19 Responses to Energy and Global Warming News for June 17th: First 4,400 Volt buyers to get free chargers
General Motors will offer the first 4,400 buyers of its Chevrolet Volt the option of having a 240-volt charging station installed in their home when the car is released this fall, the company said Thursday.
The Volt is General Motors’ upcoming plug-in electric car that promises a range of 40 miles on electricity alone before one is forced to switch to gas for fuel. GM refers to it as an extended-range electric vehicle, or EREV, instead of a hybrid because the gas engine generator is not directly tied to the car’s transmission.
The 240-volt charging stations will be free to Volt buyers; the cost will be covered by a grant from the Department of Energy under the Transportation Electrification Initiative funds inside the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
A group of U.S. Senators Tuesday proposed extending a government program that provides cash grants to renewable energy developers in lieu of tax credits, program developers have said is crucial to keeping the market afloat.
Sens. Maria Cantwell (D., Wash.), Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) and four other Democratic senators proposed extending the renewable tax-credit Treasury grant program another two years, through 2012, as part of a $140 billion bill to extend federal unemployment aid and renew a host of expired tax breaks.
Keeping air cool in homes and offices this summer will be expensive–about 5 percent of the energy used in the United States each year goes to running air conditioners. But researchers at the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, CO, have come up with a new air-conditioner design that they say will dramatically increase efficiency and eliminate gases that contribute to global warming.
“The technology we have today is nearly a hundred years old,” says Eric Kozubal, a senior engineer at NREL. Kozubal and colleagues have come up with an air conditioner that combines evaporative cooling with a water-absorbing material to provide cool, dry air while using up to 90 percent less energy. The desiccant-enhanced evaporative, or DEVap, air conditioner is meant to addresses the old complaint, “It’s not the heat; it’s the humidity,” more efficiently.
One of the things President Obama called for Tuesday night in his address to the nation on the Gulf oil crisis was an end to the country’s addiction to fossil fuels.
On Wednesday’s NewsHour, we have a report on the complexities involved in achieving one part of that goal: wind energy.
Independent filmmaker Emma Cott has filed a report on the challenges of harnessing wind power from Mexico to meet the demand for energy in California.
Business school faculty and students are applying their management skills to one of the world’s knottiest problems: climate change. Several years after global warming first became a big topic in B-school classrooms and cafeterias, schools are now digging into the issue in a far more detailed way. There are new faculty posts dedicated to environmental concerns, case studies highlighting companies that have succeeded in shrinking their carbon footprints and a slew of student consulting projects on cutting emissions. Norwich Business School in England recently launched what it says is the world’s first M.B.A. in strategic carbon management.
Cuba is steadying itself for an ecological and tourism crisis as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill appears to be heading towards its pristine northern coast.
Authorities are preparing coastal communities to respond to the first sign of black slicks and have brought in Venezuelan experts to advise on damage limitation.
Patches of oil were reportedly spotted 100 miles north-west of the island, prompting concern that gulf currents will add Cuba to the list of casualties from the April 20 Deepwater Horizon rig explosion.
Big oil spills are no longer news in this vast, tropical land. The Niger Delta, where the wealth underground is out of all proportion with the poverty on the surface, has endured the equivalent of the Exxon Valdez spill every year for 50 years by some estimates. The oil pours out nearly every week, and some swamps are long since lifeless.
Perhaps no place on earth has been as battered by oil, experts say, leaving residents here astonished at the nonstop attention paid to the gusher half a world away in the Gulf of Mexico. It was only a few weeks ago, they say, that a burst pipe belonging to Royal Dutch Shell in the mangroves was finally shut after flowing for two months: now nothing living moves in a black-and-brown world once teeming with shrimp and crab.
Worldwide hopes for a comprehensive climate protection treaty hinge on whether U.S. President Barack Obama can push through an ambitious U.S. climate bill.
At least that’s what observers to the U.N. climate negotiations say.
EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard, a former Danish climate minister and chairwoman of the Copenhagen climate summit, last month said it was key that the United States legally commits itself to greenhouse gas emissions caps.