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Signs of the California Solar Initiative’s Coming End | Greentech Media

Signs of the California Solar Initiative’s Coming End | Greentech Media | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The California Solar Initiative (CSI) is approaching its goals. Look what it has done.

 

CSI was made law by 2006’s Senate Bill 1, the combined design of California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) work and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “million solar roofs” vision.

 

It had two initial goals, according to CSI Senior Regulatory Analyst James Loewen. One was to build 1,940 megawatts of solar in California in supported system allotments of one kilowatt to one megawatt. A General Market Program of 1,750 megawatts was aimed at residential and non-residential settings and another 190 megawatts targeted low-income settings. The other goal, Loewen said, was to transform the solar market and make solar “sustainable, vibrant and even mainstream.”

 

The California Energy Commission (CEC) was budgeted at approximately $400 million to oversee the New Solar Homes Partnership (NSHP), intended to increase installations of new-home solar systems in the territories of the three major California investor-owned utilities (IOUs), Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE) and San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E),.

 

A voluntary program for publicly owned utilities (POUs) was budgeted at almost $800 million.

 

The CPUC was allotted the balance of the funding, approximately $2.2 billion, to oversee new and retrofit non-residential solar and residential retrofits in the IOU territories.

 

The program has six segments, one residential (up to ten kilowatts) and one non-residential (ten kilowatts to one megawatt) for each of the IOUs, with the SDG&E segments administered by the California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE).

 

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A Changing Arctic Continues to Surprise | Peter Sinclair | ClimateCrocks.com

A Changing Arctic Continues to Surprise | Peter Sinclair | ClimateCrocks.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Any associations you might have with Alaska being a generally chilly place, actually, were belied by last month’s heat wave: with average temperatures 7.1 degrees above normal, the state had its hottest May in 91 years of record-keeping. Above, via NASA’s Earth Observatory, is what that deviation looked like.


Meteorologists attributed the unusual heat to a “kinked jet stream that is sending air masses in a more north-south flow than the more typical east-west direction” — a pattern that may be connected to two typhoons in the Pacific.


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Ovum: FTTx Spending to Reach New High, Surpass $1 Billion | Andrew Burger | Telecompetitor

Ovum: FTTx Spending to Reach New High, Surpass $1 Billion | Andrew Burger | Telecompetitor | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Network operators’ spending on FTTx fiber optic equipment is going to reach a new high in 2015, according to new market research from Ovum. FTTx spending on optical equipment will exceed $1 billion this year following a record $953 million in 2014.

Spending on FTTx optical components will stay strong though it will drop to $985 million in 2016, Ovum forecasts. Strong demand for passive optic networking (PON) equipment is driving growth. Uptake of FTTx optics by Chinese carriers in particular is fueling growth.

“Numerous positive factors are driving the FTTx optics market to new levels, including FTTH network deployments by China Mobile and the continued network builds by China Telecom and China Unicom,” Julie Kunstler, report author and Ovum principal analyst, intelligent networks and components team, commented.

FTTx network deployments by North American multiple service operators (MSOs), telcos and the Google Fiber expansion are also adding to growing FTTx optics spending. Deployments are also proceeding in Europe, and the Middle East. Small deployments are taking place in South and Central America and Africa.

Ovum’s latest forecast excludes large FTTx deployments in large and heavily populated India, Brazil and Indonesia “Large deployments in these countries would provide a significant uptick to the units forecast and consequently to revenues,” Kunstler pointed out, “as would faster deployments of next-gen PON because the ASPs for next-gen PON optics are higher than those for non-next-gen.”


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Gizmag's top 10 pavilions from EXPO 2015 | Bridget Borgobello | GizMag.com

Gizmag's top 10 pavilions from EXPO 2015 | Bridget Borgobello | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Gizmag recently took a tour through the impressive grounds of World Expo 2015, which opened in Milan last month and features exhibitions from 143 participating countries. Here we've put together a list of our top 10 pavilions – the cream of a very fine crop which are a must see for anyone planning a visit to the Expo or those simply keen for a closer look at the best of what's on offer.

Located half an hour outside of the city center of Milan, the Expo grounds cover more than one million square meters (10.75 million sq ft), incorporating an array of arresting architectural projects and unique landscapes that represent different cultural identities. This year's world exposition is dedicated to the sharing of diverse and innovative ideas under the theme "Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life," which saw many countries express ideas on how we can address the big questions surrounding global food supply.

