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Claiming The Clean Energy Future: A Seven-Point Action Plan For Repowering America | ThinkProgress

Claiming The Clean Energy Future: A Seven-Point Action Plan For Repowering America | ThinkProgress | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention last week ought to serve as an urgent wake-up call to anyone that cares about America’s energy, environmental, and economic future. At the podium, Romney chided President Obama on global warming, and his hoped-for GOP administration is advancing an “energy independence” plan built much more on the polluting industries of the past than the innovative clean technologies of the present and future. Somehow, global warming, renewables, and other clean-tech pursuits have become some of his favorite punch lines.

 

But clean tech is far from a laughing matter. Instead it’s the stuff of major multinationals such as GE, Toyota, and Siemens who are investing and making billions of dollars annually from their clean-tech initiatives; of startups including Tesla, SolarCity, and Agilyx who are respectively working to innovate electric vehicles, solar power finance, and plastics recycling; and of young Americans across our nation working to advance clean technologies, address climate change, and build thriving for-profit and non-profit ventures.

 

And contrary to what some would like you to believe, renewables energy production isn’t a marginal industry; it’s expanding rapidly in importance and penetration. In 2010 three states got more than 10 percent of their electricity generation from wind, solar, and geothermal. One year later, the number had doubled to six states including South Dakota and Iowa, which now generate approximately 20 percent of their total electricity from the wind alone. Clean tech isn’t shrinking; it’s starting to scale up to significant percentages for utilities, cities, states, and nations.

 

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Australia: Google spreads its wings, moving into drone deliveries | CNET

Australia: Google spreads its wings, moving into drone deliveries | CNET | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Google is working on a delivery system called Project Wing that will use what it's calling "self-flying" drones to bring goods to people.


The search giant has been working on the service for two years, and it is the latest project announced by Google X, the division of the company that works on Google's most ambitious projects. Other X initiatives include self-driving cars and the connected headset Google Glass.


Google has been testing the vehicles in Queensland, Australia, and has already made deliveries to locals -- including shipments of candy bars, dog treats, cattle vaccines, water and radios. Similar to the company's self-driving car project, the drones will be able to fly a pre-programmed route at the push of a button. The company said that it will be a few more years before the system is ready for commercial use.


Google is not the only tech giant experimenting with drones. Facebook has been working with drones through an effort called Connectivity Lab, announced in March. In December, Amazon announced it is developing a drone system that will bring products to customers. But while Amazon's efforts seem to be more focused on consumers, Google's early development of the system has been around disaster relief. For example, one early mission for the project in 2012 was delivering defibrillators to heart attack victims.


"Even just a few of these, being able to shuttle nearly continuously could service a very large number of people in an emergency situation," Astro Teller, head of Google X, told the BBC.


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WA: World’s Largest Dam Removal Unleashes U.S. River After Century of Electric Production | NationalGeographic.com

WA: World’s Largest Dam Removal Unleashes U.S. River After Century of Electric Production | NationalGeographic.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Today, on a remote stretch of the Elwha River in northwestern Washington state, a demolition crew hired by the National Park Service plans to detonate a battery of explosives within the remaining section of the Glines Canyon Dam. If all goes well, the blasts will destroy the last 30 feet of the 210-foot-high dam and will signal the culmination of the largest dam-removal project in the world.


In Asia, Africa, and South America, large hydroelectric dams are still being built, as they once were in the United States, to power economic development, with the added argument now that the electricity they provide is free of greenhouse gas emissions. But while the U.S. still benefits from the large dams it built in the 20th century, there's a growing recognition that in some cases, at least, dambuilding went too far—and the Elwha River is a symbol of that.


The removal of the Glines Canyon Dam and the Elwha Dam, a smaller downstream dam, began in late 2011. Three years later, salmon are migrating past the former dam sites, trees and shrubs are sprouting in the drained reservoir beds, and sediment once trapped behind the dams is rebuilding beaches at the Elwha's outlet to the sea. For many, the recovery is the realization of what once seemed a far-fetched fantasy.


"Thirty years ago, when I was in law school in the Pacific Northwest, removing the dams from the Elwha River was seen as a crazy, wild-eyed idea," says Bob Irvin, president and CEO of the conservation group American Rivers. "Now dam removal is an accepted way to restore a river. It's become a mainstream idea."


