28 December 2007

Clean Tech: Solar Cell Production up in 2007, Says Earth Policy Institute

Lester Brown's Earth Policy Institute (EPI) has issued its "Eco-Economy Indicators" for the global solar industry in 2007. And it's positive news. Here are the "top ten points of light" from the report as I see it:

1.) Production of photovoltaics (PV) jumped to 3,800 megawatts worldwide, up an estimated 50 percent over 2006. At the end of the year, according to preliminary data, cumulative global production stood at 12,400 megawatts, enough to power 2.4 million U.S. homes. This represents an average growth of 48 percent each year since 2002 -- essentially doubling every two years.

2.) Among PVs, new thin-film technologies, such as that being developed by Green Skeptic-favorite First Solar (FSLR), is fast-growing taking advantage of the worldwide shortage of polysilicon, which is used in more traditional solar cell technologies. EPI reports that thin film grew from 4 percent of the market in 2003 to 7 percent in 2006. Polysilicon supply is expected to match demand by 2010, but not before thin film grabs 20 percent of the market.

3.) The top five PV-producing countries are Japan, China, Germany, Taiwan, and the United States, according to EPI. After almost tripling its PV production in 2006, China is believed to have more than doubled output in 2007. With more than 400 PV companies, China’s market share has exploded from 1 percent in 2003 to over 18 percent today. Having eclipsed Germany in 2007 to take the number two spot, China is now on track to become the number one PV producer in 2008. The United States, which gave the world the solar cell, has dropped from third to fifth place as a solar cell manufacturer since 2005, overtaken by China in 2006 and Taiwan in 2007.

4.) China is planning a 100-megawatt solar PV farm in Dunhuang City in the northwestern province of Gansu, which would have five times the capacity of the largest PV power plant in the world today.

5.) Despite its skies being cloudy two thirds of the time, Germany has been the leading market for PV installations since it overtook Japan in 2004. In 2006, Germany, adding 1,050 megawatts, became the first country to install more than one gigawatt in a single year. Japan, the United States, and Spain round out the top four markets with 350, 141, and 70 megawatts installed in 2006, respectively. (See EPI data.)

6.) Growth in US installations increased from 20 percent in 2005 to 31 percent in 2006, primarily driven by California and New Jersey. The California Solar Initiative was launched in January 2006 as part of the state’s Million Solar Roofs program to provide more than US$3 billion in incentives for solar power. The goal is to generate 3,000 megawatts of new solar power statewide by 2017. New Jersey’s Clean Energy Rebate Program, which began in 2001, offers a rebate of up to US$3.50 per watt for residential PV systems, contributing to a more than tripling of installations between 2005 and 2006.

7.) Of the world’s PV manufacturers in 2007, Sharp (Japan), Q-Cells (Germany), and Suntech (China) claimed the top three positions. (See EPI data.) But after holding the top spot for more than six years, Sharp, hampered by limited access to polysilicon, is likely to post only a 4-percent growth in production in 2007, well below the 50 percent industry average.

However, Sharp’s annual thin-film production capacity is on track to increase from 15 megawatts today to 1,000 megawatts per year in 2010. Suntech, a relatively new firm started in 2001, was the fourth-largest PV manufacturer in 2006, and eclipsed Kyocera in 2007 to take third place. In the first half of 2007, Suntech produced almost as much PV as it did in all of 2006.

8.) Capitalizing on the polysilicon supply crunch, First Solar in the United States moved into the top 15 global manufacturers in 2006 by producing 60 megawatts of cadmium telluride thin-film PV, triple its production in 2005. In the first half of 2007, First Solar leapt onto the top 10 list, moving up five spots to number eight and continuing its reign as the fastest-growing PV manufacturing company in the world.

9.) The average price for a PV module, excluding installation and other system costs, has dropped from almost $100 per watt in 1975 to less than $4 per watt at the end of 2006. (See EPI data.) With expanding polysilicon supplies, average PV prices are projected to drop to $2 per watt in 2010. For thin-film PV alone, production costs are expected to reach $1 per watt in 2010, at which point solar PV will become competitive with coal-fired electricity.

10.) With concerns about rising oil prices and climate change spawning political momentum for renewable energy, solar electricity is poised to take a prominent position in the global energy economy.

For a more complete report, see EPI Eco-Economy Indicators: Solar

24 December 2007

Global Climate Change: An Email from Santa (Reprint)

Last Christmas, we published this email from Santa, which arrived on the night before the night before Christmas. We had so much fun with it, we thought we'd share it again. Enjoy!

