening a safety defect investigation of Chevy Volts, which could experience a battery-related fire following a crash.

"While it is too soon to tell whether the investigation will lead to a recall of any vehicles or parts, if NHTSA identifies an unreasonable risk to safety, the agency will take immediate action to notify consumers and ensure that GM communicates with current vehicle owners.

The agency added that it would be working with the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense, and experts from General Motors during the investigation into the Volt, which was awarded a top five-star rating by the European New Car Assessment Program (Euro NCAP) earlier this month.

The Volt is safe and does not present undue risk as part of normal operation or immediately after a severe crash," Jim Federico, GM's chief engineer for electric vehicles, said in a statement.

GM said yesterday it will offer 5,000 customers loan vehicles and delay the European release of the Volt, where it is known as the Ampera, until the investigation is concluded..."

One of our guests today talked about getting into an accident a few years ago with a Prius and, because the car is very light, taking the worst of the collision with a standard gas-powered car. For that reason, she will not go back to a hybrid or electric.

It saddens us to write and report on this, but there has to be balanced information and reporting. We stand by our endorsement of EV's, and believe it is our vehicle to a cleaner, more secure world. Like anything, there are challenges and setbacks. We still believe the Volt and others are great cars, and will stand on their own.

Now, let's hear your comments.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Filming new shows tomorrow

We will be in the studio doing 5 new shows tomorrow, all of which will have their premier in Jan. We hope you are watching and listening on WARL 1320.

In the meantime, here's some good news on one of the new EV's sweeping across the US:

Nissan Leaf Rolling out to 50 States by March

The story: "Nissan is rolling out its all-electric Leaf to seven more states, with plans for availability in all 50 states and the District of Columbia by March, Fleet Owner reports.

The company is now taking orders in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Ohio, Indiana, Louisiana and Nevada, taking to 30 the current number of states where the Leaf is available.

Originally Nissan had predicted availability in all markets by the end of 2011."

Also, more good news on the electric front: "In other green fleet news, Coulomb Technologies today introduced its latest ChargePoint application for Blackberry smart phones. The free, updated app provides electric vehicle drivers new features including the ability to locate and check occupancy status, make reservations for a charging station, and obtain more detailed station information including pricing."

We will be setting up an event to allow test drives of the Leaf, as we did with the Volt (and made GM's Facebook page for the car). We'll let you know the schedule as soon as it is set. In the meantime, if you own one or drove one, send us your comments.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Arctic Cup

Arpin International Group is proud to be one of the major sponsors of this hockey event in St. Pete, Russia. The intent, of course, is to bring unity on the future treatment, and division, of the Arctic Lands, and make sure they are preserved as a valuable asset.

Here's the story in today's Herald on our sponsorship and on two of our employees who are there playing and networking on behalf of the Arpin Group:

Mover’s ‘hockey diplomacy’

Execs play charity game in bid for Russian clients

By Darren Garnick / The Working Stiff
Wednesday, December 7, 2011 -

"When teenage buddies Bob Sullivan and Mark Dearborn sweated out their summers lugging furniture for a moving company, they couldn’t have imagined it would lead to their own personal “Miracle.”

More than 25 years later, the former Chelmsford High School hockey teammates find themselves in St. Petersburg, Russia, this week to explore business prospects as vice presidents for the Arpin International Group, a global relocation firm serving corporate, government and military clients.

Sullivan and Dearborn are lacing up their skates for the inaugural Arctic Cup, a tournament between the eight nations with real estate near the North Pole: Canada, Denmark (which rules Greenland), Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the U.S.A.

Organized to promote environmental conservation issues, the Dec. 8-11 competition is comprised of retired hockey pros, business leaders, entertainers and politicians — similar to the composition of an American Pro-Am charity golf tournament.

“In Russia, they call it ‘hockey diplomacy’ when business leaders bond on the ice. It’s very similar to how CEOs connect on the golf course here,” says Dearborn, who oversees Arpin’s customer care department out of its Tyngsboro office.

You can forgive Dearborn, who played two years of pro hockey in France and Austria in the 1990s, for giddily thinking about the famous “Miracle on Ice” USA Hockey team that upset Russia. He and his co-worker will be teammates with 1980 Olympic hero (and former Boston Bruin) Dave Christian.

“I’ve seen the Kurt Russell movie at least 15 times. I assure you that Bob and I will be quoting from it all the time,” Dearborn says.

