Energy Revolution Brewing in Bihar

Source: sierraclub.typepad.com Something’s brewing in Bihar. After decades of being India’s most notoriously ‘backward’ state, the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has tempered corruption, built roads and spurred development. Given the impressive achievements of his previous term, it’s no surprise he rode to overwhelming victory in recent elections. What is surprising is that his campaign platform consisted of more or less a single promise – to deliver electricity access to the 82% of the over 100 million inhabitants of Bihar who lack it. With little fossil fuel reserves to speak of, Bihar will need to write a blueprint for a clean energy revolution to deliver on that promise. As Shaibal Gupta, Secretary, of the Asian Development Research Institute puts it, Bihar now requires an infusion of energy to further ‘lubricate’ the wheels of development. That’s putting it lightly. Bihar faces a 30% peak power deficit (highest in the country) due to its paltry 546 megawatts of installed capacity – about the size of one average coal plant. Worse, Bihar loses roughly 38% of …

How Much Energy Does the Internet Use?

Source: Clean Technica “No trees were killed in the sending of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.” It’s a funny email signature, but how many inconvenienced electrons does it take to power the internet? In 2011, the digital universe, or the amount of information created and replicated, reached 1.8 trillion gigabytes, and this digital universe is doubling in size every two years. Much of that digital information is housed in data centers around the world, and running these data centers requires a huge amount ofelectrical energy. A 10-megawatt (MW) data center can use the energy of a small town at a cost of around $300,000 a month. Couple that with the fact that there are over 500,000 data centers in the world, according to Emerson Network Power, and we’re talking about 2% of all electrical energy used globally. So, running the internet uses upwards of 406 terawatts per year, assuming 20.3 petawatt-hours as the world’s annual electrical energy consumption. The odd thing is that in traditional data centers, …

Time For Outrage On Behalf of the Planet

Source: Common Dreams It’s Time to Fight the Status Quo by Bill McKibben My solution is: get outraged. Having written the first book about global warming 23 long years ago, I’ve watched the issue unfold across decades, continents, and ideologies. I’ve come to earth summits and conferences of the parties from Rio to Kyoto to Copenhagen, and many places in between. All along, two things have been clear. One, the scientists who warned us about climate change were absolutely correct—their only mistake, common among scientists, was in being too conservative. So far we’ve raised the temperature of the earth about one degree Celsius, and two decades ago it was hard to believe this would be enough to cause huge damage. But it was. We’ve clearly come out of the Holocene and into something else. Forty percent of the summer sea ice in the Arctic is gone; the ocean is 30 percent more acidic. There’s nothing theoretical about any of this any more. Since warm air holds more water vapor than cold, the atmosphere …

Get smart: Charge your phone while walking in this shoe

Source: CNET Love walking and texting? Still haven’t done a faceplant on a streetlight? Well, this sneaker from Kenya can power your phone so you’ll never have to look up from that screen again. Inventor Anthony Mutua, 24, has been showing off his recharging sneaker at the first-ever Kenyan Science Technology and Innovation Week, held in Nairobi. It’s another way of using your body’s own energy to fuel electronics. The shoe apparently has a very thin “crystal chip,” perhaps a piezoelectric device, that generates power when the sole bends. It can charge phones via a long cable to a pocket while the user walks, or store power for later charging. Continue Reading..

Airborne windmills produce fifty percent more energy

Source: Springwise The benefits of wind energy have long been harnessed as a useful power source. Now a Californian company aims to increase the energy output of this resource. Rather than situating windmills on the ground, as tradition dictates, Makani Power has created a tethered wind turbine that generates power by flying aloft in large circles, much the way a kite does. The Makani Airborne Wind Turbine flies at between 800 and 1,950 feet above ground level, meaning that it stays well below normal commercial and civilian aviation. At the same time, it flies at an altitude above that of most birds, meaning that any potential harm to flying creatures is minimized, it says. Meanwhile, at these heights the wind is stronger and more consistent than that which terrestrial wind farms encounter, and 90 percent of the material used in conventional wind turbines can be eliminated. Continue Reading..