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South Africa: Vox Telecom partnering FTTH provider Vumatel | TeleGeography.com

South African altnet Vox Telecom has formed a commercial partnership with fibre broadband provider Vumatel, which recently began the deployment of an open access fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network in upmarket Johannesburg suburb Parkhurst.


On its website, Vox Telecom is offering three fibre service packages (4Mbps/50Mbps/100Mbps) available to Parkhurst residents/businesses signing up for the in-deployment FTTH connections from Vumatel, featuring a promotional offer giving free Vox ADSL internet service until the customer’s fibre line is installed. Vox advertises other benefits of the FTTH network including HD telephone calls via fibre.


Separately, Vumatel has confirmed that its FTTH infrastructure rollout in Parkhurst has begun in earnest, having dug its first trenches in the suburb, while the firm has also launched a new website of its own, which advertises FTTH speeds of up to 1Gbps.


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Politicians ignore people’s power pleas | Climate News Network

Politicians ignore people’s power pleas | Climate News Network | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Public support for renewable energies across the world continues to grow, particularly in more advanced economies − with solar power being especially popular.


At the same time, the policies of the governments in most of these richer countries do not mirror public opinion as many continue to develop fossil fuels, which do not command such popular support.


An example is the UK, where the government wants to exploit gas reserves by the controversial method of fracking – fracturing rock to allow the gas to reach the ground surface. The Conservative government is also promising to cut down on subsidies for onshore wind farms and to build nuclear power stations.


According to the public attitudes report published this month by the British government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change, 36% of the population supports the plan to build new nuclear stations, and only 24% support shale gas extraction by fracking.


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China: MIIT dishes out more MVNO licences | TeleGeography.com

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has handed mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) licences to six more private companies, Xinhua writes. The concessions form part of a two-year trial of MVNOs to test their capacity to improve competition in the mobile market.


According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the first 19 companies to receive MVNO licences have launched services, although the reactions have been polarised. Many commentators and MVNO stakeholders have complained that the wholesale rates levied by network operators are too high – in some cases exceeding the prices charged to private customers – reducing or eliminating any potential profit margin for virtual providers.


A handful of companies, however, maintain that they have devised strategies that allow them to use their MVNO operations to bolster other areas of their business. For its part, MIIT is optimistic about the MVNO trial and expects virtual providers to represent some 50 million subscribers by the end of 2015, representing around 4% of the current total market.

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EC verifying Telefonica Germany/Drillisch deal | TeleGeography.com

The European Commission (EC) is said to be examining the deal struck between Telefonica Germany and mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) Drillisch to ensure it is line with the commitments made by the former to gain regulatory approval for its EUR8.55 billion (USD11.9 billion) acquisition of Dutch telecom operator KPN’s German mobile unit E-Plus.


As previously reported by CommsUpdate, earlier this month it was revealed that Drillisch, through its wholly-owned subsidiary MS Mobile Services, had concluded a mobile bitstream access (MBA) MVNO agreement with Telefonica Germany on 20 June 2014.


Under the deal, Telefonica said it would grant MS Mobile access to up to 30% of the network capacity that is available after its merger with E-Plus, for all present and future technologies. The basic term of the agreement is five years, though this can be extended by means of two five-year call options held by MS Mobile.


In return, MS Mobile agreed to take over at least 20% of the present and future network capacity for new customers for the basic term of five years, using a glide path.


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Iceland examines Bardarbunga volcano 'cauldrons' | BBC News

Iceland examines Bardarbunga volcano 'cauldrons' | BBC News | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Scientists in Iceland say they are examining several 'cauldrons' found near Bardarbunga volcano, which could potentially be a sign of an eruption.


The cauldrons, depressions in the volcano's surface, each between 10-15m (49 ft) deep and 1km (0.6 miles) wide, were seen during a flight on Wednesday.


Iceland's Met Office said they were formed "as a result of melting, possibly a sub-glacial eruption."


Bardarbunga volcano has been hit by several recent tremors.

The area experienced a magnitude 5.7 earthquake on Tuesday. Experts say these earthquakes are caused as magma flows beneath the ground, cracking the rocks as it moves.


The Met Office has kept its aviation warning level - indicating the potential threat of volcanic activity to air travel - at orange, its second-highest.


Scientists discovered the new cauldrons south of the Bardarbunga volcano during a surveillance flight over the Vatnajokull ice cap - Europe's largest - on Wednesday night, the Met Office and Civil Protection Department said.


It is not clear when they were formed, and the data is still being examined, they said.


