Tag Archives: environment

Ukraine: Energy hackers share energy-saving ideas at TeslaCamp #Solar #GreenTechnologies #RenewableEnergy


 Anastasia VlasovaIryna Matviyishyn.Volunteers of Greencubator register guests at the outdoor TeslaCamp near Kyiv on Aug. 30, 2014. © Anastasia VlasovaVolunteers of Greencubator register guests at the outdoor TeslaCamp near Kyiv on Aug. 30, 2014. © Anastasia Vlasova.

On Aug. 29-30 Ukrainian energy hackers came up with new ideas of improving energy efficiency in Ukraine.  The outdoor, solar-powered hackathon, a collaborative  event attended by software developers and other specialists, called TeslaCamp, took place in Oseshchyna village, in Kyiv Oblast. It was organized by the Greencubator community, a group that promotes energy saving projects, ideas and efforts.

Progressive specialists and young innovators from the energy sector shared their diverse vision of saving and reproducing energy, simultaneously introducing new inventions that could be used in everyday life.

KhackerSpace inventors from Kharkiv fix their new device, a three-dimensional printer aggregated at $500-600.</em> © Anastasia Vlasova.KhackerSpace inventors from Kharkiv fix their new device, a three-dimensional printer aggregated at $500-600. © Anastasia Vlasova.

Roman Zinchenko, 37, a co-founder of Greencubator, is sure that any transformation is possible with human potential: “The energy corps is a very important task for our organization (Greencubator), and now we consider the aspect of energy leadership as well. In these terms our entire state policy is an idea of exposure. In order to cope with all the jumble of problems Ukraine’s got, we need new perspective leaders who can offer fresh and effective ideas.”

Besides talks about the cross-section of information technology and energy sectors, TeslaCamp attracted green innovators like Dmytro Briukov, 25.  A member of HackerSpace (Kharkiv), he demonstrated a modern self-constructed 3-D printer. “This device works due to the MDM (Mobile device management) technology but is original in the process of printing as it augments the form layer by layer instead of clipping it,” Briukov comments.

Solar panels in the technical zone of TeslaCamp, a solar-powered hackathon. © Anastasia VlasovaSolar panels in the technical zone of TeslaCamp, a solar-powered hackathon. © Anastasia Vlasova

It took him a half year to implement his idea into reality and he believes his technology is less costly and faster than other 3-D samples. Although it needs more time to become practically popular, it could be very beneficial in medicine, defense and the space industry.

Greencubator invited not only start-ups but people whose conceptions of energy efficiency have received recognition. Olesya Arhypchuk, 28, from Radekhiv (Lviv Oblast) promotes her father’s development that helps to save gas with burning off natural resources and, moreover, in such way to produce coal. “In fact, my father, Anatoliy Arhypchuk, an entrepreneur, made out the way how to profitably heat hospitals, schools, et cetera with biogas getting bio-raw staff which further can be sold. The system can be easily connected to city boilers and is definitely lucrative,” the woman says.

During the Hackathon, an event when software developers and other specialists collaborate, developers introduced a new 3-D printer.</em> © Anastasia VlasovaDuring the Hackathon, an event when software developers and other specialists collaborate, developers introduced a new 3-D printer. © Anastasia Vlasova

Another practical device being already ordered is a satellite with an interceptor that diverts mobile phone signals and distributes Wi-Fi in distant areas like mountains. Diana Dobronogova, a deputy head of IMC in commercial issues, says their development can work autonomously and has no analogues working in any conditions: “The advantage of our device is offline work which is possible even underwater, without recharging for a week,” Dobronogova says.

The inventions of the Greencubator participants may influence Ukraine’s energy system in the future. “This year is crucial for the energy system too. We have to deal with our dated methods and shift to sustainable energy solutions,” Zinchenko states.

A volunteer of Greencubator, a group that promotes energy efficiency and members of KhackerSpace examine an energy saving development.A volunteer of Greencubator, a group that promotes energy efficiency and members of KhackerSpace examine an energy saving development. © Anastasia Vlasova

(Kyiv Post staff writer Iryna Matviyishyn can be reached at ira.matviishyn@gmail.com).


Kyiv Post.

Renewable energy capacity grows at fastest ever pace #Wind #Solar #GreenTechnologies #RenewableEnergy


“Green technologies now produce 22% of world’s electricity”. 

. Wind turbines in China. Investment in renewable energy exceeded $250bn last year. Photograph: Carlos Barria/ReutersWind turbines in China. Investment in renewable energy exceeded $250bn last year. Photograph: Carlos Barria/Reuters.

Wind, solar and other renewable power capacity grew at its strongest ever pace last year and now produces 22% of the world’s electricity, the International Energy Agency said on Thursday in a new report.

