Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Really good news on the electric vehicle side

We know things have been gloomy with the recent halt of production at Fisker Karma, so we are so glad to see Tesla ride to the rescue with a great earnings report.   We'd be thrilled to see them start leasing cars in the second half of the year:

Tesla Hits Record on First Quarterly Profit: San Francisco Mover

April 1 (Bloomberg) -- Tesla Motors Inc., the electric-car maker headed by billionaire Elon Musk, climbed to a record after saying it turned its first quarterly profit on higher-than- forecast sales of its controversial Model S sedan.
Tesla rose 16 percent to $43.93 at the close in New York. The stock has gained 30 percent this year, topping the 9.5 percent rise in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. Tesla’s previous closing high was $39.48 on Feb. 7.
Tesla’s profitability is a milestone for a company that has been at the center of debate over the future of electric cars. The Palo Alto, California-based company sold more Model S sedans than it had previously projected, as Musk, 41, led the defense against a New York Times story in February that questioned the car’s driving range.
“For Tesla to be in the black is a positive sign, and it’s a little bit surprising given the lukewarm reception we’ve seen with a lot of the other electric vehicles in the marketplace today,” Alec Gutierrez, an analyst with auto-market researcher Kelley Blue Book, said by telephone.
Tesla sold at least 250 more Model S sedans than the 4,500 units it had forecast in February. As a result, the company reached “full profitability” during the first quarter, according to a Tesla statement yesterday that didn’t specify the profit figure.
The average analyst estimate compiled by Bloomberg calls for a loss of 11 cents a share, excluding some items. Tesla hasn’t previously reported a quarterly profit in its three years as a public company.

Reduced Risk
“The progress on sales and profitability significantly reduces risk around TSLA’s cash flows, which have been a primary area of investor concern,” Elaine Kwei, an analyst at Jefferies Group, wrote today in a report. “We expect a high level of media attention over the next several days and correspondingly higher levels of activity in the stock,” wrote Kwei, who has a buy rating on the stock.
Tesla’s Model S has been at the center of disputes over the viability of electric cars that intensified following a Feb. 8 story in the New York Times. The article detailed a test drive between Washington and Boston that ended with a stalled Model S being loaded onto a tow truck.
Musk called the Times’ report “fake” and told Bloomberg Television that it trimmed Tesla’s stock-market value by as much as $100 million. The public editor for the newspaper said its reporter didn’t use good judgment and “left himself open to valid criticism...”

Monday, April 29, 2013

My thanks to Leslie Onanian

For a great blog.  Keep them coming:

Brown students kick off Earth Week

A giant balloon to help visualize a ton of CO2, energy-saving acoustical music-making, smoothies prepared with pedal power: It must be the start of Earth Week.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Brown University students celebrated Earth Day today (Monday, April 22) with some carbon-free fun on the College Green.
Students played acoustic instruments (no electricity required), drank smoothies from a bike-powered blender, and got information about how they can reduce their personal carbon footprints. Today’s event kicks off a weeklong celebration of Earth Week at Brown.
“It’s really an initiation to the entire week,” said Maria Bustos, a freshman at Brown. Bustos is a member of emPower, a student environmental umbrella organization that helped sponsor the event. “We’re trying to promote the idea that we can have fun in a carbon-free way and send a message of sustainability.”
Looming over the event was 32-foot-tall black balloon, a visualization of what one ton of CO2 looks like. According to asustainability report released by Brown last fall, the University has reduced its energy-related emissions by the equivalent of over 20,000 big black balloons (20,811 metric tons carbon dioxide equivalent).
Other Earth Week events happening at Brown this week include:
  • Tuesday, April 23: EmPower will screen the film The Garden at the Urban Environmental Laboratory room 105. The screening will start at 6:30 p.m. with dinner and discussion to follow.
  • Wednesday, April 24: Yup’ik Eskimo: Biologist and community organizer Carl Wassilie will discuss efforts to address "climigration" in Alaska, which threatens the cultural survival and bioproductivity of indigenous communities and whole global ecosystems. The talk will be in Barus and Holley Room 168 from 7 to 8 p.m.
  • Wednesday, April 24: Green your office: Empower members will be on the Main Green giving out free potted plants, energy-efficient lightbulbs, and tips on how to reduce energy use and emissions in an office setting. 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 27: EmPower and Bikes@Brown will lead a scenic bike ride (about an hour) to Rosaharn Farm in Rehoboth, Mass. Riders will gather at Faunce Arch at 10 a.m.

