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TMCnet GreenTech Week in Review
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August 04, 2012

TMCnet GreenTech Week in Review

By Cheryl Kaften
TMCnet Contributor

In green technology news this week, Kyocera and six partners plan to operate the largest solar power plant in Japan; the global Consortium for Smart Energy Profile 2 Interoperability has announced its formal incorporation; a U.S. conservative think tank is cultivating grassroots support for a carbon tax; and it’s no longer "lights out” at the infamous Alcatraz Prison, where 1,300 solar panels have been installed on the roof of the main Cellhouse building.

Kyoto, Japan-based Kyocera Corporation and six other companies have formed a new company, the Kagoshima Mega Solar Power Corporation, which will operate a 70-megawatt (MW) solar power plant in Kagoshima City in southern Japan—the largest in that nation to date. In addition to Kyocera, members of the consortium include KDDI Corporation; IHI Corporation; Kyudenko Corporation; Bank of Kyoto, Ltd.; Kagoshima Bank, Ltd.; and Takenaka Corporation. The total cost of the project is estimated at approximately 27 billion yen (US$345 million). Electric Power Co., Inc. will purchase the generated power under the guidelines of the new feed-in tariff (FIT) program, which was implemented on July 1 in Japan. Construction will start this year and is expected to be completed during 2013.

The Consortium for Smart Energy Profile 2 Interoperability together with its founding members— HomePlug Alliance, Wi-Fi Alliance (News - Alert) and ZigBee Alliance—has announced its formal incorporation. Now, the consortium will focus on and further help to drive SEP 2 interoperability within the smart grid sector, in order to maximize consumer benefits. The consortium will ensure interoperability validation for products such as thermostats, appliances, electric meters, gateways, and electric vehicles, among a host of other devices currently used within the smart grid market. SEP 2 is an Internet Protocol-based application layer that is a result of collaborative development efforts between of the three founders, as well as other organizations.

George Mason University has launched an Energy and Enterprise Initiative (E&EI)—a campaign to cultivate U.S. grassroots support for a “revenue-neutral” plan to address climate change.” The Virginia-based, conservative-leaning institution houses a reputable research, polling and academic Center for Climate Change Communications (4C) on its main campus in Fairfax. The new Energy and Enterprise Initiative is being spearheaded by former U.S. Representative Bob Inglis (R-South Carolina, 1993–1999), who as a Congressman proposed a bill that would have switched out a carbon tax for the payroll tax. Not only was the legislation repudiated, but so too was Inglis in the next election—trounced by a Tea-Party-backed candidate in the state primaries, current Representative Trey Gowdy (R-South Carolina). Committed to developing real solutions, E&EI will partner with conservative thought leaders, businesses, and other organizations to host panels, conduct outreach, and convene forums nationwide.

It has been 40 years since it was designated a U.S. national park, but the spirits of "Machine Gun Kelly," Al Capone, and the "Birdman of Alcatraz" still haunt the cellblocks at Alcatraz Prison, according to local folklore. And even now, the desolate, inescapable penitentiary is nearly as major a landmark as the Golden Gate Bridge—visible to the north of the span on a nearby island known as “The Rock” in the middle of San Francisco Bay

 Gloomy is the adjective we would most likely associate with the old prison—but, situated as it is on the highest point of 22-acre Alcatraz Island, it actually is well-insolated. It is so bright, in fact, that 1,300 solar panels have been installed on the roof of the main Cellhouse building—and now are powering lights and appliances that for three-quarters of a century were powered by diesel fuel ferried across the bay. The 307-kilowatt (kW) photovoltaic (PV) solar array is attached to two 2,000-ampere-hour battery strings and an inverter plant—producing close to 400,000 kilowatt-hours (KWh) of electricity a year, reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by about 337,000 kilograms a year, and reducing the time the generator runs from 100 percent to 40 percent. What’s more, a massive solar battery system helps power the island when the sun doesn't shine.

During the first six months of 2012, clean diesel car sales in the United States increased 27.5 percent, according to data compiled by HybridCars.Com and the research firm Baum and Associates. Seeing a trend, automakers have 15 new clean diesel models designated to roll out in the United States within the next two years. According to Boulder Colorado-based Pike Research, diesel vehicles that meet current U.S. and European Union standards have “dramatically lower” nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate matter emissions than 20 years ago—earning them the name “clean diesels.” What’s more, a diesel vehicle typically gets 20 to 40 percent better fuel economy than a comparable gasoline vehicle. This factor has made diesel cars tremendously popular in Europe, where they have accounted for around 50 percent of light-duty vehicle (LDV) sales over the past several years. For a list of the new clean diesel cars set to launch in North America, click here.

Previewed at the Mobile World Congress (News - Alert) in Barcelona earlier this year, AT&T eco-ratings are now in-store—giving customers a simple, easy-to-understand label to consult on all new AT&T-branded postpaid mobile devices. In addition, AT&T will offer eco-ratings on 13 more devices from its existing portfolio. This announcement comes on the heels of a survey conducted by AT&T in June, which notes that, all things being equal, 60 percent of consumer would consider the environmental impact of a device before making a purchase. The eco-rating system assesses 15 criteria drawn from five general categories of sustainability attributes: usage of environmentally preferable materials, minimization of hazardous substances, energy efficiency, responsible end-of-life treatment, and environmentally-responsible manufacturing. Device manufacturers submit an assessment to AT&T, showing how many of the criteria their device meets. AT&T reviews this report and confirms the data reported. These criteria are then calculated into AT&T’s five-star system, with five stars being the highest level of environmental concern. 

Finally, Trilliant (News - Alert) has announced that its corporate marketing head, Sonita Lontoh, has won the Indonesian Diaspora Award for Entrepreneurship and Corporate Excellence. Apart from working with Trilliant, Lontoh is a professional mentor for the U.S. Department of State's TechWomen program, a liaison for the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, and a contributor to the U.S. Department of Energy/MIT Clean Energy (News - Alert) Education & Empowerment (C3E) initiative.

Sources indicate Lontoh has won this award for the achievements in the clean energy and smart grid spaces, for the achievements in the clean energy and smart grid spaces, awarded by Indonesia's Minister of Tourism and Creative Economic Development Mari Elka Pangestu on behalf of the Diaspora Select Committee at the July 2012 inaugural Congress of Indonesian Diaspora in Los Angeles, Calif.

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