Here's our pick of the 10 best World Expo pavilions:


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France Takes Its War On Uber Up A Notch: Arrests Top Execs | Mike Masnick | Techdirt

France Takes Its War On Uber Up A Notch: Arrests Top Execs | Mike Masnick | Techdirt | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Last week, we noted some bizarre happenings in France, as taxi drivers unwilling to compete against Uber decided to stage a "protest" which actually looked a lot more like a riot. They overturned Uber cars, held passengers and drivers hostage and lit fires around the country.


You might think that this updated version of Luddites smashing machines would lead to a similar result -- getting laughed at and confined to the dustbins of history. But, this is France we're talking about. Politicians quickly ordered a crackdown on Uber including ordering law enforcement to seize the cars of Uber drivers.

And, that's not all. Now it's being reported that two of Uber's top French execs have been arrested.


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Switzerland: Cablecom introduces 500Mbps broadband | TeleGeography.com

Swiss full-service provider UPC Cablecom has boosted the peak download speed available to residential customers to 500Mbps, although the top speed is reserved for customers signing up to multi-play offerings.


Coinciding with the upgrade, the UK-backed operator has unveiled a range of new offerings with higher transfer rates, additional free minutes of calls to Swiss networks, as well as TV options – such as video-on-demand (VoD), replay and over-the-top (OTT) service ‘Horizon Go’ – and access to Wi-Fi hotspots via Cablecom’s Wi-Free service.


Of the new packages, two include the new top broadband speed of 500Mbps, namely: ‘Horizon Super Trio’, which includes all of the features listed above as well as cable TV and voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) for CHF129 (USD138.2) per month (CHF99 for the first two months under the current promotional offer); and ‘Super Horizon Duo’, which bundles broadband and VoIP with VoD, Horizon Go and Wi-Free for CHF119 per month (CHF89 for the first two months under the current promotion).

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Cancer-Causing Chemicals Found in Drinking Water Near Texas Fracking Sites | Anastasia Pantsios | EcoWatch

Cancer-Causing Chemicals Found in Drinking Water Near Texas Fracking Sites | Anastasia Pantsios | EcoWatch | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

A research team at the University of Texas at Arlington has published a peer-reviewed study, A Comprehensive Analysis of Groundwater Quality in the Barnett Shale Region, in Environmental Science & Technology, a journal of the American Chemical Society. The heavily fracked Barnett shale region, with more than 20,000 wells, covers a swath of counties in north Texas surrounding the populous Dallas-Fort Worth area. It also sits beneath two major aquifers.

“The exploration of unconventional shale energy reserves and the extensive use of hydraulic fracturing during well stimulation have raised concerns about the potential effects of unconventional oil and gas extraction (UOG) on the environment,” the authors write. “Most accounts of groundwater contamination have focused primarily on the compositional analysis of dissolved gases to address whether UOG activities have had deleterious effects on overlying aquifers. Here, we present an analysis of 550 groundwater samples collected from private and public supply water wells drawing from aquifers overlying the Barnett shale formation of Texas.”

The team, led by UT Arlington chemistry professor Kevin Schug, found elevated levels of 10 metals and 19 chemicals as well as high levels of ethanol and methanol. The chemical compounds found included benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene and xylenes, which have been associated with a range of negative health impacts including cancer. Schug said that his team’s work was “the most comprehensive groundwater study in connection to this whole process.”


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Is facial recognition a threat on Facebook and Google? | Mike Elgan | ComputerWorld

Is facial recognition a threat on Facebook and Google? | Mike Elgan | ComputerWorld | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Both Facebook and Google have been working hard at using computers and algorithms to identify people in photos. They've gotten really good at it.

We still don't know what they'll do with that technology. To a large degree, it's up to us. But first, we have to understand what's possible.

Facebook is one of the leading organizations in the world developing facial-recognition algorithms. Facebook software can now identify people in photographs as well as people can. Facebook's DeepFace (no, I'm not kidding -- it's called DeepFace) can tell whether the subjects in two different photographs are the same person with 97% accuracy. That's even better than the FBI's own Next Generation Identification system.