Still catching up on the radio side

As we reported previously, this has been a great week on the radio and TV side.  Our audience numbers have been fantastic, and we've produced some great episodes.

Enjoy this one and give us your feedback.


Today on Renewable Now , Join us as we celebrate Earth day !!!
Peter will be interviewing Tommie  Lussier From Save the Earth .
The objectives of the Save the Earth Foundation include:

To fund environmental research projects
To provide factual and educational information to the public about issues relating to the environment
To raise the level of environmental consciousness
The Save the Earth Foundation functions as a non-profit public benefit corporation dedicated to the expansion of environmental awareness in our society. As an organization committed to raising public environmental consciousness by supporting scientific research and educational programs, we are optimistic that our work will have a very positive impact on the efforts currently under way to solve our earth's problem

Friday, April 26, 2013

Two interesting links for you from our radio shows

The first is information and a link to our special Earth Day broadcast, which we know you will enjoy:

Today on Renewable Now , Join us as we celebrate Earth day !!!
Peter will be interviewing Tommie  Lussier From Save the Earth .
The objectives of the Save the Earth Foundation include:
To fund environmental research projects
To provide factual and educational information to the public about issues relating to the environment
To raise the level of environmental consciousness
The Save the Earth Foundation functions as a non-profit public benefit corporation dedicated to the expansion of environmental awareness in our society. As an organization committed to raising public environmental consciousness by supporting scientific research and educational programs, we are optimistic that our work will have a very positive impact on the efforts currently under way to solve our earth's problem

The second came out of a radio show we recorded on Weds but will not broadcast for a few weeks.  During the conversation, we touched on emotional intelligence and how that, through people, impacts the Earth.  Take a look at this piece and stay tuned for our future radio show on WARL 1320 and Blog Talk Radio, Renewable Now channel.  

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Getting caught up on radio shows/The Venus Project

We fell behind a bit in posting the weekly radio show here, but we think you will find this show very different.   If you want to take a fresh, imaginative look at building sustainable cities and societies, this is a great show for you.

I did this one with my co-host, Jack Gregg.  You will see this posted on the RN site of Blog Talk Radio where you can listen to all of our radio shows 24/7.

"Peter and Jack Gregg will be hosting this episode of Renewable Now .
Jack is coming to us today from sunny Naples Florida where he is interviewing Jacques Fresco of the Venus Project .
The Venus Project reflects the culmination of Mr. Fresco's lifes work . The Venus Project incorporates the best of science and technology with a comprehensive plan for a new society based on human and environmental concerns .

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Thanks to Treehugger

For a great look at Australia's possible migration to renewable energy:  what it would take and how long it would take.

Let us know what you think:

Australia can go 100% renewable energy by 2030

If a country so dependent on coal can do it, we all can

Australia is a big producer and user of coal. Black and brown coal represented over 75% of the country's electric power generation in 2008-2009, and vast quantities of the black stuff is exported out of the country, mostly to China. But it doesn't have to be this way. A peer-reviewed study by researchers at theUniversity of New South Wales shows that the country could go 100% renewable by 2030 if a price of $50 to $100/tonne was put on carbon, making the country's vast wind and solar resources more than competitive with fossil fuels.

ABARES/Screen capture
Running simulations based on power demand and supply data for 2010, the researchers found wind would contribute most in a switch to fully renewable energy. It would account for between 46 and 59 per cent, while solar PV and concentrated solar would supply 15-20 per cent each, and hydro and biofuel-based gas generators the remainder. (source)
Putting a price on carbon would be an effective way to fight climate change, and it makes sense if we consider that the fossil fuel industry has received massive subsidies for decades and that all the environmental damage that it does is not included in the price of its products (oil, gas, coal...).
And if the cost of renewables drops faster than in the numbers used in the study, a real possibility according to the authors of the paper who have tried to be conservative with their assumptions, then the price of carbon could be even lower and we'd still see renewables be less expensive than the dirty stuff.
The biggest challenge is to get the social and political will to implement a carbon price high enough to make these changes take place. Without it, everything will move much slower. Even putting a price on carbon in a revenue-neutral way - raise money on carbon, cut taxes elsewhere - would help because it would shift demand to the comparatively low-carbon sources of power. This doesn't have to be something that hits people in the wallet. It's about making the fossil fuel industry pay for its 'externalities'.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Update from the Climate Reality Project

