Saab may be revived as a maker of electric vehicles

Electric cars

Defunct automaker Saab may soon be revived as a maker of electric vehicles if new investors have their way. Saab closed its doors in January 2012 after more than 65 years of business. The company had struggled financially for several years before it was closed down and hosted a sleuth of complicated, and sometimes tense, relationship with other automakers. General Motors purchased the company in 1990, but Saab was unable to live up to the larger automaker’s expectations. Saab closed its doors in January this year after a Chinese consortium…

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Opower launches Facebook application to give people an understanding of energy efficiency

Social Networking App

Social networking app helping alternative energy awareness Alternative energy and environmentalism are two concepts that go hand-in-hand. Both subjects are surrounded by a significant amount of controversy which has led progress on these fronts to stagnate and people to lose interest. Alternative energy and environmentalism are often political issues, but psychology may play a bigger role in the matter that some people may think. In 1984, Doctor Robert Cialdini, a professor of psychology and marketing at the Arizona State University, introduced the concept of “social proof” in his book Influence:…

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San Francisco named as North America’s Cleantech Capital by the Cleantech Group

Alternative Energy News San Francisco

San Francisco, California, has claimed the title as “Cleantech Capital” of North America this week. The title is awarded by the Cleantech Group, a market intelligence firm focused on alternative energy and sustainability. San Francisco was chosen because of its exemplary commitment to alternative energies like solar, hydrogen and wind power. Cleantech noted that the city is also quite attractive to renewable energy groups looking to expand and attract investors. The Cleantech Group notes that San Francisco is home to more than 200 alternative energy companies and investment groups. These…

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2011 natural disasters spur renewed enthusiasm for alternative energy

Japan Earthquake

The Munich Reinsurance Company, a reinsurance and ratings firm serving the global insurance industry, has released a new report concerning the economic losses of natural disasters in 2011. The report notes that last year saw more than 820 natural disasters, many of which were man-made. These catastrophes resulted in 27,000 deaths and more than $380 billion in losses around the world. In terms of casualties, 2011 was more lenient than 2010, but was much more damaging to the global economy. The report notes that one of the worst disasters of…

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Direct methanol fuel cells could lead to consumer acceptance of hydrogen energy

Verizon solar energy

Alternative energy is becoming a popular subject as more people grow conscious of their impact on the environment. As such, more attention is being drawn to various types of energy systems that have, until recently, been ignored by the community at large. One of these energy systems is direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs). These variants of the hydrogen fuel cell were first developed by the Caltech/NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory with the help of the University of California in 1990. Unlike their hydrogen counterparts, these fuel cells are well suited for…

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Bill Gates trumps the importance of clean and accessible energy for developing countries

bill gates

Bill Gates is well known around the world as the founder of Microsoft, the technology company of gargantuan influence. In recent years, Gates has been playing a larger role in the world of philanthropy, using his position as one of the world’s wealthiest men to help developing countries liberate themselves from poverty. Gates has long been a proponent of ending poverty and has been focusing his efforts on helping impoverished countries through the use of alternative energy. Speaking at the Wall Street Journal ECO:nomics forum this week, Gates expressed the…

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Obama administration launches Green Button Initiative to make America more aware of its energy consumption

US Renewable Energy

Last week, the Obama administration launched a new program it is calling the Green Button Initiative. Simply put, the Initiative is a website featuring a large green button. Clicking on the button allows U.S. residents to submit their energy consumption data, which will be converted into an easy to understand format. This data is meant to help people understand how they use energy and suggest ways to help them be more efficient about their consumption. The Green Button Initiative aims to provide consumers with access to their energy data on…

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Energy Information Administration report shows oil imports are at their lowest point since 1999

Renewable Energy Report

A new report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), a branch of the Department of Energy, shows that imports of crude oil have fallen since 2005. Several factors have contributed to the drop in imports over the years, including political tension with the Middle East and a new focus on alternative energy and efficiency. The report indicates that in 2011, oil imports hit the lowest point they have been since 1999. According to the report, oil imports have dropped by 12% since 2005. In recent years – 2009 and…

