As we settle into the new year, let’s take a look at what the passing year meant for the clean-energy sector. In fact, we wouldn't be amiss to say that both 2015 and 2016 were truly game-changing for the industry.
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A new report shows 2015 was a record year for solar PV installations, a UK sports team makes plans for a low-carbon wooden stadium, and Norway makes strides toward its goal of 100 percent electric vehicle drivership. Read these stories and more in this week’s renewable energy news roundup.
A new report shows that global offshore wind capacity could reach 400 GW by 2045, Germany gets the world’s first hydrogen powered, emission-free train, and the U.S. Department of Transportation announces a new plan that will help drivers with electric vehicles power up across the country. Read these stories and more in this week’s renewable energy news roundup.
Elon Musk reveals Tesla’s new innovative solar roof tiles, U.S. wind power share surpasses 10 percent in 11 states, and Danish company Dong Energy reaches an impressive milestone for offshore wind turbine installation. Read these stories and more in this week’s renewable energy news roundup.
The world’s first wind-hydro farm is set to be installed in Germany, Target earns the top spot on SEIA’s list of U.S. corporations with the most solar power, and the U.S. Department of Energy announces a $21 Million investment to fund solar adoption. Read these stories and more in this week’s renewable energy news roundup.
Researchers propose a new innovation that could turn building windows into solar PV systems, GRID Alternatives brings solar power to tribal communities in the United States, and new figures predict that global wind capacity will reach 500 GW by the end of the year. Read these stories and more in this week’s renewable energy news roundup.
A recent survey finds that a majority of Americans favor the development of renewable energy, the U.S. makes plans to install more offshore wind capacity and new data shows power plant emissions are declining. Read these stories and more in this week’s renewable energy news roundup.
The global offshore wind market reaches record numbers, the Big Apple aims to boost its energy storage and solar efforts, and a Japanese engineer debuts a new type of wind turbine that could harness the power of typhoons. Read these stories and more in this week’s renewable energy news roundup.
SEIA launches a first-of-its-kind recycling program for solar PV waste, the city of Los Angeles takes steps toward running on 100 percent renewable energy, and Elon Musk announces the unveiling of Tesla's new solar rooftop product. Read these stories and more in this week's renewable energy news roundup.
General Motors aims to power its operations completely through clean energy sources by 2050, Facebook announces plans for a new data center that will run on 100 percent renewables, and the U.S. Department of Energy dishes out more funding for its SunShot Initiative. Read these stories and more in this week's renewable energy news roundup.
Costa Rica hits a major renewable energy milestone, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) releases a report on how the U.S. can support the increasing amount of solar and wind energy generation, and utilities invest in solar as prices continue to drop. Read these stories and more in this week's renewable energy news roundup.
New data shows that renewable energy generation is rising across the board, GE explores the possibility of floating offshore wind farms, and another Colorado city commits to reaching 100 percent renewable energy by 2030. Read these stories and more in this week’s renewable energy news roundup.
Tech companies look to renewable energy as power-hungry data centers become a growing part of their operations, the U.S. government's SunShot Initiative continues to hit it goals in decreasing the price of solar, and more CEOs list sustainability as a top business concern. Read these stories and more in this week's renewable energy industry news roundup.
The first offshore wind farm in the United States completes construction, wind energy prices continue to drop while the amount of energy capacity continues to soar, and NASA sets its sights on reducing CO2 emissions created by jet travel. Read these stories and more in this week's renewable energy news roundup.
Tags: Wind Energy
Wind turbine vendor Vestas takes its spot as top dog in a new report, Apple expands its renewable energy efforts to new data centers in Ireland, and solar manufacturers change up their growth strategies. Read about this and more in this week's renewable energy industry news roundup.
Tech giant Apple gets the green light to sell electricity from its renewable and other energy generators, the first offshore wind turbine gets installed in the United States, and researchers predict the global wind market to reach over 700 gigawatts (GW) by 2020. Read these stories and more in this week's renewable energy news roundup.
The nation's first offshore wind farm is in the final stages of construction, a $27 million project in the Port of Los Angeles will bring clean energy to marine terminal operations, and Alliant Energy Corp. has plans to expand Iowa's wind power. Read these stories and more in this week's renewable energy news roundup.
Target is jumping into the wind energy sector, the Obama administration announces new energy plans to up current clean energy initiatives, and Xcel Energy cuts the ribbon on its 150-MW North Dakota wind farm. Read these stories and more in this week's renewable energy news roundup.
