Showing posts with label Duke Energy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Duke Energy. Show all posts

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Pentagon looks at green options

THE Pentagon may seem an unlikely promoter of alternative energy, but the biggest consumer of oil in the United States is looking at ways to become just that by partnering with private firms.

"When you don't use as much fuel, not only does it not cost you as much, but it also saves lives and injuries of those people who would have to deliver fuel through hostile territory," Assistant Army Secretary for Installations and the Environment Keith Eastin said.

Despite reducing its overall energy consumption by five per cent between 2005 and 2007, the US military spent $US13 billion ($18.46 billion) on energy in 2007 and requested an additional $US5 billion ($7.1 billion) due to a spike in oil prices.

The stakes are high, with the army estimating that reducing fuel consumption by just one per cent translates to about 6400 fewer soldiers in fuel convoys, a favourite target of insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan.

All of this has added up to renewed urgency for the Pentagon to reduce its energy consumption. It is already federally mandated to obtain 25 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025.

Hundreds of small companies are expected to benefit from the military's green energy push, developing everything from alternative fuels to electric vehicles and efficient power generators.

One low tech initiative that has yielded surprisingly big results is spraying tents with a layer of hard foam. The insulation helps maintain steady temperatures inside the tents, reducing fuel consumption for heating or cooling by 50 per cent and saving an estimated 100,000 gallons of fuel or $US2 million ($2.84 million) per day.

"Each gallon you save is a ton of money that can be used elsewhere, either at the installation or fighting the war," Mr Eastin said. He estimated that a three-dollar gallon of fuel can end up costing up to $US28 ($40) on the battlefield after factoring in transportation and security costs.

With a staggering $US7.7 billion ($10.93 billion) spent last year on aircraft fuel alone, the US Air Force is the military's biggest energy consumer.

It is purchasing renewable energy, reducing aircraft loads and certifying its entire fleet to fly on a 50/50 synthetic fuel blend by 2011.

"Our efforts to drive a domestic source of synthetic fuels is a piece of the puzzle to be more secure as a nation and as the air force," said Kevin Billings, acting air force secretary for installations, environment and logistics.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Water 'more important than oil'

Dwindling water supplies are a greater risk to businesses than oil running out, a report for investors has warned.

Among the industries most at risk are high-tech companies, especially those using huge quantities of water to manufacture silicon chips; electricity suppliers who use vast amounts of water for cooling; and agriculture, which uses 70% of global freshwater, , says the study, commissioned by the powerful CERES group, whose members have $7tn under management. Other high-risk sectors are beverages, clothing, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, forest products, and metals and mining, it says.

"Water is one of our most critical resources – even more important than oil," says the report, published today . "The impact of water scarcity and declining water on businesses will be far-reaching. We've already seen decreases in companies' water allotments, more stringent regulations [and] higher costs for water."

Droughts "attributable in significant part to climate change" are already causing "acute water shortages" around the world, and pressure on supplies will increase with further global warming and a growing world population, says the report written by the US-based Pacific Institute.

"It is increasingly clear that the era of cheap and easy access to water is ending, posing a potentially greater threat to businesses than the loss of any other natural resource, including fossil fuel resources," it adds. "This is because there are various alternatives for oil, but for many industrial processes, and for human survival itself, there is no substitute for water."

In a joint statement, CERES' president Mindy Lubber and Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute, urged more companies and investors to work out their dependence on water and future supplies, and make plans to cope with increased shortages and prices.

"Few companies and investors are thinking strategically about the profound business risks that will exist in a world where climate change is likely to exacerbate already diminishing water supplies," they say.

"Companies that treat pressing water risks as a strategic challenge will be far better positioned in future," they add.

The CERES report adds to growing concern about a looming water crisis. In the Economist's report, The World in 2009 , Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, chairman of food giant Nestl├ę, wrote: "under present conditions… we will run out of water long before we run out of fuel". And at its annual meeting this year the World Economic Forum issued what it itself called a "stark warning" that "the world simply cannot manage water in the future in the same way as in the past or the economic web will collapse".

CERES, which has members in the US and Europe, made recommendations, including that companies should measure their water footprints from suppliers through to product use, and integrate water into strategic planning, and that investors should independently assess companies' water risk and "demand" better disclosure from boards.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Monday, December 29, 2008

A New Place for Solar Energy: Highway Right of Way full story link;

Editor’s Note : This is a guest post from William Ellard, an economist specializing in energy and renewable energy markets. He is currently working with national solar energy firms to bring distributed solar power to municipalities in the American Southwest.

During a recent work meeting with the Western Renewable Energy Zones Initiative, it became clear that the recent push for renewable energy in the western US has major wildlife and environmental implications. As an alternative energy economist, my contribution in the meeting was to present some of the new solar energy technologies and explain how distributed solar could be deployed without disturbing wildlife ecosystems.

US Becomes Largest Wind Power Producer in the World

Written by Andrew Williams

The United States has overtaken Germany to become the largest producer of wind energy in the world, generating enough capacity to eliminate the burning of 91 million barrels of oil per year.