They added that they had not observed increased tremors in the area so far.


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Your cell phone company says your location info is private. Think again. | Dana Liebelson | MotherJones.com

Your cell phone company says your location info is private. Think again. | Dana Liebelson | MotherJones.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

On Sunday, the Washington Post published an expose revealing that private companies are peddling surveillance systems to foreign governments that track the location of cell phone users in the US and abroad. The report raised a basic question: How can this be happening when cell phone companies generally promise not to disclose their customers' location information without their consent?


The main problem is that location information is available on a global network that can be accessed by thousands of companies. And in the wake of the Post story, US cell phone companies are refusing to discuss how this squares with their privacy policies, or say what they are doing to keep their customers' whereabouts confidential.


Here's what's going on: Carriers collect location information from cell phone towers and share it with each other through a global network called SS7. This allows a US carrier to find a customer even if she hops a plane to India. But according to the Post, surveillance systems makers have gained access to SS7 and are using it to grab location data, allowing these firms to pinpoint people within a few city blocks.


It's not clear how private surveillance companies have obtained access to the network. Major cell carriers sell SS7 access to other providers, as do third party companies. Karsten Nohl, a cryptographer and telecommunications researcher based in Berlin, says that these players, some of their business partners, and "anybody hacking any of the above" can send and receive SS7 messages. Albert Gidari Jr., an attorney at Perkins Cole who specializes in privacy and technology, says that it's likely that a surveillance company could get access by representing itself as a provider.


Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and AT&T each promise their customers that their location is protected (with exceptions for emergencies and complying with court orders). AT&T's privacy policy states, "We'll give you prior notice and ask for your consent when your location is used or shared." Verizon's reads, "Verizon Wireless services that use mobile device location data provide you with notice about the collection and use of this data." Sprint and T-Mobile make similar promises, although some of these companies include the caveat that they cannot protect data that is collected by third parties while a customer's phone is roaming.


Mother Jones asked each of these firms whether it has knowingly granted location data to surveillance companies and what it is doing to protect consumer location data to meet the promise of its privacy policies. Not one would comment.


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UK: BT rolls out FTTC to rural Isle of Wight | TotalTele.com

UK: BT rolls out FTTC to rural Isle of Wight | TotalTele.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

BT on Wednesday switched on its first fibre-connected cabinet in rural Isle of Wight as part of the government's Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme.


The cabinet, located in Shorwell towards the southwest of the small island, will provide high-speed broadband to around 240 residents and businesses. It is the first of five areas in rural parts of the Isle of Wight to be connected during phase one of the fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) deployment. The U.K. incumbent said consumers will be able to order high-speed broadband services from BT and other providers within the next few days.


"This will bring significant benefits to people in these areas and should over time assist with attracting inward investment and providing a real boost for business and tourism," said Shirley Smart, Isle of Wight councillor for economy and tourism, in a statement.


The rollout is being funded by a public-private partnership between the Isle of Wight Council, which is investing £2.4 million – match-funded by BDUK – and BT, which is stumping up £2.7 million.


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Safaricom (Finally?) Starts Offering Fiber To The Home (FTTH) Broadband Internet Services In Nairobi’s Nyayo Embakasi Estate | Ripples Technologies

Well. This was unexpected! I just stumbled on this blog post which seems to authoritatively confirm that Safaricom has finally launched Fiber To The Home (FTTH) Internet services in Kenya. This has been a long time coming and it seems they are just getting started within the expansive Nyayo Embakasi Estate in Nairobi. The ‘Vuma@Home’ Internet service according to the blog post will be 5Mbps of bandwidth with a free WIFI router for an impressively low price of Kes. 2,999.00 per month.


Even better is that Safaricom does NOT have set-up charges for making the incentive to sign-up quite mouth watering, whichever way you look at it. In addition, according to the blog post, Safaricom will give one month free for those who sign-up so the first two months of access will cost approximately Kes. 1,500 per month (are you kidding me?!).


I recently did a blog post here comparing the Faiba 5Mbps service to the Zuku 8Mbps. Their prices are significantly higher with Faiba offering 5Mbps at Kes. 5,000.00 per month plus set-up fees whereas Zuku is offering 10Mbps for Kes. 4,000.00 per month which includes cable TV and a fixed phone line service, plus set-up fees.