With Canal Hydropower, Still Waters Make Electricity

Source: CleanTechnica A modest-looking canal hydropower project in Oregon could be the start of the next big thing in alternative energy in the U.S. Instead of requiring the construction of a new dam, the new Klamath Irrigation District “C-Drop” project scavenges power from an existing canal system. It’s a relatively cheap, painless way to provide affordable, sustainable energy to rural communities, so what’s not to like? Continue Reading..

Daniel Martin’s Freeform Solar Panels Could Hexagonally Transform Architecture

Source: GreenGoPost Daniel Martin Ferraro is an architect in Madrid who wants to transform our notion of solar panels. Solar is constantly touted for its potential to bring us to energy independence and greater energy efficiency. But those pesky Darth Vader-esque solar panels are also derided for their relative inefficiency and appearance. Ferraro wants to change how we interact with solar. His hexagon-shaped FreeForm Solar Powered skins do not just lie on top of buildings: they are an integral part of a building’s architecture. Made from photovoltaic laminated glass, Martin’s flexible skins nudge solar out of the domain of engineers and into the realm of architects and designers and can add beauty to their customers, cities. They not only could provide much needed energy for buildings but offer an aesthetic for which architecture in Spain is already renowned. Continue Reading..

Innovating business models for sustainability

Source: Carbon Trust Regulation, cost, reputation, revenue and risk management are driving many organisations to cut their carbon emissions, and become more sustainable. More businesses are looking at how they can put environmental sustainability at the heart of their existing business models. A fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) company, for example, may improve manufacturing processes, minimise (or share) logistics, outsource the provision of physical assets used in manufacturing, reduce packaging, or educate consumers in minimising the in-use phase (e.g. use of water) and encourage consumers to recycle. To maintain competitive advantage and mitigate reduced demand from a saturated or simply more tentative market, incremental improvements may not be sufficient, and step changes may be necessary. As increasing resource scarcity becomes a significant issue, and more businesses start to understand the cost savings that can be realised through minimising resource use, businesses are turning to disruptive innovation for sustainability. Continue Reading…

Puma Earns A, Apple Takes Home D in EIRIS Sustainability Rankings

Source: Environmental Leader German sportswear manufacturer Puma tops EIRIS’ Top 10 Global Sustainability Leaders list while Apple earns a D, in a ranking that sees UK and European companies receive higher marks than their US and Asian counterparts. With the UN’s 2012 Rio+20 Earth Summit coming up in June, the research house applied its Sustainability Ratings methodology to measure the sustainability performance of 2,063 global companies from the FTSE Aall World Developed Index. The report, titled “On track for Rio+20? How are global companies responding to sustainability?” identified 10 sustainability leaders and analyzes the performance of 50 of the world’s largest companies (by market cap). A fifth of UK companies scored As, the highest ranking, based on their sustainability performance, followed by 12 percent of mainland European ones. But only 2 percent of US companies and 1 percent of Asian ones make the top grade in EIRIS’ Global Sustainability Ratings. Continue Reading…

Recent Surveys show greater acceptance of Sustainability

Source: CCES blog Well, the first quarter of 2012 has come to an end, meaning the release of surveys and other studies of sustainability in 2011. The MIT Sloan Management Review Report was recently released. According to their survey, corporate sustainability programs grew markedly in 2011. About 70% of nearly 3,000 executives surveyed said that sustainability was on the management agenda in 2011 and will probably remain so permanently. Two-thirds of those managers surveyed said that sustainability-related strategies are not just “nice” or even adding on to profit, but are necessary to stay competitive. 24% of those surveyed meet their criteria of “Embracers”, companies that have incorporated sustainability in the management agenda, have a business case for sustainability within their company, and feel that sustainability is necessary to stay competitive. About 31% of those surveyed meet their criteria of “Harvesters”, companies that have begun a sustainability program and realize the business case, but have not made it a far-reaching or permanent part of the culture. Continue Reading…

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