According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), US wind producers enjoyed another record year of growth in 2008—the third in a row. The country now has an installed wind power capacity well in excess of 21,000 megawatts (MW), enough to supply electricity to over 5.5 million American homes.

Tags: alternative energy, America, american wind energy association, awea, biggest, capacity, electric, electricity, Energy, generator, germany, largest, megawatts, MW, overtake, overtakes, power, producer, renewable energy, renewables, supplier, supply, United States, US, Wind, wind energy, wind power, world
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First Commercial Hydrokinetic Turbine Installed in US

The United States’ first hydrokinetic turbine was recently installed in the Mississippi River. The turbine, which harnesses power from moving water, is downstream from a hydroelectric-plant dam.

Tags: dam, free flow power, hydro green, hydrokinetic, turbine, Wind, wind turbine
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Build Your Own Plastic Bottle Greenhouse

Do you have tons of plastic bottles lying around your house and excess backyard space? If so, you might want to look into building a plastic bottle greenhouse. The greenhouse idea was devised and brought to life by Blue Rock Station. For $5 (the electronic version is $4), you can buy instructions to build one yourself.

Tags: blue rock station, greenhouse, plastic bottles, rain barrel, straw bale
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New Bigger, Flashier Times Square Ball is Powered by LEDs

There’s no amount of money that could convince me to spend New Year’s Eve in Times Square, but even I have to admit that this year’s Ball is innovative. The new Ball, which weighs 11,875 pounds and is double the size of previous Balls, will light up with help from 32,256 Philips Luxeon Rebel LEDs.

Tags: ball, energy efficiency, led, new year, new years, times square
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LG Releasing Sunlight-Illuminated LCD Display

Next month’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is shaping up to be an interesting event. A few days ago, we reported that Energizer plans on debuting its solar-powered battery charger at the show. Now LG has announced the CES debut of its sunlight-illuminated 14.1 inch LCD notebook panel.

Apple vs. Dell: Which is Actually Greener?

Written by Nick Douglas

Published on December 22nd, 20083 CommentsPosted in consumer technology
If Dell’s VP of Communications is so critical of Apple’s green policies, a month after Apple bragged about their new recyclable, energy-efficient MacBooks, why didn’t he just say that Dell is greener? Is it because he’s humble, or becaus his job is to confuse people? Ha, sorry, that’s too mean. A PR man’s job is to lie. But sometimes he accidentally tells the truth.

While Dell still beats Apple in Greenpeace’s annual electronics report, Apple will catch up if they meet their targets over the next few years. Here’s how the two computer makers compare (according to Greenpeace) on energy efficiency, packaging, materials, and recycling.

Tags: Apple, dell, e-waste, Greenpeace
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Global Clean Tech Investments Reach Record High

Published on December 22nd, 2008Posted in alternative energy, business, solar energy
It is hard to boot up the computer or turn on the television without hearing about the recession, credit crisis, budget deficits, and unemployment rates. Amazingly, venture capital investment in the clean tech sector reached new levels over the first three quarters of 2008.

The safety of nuclear plants is often debated, but we rarely hear about another potential issue for nuclear energy: peak uranium. That’s the point in time when when the maximum global uranium production is reached and begins to enter a permanent decline. And while we’ve known for some time that high-quality uranium supplies have been declining for the past 50 years, nuclear operators are finally getting nervous.

Tags: nuclear energy, nuclear power, peak oil, peak uranium, uranium
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Energizer to Release Portable Solar Battery Charger

Saturday, November 22, 2008

360 Wind Powered Wal-Mart Stores by April 2009

While the solar panel in this photo is pretty much a token renewable energy gesture, Wal-Mart’s wind power commitment is significantly more substantial.

Say what you like about Wal-Mart (and I certainly have said some less than flattering things), but sometimes the world’s largest retailer does something undeniably positive: Like make its first major purchase of wind power in the United States.

Announced yesterday, Wal-Mart Stores will be supplying 15% of the electricity in approximately 360 Texas stores and other facilities though wind power, purchased from Duke Energy. Wal-Mart says that the purchase will be the equivalent power of some 18,000 ordinary homes. Here are the rest of the details:

150 MW Wind Farm Will Provide Wal-Mart's Power
Duke will be generating the power from the under construction 150 MW Notrees Wind Power Project, which is expected to begin commercial operations in December and producing electricity for Wal-Mart by April 2009. Duke expects the project to produce about 226 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, an amount which will avoid emitting 139,000 tonnes of CO2. Or, if you prefer more down to earth references, Wal-Mart compares this to washing 108 million loads of laundry (“enough for every household in Austin, Texas to do laundry for a year”).

Speaking about the wind power purchase, Wal-Mart vice president of energy Kim Saylors-Laster said,

We’re purchasing renewable power at traditional energy rates. The wind power purchase will result in a significant decrease of greenhouse gas emissions and aligns perfectly with Wal-Mart’s long-term goal of being supplied by 100 percent renewable energy.

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