Now, the caveat is that Safaricom seems to be using a peripheral strategy by targetting Embakasi where Zuku or Faiba may not yet be operational and therefore will be well placed to win that market, rather than targeting their well established strongholds like Parklands, Westlands, Kileleshwa, Karen, etc.  The costs involved in rolling out fiber networks are substantial so better to go where there is limited or no competition which is a perfect strategy for Safaricom.


One has to wonder if Safaricom is using the roll-out of its home Internet service as a trojan horse for other value-added offerings?


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Australia: Telstra launching trial 700MHz LTE network in Sydney and Adelaide CBDs | TeleGeography.com

Australia’s largest cellco by subscribers, Telstra, has announced that ‘selected pockets’ of the Central Business Districts (CBDs) in Sydney and Adelaide will soon be able to access what it has termed ‘the next generation of 4G services’.


With the operator noting that the development comes on the back of it having secured early access to the 700MHz spectrum for commercial trials starting in mid-September, Telstra has said that services using the aforementioned frequencies will be rolled out in more cities and regional centres as spectrum becomes available in January 2015.


The rollout of 700MHz LTE services in Sydney and Adelaide extends the number of commercial trial cities to eight; as previously reported by CommsUpdate, last month Telstra confirmed that it was conducting trials using 20MHz of spectrum in the 700MHz band in six locations, those being Perth, Fremantle, Esperance, Mildura, Mt Isa and Griffith.


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US Data centers are the new polluters | Patrick Thibadeau | NetworkWorld.com

US Data centers are the new polluters | Patrick Thibadeau | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

U.S. data centers are using more electricity than they need. It takes 34 power plants, each capable of generating 500 megawatts (MW) of electricity, to power all the data centers in operation today. By 2020, the nation will need another 17 similarly sized power plants to meet projected data center energy demands as economic activity becomes increasingly digital.


Increased electrical generation from fossil fuels means release of more carbon emissions. But this added pollution doesn't have to be, according to a new report on data center energy efficiency from the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), an environmental action organization.


In term of national energy, data centers in total used 91 billion (kilowatts) kWh in 2013, and by 2020, will be using 139 billion kWh, a 53% increase.


The report argues that improved energy efficiency practices by data centers could cut energy waste by at least 40%. The problems hindering efficiency include comatose or ghost servers, which use power but don't run any workloads; overprovisioned IT resources; lack of virtualization; and procurement models that don't address energy efficiency. The typical computer server operates at no more than 12% to 18% of capacity, and as many as 30% of servers are comatose, the report states.


The paper tallies up the consequences of inattention and neglect on a national scale. It was assembled and reviewed with help from organizations including Microsoft, Google, Dell, Intel, The Green Grid, Uptime Institute and Facebook, which made "technical and substantial contributions."


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Damage from global warming will soon be irreversible, says leaked UN report | NationalPost.com

Damage from global warming will soon be irreversible, says leaked UN report | NationalPost.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Humans risk causing irreversible and widespread damage to the planet unless there’s faster action to limit the fossil fuel emissions that cause climate change, according to a leaked draft United Nations report.


Global warming already is impacting “all continents and across the oceans,” and further pollution from heat-trapping gases will raise the likelihood of “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems,” according to the document obtained by Bloomberg.


“Without additional mitigation, and even with adaptation, warming by the end of the 21st century will lead to high to very high risk of severe, widespread, and irreversible impacts globally,” the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said in the draft.


The study is the most important document produced by the UN about global warming, summarizing hundreds of papers. It’s designed to present the best scientific and economic analysis to government leaders and policymakers worldwide. It feeds into the UN-led effort drawing in more than 190 nations for an agreement on limiting emissions.


The report “will provide policymakers with a scientific foundation to tackle the challenge of climate change,” IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri said in a statement from the panel’s office in Geneva. “It would help governments and other stakeholders work together at various levels, including a new international agreement to limit climate change” that countries intend to broker by the end of next year.


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Why US net neutrality debate matters globally | Danielle Kehl Blog | The Hill

Why US net neutrality debate matters globally | Danielle Kehl Blog | The Hill | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

At the annual Internet Governance Forum (IGF) meeting in Istanbul next week, a multi-stakeholder group of representatives from around the world will gather to discuss the most pressing Internet policy issues of the day. Net neutrality will be high on the agenda, with one of the plenary sessions devoted to developing a common understanding of the issue. From a continent away, the conversation will invariably turn to what's happening here in the U.S. at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and how it impacts the global policy conversation.