More than $250bn (£150bn) was invested in “green” generating systems in 2013, although the speed of growth is expected to slacken, partly because politicians are becoming nervous about the cost of subsidies.

Maria van der Hoeven, the executive director of the IEA, said governments should hold their nerve: “Renewables are a necessary part of energy security. However, just when they are becoming a cost-competitive option in an increasing number of cases, policy and regulatory uncertainty is rising in some key markets. This stems from concerns about the costs of deploying renewables.”

She added: “Governments must distinguish more clearly between the past, present and future, as costs are falling over time. Many renewables no longer need high incentive levels. Rather, given their capital-intensive nature, renewables require a market context that assures a reasonable and predictable return for investors.”

Hydro and other green technologies could be producing 26% of the world’s electricity by 2020, the IEA said in its third annual Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report. They are already used as much as gas for generating electrical power, it points out.

But the total level of investment in renewables is lower now than a peak of $280bn in 2011 and is expected to average only $230bn annually to the end of the decade unless governments make increasing policy commitments to keep spending higher.

The current growth rate for installing new windfarms and solar arrays is impressive but the IEA believes it is not enough to meet climate change targets, triggering calls in Brussels from green power lobby groups for Europe to adopt tougher, binding targets.

Justin Wilkes, the deputy chief executive of the European Wind Energy Association, said: “The IEA report hits the nail on the head when it comes to ambitious national targets for 2030. Not only is a 27% target too low but it doesn’t oblige member states to follow through. Europe’s heads of state need to agree in October on a binding 30% renewables target if real progress is going to be made to improve Europe’s energy security, competitiveness and climate objectives.”

The IEA – a Paris-based agency established to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy for its 29 member countries – says that in Brazil, Chile and South Africa onshore wind is already a preferred option over new fossil fuel plants such as coal or gas.

Onshore wind, despite being the most economic of the renewable power technologies in Britain, is still opposed by parts of the Conservative party, while offshore wind remains controversial because of its high costs.

New figures released on Thursday by the industry body Energy UK show wind provided a little over 4% of Britain’s power generation in July compared with 42% for gas, 24% nuclear and 17% for coal.


The Guardian.

#America: Strong #California #quake causes injuries, damage


This photo provided by Lyall Davenport shows damage to a building in Napa, Calif. early Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014. Officials say an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.0 has been reported in California's northern San Francisco Bay area. (AP Photo/Lyall Davenport)This photo provided by Lyall Davenport shows damage to a building in Napa, Calif. early Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014. Officials say an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.0 has been reported in California’s northern San Francisco Bay area. (AP Photo/Lyall Davenport)

NAPA, Calif. (AP) — The largest earthquake to hit the San Francisco Bay Area in 25 years sent scores of people to hospitals, ignited fires, damaged multiple historic buildings and knocked out power to tens of thousands in California’s wine country on Sunday.

The 6.0-magnitude earthquake that struck at 3:20 a.m. about 6 miles from the city of Napa ruptured water mains and gas lines, left two adults and a child critically injured, upended bottles and casks at some of Napa Valley’s famed wineries and sent residents running out of their homes in the darkness.

Dazed residents too fearful of aftershocks to go back to bed wandered at dawn through Napa’s historic downtown, where the quake had shorn a 10-foot chunk of bricks and concrete from the corner of an old county courthouse. Bolder-sized pieces of rubble littered the lawn and street in front of the building and the hole left behind allowed a view of the offices inside.

College student Eduardo Rivera, 20, said the home he shares with six relatives shook so violently that he kept getting knocked back into his bed as he tried to flee.

“When I woke up, my mom was screaming, and the sound from the earthquake was greater than my mom’s screams,” Rivera said.

People look at a damaged building with a top corner exposed following an earthquake Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Napa, Calif. A large earthquake rolled through California's northern Bay Area early Sunday, damaging some buildings, igniting fires, knocking out power to tens of thousands and sending residents running out of their homes in the darkness. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)People look at a damaged building with a top corner exposed following an earthquake Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Napa, Calif. A large earthquake rolled through California’s northern Bay Area early Sunday, damaging some buildings, igniting fires, knocking out power to tens of thousands and sending residents running out of their homes in the darkness. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

While inspecting the shattered glass at her husband’s storefront office in downtown Napa, Chris Malloy, 45, described calling for her two children in the dark as the quake rumbled under the family’s home, throwing heavy pieces of furniture 3 or 4 feet and breaking them.

“It was shaking and I was crawling on my hands and knees in the dark, looking for them,” she said, wearing flip flops on feet left bloodied from crawling through broken glass.

President Barack Obama was briefed on the earthquake, the White House said. Federal officials also have been in touch with state and local emergency responders. Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for southern Napa County, directing state agencies to respond with equipment and personnel.