A Kansas city that was once destroyed by wind is now 100 percent wind-powered, drones are pervading the solar sector to increase solar installation efficiency, and Long Island may become home to the nation's largest wind farm. Read these stories and more in this week's renewable energy news roundup.
New solar developments may repurpose 15 million acres of U.S. landfills, Texas is using climate change to benefit the wind industry and a new system will help New England wind farms produce energy that actually makes it to the grid. Read these stories and more in this week's renewable energy news roundup.
The World Green Building Council announces its “Advancing Net Zero” initiative, Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. agree to reach 50 percent clean power generation by 2025, and Amazon is turning to local partners to increase renewable energy efforts. Read these stories and more in this week’s renewable energy news roundup.
A solar-powered plane hits a milestone on its journey around the globe, a new report maps out the ways utility companies can provide solar power to neglected communities, and the Feds end an "unjust" exemption for wind farms. Read these stories and more in this week's renewable energy news roundup.
Tropical island countries that are the most threatened by climate change could become the first 100 percent renewable nations, the cost of wind-generated electricity is cheaper than ever before and Wyoming's wind energy taxes could bring North America's largest wind farm plans to a halt. Read these stories and more in this week's renewable energy news roundup.
Apple announces plans to sell a brand new product and it's not the new iPhone, Texas may soon be named the nation's biggest solar supplier, and over half of all U.S. states use renewable energy policies that you may have never heard of. Read these stories and more in this week's renewable energy news roundup.
Twenty-one countries announce plans to double clean energy research, New Orleans receives a federal grant for green infrastructure projects, and new research claims that the Midwest has the potential to reach 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. Read these stories and more in this week’s renewable energy news roundup.
New data shows clean energy employed more than 8 million people globally in 2015, Google receives an award from AWEA for its leadership in wind energy, and the UK unveils its first solar PV bus stop. Read these stories and more in this week’s roundup.
Microsoft continues its efforts to reduce its carbon footprint, offshore wind projects have the potential to create 19,000 jobs in Virginia, and a new report from FERC report shows that nearly all new electric capacity added in Q1 of 2016 was renewable energy. Read these stories and more in this week's roundup.
Nine companies in the RE100 reach their goal of operating on 100 percent renewable energy, Facebook and Microsoft launch a national effort to make purchasing renewable energy easier, and the Better Buildings Challenge delivers $1.3 billion in savings. Read these stories and more in this week's news roundup.
San Diego makes plans to use 100% renewable energy by 2035, Massachusetts moves forward with a bill that could lead to a boom in offshore wind energy, and the Tesla Powerwall goes to market in the US. Read these stories in more in this week's news roundup.
New York becomes the model state for adopting renewable energy, Virginia adds jobs in wind energy, and a solar powered plane travels around the world. Read these stories and more in this week's news roundup.
Etsy commits to solar energy, more than half US population lives amid dangerous air pollution, and Iowa puts faith in wind energy. Read these stories and more in this week's news roundup.
Colorado and California lead in wind energy and solar energy, Ford announces green initiatives, and 130 nations will sign the Paris climate change accord on Earth Day. Read these stories and more in this week's news roundup.
Facebook and other major corporations incentivize sustainability, renewable energy investment outpaces gas and coal 2 to 1, and new solar panels generate energy in rain. Read these stories and more in this week’s news roundup.
Manufacturing goes green, new report shows renewable energy investments broke records in 2015 and March proved to be a good month for clean-energy reform. Read these stories and more in this week's news roundup.
A new app calculates the carbon-footprint of employees' daily commutes, a South Korean company develops a hydroelectric turbine that can fit in your backpack and solar energy heats up in the state of Virginia. Read these stories and more in this week’s news roundup.
A new app calculates the carbon-footprint of employees' daily commutes, a South Korean company develops a hydroelectric turbine that can fit in your backpack and solar energy heats up in the state of Virginia. Read these stories and more in this week’s news roundup.
Climate change threatens food security, Colorado is making strides to support renewable energy and Whole Foods gets even greener. Read these stories and more in this week's news roundup:
California, New Jersey and Oregon are working towards getting greener, a new report shows 2015 was a record year for renewable energy, and McDonald's embraces sustainability. Read these stories and more in this week's news roundup.
March is Women's History Month, a time to celebrate the accomplishments of women and the impact they have made on society. Countless women have paved the way for others in STEM professions, including renewable energy. The following four individuals are just a few examples of women making a difference in the industry today.
