New report shows solar could generate 40% of US energy by 2035

September 10, 2021 by  
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A report prepared by the Energy Department and National Renewable Energy Laboratory shows that the U.S. could increase its solar power generation from the current 3% to 40% by 2035. To achieve this feat, the federal government would need to invest less than $562 billion and support related policies. The report further shows that solar power could be scaled up to generate 50% of U.S. energy by 2050. According to the report, generating solar energy has become affordable thanks to the falling costs in the industry. Related: mySUN combines human energy and solar for a renewable solution To achieve 50%, U.S. solar capacity must reach 1,600 gigawatts. This would cover more than the total electricity consumed by commercial and residential buildings. Though “not intended as a policy statement,” the report may offer inspiration for policymakers. As Becca Jones-Albertus, director of the Energy Department’s solar energy technologies office, said, the report is “designed to guide and inspire the next decade of solar innovation by helping us answer questions like: How fast does solar need to increase capacity and to what level?” The report also addressed the economic implications of expanding solar systems in the U.S. When it comes to green energy, many people debate how it will impact jobs in the energy sector. Those who oppose energy reforms claim that the oil and coal industries provide jobs to millions of Americans and are the backbone of the economy . Would a shift to renewable energy be able to replace the jobs lost in coal and oil? According to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, if solar, the “cheapest and fastest-growing source of clean energy , could produce enough electricity to power all of the homes in the U.S. by 2035,” it could “employ as many as 1.5 million people in the process.” Further, transitioning to solar energy could generate an estimated $1.7 trillion in economic gain via reduced health costs associated with air pollution. Via EcoWatch Lead image via Pixabay

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New report shows solar could generate 40% of US energy by 2035

Explore this award-winning design for a self-sustaining town

September 9, 2021 by  
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Located in Norway , Powered by Ulsteinvik by Kaleidoscope Nordic looks like it could be a science fiction movie set. But this is no story. This is what the future of design may look like. Over a hundred nominations worldwide were submitted, but this design is the winner of the 2021 Architizer A+Awards. It’s creative, modern and self-sufficient. This project is a strategy for a small Norwegian town. The idea is to work with and harness the natural cycles and energy flow of the area, while still providing a pretty place to live, work and spend time. Related: Akersbakken Bicycle Hotel design blends into the landscape The design will create meeting spaces, open up connections to the water and increase accessibility for pedestrians . The design includes a town center with a multi-purpose square, a cultural heritage building and gathering space for all to use. Autonomous electric buses will keep everyone connected. A smart-grid with plug-in modules will power the town with renewable energy. The grid is fed with the “SmartPergola” system, in which city roofs, businesses and meeting places have photovoltaic modules to help power the energy grid. Everything is interconnected. This power system is why the project is known as Powered by Ulsteinvik.If you follow the complex’s blue path, you’ll make your way to a seafront promenade. The inner part of this marina area will become an activity center with autonomous boats and automated fishing rods for digital learning. Three main concepts will combine to create this amazing space: the central SMARTHUB, the Generation Gardens in Ulshaugen and the Circular Neighborhoods in Holsekerdalen. SMARTHUB includes a town hall, business center, cafe and innovation lab for public use. The exterior is built with photovoltaic panels that provide electricity to feed the grid. The Generation Gardens have several facilities, including a kindergarten, a young club and health services offices. There are sheltered courtyards here where children can play. The Circular Neighborhoods in Holsekerdalen are a new housing concept. These buildings harvest rainwater, which is transferred to the balcony plant beds. This allows residents to grow their own food . There’s also a growhouse, a common greenhouse with a kitchen. Here, everyone can cook and eat together after harvesting ingredients for the meal. + Kaleidoscope Nordic Images via Kvant-1

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This collapsible cooler is insulated with upcycled coconut fiber

