National Sustainability Rating System Certifies Eight New Landscape Projects

The Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) has announced eight new projects that have achieved certification under the nation’s most comprehensive rating system for the sustainable design, construction and maintenance of built landscapes. These projects, as part of a group of 150 projects participating in an extensive, two-year pilot program, have applied the 2009 SITES guidelines and met the requirements for pilot certification.

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First Solar to Deliver 155MW of Solar Power Projects for AGL Energy

First Solar announced yesterday that AGL Energy Limited (AGL) has achieved financial close for two utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) projects. First Solar has executed engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts to supply the projects with its advanced thin-film photovoltaic (PV) modules and provide EPC services. In addition, First Solar will provide maintenance support for a period of five years once the solar farms are operational.

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Solectria Renewables to Power the Largest College Solar Installation in North America

Patricia C. Donohue, MCCC President, said the solar farm moves MCCC forward on many fronts. “The solar farm will save critical dollars and enable us to restore to our budget many cuts in programs and services we have made over the past two years. It also helps us fulfill our sustainability goals. We have committed to the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) with the goal of achieving carbon neutrality.”

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Lawrence Livermore Engineering Team Breakthrough in Solar Energy Research

The LLNL Materials Engineering Division (MED) research team has made breakthroughs experimenting with black metals. These nanostructured metals are designed to have low reflectivity and high absorption of visible and infrared light. The MED research team recently published their black metals research results in a cover-page article in the May issue of Applied Physics Letters titled “Plasmonic Black Metals in Resonant Nanocavities.

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What Can Plants Reveal about Global Climate Change?

A group of organisms that play a wide variety of crucial roles in our global ecosystems is plants. What role do plants play in helping to regulate climate change and how will they fare in future times? A new series of articles in a Special Issue on Global Biological Change in the American Journal of Botany expands our view on how global changes affect and are affected by plants and offers new ideas to stimulate and advance new collaborative research.

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Moving the Smart Cities Idea from Concept to Reality

The goal of smart cities is to enhance the lives of residents through improved performance, efficiency and functionality. This is expressed through an increase in living standards, improvement of communities, and betterment of the overall city experience. Cities are hoping to pour the savings derived from these efficiencies back into city projects to ultimately drive economic growth.

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Harvesting Electricity from Carbon Dioxide

They describe technology that would react the CO2 with water or other liquids and, with further processing, produce a flow of electrons that make up electric current. It could produce about 1,570 billion kilowatts of additional electricity annually if used to harvest CO2 from power plants, industry and residences. That’s about 400 times the annual electrical output of the Hoover Dam.

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Hydrogen Cars Quickened by Copenhagen Chemists

Climate friendly fuel cells for hydrogen cars have come one step closer. Researchers at the Department of Chemistry, University of Copenhagen, have shown how to build fuel cells that produce as much electricity as current models, but require markedly less of the rare and valuable precious metal platinum. Their discovery was published in the highly reputable periodical Nature Materials. Cheaper hydrogen cars with new fuel cell design Fuel cells ought to replace internal combustion engines in our cars. They are…

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NRG Solar Achieves Commercial Operation of Two Solar PV Projects in California

NRG Energy, Inc., through its wholly owned subsidiary NRG Solar, today announced that two of the solar photovoltaic facilities the company acquired from Recurrent Energy earlier this year have reached commercial operation. The two California based solar PV facilities, totaling 40 megawatts (AC), deliver electricity to Southern California Edison (SCE) and Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E).

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Trees Using Water More Efficiently When Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Rises

The study, “Increase in forest water-use efficiency as atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations rise,” was published on-line today in the journal Nature. Dave Hollinger, a plant physiologist with the U.S. Forest Service’s Northern Research Station, is a co-author with lead author Trevor Keenan of Harvard University and colleagues from The Ohio State University, Indiana University, and the Institute of Meteorology and Climate in Germany.

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Ascent Solar to Build Chinese Manufacturing Plant with Joint Venture Funding from the Suqian Government

Colorado-based Ascent Solar Technologies, a manufacturer of flexible thin-film photovoltaic modules, announced today the signing of an agreement for the establishment of a joint venture with the Government of the Municipal City of Suqian in Jiangsu Province, China. The agreement covers a three-phase project over the next six years.

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First Wind and Avista Celebrate Milestone at Palouse Wind Project

First Wind, an independent U.S.-based renewable energy company, and Avista today commemorated the generation of 150,000 megawatt hours (MWh) by the Palouse Wind project since its start of commercial operations in December 2012. Since the Palouse Wind project went online, it has brought significant long-term tax revenue to Whitman County while generating enough clean energy to power the homes of about 30,000 Avista customers.

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Champion Nano-Rust for Producing Solar Hydrogen

At the end of last year, Kevin Sivula, one of the collaborators at the LPI laboratory, presented a prototype electrode based on the same principle. Its efficiency was such that gas bubbles emerged as soon as it was under a light stimulus. Without a doubt, the potential of such cheap electrodes was demonstrated, even if there was still room for improvement.

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University Chemists Work to Desalt the Ocean for Drinking Water

By creating a small electrical field that removes salts from seawater, chemists at The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Marburg in Germany have introduced a new method for the desalination of seawater that consumes less energy and is dramatically simpler than conventional techniques. The new method requires so little energy that it can run on a store-bought battery.

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Wind Power Forecast: Industry Will Add Over 241 Gigawatts of Capacity from 2012 to 2017

With the addition of 44.9 gigawatts in new installations in 2012, world wind power capacity grew to approximately 285.7 GW, an increase of 18.6 percent in the total wind power installation base. Average annual growth over the past 5 years has been 17.8 percent, achieved during the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, even with traditionally large markets for wind power in economic recession in both North America and Europe.

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