Santa Monica's eco-friendly and ever popular Big Blue Bus system is giving patrons another reason to ditch their cars in favor of low-impact technologies: solar power.
California solar hits the road with a new project from SolarCity and California-based Rabobank: a series of five solar-powered electric car charging stations have been installed along Rt. 101 between San Franciso and Los Angeles. It's not exactly like stopping off for gas, as fully charging a car can take about three hours. Maybe you can become good friends with your local banker while you're charging--four of the charging stations are in parking spots at Rabobank branches. A few weeks back, I posted about the concept of highways paved with solar collectors; while this California solar corridor isn't quite the same thing, it's an excellent step towards a lower-carbon highway infrastructure. As the cost of electric cars goes down over time, and when charging and battery technology improves to speed up the process, this may become an important element of road planning.
Driving from Phoenix to Tucson should take a shade under two hours. But traffic pushes that up by forty minutes or an hour, at times--no one's idea of a nice day trip, much less a commute. But what if you could hop on a train that would get you there in thirty minutes? No security lines at the airport, no flight delays: just thirty minutes at a blazing 220 miles per hour, traveling in science fiction-esque comfort aboard a completely solar-powered train.
A recent USA Today article corralled details of the US airports that currently have, or are planning to have, renewable energy systems installed to help with their staggeringly high electric needs. Solar electric panels and innovative wind turbines are the two technologies the article considers. There are other ways to save energy--Boston Logan, for example, has a terminal that makes clever use of passive solar and gray water recycling--but these are definitely the splashiest.
I didn't really know what to write about this week. I'm in London, and there's so much in the way of sustainability initiatives (for instance, Islington, the borough in which I'm staying, powers its own fleet of electric vehicles with wind turbines) and renewable energy news that I've been unable to choose.
I've been in London for about a week now, and it's funny how readily I can see the differences in the United Kingdom's approach to climate change and environmentalism. It's in the every day details, most of which I see evidence of every day while I'm wandering about: