5 Green Tech Stories You Should Be Reading: May 3, 2012

Across the Internet, people are reading about Greenpeace’s criticisms of Apple’s reliance on coal, floating wind turbines for deep-sea wind farms, and some cool new smart grid projects happening around the world. Read all about it.

floating wind turbines, hywind

image via Wikimedia Commons

1. “The Competitive Advantage of Green Grids” – Mother Nature Network – MNN takes a look at green power grids, which use everything from geothermal (in Iceland), to solar and wind power (at a Walmart food distribution center in Calgary, Alberta) are not only cleaner, but are an attractive business opportunity. This reflection comes in the wake of the Greenpeace demonstrations at Apple stores across North America, where activists criticized the company’s reliance on coal power.

2. “Massive Offshore Wind Turbines to Float in Waters Over a Thousand Feet Deep” – ARS Technica – Last week, the US and UK announced that they would be jointly researching and funding projects to construct floating wind turbines for deep-sea wind farms, and the U.S. Department of Energy has pledged $180 million for this endeavor. However, there is some concern about the countries’ ability to fund a floating wind farm, as these turbines are notoriously expensive to build and install.

3. “6 Smart Grid Projects You Don’t See Every Day” – Smart Grid News – A look at six of the more unusual advances in smart grid technology found around the world, from using the otherwised unused “white space” of the wireless spectrum for green apps in Cambridge, England, to solar-powered microgrids in rural India, to the revamping of an old hydroelectric plant for a clean microgrid in southern Michigan. These projects all seek to provide clean and cost-effective energy to people in all walks of life on a local scale.

4. “Renewable Energy Generation is Big Business in Kenya” – Renewable Energy World – Companies in Kenya, including sugar and tea companies, are getting into the business of being IPPs–independent power producers–by using biomass, wind and solar powers, along with energy storage technologies, to generate power. The power is then sold to the national grid, and the money is used to benefit the company as well as its workers. Because of increased energy demand, Kenya is also planning a 300-megawatt wind farm in the Ngong hills forest.

5. “Vauxhall Predicts Ampera Will Boost Electric Car Sales” – The Guardian – The Vauxhall Ampera, known stateside as the Chevy Volt, was introduced as a solution to the “range anxiety,” or the fear of a battery-powered car running out of juice on a long trip, many potential consumers voice. Despite sluggish sales last year, the Ampera is predicted to sell well in Europe this year, and automakers have been stressing the fact that when, after 50 miles of purely electric power, the battery runs out, the gas engine seamlessly takes over, protecting against breakdowns.

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.