Solar Cities is an $75 million AUD ($67 million USD) government demonstration project that gets solar panels and smart meters directly into urban homes, schools and businesses. The country's fifth designated Solar City actually involves 13 different municipalities and features two 300-kilowatt solar parks that some participants will have the option to buy into.
At the Local Renewables 2007 event in Freiburg, Germany in June, city and business leaders from 34 countries called for renewable energy to be the basis of a decentralized and secure energy supply. They also agreed that measures to curb the dramatic impact of climate change must be carried out immediately, and that the local government level plays a crucial role in this.
FT's International Affairs Columnist Gideon Rachman says we actually face two energy crises: one driven by global competition and resource scarcity, and one driven by the need to reduce energy consumption in the face of global warming. While we can and should address both crises jointly, the difficulties of doing so are significant -- and worsening.
China recently broke ground on Dongtan, which it calls the world’s first eco-city. A ferry ride away from central Shanghai, Dongtan will ban all polluting cars, forcing people to get around using electric cars, bicycles, or just their legs. It will recycle as much as possible, including all its wastewater; grow food on its own environmentally sensitive farms; and create all its own energy in nonpolluting ways—wind, solar, and the burning of human and animal wastes. It will encourage, and in some cases require, the use of local labor and local, green building materials.
Most of these technologies are not new, and many are commonly used in Western Europe. What will make Dongtan unique are the integration of environmentally friendly practices and the strict exclusion of older, polluting ones.
When a bright blue, 40-foot-long container rolls towards rural northeastern Oregon later this month, it will carry an innovative addition to the nation's growing renewable energy industry -- a portable biodiesel refinery. Now farmers in northeastern Oregon can not only grow biofuel crops, they can also pump locally-processed biofuels directly into their trucks, tractors and combines.
The Swedish city of Växjö is chasing a future free of fossil fuels, and it's almost halfway there without having sacrificed lifestyle, comfort or economic growth. Växjö's model of investing in bioenergy, combined heating and power (CHP) systems and district heating has been repeated all over Sweden.
A detailed look at how last summer's heat wave strained the western grid, and how trends in energy use and average temperatures likely mean more energy crises in the future.
Worried about aging and unreliable electric transmission systems, some U.S. cities are considering creating micro grid districts, in which neighboring companies band together to produce their own electric power. The concept is already popular among communities in Europe, and a similar version of it is being used in Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla.
Metro Fuel Oil Corporation, is awaiting city approval to produce 110 million gallons of fuel a year from raw vegetable oils at two industrial sites in Brooklyn. They would would be the first biodiesel refineries in the city, producing over 40 percent of current yearly U.S. biodiesel output.
While hundreds of megawatts of Northwest wind power are slated to come online in 2007, most of that power will have to travel many miles via transmission lines to reach electricity customers. As regional experts attempt to tackle wind integration issues, a handful of wind technology innovations could bring small-scale wind installations where power is needed most: urban centers.