Posts by :
This week, BYD unveiled several exciting technologies to improve fuel efficiencies by greater than 20% in all their 2014 vehicle line-up. They are calling it the “Green Hybrid” initiative with “Insta-Pure” cabin filtering systems and were well aligned with this year’s Auto Show theme – “innovation, better life”.
There are several breakthroughs tied to the “Green Hybrid” initiative; first BYD becomes the first vehicle OEM to implement the higher-efficiency 48VDC vehicle voltage platforms using BYD’s internally developed Iron-Phosphate batteries (versus older heavy-metal-laden, 12VDC Lead-Acid technologies). This new technology allows the battery life to be extended to the expected life of the car – no more worrisome starter-battery replacements. Vehicles transition to all-LED lighting, Electronic Parking Systems, Hybrid and regenerative braking, idle start-stop energy management, automatic engine starts, low rolling resistance and advanced aero-dynamic designs. 48VDC systems are not hindered by the line/harness power losses experienced with normal lower-voltage systems (saving important energy for batteries). BYD then implemented low-voltage, large-torque, double-winding motor technologies for battery-acceleration-assist and regenerative braking. These changes have been shown to save as much as 1.5 litres of fuel/ 100km (on a 30 mpg car, that’s as much as a 7 mpg improvement!).
BYD’s “Insta-Pure” cabin filtering technology help protect drivers and passengers from dangerous city PM2.5 issues (Particulate Matter up to 2.5 micrometers in size), by quickly rotating cabin air, scrubbing and filtering it, all in less than 3-5 minutes. The first production vehicles launching with this advanced cabin purification system are the new BYD S6 Premier models –debuting at this year’s show. This level-4 purification technology is integrated into the vehicle’s air conditioning system and detects the inside and outside particulate matter levels, triggering auto-air-filtering equipment, sterilizing, deodorizing and purifying all PM2.5 levels to below 12. This technology not only gives consumer families a cleaner driving sphere, but also provides a feasible scheme for improving all urban environments.
While the “Suri” (featuring the break-through “Remote Driving Controller” technology) was announced at the 2012 Beijing International Auto Show, it was also on display again in Shanghai and has been selling an average of 10,000 units per month in the China market, exceeding BYD’s expectations. The second model debuting last year in the 2012 auto show was the advanced BYD Dual Mode “Qin” (pronounced “Chin”). Two models of Qin were on display at the Auto show though Qin officially launches in mass-production later this year in China. Qin is the next-generation dual-mode electric vehicle “flagship” using BYD’s innovative Dual Mode II system. The Qin can travel 50 km (31 miles) on a single 10 KWh charge and in hybrid mode output 223 KW of power and a whopping 440 Nm of torque — accelerating from zero to 100 km/h (62 mph) in only 5.9 seconds (this was previously advertised as 6.9 sec, but BYD has improved it over the last year). Qin also has a top speed of 185 km/h (115mph). In hybrid mode, the Qin requires just 16 RMB (~$2.50 USD) of energy per 100 Km (equating to a little less than 2 liters of fuel per 100 km or 118 mpg). For more information, visit BYD at www.facebook.com/bydcompany and www.byd.com.
Energy produced by the installation will go directly back to the dealership. This will reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to the consumption of 2,500 gallons of gas, or 52 barrels of oil, on an annual basis.
“The Solar Tree will generate approximately 33,000 kWh of clean energy from a highly architecturally accretive platform,” said Desmond Wheatley, President and CEO of Envision Solar. “We’ve also implemented design enhancements provided by the Cadillac team to make the system uniquely theirs and supportive of the renowned carmaker’s brand in a very positive and aesthetically pleasing way.”
Installation of the array will lower the dealership’s environmental impact while improving the region’s built environment.
“It’s very exciting to be the first dealership to roll out this initiative,” said Jessie Dosanjh, General Manager of Fremont Cadillac Buick GMC. “Deploying this beautiful and iconic renewable energy landmark reiterates that we understand the wants and needs of the people in the Bay Area and is another example of how we’re fulfilling our commitment to the environment. We’re proud to take on a leadership role in this movement and encourage other Cadillac dealerships in the country to do the same.”
Equipped with integrated electric vehicle charging stations, the Solar Tree® structure can generate enough renewable energy to charge six electric vehicles each day. Envision Solar’s proprietary tracking system, EnvisionTrak™, causes the array to follow the sun, capturing more of its energy and increasing electrical output by nearly 25 percent over typical fixed solar installations.
“Our renewable energy strategy goes beyond our company walls,” said Mary Alice Kurtz, Program Manager, Sustainability Initiatives, General Motors. “We encourage all of our partners to explore renewable energy alternatives, whenever possible.”
Within the next year, Cadillac will launch the ELR, the first luxury coupe with extended range electric technology. The Cadillac Solar Tree® structure is available to Cadillac dealers nationwide to support the ELR launch, and to assist in making dealership facilities more energy efficient.
“Fremont Cadillac’s solar tree installation is a great individual example of how we’re elevating and expanding in the areas of product, technology and customer experience,” said Chase Hawkins, Cadillac Vice President of Sales. “We’re the fastest growing full-line luxury brand in the U.S. today, including a 54 percent increase in the San Francisco area.”
First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) announced it has sold the 139-megawattAC (MW) Campo Verde Solar Project to Southern Company subsidiary Southern Power and Turner Renewable Energy. Under the terms of the agreement, First Solar will complete construction of the project and will operate and maintain the power plant for 10 years. Construction of the Campo Verde project began in December 2012 and commercial operation is expected in fall 2013.
