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Las Vegas & Gresham OR Win Climate Protection Award

The 82nd annual United States Conference of Mayors is underway in Dallas, Texas and Las Vegas, Nevada (NV) Mayor Carolyn Goodman and Gresham, Oregon (OR) Mayor Shane Bemis were awarded the 2014 Mayors’ Climate Protection Awards. The climate protection award is an initiative sponsored by The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and Walmart, and recognizes mayors for innovative programs that increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. An independent panel of judges selected the winners from a pool of applicants.

“Mayor Goodman and Mayor Bemis are changing the energy future of their cities and the nation, showing how local innovation can offer solutions to our growing climate challenges,” said Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, president of The U.S. Conference of Mayors. “Mayoral leadership and successful local initiatives are a crucial part of our nation’s arsenal in combating climate-harming emissions.”

U.S. CONFERENCE OF MAYORS LOGOCindi Marsiglio, Walmart’s vice president of U.S. Manufacturing and Sourcing, added, “We are proud to join with the Conference in honoring these cities and their mayors for their leadership in curbing greenhouse gas emissions and improving the quality of life for their citizens,” said “These local initiatives cut energy use, clean the air, reduce emissions, and save money, all of which helps build stronger communities and a stronger economy.

Las Vegas, Nevada won for its net zero initiative in the Large City Category. The City of Las Vegas is challenging itself to become the nation’s first net-zero energy, water, and waste municipality. This net zero initiative has seen the construction of more than 1 million square feet of municipal green buildings. Additionally, more than 80 percent of the city’s 50,000 streetlights have been upgraded to LEDs. The city now has more than 5.25 Megawatts of solar photovoltaic at 30 facilities. These systems have reduced city energy consumption by approximately 15 percent, saving the city more than $1 million dollars annually. Comingled recycling at all city facilities has raised recycling rates to 55 percent, up from 20 percent five years ago. The city has reduced its municipal water consumption by 27 percent since 2008, through turf conversions, xeriscaping, and equipment installations throughout city facilities.

“We are proud of our net zero initiative and the progress we are making,” said Las Vegas Carolyn Goodman. “What is happening here in Las Vegas on energy innovation shouldn’t just stay here. All cities, as well as the nation, can benefit from net zero initiatives.”

Gresham, Oregon was honored for the city’s energy management program to reduce its top energy users in the Small City Category. The City of Gresham implemented an energy management program to aggressively reduce its top energy users as the fastest way to reach the City Council’s energy reduction goals. The wastewater treatment plant (WWTP), which was once the top electricity consumer, will produce 100 percent of its electricity need from onsite renewable power by the end of this year, making it very unique nationally. Electricity is generated through an on-site co-generator; a fats, oils, and grease (FOG) receiving station, and a solar array. All of the city’s 8000+ streetlights, the second highest consumer, are being converted to LED fixtures this year, dramatically reducing electricity use, GHG emissions, and lifecycle costs.

“Our city is honored to be recognized for its energy efforts,” said Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis. “We have ambitious goals and will continue to make big strides to achieve them because, for Gresham, saving energy ultimately means saving money. This work has been a win-win for Gresham and I am excited to continue that trend both for our environment and for our ratepayers.”

In addition to the first place winners, Honorable Mentions were awarded to mayors in five large cities and four small cities for their exceptional achievements in efforts to promote climate protection.

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Tesla does Dallas

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tesla northpark gallery dallas texas

Despite not being allowed to actually sell cars on site – or even offer a test drive – Tesla has opened its newest venue in Texas. As of Friday, NorthPark Center mall in Dallas is home to the newest Tesla Gallery. Don’t call it a Store!

Employees at the gallery can’t even discuss pricing.

The 2,200-square-foot gallery lets interested parties learn more about the California-based electric car company, and even sit behind the wheel of a Tesla Model S. Texas law prohibits manufacturers to sell directly to the customer, though which is the business model for Tesla. Employees at the gallery can’t even discuss pricing. They can, however, explain the technology, and direct potential customers to their website where they can make a reservation at home. Let’s call it a hands-on advertisement.

