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MIT Press Reframing the Conversation on Energy and Climate

In cleantech, Energy, Environment, greentech, investment, Power Grid, Science, Sustainable, Technology on December 5, 2009 at 2:49 pm

MIT Press Reframing the Conversation on Energy and Climate.

If you have any trouble playing the video here- then press HERE

Bolton Hill Consulting assisted MIT Innovations editors to organize this educational event at the National Academy of Sciences. (Live Streaming & Video production provided by Alan Tone at Fimmaker etc).

Time For Change
Reframing the Conversation on Energy and Climate

A discussion on the occasion of the release of the Innovations journal special issue on energy & climate.

November 24, 2009
The National Academy of Sciences
Washington, D.C.

The solutions to our climate challenge aren’t just “out there,” they are right here-before your eyes, in your hands.
—John P. Holdren,
Science Adviser to the President of the United States, Introduction to Innovations 4:4 Energy for Change: Creating Climate Solutions

EVENT DESCRIPTION

The goal of this meeting was to contribute to reframing the conversation on energy and climate by illuminating opportunities inherent in the transition away from carbon intensity. The meeting focused on how technologies already in use can be combined with common-sense policies and 21st century modes of organization to create jobs, advance innovation, and enhance international cooperation. Led by the Science Adviser to the President of the United States, John Holdren, and informed by a year-long project on energy & climate at the National Academy of Sciences, the meeting was be organized into a set of forward-looking conversations respectively emphasizing opportunities for business, for the United States, and for the global community of nations.

Selected video highlights from Time for Change: Reframing the Conversation on Energy and Climate.

AGENDA

Panel #1: Building Change: The built environment and electric power service delivery video

Moderator:Ellen Vaughan, Environmental and Energy Study Institute .pdf

Panelist:Ralph Cavanagh, Natural Resources Defense Council .pdf

Panelist: James Turner, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities .pdf

Panelist: Henry Green, National Institute of Building Sciences .pdf


Panel #2: Driving Change: Transport and reduced oil consumption
video

Moderator:Philip Auerswald, George Mason University

Panelist:Judi Greenwald, Pew Center on Global Climate Change

Panelist: L. Jerry Hansen, United States Army

Panelist:William Drayton, Ashoka and Get America Working! .pdf


Panel #3: Legislating Change: U.S. policy options and directions
video

Moderator:Edward Maibach, George Mason University

Panelist:Richard Meserve, The Carnegie Institution

Panelist:Jason Grumet, Bipartisan Policy Center

Panelist:Bracken Hendricks, Center for American Progress


Introduction of Keynote Speaker

Philip Auerswald, George Mason University

Keynote Address video

John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to the President of the United States .pdf


Panel #4: Negotiating Change: International agreements and new institutional arrangements at a global scale
video

Moderator:William Bonvillian, MIT .pdf

Panelist:Thomas Schelling, University of Maryland .pdf

Panelist: Frank Alix, Powerspan Corp. .pdf

Panelist:Iqbal Quadir, MIT

Closing Address video

Rear Admiral Philip Hart Cullom, United States Navy


Concluding Remarks
video

William Bonvillian, MIT .pdf

Read William B. Bonvillian and Charles Weiss’s MIT Press Book: Structuring an Energy Technology Revolution

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Renewable energy target needs a rethink | The Australian

In cleantech, Energy, finance, greentech, investment, Sustainable on October 11, 2009 at 12:12 pm

GREENCHIP: Giles Parkinson | October 12, 2009
Excerpts included here- see original for full article

THE accelerating slump in the price of renewable energy certificates is putting pressure on the federal government to review the structure of the system that supports its renewable energy target.

The price of certificates fell more than 15 per cent last week to $28, its lowest in almost three years, extending a steady slide since reaching a peak of $51 in May and taking the fall since the renewable energy target legislation was passed in August to 30 per cent.

Certificates, each representing 1MW hour of renewable energy produced, are the currency generated by the renewable energy target scheme and are supposed to bridge the gap between the price of coal and gas-fired energy and renewables.

But the market is being swamped by certificates generated by domestic solar hot water and heat pump systems, and some industry analysts say if this continues it could last for several years and may cause the delay or cancellation of wind power and other renewable projects because the price signal will simply not be strong enough to make the projects viable.

The renewable energy industry is putting pressure on the government to alter the scheme by creating a separate heat market for solar hot-water systems and heat pumps, particularly if governments mandate that all new houses be equipped with solar hot water.

And the industry is calling for annual targets to be adjusted and take into account the anticipated flood of phantom certificates created by the multiple credits allowed for household solar systems.