DeepFace achieves this amazing feat by analyzing faces, turning them into 3D models, then making it possible to recognize the faces from angles and under lighting conditions that are different from those in other photos of the same person. The technology uses more than 120 million parameters, and a page on Facebook's research website explains that the company "trained it on the largest facial dataset to-date, an identity labeled dataset of four million facial images belonging to more than 4,000 identities."

But that's not enough for Facebook. It wants to be able to identify people even when their faces aren't showing. Toward that end, Facebook researchers are developing a system that looks at hairstyle, body shape, posture, clothing and so on.

Facebook can now recognize people whose faces aren't showing with 83% accuracy.

Tellingly, the company tried to avoid freaking people out with this research by developing the algorithm using Flickr pics, not Facebook photos.

While Facebook's ability to recognize people is astonishing, so is Google's.


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US Supreme Court rejects EPA's regulation of power plants' emissions of mercury and other toxins | Daily Kos

US Supreme Court rejects EPA's regulation of power plants' emissions of mercury and other toxins | Daily Kos | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The U.S. Supreme Court plunked a setback into the lap of the Environmental Protection Agency Monday by trashing the agency's regulation of emissions of mercury and other air toxins from electricity-generating plants. The court overturned a lower-court decision in the case of Michigan v. EPA stating that the agency had acted reasonably when it chose not to considering costs first in its effort to control those emissions. The justices split 5-4, with the four liberals on the side of the EPA and the four conservatives and Justice Anthony Kennedy on the side of industry and the states that had sued.

The ruling—Michigan v. Environmental Protection Agency and two other consolidated cases—is a major disappointment for environmentalists and drag on the Obama administration's efforts to reduce toxic emissions.

It was under the Clinton administration that the EPA began work on the mercury and air toxins rules. That was stopped when George W. Bush became president and restarted when President Obama was elected.

The EPA considered cost irrelevant to its decision to regulate MATS. It agreed that it could have interpreted a provision in the law that cost is relevant but "chose to read the statute to mean that cost makes no difference to the initial decision to regulate," the majority decision written by Justice Antonin Scalia stated. The agency argued that it was appropriate to consider only public health risks—not industry costs—when it decided to regulate emissions from coal- and oil-fired generation plants.

The agency's decision raised objections from industry and more than 20 states. They argued that the regulations would force consumers to pay more for electricity and harm the coal industry. The regulations would cost $9.6 billion annually, according to EPA estimates, but it would provide health benefits of at least $33 billion.


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1,000 Dead in Pakistan’s Heat Wave, and It’s Only June | Shaya Tayefe Mohajer | AlterNet

1,000 Dead in Pakistan’s Heat Wave, and It’s Only June | Shaya Tayefe Mohajer | AlterNet | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The devastating heat wave that has scorched southern Pakistan with temperatures as high as 113 degrees marked a grim toll Thursday: 1,000 have died in Karachi, where morgues are running out of space and hospitals are short of beds, according to The New York Times.

“Most of the dead, many of them drug addicts and the homeless, have come from the poor areas of the city,” the Times reports.

Health care workers are working overtime to treat dehydration and heat stroke in 14,000 people who have flooded hospitals. Air conditioners have not been much help, as the hours-long power outages that regularly afflict the country have become more frequent.

In recent decades, the poverty rate in Pakistan has fallen radically — from 34 percent in 2001 to 12.4 percent in 2011, a dramatic improvement, according to the country’s officials.

Heat waves have proved deadly all around the world in recent years, killing in rich and poor countries alike. With climate change, extreme weather events are likely to become more frequent. Last month, 2,300 died in Indian villages. During the summer of 2003, some 70,000 died across 16 European countries. In Chicago in 1995, more than 700 died (and 18 more perished from heat in that city in 2012). A report issued earlier this week from the Environmental Protection Agency predicts that heat waves in major U.S. cities will kill 12,000 a year by 2100.


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Additives keep lithium-ion batteries from catching fire | David Szondy | GizMag.com

Additives keep lithium-ion batteries from catching fire | David Szondy | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Processor chips may get all the glory, but if it wasn't for lithium-ion batteries, modern electronics would look like something out of the 1950s. Unfortunately, while they may be compact and long lasting, these batteries also suffer from overheating and can become fire hazards as they get old. Now a team led by Stanford University and the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory has come up with an additive that holds the promise of extending lithium battery life while improving safety and performance.

