03 November 2009

China to open market to U.S. wind turbines, gas from nappies and landfills, Gore's new book, and other company, industry and government news

Top Stories

China drops "buy Chinese" policy for wind turbines.reliability high.
"China will drop its controversial "buy Chinese" policy for wind power equipment, making it easier for foreign companies to supply turbines to wind farm projects in the country. According to local media, commerce minister Chen Deming announced the move late last week at the 20th China-US Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade talks, held in the Chinese city of Hangzhou. The policy had mandated local governments to source more than 70 per cent of products and technologies from domestic sources when planning wind power projects." From Business Green. [This may partly defuse some of the rancor over U.S. economic stimulus funds going to buy wind turbines from China and Europe. But the basic problem remains that U.S. manufacturers don't have the capacity.]

A primer on climate change by Al Gore.reliability high.
Al Gore's new book "Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis" takes up where "An Inconvenient Truth" left off, going beyond the evidence that we have a problem to suggest what we should do about it. "Rather than a checklist, it's an all-of-the-above primer on everything from renewable energy to forest conservation to building a smarter grid. Not to mention the need to develop the political will." Future generations will ask, "How did you find the moral courage to rise up and solve a crisis so many said was impossible?" From The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

EcoFactor: Finally A Smart Way to Control Thermostats.reliability high.
Three-year-old startup EcoFactor has launched with its first customer, Texas utility Oncor. EcoFactor's software micromanages home thermostats to reduce energy use while maintaining comfort. See earth2tech. [We followed these guys as California Clean Tech Open contestants and finalists--pretty interesting technology.]

Oil and gas firms accused of failing to address physical climate risks.reliability high.
A report from environmental consultancy Acclimatise assessed oil and gas companies' responses to the Carbon Disclosure Project and found that while more than three quarters accepted that already inevitable levels of climate change would affect their business through increased downtime, system failures and rising safety risks, only 19 per cent were taking action to address those risks. From Business Green. Press release here. PDF of report accessible here (registration required).

Tackling climate change one dirty nappy at a time.reliability high.
Knowaste, developer of the UK's first nappy recycling facility, will partner with waste-to-energy firm Verus Energy to use a bacteria-based process to break down the nappy and other sanitation waste collected at the facility to generate biogases such as methane. The gases will be captured and burned, generating energy that will help power the plant and be sold to the grid. See Business Green. [Ah, memories! Your correspondent worked on problems of disposable diaper recycling 15 years ago.]

World’s Largest Landfill Gas to LNG Plant Opens in California.reliability high.
"Waste Management, one of the country’s largest landfill operators, today is opening what it says it the world’s largest facility to convert landfill gas to liquefied natural gas (LNG). Once at full capacity, the $13.5 million facility, located at Waste Management’s landfill site near Livermore, Calif., will purify and liquefy up to 4 million gallons per year." From earth2tech. [Just behind those Altamont Pass wind turbines lies a garbage gasmine.]

Water-Saving Technologies Help Abbott Save 1 Billion Gallons a Year.reliability high.
"Introducing a slew of water-saving technologies to its facilities has helped Abbott save roughly one billion gallons a year despite production growth at many of its plants. The pharmaceutical giant set a goal of cutting its water consumption to 40 percent below 2004 levels by late 2011, relative to sales. The company announced Monday its efforts have yielded a 37 percent normalized reduction." From GreenBiz.

UCF Lighting Retrofit to Save $42K, Pay For Itself in 1.2 Years.reliability high.
"By switching to more efficient lighting, a University of Central Florida parking garage will see savings of $42,000 a year. UCF swapped out 500 lighting fixtures on three levels of the garage for newer, more efficient T5 fluorescent lights, according to the UCFToday blog. The new lights use 14,436 kilowatt hours of electricity a month, or about 33,444 fewer kilowatt hours than the old system. That’s nearly a 70 percent improvement in energy efficiency. Because the project cost only $51,384, UCF expects to recoup its costs in a little over a year. Eventually, the university plans to switch all garages to T5 lighting." From Environmental Leader.

PG&E to give $588K solar energy rebate to Hilltop Ranch.reliability high.
"Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) said Hilltop Ranch, Inc. will receive a $588,000 incentive rebate through the California Solar Initiative (CSI) program for a 574-kilowatt solar project at its headquarters in Merced County." "According to Dave Long, co-founder and president of Hilltop Ranch, Inc., the 574-kilowatt solar installation will offset 70 percent of Hilltop Ranch's energy use for the year at their Turlock Road processing facility in Ballico. It will also help eliminate almost two million pounds of carbon emissions annually." See Merced Sun-Star. [I like to include a few items like this one and the last just as examples of the savings and benefits smaller players are obtaining.]

Government and Regulation

Want $42K Off A New Tesla Roadster? Call Your Colorado Cousin.reliability medium.
"It sounds too good to be true, but here it is: You can buy a 2009 Tesla Roadster, with a list price of $109,900, and pay just $67,800 for it. At least, you can if you live in Colorado and buy it before December 31." See GreenCarReports.com. [The catch? Tesla is pretty much sold out of roadsters for 2009 delivery.]

Korea Seeks 4% Cut in Carbon Emissions by 2020.reliability high.
"The administration is seeking to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by 4 percent by 2020 from 2005 by promoting the use of bio and nuclear energy, and energy-efficient technologies, officials said Wednesday." See The Korea Times.

[Crossposted from HaraBara.com courtesy of HaraBara, Inc. Copyright © 2009 HaraBara, Inc.]