Earth Day’s Regional Green Tech Report

[Editor’s Note: For Earth Day today, we are running a special edition of our occasional Regional Green Tech Report. It serves to remind us that cleantech advances, large and small, often happen in the backyards of our own towns. On this day in which we celebrate all things green, regional green tech advancements are helping to drive the national clean economy.]

As technological advancements continue to progress in both the design and efficiency of turbine technology, the production of tidal power, which converts the energy of tides into electricity, is becoming an increasingly important reality within the future of clean energy.

In Alaska, The Alaska Journal of Commerce highlighted the plans of the newly announced partnership between the Homer Electric Association and Ocean Renewable Power Co. to use the power of Cook Inlet tides to supply the Kenai Peninsula’s with electricity. Although they don’t expect tidal power production to be generated until 2013, the announcement of the partnership is the first step towards making the utilization of turbines within the area a reality.

Brandenburg Solar

image via Google

According to Hydro World, Massachusetts towns have also been making advancements in their potential use of tidal power. The town of Edgartown filed a draft pilot license application for the 5-MW Muskeget Channel Tidal Energy project to help power the town, which is located on Martha’s Vineyard Island. The project is expected to include 14 tidal turbines located 25 feet below the surface of the water, which the town plans to develop over the eight-year term of the pilot license. Puget Sound also recently made advancements with its goals of tidal power when it announced plans to submit this spring its final license application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to install two test turbines. Each turbine is expected to generate enough power for 50-100 homes while they rest at the bottom of Admiralty Inlet, which is situated between Port Townsend and Whidbey Island.

In addition to tidal power, other forms of clean energy have also been buzzing around the country.

In Colorado, The Durango Telegraph illuminates the workings of The Sustainability Alliance of Southwest Colorado (SASCO), who have created a policy program in hopes to catalyze an increase in renewable energy use in the southwest region of its state. Currently, SASCO is lobbying the LPEA in hopes to start the program Clean Local Energy Accessible Now (CLEAN) within its region in hopes to utilize Colorado’s solar-rich environment, as well as set off a policy to include a fixed rate local individuals would be paid after selling solar power back to the grid.

The Herald Gazette also highlights the workings of solar energy a town in Maine, where 36 new American-made solar panels were mounted on the rooftop of their city hall. The local father-son business Sundog Solar Store of Searsport installed the panels, which collectively can generate up to 8,280 watts of electricity per hour. Clean energy goals are also buzzing throughout the state of Florida with the announcement of plans for a park in Highland Gardens located in Hollywood, FL. The park will be lit by solar energy, and the city plans to install a solar powered trash compactor. The playground, park benches and exercise equipment will also be made of recycled material. Construction is hoped to begin this upcoming summer.

Also present in the news recently has been talks of advancements with electric vehicles.

In Tennessee, The Daily News highlighted the announcement made by Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division officials of plans for 69 different potential sites for charging stations throughout the city. The sites include a diverse range of placement, including seven public libraries, museums, parks and hospitals. Funding for the charging stations will be supplied by the state-run EV Project, as well as the private company ECOtality, which plans to provide the charging technology for the stations throughout the county.

Nissan Leaf electric vehicle

image via Nissan

In Dallas, Texas, the KERA Newsroom addressed the unveiling of a new charging station for electric vehicles that will charge cars to run up to 30 miles with a mere 10 minute wait-time. Although several charging stations already exist throughout the state, the new re-charge station in Dallas is the state’s first fast-charging center to date.

Maryland is also finding innovative ways to make driving electric vehicles easier. In addition to its substantial investments in solar panels and water heating for power generation, Cherry Hill Park campground has installed an electric-vehicle charger. For $10, electric vehicle owners can charge their cars for four hours and sit at picnic benches while waiting on the charge to complete.