According to the team leader, Associate Professor Yi Cui, one of the big problems with lithium batteries is that over time the lithium metal starts to form dendrites as metal ions are deposited on the surface of the battery. That is, small, sharp fingers of lithium grow out of the metal that in time can pierce the barrier that separate the two sides of the battery. This can short out the battery, which can destroy it or worse, cause it to overheat and perhaps catch fire.


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Power struggle: The perilous price of America’s energy boom | Reveal News | Center for Investigative Reporting

Power struggle: The perilous price of America’s energy boom | Reveal News | Center for Investigative Reporting | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

In June, we explore energy production in the United States. From North Dakota to Oklahoma, Texas and Washington, we’ll look at how fracking has opened new realms of oil and gas production – and we’ll examine some of the complex consequences of so-called energy independence.


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Russia Blocks The Internet Archive's Wayback Machine Over A Single Page | Mike Masnick | Techdirt

Russia Blocks The Internet Archive's Wayback Machine Over A Single Page | Mike Masnick | Techdirt | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Over the last few years, Russia has really been ramping up its efforts to censor the internet to hide content it doesn't like. As is often the case when the government gets the power to censor, that censorship starts spreading farther and farther.

The latest? Apparently in the effort to hide a single archive of a site that the Russian government doesn't like, the entire "Wayback Machine" from the Internet Archive has been blocked:


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Russia: MTS launching LTE-A in 15 regions by end-2015 | TeleGeography.com

Mobile TeleSystems (MTS), Russia’s second largest cellco by subscribers, has announced on its website that LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) networks based on dual- and tri-band carrier aggregation (CA) technology will be expanded to 15 Russian regions by the end of 2015.


Having recently signed new contracts with at least four key vendors for the delivery of multi-band LTE equipment, MTS also disclosed that it will expand LTE-1800 networks under technology-neutral licensing across 19 Russian regions by the end of the year.

Andrei Ushatskiy, MTS vice president of technology, noted that 1800+2600MHz CA (with at least 10MHz in each band) enables an increase in peak LTE data transmission speed from 75Mbps to 150Mbps, while tri-band CA allows network speeds to reach 225Mbps; in April 2015 MTS tested CA on 1800+2600+800MHz frequencies, demonstrating peak speeds of up to 260Mbps.


Under the company’s rollout strategy, dual-band networks – 1800+2600MHz or 800+2600MHz depending on frequency availability in each region – will account for the majority of base stations nationally.


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6 reasons why we’re underhyping the Internet of Things | Dominic Basulto | WashPost.com

6 reasons why we’re underhyping the Internet of Things | Dominic Basulto | WashPost.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Just when you thought the Internet of Things couldn’t possibly live up to its hype, along comes a blockbuster, 142-page report from McKinsey Global Institute (“The Internet of Things: Mapping the Value Beyond the Hype”) that says, if anything, we’re underestimating the potential economic impact of the Internet of Things.


By 2025, says McKinsey, the potential economic impact of having “sensors and actuators connected by networks to computing systems” (McKinsey’s definition of the Internet of Things) could be more than $11 trillion annually.

According to McKinsey, there are six reasons we may be underhyping the Internet of Things.


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American Food 2.0 - USA Pavilion | Expo Milano 2015

American Food 2.0 - USA Pavilion | Expo Milano 2015 | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Our theme for the USA Pavilion is American Food 2.0: United to Feed the Planet. Expo Milano 2015 will enable the USA Pavilion to showcase the United States as an innovator not only in the food sector, but also in many aspects of culture, science and business. Feeding ourselves engages a massive infrastructure, advanced technologies, and dynamic systems that touch on just about every aspect of the world we live in. Each step from farm to table reflects a set of values and connections that impact our identities and shape our future.

Using interactive exhibits and state-of-the-art digital media, the USA Pavilion at Expo Milano 2015 will highlight American industry, products, and entrepreneurship within the contexts of sustainability, nutrition and health, technology and innovation. Our official partnership with Italy will position the United States as a destination for business, entrepreneurship and travel. The USA Pavilion will promote collaboration to strengthen bilateral ties between the United States and Europe and the rest of the global community in order to tackle food-system challenges together.