It's been a busy year for net neutrality around the world. This spring, the European Parliament passed rules that outlaw network discrimination and prevent anti-competitive commercial agreements. A few weeks later, the final version of Brazil's Marco Civil was codified with a section on network neutrality, despite a fierce campaign by telecom lobbyists to gut the provisions in the months prior to the bill's passage. In capitals all over the world, debates continue about the net neutrality implications of practices like zero-rating and finding the appropriate balance between competitive interests and consumer protections.


Against this backdrop, policymakers and advocates in the United States are currently embroiled in a heated battle over the future of the FCC's Open Internet rules. In January 2014, the District of Columbia Circuit Court vacated the no-blocking and nondiscrimination rules that the FCC had enacted in 2010. Now the commission is in the middle of a rulemaking proceeding to consider new net neutrality rules, pitting large broadband carriers and those who argue that new rules are unnecessary against major Internet companies and public interest advocates who have urged the FCC to put strong obligations in place. Over a million commentshave already been filed in the net neutrality docket this year.


Meanwhile, several of the major U.S. Internet service providers have suggested that if the FCC chooses the "wrong" path on net neutrality, it could undermine American international policy objectives. AT&T, Comcast and Verizon all claim in their initial comments to the FCC that reclassifying broadband as a telecommunications service subject to common carriage regulations would encourage foreign governments to enact similarly "restrictive" regulations over the Internet. What's more, they argue, reclassification would undercut the Internet Freedom agenda, making it more difficult for the State Department to push back against Internet-censoring countries like China and Russia and preserve the current multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance.


Verizon, for example, suggests that reclassification "would set a dangerous precedent at a time when the United States has needed to fight vigilantly against international bodies and even repressive regimes that seek greater control over the Internet." Comcast argues that the "United States' policy preference for competition over heavy-handed regulation has not been confined to domestic communications," adding that "imposing common-carrier regulation on broadband services could undermine the United States' resistance to greater oversight of the Internet by the UN's International Telecommunication Union." AT&T and Verizon made similar predictions during the first Open Internet proceeding in 2010.


The carriers are right that the path the FCC ultimately chooses matters beyond the domestic context — but for very different reasons. The global interest in the U.S. net neutrality debate is not borne out of fear that strong rules will enable a "U.N. takeover" of the Internet or bolster Chinese and Russian arguments for censorship and control. (They may try to use it in their rhetoric, but it won't convince anyone who does not already agree with them.) It's because the precedent we set here may influence whether and how governments in other countries choose to protect net neutrality on their own soil.


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Introducing Google’s exciting yet ambitious new Project called Loon | Technology-in-Biz.com

Introducing Google’s exciting yet ambitious new Project called Loon | Technology-in-Biz.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Loon is Internet access via a network of balloons traveling on the edge of Space.


Introducing the latest project from Google [x] called Project Loon.


Its where they intend to bring internet access to people in remote areas using network of balloons traveling on the edge of space.


To learn more, visit: http://google.com/loon.


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Australia: NBN Co aims to pass one million premises by June 2015 | TeleGeography.com

NBN Co, the company overseeing Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN) project, has said it is aiming to have one million serviceable premises by the end of June 2015, of which it hopes to have activated around 480,000. Revealing the targets as part of the publication of its annual report, the company confirmed that at the end of June 2014 552,000 premises were in a position to order an NBN service via one of the various technologies being deployed, with more than 210,000 households having done just that.


On the back of the network expansion and increased uptake, NBN Co noted its revenues for the year to end-June 2014 rose fourfold to AUD61 million (USD56 million), while average revenue per user (APRU) remained stable at AUD37.34 per month. In terms of capital expenditure, in the twelve-month period under review this stood at AUD2.480 billion, up from AUD1.767 billion in the previous year.


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Big power out, solar in: UBS urges investors to join renewables revolution | TheGuardian.com

Big power out, solar in: UBS urges investors to join renewables revolution | TheGuardian.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Big power stations in Europe could be redundant within 10-20 years as electric cars, cheaper batteries and new solar technologies transform the way electricity is generated, stored and distributed, say analysts at the world’s largest private bank.


In a briefing paper sent to clients and investors this week, the Zurich-based UBS bank argues that large-scale, centralised power stations will soon become extinct because they are too big and inflexible, and are “not relevant” for future electricity generation. Instead, the authors expect it to be cheaper and more efficient for households and businesses to generate their own energy to power their cars and to store any surplus energy in their own buildings even without subsidies.


