QUICK NEWS, 2-21: NYC DOUBLES ITS SUN; THE AV SMART CHARGER; SONAR WATCHING OCEAN ENERGY; SEEKING JUSTICE FROM CALIF CAP & TRADE
NYC DOUBLES ITS SUN
Con Edison Customers Double their Use of Solar Power; Going Solar = Greener Wallets, Climate
February 9, 2011 (Con Edison)
"Solar power more than doubled in New York City and Westchester County last year as Con Edison customers installed 4.5 megawatts of photovoltaic generation.
"Con Edison, which is working with the City University of New York (CUNY) on the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar America City program, now has 8.5 megawatts of photovoltaic-generated electricity on its system…Customers completed 203 solar projects last year, up from 134 new installations a year earlier…"
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[Robert Schimmenti, vice president/engineering and planning, Con Edison:] “We reached out to our customers and explained the economic and environmental benefits…shortened our approval process for residential systems - those under 25 kilowatts - and created a website where customers can submit their applications.”
"Con Edison’s website provides information about the process for installing solar panels and links to the NYC Solar America City website…[and other] sites that explain the financial incentives…[and] net metering…Con Edison is working with city and state agencies and CUNY on the 100 Days of Solar program, which aims to reduce the time it takes a customer to get the approvals to install solar panels by improving coordination across agencies."
THE AV SMART CHARGER
AeroVironment Begins Shipment and Completes First Installations of Residential Smart Charging Systems
February 14, 2011 (Aerovironment)
"AeroVironment…has begun shipping and installing its UL-listed single-family and multi-unit residential Smart Charging Dock (model EVSE-RS+). Designed with an open architecture to ensure interoperability with the thousands of individual utilities nationwide, the grid-connected system charges electric and plug-in electric hybrid cars by turning drivers’ homes into convenient, smart refueling hubs.
"AeroVironment designed its Smart Charging Dock and supporting software to integrate easily with a utility’s IT network over various communication methods, including GPRS (cellular), Ethernet, WiFi and ZigBee. The charging system enables communication with the utility to allow for easy monitoring of energy use, troubleshooting and data analysis to help optimize the grid. Utilities can then assess charging patterns and proactively manage the needs of electric vehicles on the utility‘s generation and distribution systems. Utilities will ultimately be able to aggregate collected data for a global view of EV energy usage and user habits."
AV's EVSE-RS smart charger (click to enlarge)
"The company…[will] be providing and installing the charging systems and data network for the nation’s first privately-funded EV charging ‘ecosystem’ in Houston for New Jersey-based NRG Energy…AeroVironment is working closely with NRG Energy to ensure that its charging hardware and software work seamlessly with the company’s management system, allowing for grid optimization, CO2 footprint data, and energy consumption reports.