“Our galleries create strong awareness for our product,” Tesla Spokesperson Alexis Georgeson told Automotive News. “[They] are our advertising.” Other Tesla owners in Texas, of which there are nearly 2,000, help pick up the slack, too, some even offering test drives to strangers, she said.

Since Texas law restricts selling cars without a franchised dealership, taking delivery of a Model S is a bit of a process. After purchasing online or by phone, the car is delivered from out of state by a third party. The vehicle is registered out-of-state as well, and customers must then register the car in Texas after taking ownership. When they do that, they must also pay the entirety of the Texas sales tax on the vehicle, as well as the price of the aspirin required for the accompanying headache.

Without franchised dealerships, repair options are also limited for Tesla owners in Texas. Tesla does have local subsidiaries that do repair work, but customers must first call Tesla Motors in California, who will decide what repair work is necessary before being sending the customer to the service center. Even then, employees aren’t allowed to discuss additional repair needs with customers, or even advertise that they do warranty work. Currently, Tesla has three of these subcontracted service centers in Texas, in Austin, Houston and Dallas, with a San Antonio location on the way.

Last year, a bill was introduced to exempt Tesla from Texas’s law banning factory-owned dealerships, but it didn’t get to the House floor before the end of session. According to Georgeson, Tesla will try again to overturn the law when legislators reconvene next year. Despite opposition from the Texas Automobile Dealers Association, Tesla has found a friend in Governor Rick Perry. Tesla is considering Texas as a possible site for a new battery factory, and Perry is keen on the estimated $5-billion investment in his state.

So, until Tesla is actually allowed to sell its cars in Texas, feel free to visit the newest Gallery in Dallas, or the Galleries already established in Houston and Austin. Just don’t ask for a test drive.

Tesla does Dallas originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Mon, 23 Jun 2014 10:23:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Green Power Purchases 20MW Georgia Solar Project

Silicon Ranch Circle Solar FarmGreen Power EMC, the renewable energy supplier for 38 Georgia Electric Membership Corporations (EMCs), has reached an agreement to purchase the full output of a new 20 megawatt (MW) solar project planned for construction in Hazlehurst, Georgia. The solar farm will cover nearly 135 acres, and feature 87,000 ground-mounted solar modules.

Under an agreement with owner-operator Silicon Ranch Corporation, Green Power EMC will receive all the energy produced by the solar project over a 25-year period. Construction is scheduled to begin this year, and the facility will be ready to produce electricity in late 2015.

Jeff Pratt, president of Green Power EMC, said the Hazlehurst project is the result of a request for proposals issued in late 2013 to add more solar energy to Green Power EMC’s portfolio. The company already purchases the output of two solar projects, a 115 kilowatt (kW) rooftop array near Athens, Ga. and a 150 kW ground-mounted array near Warner Robins, Ga. He said the project will nearly double the total renewable capacity of Green Power EMC – from the current 32 MW to about 52 MW.

“This is a major solar power addition, not only to our portfolio but also to the state of Georgia,” said Pratt. “The project moves us further down the road to becoming a much more sustainable state.” According to Pratt, the 20 MW project will produce enough electricity to serve about 3,000 EMC households.

Matt Kisber, president of Silicon Ranch Corporation, who also owns and operates Georgia’s largest solar farm in Social Circle, Georgia, said, “We are excited about the opportunity to partner with Green Power EMC and their members in deploying their first, large-scale solar array. I commend the leadership and membership of Green Power EMC for creating this initiative to provide competitively priced, renewable power solar generation to their Georgia membership.”

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New England Coast Offshore Wind Leases Available

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Acting Director Walter Cruickshank joined Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to announce more than 742,000 acres offshore Massachusetts will be available for commercial wind energy leasing. The proposed area is the largest in federal waters and will nearly double the federal offshore acreage available for commercial-scale wind energy projects.