In language more closely associated with green NGOs, the bank with assets of more than $1.5tn says it expects a paradigm shift away from large-scale conventional power plants. “Power is no longer something that is exclusively produced by huge, centralised units owned by large utilities. By 2025, everybody will be able to produce and store power. And it will be green and cost competitive, ie, not more expensive or even cheaper than buying power from utilities,” say the authors, who urge their financial clients to “join the revolution.”


“Solar is at the edge of being a competitive power generation technology. The biggest drawback has been its intermittency. This is where batteries and electric vehicles (EVs) come into play. Battery costs have declined rapidly, and we expect a further decline of more than 50% by 2020. By then, a mass [produced] electric vehicle will have almost the same price as a combustion engine car. But it will save up to €2,000 (£1,600) a year on fuel cost, hence, it will begin to pay off almost immediately without any meaningful upfront ‘investment’. This is why we expect a rapidly growing penetration with EVs, in particular in countries with high fossil fuel prices.”


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New Zealand: Spark ignites 700MHz LTE network | TeleGeography.com

Spark New Zealand (formerly Telecom New Zealand) has launched its first 700MHz Long Term Evolution (LTE) services via twelve sites in the Waikato region, including central Hamilton, Morrisonville and surrounding areas.


While the operator admits that there are currently only two compatible devices able to run on the network, it is expecting to be offering around ten devices to customers by the end of December, while it is also planning to expand coverage to Rotorua by the same date.


According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Spark won 15MHz of paired 700MHz spectrum in a government auction last October, adding a further 2×5MHz block in January. It has been offering 1800MHz LTE services since November 2013, with coverage of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, but the new networks in the lower band will enable it to expand coverage at a quicker rate.

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Egypt’s unified licence regime expected to go live in early September | TeleGeography.com

Egypt’s Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT) is said to have dated the long-awaited unified licensing regime, with it now expected to become valid from the start of September 2014.


According to Daily News Egypt, which cites ministry spokesperson Mohamed Hanafy, the nation’s three mobile network operators – Vodafone Egypt, MobiNil and Etisalat Misr – have all now signed off on the licence terms after examining them.


As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in April 2014 it was revealed that Telecom Egypt (TE) would be required to pay EGP2.5 billion (USD360 million) for a unified telecoms licence which would allow it to enter the wireless market under its own steam.


Meanwhile, it was also confirmed that the aforementioned trio of cellcos would each be required to pay EGP100 million for a unified concession under which they would be allowed to offer services over TE’s fixed infrastructure.


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MI: Oil drilling operation shuts down 'indefinitely' in Shelby Twp. | Jim Lynch | The Detroit News

MI: Oil drilling operation shuts down 'indefinitely' in Shelby Twp. | Jim Lynch | The Detroit News | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The company responsible for a controversial test oil well near homes in Shelby Township said Monday it will shut down its operation there “indefinitely.”


Nearly 700 people appeared at a public information meeting Wednesday to oppose West Bay Exploration’s plans to drill for oil near a residential neighborhood. A test well, just north of the 25 Mile-Dequindre intersection, sits less than 500 feet from some properties.


The day before, Shelby Township’s Board of Trustees had approved a six-month moratorium on oil drilling in the township that West Bay didn’t think would be enforceable.


“West Bay will shut down drilling operations in Shelby Township indefinitely by the end of this week,” West Bay Vice President Patrick Gibson said in a statement released Monday. “Our goal is to be a good partner in the community, and it is clear that we need to work with neighbors and state officials to address concerns that are being raised before moving forward.”


In a phone interview later Monday, Gibson said the test drilling at the site that began Friday would continue through the week to get the site ready for being shut down in the coming weeks.


A delay in the project opens the door for state lawmakers representing Shelby Township to try to pass new legislation addressing residential drilling.


Last week, state Sen. Jack Brandenburg, R-Harrison Township, said he has introduced a bill that would prohibit mining and drilling in any township with a population above 70,000. State Rep. Peter Lund, R-Shelby Township, is working on a similar piece of legislation for introduction in the House.


Traverse City-based West Bay has several drilling projects underway in southeast Michigan that have drawn opposition. Scio Township officials near Ann Arbor last week passed a similar six-month moratorium on drilling projects.


Shelby Township Supervisor Rick Stathakis said while he appreciates West Bay’s decision to postpone operations, he will continue to try to outlaw residential drilling.