I received this email from Jolly, or not so Jolly St. Nick tonight:
TO: Global Warming Skeptics
FROM: Santa Claus
DATE: A few nights before Xmas
SUBJECT: My Christmas List

This is Santa, writing from the North Pole. Soon I'll be gathering all the toys for all the good little girls and boys and packing them in my sleigh to begin our journey, our night of nights.

The reindeer, however, are starting to complain about hoof-rot. Apparently, they've been standing around in too much slush. This has put me in a decidedly prickly mood this Christmas.

You know me; I'm not a single-issue guy. I believe that as long as you are good, and I mean good for goodness' sake, you deserve some slack on the other stuff. I'm an equal opportunity distributor. I know whether you've been bad or good or just plain evil. You also know I'm not one to discriminate against one group of people or another, believers or non-believers.

But this year is different. This year, I'm making a few changes to my list. I'm checking it twice and have decided that the naughty include any one of you out there who do not believe in global warming. All you climate change skeptics out there, you are on the naughty list this year.

Oh, you know who you are. And I've got one special gift for you: Nothing but COAL. You like the stuff so much -- and it's such a big part what's leading to climate change -- you might as well have bags and bags of it and nothing more.

Make no mistake. Global warming is happening. You don't have to show me any scientific reports, although some nifty ones have shown up in my email box lately, sent to me from the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

No, you don't have to convince me; I'm a believer. All I have to do is look out my window to my back yard, what's left of it! It's a soupy mess out there.

We usually have a good bit of ice up here at the North Pole -- and early. That's important, too; you see, every year the elves and I construct a temporary workshop up here where we make the toys and assemble the other goodies. The earlier the ice, the sooner we get started. Although I have figured out a way to deliver the entire shipment of gifts on my list in one night, I still haven't perfected the manufacturing process. I can't speed it up. (Some of that I blame on the unions.) We need all the ice we can get up here for there is no solid ground.

But this year, the ice cover was the lowest it's been in almost 30 years. And at least one of those science groups studying this stuff tells me that, according to their models, by 2040, we'll have mostly open water up here. (They sent me this short animation clip, which sends chills up my spine: Arctic Ice Melt.)

Mrs. Claus has even started looking for Houseboats on Craig's List!

So, dear boys and girls, you better not pout or cry or whine or deny climate change any longer. And I'm telling you why: because climate change is coming to town. Time's a wasting. We need to do something about this now, before it's too late. Or before I have to move all of my operations to the South Pole!

Here's wishing a carbon-neutral Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

S. Claus, North Pole

23 December 2007

Clean Tech: Nanosolar Tries to Do Good; eBay Balks

Nanosolar, the private company that intends to manufacture the world's most cost-efficient solar cells using nanotech innovation, produced and released its first printed thin-film solar panels just last week.

Then they put Panel #2 from their production up for auction on eBay. Bidding quickly rocketed from 99 cents to US$13,000 and Nanosolar decided to use the proceeds for a charitable purchase.

But as Nanosolar CEO Martin Roscheisen (pictured, and you gotta love that picture) notes on the company blog, "without warning eBay today decided to delete our auction due to the promised charitable use of the proceeds."

Nanosolar's legal team tried to get eBay to reinstate the auction, but to no avail.

"Upon review," Roscheisen writes,"we decided this isn’t a battle we care to fight more than an afternoon, so it’s back to building cells and panels for us."

For now, Panel #2 will stay at Nanosolar. Unfortunate and shortsighted on the part of eBay. Kudos to Roscheisen and Nanosolar for wanting to do something more than just take the money and run.

Our only outstanding question is: when is the IPO?

21 December 2007

Philanthropy 2.0: America's Giving Challenge

The Case Foundation and Parade Magazine has launched America’s Giving Challenge and will award $500,000 to nonprofits whose supporters attract the most unique donors to their cause using new and innovative online tools.

To "champion a cause" you must be a legal U.S. resident aged 13 years or older, using a valid credit card or other form of payment accepted by donation processing partners Network for Good and GlobalGiving.

There are two ways to participate:
Champion a Cause and have the chance to get $50,000 for the charity of your choice. The eight individuals whose charity badges attract the most unique donors through the America’s Giving Challenge will get $50,000 for their cause.

Give to a Cause and help the charity you care about get $1,000. The 100 nonprofits with the greatest number of unique donations made to them through America’s Giving Challenge will each get $1,000.

The Challenge will close January 31 at 3pm EST.