            The Climate Reality Project    

We are always happy to report on news and events put on by The Climate Reality Project.  Here's their latest sent to us:

Thirty-five years ago, I started telling the story of the climate crisis because the scientific experts were growing alarmed and because I believed each person could make a difference. Now, more than ever, I know this is true. Today, I’m inviting you to join me to become a Climate Leader.
Climate Leaders are an incredible group of people. They come from all around the world with one common goal: to solve the climate crisis. The task is not an easy one, but it is worthy of the best in us.
If you want to join the growing number of Climate Leaders, please consider attending one of the two training sessions this summer — one in Istanbul in June or the other in Chicago in July.
At the training, you’ll work with me personally and with some of the best scientists, strategists, communicators, and organizers in the world in order to learn about climate science and develop skills you’ll use for the rest of your life.
You’ll learn what it means to be an effective communicator, work closely with other grassroots leaders in your region and around the world — and emerge ready to tackle humanity’s greatest challenge.
To find out more about this unique opportunity and apply today, click here.

Live radio show today on WARL 1320 and Blog Talk Radio/Renewable Now channel

As we enjoy and celebrate Earth day and week.

Here's the bio on our guest, and a link to her CA-based organization: http://savetheearth.org/

Tommie Lussier is a writer and best-selling author. She is an environmental activist and has worked with Save The Earth Foundation and its founder Neal Pargman for over thirty years. She continues to live, love and work on the West Coast of California.

We have a really busy week.  We are doing live radio today, filming TV shows Weds, covering an interesting event at a college on Weds night, then going to RI College campus, one of our great partners, for the launch of the Green Business Forum Series that will be held there over the next year.

Here's a link to the Earth Day Celebration page on their site.  Please come out on Weds and Thursday for all of the events.  I will be speaking at the Green Business Forum on Thursday night.  We'd love to see you there.  We will also be doing interviews before the event.  


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Thanks to Kapitall Wire for a good look at interesting energy stocks

We love seeing stories like this and constant expansion of our green economy:

Make sure you click on the link and read some great material.

Green Investments: 11 Energy Storage Stocks

Our other responsible investing articles have highlighted the growing alternative sources of energy from solar energy to biofuel to cost-cutting efficiency initatives. All of these sources of green power are fuel for the economy and big business for the energy storage companies that aim to maximize the output. 
Companies in this list aim to make power more portable by creating ways to store, transport, and ultimately deliver energy to businesses and consumers. Think industrial grade batteries.
List of energy storage stocks:

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Thanks to Seth Handy

For an excellent post on a company that gets too little credit for their sustainable investments and amazing transformation.

If you work for Walmart, and would like to come on the TV or radio side, get in touch:

Walmart ups ante in renewable energy effort

By Christopher Kolomitz

Seeking a path to 100 percent renewable energy at its stores, officials with Walmart said Monday they will increase the number of renewable energy projects the company completes by six times. 

The announcement comes as company officials look for ways to save on energy costs and meet the goal of 100 percent renewable energy which was previously announced in 2005. 

According to Walmart President and CEO Mike Duke the company will drive the production or procurement of 7 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of renewable energy globally every year, a 600 percent increase over 2010 levels. 

Officials said Walmart's six-fold increase in renewable energy projects is expected to be equal to eliminating the need for roughly two U.S. fossil fuel power plants.Walmart also announced new plans to reduce the kWh/sq. ft. energy intensity required to power buildings globally by 20 percent compared to 2010 levels. 

The two new commitments are anticipated to generate more than $1 billion annually in energy savings once fully implemented. "When I look at the future, energy costs may grow as much as twice as fast as our anticipated store and club growth," Duke said. "Finding cleaner and more affordable energy is important to our every-day low cost business model and that makes it important to our customers' pocketbooks.”

In 2012 alone, Walmart added nearly 100 renewable energy projects, bringing the total number of projects in operation worldwide to nearly 300 today. The company already is using more onsite renewable power than any other company in the U.S, according to the U.S Environmental Protection Agency. 

