Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Control Your Meter, Other News

If you have not heard about this tech by now then you must be hiding out in a dingy cave somewhere. This is going to be one of the next best things and help push for a newer (and hopefully more sustainable) energy infrastructure. AKA the smart grid. The technology is long overdue.

What am I talking about? Monitoring your power meter. It is such a big deal that Google has even built their own application that is now in beta. Today there is also an article about a Raleigh conservation company that has also built their own tool for this.

Energy saver ready for tests
A Raleigh energy conservation company will begin testing a household technology this spring in Raleigh apartments and Fayette ville homes that will let homeowners remotely adjust thermostats when no one's home.

Consert's system can cut household energy use by 10 percent to 15 percent, said Roy Moore, the company's chief development officer. The technology will also tell homeowners how much money they're saving and how much they're cutting greenhouse gases.

Also governors in the Midwest are starting to push for alternative energy. That part of the country appears to be a good place for it and, with a better and more efficient energy grid in place, should easily be able to supply surround states out to the coasts. Of course right now they are pushing for an increase in ethanol use.

Midwest govs seek to bolster alternative energy
Iowa Gov. Chet Culver, a Democrat, and Republican Govs. John Hoeven of North Dakota, Mike Rounds of South Dakota and Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota want the administration to take several steps to make ethanol blends more available and promote wind energy.

"We will pay a price in the future if we don't have that strategic plan, that vision and that sustained effort behind developing domestic renewable energy," Hoeven said in a news conference surrounding meetings of the National Governors Association.

And it is not just the Midwest looking at alternative energy. Buena, NJ is currently considering a solar park propoal:
BUENA: Officials consider solar park
Borough officials last night listened favorably to an idea for a solar power generation park and a “green technology” education center on the site of a former rag factory off the Boulevard.

Mays Landing resident James Connelly, the would-be developer, outlined the $3.6 million proposal for Borough Council.

A spot of rain on a sunshine day though, the satellite that would have monitored green gases did not reach orbit.

NASA satellite crashes minutes after launch
The satellite, which would have monitored greenhouse gases to study how they affect the Earth's climate, was launched on a rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 1:55 a.m. PT (4:55 a.m. ET).

But the payload fairing -- a clamshell-shaped structure that allows the satellite to travel through space -- failed to separate from the rocket, NASA officials said.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Green news - Stimulus, China, Electricity

So still new in the position President Barak Obama will finally sign the big stimulus bill into existence today. Part of that package is aimed at the emerging "green" economy by getting people and government buildings to make some greener choices.

Getting your hands on some green...stimulus
Not all this money will go for energy improvements at home. In fact, most will go to make government buildings more efficient.

But a part of it may be used to offset the cost for utilities that run energy conservation programs.

Those programs include things like performing standard energy audits where contractors come in and evaluate the insulation and appliances in your home, then make the necessary upgrades.

Of course you cannot please everyone and there are bound to people who say that this small start is not enough in these times of energy supply uncertainty. And here they are!

Just don't try to get a loan to do anything right now.

The economy has impacted American car companies in a big way. Most of us are not surprised since we were scratching our heads a few years ago thinking, "When they hell are they going to figure out that they need to get some really inexpensive vehicles with kick ass mileage in the pipeline?"

Here is a gallery of cars that may or may not help save Detroit with the Chevy Volt being the first car to be highlighted.

Of course with electric cars we will need to make infrastructure changes and the following blog takes a look at that:
Electric Cars and a Smarter Grid
And in a true smart grid, electric cars will not only be able to draw on electricity to run their motors, they will also be able to do the reverse: send electricity stored in their batteries back into the grid when it is needed. In effect, cars would be acting like tiny power stations.

“Most days, most cars are going to have lots of extra battery capacity,” said Mr. Kempton, noting that on average, American automobiles get driven for just one hour each day. Electrifying the entire vehicle fleet would provide more than three times the U.S.’s power generation, he said.

Heck, even China is offering up rebates for green vehicles. This thing might just take hold and change the world. Well the parts of the world that can afford it anyway.

Last, but not least, the UAE is looking at alternative energy. Apparently having large tracks of sandy land will lend itself to solar panels very nicely.
Using alternative energy, such as solar power, would not only prove to be an efficient way to cope with the region's increasing demand, the report said, but it would also allow for the export of excess capacities. For example, the UAE could produce its drinking water with the use of renewable energies instead of gas and thus better meet its projected demand, with limited pressure on electricity production.

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