Regional Green Tech Report 3-24-2011

[Editor’s Note: After a long hiatus, we bring back for our readers our Regional Green Tech Report, which strings together into what is hopefully a useful narrative interesting green technology stories from around the country.]

As clean energy technologies are becoming increasingly recognized as important throughout the country, more and more local communities are investing time and money into creative ways to achieve power from efficient renewable energy resources.

This week in Connecticut, WSFB highlights the beginning of a competition between 14 different towns in the Neighbor-to-Neighbor Energy Challenge, which is a three-year clean energy fund program to reduce the state’s energy use by 20 percent. Funded by a $4.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, the towns will compete against each other to see who can become the most energy efficient in reducing the states carbon emissions.

JOBS Project

image via SolarWorld

In Oregon, local businesses are also finding innovative ways to use clean energy while simultaneously helping the local community. The Oregonian takes a look at the creative services of the Greasebus, which runs completely on waste vegetable oil maintained from local Portland area restaurants, offers services six days a week from Portland to Mt. Hood Meadows and can hold up to 20 people each trip. The High Plans Midwest Ag Journal looks into local NASCAR raceways and their relationship with local farmers in Pennsylvania. In addition to using reusable corn-based ethanol as fuel, the Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa is the largest solar-powered sports facility in the country, using local resources from a solar farm that provides energy not only to the track, but approximately 1,000 area homes.

Also present in the news of late has been the buzz surrounding the future of electric cars.

In Hawaii, the Honolulu Star Advertiser addresses the plans for charging stations to be built up and down highways after receiving $2.6 million from six federal grants received to help promote the local community’s use of the new technologies. In Baltimore, The Baltimore Sun wrote about Somerset Construction,, who is accommodating the future of electric use by building a new 365-unit apartment complex, which will include available charging stations for local residents. In Asheville, North Carolina, similar strategies are in order as the construction of a six-story hotel and parking garage on one of the city’s busiest corners was put into motion. The Citizen Times explained the project, which is to be completed in June 2012, will include 10 bike lockers and four charging stations for electric vehicles.

Toyota RAV4 Electric Vehicle

image via Toyota

Green jobs have also grown pervasive throughout the news as the amount of technologies continues to provide more local economic opportunities. According to the Tennessean, green jobs in Tennessee are becoming a major part of the solution to high remaining unemployment rates. Training programs have also increased to help prepare Tennessee’s workers for all their new tasks in hopes of future steady wages.

Green jobs are also on the rise in Vermont, where Vermont Green, a statewide public-private partnership, has begun to include sustainable agriculture as an important focus of environmental, social and economic significance. Since January 2010, Vermont Green has trained about 850 people and placed around half of the workers in new green jobs. The Burlington Free Press wrote Vermont Green hopes to train roughly 2,400 people by January 2012, placing and advancing careers of about 1,100 in green industries.