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Bill Gates to invest $2bn in breakthrough renewable energy projects | Emma Howard | The Guardian

Bill Gates to invest $2bn in breakthrough renewable energy projects | Emma Howard | The Guardian | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Bill Gates has announced he will invest $2bn (£1.3bn) in renewable technologies initiatives, but rejected calls to divest from the fossil fuel companies that are burning carbon at a rate that ignores international agreements to limit global warming.

Speaking to the Financial Times, Gates said that he would double his current investments in renewables over the next five years in a bid to “bend the curve” on tackling climate change.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, lead by Gates and his wife, is the world’s largest charitable foundation. According to the charity’s most recent tax filings in 2013, it currently has $1.4bn invested in fossil fuel companies, including BP, responsible for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

In March, the Guardian launched a campaign calling on the Gates’ Foundation and the Wellcome Trust to divest from coal, oil and gas companies. More than 223,000 people have since signed up to the campaign.

Gates dismissed the calls of the fossil fuel divestment movement – which has already persuaded more than 220 institutions worldwide to divest – on the basis that it would have little impact.

Instead he said there was an urgent need for “high risk” investments in breakthrough technologies. He said that a “miracle” on the level of the invention of the automobile was necessary to avoid a climate catastrophe and that current renewables are not yet close to being able to meet projected energy needs by 2030.

Gates told the Financial Times that the only way current technology could reduce global emissions is at “a beyond astronomical cost” and that innovation is the only way to reach a positive scenario.


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Sri Lanka: SLT to deploy island-wide Wi-Fi solution | TeleGeography.com

Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) is deploying an island-wide carrier-grade Wi-Fi solution in partnership with manufacturer Ruckus Wireless and vendor Alepo. Combining Ruckus ‘ZoneFlex’ indoor and outdoor access points – centrally managed with two Ruckus SmartCell Gateways – with Alepo BSS/OSS software, SLT plans to introduce multiple Wi-Fi product offers to its customers.


These include: single-use pre-paid services, bundled subscriptions for existing broadband customers, automated offload for mobile users, and partnerships with external providers for roaming and wholesale. The deployment follows successful interoperability testing which SLT conducted earlier this year with Alepo and Ruckus.

SLT Group CEO Dileepa Wijesundera commented: ‘With our extensive country-wide fibre-optic network, we are able to provide the end-to-end infrastructure required, delivering carrier-grade Wi-Fi to business locations as well as crowd-sourcing public places … We are aiming to adopt an aggressive expansion strategy for this solution, and already have a pipeline of additional retail sites that we will be launching very soon.’

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Australia's 'Mobile Black Spot Programme' to deliver nearly 500 new or upgraded base stations | TeleGeography.com

Australia’s Federal Government has announced that its ‘Mobile Black Spot Programme’ will deliver almost 500 new or upgraded mobile base stations around the country, with Telstra responsible for the bulk of these – 429 – and Vodafone Australia covering the remaining 70.


A press release confirming the development called it ‘the most significant one time increase in mobile network coverage to outer metropolitan, regional and remote Australia delivered by a single public funding programme’.

In total the new and upgraded base stations will reportedly provide new handheld coverage to 68,600 square kilometres and new external antenna coverage to over 150,000 square kilometres, while more than 5,700 kilometres of major transport routes will receive new handheld or external antenna coverage.


Further, there will be handheld or external antenna coverage to all or part of around 3,000 of the black spot locations nominated by the public as part of the consultation phase of this programme; such a figure represents almost half of the 6,221 locations without service that had originally been nominated.


In terms of geographical spread, New South Wales will see the most new or upgraded base stations (144), followed by Western Australia (130), Victoria (110), Queensland (68), Tasmania (31), South Australia (11) and Northern Territory (five). The first base stations funded under the programme will be rolled out before the end of 2015 and the rollout will continue for a three year period.


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US supreme court strikes down Obama's EPA limits on air pollution | Suzanne Goldenberg & Raya Jalabi | The Guardian

US supreme court strikes down Obama's EPA limits on air pollution | Suzanne Goldenberg & Raya Jalabi | The Guardian | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The US supreme court struck down new rules for America’s biggest air polluters on Monday, dealing a blow to the Obama administration’s efforts to set limits on the amount of mercury, arsenic and other toxins coal-fired power plants can spew into the air, lakes and rivers.

The 5-4 decision was a major setback to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and could leave the agency more vulnerable to legal challenges from industry and Republican-led states to its other new carbon pollution rules.