Check out the video one of GlobalGiving's staffers posted on YouTube:

Very cool stuff. And just in time for the holiday season you last minute shoppers!

(Disclosure: My longtime pal, Lee Kravitz, was editor of Parade when this partnership was begun. He has since left the magazine.)

20 December 2007

Global Climate Change: EPA Tells States "No, No, No" On Own Auto Emissions Standards

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rejected the rights of California and 16 other states to set their own standards for carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles.

Claiming federal authority, EPA administrator, Stephen L. Johnson, said the proposed California rules are made moot by the energy bill (HR6) signed into law by President Bush on Wednesday.

According the the New York Times, "The decision immediately provoked a heated debate over its scientific basis and whether political pressure was applied by the automobile industry to help it escape the proposed California regulations. Officials from the states and numerous environmental groups vowed to sue to overturn the edict."

Johnson was quick to defend his agency's decision, stating, "The Bush administration is moving forward with a clear national solution, not a confusing patchwork of state rules. I believe this is a better approach than if individual states were to act alone."

For over two years California, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, along with 13 other states have waited as the Bush administration debated the issue of a state's right to adopt stricter air quality standards than the federal government.

The emissions standards California represented GHG emissions cut of 30 percent in new cars and light trucks by 2016, beginning with 2009 models. That's significantly higher -- 43 miles per gallon for cars and some light trucks and about 27 miles per gallon for heavier trucks and SUVs -- than the Energy Bill's 35 MPG.

I always find it interesting that state's rights are evoked inconsistently when its convenient. One wonders whether the Bush administration simply didn't want to be trumped by Schwarzenegger.

"It is disappointing that the federal government is standing in our way and ignoring the will of tens of millions of people across the nation," Mr. Schwarzenegger said. "We will continue to fight this battle."

You can almost hear him say, "I'll be back..."

19 December 2007

Clean Tech: Solar! Solar! Solar!

The Sun will always shine on its little sister, Earth. Well at least until it enters the asymptotic giant branch of a planetary nebula phase in about 7.8 billion years. (You think global warming is bad now? Trust me, you don't want to be around for the sun's nebula phase and the boiling rivers.)

Meanwhile, however, there is growing interest in harnessing the Sun's energy for the purposes of continuing life on Earth. And solar power, once de rigeur for unwashed hippies and counter-culture, off-the-grid, back-to-the-landers. And Libertarians. Did I forget to mention Libertarians?

Anyway, we've been pimping solar plays here on The Green Skeptic for some time, and it seems the sun is shining all over these days. Some of my favorite investor/pundit-type dudes, like Howard Lindzon and Jim Cramer, are getting frothed about it, and even private plays like Nanosolar are getting attention for its "buck a watt" solution.

Despite the fact that Congress excluded alternative energy incentives from its Energy Bill, which I thought might actually hurt solar plays, these stocks and companies seem to be on the rise. And this is a good thing: for the economy, for the environment, and for investors.

As Howard put it yesterday: "This is the beginning, not the end of solar energy. Very exciting times. If you get mucked up focused on the averages and the financials, you will miss all the great new trends just beginning."

My Solar Portfolio (12/19/07)


Disclosure: Very Long Solar

Energy: House Sends Bush Energy Bill to Sign

President Bush is to sign a compromise Energy Bill (HR6) this morning, which will help reduce US dependence on foreign oil and scratch the surface on climate change impacts by cutting about a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions that scientists say the US must slash.

Highlights of the Bill:

-New auto fleets must average 35 miles/gallon by 2020 -- a 40 percent increase in fuel-efficiency standards

-Mandate use of 36 billion gallons/year of ethanol and other biofuels by 2022, a six-fold increase over today's ethanol production.

-Phase-out conventional incandescent light bulbs by mid-teens, replaced with CFs and LEDs.

Those of us interested in alternative energy development were disappointed by the failure of congressional supporters to roll back US$13.5 billion in tax breaks for oil companies. The savings were to be used to create incentives for wind, solar and biomass energy development, as well as energy conservation.

The Bill actually represents the first increase in auto fuel economy since 1975 and the compromises made on both sides represents a true bi-partisan effort. So the House, Senate, and President Bush should be applauded for making this happen.

17 December 2007

Social Entrepreneurs: Barack Obama Calls for Social Sector Investment

In a speech last week in Iowa, presidential hopeful, Senator Barack Obama, called for a new focus on social entrepreneurs as agents for positive change, and for increased investment in the social sector:

"The second thing I’ll do is invest in ideas that can help us meet our common challenges, because more often than not the next great social innovation won’t be generated by the government.