Groups urge NYC mayor to ramp up offshore wind development, Bill Gates joins in on the climate change conversation and MIT researchers create citywide building energy model. Read these stories and more in this week's news roundup.
The demand for green buildings grows, a beverage company invests in a recycling initiative and a bipartisan agreement to focus on renewable energy development. Read these stories and more in this week's news roundup.
Europe reports doubled wind energy investments in 2015, President Obama seeks to increase the amount of funding toward clean energy, and Super Bowl 50 proves to be a green champion. Read these stories and more in this week's news roundup:
Facebook announced a new data center that will be powered completely by wind energy, consumers demand corporate social responsibility, and the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) reports that in 2015 the American wind industry installed almost 8.6GW. Read these stories and more in this week's news roundup.
Things are looking pretty good for the solar energy industry, according to The Solar Foundation’s recently released National Solar Jobs Census.
President Obama discussed climate change in his final State of the Union, a new Solar Foundation report finds ongoing strong growth in U.S. solar energy employment, and New York plans to invest $5 billion in clean energy. Read these stories and more in this week's news roundup.
2015 ended with some big news for the renewable energy industry both in the United States and around the world. Cities on the west coast tackled climate change, wind energy set a new record in the U.S. and Congressional tax credits help forecast a great 2016.
World markets react to the landmark Paris climate deal, the Environmental Protection Agency begins implementation of its Clean Energy Incentive Program and innovative New York architects propose a 40-block green space in the heart of New York City. These stories and more in this week's renewable energy industry news roundup.
Tags: Renewable Energy
This week in renewable energy was indeed a busy one. On the global stage, the United Nations approved a landmark climate accord in Paris and more companies joined RE100's mission for 100% renewable energy. In Ecotech Institute's backyard, Sunrun Inc. will bring 800 solar energy jobs to Colorado and Utah's first utility-scale solar farm went online. This news and more in this week's renewable energy roundup.
Congress looks to pass a new renewable energy tax break extension, Google nearly doubles its renewable energy capacity for data centers and more of the world's biggest companies join the White House's climate pledge. See how public and private sectors are both making strides towards a sustainable future in this week's renewable energy news roundup.
Sin City announces plans for 100 percent clean energy use, LM Wind looks to hire in North Dakota and underwater balloons could be the answer for storing unused renewable energy. Check out these and other stories in this week's renewable energy news roundup.
"Will cheap oil drive wind energy out of the electricity market?" This is one of the most popular questions Walter Christmas, wind energy technology instructor at Ecotech Institute, gets asked by his students.
The U.S. Energy Department allocates funds for solar tech, green building generates 2.3 million jobs and construction on the tallest wind tower in the United States is underway in Iowa. Read these stories and more in this week's renewable energy news roundup:
In this week's renewable energy news update, focus on a low carbon economy has the potential to create millions of jobs, U.S. states fight to get carbon tax initiatives on the ballot and wind energy competes with coal in the American heartland.
In this week's renewable energy news update, President Obama officially rejects the Keystone XL project, companies and individuals invest big money in clean energy, and a new World Resources Institute study predicts renewable energy supply numbers.
In this week's renewable energy news update, the USDA provides funding for over 1,110 renewable energy projects, the price of solar energy has fallen to an all-time low and large-scale renewables begin to dominate electrical generation installation in the United States.
In this week's renewable energy news update, GM looks to Mexico for wind energy, tech companies invest big in clean energy initiatives around the world, and the American Wind Energy Association releases their latest market summary.
In this week's renewable energy news update, Washington D.C.'s Water and Sewer Authority are taking a creative approach to energy creation, a clear solar cell could turn your smartphone into a solar energy source, and Ecotech Institute's Clean Job Index has everyone buzzing about the increase in green jobs in the U.S.
In this week's renewable energy news update, states like Minnesota and California are taking renewable energy into their own hands and encouraging their utility providers to increase clean energy offerings including solar energy and wind energy, while nationwide companies like Comcast work to expand home energy management. In addition, the International Energy Agency is optimistic that more than a quarter of all energy produced by 2020 will be green and Citibank agrees that green efforts will save the global economy trillions of dollars.
This week in renewable energy news, David Letterman has found a new gig as a climate change correspondent, experts weigh the costs and benefits of energy efficiency, and SolarCity introduces its latest rooftop installation, dubbing it the most efficient solar panel to date.
SolarCity is doing some good with their solar PV installments and bringing renewable energy to lower income housing units; China, where 4,400 people die from air pollution each day, has vowed to prioritize clean tech partnerships; and the UK's renewable energy sector is beating out coal for the first time.