“Massachusetts is leading the way toward building a clean and sustainable energy future that creates jobs, cuts carbon pollution and develops domestic clean energy resources,” said Secretary Jewell. “Thanks to Governor Patrick’s vision and leadership, the competitive lease sale in Massachusetts will reflect the extensive and productive input from a number of important stakeholders. This includes interests such as commercial fishing, shipping, cultural, historical, environmental, and local communities to minimize conflicts and bring clarity and certainty to potential wind energy developers.”

Mass Wind Energy AreaThe Massachusetts Wind Energy Area is located approximately 12 miles offshore Massachusetts – from its northern boundary, the area extends 33 nautical miles southward and has an east/west extent of approximately 47 nautical miles. BOEM proposes to auction the Wind Energy Area as four leases.

“Today’s announcement is a momentous occasion and the culmination of years of cooperation and hard work between the Commonwealth and federal officials,” said Governor Patrick. “Through our investments and proactive planning, Massachusetts is poised to lead the charge in offshore wind energy development, with the economic and environmental benefits that come with it.”

The Interior’s is working to develop a sustainable offshore wind program through its ‘Smart from the Start’ wind energy initiative for the Atlantic Coast. To date, BOEM has awarded five commercial wind energy leases off the Atlantic coast: two non-competitive leases (Cape Wind in Nantucket Sound off Massachusetts and an area off Delaware) and three competitive leases (two offshore Massachusetts-Rhode Island and another offshore Virginia). The competitive lease sales have generated about $5.4 million in high bids for about 277,550 acres in federal waters. BOEM is expected to hold additional competitive auctions for Wind Energy Areas offshore Maryland and New Jersey later this year.

“The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has been working hand in hand with BOEM to foster responsible commercial wind development in federal waters off Massachusetts,” said BOEM Acting Director Cruickshank. “Members of the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Task Force have been great partners in our planning process for the Wind Energy Area and the Proposed Sale Notice.”

In response to the announcement, Conservation Law Foundation, who is working to advance responsibly sited offshore wind energy, said, “This is a meaningful leap forward for New England and the nation to seize the unparalleled renewable energy opportunity of offshore wind,” said Sue Reid, Vice President of Conservation Law Foundation and Director, CLF Massachusetts. “Because of the sheer scale of offshore wind energy’s potential, it has unmatched ability to displace the dirtiest and costliest energy generation on the grid. It is an essential building block of our clean energy future—one that can deliver wide-ranging environmental and public health benefits while boosting our regional economy.”

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Toyota Prius Could Get Le Mans Supercapacitor Tech

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Why do automakers race? It’s more than just marketing, as motorsports serve as a test bed for new technology that could one day come to road cars. Toyota is exploring the possibility of bringing supercapacitor technology developed for their Le Mans race car to the Prius hybrid.

The Toyota TS040 uses a naturally aspirated V8 engine mated to two supercapacitors that recover braking energy 60 times faster than the current Prius Synergy drive. The supercapacitors can then dole out the energy quickly and efficiently, boosting fuel economy significantly. According to Drive, Toyota is proposing a system that uses this energy to begin initial acceleration, a time when the gas engine is its least efficient. Delivering short bursts of power would get the Prius going to a speed where the gas engine can take over without much effort.

This technology isn’t likely to show up soon though, with Toyota Motorsport team principal Yoshiaki Kinoshita saying that it could come to prodution cars “in the next five years”, meaning it probably won’t debut on the next-generation Prius due out in the next year or so. Meanwhile, Mazda has already integrated supercapacitors into the Mazda6 i-ELOOP system to enhance the start-stop system. This makes the mid-size sedan capable of 40 MPG, not that far behind the Prius and its vaunted 50 MPG rating.

Are Supercapacitors the secret to the next level of fuel efficiency?

The post Toyota Prius Could Get Le Mans Supercapacitor Tech appeared first on Gas 2.

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Expect Dire Consequences if Syrian Contagion Spreads to Oil

Among the dismal reports coming out of Iraq, a seemingly minor but highly significant item was news that ISIS and the Iraqi government were battling over the Baiji oil refinery near Tikrit. The Baiji oil refinery, news reports noted, could be a key installation in providing fuel.

