In green technology news this week, in the days leading up to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, a poll of likely U.S. voters has found enthusiasm for advanced energy; in the wake of the Congo War, America is making a concerted effort to eliminate deadly looting of minerals used in consumer electronics products; and manufacturers and conservationists have petitioned the Department of Energy (DOE) to put more stringent energy efficient standards in place for industrial motors.
A survey of likely voters in key battleground states and nationwide, conducted on the eve of the Republican presidential nomination, has found that 85 percent of Republicans – as well as 88 percent of political Independents and 96 percent of Democrats – believe that advanced energy is important to America’s economic future. What’s more, the poll, conducted on behalf of the Advanced Energy Economy Institute, established that 80 percent of Republicans nationwide think U.S. dependence on foreign oil is “a crisis” or “a major problem.” For Democrats and Independents those numbers were 83 percent and 82 percent, respectively.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has adopted a rule that requires companies to publicly disclose their use of “conflict minerals” that originated in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) or an adjoining country. The SEC (News - Alert) believes that the new rule will help prevent militias linked to atrocities from profiting from mining minerals used in electronics, jewelry and other goods. Companies will be required to provide this disclosure on a new form to be filed annually with the SEC called Form SD.
The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), in alliance with eight conservation advocacy groups, has filed a petition with the DOE, recommending both new and more robust energy efficiency standards for electric motors used in commercial and industrial applications (such as pumps, conveyors, and fans). The signatories also have asked DOE to “lower the boom” on some motor types that have not previously been covered by U.S. standards, by eliminating their current exemptions. In addition to increasing national energy savings, the petitioners believe that curtailing exemptions will simplify enforcement and severely limit opportunities to evade regulations. If standards are tightened and the number and type of motors subject to standards are augmented, according to DOE's own analysis, America would save about 4.4 quadrillion BTUs of energy by 2044—more energy than the entire State of Florida uses annually.
With a view toward sustaining “acceptable damages” during tougher economic times for the wind industry in 2013, turbine producer Vestas Wind Systems A/S is intensifying its cost-savings and reducing its workforce. The precautionary moves will increase the expected fixed-cost reduction initially announced by Vestas from €150 million (US$188 million) to €250 million (US$314 million). The company noted that this change “is based on a forecasted shipment of around 5GW in 2013; which will result in a significantly lower activity level in 2013, to which the company will naturally have to adapt.” What’s more, Vestas had previously announced that its workforce would be reduced by 2,335 by the end of 2012. These staff reductions are ahead of schedule—and will be completed by the end of September 2012. The company then plans further cutbacks by year-end, bringing the bringing the total number of employees down to around 19,000, from 21,767 employees worldwide at mid-year 2012.
The magazine, Inc., provides a list each year of the fastest growing U.S. companies. For the year of 2012, one company stood out,—not because it held the number-one spot on the list, but because it had jumped up 194 places on the list from the previous year. The 2012 Inc. 5000 List placed e-Cycle at spot 393. Over the past three years, e-Cycle has experienced growth of 959 percent and generated $12.2 million in revenues. The company is a top provider of wireless phone recycling services.
Finally, Savannah Tec, based in Georgia, recently created a solar installation program and a sustainable technology program that will be open to students beginning this fall semester. The school’s goal is to connect students to jobs in the green building industries, including both the electrical and construction fields.
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