In the U.S. alone, Walmart hopes to install solar power on at least 1,000 rooftops and facilities by 2020, a significant increase from just over 200 solar projects in operation or under development currently. The company also plans to invest and develop wind and fuel cell projects and will also procure offsite renewable energy from utility-scale projects, such as large wind projects, micro-hydro projects and geothermal.

The company said in order to meet its energy efficiency goal between now and 2020, Walmart projects to increase LED usage in sales floor lighting, parking lots and other applications. Walmart will also focus on market-relevant scalable technologies, including high efficiency HVAC and refrigeration systems and sophisticated energy/building control systems. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Thanks to Treehugger

For a great update on  the continued advancement in battery technology.

Gaining significantly more storage capacity--through batteries, capacitors or other means--is perhaps the key element in mainstreaming EV's and renewable energy production.  Lots of engineers are diligently working on new composition and technology behind energy storage systems.

How different, though, is the approach found in this article from Treehugger?  Certainly, this is the first time we've seen this experimentation, but most likely not the last.  It all sounds very promising.

Send us any articles you find on this or other reports of new storage improvements.  Again, such advances will be key to aggregating power for on-demand use:  Of course, as pointed out below, this will also drive innovation in electronic devices as well.

Battery stretches to 3x its size, recharges wirelessly

Researchers have been hot on the trail of the perfect battery (or at least the functional one) that can be flexible and light without losing performance. A flexible battery is greatly needed as the research for flexible electronic devices advances. After all, what is a flexible gadget without a flexible power source to make it run?
The latest improvement comes from researchers from Northwestern University and University of Illinois, who have created a battery that can stretch three times its size while maintaining performance, and it can be charged wirelessly through inductive charging. This could potentially be the powersource for flexible electronics being devised for everything from pacemakers to bendy cell phones.
"Batteries are particularly challenging because, unlike electronics, it's difficult to scale down their dimensions without significantly reducing performance," John Rogers of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign told BBC news. "We have explored various methods, ranging from radio frequency energy harvesting to solar power."
From BBC:
The team's new idea was to use "serpentine" connections - wires that loop back on themselves in a repeating S shape, with that string of loops itself looped into an S shape. Stretching out the polymer in which the tiny solar cells were embedded first stretches out the larger S; as it is stretched further, the smaller turns straighten - but do not become taut, even as the polymer was stretched to three times its normal size. The team says the stretchy battery can be charged "inductively" - that is, wirelessly over a short distance. Prof Rogers said that the uses for such batteries and the stretchy circuits they power were myriad.
“When we stretch the battery, the wavy interconnecting lines unfurl, much like yarn unspooling. And we can stretch the device a great deal and still have a working battery,” Yonggang Huang, an engineer at Northwestern and one of the paper’s co-authors, said in a statement.
The experimental battery charges wirelessly and works for eight to nine hours on one charge. It can be recharged 20 times without losing any capacity, notesPopular Science.
The research was published yesterday in Nature Communications.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Thanks to the Better World Club

For providing an interesting article that looks at DC's zoning changes meant to keep cars out of the downtown.   As you know we've seen it in many other cities, including Toronto, and eliminating parking spots is a very effective way of changing commutes from cars to mass transient.


AAA Calls D.C.'s Moves to Update Zoning Regulations a "War on Cars".

Fox News Mistakes AAA's Comments as a "Wars on Fox's War on Wars."

Few (if any) residents of Washington, D.C. would say the city’s 50-years old, car-centric, zoning regulations are “fine as-is”; however, proposed changes to zoning regulations have stirred up conflict.   The Zoning Commission of Washington, D.C. is planning to eliminate the mandated minimum number of parking spaces built with new development in transit-rich corridors and in downtown Washington.  To AAA Mid Atlantic, this is tantamount to a “War on cars”.

AAA Mid Atlantic has been fighting back, though, saying thou shalt not pass these freedom-crushing regulations! “Such a change should not be left to bureaucrats (The Office of Planning) or an unelected five-member zoning board. (The Zoning Commission)”  The zoning commissioners, AAA alludes, are renegades who've just gone wrong, like teddy bears who've lost their fluff and have resorted to stealing kids’ socks for one last sniff of good cotton.  It’s sad, folks, but it’s true.  The road to hell is paved with the good intentions of publicly elected officials.  Note, said proverb does not mention parking spaces.  That’s what the road to heaven is paved with-beautiful, white-bracket parking spaces.  Without them, how will we all park our God-given cars right outside the pearly gates?