While European countries, the US and China are surging forward with investment in renewables, Australia has been left flat-footed.

The renewable energy target is expected to fix part of the problem and spark large investments in wind turbines, but the development of two of the transformative energy sources of the future, solar and geothermal, are at a virtual standstill, despite the fact Australia enjoys the most generous resources in the world.

This year, about 6000MW of solar energy capacity will be installed around the world, a further 9000MW expected next year and doubling to an estimated 20,000MW by 2013.

Australia’s share this year is a paltry 50MW and it is not expected to increase significantly in the next few years.

Solar thermal is expected to offer the best solution for large-scale and distributed solar power supplies and the present confirmed development portfolio across the world is estimated at 4000MW and in Australia just 8MW.

via Renewable energy target needs a rethink | The Australian.

Green Festivals – Washington DC

In architecture, cleantech, Energy, Environment, Science, Sustainable on October 9, 2009 at 5:25 pm

At the Washington DC Green Festival™, a joint project of Global Exchange and Green America, we’re celebrating what’s working in our communities—across the District, Maryland and Virginia—for people, for business and for the environment.

You’ll enjoy more than 125 renowned speakers and 350 green businesses (start your holiday shopping now!), great how-to workshops, green films, a Fair Trade pavilion, yoga classes, organic beer, delicious organic cuisine and live music.

Find out about DC environmental initiatives; and learn how neighbors, community nonprofits and city departments are working together to make their cities healthier places to live.

via Green Festivals – Washington DC.

Clean Energy Patents Hit Record High in the US

In angel Investor, cleantech, Energy, entrepreneur, greentech, investment, maintech, Sustainable, Technology, technology transfer, Venture Capital on October 5, 2009 at 3:29 pm

Clean Energy Patents Hit Record High in the US.

by Zachary Shan at CleanTechnica.com

Some Excerpts:

According to intellectual property law firm Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti P.C., who publishes the Clean Energy Patent Growth Index (CEPGI) every quarter, 274 clean energy patents were granted last quarter. This is 31 more than the previous quarter and 57 more than in the same quarter last year.

This is a good sign that clean technology will continue to provide the US with a greater and greater share of its energy. Additionally, clean technology in the transportation sector is advancing at great speed and with momentum and maybe we will find our way out of gas and oil related crises soon. Fuel cell* technology is leading the way. Victor Cardona, co-chair of the firm’s Cleantech Group, states: “Fuel cells continued to dominate the other technologies while wind and solar patents continued an upswing. Honda earned more patents than the other patentees to again claim the Clean Energy Patent Crown.”

Another record high was in the biofuels** sector. “Biofuel patents reached an all time
quarterly high at 13 and were up 2 relative to the first quarter and up 8 over a year before,” according to the press release.

Geographically, Japan led the pack (with 75 new patents), California was second (29), Michigan and Germany tied for third (23), and New York and Korea tied for fifth (15). In addition to Honda, the top companies were GM, Toyota, GE, Nissan, and Panasonic Corp. (respectively).

*For recent news on fuel cells, read Full Cycle Energy Joins Race for Non-Platinum Fuel Cells and Wegmans Grocery Gets $1 Million Grant for Fuel Cell Technology.

**For recent news on biofuels, read Watermelon Juice — Next Source of Renewable Energy, Electrolyzed Water Turns Waste Product Into Biofuel, and Scientists Force Fungus to Have Sex to Create Biofuel.

Roads With Solar Panels: It’s Possible

In cleantech, Energy, entrepreneur, Environment, greentech, Science, Sustainable on October 5, 2009 at 9:50 am

Replacing All Roads With Solar Panels: It’s Possible.

Solar RoadwayThere is approximately more than 5.7 million miles of paved highway in the United States and in a bid to find new sustainable ways of producing renewable energy, one small Idaho company believes they’ve found the solution: solar roadways.

According to their website, www.solarroadways.com, the idea revolves around “a series of structurally-engineered solar panels that are driven upon. The idea is to replace all current petroleum-based asphalt roads, parking lots, and driveways with Solar Road PanelsTM that collect and store solar energy to be used by our homes and businesses. This renewable energy replaces the need for the current fossil fuels used for the generation of electricity. This, in turn, cuts greenhouse gases literally in half.”

Paris Bicycle Program Promotes Clean Commuting

In Environment, Sustainable on October 2, 2009 at 2:00 pm

Paris Bike Rental ProgramBy Halima Aquino, Bolton Hill Consulting, Ltd.

