06 April 2010

Hard rain; BlueMotion greenest? And other company, government and industry news

Top Stories

National Cell Phone Recycling Week.reliability high.
"EPA's Plug-In To eCycling program is teaming up with leading cell phone makers, service providers and retailers to launch the second annual National Cell Phone Recycling Week! Last year, Americans turned in approximately 11.7 million cell phones for reuse and recycling." Lists specific activities of various Plug-In To eCycling partners. More at EPA site.

Study: Northeast seeing more, fiercer rainstorms.reliability high.
"The Northeast is seeing more frequent "extreme precipitation events" in line with global warming predictions, a study shows, including storms like the recent fierce rains whose floodwaters swallowed neighborhoods and businesses across New England. The study does not link last week's devastating floods to its research but examined 60 years' worth of National Weather Service rainfall records in nine Northeastern states and found that storms that produce an inch or more of rain in a day — a threshold the recent storm far surpassed — are coming more frequently." See CNBC from AP. PDF of report here.

Virginia Cement Plant Turns Off Lights For Earth Hour and Keeps Them Off.reliability high.
"As millions of people around the world observed Earth Hour last Saturday, March 27, a cement plant tucked against the Blue Ridge Mountains in southwestern Virginia turned off the lighting array on its 400-foot pre-heater tower -- and has no intention of turning them back on. Before plant managers at the Roanoke Cement Company in Troutville, Virginia, made the decision to switch off the lights almost 100 lights were visible from up to 13 miles away along the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, a road that traverses high on the wooded slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The pre-heater tower now has just two prominent red lights to alert small aircrafts flying in the area." See Celsias. [We've always wondered about ornamental and other wasteful lighting that is turned off for Earth Hour and then just turned back on for the rest of the year. See this previous post.]

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

Target puts recycling bins in all its stores.reliability high.
"Discount retailer Target Corp expects to have recycling bins in all its stores by Tuesday as it tries to gain "green" credibility from consumers looking to be more eco-friendly. The No. 2 U.S. discount retailer does not think the recycling stations will drive additional traffic to its more than 1,700 stores, but it hopes they will help improve satisfaction for the customers who come in, Shawn Gensch, Target vice president for brand marketing, said in an interview." See Reuters.

Connecticut Light & Power Proposes 10:1 Peak Pricing Ratio.reliability high.
"The utility Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P) has asked state regulators to change its pricing structure beginning in 2012 to institute a tiered system with a ratio of 10 to one between peak and off-peak hours. The shift would be a radical change from flat-rate pricing, which provides no incentives for reducing power consumption when demand is greatest. ... According to the Hartford Courant, participants in the pilot program paid $1.60 per kilowatt hour during peak periods and 15.5 cents a kilowatt hour the rest of the day. The utility said the rates would be different, but the 10-to-one ratio would be the same. ... The company has asked regulators for permission to recoup $296 million in capital costs for smart metering technology needed to deploy the pricing system. The Department of Public Utility Control is expected to respond to the request in four to six months." See Sustainable Business.

AT&T, GE, Google, Intel: National Smart Grid Integration Could Save $46B in Energy.reliability high.
"About 45 companies and organizations have united in an effort to push for greater national integration of the smart grid, especially as it pertains to business and consumer energy monitoring, pointing to a potential $46 billion in nationwide energy savings. In an open letter to the president, the Climate Group coalition received the support of firms such as AT&T, GE, Intel, Google, HP and Verizon, among others. Non-profits including the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Alliance to Save Energy also have signed on." More at Environmental Leader.

VW BlueMotion Models Receives 2010 World Green Car Award.reliability medium.
The World Car of The Year organization has awarded Volkswagen's BlueMotion brand the 2010 World Green Car of the Year Award. BlueMotion cars include the Golf, Passat, and Polo models fitted with ultra efficient and relatively clean burning diesel engines. These VWs beat the Honda Insight and Toyota Prius for the award. See Wired Autopia blog.

Government and Regulation

U.S. Sued Over Nuclear Waste Fees.reliability high.
"Sixteen utilities and a trade association sued the Energy Department on Monday to halt the government's collection of nuclear waste disposal fees, arguing that the country no longer had a disposal plan after ruling out Yucca Mountain, Nev., as a repository. The utilities, which filed the lawsuit in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, jointly pay about $750 million a year — amounting to a tenth of a cent per kilowatt hour — into the fund. It now stands at about $24 billion and earns about $1 billion annually in interest." Story at The New York Times.

New rules to boost EU Eco label.reliability high.
"New European legislation has come into force which aims to significantly increase the number of product groups covered by its Eco-Flower labelling programme. ... The goal is to increase the number of product groups covered by EU Eco-label to between 40 and 50 by 2015, with an emphasis on products that have the most significant environmental impacts and the highest potential for improvement. The expansion of the scheme should raise the profile of the EU Eco-label at consumer level going forward and should benefit textiles and clothing that carries the 'flower' as the label is known in Europe." See EcoTextile News.

[Crossposted from HaraBara.com courtesy of HaraBara, Inc. Copyright © 2010 HaraBara, Inc.]