Napa Fire Department Operations Chief John Callanan said the city has exhausted its own resources trying to extinguish six fires, some in places with broken water mains; transporting injured residents; searching homes for anyone who might be trapped; and answering calls about gas leaks and downed power lines.

Two of the fires happened at mobile home parks, including one where four homes were destroyed and two others damaged, Callanan said.

Nina Quidit cleans up the Dollar Plus and Party Supplies Store in American Canyon Calif. after an earthquake on Sunday Aug. 24, 2014. Quidit and her husband were woken up in the early morning hours by the store's alarm company and immediately drove in to begin clean up. The 6.0-magnitude quake caused six significant fires, including at four mobile homes, Napa Division Fire Chief Darren Drake said. (AP Photo/Alex Washburn)Nina Quidit cleans up the Dollar Plus and Party Supplies Store in American Canyon Calif. after an earthquake on Sunday Aug. 24, 2014. Quidit and her husband were woken up in the early morning hours by the store’s alarm company and immediately drove in to begin clean up. The 6.0-magnitude quake caused six significant fires, including at four mobile homes, Napa Division Fire Chief Darren Drake said. (AP Photo/Alex Washburn)

The earthquake sent at least 87 people to Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa, where officials set up a triage tent to handle the influx. Most patients had cuts, bumps, bruises, said Vanessa DeGier, hospital spokeswoman said. She says the facility has treated a hip fracture and heart attack, but it’s unclear if it was related to the quake.

The child in critical condition was struck by part of a fireplace and had to be airlifted to a specialty hospital for a neurological evaluation, Callanan said.

The earthquake is the largest to shake the Bay Area since the 6.9-magnitude Loma Prieta quake in 1989, the USGS said. That temblor struck the area on Oct. 17, 1989, during a World Series game between the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics, collapsing part of the Bay Bridge roadway and killing more than 60 people, most when an Oakland freeway fell.

Sunday’s quake was felt widely throughout the region. People reported feeling it more than 200 miles south of Napa and as far east as the Nevada border. Amtrak suspended its train service through the Bay Area so tracks could be inspected.

In Napa, at least three historic buildings were damaged, including the county courthouse, and at least two downtown commercial buildings have been severely damaged. A Red Cross evacuation center was set up at a high school, and crews were assessing damage to homes, bridges and roadways.

Bricks and fallen rubble cover a car with the old courthouse in the background following an earthquake Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Napa, Calif. A large earthquake rolled through California's northern Bay Area early Sunday, damaging some buildings, igniting fires, knocking out power to tens of thousands and sending residents running out of their homes in the darkness. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)Bricks and fallen rubble cover a car with the old courthouse in the background following an earthquake Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Napa, Calif. A large earthquake rolled through California’s northern Bay Area early Sunday, damaging some buildings, igniting fires, knocking out power to tens of thousands and sending residents running out of their homes in the darkness. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

“There’s collapses, fires,” said Napa Fire Capt. Doug Bridewell, standing in front of large pieces of masonry that broke loose from a turn of the century office building where a fire had just been extinguished. “That’s the worst shaking I’ve ever been in.”

Bridewell said he had to climb over fallen furniture in his own home to check on his family before reporting to duty.

The shaking emptied cabinets in homes and store shelves, set off car alarms and had residents of neighboring Sonoma County running out of their houses and talking about damage inside their homes.

Pacific Gas and Electric spokesman J.D. Guidi said close to 30,000 lost power right after the quake hit, but the number was down just under 19,000, most of them in Napa. He says crews are working to make repairs, but it’s unclear when electricity would be restored.

The depth of the earthquake was just less than 7 miles, and numerous small aftershocks have occurred, the USGS said.

“A quake of that size in a populated area is of course widely felt throughout that region,” said Randy Baldwin, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colorado.

California Highway Patrol Officer Kevin Bartlett said cracks and damage to pavement closed the westbound Interstate 80 connector to westbound State Route 37 in Vallejo and westbound State Route 37 at the Sonoma off ramp. He says there haven’t been reports of injuries or people stranded in their cars, but there are numerous flat tires from motorists driving over damaged roads.

Map locates epicenter of 6.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Napa August 24Map locates epicenter of 6.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Napa August 24.

(Associated Press writers Tom Verdin in Sacramento, Lisa Leff in San Francisco and Courtney Bonnell in Phoenix contributed to this report).


Associated Press.

Finland: Ministers call for changes to solar energy tax


The solar energy tax regime has cooled business ardour for producing solar energy. Image: Jussi Kallioinen / YleThe solar energy tax regime has cooled business ardour for producing solar energy. Image: Jussi Kallioinen / Yle

Finnish Customs say that current legislation requires small-scale producers of solar energy to pay taxes, even if the power is used only for a household’s domestic consumption.