In recent renewable energy news, solar PV installments are driving up home values, supplemental batteries and software are addressing power flow fluctuation from wind energy and the EPA is investigating Volkswagen for untrue claims about a few “clean diesel” models.
In recent renewable energy news, Uncharted Play makes energy production easy and fun, solar energy programs are helping the White House achieve Clean Power Plan goals and a study finds that renewable energy may even benefit public health programs.
In recent renewable energy news, America’s largest solar provider has teamed up with a large financial institution to make solar energy more readily available to the masses, building owners are realizing the financial importance of energy efficiency, and non-profits and for-profits are forming coalitions to address renewables.
In recent renewable energy news, President Obama is traveling the country discussing the importance of the Clean Power Plan, particularly solar energy in Las Vegas, and families around the world are going off the grid.
This week in renewable energy news, we get an inside look at Microsoft's wind energy strategy and Google's latest venture aims to explore the potential of solar energy. Also, don't miss the video of some cute and convincing eco-friendly kids!
In this week's renewable energy news, the release of the Clean Power Plan is hitting wind power at its peak, SunPort is creating on-demand solar energy, Europe is investing like crazy in offshore wind and tech giants are playing in the renewable energy space.
This week in renewable energy news, Bill Gates takes to LinkedIn to explain why we need clean energy innovation, and the industry reacts to the United States’ Clean Power Plan.
This week in renewable energy news, a new study suggests benefits from combining California and Wyoming's wind energy and solar energy as Fortune 500 companies such as Apple and Coca-Cola join the White House's climate change pledge.
This week in renewable energy news, U.S. states continue to expand focus on wind energy and solar energy, and Amazon announces its biggest renewable energy project toward its goal of achieving 100 percent renewable energy usage.
This week in renewable energy news, President Obama pledges to increase renewable energy in U.S. power production while the country’s largest power company looks to grow through wind energy and solar energy.
This week in renewable energy news, a major player in solar power systems makes a big first investment, two U.S. states explore solar energy, and scientists make strides in renewable energy sourcing and storage.
This week in renewable energy news, California continues to break solar energy records, Hawaii sets a big goal for 2045 and a new study claims the rest of the United States could follow suit.
This week inrenewable energy news,solar energy continues to shine, while some big companies put big money toward using clean energy sources and environmental responsibility in response to customer demand.
General Electric plans to use communication and simulation technology to enhance wind turbine efficiency, in a bid to expand its renewable energy segment.This is an 18% increase from the number reported the previous year.
In this second edition, IRENA estimates that renewable energy employed 7.7 million people, directly or indirectly, around the world in 2014 (excluding large hydropower). This is an 18% increase from the number reported the previous year.
Solar, the fastest growing source of renewable energy in America, will be producing enough energy to power eight million homes by 2017, with all solar markets expected to grow 25-50% in this period.
From the end of 2004 through the end of 2014, the deployment of solar energy in the U.S. grew at an unprecedented rate, according to a new video report, Solar Energy in the United States: A Decade of Record Growth, released by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
Tags: solar energy
There's a solar boom happening in America. In the last six years, installations of solar panels have jumped 1,700%. Prices for solar energy have fallen 50% to 70%. There's now a well-established ecosystem of installers and service companies, and plenty of finance options, too.
Under a bill passed in early May by the Hawaii legislature, the state’s power should come entirely from renewables by 2045. Governor David Ige has until the end of June to sign the bill, at which point Hawaii will have the most ambitious energy goals of any American state.
The MIT team behind The Future of Solar Energy, a study released in early May, believes solar alone has the potential to address climate change by mid-century, but warns that are three potential hurdles solar must overcome to fulfill its huge potential.
A bill putting in place mandatory state renewable energy targets is set to arrive on the Senate floor in the final week of the legislative session.
MidAmerican Energy announced Friday it has filed plans with the Iowa Utilities Board for the development of up to 552 megawatts of new wind generation in Iowa, representing an additional investment of about $900 million in wind energy.
Imagine a world in which all our energy needs comes from clean, renewable sources. If Tesla CEO Elon Musk has his way, this is the future we are headed towards.
Vortex Bladeless has attracted interest from Harvard University as well as SunEdison's TerraForm Power renewable energy unit and Dat Venture, a startup incubator recently launched by the IT consulting firm Efron Group.
Tags: wind energy
The Tesla 'Powerwall' will allow households to take themselves off the power grid during the most expensive times of the day and store excess solar and wind energy.