The Campo Verde project is located on a 1,443-acre site in Imperial County, Calif. and is expected to generate enough clean electricity to power nearly 48,000 homes, displacing 80,000 metric tons of CO2 per year, the equivalent of taking 15,000 cars off the road. San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) will purchase the project’s output under a 20-year power purchase agreement. According to an independent study conducted for Imperial County, the Campo Verde Solar Facility will have an economic impact to the Imperial County, Calif., area totaling about $239 million over the next 30 years. It is expected to contribute $17.5 million in local tax revenue and employ an average of 250 workers during construction.
Campo Verde is the second project First Solar has designed and constructed for Southern Power and Turner Renewable Energy. In 2010, First Solar sold the 30 MWAC Cimarron I Solar Project, adjacent to Ted Turner’s Vermejo Park Ranch in northern New Mexico, to the partnership.
“We are pleased that Southern Company and Turner Renewable Energy have once again chosen a First Solar project to add to their renewable energy portfolio,” said James F. Cook, First Solar director of Project Development. “The Campo Verde project is another state-of-the-art design which seamlessly integrates First Solar’s advanced thin-film solar modules with our leading power plant controls and grid-integration technology. By leading the project from development through engineering, construction and operations, we are able to offer the highest performance and greatest reliability.”
“Southern Power and Turner Renewable Energy are continuing our successful partnership with the acquisition of First Solar’s 139-MW Campo Verde Solar Project,” said Oscar Harper, president and CEO of Southern Power. “First Solar was the developer of our partnership’s first venture — the Cimarron Solar Facility in New Mexico — and we’re pleased to expand our joint efforts through our largest solar acquisition to date.”
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. First Solar does not expect to recognize revenue prior to commercial operation of the plant.
Today is Earth Day, and over one billion people in approximately 192 countries are taking action to protect the environment. From London to Sao Paolo, Seoul to Babylon City, New Delhi to New York, Rome to Cairo, people everywhere are mobilizing their communities and helping depict The Face of Climate Change, the theme of Earth Day 2013.
Earth Day Network, the organization that coordinates Earth Day around the world each year, is collecting images of people, animals and places affected by climate change, as well as images and stories from people doing their part in the fight against climate change. During the days surrounding Earth Day, an interactive digital display of all the images is being shown at thousands of events around the world as people continue to upload photos of their actions in real-time.
Today is Earth Day, and over one billion people in approximately 192 countries are taking action to protect the environment. From London to Sao Paolo, Seoul to Babylon City, New Delhi to New York, Rome to Cairo, people everywhere are mobilizing their communities and helping depict The Face of Climate Change, the theme of Earth Day 2013.
“This interactive mosaic is depicting the very real impact that climate change is having on people’s lives and uniting Earth Day events around the world into one call for climate action,” said Franklin Russell, director of Earth Day at Earth Day Network. “The stories we’ve collected so far have been inspiring.”
As of press time, the campaign had photo-testimonials from 128 countries and 46 U.S. states. And they will continue to pour in as events unfold today and throughout the week.
Examples of the thousands of user-submitted stories include a mountaineer in New Zealand who reported on receding glaciers and an organization in Thailand who installed solar panels at a refugee camp on the Myanmar border.
Organizers are encouraged by the level of participation and enthusiasm and plan to continue the campaign in an effort to build the climate movement.
Earth Day is the largest secular event in the world – and more people join in every year. On and around Earth Day, people of all ages and backgrounds come together to haul garbage, clean up coral reefs and mountain trails, show movies, sign petitions, march to solve the climate crises, hold town hall meetings to plan a better future, and rally to save endangered species. More than 100 million schoolchildren around the world learn about the importance of clean air and water. Thousands of federal, state, and local governments issue reports about their environmental achievements and make pledges to improve their environmental performance and invest in green technology. And tens of thousands of clergy members give sermons about the importance of protecting God’s creation.
“In short, Earth Day participants not only get a lot done, they also demonstrate that human beings everywhere are driven by their faith, their conscience, their sense of duty, or by a moral imperative to save the planet,” said Kathleen Rogers, president of Earth Day Network. “It is staggering to think about one billion people working together in a collective action.”
To view The Face of Climate Change photo display, go to www.earthday.org/faces. To learn more about Earth Day 2013 and The Face of Climate Change, go to www.earthday.org/2013. To see highlights from The Face of Climate Change and Earth Day events around the world, go to www.earthday.org/highlights-submissions.
Brooklyn based renewable energy firm Lumi*Solair was awarded the Environmental Protection Agency’s prestigious Environmental Quality Award for 2013. Nominated by U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Lumi*Solair is being recognized for their commitment and significant contributions to greening New York City.
Senator Gillibrand formally presented the award to Lumi*Solair Founder and CEO Baldev Duggal in a ceremony today at the EPA Regional Headquarters in Lower Manhattan. “I congratulate Lumi*Solair for their dedication to creating a more innovative, resilient New York,” said Senator Gillibrand. “From improving the city’s quality of life, to creating new local green jobs, this environmental champion will help lead the way towards a green energy future for our city and our country.”
Based in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the company manufactures hybrid solar and wind streetlights as well as solar power systems for telecommunication towers and energy backup for traffic lights. During Superstorm Sandy, six Lumi*Solair lights remained operational and nearly half were functioning in the Navy Yard, despite five feet of water and over 80 mph winds.
“Lumi*Solair is honored to receive the EPA Environmental Quality Award,” said Mr. Baldev Duggal, CEO of Lumi*Solair. “We are proud of our ‘Designed and Made in New York solutions’ for some of today’s toughest infrastructure challenges. Lumi*Solair is dedicated to powering communities in an environmentally friendly way, from grid-free solar lighting to energy for telecommunication towers and traffic lights. We are thrilled to be recognized for our contribution to keeping our environment clean and this award will only reinforce our commitment towards a green and sustainable future.”
