The Solyndra debacle is no surprise to this cleantech venture capitalist. The inherent conflict between trying to get money out of the U.S. Treasury as quickly as possible to stimulate the economy and, at the same time, have government agencies that are ill-suited at making business decisions do just that was nothing other than a recipe for disaster.
With the recent “shellacking” (as President Obama referred to the election results) of the Democratically controlled Congress, much of the buzz in the cleantech space has been doom and gloom. Is cleantech doomed to a new dark age? I do not believe so.
Energy policy is one area where there is an
As the Obama Administration pushes for high-speed rail networks across the country, Germany’s Siemens has secured a place for its Valero ICE trains in the Sunshine State.
Earlier this month, Siemens presented its vision of U.S. high-speed rail to the people of Florida with the “Future of Florida High-Speed Rail Tour,” a traveling exhibit featuring a full-sized model of the Velaro
The stimulus bill along with the $31B cleantech element focused on grants and loan guarantees through the Department of Energy was passed into law over 18 months ago. About a year ago I wrote about how the cleantech stimulus was not very stimulating to our economy. I suggested at that time that the goals of stimulus and of long-term investment are
If you’ve ridden a train any time recently in the United States, you’ve probably noticed that the nation’s passenger trains are, by and large, slow, loud and late. Sure, there are regional pockets of decency in the nation’s rail infrastructure, but the country’s only high-speed rail link, the Acela Express between Boston an Washington, D.C., is still not cheap — and when compared to
In the wake of the dissolution of the Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) from the energy bill currently wheezing through the Congress, came a report that wind power installations in the U.S to date this year have dropped by 71% from last year’s level.
According to the latest quarterly report
The folks who install insulated windows, efficient factory motors and energy saving lights apparently missed the memo about the economic meltdown.
As US gross domestic product slipped to under 1% in 2008, the $4.1 billion energy service industry grew 7%. Jealous? Just wait. That was nothing compared to the expansion predicted over the next couple of years, according to a new report by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
MP2 Capital is a San Francisco firm that develops, finances and invests in distributed generation and small-scale utility solar projects throughout North America, selling the electricity produced by its projects to commercial, government and utility customers under power purchase agreements and feed-in tariffs.
Its latest project is a 445-kilowatt solar photovoltaic array in Winsted, Connecticut. MP2 Capital has entered into a power purchase agreement to sell all of the electricity generated to the Regional School District No. 7 for 20 years under a grant from the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund.
The system, which sits atop multiple rooftops of the school district, was built by groSolar and is composed of 1,937 photovoltaic panels from Canadian Solar. It is expected to produce approximately 492,000 kilowatt hours of clean solar electricity and save the school district $26,000 in energy costs during the first year of operation. Over the term of the agreement, the system is expected to produce approximately 9,380,000 kilowatt-hours to offset the school’s energy use.
Brad Bauer, co-founder and managing director of MP2 Capital, talked with CleanTechies about the project.
Slow down, high-speed rail seekers. In the race for stimulus money, the Obama administration has received applications from 24 states requesting $50 billion for high-speed rail projects, reports The New York Times.
That’s more than six times the amount of money designated. Joseph Szabo, head of the Federal Railroad Administration, told the Times that the selections will be merit based, and will be made this winter.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Utah Sen. Bob Bennett is involved in a fickle love affair with stimulus money. Two days before the Republican senator voted against the nearly $800 billion package – which he said would only stimulate the national debt – Bennett wrote to Energy Secretary Steven Chu asking him to pay special attention to a few projects in Utah. He wasn’t alone, reports the Tribune. All four of Utah’s Republicans in Congress voted against the bill, before using congressional stationery to try to nab a portion of the stimulus package for their state.
By all accounts the cash for clunkers incentive program has exceeded all expectations in both volume of sales, as well as answering skeptics by getting fuel inefficient vehicles off the road.
The new vehicles being purchased average nearly 10 mpg higher, saving nearly 4 million barrels of oil per year and eliminating the production of tons of greenhouse gases.
More importantly, the program and its surrounding attention seems to have driven consumers towards hybrids and fuel efficient vehicles even more than a 50 cent spike in the price of gasoline. According to Brian Benstock, the VP and GM of Paragon Honda and Acura, the program is also introducing new customers to imports. Benstock said the program has reversed the ratio of domestic/import trade-ins at his dealership. Previously about 70 percent of his customers were trading one import (mostly Hondas) for another. Now it’s the opposite: 70 percent of people walking in the door are swapping American made autos for Hondas.
George Soros, one of the world’s most successful investors and boldest philanthropists, has been more perceptive than almost anybody on the economic crisis – warning about “market fundamentalism” and the emerging credit “superbubble” since the 1980s. “The idea that financial market are self-correcting,” Soros writes, “remains the prevailing paradigm.” And it is wrong.
Rather than thinking markets are always right, Soros thinks of markets as “almost always wrong” – and has made billions by trading on this insight.
Now nearing 80, Soros’ observations carry more weight than ever. The new edition of The Crash of 2008: the new Paradigm for Financial Markets is Soros’ 11th book – and his first bestseller. In it he explains his theory and argues that clean energy investments are central to macroeconomic policy.
This article is part of a series on the Stimulus Update. Previous posts:
As part of an ongoing effort to reduce US dependence on foreign oil and address the climate crisis by increasing the use of domestic renewable fuels, Secretary of Energy Chu announced Tuesday plans to provide $786.5 million in ARRA funding to accelerate advanced biofuels research and development, and to provide additional funding for commercial-scale biorefinery demonstration projects.
The funding is available through ARRA’s Research and Development program and will be awarded through competitive grants from the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).
A wave of Green Technology innovation is sweeping the world – is the United States willing, and ready, to lead?
That was the question that Andrea Larson presented to the audience a couple hours ago at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. I was a bit disappointed in most of her comments – beginning with the fact that she chose dwell on “the ignorance” of those that don’t believe in Global Warming… please!
There is nothing less important about this issue than fighting to convince those that don’t believe in it (Peyton speaks about the argument well – I welcome you to join that ongoing discussion).
Updating my previous post, VP Biden announced plans to distribute more than $3.3 billion in smart grid technology development grants and an additional $615 million for smart grid storage, monitoring, and technology viability late last week.
The announcement comes with mixed reviews, including warnings that the $20 million cap on grant awards ($40 million with matching funds) is too small to incentivize large and medium IOUs to deploy smart meters. This post notes that Xcel Energy’s SmartGridCity is a $100 million dollar project on it’s own and involves only a single city.