Clean Tech News Briefs November 8, 2011

EarthTechling looks at a lot of interesting clean tech news daily as we consider what items to have our staff write about. Here are some green tech news gems we found while researching online you might consider reading more on in today’s Clean Tech News Briefs.

image via Shutterstock

This might make you sad. GigaOm compares the market caps of green tech startups, Groupon, and market mainstays like big oil, auto and Internet companies and large utility companies. On the whole, the green startups’ caps are a fraction of the size of Groupon’s, while the oil and auto industries have caps that vastly exceed Groupon’s.

Small wind might be a big solution. Helix Wind has come up with a way to make wind energy more palatable to those who might be opposed to the size, noise, location, and danger to birds and other flying creatures posed by traditional wind turbines. The small, quiet and vertically-oriented WindSail is being billed as a turbine for individual homes and businesses, says Triple Pundit.

Nothing like a little competition. Mother Nature Network puts a positive spin on the solar technology competition between the US and China, saying that it will lead to new innovations in solar energy and ultimately, to lower prices for solar installations for everyone.

Biofuel for the real world. Richard Branson and Entrepreneur discuss the realities of biofuels as a solution to world energy issues, saying that monocrops grown strictly for fuel purposes is not a realistic or healthy solution, especially when so many people do not have enough food. He proposes that biofuel energy should have a local, rather than a global focus, and be tailored to fit the energy and agricultural needs of specific places.

Wind and solar could be in the same boat. Wind turbine manufacturers might be facing the same fate as solar panel manufacturers, warns IEEE Spectrum, as government funding shrinks or stops altogether, and as the logistics of wind energy are critiqued in terms of space and money.

Wind energy’s enthusiasm tamed in Pacific Northwest. The New York Times, on the other hand, reports that wind energy use is rising, and can sometimes provide too much energy for grids to handle in the US’s Pacific Northwest. To deal with this and prevent blackouts due to the grid being overwhelmed, energy companies have recruited customers to store extra energy in their basement water heaters.

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.