Founded by Mr. Baldev Duggal to foster innovation in the clean tech industry, Lumi*Solair is dedicated to powering communities in an environmentally friendly way, from grid-free solar lighting to solar energy for telecommunication towers and traffic lights. Lumi*Solair’s products eliminate the need for underground wiring and/or costly diesel fuel and thus produce significant cost savings compared with traditional grid connected options. Lumi*Solair’s first major installation, located in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, has been lauded for its exceptionally low cost and high efficiency. The company now has installations from New York to New Delhi.
Atlantic Wind & Solar (OTC: AWSL) and its wholly owned Ontario subsidiary, Atlantic Solar Inc., is pleased to report they have received Notice To Proceed (NTP) letters on 3 utility scale rooftop projects.
Located in the Greater Toronto Area, the 3 projects have a name plate capacity of 600 KW AC and will be constructed for total costs of approximately $3,000,000.
The projects are expected to generate 12.3 million kilowatt hours of clean electricity over the next 20 years. The energy produced will be sold to the Ontario Power Authority under the province’s Feed-In-Tariff at a rates of $.635/kWh for one project and $0.713/kWh for the other two.
The approval follows the successful completion of all technical connection studies and reports required by the local distribution company as well as the Domestic Content Plan plus proof of financing as required by the OPA.
Construction is expected to commence shortly.
WUXI, China, Aug. 15, 2012.
Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. today announced that Dr. Zhengrong Shi will serve as Executive Chairman of the Board and assume the position of Chief Strategy Officer of the Company. Mr. David King has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer of Suntech.
“The solar industry is at a critical juncture and is facing both significant challenges and exciting opportunities. At this time, I believe it’s important to devote more of my time to guiding the strategic direction of the Company, building relationships with key partners, and driving the ongoing development of Suntech’s leading solar technology,” said Dr. Shi, Suntech’s Executive Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer.
“We are delighted that David has agreed to bring his leadership and demonstrated operational excellence to the role of Suntech’s Chief Executive Officer,” Dr. Shi continued.
We believe that this new management structure will position Suntech to excel in this environment.
Mr. David King, Chief Executive Officer of Suntech said,
I am honored to accept this new assignment and would like to thank Dr. Shi and the other Board members for giving me this opportunity. Over the past 11 years, Dr. Shi has built Suntech to be a global leader in the solar industry and the Company’s established brand, reputation for quality and world-class team give us a clear long-term competitive advantage. I look forward to working with Dr. Shi to address the near-term challenges, while continuing to drive growth and cement Suntech’s leadership position.
Ms. Anlin Ting-Mason, currently Chief Financial Officer of Suntech America, who has over 30 years of financial experience in both China and the U.S., will assume the role of the Company’s interim Chief Financial Officer.
Mr. King joined Suntech in May 2011 as Chief Financial Officer. Previously, Mr. King served as the Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of Tetra Tech, Inc., a leading NASDAQ-listed provider of consulting, engineering, program management, construction and technical services addressing the resource management, energy and infrastructure markets. Prior to that, he held senior financial management positions with Walt Disney Imagineering and Bechtel Group. www.solarthermalmagazine.com
Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (NYSE: STP) produces industry-leading solar products for residential, commercial, industrial, and utility applications. With regional headquarters in China, Switzerland, and the United States, and gigawatt-scale manufacturing worldwide, Suntech has delivered more than 25,000,000 photovoltaic panels to over a thousand customers in more than 80 countries. Suntech’s pioneering R&D creates customer-centric innovations that are driving solar to grid parity against fossil fuels. Our mission is to provide everyone with reliable access to nature’s cleanest and most abundant energy source.
For more information about Suntech’s people and products visit http://www.suntech-power.com.
Safe Harbor Statement
This press release contains forward-looking statements. These statements constitute “forward-looking” statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and as defined in the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements can be identified by terminology such as “will,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “future,” “intends,” “plans,” “believes,” “estimates” and similar statements, and includes the management team’s ability to address near-term challenges and cement its leadership position in the solar industry. Such statements involve certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. Further information regarding these and other risks is included in Suntech’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including its annual report on Form 20-F. Suntech does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statement as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required under applicable law.
SunEdison, a leading worldwide solar energy services provider and subsidiary of MEMC Electronic Materials, Inc. (NYSE: WFR), announced today a rural electrification program called Eradication of Darkness. Through the program, SunEdison will design, install and manage distributed-generation solar power plants, to provide energy to Indian villages that have never before had access to electricity.
According to the United Nations, one in five people in the world do not have electricity. Over 400,000 of these people live in India. Lack of electricity limits education and economic opportunities and makes populations more vulnerable to sickness and famine. The SunEdison Eradication of Darkness Program aims to address this situation.
â€œThis program is making electricity accessible to citizens in India who have never dreamt of having it in their homes or workplaces. We have the opportunity to improve standards of living by enabling sustainable changes in the lifestyles, health, education and community affairs of thousands of people,â€ said Ahmad Chatila, President and Chief Executive Officer of MEMC. â€œWe are excited to be the catalyst for this kind of remarkable transformation.â€
The program will be implemented in stages. There are 29 villages in the Guna District that have been identified for the next phase. Appropriate financial and other partners are being sought to electrify these remote communities.
Solar Leadership in India
SunEdison has become a solar power leader in India with over 50 MW of interconnected solar electricity in India today. The companyâ€™s projects range from small rooftop installations to South Asiaâ€™s largest solar field in Gujarat. Also in Gujarat, the company recently completed an innovative 1 MW project suspended over the Narmada Canal. This project is conserving drinking water while producing clean energy.