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Graphene-reinforced composites may lead to longer, lighter blades, and more

Haydale, the developer of a unique plasma functionalization process for nanomaterials, has announced the publication of research showing its graphene nanoplatelets (GNP) significantly improve the nano-reinforcement of resin. The research, conducted by the Material Science Department at AeroSpace Corporation, has been published in the Journal of Applied Polymer Science.

graphene

The Haydale development is significant because graphene is highly inert, and is subsequently difficult to bond it with or disperse it within other materials.

The development is significant because graphene is highly inert, and is subsequently difficult to bond it with or disperse it within other materials. Current methods for treating or functionalizing graphene involve thermal and chemical shocking agents which whilst allowing for scalable production, can cause significant damage to the material’s structure, leading to defects in the final product. The report states significant strength improvements in toughened epoxy composites, in particular, a greater than two-fold increase in tensile strength and modulus of an epoxy composite using a number of HDPlas O2-functionalised GNP, manufactured by Haydale. The addition of increasing amounts of GNP resulted in strength increases of over 125% and toughness improvements of 100% over that of similarly cured, unreinforced material. The results underline the potential Haydale’s tailored, plasma functionalization process has for providing the material’s potential.
The research results show the possibility to increase tensile strength and tensile modulus, which opens the possibility to design longer, stiffer, or lighter wind turbine blades. An important additional property implied by the results is that the strain to failure was not compromised by these increased tensile properties, implying that the toughness was maintained, which could result in more damage tolerant blades – i.e. to avoid catastrophic failure in an overload situation. Similar performance enhancement would be expected for other composite structures.

Gamesa Blades Bilbao smaller

Longer turbine blades could benefit all aspects of wind power production.

Questions still remain over the commercial reality in delivering graphene and the relevance it has to real products. The Haydale plasma process has potential to offer improved graphene nanomaterials while maintaining structural integrity, thus eliminating a key barrier to commercialization graphene. The research aimed to determine whether properties such as matrix material composition, the degree of exfoliation of graphene and the filler concentration, size, aspect ratio and treatment method, could maximize the physical potential of the matrix material. The GNP nanofiller material was plasma-treated using the HDPlas O2-functionalised process before being incorporated into the epoxy resin. Once the composite material had been manufactured, it was analyzed and the effects of GNP loading on mechanical performance were assessed. “Graphene nanomaterials are gaining enormous interest as a new class of reinforcement for nanocomposites, promising revolutionary electrical, thermal and mechanical properties,” said Haydale CEO Ray Gibbs. “The results presented in the new research represent a step forward for the graphene industry in terms of seeing graphene’s potential in the composites market, and further highlights that functionalization by plasma is the key to realizing graphene’s potential. Following this research, we intend to test our functionalized nanomaterials in further research projects with both raw material producers and end-application manufacturers.” Graphene has such fantastic potential to transform the composites industry, but requires specific treatment without damaging the material structure or adding impurities. To optimize the material’s physical and mechanical properties, good dispersion and structural uniformity of the nanoparticles is the key to making real progression. Haydale http://www.haydale.com/

Windpower Engineering & Development

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What are the Benefits and Costs of EPA’s Proposed CO2 Regulation?

On June 2nd, the EPA released its long-awaited proposed regulation to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from existing sources in the electricity-generating sector. The regulatory (rule) proposal calls for cutting CO2 emissions from the power sector by 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

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Who Will Build Tomorrow’s Grid? The Energy Collective’s Webinar & #EnergyChat

On Wednesday, June 18th, we hosted an incredibly informative webinar on how utilities can secure the greatest benefits from the smart grid, while simultaneously adapting their workforce to this rapid force of change. This post highlights from the Webinar and Tweetchat!

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Renewables Provide 88 Percent of New US Electrical Generating Capacity in May 2014

According to the latest “Energy Infrastructure Update” report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Office of Energy Projects, wind, solar, biomass, and hydropower provided 88.2 percent of new installed U.S. electrical generating capacity for the month of May. Two new “units” of wind provided 203 MW, five units of solar provided 156 MW, 1 unit of biomass provided 5 MW, and 1 unit of hydropower provided 0.2 MW.

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