"AeroVironment’s Smart Charging Dock can charge an electric or plug-in hybrid car automatically or be pre-programmed by a utility or driver for optimal power draw so that the car charges when energy costs are lowest. EVSE-RS+ is designed to be compatible with all SAE J1772-compliant electric car models from major automakers…"
SONAR WATCHING OCEAN ENERGY
Sonar Systems to Support Monitoring of Marine and Hydrokinetic Energy Sites; A White Paper
Patrick K. Simpson, February 2011 (SciFish Sonar)
"…Ocean wave and hydrokinetic energy shows great promise and new technologies…make this renewable alternative energy source more efficient and effective at replacing fossil fuels, and keeping the environment clean. More companies are investing…Water that flows carries a great deal of energy, and the tides do not have to be extremely strong for this power to be harnessed and used. Also, the undulations of waves on an ocean surface can yield tremendous energy. Advancements in technology have resulted in many new products and methods being considered and evaluated…
"One drawback to this sector is that the fish and marine wildlife can be disturbed or potentially harmed…constant monitoring of the underwater environment is needed…tidal turbines can kill fish and other species if they get caught up in the equipment, and this can change the underwater ecosystem, so newer methods and equipment are being developed to minimize these impacts and protect the current habitat and marine life…With these new developments comes the need to monitor…[and] confirm these new capabilities…"
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"…[T]here are well over 100 conceptual designs for converting the energy of waves, river and tidal currents, and ocean temperature differences into electricity. Most of these ocean energy and hydrokinetic renewable energy technologies remain at the conceptual stage…there have been few studies of their environmental effects…predictive studies and environmental assessments…have not yet been verified…several common elements among the technologies…may pose a risk…
"… Alteration of current and wave strengths and directions… Alteration of substrates and sediment transport and deposition… Alteration of habitats for benthic organisms… Noise during construction and operation… Generation of electromagnetic fields (EMF)… Toxicity of paints, lubricants, and antifouling coatings… Interference with animal movements and migrations, including entanglement… Strike by rotor blades or other moving parts…"
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"…[T]here are tools available to support the monitoring that would be needed to support the full utilization of our ocean’s renewable resources. In particular, monitoring animal movements and migrations at or near a hydrokinetic site can be accomplished using sonar technology. Sonar can be used to detect, localize, track and report the presence of marine animals including fish, whales, sharks, swimming birds and other marine life. Sonar systems can be deployed in advance of a site installation to collect baseline data for comparison after an installation and sonar systems can be mounted to an existing underwater structure to provide constant monitoring during operations…
"…Hydrokinetic energy offers great promise toward providing a source of renewable energy. As these systems are deployed, they will need to monitor their affect on the environment and the marine life that occupy the same area. SciFish Sonar provides affordable monitoring tools that can assist with these monitoring efforts."
SEEKING JUSTICE FROM CALIF CAP & TRADE
Environmental justice groups sue for cap and trade alternatives
Ramsey Ugarte, February 16, 2011 (UCLA Daily Bruin)
"A final [legal] decision…will likely come in the next few weeks…[on the] Cailfornia Global Warming Solutions Act, also known as Assembly Bill 32, [which] aims to reduce carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. To reach these goals, the California Air Resources Board adopted the Scoping Plan in 2008 to reduce carbon dioxide emissions through various methods, including a cap and trade policy.
"Last month, a preliminary ruling by the San Francisco Superior Court found the Scoping Plan unlawful. If the decision is finalized, the Air Resources Board will have to reconsider the environmental impact of the Scoping Plan…[A] coalition of environmental justice groups [raised two objections to] the Scoping Plan."
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"The first problem was that the Scoping Plan did not seek ‘maximum technologically feasible and cost-effective reductions,’ a requirement of the bill. The court dismissed this claim…The second problem was the Scoping Plan allegedly did not consider environmental impact and consequences of a cap and trade system…Judge Ernest Goldsmith agreed with the second claim in his preliminary ruling.
"The debate has now been narrowed to examining alternatives to the Scoping Plan’s cap and trade policy. This program puts a cap on the amount of greenhouse gases that can be emitted. The state government then sells the rights to emit carbon dioxide to companies, which can trade pollution credits with each other…But the environmental justice groups that brought the lawsuit against the Air Resources Board oppose the cap and trade program [because it will unduly harm low-income communities of color]. These groups include the Communities for a Better Environment and the Center for Race, Poverty and the Environment…"
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"Those who support cap and trade say the revenue gained from the trading of emission rights will be used to forge programs for these poor populations…This argument does not satisfy the environmental justice community…The coalition seeks methods other than cap and trade to reduce carbon emissions…[such as] a direct tax to carbon emissions…[They say] a tax on carbon will not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but also encourage industries to move away from nonrenewable energy sources, possibly generating new jobs.
"If the ruling is finalized, it will likely be taken to an appeals court, which could overturn the previous ruling entirely or further stall AB 32…[But, because of legal limits to the case,] an alternative program is unlikely…[and] the state will likely move forward with cap and trade…"