Ecotech Institute’s Walter Christmas says similarities in terminology doesn’t always equate to a comparable climbing skill set.
Tags: wind energy
Earth Day always means a great deal to us here at Ecotech Institute. It’s an honor to be part of an industry where students, faculty and alumni strive to make an impact not only for our planet, but our economy as well. This is a growing field, with jobs on the rise as more and more people realize that it’s imperative to start figuring out the best means to use renewable resources.
As we celebrate Earth Day 2015, we want to continue to be on the forefront of helping lead our nation toward an energy efficient world, where renewable resources are used responsibly and effectively.
The Energy Department will seek to train 75,000 people — including veterans — to enter the solar workforce by 2020, increasing the goal it set in May 2014 by 25,000.
Tags: solar energy
Advanced wind turbines are accessing faster, steadier winds at higher altitudes so they can generate more electricity, creating a modern-day wind boom
Tags: wind energy
Block Island, a quiet, sparsely populated Rhode Island sanctuary of about 750 year-round residents, will soon become the site of America's first commercial-scale offshore wind farm
Tags: wind energy
This year has been a pretty special one for Costa Rica -- for the first quarter, the country's grid has required absolutely no fossil fuels to run, the state-run power supplier the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) has announced.
The state more than doubled its solar output in 2014 and is home to two of the largest solar plants in the world.
In honor of Women’s History Month, we’ve been sharing on Facebook and Twitter the stories of four women who’ve made their mark in renewable energy. These individuals are making an impact in green economics, environmental policy, and in the solar and wind industries. Check out each of their stories.
The turbines fly to nearly 1,500 feet up. At that altitude, the eight propellers become turbines that can send 600 kw of power back to the surface. It's a system that uses tech developed in part by Makani Power, a startup that Google bought in 2013.
In honor of Black History Month, we've been sharing the stories of four professionals making history in renewable energy on our Facebook page and on Twitter. These innovative individuals are making an impact in the fields of climate research, environmental protection, environmental justice and clean energy. Check out each of their stories.
“We are seeing sustainability being embedded more deeply into businesses. It is being seen as a skill that people can’t do without. If we are not addressing these issues at business schools, we won’t capture the huge opportunities that sustainability issues create.” ~Andy Cartland, co-founder of sustainability-focused recruitment company Acre
The Guardian headline caught my eye: Sustainability now key selling point for business schools attracting students. While the article focused, unsurprisingly, on the UK, it did address the issue of business sustainability from a global perspective.
The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has some invigorating facts about wind’s growth in 2014. Quoting from their recent blog...
Tags: wind energy
Most conversations about celebrities revolve around what designers they’re wearing or whom they’re dating. But these big names in entertainment have used their status and resources to bring the spotlight to a more important issue: sustainability ...
Oil price crash or no, renewable energy is still highly competitive in the global market, according to the new Renewable Power Generation Costs report from IRENA, the International Renewable Energy Agency. However, ...
According to Sustainable Business, “The first study of solar at US schools finds installations at 3,752 K-12 schools, reaching nearly 2.7 million students. The schools are saving a combined $77.8 million a year on ...
Tags: solar energy
While entrepreneurs like Richard Branson worry that cheaper oil could damage renewable energies, physicist and renewable energy expert Amory Lovins is more optimistic in a ...
Question: Will lower gasoline and oil prices hurt the wind energy industry? Answer:
Tags: wind energy
I admit it. I am an information junkie. I have 380 blogs/news sites to which I subscribe in Feedly, my favorite RSS reader. Suffice it to say, I peruse the headlines of perhaps 1,000 items most every day, give or take a few LOL cats. Given my obvious interests, many of these articles relate to ...
Perhaps you’ve heard of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s proposed Clean Power Plan. However, if you follow network news and/or popular political blogs, you’ve more likely heard it referred to as ...
America could power itself 100 times over with solar energy. That is a Nov. 20 Washington Post headline describing a report by Environment America Research and Policy Center, Star Power: The Growing Role of Solar Energy in America. Other report findings include ...
Veterans Day 2014 will be memorable as the day the U.S. and China perhaps turned the tide in the battle against global warming and climate disruption. Physicist and Founding Editor of Climate Progress ...
“Win, lose or draw, here’s one nonpartisan issue on which Republicans and Democrats alike should agree: Clean energy works for America.” Did Clean Energy win, lose or ...
