Friday Green Numbers round-up 09/03/2010

Green Numbers

Photo credit trindade.joao

And here is this week’s Green numbers:

  • ?There?ve been multiple gigawatts of solar thermal power plants planned for various places in the California desert for some time, but finally some more of them are getting the approvals need so that construction can start: The US Bureau of Land Management has issued a final environmental impact statement for the 1,000 MW Blythe Solar Power Project; and the 250 MW Beacon Solar Energy project has received final California state approval as well.
    The smaller of the two first: Renewable Energy World reports NextEra Energy Resources has been given the green light by the California Energy Commission to begin construction on the 250 MW Beacon Solar Energy project.

  • Researchers at Columbia University have demonstrated that a layer of plants and earth can cut the rate of heat absorption through the roof of a building in summer by 84%

    Perhaps the greatest overall benefit of green roofs comes in tackling the “urban heat island” effect, which Gaffin suggests is responsible for two-thirds of New York’s localized warming over the last century. The conventional black rooftops that he calls “tar beaches” are major contributors to this phenomenon, absorbing and re-radiating the sun’s energy as heat. “We’re going to want to cool regional climate down, especially where people are living,” Gaffin noted. “So we’re going to have to confront the urban heat island effect.”

    While conventional roofs can reach temperatures of 80 ?C at 1.00 p.m. even outside of high summer, green roofs always stay closer to ambient temperatures. “These [conventional roofs] are almost dangerously hot spaces,” Gaffin told environmentalresearchweb. “That’s a huge heat load that we can get rid of.”

    Plants in green roofs regulate their temperatures through evapotranspiration. “They evaporate copious amounts of water,” Gaffin explained. “That takes a lot of energy and means it’s a great way to stay cool.”

  • Energy efficiency is THE core climate solution. It’s the biggest low-carbon resource by far. “Efficiency Works” [PDF], a major new report by Bracken Hendricks, Bill Campbell, and Pen Goodale, finds that a straightforward set of policies aimed at upgrading just 40 percent of the residential and commercial building stock in the United States would:

    1. Create 625,000 sustained full-time jobs over a decade.
    2. Spark $500 billion in new investments to upgrade 50 million homes and office buildings.
    3. Generate as much as $64 billion a year in cost savings for U.S. ratepayers, freeing consumers to spend their money in more productive ways.

  • Cisco this morning announced its intent to acquire privately-held Arch Rock, which specializes in IP-based wireless sensor network technology with a focus on energy and environmental monitoring and Smart Grid applications.

    Financial terms of the transaction are not being disclosed.

  • ONE of the curiosities of carbon markets is that they do not just trade in carbon. Other greenhouse gases can be given a value, too?sometimes a very high one. Claims that these prices promote scammery are now prompting some searching questions.

    The gas at the centre of the controversy is HFC-23, a greenhouse gas which, on a weight-for-weight basis, is 14,800 times better at trapping heat than carbon dioxide. HFC-23 is produced as a by-product of the manufacture of HCFC-22, an ozone-destroying refrigerant. HCFC-22 is banned in developed countries, but developing countries can keep making it until 2030.

    The acronyms do not end there. Under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the United Nations HCFC-22 producers in developing countries that destroy, rather than release, their HFC-23 can be eligible for Certified Emission Reduction (CER) credits, which can then be traded in the European Union?s emissions-trading scheme. This allows companies to buy extra emissions reductions to meet their cap-and-trade obligations, and in so doing to transfer money to schemes reducing emissions in developing countries.

  • A page showing and explaining in-depth the real-time energy use (electricity & gas) of UK govt buildings at 3-8 Whitehall place

  • Iberdrola Renovables, in consortium with Neoenergia, has been awarded the contract for nine new wind farms in Brazil, with total installed capacity of 258 MW. It is the second contract to develop renewable energy that the company has won in Brazil.

    The contract award took place in Rio de Janeiro, during the second tender process for renewable energies in the country, organised by the Agencia Nacional de Energ?a El?ctrica (Aneel).

    Iberdrola Renovables has committed to supply the electricity generated at these facilities to the Brazilian government for a 20-year period, starting in January 2013. The annual amount of the contract awarded yesterday by Aneel is about ?60 million (130 million reales).

  • PG&E is handing over tens of thousands of dollars to the nonprofit Sempervirens Fund to protect a 425-acre stand of redwoods once slated for logging deep in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

    The deal, expected to be completed next month, is part of the utility’s efforts to combat greenhouse gas emissions, in this case safeguarding trees for carbon absorption, and is helping to drive a new marketplace where people and business are offered an incentive to offset pollution.

    “We’re finding a new financial model here for doing things to capture greenhouse gases that wouldn’t have been done otherwise,” said Robert Parkhurst, climate protection and analysis manager for PG&E.

    “It’s a new paradigm for protecting the environment.”

  • More companies trading in carbon offsets and those financing emissions reduction projects are setting up shop in?Singapore.

    More than 30 such carbon-related firms have done so in the last three years or?so.

    The trade in carbon credits, worth US$153 billion (S$208 billion) globally last year, is driven by various requirements to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions. These include cap-and-trade regulations in Europe and countries scrambling to fulfil carbon emissions obligations under the United Nations? Kyoto Protocol.

  • And you thought John Deere was all about tractors. This morning utility Exelon said it will buy up the wind power division of John Deere, called John Deere Renewables, for $860 million, plus an additional $40 million once all of the projects are completed. John Deere Renewables has 965 MW of clean power projects under development in various stages.

  • The immensely popular LCDs screens that are found everywhere in the modern home (television, computer, laptop, cellphones, etc) use less energy than CRTs, the previous technology, but they are still far from being optimally efficient. Only about 8% of the light emitted by a LCD’s backlight makes its way out, and the rest is wasted. But that might be about to change thanks to a new filter that could boost that efficiency by more than 400% and allow around 36% of the light to pass through.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.