Sullivan — who’s been in charge of opening Arpin’s offices in London, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Frankfurt — hopes the Arctic Cup paves the way for a future Moscow branch. But his mind is temporarily on the puck, too.

“I’m an out-of-shape father of three working a desk job and on Friday, I’ll be playing for the USA against the Russians. The hockey part is totally surreal, but I’m also extremely proud to be involved with the cause,” Sullivan says.

Headquartered in East Greenwich, R.I., Arpin International Group is a major corporate sponsor of the Arctic Cup. Co-owner Peter Arpin, who hosts a weekly AM radio show about renewable energy, says the tournament is a natural fit with his goal to become “the greenest moving company in the world.”

Selected Arpin moving trucks are now testing solar panels that allow vehicles to use the heaters or air conditioners without running the engine, he says, adding that he hopes to eventually retrofit their entire domestic fleet of 800-1,000, which includes contractors."

This event is the true "business side of green': Bringing together countries, companies and leaders to raise money, awareness and find ways of doing the right kinds of business around the world.

We are proud to be a part of this historic event.

We hope you will follow this on Facebook and spread the word.

Listen to Positive Energy Moving Forward WARL  - 1320 AM Providence, RI

We will be live in the studio today, on 1320 AM, and their web site, with some interesting guests.

Please call in. We'd love to hear from you.

More stories on the blog later today.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Thanks to Gina at SIerra Club

For sending us this great article which we wanted to share with you:

Big Solar Plans for Military Families


Part of the article: "How do you double the number of houses that have rooftop solar? Ask SolarCity, which is moving ahead with its ambitious 5-year plan to provide 300 megawatts worth of solar for military families.

SolarCity announced yesterday a partnership with Bank of America Merrill Lynch that will help finance the project that clocks in at more than $1 billion. Amid the rocky political climate, the project became uncertain after a loan guarantee from the Department of Energy fell through earlier this year. But this private financing should nudge the project -- named SolarStrong -- toward meeting its goal of powering 120,000 military housing units with clean, renewable (and safe) energy.

If that goal is met, "this could effectively double the total number of residential solar rooftops in the U.S.," reports greentechmedia. SolarStrong will likely be the largest residential PV project in the U.S.

"This is uncharted territory for residential solar," SolarCity's CEO Lyndon Rive said in a statement. "The fact that SolarStrong can move forward without a federal loan guarantee is a clear indication that long-term incentives such as the investment tax credit are working."

It's also great news for an industry that continues to defy today's economy. The solar sector encompasses more than 100,000 American jobs. SolarCity in particular has added an average of more than one job each workday since 2007, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research..."

The really good news in here is the 100,000 jobs created. Let's keep it going.

Monday, December 5, 2011

From Eco News RI

Thanks to our radio partners for sharing this story with us:

Renewable Energy Must Replace Dirty Fossil Fuels

The link:

Part of the story: "Much of the fossil-fuel industry claims we shouldn’t invest in electricity from wind and solar energy because the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine. True, but wind farms and solar panels in different locations all interconnected and monitored with a smart grid can send power where and when it is needed.

The United States also has sufficient clean biofuels and bio-waste that can be used to generate base-load power when wind and solar power isn’t available. In fact, the Northeast is rich in biofuels and should be using more of this cheap, abundant, renewable energy to displace foreign oil. This fuel doesn’t have to be transported thousand of miles by rail or boat and it supports local job creation.

A smart grid powered by a hybrid renewable energy system is the cleanest, most-efficient and economical way of producing power in the United States.

Much of the fossil-fuel industry also claims electricity from wind and solar power is too expensive and will cost the nation jobs. These industry leaders also claim that if the United States converts to renewable energy we will not be able to compete in the global marketplace.

However, the burning of fossil fuels and the use of nuclear power to produce electricity represents two of greatest threats to mankind in the 21st century. There is no such thing as clean coal. Climate scientists have repeatedly warned governments around the world about the risk associated with the continued use of fossil fuels..."

Part of our shows that will be shot on tour next year will focus on early renewable energy, including hydro from our rivers in RI, and how we got away from renewable energy and, more importantly, how we get back to it.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sorry the show did not run today

For those of you who usually watch us on News Channel 5, we are sorry it did not run as scheduled. We are waiting for an explanation from ABC 6/News Channel 5, but they think it was a failed up load to their system on Friday, so it was not in their system today, at master control, to run.

We'll get a written explanation and share it with you.