 The debate has not been quite as ridiculous as we jest, but there has been ample opposition. On one side is the Zoning Commission and groups like the Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC), an affluent northwest community in Ward 3.   The Zoning Commission expects the proposed zoning changes to make the district less car-dependent, which is also expected to reduce housing cost, decrease congestion, increase incentive for mass transit use, and improve the walkability of new and historic neighborhoods. 

 On the other end stands AAA Mid Atlantic and associations, like the Foxhall Community Citizens' Association,  who believe, as Atlantic’s chief spokesperson London Anderson has expressed, a “This is a very dangerous proposal.  We think it threatens the future of Washington, D.C.”  OK, that quote makes AAA look like “those guys” on a high school debate team, always fishing into the back pocket of their faded blue jeans for that old stand-by, world-will-end card. 

 Some have called the changes a push against car ownership even as city planning director Harriet Tregoning assures that, in a city where thirty-nine percent of people are car-free, the Office of Planning is “looking for more balance in our transportation system.” Tregoning says that increasingly people in D.C. want transportation choices and doesn’t “understand why that would be considered a war on cars to try to give people choices, the very choices that actually take automobiles off the road to make it easier to park, to make it easier to drive with less congestion.”  

Still, AAA wants the zoning commission to “accommodate cars in ways that preserve a walkable urban fabric while minimizing the hassle, congestion and emissions associated with finding parking.”  In short, AAA proposes that underground parking be built to for new development projects.  And to be fair, the folks who agree with AAA fear landlords will pocket any decrease in development costs instead of passing those savings on to renters, parking prices will rise and availability decline, and the demographics of DC wards will take a turn for the worse (which can include those pesky college kids, singles, and, to some, the growing majority known as the lower-middle class).

 What is the cost of always accommodating cars in a major city?  In a study by Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, Washington, D.C. residents are estimated to have lost 556 million dollars to health costs related to traffic congestion (exposure to pollutants).  This figure doesn’t include fuel waste and time lost in traffic - an average of 67 hours per driver/year in DC and, as a nation, 1.9 billion in fuel waste per yearWhile pushing more cars below buildings will free up space for more development of housing and businesses (which residents and D.C. hopefuls may like), the problem D.C. has with congestion and emissions from too many cars will not be fixed by cramming more cars into the city. 

 The decision on zoning matters is expected as early as sometime in April, and our final word on the matter is this:  We would submit that the real contribution to this debate by our friends at AAA Mid Atlantic is not, as AAA would like it to be believed, about parking spaces or even about all the other effects of zoning changes.  The implicit heart of this debate, (behind the other important questions: What do residents want their city to be in the future? What standards should the city have for health and environment?  Walkability?  Density? Traffic congestion? Ease of mobility? Access to businesses and services?  And what are we willing to build, change, or sacrifice, to have the best city?), the central fear that has not quite been declared outright, is whether car ownership (like home ownership) should still be sold to us as essential part of the American Dream. 

This shift in American ideology is a threat to AAA’s business model.  What would we say if DC’s zoning regulations moved away from car-centric toward more citizen-centric regulations? We’d say welcome home.

Friday, April 12, 2013

This week's radio show is now available 24/7 on Blog Talk Radio/Renewable Now channel

Here's a description:   It is another exciting topic on clean renewable energy in the transportation industry .

Jeff Flath and Peter Arpin will be speaking to John Boesel of  Calstart .
Calstart is an organization dedicated to expanding and supporting a clean transportation industry that cleans air,creates jobs and pushes economic opportunities .

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Report: Global warming didn't cause big US drought

We like offering balanced reporting and found this article--and view--interesting.

It is our hope that this report is correct; that last year's drought was a rare weather occurrence and not driven by global warming.  However, that does not mean we should get complacent or reverse our global commitment to  taking carbon out of the air.  At the end of the day, cleaner air, water, preservation of land and protection of natural resources has huge economic and social benefits.