More Than an Engineering Project
â€œAs challenging as logistics are in rural electrification, it is important that residents have a voice in the development, deployment and management of a solution,â€ said Pashupathy Gopalan, Managing Director, South Asia and Sub-Saharan Operations, SunEdison. â€œWe have worked very hard to understand their needs and provide education about the possibilities of electricity. We believe education is one of the most important aspects to ensuring the projectâ€™s success.â€
SunEdison recently completed the installation of a 14-kilowatt solar energy plant in Meerwada, India that is supplying electricity to 400 villagers. Before this project was implemented residents walked three kilometers for drinking water, and kerosene lamps were the only source of lighting. SunEdison personnel spent weeks with residents selecting the optimal site for the power plant, providing safety education, and establishing a council that will maintain and protect the system from vandalism or theft.
MEMC/SunEdison designed and engineered the Meerwada project in 2011 as a pilot-case for rural electrification. The additional 29 planned villages in the Guna District are expected to be funded through a combination of government grants and private funds from other investors and corporations. Implementing the next 29 villages is intended to test and develop a successful business model that will enable the electrification of even more villages around the world.
â€œThe day-to-day challenges faced by people who do not have electricity are beyond imagination to many of us,â€ Chatila continued. â€œBeing able to improve peopleâ€™s lives is an honor, and we are committed to continuing this effort in collaboration with the people of India.â€
Learn more about the SunEdison Eradication of Darkness Program:
SunEdison is a global leader in delivering solar power. The company develops, finances, installs and operates distributed power plants using proven photovoltaic technologies, delivering fully managed, predictably priced solar energy services for its commercial, government and utility customers. In 2011 SunEdison interconnected approximately 300 Megawatts of solar throughout the world. For more information about SunEdison please visit www.sunedison.com
MEMC is a global leader in the manufacture and sale of wafers and related intermediate products to the semiconductor and solar industries. The company has been a pioneer in the design and development of silicon wafer technologies for over 50 years. With R&D and manufacturing facilities in the U.S., Europe and Asia, MEMC enables the next generation of high-performance semiconductor devices and solar cells. Through its SunEdison division, MEMC is also a developer of solar power projects and North America’s largest solar energy services provider. MEMCâ€™s common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol â€œWFRâ€. For more information about MEMC please visit www.memc.com
BARROW, Alaska â€” Sandia National Laboratoriesâ€™ researcher Mark Ivey and I (science writer Neal Singer) are standing on the tundra at an outpost of science at the northernmost point of the North American continent. We are five miles northeast of Barrow, an Alaskan village unreachable by roads, 320 miles north of the Arctic Circle and a mile south of the Arctic Ocean.
It is late spring, the ice breaking up and the snow melting around us, and Ivey â€” manager for Sandia of the Department of Energyâ€™s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) climate research facility at Barrow â€” is waiting with me for the automated release of a weather balloon in two minutes, at 9:31 a.m.
The balloon, to be launched from the balcony of a metal-and-glass test facility about the size of a mobile home, is expected to measure the Arctic atmosphereâ€™s temperature, humidity and wind speeds at a rapid succession of altitudes as it rises. The tests are part of an ongoing effort to depict the structure of the atmosphere â€” an interesting concept to a layman â€” and the formation and elevation of its clouds. Imprecisions in both these areas cause disputes about the accuracies of global climate models, which need the kind of hard data provided by this facility for the most accurate results.
To this end, the launch facility inflates and releases two balloons every day, automatically, one at 9:31 a.m. and another at 9:31 p.m.
â€œWe used to have our Barrow assistants come out here twice a day and fill a balloon with helium and let it go,â€ Ivey tells me from the balcony as he checks the canisters used to fill each balloon. â€œThis automated setup is much easier on everyone.â€
The time- and location-stamped data â€” collected every 10 seconds as the balloon soars upward â€” will be radioed to a receiving antenna at the test facility, and from there electronically to the ARM central Alaskan facility â€” an unpretentious one-story duplex a few miles away in Barrow. Along with other data collected at the wind-swept, often snowed-in research site, which operates under the aegis of DOEâ€™s Office of Science, the information also helps calibrate satellite measurements of Earthâ€™s atmosphere, providing reality checks to the remote sensor inputs received from space orbit. These inputs are electronic zeroes and ones to which human beings assign meanings. Atmospheric measurements secured and analyzed, on the other hand, provide hard data against which satellite observations can be calibrated, improving their accuracy and reducing another possible source of error in climate computer models.
I am kneeling on one knee with my camera ready, my pants leg soaked in permafrost, about 12 feet below the deck where Ivey is standing. The balloon should bolt out of its chamber at 5 meters per second â€” â€œIt pops up and goes pretty fast,â€ Ivey had warned â€” and there would be no do-overs until 12 hours later if I miss its emergence..
Two metal petals of the machineâ€™s business end had opened a few minutes earlier like a huge mechanical rose, indicating its sensors had determined wind speeds were low enough for a balloon launch. At 9:31 a.m., the remaining two petals should open, releasing its 3-foot diameter, helium-filled balloon.