Also, Terra Pass sent this to us and we are happy to share it with everyone. Send us a Christmas card:

How do we fight climate change?
Reminding our friends that we care:
about them, our planet, and our future.
Get the message across. Send an e-card today!

It's not just an e-card; it's an e-card with carbon offsets, which capture greenhouse gases that are harming our planet. Do your part for your friends.

Send an e-card today. 97-TerraPass-carbon-offsets-e-cards.html.

Sweeten your message with some climate change chocolate!
Spread the word!

To avoid receiving future messages from us, please click here.

TerraPass Inc.
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San Francisco, CA 94105
© TerraPass 2004 - 2011.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Renewable power trumps fossil fuels for first time

Thanks to Mark Learn for sending us this great story and great news:

November 25, 2011, 12:29 p.m.
Renewable energy is surpassing fossil fuels for the first time in new power-plant investments, shaking off setbacks from the financial crisis and an impasse at the United Nations global warming talks.

"Electricity from the wind, sun, waves and biomass drew $187 billion last year compared with $157 billion for natural gas, oil and coal, according to calculations by Bloomberg New Energy Finance using the latest data. Accelerating installations of solar- and wind-power plants led to lower equipment prices, making clean energy more competitive with coal.

"The progress of renewables has been nothing short of remarkable," United Nations Environment Program Executive Secretary Achim Steiner said in an interview. "You have record investment in the midst of an economic and financial crisis."

The findings indicate the world is shifting toward consuming more renewable energy even without a global agreement on limiting greenhouse gases. Delegates from more than 190 nations converge in Durban, South Africa, on Nov. 28 to discuss new measures for limiting emissions damaging the climate.

The renewables boom, spurred by about $66 billion of subsidies last year, intensified competition between wind- turbine and solar-panel manufacturers, gutting margins from the biggest producers led by Vestas Wind Systems A/S and First Solar Inc. The 95-member WilderHill New Energy Index of renewable- energy stocks has tumbled 40 percent this year, steeper than the 14 percent drop in the MSCI World Index.

The zeal to replace fossil fuels, which take millions of years to form from dead organic matter, belies the failed efforts at the UN talks to broker a deal that would limit carbon dioxide emissions from coal and oil blamed for global warming. Without a deal, existing pollution caps under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol expire next year..."

We will be following this story closely, and will keep you updated.

Part of the concern is whether such projects will continue to get funded without, if they go away, federal and state tax credits and grants. Here in RI we are seeing the final negotiations with National Grid on a revised renewable energy bill that is alleged to be strong enough to kick off many pending projects. We'll see.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Jay Leno Has Logged 11,000 Gas-Free Miles in His Chevy Volt Written by Megan Treacy on 22/11/11

How cool is this story: Jay Leno, car lover, has logged 11,000 miles on his Volt with no refill on gas. 11,000 emission-free miles. Thank you to EcoGeek for sending this story to us.

"We've heard a lot about sales numbers and predictions since the Chevy Volt's release, but we haven't heard as many real-world driving stories. What kind of range are people getting? Are they enjoying the car?

Jay Leno, probably the most famous Volt driver so far, has raved about his experience with the vehicle and reported that he's racked up 11,000 miles in the car without ever having to fill up the gas tank.

Leno drives his Volt from his home to the studio and back every day -- a 35-mile trip each way. With the Volt's battery range of 40 miles, he's able to make the drive to work, plug in to recharge and then drive home again at the end of the day all without using any gas. In fact, the half tank of gas that was in the vehicle when it was delivered to him is still there, untouched.

The big idea behind the range-extended vehicle was just this scenario: people could make their regular commutes on battery power only, but have the option of filling up on gas for longer trips where EV chargers weren't as easily accessible. Jay Leno has basically just proven that the idea totally works."

Good news on all fronts as we look to transform our transportation system to a sustainable model. Take a look at the video on this blog to see the Volt in action and listen to the positive feedback from our test group.

We realize there are still issues and challenges to overcome, including the recent electrical fire that ignited on a Volt weeks after an accident. However, no car is full proof or risk free, and to think the electrics would be any different is unrealistic. The world is hard at work to recognize those risk, and learn how to deal with them.

As our show goes on tour next year, we will have electrics on display so people can get a first-hand look at the new generation of cars. The cars that will allow us to stop the dangerous flow of imported oil into the US and many other crowded countries sitting vulnerable to the disruption of that steady flow of expensive crude.