17 November 2010

GE boosts cleantech startups, a plywood pledge, juice packaging, LED marketing, bag banning and other green news for business

Top Stories

"GE & Partners Announce Five $100,000 Innovation Award Winners"reliability high.
"GE unveiled today the five innovation award winners of its $200 million open innovation challenge, the 'GE ecomagination Challenge: Powering the Grid.' ... The winning ideas are a lightweight inflatable wind turbine; a technology that instantly de-ices wind turbine blades so they never slow or shut down; an intelligent water meter that can generate its own power; a cyber-secure network infrastructure that allows two-way communications grid monitoring and substation automation from wind and solar farms; and a technology solves short-circuiting and outages from overloaded electric grids by enabling precise control over their flow and power." More details on winners, including videos. From GE site.

"California leads 'subnational' summit climate push"reliability high.
"The so-called R20 coalition of some 100 regional, state and provincial governments, observer nations and corporations aim to use their joint economic heft to create industries and to make 'subnational' deals to create low-carbon projects." "The green movement is going full steam ahead without an international agreement," said California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The R20 group could come to represent 20% of the global economy as new members join. See Reuters.

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

"Plywood giant says it will make greener buys"reliability high.
Georgia-Pacific LLC, the largest maker of plywood in the U.S., "will not buy timber from environmentally sensitive areas and will discourage landowners from clearing hardwood forests under a new policy, it said Tuesday." GP CEO Jim Hannan said, "We continue to believe it is possible to operate in a way that is environmentally responsible and also economically sound. This policy also gives us the opportunity to address issues of increasing interest to our customers and to consumers." More details of proposed policy, which was worked out in negotiation with environmental groups including the Rainforest Action Network. At MSNBC from AP. [The power of NGOs, who in this case pressured GPs big customers, like Home Depot, threatening to make them look bad if they didn't get their suppliers like GP to forswear wood from habitat-destroying sources.]

"GE, partners to invest $55 million in power-grid tech"reliability high.
"General Electric Co and a group of venture-capital firms said on Tuesday they would invest $55 million in a dozen startup ventures and partnerships working on new power-grid technologies. ... GE ... is working with venture capital firms Kleiner Perkins Caufield, RockPort Capital, Emerald Technology Ventures and Foundation Capital". More on some of the specific  investments made. From Reuters. [This is the first of $200 million GE and these investment partners plan to put into cleantech ideas in this particular program.]

Exchange Calls It Quitsreliability medium.
John Rudolf posts about the closing of the Chicago Climate Exchange. "With climate legislation in the United States dead in the water for the foreseeable future, participants in the exchange have lost interest, said Jeffrey C. Sprecher, chief executive of Intercontinental Exchange, an operator of futures exchanges for agricultural, credit, currency and energy contracts that purchased the Chicago Climate Exchange in July 2010 for $600 million." Intercontinental "will replace the cap-and-trade system with a less ambitious registry program for carbon offsets next year." See New York Times Green blog. [Evidently they don't think anything resembling cap and trade will be seen in the U.S. for years, at least not anything needing exchange trading or futures. Offsets traded under regional cap and trade programs will be traded over the counter?]

"Home Depot selling Philips 60-watt equivalent LED online"reliability medium.
Martin LaMonica posts that Home Depot will begin selling on line, and have in stores by December, a 60-Watt-equivalent LED "bulb" from Philips at a price of $40. The Ambient LED lamp uses 12.5 Watts. "Its average life is listed at 25,000 hours and it does not contain mercury or lead." From CNET News Green Tech blog. [25,000 hours at say four hours a day--should last 15 to 20 years and save one megawatt-hour. At an average cost of around $0.20 per kilowatt-hour you'd save $200-300 dollars over those decades. Prius owners only?]

"Naked Juice Serves Beverages in Eco-Friendly Package"reliability high.
Naked Juice will package its 10-oz., 15.2-oz., and 64-oz. juice and juice smoothies in bottles made from 100-percent post-consumer recycled PET plastic from early next year. 32-oz. containers have been using rPET since last year. See Environmental Leader.

Government and Regulation

"L.A. County passes sweeping ban on plastic bags"reliability high.
"The ban, which will cover nearly 1.1 million residents countywide, is to the point: “No store shall provide to any customer a plastic carryout bag.” An exception would be made for plastic bags that are used to hold fruit, vegetables or raw meat in order to prevent contamination with other grocery items. If grocers choose to offer paper bags, they must sell them for 10 cents each, according to the ordinance." From The Los Angeles Times. [Unincorporated areas are islands like East Pasadena, dotted across the 4,752 square mile county, where about one million people shop according to the article.]