The price of utility-scale solar power is 59 percent below where analysts thought it would be at this point back in 2010. The leveled cost of solar power (taking full account for the cost of installation, maintenance, investment, depreciation, and all the other factors in an energy source’s life cycle) is already ...
As an avid follower of science and sustainability news via an increasingly unwieldy collection of RSS feeds, I have been stunned by the events of this past week. I’ll start with one of the more visible news events: The 400,000 folks who participated in ...
You’ve probably heard of DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or as Fast Company’s Jessica Leber elaborates, “the military’s research agency that funds the development of mind-reading science, cyborgs, and deadly robots.” But have you heard of ARPA-E? As you might can guess from the title of this article, the “E” stands for Energy. Indeed, ARPA-E is the U.S. Department of Energy’s analog to DARPA, and it’s only five years old.
There are a lot of exciting things happening in the world of electrical engineering technology. What might be most exciting is how the potential developments of today will drive tomorrow. For example, how will the technologies of today change what power sources look like in 2064? Luckily, the writers at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering's (commonly called IEEE or I-triple-E) Spectrum magazine recently explored this issue and others as part of a special report that marked the 50th anniversary of the magazine. If everything goes the way they hope, the future could be one of individuals and businesses being able to have more control over their own individual power sources.
It is hard to believe, but there was a time when no one even thought to question the sustainability of a business. As awareness grew on the significant impact corporations have on people and the planet, pressure was put on businesses to act more responsibly. In order to address consumer concerns, businesses began to look for a way to measure more than just profit, and two more bottom lines were added to the mix. The Triple Bottom Line (TBL) is a framework that allows businesses to measure its sustainable development and make sure it is meeting its goals. Today, a business could never be successful if it completely disregards how its practices impact our world. In the book The Triple Bottom Line, Andrew Savitz writes, "a sustainable business stands an excellent chance of being more successful tomorrow than it is today, and remaining successful, not just for months or even years, but for decades or generations." For these reasons, it is very likely the company you join will use TBL to evaluate its performance.
Wind power has shown tremendous potential as a source of renewable energy. Its popularity is also steadily increasing. Adoption of wind power in the U.S. can be seen in celebrations of Global Wind Day on June 15 across the country, as well as through initiatives to increase wind power use by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Wind Program. While you may have heard about some of the benefits of wind, we want to share some facts that you might not know about and blow you away.
As a communicator in the field of renewable energy, I can tell you that very few people's minds are changed by "facts." The overwhelming science-based evidence is quite clear on topics ranging from immunizations not causing autism to humans causing global warming. But try to convince someone who believes otherwise simply by quoting research statistics, and I'll bet you get nowhere.
The Summer Solstice is just around the corner. According to the Farmer's Almanac it's on June 21. The Summer Solstice (there's a Winter one too) marks the time when the sun reaches its farthest point north of the equator. For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere that means it's also the day of the year that has the most sunlight. To help you celebrate the longest day of the year, we've put together this list of sustainable ways enjoy it. Add your own in the comments!
Saturday, June 21 is worldwide Solar Day.
In honor of this event, here are some fun facts about solar energy technology:
Global Wind Day is celebrated on June 15, with hundreds of events organized around the world designed to help promote wind power energy and it's potential for creating a sustainable environment. The worldwide observance was originally coordinated in 2009 by The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) and the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) through a network of partners.
“It’s the end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine)” ~R.E.M.
“NASA-funded study: industrial civilization headed for ‘irreversible collapse’?” asked a March 14 article by Nafeez Ahmed on The Guardian’s web site. Such headlines always catch my eye; I’ve been an avid reader of the history of the end of the world since the 1970s classic The Limits to Growth. More recently, there’s been Jared Diamond’s Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, and multiple updates to The Limits to Growth, including Jorgen Randers’ 2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years, which I covered in a previous blog post.
There’s never been a better time to look for jobs in the solar energy industry. The U.S. Department of Energy recently reported that its 2011 SunShot Initiative has been completed by 60% in 3 years. This means it’s nearly 2/3 of the way to its goal of achieving cost-competitive utility-scale photovoltaic energy in the U.S. The project was originally slated to take 10 years, but with 60% completion by year 3, it’s way ahead of schedule. Costs for installing solar voltaic panels have dropped significantly in the past 3 years, making the way for more widespread solar energy adoption – and potentially more jobs for solar technicians.
Is a simple molecule the solution to our problems? Ammonia, a renewable energy technology?
MOOC: Massive Open Online Course
If you’re wondering why I’ve been quiet lately, it’s because I’ve been involved with two big career-related events: My move into Academics (from IT) and preparation to teach my first MOOC, “Introduction to Sustainability,” through the Canvas network.