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New Zealand on track to become an alternative energy powerhouse

New Zealand - Renewable Energy

Alternative energy is on the rise in New Zealand, according to Industrial Info, a market intelligence firm specializing in renewable fuel. The firm has been tracking the progress of alternative energy projects in the country for some time and notes that the country could be on the verge of becoming one of the world’s alternative energy powerhouses. New Zealand has been home to very ambitious sustainability projects, including wind and solar farms as well as hydrogen power installations. This year, the country will see several new energy projects taking root,…

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Staten Island’s old landfill to be home to new alternative energy projects

Landfill Gas to energy projects

New York City’s Staten Island is known for a great many things. Often called the “Forgotten Borough,” Staten Island is home to some of New York City’s largest marathons as well as one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, the Staten Island Ferry. Unfortunately, the Island is also known for its expansive garbage dump. The landfill houses a significant amount of the waste produced by New York City. The landfill was closed in early 2011 after having serviced more than two billion tons of garbage. Now, the dump could…

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Tensions with the Middle East spark a bright future for alternative energy

Gas Prices

Alternative energy is getting more attention from the U.S. government now than it ever has in the past. While some believe that this newfound interest in sustainable energy is spurred by belief in climate change, the reality of the matter may be that the country is looking to protect itself in the event of military conflict in the Middle East. Tensions between Iran and Israel are mounting and while neither side has openly attacked the other, threats abound. The U.S. is also in the throes of potential conflict with Iran…

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Human behavior, not technology, may be the key to alternative energy

Hydrogen Fuel Transportation

Technology may not be enough to break the world’s dependence on fossil-fuels, according to University of Oregon sociologist Richard York. For decades, the consensus as to why fossil-fuels are necessary has largely been focused on the lack of alternatives and the technology to make these alternatives viable. Now that technology has reached the point where such alternatives as solar, wind, and hydrogen are viable, progress toward breaking away from fossil-fuels is expected to accelerate. In a new report, York posits that this is not the case. York argues that the…

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South Africa to introduce carbon tax in 2013-2014 fiscal year

South Africa hydrogen fuel

South Africa’s Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, has announced that the government will be implementing a carbon tax in the fiscal year running from 2013 to 2014. This is the first time government officials have confirmed the coming of a carbon tax. The concept has been rumor for years and one that had many of the country’s businesses on edge. Currently, South African ranks among the top 20 countries whose carbon emissions are the highest. This position is largely a result of the country’s increasing industrialization. The South African government has…

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Economist Intelligence Unit survey highlights risks of the alternative energy industry

Alternative Energy Targets EU

Climate change and alternative energy are issues that are gaining momentum around the world. Governments have shown resistance to both topics, leaving them in a state of slow progress. Because governments have show wariness in funding alternative energy projects, these projects have survived largely on private investments. Investors are constantly on the lookout for risks, however, and the alternative energy industry is still rife with unidentified factors that could translate into major financial losses. The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), an economic research firm, is looking to bring some stability to…

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Kaiser Permanente adopts alternative energy as a way to reduce harmful emissions

Kaiser Permanente

Health care provider Kaiser Permanente has announced that it will be looking to reduce its carbon emissions by 30% by 2020. The organization believes that emissions have a direct impact on the health of the populace and is keen to reduce its own contribution to greenhouse gases by adopting alternative energy. Kaiser will be accomplishing its goal through the use of solar and hydrogen energy. The organization is currently weighing options for on-site and off-site energy systems that will make it more environmentally friendly. Kaiser officials have said that hydrogen…

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Department of Labor report shows job growth in the alternative energy industry

Clean technology

The latest employment report from the U.S. Department of Labor shows that green jobs are growing at a rapid pace. The report notes that in the past year unemployment fell to 8.5%, the lowest it has been in three years. This is due largely to the emergence of new jobs in the alternative energy industry. These jobs concern manufacturing new energy systems, maintaining these systems, construction projects and even research and development careers. The report suggests that the U.S. economy is showing promising progress toward recovery in the wake of…

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