The Week in Clean-Tech News: Solar Lobby Flexes Muscle; R.I.P. Hybrids?

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The Unstoppable…Solar Lobby?! A skirmish this week in Arizona revealed that the solar industry, while still adolescent, is developing some political brawn. A bill in the state legislature proposed expanding the definition of “renewable” to include nuclear power, a move that would have allowed the state’s lone nuclear plant to fulfill Arizona’s mandate to receive 15% of its electricity from renewables. Solar companies howled, including Suntech Power Holdings, which threatened to cancel its first U.S. factory in Arizona. Days later, the proposal was retired.

Wal-mart to Suppliers: Go Green or Else Wal-mart announced a goal of cutting 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from its supply chain by the end of 2015. By using its unparalleled purchasing leverage, Walmart intends to force greener behavior on the part of its vendors, like it or not. Suppliers may reduce carbon by focusing on raw materials, manufacturing, transportation, customer use, or end-of-life disposal. Meanwhile, Ben & Jerry’s goes 100 percent fair trade.

If You Pollute It, We Will Come The Environmental Protection Agency said it would explore building renewable-energy projects on polluted industrial “brownfields” sites, many of which are well-supplied with power transmission to feed the grid. Also, Chevron announced plans to build a concentrating photovoltaic solar plant on the tailings of a molybdenum mine it owns in New Mexico.

Hummer R.I.P while Hybrids R-I-P As the Hummer died, hybrid and electric cars continued their confident merge onto U.S. highways. Toyota said it will sell a hybrid RAV4 by 2012. Not to be outdone, Volkswagen announced plans for a hybrid Jetta in 2012, a hybrid Passat and Golf in 2013, and that same year, its first all-electric models. Meanwhile, Tesla announced it would lease the Roadster for the not-inconsiderable sum of $1,658 per month.

March of the Penguins This week the Antarctic melted apace, as an enormous survey of Antarctic sealife showed that global warming is altering its ecology. In an unseemly bid for attention, the continent also calved an iceberg so large that it threatened to disrupt world ocean currents.

A Dangerous Rise in Global Shrugging The Obama administration launched www.climate.gov as the go-to portal for all climate needs. Not that anyone age 18 to 35 cares; according to a new survey, when it comes to global warming, youngsters don’t really give a damn.

Article by David Ferris appearing courtesy Matter Network.

photo: Canadian Starhawk

 

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