Top Story: December 6, 2013

Renewable News

renewables, energy, power, sustainability, wind, solar, steven chu, offshore, china, bhutan, india, hydroelectric, dam, clean, waste

By Molly Michelson

We covered rising methane emissions this week, the need to act now to combat climate change and how California is leading the way for energy efficiency, but wait... there's more! Renewables have been popping up in the news and we thought we point you to a few of those recent headlines...

Solar
As we mentioned in yesterday's article, Steven Chu is very excited about the future of cheap solar and solving the storage issue surrounding the renewable energy. The former Secretary of Energy knows of which he speaks. Chu is currently at Stanford and the university is on the leading edge of improving solar power efficiency. His colleagues are publishing papers on improving solar cells (here and here) and have received a grant to use supercomputers to boost solar efficiency.

Earlier this fall, Scientific American covered cheap solar (here and here), reporting that “People with middle-class incomes are the biggest adopters of rooftop solar in states with the largest markets.” Earlier this week, National Geographic described a new study that says installing west-facing solar panels (instead of north-facing) might also improve efficiency for homeowners.

Chu might be right about soon solving solar storage issues. The New York Times wrote earlier this week that SolarCity, one of the largest residential solar installers, is teaming with Tesla Motors to create a battery system for solar energy storage.

Finally, would you like to invest in solar? According to a blog post, it might be a wise investment:

… An Oakland, CA company has hit upon crowdsourcing as a way to fund solar energy projects and turn a profit for investors.

It's also local! Learn more here.

Wind
This week, National Geographic posted a great status update on offshore wind projects. From Europe to the stalled Cape Wind project near Cape Cod, high costs seems to be the biggest obstacle. High costs and William Koch and Donald Trump.

The New Yorker has a slideshow and article covering China's growing (onshore) wind power industry this week, too.

Other
Scientific American describes a large hydroelectric dam project in Bhutan this week. While it could be a win-win in terms of boosting that country's economy and exporting cleaner energy to neighboring India, it also looks to displace an endangered bird, the white-bellied heron, and could cause future flooding in the area.

New Scientist posted a story yesterday about very creative projects in Europe to heat homes-- from capturing heat from subways in the United Kingdom, to using the heat from sewer waste water (yuck!) in Germany, to capturing heat from server hubs in the Netherlands!

I'm feeling warmer already!

Image of serene Bhutan river: Kyle Taylor, Dream It. Do It./Flickr

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