And here is this week’s Green numbers:
1.25 Gigawatts of Solar Thermal Power Approved in California in Past Two Days Will Double US Capacity
“There’ve been multiple gigawatts of solar thermal power plants planned for various places in the California desert for some time, but finally some more of them are getting the approvals need so that construction can start: The US Bureau of Land Management has issued a final environmental impact statement for the 1,000 MW Blythe Solar Power Project; and the 250 MW Beacon Solar Energy project has received final California state approval as well.
The smaller of the two first: Renewable Energy World reports NextEra Energy Resources has been given the green light by the California Energy Commission to begin construction on the 250 MW Beacon Solar Energy project.
Green roofs offer antidote to urban heat island effect
Researchers at Columbia University have demonstrated that a layer of plants and earth can cut the rate of heat absorption through the roof of a building in summer by 84%
Perhaps the greatest overall benefit of green roofs comes in tackling the “urban heat island” effect, which Gaffin suggests is responsible for two-thirds of New York’s localized warming over the last century. The conventional black rooftops that he calls “tar beaches” are major contributors to this phenomenon, absorbing and re-radiating the sun’s energy as heat. “We’re going to want to cool regional climate down, especially where people are living,” Gaffin noted. “So we’re going to have to confront the urban heat island effect.”
While conventional roofs can reach temperatures of 80 °C at 1.00 p.m. even outside of high summer, green roofs always stay closer to ambient temperatures. “These [conventional roofs] are almost dangerously hot spaces,” Gaffin told environmentalresearchweb. “That’s a huge heat load that we can get rid of.”
Plants in green roofs regulate their temperatures through evapotranspiration. “They evaporate copious amounts of water,” Gaffin explained. “That takes a lot of energy and means it’s a great way to stay cool.”
Creating 625,000 jobs and saving $64 billion through energy efficiency
Energy efficiency is THE core climate solution. It’s the biggest low-carbon resource by far. “Efficiency Works” [PDF], a major new report by Bracken Hendricks, Bill Campbell, and Pen Goodale, finds that a straightforward set of policies aimed at upgrading just 40 percent of the residential and commercial building stock in the United States would:
- Create 625,000 sustained full-time jobs over a decade.
- Spark $500 billion in new investments to upgrade 50 million homes and office buildings.
- Generate as much as $64 billion a year in cost savings for U.S. ratepayers, freeing consumers to spend their money in more productive ways.
Cisco To Acquire Smart Grid Monitoring Tech Company Arch Rock
Cisco this morning announced its intent to acquire privately-held Arch Rock, which specializes in IP-based wireless sensor network technology with a focus on energy and environmental monitoring and Smart Grid applications.
Financial terms of the transaction are not being disclosed.
Carbon markets: HFC-23 – The smoking greenhouse gun
ONE of the curiosities of carbon markets is that they do not just trade in carbon. Other greenhouse gases can be given a value, too—sometimes a very high one. Claims that these prices promote scammery are now prompting some searching questions.
The gas at the centre of the controversy is HFC-23, a greenhouse gas which, on a weight-for-weight basis, is 14,800 times better at trapping heat than carbon dioxide. HFC-23 is produced as a by-product of the manufacture of HCFC-22, an ozone-destroying refrigerant. HCFC-22 is banned in developed countries, but developing countries can keep making it until 2030.
The acronyms do not end there. Under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the United Nations HCFC-22 producers in developing countries that destroy, rather than release, their HFC-23 can be eligible for Certified Emission Reduction (CER) credits, which can then be traded in the European Union’s emissions-trading scheme. This allows companies to buy extra emissions reductions to meet their cap-and-trade obligations, and in so doing to transfer money to schemes reducing emissions in developing countries.