A mile or so distant, the white radar domes of the U.S. Air Forceâ€™s Point Barrow Long Range Station are watching for planes or missiles on their way over the North Pole, some 1,300 miles to the north. A DOE radar dome and several slender, heavily instrumented towers stand nearby, also managed by Ivey, taking moment-by-moment data from a variety of ground- or tower-based sensors on humidity, methane, carbon dioxide, wind velocity, ground infrared (heat) emissions and microwave energy from the sky, all transmitted electronically to a computer. Nearby, sensors in facilities run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and by the U.S. Geological Survey gather complementary geophysical data that includes precise measurements of the Earthâ€™s magnetic field and concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
â€œPeople had mentioned to me that they thought our operation would fade away,â€ Ivey had said in his reflective, soft-spoken way. â€œBut because of the quality of the data and its ability to provide information about important topics in a trustworthy way, funding has actually increased. The program could be around for a long time to come.â€
That is, of course, if Ivey and his colleagues can continue balancing the interests of federal and state agencies and the native corporation that manages land in and around Barrow. One of Iveyâ€™s pressing tasks when I visited was to finalize agreements in the community for living quarters and meeting space for the scientists who come from elsewhere to do technical work. But lease prices could rise dramatically with an influx of workers if off-shore oil drilling commences north of Barrow. And uncertain economic times have sent mixed messages to the electrical co-op about where to install new utility lines needed for the scientific effort.
The scope of the human, technical and regulatory problems facing Ivey as ARM representative reminded me of a statement Sandiaâ€™s president is fond of making: â€œSandia doesnâ€™t do easy,â€ Paul Hommert has said, â€œSandia does hard.â€
That certainly seems the case here.
The balloon siteâ€™s data streams are available electronically to labs and modelers around the world interested in honing their computer simulations with exact ongoing information on the Arctic climate, thought to be a precursor and influencer of the rest of the slower-responding world. Among the reasons for this sensitivity are the clear window to space for outgoing radiation provided by the very dry atmosphere and the expansion or contraction of the polar ice sheet. The latter causes large changes in surface sunlight reflectivity and regulates how much solar energy is absorbed by the darker ocean water. In addition, trends measured in the extent of Arctic ice indicate the Arctic likely will be ice-free in summer within the next few decades. At what rate is the extreme northâ€™s climate warming, and why? Up here in permafrost land is the data that may help decide these issues.
Among the siteâ€™s findings to date has been that the Arcticâ€™s very cold clouds fill with supercooled liquids rather than ice particles. This difference has a big impact on the amount of heat entering or leaving Earthâ€™s surface, said Hans Verlinde, a meteorology professor at Penn State and site scientist for the Barrow ARM program. In the Arctic, where clouds help warm Earthâ€™s surface instead of cooling it, they do this more effectively with liquid in the clouds instead of solids, an important clarification for climate models.
Information like this is so desirable that the Office of Science has allocated additional funding during the next two years through its Biological Environmental Research (BER) arm to build new facilities and buy equipment for another ARM site. Also to be managed by Sandia, it will be constructed 166 miles away at Oliktok Point, a spit of land that borders directly on the Arctic Ocean. The property is owned by the Air Force, which has been required by federal mandate to reduce its landholdings in Alaska. Part of its station may be transferred to other federal agencies, the State of Alaska or a native corporation. The idea from the scientists comprising the Barrow ARM group is to install a ground station of four prefabricated buildings and stock it with Doppler and high spectral resolution lidars, radar, and radiometers, along with meteorological equipment and other sensors. More important, an abandoned Air Force hangar a hundred yards away would shelter unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), probably to be owned by a university in collaboration with the Office of Science. These would be expected to fly through air space almost empty of civilian or military traffic from Oliktok Point to the North Pole, about 1,400 miles away, for additional atmospheric data collection.
â€œRoutine measurements of the Arctic atmosphere would be very valuable in understanding it,â€ Ivey said, â€œand the ground station would be helpful in understanding cloud processes. But UAVs and balloons are ways to get at atmospheric structure that currently are poorly represented in our models.â€
Oliktok Point has another advantage: Itâ€™s on a major north-south road (the â€œhaul roadâ€ used by ice truckers on a popular reality TV show) that ends in the assorted collection of workaday buildings known as Deadhorse, an entrance point to Prudhoe Bay oil rigs. The flat, primitive peninsula that ends at Oliktok Point is eerily dotted with enormous facilities built every few miles by oil companies. The companies require personnel and heavy equipment brought in year-round to process oil to put into pipelines that send the precious liquid south.
Though Barrow is a real community, unlike the expanded truck-stop facilities that comprise Deadhorse, one of its limitations is that equipment, materials, fuel and food arrive by barge from Seattle only once a year, though smaller items can be flown in.
The existence of the Oliktok station depends on Iveyâ€™s ability to get the Air Force, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Inupiats, federal and state land offices and the oil companies of the Prudhoe peninsula to agree. He needs power lines and building leases from the native corporation that oversees Barrow, site licenses from government organizations, Air Force permissions and oil company concurrence for access to the road system in Prudhoe Bay. Finally, the land may have been polluted by previous users; if ARM purchases it, or just takes it over with the Air Forceâ€™s blessings, who is responsible for cleanup?
â€œWhat do you do when you clean up one year and next year something else leaks out?â€ said engineer Jerry Peace, a member of Sandiaâ€™s North Slope team. â€œResidual pollution requires ongoing inspections.â€
â€œIt was enlightening to see the complicated maze that must be negotiated to create the new Oliktok Point site and UAV capability,â€ said Sandiaâ€™s Marianne Walck during a visit that included Rick Stulen, Sandiaâ€™s vice president for its California lab, and Rob Leland, director of Sandiaâ€™s Computing Research Center and of its Climate Security program. Walck, who directs the Geoscience, Climate and Consequence Effects Center, added, â€œWeâ€™re working on ideas on how to find funding so we can increase the scientific impact from our activities there.â€
How did Ivey, an electrical engineer by training, develop these negotiating, managerial, and leadership skills? Ivey, who speaks slowly, shrugged and smiled. â€œIâ€™m a lucky participant and partner in science,â€ he said quietly.
Thus far, Iveyâ€™s continuous low-key negotiations have been successful in moving the work forward at Barrow and Oliktok Point.
