“I have been trying to convince myself to go solar for many years, but the combination of energy efficiency focus, set packages and city supervision/vetting of vendors is moving me from a watcher to a hopeful implementer. I can't wait to take the next step.”
David Lappen, Santa Monica Resident
Solar Santa Monica
January 17 marked the official kick-off of Solar Santa Monica, an ambitious – potentially historic – city initiative to become energy self sufficient by 2020, technically a “net zero electricity importer.” Reaching this goal will require a combination of a) maximum efficiency throughout the City, b) investments in renewable energy – notably 17,500 municipal, business, and household solar systems, and c) local distributed generation using relatively “clean” technologies such as fuel cells and microturbines.
EcoMotion is pleased to serve as the facilitator of this remarkable demonstration project, working on a daily basis with the City’s Energy and Green Buildings office. The task at hand is to spur and manage 50 bundled installations of energy efficiency and solar systems in the coming two years. This includes developing packages that bundle efficiency and solar for apartments, single family homes, and multi-family apartment units. It involves certifying contractors, and marketing the program throughout the community, and working with local financial institutions to establish favorable terms, all with an eye of making the solar revolution highly accessible for residents and businesses.
The ultimate goal of EcoMotion’s contract with the City is to build a market-based business model to accomplish the City’s mandate for energy and environmental leadership and a transformation to a locally responsible energy platform.
The Solar Santa Monica Kick-Off attracted 182 stakeholders – from Mayor Richard Bloom and two fellow Council members, to “Solar Champions” who have already made solar investments, to solar contractors, and many more who are keen to make their once untenable solar dream a reality. Randy Udall provided a highly thought-provoking key note address. For more information on the program design and how to “solarize” your community, contact EcoMotion.
The World's First Low Carbon Transportation Fuel Standard
This past week California Governor Schwarzenegger signed an Executive Order establishing a Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) for transportation fuels sold in California. By 2020 the standard will reduce the carbon intensity of California's passenger vehicle fuels by at least 10%. This first-of-its-kind standard will support California's bell-weather strategies to fight global climate change.
California relies excessively on oil to meet its transportation needs; 96% of the State’s transportation fuel is oil, responsible for more than 40% of California's greenhouse gas emissions. The LCFS will replace 20% of the State’s gasoline consumption with lower-carbon fuels, it will more than triple the size of the state's renewable fuels market, and add seven million alternative fuel vehicles to California roads, resulting in 20 times more alternative fuel vehicles on California’s roadways.
The Executive Order features market-based mechanisms that allow providers to choose how they reduce emissions. Providers may purchase and blend more low-carbon ethanol into gasoline products, or purchase credits from electric utilities supplying low carbon electrons to electric vehicles, or diversify into low carbon hydrogen products.
The University of California estimates that the Governor's greenhouse gas emissions goals can increase Gross State Product by about $60 billion and create over 20,000 new jobs. As a result of AB 32 – California’s landmark “Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006" - California is catalyzing clean technology research, investment and development nationally. California leads the nation in clean tech investment, attracting $484 million in venture capital to the Golden State in 2005.
California Car Facts
• In 2005, there were more than 24 million vehicles registered in California, more than one per licensed driver.
• Statewide gasoline consumption was almost 16 billion gallons in 2005, slightly more than that of Japan, a country with four times the population.
• Currently, there are 80,000 hybrids and 240,000 flex-fuel vehicles in the State, representing 1.3% of all cars in California.
Wind Energy Technician Training
Renewable energy is rising! The growth of solar and wind energy installations throughout the country is a major market transformation, and an Oregon community college is responding. Columbia Gorge Community College has launched a new training program for wind technicians to meet the growing demand for personnel to match the growing demand for the installation and maintenance of wind turbines in the region.
Bonneville Power Administration estimates that new wind power capacity in the Northwest is growing at the rate of 300 - 400 megawatts annually, with about 2,600 megawatts expected in Oregon and Washington by 2011. Current and proposed wind farms in Oregon and Washington are expected to require about 365 wind turbine technicians over the coming decade; the need for technicians rises at a rate of about eight jobs per 100 megawatts of installed wind capacity.
Clearly being a wind energy technician is not for everybody: You must be willing to climb to the top of 250-foot towers and spend up to 12 hours there. The closest training facility for wind technicians is in Minnesota. While the high-growth wind industry is the primary focus of the project, the college’s scope may be expanded to include other renewable energy workforce training needs, such as solar and biofuel/biomass.
The Utility Green Giant
The Spanish electric utility Iberdrola is making major waves in renewables. From wind farms across the Iberian Peninsula to consulting on an ambitious wind- farm project in northern China to a tidal marine project off Spain's north coast, Business Week reports that Iberdrola is betting on renewable energy.
Iberdrola already claims the title of largest wind- energy company in the world. Its goal is to have 10,000 MW of wind by 2011. Much of this will be outside Spain, where it has invested heavily in countryside wind farms. Along with its growing presence in the U.S. market, Iberdrola has facilities set up and/or projects under way in Greece, Italy, Britain, France, Portugal, Germany, Poland, Mexico, and Brazil.
Iberdrola has invested nearly $4 billion since 2001 in renewables, with about 10% of its energy now coming from wind. In 1976, it helped found wind- energy park builder and aeronautics firm called Gamesa. Iberdrola started its U.S. expansion earlier this year with the purchase of Community Energy of Pennsylvania, followed by Midwest Renewable Energy in Iowa a few months later. It plans further U.S. acquisitions.
With its planned $22 billion purchase of Scottish Power, Britain's fifth-largest electricity generator, Iberdrola will further its worldwide leadership in green power, including electricity generated by wind and waves. Scottish Power is developing the world's largest offshore wind farm just south of Glasgow.