Bird deaths stir oversight for U.S. wind power
October 5, 2007 03:30 PM - Leonard Anderson, Reuters
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The growing U.S. wind power industry is drawing increased scrutiny from states and the federal government over the problem of spinning wind turbines killing birds.
The California Energy Commission last week adopted voluntary guidelines to reduce wind energy effects on wildlife, and Washington state, Montana and Texas among other states are reviewing measures.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, part of the Department of the Interior, also is developing voluntary procedures for wind projects, a spokeswoman said.
Wind power, which is expected to increase by 26 percent in power generating capacity this year, is mostly unregulated in the United States except by county boards, city councils and local planning commissions.
Green Blossom of Pittsburgh
October 5, 2007 12:41 PM - Greg Boulos, Ecological Home Ideas
Pittsburgh, PA - Many environmentally conscious urbanites dream of how great it would be to utilize the untapped flat rooftops that span every urban block in our nation. In Pittsburgh it narrows to one, Ernie Sota, who in the late 1970s proposed to add a biophilic space to the roof of his Victorian-era row house. After buying the building for a mere $8,000 and renovating it with his wife, Jan, Ernie stood before the zoning board and requested four variances to integrate a new type of urban yard into the roof of the building. He was granted his request. By utilizing the flat space as a garden and capturing the heating potential in a greenhouse to supplement the gas furnace, the Sotas were able to reduce their heat bills, grow some of their own food and spend time relaxing in a natural setting above the bustle of the city below.
Eye on United Arab Emirates: Fostering Sustainability
October 5, 2007 08:07 AM - Alana Herro, Worldwatch Institute
In early November, a group of Japanese business leaders and government advisers will visit the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a tiny oil-rich country on the Persian Gulf, to present their vision of a "Sustainable City." The group, known as the Sustainable Urban Development Consortium for Japan and Gulf States Partnership, plans to propose a city that would reduce energy consumption by up to 50 percent using technology that has been tested in Japan. "The initiative is certainly welcome,” says Worldwatch Institute researcher Zoe Chafe. “The question is whether the ideas and technologies presented will be implemented soon with government support."
Japan to Start Test Sales of Ethanol-Mixed Gasoline
October 5, 2007 07:35 AM - Reuters
TOKYO - Japan will start next week the first test sales in a city of gasoline mixed with ethanol to meet Kyoto emissions targets, two months behind schedule due to difficulties in finding a petrol supplier outside the nation's major refiners. Project manager, the Osaka municipal government, said on Friday it would start selling on October 9 gasoline directly blended with up to 3 percent of ethanol (E3) at two pump stations in suburban areas at a price similar to regular gasoline.
E.ON takes first step into U.S. renewables market
October 4, 2007 01:44 PM - Reuters
FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Germany's E.ON (EONG.DE: Quote, Profile, Research), the world's largest utility, is taking its first step into the U.S. market for renewable energy with the takeover of wind farms there for $1.4 billion including debt.
With the acquisition of the American division of Ireland's Airtricity, E.ON is buying current and future projects with a total capacity of more than 7,000 megawatts in the United States and Canada, the German company said in a statement on Thursday.
"E.ON is late in renewables, but it makes clear it's strongly committed to picking up," London-based UBS analyst Per Lekander said. "Valuations in the area are high and can only be justified by the expectation of future projects."
Another warm winter seen for much of U.S.
October 4, 2007 01:31 PM - Reuters
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Long-range weather forecasts are predicting a warmer than average winter with less precipitation for much of the United States except the Pacific Northwest.
"It will be a lot like last year but the climate models are even more in agreement now than they were last fall," said Mike Halpert, head of forecast operations at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center.
"Temperatures will be warmer than average in most places except the northwest of the country, which could see some cold."
Forecasters believe the emergence of a La Nina condition -- unusually cold ocean temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean -- will be the main factor behind the anticipated warmth for much of North America.
World's Most Boring TV Show to Measure Energy Use
October 4, 2007 01:02 PM - Reuters
CU Researchers Shed Light on Light-Emitting Nanodevice
October 4, 2007 08:23 AM - Cornell University
An interdisciplinary team of Cornell nanotechnology researchers has unraveled some of the fundamental physics of a material that holds promise for light-emitting, flexible semiconductors. The discovery, which involved years of perfecting a technique for building a specific type of light-emitting device, is reported in the Sept. 30 online publication of the journal Nature Materials. The interdisciplinary team had long studied the molecular semiconductor ruthenium tris-bipyridine.
Make Hay (and a lot more) While The Sun Shines
October 4, 2007 08:19 AM - MIT
A team of MIT students, faculty and volunteers has taken on the challenge of designing and building a house that relies entirely on solar energy to meet the electricity needs of a typical American family, from drying towels to cooking dinner. MIT's off-grid home, known as Solar7, is en route to the capital now. Designed and built at MIT on an asphalt lot at the corner of Albany and Portland Streets in Cambridge, Solar7 was broken into modules and sent off by flatbed truck.