â€œThe work on the North Slope is producing uniquely important measurements that will enable vast improvements in todayâ€™s evolving climate models,â€ said Stulen. â€œThere will be increased confidence in model accuracy in predicting the actions of nature.â€
Stulen also was impressed by the petroleum industry. â€œI was really taken by the enormous oil industry infrastructure in Prudhoe Bay and the Alaska pipeline that provides for something like fifteen percent of U.S. petroleum â€“ quite an engineering feat!â€
Leland said, â€œWhat stood out for me most is the enormity of the scientific opportunity in the Arctic. Researchers believe that the effects of climate change are amplified substantially in the arctic, and yet comparatively little is known about the specifics. By combining the data coming from our ARM program with satellite data and the proposed UAV data with the new generation of high-resolution climate models we are developing, it should be possible to greatly advance our understanding of what is really happening there.
â€œThere are a host of critical national security issues at stake in the Arctic â€” new shipping routes, new access to resources, new operational demands on the military to name a few â€” and you get a sense of the significance of the opportunity. We are just now developing our ability to work across that entire spectrum, and of course we need to do that in close partnership with many other agencies and institutions, but the prospect of Sandia being centrally engaged in addressing the Arctic challenge is just tremendously exciting to me.â€
One factor that could help forward Sandiaâ€™s arctic research are the facilities and personnel at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.
Sandiaâ€™s Jerry Peace â€” whose masterâ€™s in geophysics from U of A in 1979 included being treed by a grizzly when he went looking for mineral deposits on an industry-sponsored summer project â€” said, â€œThe U of Aâ€™s Geophysical Institute, established by Congress in 1946, studies a spectrum of geophysical processes ranging from the center of the earth to the center of the sun. It has an international reputation for studying the physical environment of the Arctic. Partnering with them could be useful in furthering our state and national needs.â€
The balloon-launch station is a robotic marvel. Twenty-four balloons at a time can be stacked on a conveyor belt. A half-hour before lift-off, the lead balloon is automatically chambered and inflated by the helium-filled canisters.
But by 9:36 a.m., no balloon has emerged. â€œSomethingâ€™s wrong,â€ said Ivey, and we drive the few miles back to the one-story building housing the projectâ€™s headquarters. There, Jimmy Ivanoff, hired as a technical aide from the Inupiat native corporation that runs Barrow, looks at the data in the duplexâ€™s office and erupts, â€œDarn, that thing has worked without a flaw for months. On the day we have a visitor, it fails!â€
A balloon apparently was not loaded in the chamber casing. The chamberâ€™s sensors, detecting the absence, prevented the structure from opening and essentially shooting a blank.
â€œFortunately, experts from the vendor are on their way here,â€ Ivey said. â€œAt least once or twice a year we bring someone here from there to check it out.â€
I remember what Ivey told me before we left: â€œItâ€™s Alaska. Expect delays and keep your sense of humor.â€
I have one more chance to photograph the rising balloon before leaving early the next morning. Because itâ€™s late spring in Alaska, the sun wonâ€™t set tonight. I look at Jimmy poker-faced and say, â€œAs long as you can fix the problem before nightfall, we can try again.
He looks at me, as does the Inupiat station manager WalterBrower, to see if I am kidding. â€œI guess I can,â€ Jimmy said finally, â€œseeing as how it wonâ€™t be dark for weeks.â€ We all laugh.
That evening, promptly at 9:31 â€” my last photo opportunity before leaving Alaska â€” the balloon takes off like a sprinter. I have to estimate when to press the shutter button, because it takes almost two seconds for my camera to agree to snap a highly pixellated shot. I acheive the image, but with the balloon not quite fully airborne.
Nothing about any of this seems easy.
Sandia National Laboratories is a multi-program laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin company, for the U.S. Department of Energyâ€™s National Nuclear Security Administration. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies and economic competitiveness.
Chukchi Sea, Alaska – August 1, 2012 – Greenpeace submarine research at Shellâ€™s proposed drill site in the Chukchi Sea has collected the first coral specimen from the region. With a Shell vessel nearby, Greenpeace marine biologist and submarine pilot John Hocevar collected two specimens of Gersemia rubiformis coral, also known as sea raspberry, and recorded video to document the presence of large numbers of corals during transects of the sea floor.
The corals were the third most common type of visible marine life on the bottom, after brittle stars and basket stars. While quantitative analysis of video transects will take time to complete, Hocevar estimates coral density is on the order of .5 per square meter. This is considerably higher than most areas of the ocean; coral density at study sites in the Weddell Sea, Atlantic Canada, and Norway was less than .2 per square meter.
â€œDiscovering abundant corals in the Arctic waters right where Shell plans to drill this summer shows just how little is known about this fragile and unique region. Melting sea ice is not an invitation for offshore drilling in the Arctic, itâ€™s a warning that this pristine environment should be protected and dedicated to science,â€ said John Hocevar, marine biologist and Oceans Campaign Director for Greenpeace USA.
Although Shell told the Washington Post that the company knew about corals at the Chukchi drill site, the environmental impact statement for its drilling program does not mention them. Deep sea corals provide critical habitat for fish and other marine life, and have been prioritized for protection by the United Nations and the US government. Corals are very long-lived, slow growing creatures that are highly vulnerable to disturbance.
â€œWhy doesn’t the environmental impact statement for Shell’s Chukchi drilling program adequately discuss Arctic corals at the proposed drilling location? What else has the public not been told about the environment of the proposed drill sites?â€ said Rick Steiner, retired University of Alaska professor of conservation biology.