"The non-profit sector employs 1 in 12 Americans and 115 nonprofits are launched every day. Yet while the federal government invests $7 billion in research and development for the private sector, there is no similar effort to support non-profit innovation. Meanwhile, there are ideas across America – in our inner cities and small towns; from college graduates to folks making a career change – that could benefit millions of Americans if they’re given the chance to grow.

"As President, I will launch a new Social Investment Fund Network. It’s time to get the grass roots, the foundations, the private sector and the government at the table. We’ll invest in ideas that work; leverage private sector dollars to encourage innovation; and expand successful programs to scale. Take a program like the Harlem Children’s Zone, which helps thousands of kids in New York through after-school activities, mentoring, and family support. We need to make that model work in different cities around the country. And I’ll start a new Social Entrepreneur Agency to make sure that small non-profits have the same kind of support that we give small businesses."

Spurring private action through public programs. Obama almost sounds like a Republican with his call for "personal responsibility" and acknowledgment that "the next great social innovation won’t be generated by the government."

Does Barack Obama have a chance to become President? He got this Independent's attention with this speech.

Read the full speech here: The Swamp

Global Climate Change: At Bali, Everyone Blinked; Bumpy Road Ahead

Compromise is necessary in any negotiation, but in Bali, where delegates from 187 countries met to begin framing a new global warming treaty, the US and EU were holding a staring contest. In the end, everyone blinked.

Meanwhile, in Washington, the Senate settled for a compromise energy bill instead of one that sets out a clear path to a cleaner energy future.

The Bali delegates agreed to negotiate by 2009 a new and more comprehensive global treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.

The countries pledged to address deforestation, which accounts for one-fifth of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. There was also a vague offering from China, likely to assume the lead as a producer of greenhouse gas emissions, that they will pursue "measurable, reportable and verifiable" emissions reductions.

The US delegate pledged only to participate in the forthcoming negotiations, but they rejected setting provisional targets for greenhouse gas cuts, and they flat-out refused to commit to reducing their own emissions.

"The Bali road map sets out a process but it doesn't tell us where we'll wind up," head of The Nature Conservancy delegation Andrew Deutz told Asia Times. "The science should have given us a clear picture of where we need to go. But the agreement doesn't paint a picture of the destination."

Indeed, it seems a bumpy road from Bali to Copenhagen, where the final deal will be sealed in 2009.

Despite the drama of extending the meeting by a day, the hard-line stand of the US -- its refusal to accept a target of 25-to-40 percent cuts in GHG emissions by 2020 -- was the headline grabber. It points to a bumpy road ahead, as the US continues to assert its muscle and insists on doing things its way.

White House Council on Environmental Quality chairman James Connaughton is quoted in Asia Times, saying, "The US will lead, and we will continue to lead, but leadership also requires others to fall in line and follow."

Fasten your seat belts; it's going to be a bumpy two-year ride.

Update: download the Bali Action Plan here.

14 December 2007

Global Climate Change: Bali Yields REDD, a Deal on Forest Conservation

Reuters reports that the Bali talks have achieved at least one positive outcome, and it has greens seeing REDD:

Reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) is an indicator of the sense of urgency felt by developing nations in the face of global warming.

"The breakthrough might eventually allow poor but forested nations to turn conservation into a tradeable commodity, with the potential to earn billions of dollars selling carbon credits," according to the Reuters article.

"But," Reuters reports, "one of the scheme's key architects warned that, if successful, it will create such large emissions reductions that carbon markets could collapse unless rich nations take on more stringent reductions targets."

Forest destruction produces about 20 percent of human generated carbon dioxide emissions, and groups such as The Nature Conservancy have long argued that forest conservation, also known as "avoided deforestation," is central to reducing emissions globally.

"Deforestation had been left out of previous climate deals," such as Kyoto, "because of concerns about how to work out which trees were threatened, and that any scheme would reward countries destroying forests rather than those protecting their resources."

"'Forests have been the elephants in the corner of the climate change process,' said Andrew Mitchell, executive director of Global Canopy Programme, adding that markets were the only way to find the billions of dollars a year needed to protect forests.

"'We cannot expect philanthropy or governments to come up with this amount of money sustainably,' he said."

read the full story: Reuters

(Full disclosure: While with The Nature Conservancy, I was part of its Climate Change Strategy Team, which developed the strategy linked to above. I am no longer employed by the Conservancy.)

