Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Interior Secretary Approves Cape Wind, Nation's First Offshore Wind Farm

Unbelievable news. After a nine year battle, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has approved the nation's first offshore wind farm. Plus the Secretary said that there will be more offshore wind farms to come. This will be great for the wind industry by creating more jobs in manufacturing, construction and operations and great for the people on the east coast who will now receive clean and renewable electricity. This is a big deal folks. The United States is now in the offshore wind business. Kudos to all of those involved over the last nine years to help bring this dream into a reality. Read the article in the Boston Globe for a lot more info on the process and quotes from proponents and opponents.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Ecotech Institute Lands in Metro Denver

This is cool. The Ecotech Institute is an accredited educational institute specifically devoted to green collar jobs east of Denver. The boom of green jobs has created a market to educate those eager to learn about the clean energy economy. However, it seems like many universities have thrown "green" programs together to capitalize on the renewed interest in clean energy technology. Not all programs are half-baked but it pays to do some research beforehand to see exactly what how those programs will prepare you for the green workforce. I'm glad to see that the Ecotech Institute's primary mission is to train for renewable energy and sustainable design. I look forward to reviewing their curriculum when they start classes.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Ritter Signs Clean Air-Clean Jobs Act Into Law

It's a good day for Colorado's people, environment, and economy. Governor Ritter signed the Clean Air-Clean Jobs Act into law today. If you remember this bill was designed to retrofit some of Colorado's older coal-fired electricity plants to be able to burn cleaner natural gas. These retrofits will help create jobs, support Colorado's natural gas industry, and reduce carbon emissions and toxins in our air and water.

Another thing to keep in mind when trying to understand why this law is such a good idea is that a natural gas power plant makes it easier to supplement our power production with renewable sources such as wind and solar. This is because it is easier to bring a natural gas-fired power plant rather than a coal-fired plant when the wind ceases to blow and the sun stops shining. There was also an unusual accord among all parties (Xcel, environmentalists, Dems and Repubs) with the obvious exception being the coal industry. Finally, for all of those folks concerned about the cost of this law (rather than with the health of their neighbors or the environment first), it is cheaper to retrofit an old coal plant with natural gas than it is to decommission that plant and build a new coal-fired (albeit less emitting) power plant.

I don't know about you but I like the direction Colorado is taking with respect to the clean energy economy.

Cows on Treadmills Could Produce Six Percent of the World’s Power

Six percent of the world's power! Can you dig it? I know it would better for the environment to just stop eating meat altogether, but somehow I don't see the planet reducing their cow milk and meat intake in the near term. So as long as we have cows we might as well put them to work to generate clean electricity. Couple this with the use of methane gas from the cows and you might have a completely zero-energy farm. Plus this treadmill method is a plus for the distributed generation (DG) folks. I wonder if all the cow farms in Greeley, Colorado know about this?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Geothermal: Finding Energy Inside the Earth

Great article from 9News that explains geothermal technology in simple terms. Essentially a geothermal system uses the constant temperature of the ground to heat or cool water and then, with the help of a heat pump, heat or cool your home. You don't have to burn natural gas with this procedure. Plus the feds are providing a 30% tax credit for geothermal systems. It's clean renewable energy. Check it out.

Colorado Ranks in the Top Ten in Wind Energy Usage

Excellent. Colorado has made it into the top 10 with respect to wind power. The wind industry is booming here, especially on the Front Range. We have Vestas building manufacturing plants and wind farms being planned and built in windy locations on the eastern plains. Perhaps we can break into the top 5 in the next couple of years? Let's do it!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Colorado Leads Way in Renewable Energy

An op-ed from the Pueblo Chieftain written by former Republican speaker of the Colorado State House and current Democratic Senator Mark Udall on Colorado's growing strength and thought leadership within the renewable energy sector. It's a good read from state and federal legislators on both sides of the aisle.

Wishful Thinking

*Before adding PV, wind, or solar thermal to your residential or commercial structure, the first step is to analyze this structure's energy consumption through a professional energy audit. I'd like to see some public education on the importance of an energy audit for any structure. Remember Smokey the Bear's forest fire shtick drilled into our heads over the last few decades? How about something like, "Henry the House" desperately wanting to know how much energy he consumes and wastes throughout the day?

*With over 300 sunny days a year on the Front Range is it too much to ask for solar PV and thermal modules on every residential and commercial unit (after an energy audit of course)?

*How about affordable plug-in electric cars that go more than 100 miles on a charge with PV and wind powered recharging stations?

*Dreaming of companies large and small adopting business sustainability practices to maximize profits, reduce their carbon footprint, and enhance the lives of their employees and the communities that surround them.


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