Environment Minister Ville Niinistö has said he will raise the matter in upcoming government budget negotiations. Finance Minister Antti Rinne also says that if customs officials are right, the law will have to change.

According to an Yle report Monday, Finnish Customs’ interpretation of current legislation on solar energy means that households will have to pay taxes even if solar power is produced solely for their own consumption.

The guidance from Finnish Customs on the taxation issue has eaten into the profitability of large-scale solar panel producers as members of the business sector have switched off solar power because of the tax exposure.

The Salo-based renewable energy company Areva Solar has observed the cooling enthusiasm of businesses for solar energy as a result of the taxation issue. Last winter the company planned a solar panel farm to be situated atop a local business park in response to growing demand for power. Those plans have since been put on ice.

Environment Minister Ville Niinistö told Yle that he intends to raise the matter during budget negotiations due at the end of August.

“Solar energy is becoming increasingly profitable in small-scale production but our outdated taxation practices are making business growth impossible or at least difficult,” Niinistö remarked.

Rinne: Situation “totally absurd”

Finance Minister Antti Rinne’s view on the matter lined up with those of the Environment Minister.

“This must change. In practice it means that if the interpretation of the law in your news is accurate, then it must be changed,” Rinne said in an interview on Yle’s Aamu-tv breakfast programme.

He said that the government had discussed net metering.

“In practice this means that producers could feed power into the (electricity) grid and earn income. Taxes would then be paid only on the income earned,” he explained.

Rinne said he did not expect any opposition to the proposal in the government’s budget discussions.

Yle Uutiset | yle.fi.

#Tory MPs more likely to oppose #windfarms than #British public – poll


Conservatives opposition undermining projects and investment in renewables, say wind energy companies. 

By Fiona HarveyLittle Cheyne Court windfarm in Camber, Kent, England. Photograph: Haydn West/Rex FeaturesLittle Cheyne Court windfarm in Camber, Kent, England. Photograph: Haydn West/Rex Features.

Conservative MPs are much more likely to oppose onshore windfarms than the national average of the public, a new poll has found.

About four out of five Tory MPs are likely to oppose onshore windfarms in their constituency, according to the poll conducted by ComRes on behalf of REG Windpower. But about six in 10 people across the country, and just over half of those eligible to vote in rural areas, favour onshore windfarms, even if built near them.

More Tory MPs than Labour represent rural constituencies, but only about one-third of people polled in rural areas said they would oppose onshore windfarms built near them.

Wind energy companies are angry that the Tories have suggested next year’s general election manifesto will include a pledge to cut or abolish altogether energy bill-payer subsidies to onshore windfarms, and that Eric Pickles, the secretary of state for communities and local government, has stopped or delayed some onshore wind projects. There are increasing fears that big investors will pull out of UK wind projects, which could stall renewable energy growth.

Andrew Whalley, chief executive of REG Windpower, said: “We’ve been told time and again by Conservatives that they recognise the financial and environmental arguments in favour of onshore wind, but that they can’t support it because their constituents don’t want it in their local areas. This research debunks that argument.

“Local communities not only understand the benefits in terms of energy security and stability of investing on renewables, but are largely accepting of onshore wind projects in their communities. The barrier to progress is the irrational and ideological hostility of many Conservative MPs, which is out of touch with public opinion.

“Conservative opposition to onshore wind, which is most evident in Eric Pickles’ abuse of the planning system to delay and prevent developments, is now undermining projects and investment in what is an established sector. Onshore wind has the potential to help reduce energy costs and our reliance on oil and gas. This potential might not be realised if the Conservatives don’t get on the same page as their constituents.”

However, the poll did not break down members of the public by voting intention, so it is not possible to say how many rural Tory voters or likely Tory voters would favour onshore windfarms in their area. It is possible that Tory MPs are attempting to appeal to their “base” vote by opposing the construction of renewable energy.

Separate polling shows only a small fraction of voters choose their MP based on his or her support for or opposition to renewable energy.

The REG poll questioned about 150 MPs of all parties.

Liberal Democrat MPs were also cooler on onshore windfarms than their party policies might suggest, with a third of those sampled declining to support onshore wind developments in their local area.

According to the poll, 55% of people in rural areas would be happy to have an onshore windfarm near them, compared with 62% nationally. More than 4,500 voters were surveyed.

Separately, 154 MPs were surveyed, of whom 12% of the Conservative members said they would be happy to have an onshore wind development in their area, while 74% of Labour MPs and 64% of Liberal Democrat MPs said they would support an onshore wind development in their community.


EnvironmentThe Guardian.