13 December 2007

Global Climate Change: Showdown in Bali, EU and US Deadlock Threatens Talks

According to reports from Bali (wish I was there; for the diving, not the talks...)the European Union (EU) is now in a "showdown" with the US over climate change policy, saying the US needs to "wake-up."

Deadlocked (as usual). In what are the final hours of the Bali talks, EU officials called President Bush's Hawaii summit to be held next month "meaningless" without binding targets and an "ambitious roadmap" coming out of Bali.

According to reports, the US opposes the directive that industrialised countries reduce emissions by between 25% and 40% by 2020. But Stavros Dimas, EU commissioner for the environment, called the 25-40% cuts for rich countries "indispensable."

The deadlock threatens failure for the Bali talks and a huge waste of time for officials and reps from more than 180 countries. Surprise, surprise. Anyone who thought things would be different in Bali was kidding herself.

"What is a roadmap without a destination?" Dimas said in a statement. "Now is the time for other industrial nations to wake up and show leadership, not only in words but in deeds."

More hot air and carbon emissions generated to fuel the acceleration of climate change. When will we learn that there has to be a better way?

I hope at least the diving was good for the delegates!

12 December 2007

Clean Tech: New Cycle Capital, Profits and Social Benefits

Readers of this blog know I am interested in innovative approaches to making social change while making money.

One of my best readers pointed me to a Venture Beat story about a new venture capital firm designed to maximize profits and social benefits. The guys behind New Cycle Capital want to prove that companies that are doing good can make money too. Very cool.

Two Silicon Valley venture capitalists are creating a new venture capital fund that aims to produce competitive profits and also “social benefits.” The fund, to be kicked off next year with at least $50 million, will focus on the “green economy,” as well as financial and other services that help low-income groups.

Called New Cycle Capital, the firm is led by Josh Becker (pictured left) and Benjamin Black (pictured right), both investors who have worked for mainstream venture capital firms. Becker spent time at Redpoint Ventures, while Black worked at Maveron and Rosewood Capital, and was VP of corporate development at Harris Interactive.

Becker has long been socially active in the community, serving on the board of the Full Circle Fund, a San Francisco group of executives that fosters relationships between businesses and non-profits.

Early this year, the two began to raise the fund, after they realized it’s wrong to assume that investments in companies that provide tangible social benefit don’t make as much money as other investments, Becker said. They want to focus on early-stage companies, producing stellar returns in areas such as the ecosystem of services around clean-technology.
New Cycle Capital, LLC specializes in early stage investments. The firm seeks businesses that protect the environment, reduce economic bifurcation, and transform exploitative industries.

Read the full story: Venture Beat

07 December 2007

Philanthropy & Environmental Change: Why Gore Chose I-banking over Non-Profit

"It certainly was not for the money," writes Susan Raymond of the philanthropic consulting firm Changing Our World (see onPhilanthropy), since 100% of former Vice President Al Gore's salary will be donated to the Alliance for Climate Protection.

"Rather, Mr. Gore's new affiliation with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, announced on November 12, reflects the evolution, and even maturation, of the environment as a matter of for-profit markets rather than as a matter of nonprofit endeavor."

Readers of this blog know I have been skeptical about the ability of the philanthropic capital market to address the growing and pervasive environmental problems we face. Ms. Raymond, whose opinions I have quoted before, adds some numbers to the argument:

1.) On the nonprofit side and in the U.S., an estimated $6 billion flows to environmental causes. This represents more than a tripling of funding in the last 20 years. Still, that $6 billion represents just 2% of all philanthropic giving. An examination of the grant making of private foundations finds a similar pattern.

2.) In 1998, foundations made nearly 5000 grants to the environment totaling $455 million. By 2005, that had increased to 6500 grants for over $800 million. Yet, environment as a percentage of all grants remained at 5%, and the portion of total grant value only increased to 5% from 4.7%.

Now to the other side,

1.) The total value of the global environmental technologies market is $600 billion, 100 times the size of environmental philanthropy.

2.) Environmental technology and services companies represent over 1.4 million jobs in the U.S. in 115,000 private companies. And those markets are growing as the drive for environmental protection spurs innovation and new technologies.

But "technology is increasingly the least of the market," writes Raymond. "Pollution, water rights, and even biodiversity are themselves becoming financial markets....the market for SO2 allowances is valued at $4 billion, with swaps, puts and calls, and emissions allowances are used as collateral, being loaned or swapped for other pollutants. And pollution? In the U.S. SO2 emissions are on track to fall to half their 1980 levels by 2010."