Let us know what you think:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Last year's huge drought was a freak of nature that wasn't caused by man-made global warming, a new federal science study finds.
Scientists say the lack of moisture usually pushed up from the Gulf of Mexico was the main reason for the drought in the nation's midsection.
Thursday's report by dozens of scientists from five different federal agencies looked into why forecasters didn't see the drought coming. The researchers concluded that it was so unusual and unpredictable that it couldn't have been forecast.
"This is one of those events that comes along once every couple hundreds of years," said lead author Martin Hoerling, a research meteorologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "Climate change was not a significant part, if any, of the event."
Researchers focused on six states — Wyoming, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Missouri and Iowa — but the drought spread much farther and eventually included nearly two-thirds of the Lower 48 states. For the six states, the drought was the worst four-month period for lack of rainfall since records started being kept in 1895, Hoerling said.
He said the jet stream that draws moisture north from the Gulf was stuck unusually north in Canada.
Other scientists have linked recent changes in the jet stream to shrinking Arctic sea ice, but Hoerling and study co-author Richard Seager of Columbia University said those global warming connections are not valid.
Hoerling used computer simulations to see if he could replicate the drought using man-made global warming conditions. He couldn't. So that means it was a random event, he said.
Using similar methods, Hoerling has been able to attribute increasing droughts in the Mediterranean Sea region to climate change and found that greenhouse gases could be linked to a small portion of the 2011 Texas heat wave.
Another scientist though, blasted the report.
Kevin Trenberth, climate analysis chief at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, a federally funded university-run research center, said the report didn't take into account the lack of snowfall in the Rockies the previous winter and how that affected overall moisture in the air. Nor did the study look at the how global warming exacerbated the high pressure system that kept the jet stream north and the rainfall away, he said...

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

East Bay Met School to Construct New Facility

Thanks to Newport Now for an excellent article on a story we've been following for awhile.

This makes a great follow up to our TV shows we shot at the Green School telling the many positive stories of sustainable changes taking place in education--in RI and well beyond.

The new Met School in Newport RI is just the latest example of excellence in education.  We love how they've incorporated teaching elements of sustainability into every nook and cranny of the physical school.  Let us know what you think.

Maybe Newport will add this to their list of world famous tourist sites:

A computer generated rendering of the new facility at the Paul W. Crowley East Bay Met School; an alternative, free, public high school in Newport's north end. (Image provided by the RI Dept. of Education)

By Meg O’Neil
NEWPORT -- When the Claiborne d. Pell Elementary School opens its doors in Newport’s north end in the fall of 2013, it won’t be the only new school building in the city. Half a mile down the road, a brand-new, state-of-the-art, $8.8-million facility will be opening for high school students at the Paul W. Crowley East Bay Met School.
Currently housed in the Florence M. Gray Center, the Met School offers a unique approach to education, where students work with individualized, tailored curriculums that connect to real world, hands-on learning experiences.
Plans for the new project were unveiled by Joseph DaSilva from the Rhode Island Department of Education and former Met School principal Charlie Plant at the Newport Housing Authority’s March meeting.
During the meeting, DaSilva said construction will occur approximately 20-feet from the school’s current location, nestling into the natural slope of the site. By not exporting any soil from the area, DaSilva said raising the site would provide panoramic views of the north end’s waterfront. The orientation of the building will also allow maximum shade in the spring and summer months, while reaping sunshine exposure in the winter. 
To give the school design a personalized feel, DaSilva explained that students and staff from the Met School were interviewed to provide, what he called, an “enormous” amount of feedback on what they would like to see in the building.
One element of the construction process is the aim to build a nearly completely “green” school. In what DaSilva called a “very aggressive approach,” he said the new East Bay Met will attempt to be, “the most sustainable green building – not only in Newport, or Rhode Island – but potentially in all of New England and the whole east coast.”
With room provided for a community garden, DaSilva said additional items on the school’s “wish list” include photovoltaics on the roof and vertical wind turbines which will help the school reach the ultimate goal of being considered a “Net Zero” school; meaning any energy that the school uses will be harvested onsite and will not rely external energies from the grid.
A balcony with a vegetative roof is also being sought to teach students the benefits of planting. On the northeastern side of the property, DaSilva explained the school hopes to incorporate an amphitheater for theatrical outdoor events. “We’re really proud of what we’re trying to do here,” he added. 
With one of the highest college acceptance and retention rates of any high school in the state, Plant said the facility will only strengthen the Met’s academics and referred to the new building as a “real star in the north end of Newport.”
Eventually housing an expected total capacity of 130-students from grades 9 – 12, a contracting group has yet to be hired to start the construction process, DaSilva said. He added, “It’s an aggressive timeline … but we are hoping for a groundbreaking this summer and an opening in September 2013.”
According to RIDE’s executive assistant for communications, Elliot Krieger, the $8.8-million price tag is provided through state funding and covers both the cost of the construction project and acquisition of the site.
With experts calling for a shift in the country’s education system to sway in a more technological direction, Plant said the new facility will be able to gear students towards the job force of the future, saying, “This school is being envisioned as an integral, educational opportunity in and of itself … there’s a space built in there for a hands-on technological area, designed to be a totally digital-literate school so when kids [graduate], they’ve got the digital skill to succeed in any area.”
Members of the Newport Housing Authority lauded the presentation, including NHA Chairman Frank Landry who said, “One thing that jumps out at me is seeing Paul Crowley’s name on there. He would be totally blown away by this structure. To have two beautiful new schools within half a mile of each other – I don’t think the north end will ever be the same.”