September 9, 2021 by  
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Fortuna Cools recently announced the launch of the Nutshell Cooler, a collapsible cooler made using upcycled coconut fiber sourced from the  Philippines  and designed to outperform plastic. The company worked with local coconut farmers from a fishing village on Lubang Island to create the innovative, insulating material. Each cooler is insulated with 24 coconut husks and manufactured close to the farms, meaning more income for those small-scale coconut  farmers  and the creation of advanced jobs in their local agricultural communities. Since the liners use recycled PET, there are no virgin plastic components to the coolers either. Related: Coconut oil production is a danger to vulnerable species The cooler is the product of a collaboration between Tamara Mekler, a Behavioral Biologist with an M.S. from Stanford in Sustainable Development who previously worked in community-based conservation and environmental education, and David Cutler, a Stanford-educated designer who worked in development and consulting for startups and  NGOs  across Asia. The pair started working on coolers in the Philippines back in 2018 as university graduate students.  While studying with NGO Rare and the local community on Lubang Island in the Philippines, Mekler and Cutler discovered a way to turn coconut husk fiber (a leftover byproduct of the coconut meat industry that is typically burned as waste) into a material to replace plastic foam. Together with award-winning industrial engineers at Box Clever, they released the first coconut coolers in 2019 and created a Kickstarter for the Nutshell Cooler for an Early Bird price of $169 (MSRP $249). Through the 1% for the Planet program, the company donates at least 1% of sales to its  conservation  NGO partners in the Philippines. The cooler’s structure is inspired by origami, specifically the convenient feature of folding into itself to collapse and save space while not in use. Once open, it holds 19 liters (or enough for 18 cans and 14 pounds of ice) and weighs just eight pounds empty. Both the polyester shell and liner are 100%  recycled . Controlled tests promise to keep ice frozen as long as the Yeti Hopper Two and 10-40% longer than the Coleman Excursion, the REI Pack-Away and the popular Expanded Polystyrene ice chests. + Nutshell Coolers Via Core 77 Images courtesy of Nutshell Coolers

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This collapsible cooler is insulated with upcycled coconut fiber

Siemens Gamesa makes "world’s first" recyclable wind turbine

September 8, 2021 by  
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Siemens Gamesa claims to have created the world’s first recyclable wind turbine blades. The RecyclableBlade turbine blades are ready to be used offshore. The new blade design allows the parts and materials to disintegrate at the end of their lifespan. The turbine blades use several materials combined and cast together with resin. Gregorio Acero, Head of Quality Management & Health, Safety and Environment at Siemens Gamesa, says the company plans for the turbines to “generate renewable electricity for 20-30 years.” Related: Wind-powered lamp post helps reduce light pollution Thanks to the chemical structure of the new resin material used, it is possible to separate the resin from other components when the turbine reaches the end of its lifespan. While the tower and nacelle components of wind turbines have established recycling protocols, Siemens Gamesa’s invention improves the recyclability of the composite materials in turbine blades. Previously, the difficulty of separating these materials led to many turbines going to the landfill once no longer usable. Siemens Gamesa CEO Andreas Nauen says that thinking about recycling and reusing products is a must if the world wants to successfully address the climate crisis . “The time to tackle climate emergency is now, and we need to do it in a holistic way,” said Nauen. “In pioneering wind circularity – where elements contribute to a circular economy of the wind industry – we have reached a major milestone in a society that puts care for the environment at its heart.” Siemens Gamesa has partnered with RWE to install the turbines with recyclable blades in a first-of-its-kind project. The turbines will be installed at the Kaskasi offshore wind power plant in Germany . Siemens Gamesa will be monitor and maintain them starting in 2022. “The RecyclableBlade is another tangible example of how Siemens Gamesa is leading technological development in the wind industry,” said Nauen. + Siemens Gamesa Via CNBC and Renewable Energy Magazine

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Siemens Gamesa makes "world’s first" recyclable wind turbine

