Photo by indywriter.
The U.S. has continued to have high growth rates in its wind industry for the third year in a row at an estimated $18 billion in revenues. With the record growth rates, America’s wind industry is now the largest in the world with a capacity of more than 21,000 Megawatts of energy, passing the prior leader Germany. This was all in the American Wind Energy Association, AWEA, annual report detailing the huge growth numbers and project growth for next year.
That 21,000 megawatts of capacity are expected to generate over 60 billion kilowatt hours of electricity in 2009, enough to serve over 5.5 million American homes.
Even though this is not a race to who can have the most renewable energy, I like the fact that America has boosted it’s research and development in these areas. Hopefully other countries strive for this recognition and continue to grow their renewable energy industries. One contributing factor to the high growth amid our current economic hardships are the renewable energy tax credits in the $700 billion bailout bill passed a few months ago. I was not fully in support of the bailout bill, but I am really glad these tax credits made their way in. They are already make a huge difference and hopefully continue to help grow our wind, solar and geothermal industries.
The United Nations Environment Programme or UNEP has been working with China for the last several years to make the Olympic games more environmentally friendly. China has spent around $17 billion in order to make Beijing a much more environmentally friendly place. Many of the venues used for the Olympics will get some of their energy from renewable sources. Not all of the changes just for the Olympic games, but to improve the overall city for the long run. These changes include enhancing Beijing’s public transportation system, building a wall of solar panels and restricting harsher standards on emissions.
MIT scientist have made a breakthrough discovery that would allow hydrogen to be separated from water simply by using solar power. The process only requires pressure and can be done at room temperature. A major concern to many is that the currently the process of separating hydrogen and oxygen from water relies on fossil fuels. This eliminates any of the environmental benefits gained by using hydrogen in fuel-cells. This new discovery therefore allow for hydrogen to be produced cheaply and remove any dependency on fossil fuel. I am excited by this finding as it really makes hydrogen a viable renewable resource.
TRUenergy and Petratherm have joined forces in Southern Australia to enter into the geothermal energy market. Under the venture, TRUenergy would acquire 30% of Petratherm’s Paralana project. The Paralana project is located in Flinders Ranges of South Australia and aims to be provide Australia with geothermal electricity by 2011. The hope is that the Paralana project can product up to 260 megawatts of electricity from geothermal energy by 2020.
Hydrogen is still a young technology for use in cars with fuel cell engines. The U.S. Postal Service and GM are teaming up to begin delivering mail in hydrogen powered fuel-cell vehicles. Before you get too excited like I did, they are only going to be providing these vehicles to two USPS locations, one in Irvine California and the other that will be announced shortly. The car they will be using is a Chevrolet Equinox that has been tested over the last several years by the USPS in several locations. GM needed to test these vehicles in real driving situations to perfect the model that will be used.
Photo by Mike Babcock.
Chevy already has a program out called Project Driveway where they are testing 100 hydrogen powered fuel-cell vehicles in several locations throughout the country and the world. Living in the DC area, I previously heard about a few people testing hydrogen vehicles. A gas station in downtown DC recently built the only hydrogen pump in the area at their gas station. The postal workers in California will be using hydrogen located at the University of California, Irvine.
Hopefully this plan is a success and hydrogen pumps become a standard in gas stations throughout the country. It will be a difficult hurdle to overcome in that it will cost nearly $1/2 trillion in order to setup an entire infrastructure for hydrogen throughout America.
Al Gore told reporters earlier in the week that he will better serve the environment as private citizen. He rejected the idea of running along with Barrack Obama even if he were to wins the presidency. This is a smart move by Al Gore because it allows him to accomplish more without lobbyists and special interest groups holding him back. It’s great to see that he can continue to spread his environmentalist views to the general populous.
Photo by Roo Reynolds.
The National Research Council believes that hydrogen technology can be widely available within 15 to 20 years. This makes logical sense because the technology is currently expensive and will take some time to setup the infrastructure for it. In the meantime, technologies like hybrid and electric will have to take the place of our current all gas cars if we want to start reducing carbon emissions. The federal government is going to have to provide some assistance, around $55 billion in total, if we want this plan to come into fruition.
The National Bank in New Zealand has just opened an environmentally sustainable bank in Blockhouse Bay. This build is completely constructed of materials that are renewable and contains rank collecting bins, solar panels and even compost bins. This is incredible news. This bank is really make huge strides in being a one of a kind. Not just banks, but other companies need to take notice to this bank and model future buildings after this one. This bank was able to save substantial amounts of money on both their energy bills and their water bills because of the solar panels, the use of recycled water and strategies so it can maintain its internal temperature. I would love to one day have a house that is modeled off of this type of building.