Raymond goes on to note that "some financial observers expect the environmental commodities market to have a valuation of $1 trillion by the end of 2012."

Payments for ecosystem benefits is also making progress, albeit slowly. Raymond cites a Costa Rican example, wherein "forest owners are paid for the environmental services provided by their bio-assets, carbon, biodiversity, watershed management, and natural beauty. In the decade 1996 to 2005, the program preserved the forests and increased household income by 15%."

And, as I've reported previously, some big name players, such as David Brand, founder of New Forests Pty Limited, and Priceline.com co-founder Jessie Fink, are getting into the game.

This is not to say that the non-profit approach to environmental change is dead in the water. But I think it's important to take notice of the emerging market being created from the intersection of financial innovation and environmental private action.

If it all leads to an accelerated response to global environmental issues -- water, climate change, or biodiversity loss -- then perhaps the market herd will move to greener pastures.

05 December 2007

Clean Tech: More News on First Solar

First Solar is one of my favorite alternative energy stocks. I've been tracking it for a while now, for 100 points or so, (52-week low = 26.40; high = 252.390). And I liked what I heard on last month's conference call.

Earlier this week, Lazard raised its price target to $250 from $225, citing "its overall strategy to garner leading and defendable market share in the mainstream electric power generating market, without subsidy, while maintaining a superior return on capital through people, processes, technological leadership, scale, strong financial discipline, and risk control"...and that First Solar "reiterated its cost-reduction goal of achieving module ASP of $1-$1.25/watt by 2010-2012."

Analyst Sanjay Shrestha of Lazard Capital Markets said, "We believe this strategy will allow First Solar to successfully migrate from subsidized markets, to renewable energy markets, to mainstream electric power markets over the next several years."

And today, First Solar (Nasdaq:FSLR) announced that its Chief Financial Officer, Jens Meyerhoff, will present to the investment community on Thursday, December 6, 2007 at 3:00 PM PT (6:00 PM ET), at the Lehman Brothers Global Technology Conference in San Francisco, CA.

Live and replay audio web casts of the Company's presentation will be available on the "Investors" section of the Company's website at investor.

First Solar, Inc. manufactures solar modules with an advanced thin film semiconductor process. For more information, see First Solar.

03 December 2007

Global Climate Change: Expecting a Miracle in Bali? Don't Hold Your Breath

The Bali Climate talks begin today. The goal is to develop an agreement that can replace Kyoto.

Perhaps it's the skeptic in me, but I don't hold out much hope for this week's sessions. Especially with continued posturing by the US and China.

Maybe they'll prove me wrong. I doubt it.

I continue to feel we need stronger economic incentives before we will seriously address climate change.

Perhaps this will come out in Bali, but I'm not holding my breath.

02 December 2007

Global Climate Change: Glen Barry's pre-Bali Essay Calls for Equitable Emissions Cuts

Before the Bali Climate Talks begin next week, everyone should read the latest Earth Meanders essay by Dr. Glen Barry, called "Poverty Sucks, the Earth and the Soul."

Barry writes that "To avoid run-away abrupt climate change, all nations must embrace equitable, ambitious and urgent emission cuts in Bali.

"The rich are richer and the poor, poorer -- even as the Earth they share shrivels and dies. Billions live a life of misery on a dollar or two a day, as a sizeable minority enjoys creature comforts fit for kings of old, and a relative few with more wealth then entire nations live in unimagined splendor...

"Humanity is well along the path of cutting and burning ourselves to oblivion. The combined filth from centuries of burning fossil fuels and clearing native vegetation -- primitive practices that continue to this day -- is causing the climate and global ecology to not only change, but collapse...There is perhaps Bali and a few years to get policy right to reduce emissions and avoid total global ecological decline through cooperative international policy-making..."

Read the full essay

Source: Climate Ark

01 December 2007

Clean Tech: First Solar buys Ted Turner's Renewable Play

First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) announced that it has acquired Turner Renewable Energy, LLC for a purchase price of approximately $34.3 million paid in a combination of common stock of First Solar, Inc. and cash.

The company will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of First Solar, Inc. under the name First Solar Electric, LLC. Turner Renewable Energy, LLC has operated under the name DT Solar, a Turner Renewable Energy Company, since January 2007 when entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner invested in the company.

DT Solar has designed and deployed commercial solar projects for utilities and Fortune 500 companies in the U.S. since 2004. The acquisition brings to First Solar a team of people experienced in the development of independent power projects, marketing of energy, and operation of commercial power plants in the United States.

Source: Clean Edge News