After several months of scrutinizing solar in China, let us shift our focus for now to another energy-guzzling, rising economic power with some ambitious energy goals of its own: India. While India’s emissions record is commendable in comparison with China’s (8 percent of global CO2 emissions in 2007, compared to China’s staggering 24 percent), by no means is India sitting idle on the subject of climate change mitigation. After all, China, the United States, the EU-15, India and the Russian Federation—in that order—account for 71 percent of global emissions. India, in an effort to align its rapid economic development with more sustainable practices, has decided to launch its National Action Plan on Climate Change.
For this week and next week, the news services will focus on the Democratic and Republican conventions, respectively. From now until Election Day, observers can expect to see discussion of climate change policies and technologies attached firmly to discussion of the relative merits of Barack Obama and John McCain's energy proposals.
My eye was caught by this bit of news, just a small GreenBiz.com report on a small survey about consumer responses to different kinds of utility incentives to save energy. The company that conducted the 1,000 person survey was EcoAlign, a consulting agency looking getting in on the "green market". The findings of the study are not a real surprise, given what we all know, through experience, to be the general spending preferences of Americans. Half of the survey respondents would want utility savings expressed as credit on their monthly bill, while 34% would rather get a check in the mail. This is as opposed to cost adjustments, savings programs, or other more long-term strategies.
Given current concerns about rising prices, both at home and abroad, I thought I'd review how inflation plays into investment decisions.
Normally I like to write about the latest in the world of solar technology, and I'll stick to that by pointing you towards this fascinating Economist article about the possibility of a solar cell that makes use of infared light, as opposed to the good old-fashioned visible light spectrum. Way, way too early to tell if this will be viable, but a great bit of experimentation all the same.
Right off the bat, I need to excuse myself for not discussing sustainability in this post. No matter how many green products and solar installations a Wal-Mart may feature, it's hardly the missing piece of the sustainability puzzle. But if you're going to be an energy-hogging, supply-chain-domineering monster, you might as well power yourself with solar, is what I always say. Or at least, just said.
Having just returned from watching several events at the Beijing Olympics, I feel that this is a good a time as ever to post some pictures of the Olympic venues I’ve visited. As 80 to 90 percent of the streetlights around the Olympic venues are solar, and solar power provides around 8 million kilowatt-hours of energy for Beijing’s Olympic facilities, it wouldn’t be far-fetched for me to declare solar one of the heavyweights in the renewable energy playground of these Games. Below, some quick glances:
Ikea announced today that they are investing tens of millions of dollars to research and development of solar panels and other energy efficiency measures. To put this outlay in comparison, the Department of Energy is putting down $24 million for grid integration improvements.
Against the backdrop of the expiration of the federal incentive for solar installation--an extension of which has been voted down in the Senate a grand total of four times now--the amount of solar interest still visible in the states is perhaps surprising. Not that we would want it any other way, but those who are pursuing solar even as it becomes less attractive financially deserve a special nod.
Let's take a quick look at projects going on across the country, from a variety of sources. In Florida, a developer is offering solar systems included with the purchase of a home. The state has been taking steps to ensure the future of solar by mandating increased production of renewable energy, noted recently in Business Week: "The governor signed a major energy bill, part of which directed utility regulators to draft rules for increased renewable energy production...[it] doesn't specify the 20 percent [Governor] Crist was looking for, but he believes that goal is still something the state should attempt."
Come to GetSolar.com and read our in-depth article about how to determine if it makes sense for you to pursue solar photovoltaics for your home.
Just in time for the Olympics, a report from an international non-profit group has crowned China the world’s current leader in terms of installed renewable capacity. The report, “China’s Clean Revolution,” was released August 1—the final version will come out on August 8—by the Climate Group, an organization based in the USA, Australia, the UK, India and China, which seeks to “[advance] business and government leadership on climate change.”
For many around the country, the sub-prime housing crisis that began last summer now means one of two things. One: since early this spring, adjustable-rate mortgages have been resetting at higher rates, making it difficult for many individuals to keep up with their payments. In fact, foreclosures in May were up an unprecedented 48% from a year earlier. Two: even if you're able to keep up with your mortgage, chances are you're probably not in the mood to be borrowing large sums of money. Simply put, loan rates are relatively high, house prices are falling, and the economy is most likely in recession.