A history of sustainable energy efforts at the White House

September 2, 2021 by  
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Global warming, carbon emissions and climate change have been hot topics for decades. All the while, the reigning U.S. administration has changed its tone with each election. As a result, the focus on renewable energy has waned and grown throughout the country and in the president’s own home. In fact, since the White House was first equipped with electricity, the use of  renewable energy  sources has seen an ebb and flow that matches the attitude of the commander in chief at the time.  The beginning of electricity at the White House September 1891 saw the introduction of electricity to the White House, although Mr. and Mrs. Harrison, President and First Lady at the time, feared electrocution and never touched the switches as a result. Related: Activists protest Biden’s compromised green infrastructure deal In 1926 President Calvin Coolidge saw the installment of the first electric refrigerator at the residence. Six years later, the Roosevelts installed air conditioning in the private quarters. Beginning in 1948, the White House saw an extensive renovation under the guidance of President Truman, which included upgrades to the electrical system. President Lyndon Johnson set an example of electricity conservation in the 1960s by consistently turning off lights when not in use, earning him the moniker “Light Bulb Johnson.” The first solar panels at the White House The year 1979 saw the first solar panel installation at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue when President Jimmy Carter had 32 solar panels placed on the White House roof in response to a national energy crisis (a result of the Arab oil embargo). Although the technology of the time did little more than heat  water  for the cafeteria and laundry, Carter hoped it would set an example for the future of the country saying, “a generation from now, this solar heater can either be a curiosity, a museum piece, an example of a road not taken, or it can be a small part of one of the greatest and most exciting adventures ever undertaken by the American people; harnessing the power of the Sun to enrich our lives as we move away from our crippling dependence on foreign oil .” However, his intentions didn’t take hold, and the solar panels were removed during the Reagan administration while roofing work was being done. While cost may have been a factor in the decision not to reinstall the solar panels, Reagan’s policies made it clear he supports oil more than green energy. When the Clintons moved into office and the residence, they committed to “Greening the White House,” which included installing  energy-efficient  windows, light bulbs and a new HVAC system. The first solar power system on site Breaking the trend of Democrats leaning into renewable options and Republicans reversing them, George W. Bush was the first to install a solar system that provided electricity to the grounds. The 9-kilowatt system produced both current and hot water, which was used in part to warm the presidential pool. Another notable event in the history of the White House’s sustainability journey took place in 2008 when the iconic Portico lantern was upgraded to LEDs . The arrival of modern solar panels President Barack Obama, who was very vocal about prioritizing  environmental issues , oversaw the installation of solar panels, completed in 2014. He also installed a solar water heater in the residence.  “By installing solar panels on arguably the most famous house in the country, his residence, the president is underscoring that commitment to lead and the promise and importance of renewable energy in the United States,” said Nancy Sutley, chairwoman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. This newer technology was six times more effective than the solar equipment Carter installed, making a financial difference and not just a symbolic one. Those  solar panels  are still in use today.  The Trump administration not only did not put a priority on renewable resources but actively worked to roll back many of the environmental protections put in place before he took office. Solar panels make history For historical value, the solar panels installed during the Carter administration were kept in governmental storage until 1991, when half were installed above the cafeteria at Unity College in Maine . Here they provided hot water until the end of their useful life in 2005.  Today, other White House solar panels are on display at museums in the United States and China . Specifically, there are examples at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington D.C., Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Atlanta, Georgia, and the Solar Science and Technology Museum in Dezhou, China.  There’s also one on display at the NRG Systems headquarters, as an example of early technology at a company that manufactures modern  wind  and solar technology solutions. With all eyes on the White House for guidance on where we’ll focus next in the current of renewable energy , it’s clear that it will be some time before we see universal agreement on how to approach the topic.  For more information on the history of the solar panels President Jimmy Carter installed, you can check out the 2010 documentary “A Road Not Taken,” which details their journey from 1979 to 1986. + Energy.gov  Via Thought Co. and Sullivan Solar Power   Images via Pexels 

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Duke Energy’s Robert Vary on the state of renewable energy adoption

August 17, 2021 by  
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This video is sponsored by Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions. Sarah Golden, Senior Energy Analyst & VERGE Energy Chair at GreenBiz, interviewed Robert Vary, Senior Vice President of Sales & Relationship Management at Duke Energy, during VERGE Net Zero (July 27-28, 2021). View archived videos from the conference here: https://www.greenbiz.com/topics/verge-net-zero-archive

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Duke Energy’s Robert Vary on the state of renewable energy adoption

Cox Enterprises’ Will Thorburn on building a clean-tech business

August 17, 2021 by  
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This video is sponsored by Cox Enterprise. Sarah Golden, Senior Energy Analyst & VERGE Energy Chair at GreenBiz, interviewed Will Thorburn, Director of Cleantech Strategy & Investments at Cox Enterprises, during VERGE Net Zero (July 27-28, 2021). View archived videos from the conference here: https://www.greenbiz.com/topics/verge-net-zero-archive

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Cox Enterprises’ Will Thorburn on building a clean-tech business

Landscaping Techniques To Cut Home Energy Use

August 17, 2021 by  
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Nearly half of all home energy use is for heating and cooling. Nationally, this adds… The post Landscaping Techniques To Cut Home Energy Use appeared first on Earth911.

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Landscaping Techniques To Cut Home Energy Use

We Earthlings: Modernize Your Toilet To Save Water

August 17, 2021 by  
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If all toilets in the United States were upgraded to EPA WaterSense standards, we could… The post We Earthlings: Modernize Your Toilet To Save Water appeared first on Earth911.

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We Earthlings: Modernize Your Toilet To Save Water

The Next-Gen Tech Accelerating the Transition to Net Zero

August 9, 2021 by  
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Meet the startups behind the technologies set to emerge as enablers of the net-zero transition. Speakers: Brennan Spellacy | Co-founder & CEO | Patch Cedrick Tandong | Co-founder & CEO | Three Wheels United Jeff Horowitz | Director of Business Development and Partnerships | NEXT Energy Technologies Olugbenga Olubanjo | CEO | Reeddi, Kate Frucher | Managing Director, New York | New Energy Nexus This session was held at GreenBiz Group’s VERGE Net Zero, July 27-28, 2021. Learn more about the event here: https://events.greenbiz.com/events/verge-net-zero/online/2021

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The Next-Gen Tech Accelerating the Transition to Net Zero

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