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Naval Station Newport Proposes 12 Potential Wind Turbine Locations

We've been following this story for awhile, and wanted to post some of the article from the Newport Patch that ran in Jan.

Clearly, as you read through this story, it is not easy to get a large-scale, renewable energy site developed.  The Naval Base in Newport has many advantages:

1.  Incredible coastal location with good sustained winds.
2.  Owned and managed by the US Military whose mission to achieve energy independence and move quickly from fossil fuel, much of which is imported and difficult to transport across the globe.
3.  They own many acres which allows them to buffet the turbines from neighbors.

Yet, their study took three years to complete, and they are still years, potentially, from seeing a single KW of  power come off their shores.  The reality is, very few organizations have the deep pockets, or overriding commitment, to clean energy.  Most of us would have been scared off, or broke, long before teeing up the project.  Unfortunately, that sad realty will keep us mired in fossil fuel production of energy for far too many years.

Take a look:

Following an Evaluation Assessment, the end result could be different areas with potentially different size wind turbines.

"...Naval Station Newport is one of the largest consumers of electricity in the state of Rhode Island, spending an average of $12 million annually. The base load electrical consumption is approximately nine megawatts and the proposed wind turbine project will potentially produce up to nine megawatts, which is 26 percent of the current annual electrical consumption. The turbine project would reportedly result in at least a $3 million in savings.
Naval Station Newport must become more self-sufficient and maximize the Navy’s ability to meet or exceed renewable power supply goals mandated in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and Executive Order 13423.
The wind turbines would be constructed at some combination of 12 sites on Naval Station Newport, from Portsmouth down to Newport. Joanne Galuska, Deputy Public Works Officer of Naval Station Newport, said the end result could be a couple of different areas with potentially different size wind turbines.
“We’ve done extensive research regarding these 12 proposed sites,” Galuska said. “The space around the turbines needs to be 1.5 times its height, and the Federal Aviation Administration limits the height as well.”
The assessment, which Captain Voboril initiated, is in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act. It is expected to be completed in September 2011 and the assessment will be one of the determining factors. In addition to compliance with the FAA, other criteria for placement and sizes include "efficient and cost effective construction and maintenance, no significant adverse impact on natural resources, cultural resources, protected species, human environment or socioeconomics of the region, and geotechnical requirements for structural considerations."
Residents who attended the event had several concerns, mostly because they did not want to be able to see the turbines from their homes. However, many studies will be completed that also include a Bird and Bat Biological Survey, a Noise and Shadow Flicker Study, and a Marine Mammal Observation Study.
Captain Voboril said the project has been in the works for about three years..."

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Why the world's largest companies are investing in renewable energy

Is the headline for a great article just sent to us this weekend.  We'll give you the executive summary here, and link to the balance of the article.

Prepared by David Gardiner & Associates, LLC

"Large corporations are increasingly turning to renewable energy to power their operations. 
Companies are investing in renewable energy because it makes good business sense: renewable energy helps reduce long-term operating costs, diversify energy supply and hedge against market volatility in traditional fuel markets. It also enables companies to 
achieve greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction goals and demonstrate leadership on broader corporate sustainability and climate commitments.