The justices embraced the arguments from the industry and 21 Republican-led states that the EPA rules were prohibitively expensive and amounted to government overreach.

But the EPA pointed out that most plants had already either complied or made plans to comply with the ruling.

“EPA is disappointed that the court did not uphold the rule, but this rule was issued more than three years ago, investments have been made and most plants are already well on their way to compliance,” the agency said in a statement obtained by Reuters.

The EPA “remains committed to ensuring that appropriate standards are in place to protect the public from the significant amount of toxic emissions from coal and oil-fired electric utilities and continue reducing the toxic pollution from these facilities,” the agency added.


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In Massachusetts, groups push to bolster solar panel program | Steve LeBlanc | Cape Cod Times

In Massachusetts, groups push to bolster solar panel program | Steve LeBlanc | Cape Cod Times | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The increasing popularity of solar panels is prompting environmental groups to call for lifting what they describe as arbitrary limits on a key program designed to encourage renewable energy use in Massachusetts.

So-called "net-metering" allows homeowners, businesses and local governments to sell excess solar power they generate back to the grid in exchange for credit on their bills.

Renewable energy advocates say 171 communities across the state have already reached the cap. They say that's slowing the state's efforts to reach its goal of 1,600 megawatts of installed solar capacity by 2020.

"We want to make sure that we can get as much solar power in Massachusetts as quickly as possible," said Ben Hellerstein, state director of the advocacy group Environment Massachusetts. "We don't have time to waste."

While individual homeowners are exempt from the cap, it's making it harder for larger projects and residents of apartment buildings to benefit from the program, Hellerstein said.

The cap is calculated as a percentage of each company's highest historical peak load — the most electricity consumed by their customers at any one time. Private facilities are capped at 4 percent, public facilities at 5 percent.

Norton Town Manager Michael Yunits said he's worried the cap is jeopardizing a large solar array planned for a former landfill in town.

Yunits said if the state doesn't raise the cap, the project developer could pull out, costing the town an estimated $300,000 a year.

"We've been planning this for two years and to suddenly have everything end now would be a disaster," Yunits said. "There are a lot of other towns looking into the same thing."

Sen. Jamie Eldridge, D-Acton, has filed a bill to raise the net-metering cap, allow an exemption for any project of 1 megawatt or less, and create a tax exemption for "community solar" projects that let residents of apartments or businesses that aren't able to install rooftop solar panels create offsite arrays.

It would also set a solar energy goal of 9,500 megawatts — or about 20 percent of the state's energy usage — by 2025.


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The Scariest Trade Deal Nobody's Talking About Just Suffered a Big Leak | David Dayen | New Republic

The Scariest Trade Deal Nobody's Talking About Just Suffered a Big Leak | David Dayen | New Republic | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The Obama administration’s desire for “fast track” trade authority is not limited to passing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). In fact, that may be the least important of three deals currently under negotiation by the U.S. Trade Representative. The Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) would bind the two biggest economies in the world, the United States and the European Union. And the largest agreement is also the least heralded: the 51-nation Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA).

On Wednesday, WikiLeaks brought this agreement into the spotlight by releasing 17 key TiSA-related documents, including 11 full chapters under negotiation. Though the outline for this agreement has been in place for nearly a year, these documents were supposed to remain classified for five years after being signed, an example of the secrecy surrounding the agreement, which outstrips even the TPP.

TiSA has been negotiated since 2013, between the United States, the European Union, and 22 other nations, including Canada, Mexico, Australia, Israel, South Korea, Japan, Norway, Switzerland, Turkey, and others scattered across South America and Asia. Overall, 12 of the G20 nations are represented, and negotiations have carefully incorporated practically every advanced economy except for the “BRICS” coalition of emerging markets (which stands for Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa).

The deal would liberalize global trade of services, an expansive definition that encompasses air and maritime transport, package delivery, e-commerce, telecommunications, accountancy, engineering, consulting, health care, private education, financial services and more, covering close to 80 percent of the U.S. economy.


Though member parties insist that the agreement would simply stop discrimination against foreign service providers, the text shows that TiSA would restrict how governments can manage their public laws through an effective regulatory cap. It could also dismantle and privatize state-owned enterprises, and turn those services over to the private sector.


