Yesterday, the Commerce Department announced that it would impose duties as high as 4.73% on solar energy equipment imported from China. Stemming from a complaint lodged with the government last year by a group of solar manufacturing companies led by SolarWorld, this latest round was expected.
The global economy is fueled by innovation. Whether innovation takes place in a garage or by large multi-national corporations, such activity provides jobs at many different levels. Fostering an environment for innovation is not only the responsibility of governments, but also individuals and corporations. GE, a company which owes its origin to Thomas
Speaking at the fourth annual National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas, California Governor Jerry Brown urged attendees to boost efforts to promote clean, renewable energy sources.
Brown said, “Climate change has become more obvious, and we see great opportunity in investing in
As a forester, I have always believed that smart, common sense initiatives to conserve our lands and waters go hand-in-hand with growing our economy and creating jobs. Under President Obama's leadership, the health of our natural treasures and the communities and economies that they support has
On Tuesday, I joined President Obama in Cleveland to meet with small business leaders and get their ideas on how we can support their work in clean energy. America’s small businesses are engines of innovation and job creation. In fact, they create two out of every three new jobs in this country. Their ingenuity is essential to
Synthetic plastics are everywhere in our lives and the stuff is toxic to the environment and the health of both humans and non-humans.
Styrofoams in particular are some of the most implacable disposable plastics , surviving for thousands of years as tiny particles, clogging the planet’s arteries.
Today, President Obama visited Solyndra, Inc. in Fremont California – a solar panel manufacturer that is building a new facility (and creating new jobs) thanks to funding from the Recovery Act. So far, construction of the new facility has created over 3,000 construction-related jobs and the new factory could create up to 1,000 long-term new jobs. And this is just one of countless stories that together account for the up to 2.8 million jobs the Recovery Act is responsible for by the CBO’s count.
It is President Barack Obama’s priority to find new ways for this administration to partner across government and across sectors in addressing our nation’s greatest challenges. Given the nature of the problems we face, the ability of government to forge effective relationships with organizations of all types will be critical in making progress on the President’s agenda –particularly in areas like energy innovation.
Last Friday, the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation co-convened a conference on Energy Innovation that included participation by five White House offices, four federal departments, three federal agencies, entrepreneurs, state government officials, academia, private sector leaders, nonprofits and innovators. Through this convening, we sought to embrace these actors as our partners in three areas: advancement of shared policy objectives, enhancement of visibility around these issues, and the coordination of resources so as to improve the government’s ability to fulfill specific objectives of the Administration.
In Africa and elsewhere, burgeoning population growth threatens to overwhelm already over-stretched food supply systems. But the next agricultural revolution needs to get local — and must start to see rising populations as potentially part of the solution.
I bring good news from Machakos, a rural district of Kenya, a couple of hours drive from Nairobi. Seventy years ago, British colonial scientists dismissed the treeless eroding hillsides of Machakos as “an appalling example” of environmental degradation that they blamed on the “multiplication” of the “natives.” The Akamba had exceeded the carrying capacity of their land and were “rapidly drifting to a state of hopeless and miserable poverty and their land to a parched desert of rocks, stones and sand.”
Since independence in 1963, the Akamba’s population has more than doubled. Meanwhile, farm output has risen tenfold. Yet there are also more trees, and soil erosion is much reduced. The Akamba still use simple farming techniques on their small family plots. But today they are producing so much food that when I visited, they were selling vegetables and milk in Nairobi, mangoes and oranges to the Middle East, avocados to France, and green beans to Britain.
What made the difference? People.
The most surprising thing about the inaugural ARPA-E summit, held this week outside Washington D.C., is that the conference hall was full of losers. They were inventors, scientists and entrepreneurs who had applied for funding from the U.S. government’s exciting new energy-research organization but had been shot down.
The Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy received 3,500 proposals, but only accepted 37. That leaves room for some compelling also-rans.
As a consolation prize, some of the most credible finalists got booth space in the exhibit hall. The most visible were those with ambitious plans for “kite power” — harnessing the powerful and consistent winds that blow high off the Earth’s deck.
Kite energy is way out there, both physically and in the public mindset, and it can be a hard sell, even to an agency like ARPA-E that funds risky projects. Who wants to put their money on the line for a four-rotor helicopter the size of a 747 that’s suspended several kilometers in the air?
In the September issue of Harvard Business Review, authors Ram Nidumolu, C.K. Prahalad, and M.R. Rangaswami provide a framework for adopting sustainable practices to bring about technological and organizational innovations that will ultimately yield top-line and bottom-line returns, providing a competitive advantage when the recession ends. They feel that sustainable companies will emerge from the recession ahead of their competitors, who will face difficulties trying to catch up.
The authors argue that sustainability is not the drag on the bottom line that many executives perceive it to be, and that it can actually lower costs, and increase revenues. This is an indicator that business leaders will have to rethink business models, processes, technologies, and products.
Did you know that America’s largest installed solar power plant is located on Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada? The 14-megawatt solar array (shown at left) went live in late 2007 and remains the largest solar power plant in the United States.
While First Solar’s recent announcement of two 250-megawatt solar power plants in California dwarfs the military’s solar array, the fact remains that for a considerable amount of time the military will have operated the largest solar array in the United States. Why would the military take this step? The answer is energy security.
What lessons can California learn from Sweden’s successes in sustainable innovation? What are the California’s energy and environmental goals, and what progress has been made to reach them?
The 2009 Sustainable Innovation Event, presented by the Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce San Francisco/Silicon Valley, will discuss these questions and more Monday, Oct. 5 in South San Francisco.
Readers of CleanTechies, a media partner for this event, can attend for a discount price of $55.00 (regular $65).