Changing sunlight into electricity, along with storing it and controlling it, fall to the main components of the PV system. The two primary types of systems in use today are stand-alone and grid-tied. Understanding their main components, how they work and how they work together makes it easy to understand why the grid-tie approach is by far the most common system in use today.
We like to think that we control our own minds. However, an increasing volume of research indicates the great extent the collective weight of evolution—embodied in a few pounds of gray matter—drives human behavior much like the proverbial tail wags the dog.
This is our entry for Masdar’s Engage: The Water-Energy Nexus blogging contest. Please vote for this entry here!
“A man’s flesh is his own; the water belongs to the tribe.” ~Frank Herbert, Dune
One year ago, there were record floods on the Mississippi River. This year, barge traffic is grinding to a halt as record drought slows the once-mighty river’s flow to a mere trickle of its former self. As I write this, we have just experienced our 333rd consecutive month of global temperatures higher than the 20th-century average. Welcome to global warming and its chaotic twin, global “weirding,” where there is only too much or too little—never just enough.
That’s the conclusion of someone who should know: Nobel-winning photosynthesis expert Hartmut Michel, currently the director of the Molecular Membrane Biology department at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysics.
Ah, targeted advertising: It seems I can’t visit an environmental web site without receiving an ad for a “green” MBA degree program. But all these ads make me want to ask: Just who are all these green MBAs going to manage? In other words, who’s actually going to be doing all this important green work?
Perhaps we should start an “Ecotext Book Club” to share and discuss books relating to the business Triple Bottom Line of people, planet, and profits. Recently I finished the marvelous 2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years. Now I am reading What's the Economy For, Anyway?: Why It's Time to Stop Chasing Growth and Start Pursuing Happiness by David K. Batker and John de Graaf.
Our economy runs on energy. However, the price that’s now needed to develop new oil sources—approximately $100 per barrel—is the same price that brings on economic recession. There is no statistical correlation between how much oil is pumped out of the ground and how much is paid at the gasoline pump.
Every few months a small group of us former pupils drag our old mentor out of retirement for a “Sustainable Futures” reunion seminar. Two weeks ago, while our beloved Dr. Edward “Ed” Passerini was in town, he also graciously agreed to speak to my graduate class on Information Management. Wow. I don’t know about the rest of the class, but I was blown away.
Sometimes I wonder if anyone running our country paid any attention in Econ 101. If you tax something, people tend to buy or use less of it, if they can. So why do we tax jobs (income)? Even if most of us can’t do without them, it would seem that taxing them less might encourage us to make more of them.
Last week, thanks to the folks at The Institute of Sustainability (TIOS) and The Green Register, I had the wonderful opportunity to hear Ed McMahon speak. No, I wasn’t with a psychic channeling Johnny Carson’s former sidekick; I was with sustainability and environmental policy expert Edward T. McMahon, co-founder of Scenic America and current Senior Resident Fellow with the Urban Land Institute.
Want to hear something amazing? China has more honor students than the U.S. has total students. Let that sink in a moment…
China just passed us in clean & renewable wind energy capacity, and they are on track to double that capacity by 2015. It’s much the same story with China and solar power. China is putting all those honor students—backed by heavy government subsidies—to good use.
Actually, if coal were the subject of AC/DC’s song, it could be titled “Dirty Deeds Done Cheaper Than Dirt” because, thanks to American taxpayers’ subsidizing of coal, the U.S. government recently sold 721 million tons of coal for literally cheaper than dirt.
“Crude oil output reaches an undulating plateau of around 68-69 mb/d*, by 2020, but never regains its all-time peak of 70mb/d reached in 2006.” ~International Energy Agency, World Energy Outlook 2010, November 2010
In case you missed it, the quote above was the International Energy Agency (IEA)’s admission that the world probably hit “peak oil” in 2006. It is helpful to remember that the IEA is not known as an alarmist or progressive-green agency; quite the opposite, in fact. So when the IEA admitted not only that we have hit peak oil, but also that our present use of fossil fuels has us on-track for catastrophic 11°F global warming, many of us were taken aback.
Begin with the end in mind, advised leadership guru Stephen Covey. So I am opening this article with the closing words of the book I am reading, 2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years by Jorgen Randers. Who could disagree with this end? “Together we could create a much better world.”