The Greenpeace ship Esperanza is in the Arctic with a Waitt Institute submarine to study the marine habitats threatened by Shellâ€™s planned drilling program. The expedition is part of the environmental organization’s “Save the Arctic” campaign, in which over 1 million people have joined together to call for a global sanctuary in the high Arctic, and a ban on offshore drilling and unsustainable fishing in Arctic waters.
IKEA, the world’s leading home furnishings retailer, today officially plugged-in the solar energy system installed at its Salt Lake-area store in Draper, Utah – the state’s largest private commercial solar project. The 180,500-square-foot PV array consists of a 1,015-kW system, built with 4,228 panels, and represents the state’. IKEA Draper’s program will produce approximately 1,487,080 kWh of clean electricity annually, the equivalent of reducing 1,025 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), eliminating the emissions of 201 cars or powering 128 homes yearly (calculating clean energy equivalents at www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-resources/calculator.html ).
This investment by IKEA reinforces the company’s long-term commitment to sustainability and confidence in photovoltaic (PV) technology. IKEA owns and operates each of its solar PV energy systems atop its buildings – as opposed to a solar lease or PPA (power purchase agreement) – and this Draper installation represents the 26th completed solar energy project for IKEA in the United States, with 13 more locations underway, making the eventual U.S. solar presence of IKEA nearly 89% with a total generation of 38 MW.
For the development, design and installation of the Draper store’s customized solar power system, IKEA contracted with REC Solar, Inc., a national leader in solar electric system design and installation with more than 8,000 systems built across the U.S.
“We at IKEA believe in the never-ending job of striving to improve the sustainability of our day-to-day business,” said Tony Williams, IKEA Draper store manager. “The IKEA coworkers in Draper are excited to help contribute to this goal with our newly operational solar energy system. We appreciate the support of the City of Draper, Rocky Mountain Power and REC Solar, Inc., our partners in this project.”
IKEA, drawing from its Swedish heritage and respect of nature, believes it can be a good business while doing good business and aims for its operations to minimize impacts on the environment. Globally, IKEA evaluates all locations regularly for energy conservation opportunities, integrates innovative materials into product design, works with Global Forest Watch to maintain sustainable resources, and flat-packs goods for efficient distribution. Specific U.S. sustainable efforts include: recycling waste material (paper, wood, plastic, etc.); incorporating environmental measures into the construction of buildings in terms of energy-efficient HVAC and lighting systems, recycled construction materials, skylights in warehouse areas, and water conserving restrooms; and operationally, eliminating plastic bags from the check-out process, phasing out the sale of incandescent light bulbs and facilitating recycling of customers’ compact fluorescent bulbs. IKEA also has installed electric vehicle charging stations at nine stores in the Western U.S.
Located on 22.5 acres along Interstate 15 at the Bangerter Highway exit, the 310,000-square-foot IKEA Draper store opened in May 2007. In addition to 10,000 exclusively designed items, this IKEA store presents 48 different room-settings, three model home interiors, a supervised children’s play area, and a 350-seat restaurant serving Swedish specialties such as meatballs with lingonberries and salmon plates, as well as American dishes. Other family-friendly features include a ‘Children’s IKEA’ area in the Showroom, baby care rooms, preferred parking and play areas throughout the store.
IKEA strives to be ‘The Life Improvement Store,’ and since its 1943 founding in Sweden, has offered home furnishings of good design and function, at low prices so the majority of people can afford them. There are currently more than 330 IKEA stores in 40 countries, including 38 in the U.S. IKEA incorporates sustainable efforts into day-to-day business and supports initiatives that benefit children and the environment. For more information, go to IKEA-USA.com.
07/24/2012 TheÂ Pew Project on National Security, Energy, and ClimateÂ today released a letter signed by more than 350 veterans, including retired generals and admirals, as well as former Armed Services Committee chairmen Sen. John Warner and Rep. Ike Skelton, urging the president and Congress to support the Pentagonâ€™s initiatives to diversify its energy sources, limit demand and lower costs. The letter stresses the importance of the militaryâ€™s ability to deploy clean energy technology to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and strengthen our national security, energy independence, and economic security.
As the worldâ€™s largest consumer of liquid fuels, the military is both becoming more energy efficient and working to test and certify advanced biofuels in its ships, planes, and vehicles. By investing in alternative fuels today, theÂ Department of DefenseÂ (DoD) is positioning itself to take advantage of these new products when they become cost-competitive with conventional fuels. This second generation of â€œdrop-inâ€ biofuels is produced from domestic non-food-stock plant and biomass sources, requires no changes to current engine design, and provides the same or better performance than conventional fuels.
â€œToday, it takes 22 gallons of fuel per soldier per day to support combat operations, a 175 percent increase over the Vietnam War era,â€ said Phyllis Cuttino, director of the Pew Project on National Security, Energy, and Climate. â€œThe national security community agrees that both the DoD and the nation as a whole must reduce their dependence on foreign oil. However, some in Congress are working to cripple the departmentâ€™s ability to move forward on energy innovation with its advanced biofuels program. This would hurt DoDâ€™s capacity to shield its budget from oil price shocks and ensure operational effectiveness.â€
For every $10 increase in a barrel of oil, the department pays an additional $1.4 billion annuallyâ€”money that comes at the cost of operations and readiness. Some congressional amendments, if adopted, would bar DoD from purchasing or using alternative fuels and could also affect the fuels used to power unmanned vehicles for military operations.
â€œThe bottom line is that the four branches of our military need our nationâ€™s full support to continue seeking energy solutions through innovation, as their predecessors have done for generations,â€ added Sen. Warner, a former Navy secretary as well as former chairman of theÂ Senate Armed Services Committee. â€œOur nationâ€™s energy security is linked to increasing the diversity of domestic sources of energy, both conventional and alternative, to lessen our reliance on foreign sources.â€
“The development of renewable energy sources is a national security, economic, and environmental imperative,” Gen. Anthony Jackson, USMC (Ret.), said. “The next generation of Americans is deserving of our commitment to become less dependent on foreign fossil fuels.”