You begin to sound like the guy hanging out in front of the local food co-op passing around leaflets about One World Government when you talk about TiSA, but it really would clear the way for further corporate domination over sovereign countries and their citizens.


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UK: New B4RN film first shown at Cannes Film Festival | thinkbroadband.com

For those who've not managed to pay B4RN a visit a new film directed by James Uren and produced by Suzette Heald gives a great idea of what is involved in building a Gigabit FTTH network across the Lancashire countryside.

The film is currently only available in SD quality with the HD version expected to be released once it has finished doing the film festivals circuit.


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Mistbox cools your air conditioner to cut energy consumption | David Szondy | GizMag.com

Mistbox cools your air conditioner to cut energy consumption | David Szondy | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Air conditioners are a bit of a paradox. On the one hand, they're most needed in the hottest weather, but on the other, the hottest days are when air conditioners are least efficient. Mistbox is an add-on technology for domestic air conditioners that uses a water mist to pre-cool the air conditioner, increasing its efficiency and lowering energy costs.

Domestic air conditioners work on the same principle as a refrigerator. A pump compresses a volatile gas into a liquid and circulates it through a coil. A fan blows warm air from the house over the coil, which expands the liquid back into a gas and cools the air. The gas is then circulated back to a second coil outside the house, where outside air carries away the heat before the gas is condensed and compressed back into a liquid to start the cycle over again.

It's a process that does the job, but what it gains in cooling it lacks in efficiency. The air conditioner is essentially a heat engine operating in reverse and its efficiency depends on the temperature of the outside air. If it's cold outside, the cycle is more efficient because the outside coil carries away the heat more effectively. But if it's hot, then the cycle is less efficient and the conditioner must work harder and use more energy for the same level of cooling.


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New process could usher in "graphene-driven industrial revolution" | Darren Quick | GizMag.com

New process could usher in "graphene-driven industrial revolution" | Darren Quick | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

It's hard to find an article about graphene that doesn't include the words "wonder material" somewhere within it. Less wondrous, unfortunately, is the expensive and time consuming chemical vapor deposition (CVD) process used to produce it industrially. Now researchers from the University of Exeter claim to have discovered a new low-cost technique to produce high quality graphene that could see the wonder material start to realize its potential.

The new system is based on technology already used in the manufacture of semiconductors, providing the potential to mass produce graphene using existing facilities instead of sinking money into completely new plants. It involves growing graphene in an industrial resistive-heating cold wall CVD system developed by UK-based company, Moorfield Nanotechnology. The researchers say this so-called nanoCVD system can grow graphene 100 times faster than conventional CVD systems, cuts costs by 99 percent, and produces graphene boasting enhanced electronic qualities.


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CA: An Algal Bloom of Epic Proportions | Gary Griggs--Our Ocean Backyard | Santa Cruz Sentienel

CA: An Algal Bloom of Epic Proportions | Gary Griggs--Our Ocean Backyard | Santa Cruz Sentienel | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The entire west coast is experiencing a harmful algal bloom of unprecedented size that extends from Central California to Washington State. The concentrations of one toxin, domoic acid, appear to be the highest ever recorded in Monterey Bay and off Central California. This is cause for some caution, particularly for those of us who eat stuff from the sea.

Officials in California have warned against eating recreationally harvested mussels and clams, commercially caught anchovies and sardines, or the internal organs of commercially or recreationally caught crab taken from the waters off Monterey and Santa Cruz counties.

Further north, Oregon has closed the entire coast to razor clamming and also halted all shellfish harvesting along the northern Oregon coast. Washington has also closed its waters to razor clamming, a significant economic loss. Elevated toxin levels led shellfish managers to close the southern Washington Dungeness crab fishery, a multimillion dollar business and the largest closure on record.

Its not completely clear yet whether there is a connection between this massive harmful algal bloom and the warm water offshore.

UCSC oceanographers are involved in this search for connections and have been regularly analyzing samples of seawater, diatoms, fish and shellfish in the Monterey Bay area, a hotspot for the algae that produces domoic acid.

Massive blooms of phytoplankton, or microscope floating algae such as diatoms, are common along the central coast of California in the late spring and summer. Just like the weeds emerging in your garden in the spring, when the weather warms and nutrients are provided by coastal upwelling, the plants in the coastal ocean bloom like a huge garden.


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