GreenTech Regional Report: 7-20-11

In this week’s edition of the Green Tech Regional Report, we’re taking a look at public implementations–or lack thereof–of green technology, from promoting solar to being dissatisfied with wind, from making electric vehicles more popular and accessible to generating green jobs. Take a look.

Solar power is getting a publicity boost in various places due to incentives for homeowners and installations in public places. The Washington Post reports that the Washington Redskins have signed a deal with NRG, a New Jersey-based energy company, and will be installing 8,000 solar panels in FedEx Field stadium’s parking lot. The panels will generate enough power to provide all the electrical needs of the stadium on non-game days, and partial power on game days. But don’t worry, Skins fans, the 850 parking spaces will still be available, with the added bonus of being in the shade thanks to the panels.

image via Washington Redskins

TXU Energy, based in Irving, TX, and San Francisco-based SolarCity have joined forces to offer $1,000 discounts for up to 5,000 households looking to install solar panels, immediately available in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The program offers design, installation, equipment and warranty to customers, as well as a choice of payment and financing options. The panels are estimated to cut household electric bills by about 30%.

In North Kingstown, RI, the town council moved to prohibit wind turbines in all areas of town that fall under their zoning authority. A proposal to build two large turbines by Wind Energy Development LLC caused significant controversy in the town, which finally resulted in the council requesting that all wind devices be prohibited. Before that can go into effect, though, a public hearing will take place in August.

In Texas, ranchers report that they gave wind power a try, but failed to see favorable results. The turbines, purchased from Southwest Windpower, failed to produce enough electricity to make their investments worthwhile. The two retired ranchers even set up a website detailing their experiences with the turbines. Southwest Windpower, however, claims that the turbines are fully functional and that any issues are the result of improper installation.

In Aspen, CO, researchers are planning to drill a 1,000-foot hole into a gravel parking lot to see if geothermal energy from hot groundwater is a feasible option for the city, in keeping with its commitment to reduce greenhouse gases by 30% by 2030. Temperatures between 90 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal, and if approved, the research would begin in September, and last roughly a month.

New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg announced the addition of 70 plug-in hybrid and fully electric vehicles to the city’s fleet, bringing the city’s total AFV fleet to 430. This means that, according to Bloomberg, New York has “the largest municipal clean-air fleet in the nation.” The vehicles will be used for a variety of municipal purposes including sanitation, transportation, police and fire. New York can also boast over 70 EV charging stations and almost 5,000 hybrid taxis.

Washington State is also embracing electric vehicles, installing nine charging stations along Interstate 5 and the I-5 area. The $1 million project is to go into effect in November, with each station being about 30 to 50 miles apart. They will feature both a fast-charging station that can completely refill a Nissan LEAF in about half an hour, and a slower-charging station designed for the Chevrolet Volt and the Toyota Prius.

The Midwest is showing much progress in the green jobs field. Nebraska ranks seventh in the nation in its percentage growth of “clean economy” jobs since 2003. It’s estimated that the state has added 5,000 jobs in green building, energy conservation, biofuel and other eco-friendly areas. While the national average growth rate for green jobs is 3.4%, Nebraska has been showing growth at 5.8%, and Omaha is emerging as a center for green building.

Laura Caseley is a graduate of SUNY New Paltz and a resident of New York State’s Hudson Valley. She writes for several publications and when she’s not writing, she can usually be found painting in her makeshift studio or enjoying the scenery of her hometown.

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