Chevy Volt’s progress…A step in the right direction
Photo Courtesy of General Motors
General Motors first began selling the Chevy Volt, as the first ever plug-in hybrid vehicle, in December of 2010. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Volt achieves about 94 miles per gallon. However, with a price tag of around $40,000, consumers have been slow to jump on board with the plug-in electric car concept. In fact, production was halted back in March-April, 2012, due to sluggish sales. However, General Motors resumed production this past April, a week earlier than planned, as Volt sales have begun to turn around. Some say that this past summer’s high gas prices have encouraged more consumers to invest in the Volt. The following is an article, out of the NY Daily News, discussing the Volt’s return:
What a difference a few months made for the Chevy Volt. From underselling political deadweight to automotive press darling, GM’s plug-in hybrid electric vehicle went back into production this week after a shorter-than expected shutdown announced in early March to reduce the inventory levels of unsold vehicles.
At that time, the Volt’s future looked bleak — it was being rounded on by US Republican presidential candidates and was still suffering from the aftereffects of a series of damaging headlines after a federal investigation into battery safety.
But that was then and this is now.
Check out the entire article. It’s inspiring to see that although progress has been slow, we are moving closer to achieving energy independence and reducing our carbon footprint…One car at a time.
9 in 10 want cleaner power, says Friends of the Earth
Nine in ten people in the UK want to see greater use of renewable energy and less dependence on fossil fuels, according to a new survey commissioned by Friends of the Earth. Launching the Clean British Energy campaign, the environmental group revealed that 85 per cent of people want the government to do more to support the generation of clean energy within the UK and import less gas.
The response shouldn’t be too surprising – imported gas is one of the biggest reasons fuel bills are rising. In spite of continued efforts to increase to UK’s uptake of renewable energy through schemes like the feed-in tariff, just 9.5 per cent of the UK’s electricity is generated by renewable energy sources. As prime minister David Cameron gives his first “green speech” at the Clean Energy Ministerial summit this week, Friends of the Earth is calling on him to shift the energy market away from the Big Six energy corporations and help smaller, cleaner companies into the market.
Over the last couple of years, smaller firms have received a boost from the feed-in tariff scheme, which rewards homeowners and businesses for installing solar PV generation systems through a company like EvoEnergy. However, the rate paid for energy generated through the scheme proved to be unsustainable, and a series of cuts have dampened the public’s enthusiasm for home solar power somewhat.
This isn’t to say that solar power is on the way out in the UK – far from it, the solar industry now employs more than 29,000 people, while developing other renewable sources such as offshore wind power could create as many as 66,000 jobs by 2020, according to Friends of the Earth. The UK’s tidal power systems are among some of the most advanced in the world, and the campaign group claims there are further opportunities in exporting our technology and expertise around the globe.
On May 9th, the Queen is due to announce a new government bill that will set the rules for the UK’s electricity generation, but these don’t give renewable sources the prominence that many campaigners would like: they’re still focused on fossil fuels, subsidies for nuclear power and the ongoing domination of the Big Six. Friends of the Earth is urging those who want to see this changed to email energy secretary Ed Davey from its new campaign website and encourage positive change in the market.
This seems so obvious and logical it amazes me that it has taken so long for this trend to take hold. That said, it’s encouraging to see more gyms adopting the concept of people power to generate electricity, along with more companies who are providing the green exercise products.
The Green Microgym in Portland, Ore., has all the usual stuff you’d expect — sweaty people, thump-thumping music, sleek exercise equipment — but it has some extras as well. Everywhere you look, there are power cords. And these aren’t the typical kind that let you surf the Web while you slog away on a spin cycle or elliptical machine — although you can do that too. The gym uses specially configured exercise equipment that captures the energy you create while pedaling, converts it into electricity and channels it into the power outlets.
The idea of using exercise equipment to generate electricity is not new. A gym in Hong Kong has been doing this since 2007. Lots of music festivals have turned to bicycle generators to power their concerts. And some hipster bars are even making customers pedal for a few minutes to get their pitchers of perfectly blended margaritas.
But clean (and healthy) energy is just now starting to catch on in U.S. gyms. There are now converters on exercise equipment in more than 80 locations in North America, including My Sports Clubs in New York City and Washington. “We have seen a significant increase in interest in the past six months, which is a good sign that fitness centers are ready to invest in green technologies,” says Mike Curnyn, co-founder of the Green Revolution, a Connecticut-based firm that wires bikes into a central battery that can store energy.
The article points out there there are a number of different options. Some rig the exercise equipment to channel energy directly to wall outlets, while others like Green Revolution send the energy to storage batteries. Plug Out is a brand that sends the energy directly to a standard wall outlet and the energy created is automatically used before the building draws power from the grid. Other companies are ReRev and Resource Fitness.
Expect this market to explode over the next several years.
Posted in: Renewable Energy, Sustainability
Tags: batteries, batteries for clean energy, clean-energy, electricity, energy storage, green exercise products, Green Microgym, Green Revolution, My Sports Clubs, off-grid power, people power, people-powered electricity, people-powered gyms, ReRev, Resource Fitness
George Soros will invest $1 billion in clean energy
George Soros is getting serious about climate change.
Billionaire George Soros, looking to address the “political problem” of climate change, said he will invest $1 billion in clean-energy technology and create an organization to advise policy makers on environmental issues.
Soros, the founder of hedge fund Soros Fund Management LLC, announced the investment in Copenhagen yesterday at a meeting on climate change sponsored by Project Syndicate. The group is an international association made up of 430 newspapers from 150 countries.
“I want to apply rather stringent criteria to the investments,” said Soros in an e-mailed message. “They should be profitable but should also actually make a contribution to solving the problem.”
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Soros has said he prefers a greenhouse-gas tax because carbon emission-trading systems, which are used in Europe, can be manipulated by investors.
It will be interesting to see if the advocacy by Soros helps to tip the debate in the U.S. towards a carbon tax as opposed to cap-and-trade.
Posted in: Global Warming, Renewable Energy
Tags: cap and trade, carbon emission-trading systems, carbon tax, clean-energy, climate change, George Soros, George Soros green, George Soros photo, George Soros pic, George Soros picture, greenhouse-gas tax, Project Syndicate