25 October 2010

Putting the "smart" in smart grid, Ford's EV, three new wind turbine factories in UK, integration and consolidation in solar, more green jobs data and other news

Top Stories

"Technology Companies Are Lining Up for Smart Grid Business"reliability high.
About the efforts of software and hardware companies to create businesses providing the "smart" in the smart grid. Examples and quotes from participants in the GridWeek conference in Washington. See New York Times from ClimateWire. [See SAP/Siemens item below.]

"GE confirms £100m UK turbine plant investment"reliability high.
General Electric joins Siemens in plans for new UK wind turbine production capacity. The UK government has spared its £60m program to invest in British ports to support the wind energy industry. Both GE and Siemens have confirmed they are on track to build plants in the UK. Prime minister David Cameron said, "I want us to be a world leader in offshore wind energy. We are making these investments so that major manufacturers will decide that this is the place they want to come and build their offshore wind turbines." From BusinessGreen. In related news, "Spain's Gamesa to build offshore wind factory in UK"--reliability high. "Spain's Gamesa will open an offshore wind turbine factory and research center in Britain, creating more than 1,000 direct jobs, the company said on Monday. It will invest 150 million euros ($210.6 million) until 2014 and base the global headquarters of its offshore division in London, Gamesa said, confirming a report from Reuters earlier this month." From Reuters.

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

"World’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm Begun by China"reliability medium.
The China National Offshore Oil Company has begun construction of what will be the world's largest (1 GW) offshore wind farm in in Bohai Bay the arm of the Yellow Sea closest to Beijing. From CleanTechnica.

"SAP and Siemens Target Technologies Needed to Accelerate EVs"reliability high.
SAP AG will work with Siemens IT Solutions and Services to develop technology to support widespread electric vehicle use, "including the infrastructure needed between charging stations and the back-end systems that will process various utility transactions. Siemens Energy will contribute an electric vehicle charging station, while SAP will supply software for the back-end system. More participants will soon be added, and demonstration and results will be shared with utilities in early 2011." From GreenBiz.

"Analysis: Investors look beyond solar modules"reliability high.
About consolidation, integration and technology investment in the solar power industry. Participants are seeking technology partners and investments to drive down costs and lock in distribution. Quotes and strategies of various participants. See Reuters.

"Ford sets 2011 electric Focus 2011 production target at 10,000-20,000 units"reliability medium.
While the Nissan Leaf and GM Chevy Volt are getting headlines, Ford is planning on similar production volumes in 2011 for its battery-electric Focus. From Autoblog Green.

"BMW Rolls Toward Zipcar’s Turf With Hourly Rentals"reliability medium.
Josie Garthwaite posts about BMW's pilot car sharing program in Germany. Discusses broader participation by carmakers in car sharing. "Automakers have compelling reasons to consider shifting at least part of their business to provide mobility as more of a service, including rising vehicle ownership costs, a global population that’s increasingly urban, and declining vehicle ownership among younger drivers." See GigaOM.

"UC San Diego Survey Reveals Green Jobs Offer Great Salaries and Promotion Potential"reliability high.
Another green jobs survey. Facts and figures on sustainability hiring and employment. Highlights of report. See CSRwire. Access the report here.

Government and Regulation

"Effort to Shift Biofuel Industry Incentives Gains Foothold in Washington"reliability high.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack admits that the ethanol subsidy and support system will gradually have to be changed. He said the tariff on imported ethanol would "over time be phased out." He supports extending the ethanol tax subsidies, but says "We need to begin to think about reforms to the ethanol credit program to make it more efficient and effective at addressing the full range of challenges we face in meeting our goals for traditional and next-generation biofuels." More about potential programs to promote ethanol motor fuels, and the changes anticipated in federal policies. See New York Times from Greenwire. [See item on USDA economic analysis below.]

Science and Economics

"Vilsack points to report that shows ending corn ethanol tax credit will raise GDP"reliability medium.
Sasha Lyutse posts about U.S. Agriculture Secretary's reference to recent USDA report that says that with the renewable fuels standard in place the ethanol tax credit could cut GDP by $8-12 billion over coming years. See NRDC blogs. PDF of USDA report "Effects of Increased Biofuels on the U.S. Economy in 2022" here. [Tide is turning against the $6 billion per year ethanol tax credit subsidy.]