Terrific best practice- Just returned from Paris- there are rental bike kiosks throughout the city. You can use a credit card to rent a bike and return it at any kiosk in the city. 1st half hour is free to promote commuting. Some people ride half an hour to the next kiosk and return the 1st bike to get a second one…the French take great pride in circumventing the “system”. However, the program is actually working whether the commuter pays some money or none at all. A bike rider is taking up less space on the road, has no exhaust fumes, leaves more room for parking and reduces traffic congestion. Improved fitness is also a likely side goal for the bicyclist. See picture.  Paris also closes large streets to traffic on Sundays for bikes and roller blades. Personally- I love bike riding for short leisure trips as well as long-distance and competitive events such as triathlons. I recently started using the defined paths in Baltimore this past summer to see how well I could commute in traffic. The paths are getting better but the are uneven. Pot holes are a serious problem. So are angry and distracted motorists- but that’s a discussion for another time. I’d like to see this Parisian best practice implemented in U.S. cities.

(Originally posted on Marc Steiner’s Facebook page)

Julie Gabrielli: H, F, & C Redux: Virtues of Regulation

In Energy, entrepreneur, Environment, Sustainable, Technology, technology transfer on August 18, 2009 at 3:41 am
By Julie Gabrielli
H, F, & C Redux: Virtues of Regulation

I ran across these notes I made from my own reading of “Hot, Flat, and Crowded” last fall. Two stories illustrate Friedman’s point about the importance of incentives and also of standards and regulation. We usually hear the side of the equation that regulations are going to cost the consumer more. This is not necessarily true, because when you are innovating, you can often design something to be manufactured more cheaply.

One example is from when the EPA issued the Tier 2 emission standards for locomotive engines in the early 2000s. It was a standard for NOx, not CO2. It had to do with air quality; carbon was not on the radar back then, although it should have been.

G.E. is the world’s largest maker of locomotives, and they do it in Erie PA. They could have just tweaked their engine design. Instead they looked at it as a clean slate. They went to the drawing board and designed an engine that met those emission standards, was much more fuel efficient, and much more reliable in terms of maintenance. The CEO of the locomotive division openly admits that it was that EPA regulation that caused them to innovate.

By having the standard, your competitor also has to meet the standard. There’s no more guesswork if you put all this time into R & D whether there is going to be a market for your innovation. It turned out that, because the G.E. locomotive was more fuel efficient, it also had much less CO2 emissions. G.E. sells all over the world – to China, India, Europe. Those countries were already starting to put carbon regulations into place. G.E. was ahead of the curve in curbing CO2. Their engine is still one of the only ones that meet the new regulations being passed around the world, including in China.

Another story comes from the early 1970s. Some of us are old enough to recall the brouhaha over the catalytic converter requirement passed in California. The Big Three automakers went to Congress and claimed that if they had to do this, it would cripple the entire American economy. It would add $1200 to $1800 per car. (Friedman cites a study since then that showed it was more like $800 per car.)

The point is not this, but that it spurred innovation. The catalytic converter is an “end-of-pipe” solution, just like smokestack scrubbers. A little car company called Honda went back to the drawing board and created a thing called the CVCC engine (Compound Vortex Controlled Combustion). The team of engineers met and resolved to look at the engine and design it to burn the fuel more cleanly. They redesigned how the combustion engine burns fuel, and at that time were able to meet the standard without a catalytic converter.

Yes, incentive programs are a great way to get us to convince business and industry to adopt green practices. And, regulations will help level the playing field, bring everyone up to a standard, and spur innovation.

Tesla Motors – how it works

In cleantech, Technology on July 28, 2009 at 11:08 am

How It Works

When you build a car that’s electric, you start with one built-in advantage: Electric cars just don’t have to be as complex mechanically as the car you’re probably driving now. Sophisticated electronics and software take the place of the pounds and pounds of machinery required to introduce a spark and ignite the fuel that powers an internal combustion engine.

For example, the typical four-cylinder engine of a conventional car comprises over a hundred moving parts. By comparison, the motor of the Tesla Roadster has just one: the rotor. So there’s less weight to drive around and fewer parts that could break or wear down over time.

The Tesla Roadster’s elegantly designed powertrain consists of just the four main components discussed below. Mind you, these aren’t “off-the-shelf” components, and each includes innovations, both small and large. But when you build a car from the ground up, you have the luxury of questioning every assumption — and to distill as you reinvent.

The Battery

When we set out to build a high-performance electric car, the biggest challenge was obvious from the start: the battery. Its complexities are clear: it’s heavy, expensive, and offers limited power and range. Yet it has one quality that eclipses these disadvantages and motivated us to keep working tirelessly: it’s clean.