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Broadband Speed 101 – How Much Do You Need? | SaveMoney.my

Broadband Speed 101 – How Much Do You Need? | SaveMoney.my | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Baffled over broadband gobbledygook like Mbps, MB, FTTH, ADSL, and mobile? Why do you need to know all of this when all you want is an internet connection at home? Also, why is your Facebook not loading fast enough on your laptop?!


Technologically-challenged friends, don’t fret. We’ll turn you into a broadband expert in no time. Welcome to your Broadband Speed 101!


But first, do you know the differences between DSL and FTTH?


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CO: Lafayette group files motion to block oil and gas industry's lawsuit, enforce local fracking ban | DailyCamera.com

CO: Lafayette group files motion to block oil and gas industry's lawsuit, enforce local fracking ban | DailyCamera.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Residents of Lafayette seeking to enforce a voter-supported fracking ban filed a motion this week for a preliminary injunction against the state, Gov. John Hickenlooper and the Colorado Oil and Gas Association.


The motion aims to prohibit the state's oil and gas industry from using the Colorado Oil and Gas Act to invalidate the town's right to self-government, which the plaintiffs claim should include the ability to ban fracking.


"The right to local, community self-government serves as the foundation for the American system of law and is a central tenet of our Declaration of Independence and state and federal constitutions," said Thomas Linzey of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, the Pennsylvania-based pro-bono organization that assisted in the drafting of Lafayette Community Bill of Rights.


"The people's right to self-governance has been routinely ignored by our elected representatives and overridden by the courts in favor of corporate rights," Linzey said.


The motion, filed Tuesday in Boulder County District Court, is part of a class-action lawsuit against the state and oil and gas industry.


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MTS Belarus extends Ethernet coverage in Minsk and other regional centres | TeleGeography.com

Mobile operator-turned-broadband provider MTS Belarus has expanded its Ethernet network to more residential areas in the capital Minsk and other regional centres, and announced a cut in internet tariffs – effective 1 September.


Under the latest expansion, MTS Belarus is now offering its fixed broadband internet service in the district of Masyukovshchina (Minsk), Beryozovka (Brest), Zadneprovye (Mogilyov), parts of Grodno, as well as a number of other locations in the capital.


Tariff rates for its ‘Household Connect’ branded packages are set to fall by between 20% for its entry-level service, and 45% for its premium plan.

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Guatemala Declares State of Emergency for Drought | NYTimes.com

Guatemala Declares State of Emergency for Drought | NYTimes.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The Guatemalan government has declared a state of emergency in 16 of the country's 22 provinces because of a drought that has caused major agricultural losses in Central America.


Agriculture Minister Elmer Lopez said Monday that as of last week more than 236,000 families had been affected mainly in western and central Guatemala.


The state of emergency declaration has to be approved by lawmakers so the government can provide funds to those who have lost their crops, and to stabilize food prices.


Central America is suffering one of its worst droughts in decades, and experts say major farm losses and the deaths of hundreds of cattle in the region could leave hundreds of thousands of families without food.


The losses are largely in the region's staples of corn and beans.

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For sale: Systems that can secretly track where cellphone users go around the globe | Craig Timberg | WashPost.com

For sale: Systems that can secretly track where cellphone users go around the globe | Craig Timberg | WashPost.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Makers of surveillance systems are offering governments across the world the ability to track the movements of almost anybody who carries a cellphone, whether they are blocks away or on another continent.


The technology works by exploiting an essential fact of all cellular networks: They must keep detailed, up-to-the-minute records on the locations of their customers to deliver calls and other services to them. Surveillance systems are secretly collecting these records to map people’s travels over days, weeks or longer, according to company marketing documents and experts in surveillance technology.


The world’s most powerful intelligence services, such as the National Security Agency and Britain’s GCHQ, long have used cellphone data to track targets around the globe. But experts say these new systems allow less technically advanced governments to track people in any nation — including the United States — with relative ease and precision.


Users of such technology type a phone number into a computer portal, which then collects information from the location databases maintained by cellular carriers, company documents show. In this way, the surveillance system learns which cell tower a target is currently using, revealing his or her location to within a few blocks in an urban area or a few miles in a rural one.


It is unclear which governments have acquired these tracking systems, but one industry official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to share sensitive trade information, said that dozens of countries have bought or leased such technology in recent years. This rapid spread underscores how the burgeoning, multibillion-dollar surveillance industry makes advanced spying technology available worldwide.


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