Although the classic rock band Boston is always “cool,” its home city has been anything but cool lately. In April, inexperienced Boston Marathon runners were asked to sit out the event due to dangerous record high temperatures. The first full day of summer set another Boston high-temperature record.
In the Higher Education sphere, one of our main goals is to impart critical thinking skills to students. We try to teach that asking, “How do you know what you think you know?” is much more important than memorizing any particular collection of so-called facts. Questioning our individual versions of reality has never been more important, as there has never been more at stake. So to get those rusty mental gears spinning, here is some well-oiled advice from critical thinkers past and present:
Perhaps, amidst all the fireworks and flag-waving of July 4, we actually gave some thought as to what it means to be independent. But, successful revolutions aside, I’d like to ask: Are we truly independent? In 1835, shortly after the newly United States of America won its hard-fought independence from Britain, a visitor from France toured the fledgling country and wrote down his observations. In this famous treatise, Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville, under the heading “Tyranny of the Majority,” wrote, “I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America.” American founding father John Adams himself once said, “The Declaration of Independence I always considered as a theatrical show. Jefferson ran away with all the stage effect of that... and all the glory of it.”
How about some environmental good news, for a change? I’ve been reading Reinventing Fire by Amory Lovins and the Rocky Mountain Institute, and I’m so stoked that I have to share!
Recently Alabama passed a law banning sustainable development. Meanwhile, Virginia lawmakers are ordering politically-offensive words like “sea level rise” and “climate change” expunged from a $50,000 study to determine the impacts of climate change on the state’s shores. (I can see the title of the report now: “The Report on That Which Must Not Be Named.”) North Carolina appears poised, as comedian Stephen Colbert derisively put it, to pass legislation that makes sea-level rise illegal. But first there was Tennessee, which earlier this year passed a law prohibiting teachers from being punished for discussing the “scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses” of global warming and evolution—in other words, question established science, not current authority.
Last Friday, I saw life from a couple of new perspectives. One of them was from the roof of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)’s Hulsey Center. The other was from “The Big Switch,” a presentation by James Hrynyshyn, science blogger of “Class: M” blog fame.
Ah, spring. The time of graduations, commencement ceremonies, and speeches about changing the world. Along with the latest viral videos of commencement speeches by celebrities, we have a tremendous amount of advice about changing the world, amassed from the collective stores of the world’s religious figures, philosophers, and authors.
If you are a Star Trek fan, you probably know what “Class: M” means. If you follow the popular science blogs at ScienceBlogs.com, you also may know that this is the title of communications consultant and freelance science journalist James Hrynyshyn’s regular blog. For the rest of you, James explains: “’Class M’ is a Star Trek reference, specifically to planets like Earth that tend to support abundant life and civilization. There are plenty of other letters in each direction in the alphabet, the implication being that the current condition of our climate is but one of many possibilities.”
Who says saving the planet can’t be a matter of fun & games? Certainly not “eco-entrepreneur” and sustainability professor Scott Cooney. But then again, Cooney lives and teaches in Hawaii, so perhaps that state’s laid-back lifestyle has influenced his philosophy as well as his game—GBO Hawaii.
Sometime in 2008 our planet passed a major milestone. At that time, for the first time in our history, there were more people living in cities than in non-urbanized areas. Sometime around Halloween of last year, our planet passed another milestone—adding its seven billionth person. This means that more than 3.5 billion humans are now crowded into the world’s urban areas.
Did you celebrate Tax Freedom Day on April 12? In case you didn’t know, according to the Tax Foundation, that’s the day Americans collectively earned enough money to pay all our tax obligations for this year. Less-known than Tax Freedom Day, and certainly not a reason to celebrate, isEarth Overshoot Day, which last arrived on September 27, 2011. Figuratively-speaking, that was the day we began living beyond nature’s means to supply us.
Today’s most influential back-to-nature movement isn’t being led by hippies or tree-huggers. It’s being led by architects, construction workers, and the everyday folks who are buying and living in modern “green” buildings.
What do the words economics, ecology, and ecumenical have in common? They are all derived from the Greek work for household, house, or family: oikos.[i] In other words, they’re all about good housekeeping, whether the house in question is a single family home or the planet that is home to us all.
The answer to the somewhat tongue-in-cheek question posed by this blog’s title should be yes… food does indeed grow on trees. It also grows on other perennial plants[i]—and we should be growing more of these kinds of food plants, for our health and for the future of our planet.
Regardless of how the term “green” strikes you in these days when both green washing and green bashing are popular, it seems both pro- and con- green folk set aside their differences and embrace the color around March 17.