Lt. Gen. John Castellaw, USMC (Ret.), added, “The U.S. military faces strategic, operational, and tactical vulnerabilities due to its reliance on foreign oil. Spikes in fuel costs lead to cuts in operationsâ€”reducing flying time, sailing time and training time, thereby reducing the militaryâ€™s overall effectiveness. We should use emerging technologies to limit these vulnerabilities.”
In its reportÂ â€œMore Fight, Less Fuel,â€ theÂ Defense Science BoardÂ noted: â€œDoDâ€™s energy problems are not unlike those of the nation. Just like the nation, to reduce its energy risks, DoD must significantly improve its energy productivity and use renewable sources where possible. â€¦ As these technologies find their way into commercial products, they will also limit our national dependence on foreign oil.â€
Innovation has been a consistent priority and role for the U.S. military. The militaryâ€™s leadership, cooperation with the private sector, and early adoption have been critical to the commercialization of many technologies such as semiconductors, nuclear energy, the Internet, and the Global Positioning System. Maintaining energy innovation, inside and outside the DoD, is critical to our national security.
For more information, visit theÂ Pew Project on National Security, Energy & Climate.
Angering Spain by seizing and nationalizing a majority of Repsol’s shares in YPF and ramping up the rhetoric over the Falkland Islands as exploration deals promise to make the territory a major oil player overnight, Argentina is making few friends in the fossil fuels industry these days. Sam Logan, owner of the Latin America-focused private intelligence boutique, Southern Pulse, speaks to Oilprice.com about the politics of populism behind Argentina’s energy aggression.
Samuel Logan is the founding partner of Southern Pulse, a private human intelligence organization focused on investigating security, politics, energy, and black market economics in Latin America. Southern Pulse investigators operate from hubs in Mexico, El Salvador, Colombia, Brazil, and Chile to leverage Southern Pulse’s HUMINT network, unique access, and deep understanding of the region to mitigate risk for public and private sector clients with exposure to political, security, financial, or legal risk in Latin America.
In the interview Sam Talks about:
Why Carlos Slim bought shares in YPF
Why Argentina won’t take any definitive action in the Falklands
Why things will get worse for energy firms in Argentina
Argentina’s brewing political crisis
Argentina’s future relationship with Spain
Interview conducted by Jen Alic of Oilprice.com
Oilprice.com: In April, Argentina nationalized Spanish Repsol’s shares in YPF and now shareholders have approved a move that could see a sharp cut in dividend payouts and a redirection of profits to investment. This is in line with President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s justification for nationalizing Repsol’s shares in YPF. She had accused Repsol of fleecing YPF by using too much of its profits for shareholder benefits rather than investing in exploration and turning Argentina into an importer of fuel. Will this essentially political and economic populism help or harm Argentina?
Sam Logan: While there are certainly short-term gains to be realized, the long-term effects of the Argentina-Spain relationship and Argentina’s relationship with other oil majors will result in significant setbacks in investment confidence and overall appetite for working with the Argentine government.
Oilprice.com: What we would like to know is what is missing from this story and what role certain vested interests, such as the Eskenazi family (minority YPF shareholders brought on by the Kirchners who later defaulted on their Repsol loans) and Carlos Slim, have played in the YPF saga.
Sam Logan: The Eskenazi family really took a hit from this action. When brought on board by the Kirchners, they took out loans to buy their stakeholder position in YPF. The payback on those loans was based partially on dividend payments. So the Kirchner nationalization and subsequent decision on dividends has left them in default. Carlos Slim, who got 8% of YPF when Eskenazi defaulted, was simply making a personal investment, not a political statement. When you’re the world’s richest man, it’s not particularly risky to make low-value purchases and hold them long term to see if they pan out.
Oilprice.com: Populism is also at play in Argentina’s renewed push over the Falkland Islands. Last week, Premier signed a $1 billion deal develop Rockhopper Exploration’s Sea Lion field in the Falkland Islands and Argentina is threatening to sue Premier for illegal activity. How will this play out for Argentina, and for big oil? What can we expect in the near- medium-term?
Sam Logan: The Argentine lawsuit will move forward and the UK firms will ignore the action, but BP could get caught in the crossfire as a UK firm with holdings in Argentina. Already we’ve seen Kirchner’s administration apply pressure to BP.
Oilprice.com: How are oil and the Falklands used as symbols of national sovereignty in Argentina?
Sam Logan: The Falklands have long been used as symbols in Argentina, and this is an issue that crosses party lines so there is more political currency available for the Falklands issue across the Argentine political spectrum. There could be more saber rattling, but at this point I don’t see the Argentine government taking definitive action.
Oilprice.com: Would you agree that at the heart of the matter is Argentina’s misguided energy policy, in place since 2003?
Sam Logan: It’s not just energy. This is more about Argentina’s overall economic policies and the steadily increasing economic pressures the Kirchner government is facing. Inflation, currency controls and price controls on gasoline all play a huge role in this market, which extends well beyond the recent actions with YPF. Let’s not forget that until recently Argentina was a natural gas exporter. Due to a long-term political negligence and mismanagement of infrastructure, Argentina is dependent on multinational energy firms to develop deposits and other known reserves – not to mention the potential for hydraulic fracturing. Ultimately, the irrational behavior Argentina has shown against multinational energy firms underscores a brewing political crisis that shows little to no sign of abatement in the near-term. It’s likely to get worse for energy firms in Argentina before it gets better.
Interview by. Jen Alic of Oilprice.com