Fifty-nine percent of the Fortune 100 and nearly two-thirds of the Global 100 
have set GHG emissions reduction commitments, renewable energy commitments 
or both. As corporations turn to renewable energy to reduce GHG emissions and 
meet specific sourcing goals, companies are driving significant new investments 
in renewable energy. Though these pockets of activity are encouraging, with 
the proper policies, companies could set even stronger renewable energy 

Among the combined Fortune 100 and Global 100 companies, two dozen have 
set public, voluntary renewable energy commitments. These include globally 
recognized brands like AT&T, Dow Chemical, General Motors, Google, HSBC, 
Procter & Gamble, Volkswagen and Walmart. 

Global corporate renewable energy commitments are driving global purchasing. 
For many of the Fortune 100 and Global 100 firms, action on renewable 
energy is not limited to regional or national levels; it is planned across a global 
scale. In order to meet their renewable energy targets, companies are developing 
comprehensive purchasing strategies in every market where they have a 
significant presence—often in countries core to their supply chains.

Looking at corporate targets by sector, in the Fortune 100, the Materials and 
Telecommunications sectors have the highest share of companies who have set 
both GHG and renewable energy commitments. The Industrials and Financial 
sectors have the highest share of companies that have set GHG targets only. 
The Energy sector, followed by Health Care, lags in setting either a GHG or 
renewable energy target (see chart, opposite top).

By sector in the Global 100, the vast majority of utilities have set both GHG 
and renewable energy targets. Consumer Discretionary companies lead in 
setting GHG targets, followed by Materials and Consumer Staples. The Energy, 
Healthcare and Industrials sectors lag in setting targets (see chart, opposite below).

The global transition to a lower carbon economy is accelerating due to rising 
public concern about climate change. This large-scale trend presents an 
opportunity for companies to meet corporate climate commitments and 
diversify their energy sources by purchasing and investing in renewable energy.."

This is a long but very interesting look at the win-win of moving away from traditional sources of energy, with the concurrent environmental gains, with significant financial profits.  Here's the link for the rest:  

Friday, April 5, 2013

Enjoy the show and tour/2013

Wed's radio show on WARL 1320 and Blog Talk Radio/Renewable Now is now available 24/7

Enjoy and thank you for being part of the RN family:

You are receiving this because you are either a co host, past guest , or asked to be on my email list or follow the blog. 
Please distribute to your networks . If you or any one is interested in sponsoring our growing network, don't hesitate to contact me . 
Please click on this link and enjoy .

Have a great weekend . 
Regards . 
Mike Catanzaro 
Renewable Now Radio 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Continued from yesterday/Part 2

US cars in 2050 could be using 80 percent less gasoline

The US could cut oil consumption for light-duty vehicles and greenhouse-gas emissions, if it adopts policies and encourages key technologies, a new National Research Council report says.

By Staff writer / March 19, 2013

"...One reason is that improvements in battery technology, which should reduce current costs by 80 percent, might not be enough to make BEVs mass-market appeal. "A battery large enough for a 300-mile real-world range would still present significant weight and volume penalties and probably could not be recharged in much less than 30 minutes," the study concludes. "Therefore, BEVs may be used mainly for local travel rather than as all-purpose vehicles."
Substantial cuts in oil use and GHG emissions will require considerable federal intervention, because the four pathways are more expensive than today's conventional cars. So the study recommends that the government set even higher CAFE standards beyond 2025; offer rebates for high-mileage vehicles; impose taxes on low-mileage models; increase gasoline taxes or otherwise provide a floor price for gasoline so alternative fuels can compete; fund research and development on vehicle efficiency, alternative fuels create, and carbon capture and storage, which could help reduce GHG emissions; and fund demonstration projects for such things as low-carbon hydrogen, carbon capture and sequestration, and alternative-fuel infrastructure.
But the government efforts should stop short of the commercial stage, the report warns. "The commercialization of fuel and vehicle technologies is best left to the private sector in response to performance-based policies, or policies that target reductions in GHG emissions or petroleum use rather than specific technologies."
Clean-energy and environmental groups embraced the findings of the NRC study.
"It highlights the need for an aggressive and concerted approach to pursue fuel efficiency and alternative vehicle fuels, like electricity," Gina Coplon-Newfield, director of the Sierra Club's green fleets and electric vehicles initiative, wrote in an email. "If we are to avert the worst of climate change, then automakers, government agencies, and companies with large vehicle fleets will need to invest in vehicle technologies that will allow us to slash and then wean ourselves from fossil fuels altogether."